THE RIVER FLOWING BY THE SIDE OF THE ALTAR
If there is no dealing of the cross, signified by the altar, the flow of the river will be frustrated. To have the flowing of the river, we need the dealing of the cross. The flowing is always at the side of the altar, meaning that the flow is always by the cross (47:1). If we are not willing to pass through the cross, we cannot expect that the flow will be prevailing within us. Let us willingly pass through the cross so that the flow will come forth.
THE MAN WITH THE MEASURING REED
The main point in this chapter is the man with the measuring reed in his hand (47:3). The man, who is the Lord Jesus Himself, has the appearance of brass (40:3). Brass or copper in typology signifies judgment and testing. The Lord Jesus as a man was tested and judged. Because He was tested and judged, He is today testing and judging. Because He was tested, He is qualified to test; because He was judged, He is qualified to judge. He is the One with the measuring reed in His hand, fully qualified to measure us. As we have pointed out previously, to measure means to test, to judge, and to possess. When a sister goes to the store to buy a piece of cloth, first she examines the piece of cloth and then she measures it. Whatever amount she measures, she also possesses. To measure means to examine, to test, to judge, and eventually to take over. This is very meaningful.
MEASURING THE FLOW OF THE RIVER
Measuring a Thousand Cubits
The man came with a measuring reed in his hand to measure the flow of the river (47:3-5). When he first measured the river, there was only a trickle coming out from the house. He measured a thousand cubits and the flow became deeper, up to the ankle. He measured another thousand and the flow became deeper, up to the knee. When he measured yet another thousand cubits, the flow became deeper, up to the loins. When he measured the fourth time, the flow became a river which could not be passed over. The river became waters to swim in. The number one thousand in the Bible signifies a complete unit. For example, in Psalm 84 the Psalmist said that he would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God for one day than to stay with an evil person for a thousand days. Thus, one thousand means a complete unit. To measure one thousand means to measure a complete unit. It means a complete measuring. If we want to enjoy the flow out of the house, we must be measured completely. If we desire the flow out of the house to be deeper, we must be measured. Remember, to be measured by the Lord means to be tested, to be examined, to be judged, and eventually to be taken over by the Lord. We all must be judged. If we want to enjoy a deeper flow, we have to be judged. Our motives, our intentions, our aims, our goals, and our desires all must be judged. Everything we possess and everything we are involved in has to be judged. This will deepen the flow within us.
Confess thoroughly to the Lord. Let the Lord be your judge. Let Him bring you fully into His light and expose you. Tell Him, "Lord, all that You have judged is now Yours. You take over. You take full possession."
The Lord’s judging and dealing with us is not once for all. In this account, the man measured not only once, or twice, or even three times, but four times. Four is the number of the creature, and this means as a creature we must be thoroughly judged and tested by the Lord. We have to be fully taken over by the Lord. To be completely taken over by the Lord is not easy to experience. We may think that we have been fully taken over by the Lord, but eventually after two weeks we will realize that we still have some reservation. At that time we need to be tested and judged again. We need to consecrate again and tell the Lord, "Lord take it. Possess it." We may think the Lord has taken over everything. But the Lord knows He has only gained us to a certain extent. A few months later, we may realize again how much we have reserved and preserved for ourselves. Once more we confess and experience the Lord’s judging and testing. How much we still need to let the Lord measure, test, judge, and possess us!
(The Visions of Ezekiel, Chapter 23, by Witness Lee)