“And He brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.” Ezekiel 40:3
The prophet here gives us a description of a man that quite possibly could be of Jesus, but it is not clear if this is the Lord or not. What’s most interesting, though, are the two items in the man’s hand.
Flax is that which was used in oil lamps. One would fill their lamp with oil, and the flax would be submerged within, having a portion brought up and out of the container to a control device. Above the control would be the flame, and the amount of wick above the control determined the brightness of the flame. The flax drew the oil from below to the tip where the flame was. It is a perfect picture of our lives with God. We are the flax, where we are hidden in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is now not only around us, but in us, and as we allow Him to flow through us, our light shines brightly for all of the world to see.
Reeds were plentiful back then and were used to make staffs and rods. They were strong enough for walking, but when they were hit on the side, they became “bruised”, and their integrity was lost, making the reed weak for holding anything up. The bruised reed was easily broken. Once it was bruised, because it could injure someone with shards should it break, it was discarded and replaced with a new one. We also are like these reeds where we are only so strong, and once we are bruised, we are weakened, and can become easily broken in spirit. Sin does the very thing to us, bruising us, tainting each and every man, woman, and child.
Praise the Lord, because we are far more important to our loving Creator than to be tossed aside when we fail Him making mistakes and sinning. Praise God that when we have come again to the end of ourselves, and have not replenished our lamps with oil, having stopped trusting in Jesus and what He has done for us, that He is faithful to Himself in not abandoning us, His children. (2 Tim 2:13) Another prophet wrote:
“A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” Isaiah 42:3
The judgement for all who believe was done at the Cross. Yes, our motives will be judged, and our rewards given according to our motives, but our Sin has already been judged by the Father through our Savior Jesus Christ. When we accepted Him as our Sacrifice, our Atonement, our Savior we became crucified with Him, buried with Him, and raised again with Him. When the Father looks at us, He sees Jesus, and we are judged by the Truth Himself. Knowing this to be true, we now can look at the items in the man’s hand with a bit of typological clarity.
The reed would be the Reed, Jesus. He is our representative Man, and thus, would be the ultimate Reed. He was bruised for our iniquities, was He not? (Isaiah 53:5) Yet, He cannot be broken, and in Him, neither more shall we. If flax would be how the oil flows to allow the light to be seen, and the oil is the Holy Spirit, and the Light is Jesus, then the flax must be our faith in what Christ did that allows the Holy Spirit to flow through us. That Faith is in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The very place where He was bruised for us! The measuring reed and the line of flax is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or simply the Cross. We see the temple is measured by the Cross. We see the same later in Ezekiel’s vision when the waters flowing from the temple are measured. Also, in Revelations, the New Jerusalem is measured this way. All of these things, being shown as measured by the Cross are actually only available because of the Cross. So, we see that everything we have and everything we will have is because of the Cross, and the Cross shows us these things are perfectly accomplished.
The temple is precisely how God intends it to be. Since we are the temples of the Lord, we see that because of Him, we are and will be exactly how He intended. The waters that flow from the temple of the Lord are immense, and unmeasurable in depth, meaning the Holy Spirit can and will do all things through our faith in Jesus. New Jerusalem, too, is perfect and it contains all things we shall ever have need of, or could ever think of, all created by God, supplied by faith and grace. Not all things which are measured by the reed and the line are perfect, however. A woe to they who continue to do things their own way, apart from that which the Lord desires of them. For, the Lord cannot abide in disobedience and sin, which is why I mentioned our motives being judged.
“Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” Isaiah 28:15-18
Jesus elaborates for us:
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matt 7:24-27
All things are measured by His Cross. The best way to ensure that all which we do is by His will for us is to deny ourselves, take up the Cross, and follow Jesus. When we pick up the Cross, we should measure ourselves by it. Are we living God-like? Do we appear to be like Christ? Are we actually becoming more like Him each day? These questions can only be answered truthfully by looking at the Cross, and measuring ourselves against Him and what He there did. We know we will fall short, but that does not give us license to continue to do so. We must stand like the man holding the line and the reed, and measure, because we know God will, whether we do so ourselves or not.