Revelation
Chapter 21

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1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;

20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Commentary for Revelation 21

A new heaven, and new earth: the new Jerusalem where God dwells, and banishes all sorrow from his people. (1-8) Its heavenly origin, glory, and secure defence. (9-21) Its perfect happiness, as enlightened with the presence of God and the Lamb, and in the free access of multitudes, made holy. (22-27)1-8 The new heaven and the new earth will not be separate from each other; the earth of the saints, their glorified, bodies, will be heavenly. The old world, with all its troubles and tumults, will have passed away. There will be no sea; this aptly represents freedom from conflicting passions, temptations, troubles, changes, and alarms; from whatever can divide or interrupt the communion of saints. This new Jerusalem is the church of God in its new and perfect state, the church triumphant. Its blessedness came wholly from God, and depends on him. The presence of God with his people in heaven, will not be interrupt as it is on earth, he will dwell with them continually. All effects of former trouble shall be done away. They have often been in tears, by reason of sin, of affliction, of the calamities of the church; but no signs, no remembrance of former sorrows shall remain. Christ makes all things new. If we are willing and desirous that the gracious Redeemer should make all things new in order hearts and nature, he will make all things new in respect of our situation, till he has brought us to enjoy complete happiness. See the certainty of the promise. God gives his titles, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, as a pledge for the full performance. Sensual and sinful pleasures are muddy and poisoned waters; and the best earthly comforts are like the scanty supplies of a cistern; when idolized, they become broken cisterns, and yield only vexation. But the joys which Christ imparts are like waters springing from a fountain, pure, refreshing, abundant, and eternal. The sanctifying consolations of the Holy Spirit prepare for heavenly happiness; they are streams which flow for us in the wilderness. The fearful durst not meet the difficulties of religion, their slavish fear came from their unbelief; but those who were so dastardly as not to dare to take up the cross of Christ, were yet so desperate as to run into abominable wickedness. The agonies and terrors of the first death will lead to the far greater terrors and agonies of eternal death.

9-21 God has various employments for his holy angels. Sometimes they sound the trumpet of Divine Providence, and warn a careless world; sometimes they discover things of a heavenly nature of the heirs of salvation. Those who would have clear views of heaven, must get as near to heaven as they can, on the mount of meditation and faith. The subject of the vision is the church of God in a perfect, triumphant state, shining in its lustre; glorious in relation to Christ; which shows that the happiness of heaven consists in intercourse with God, and in conformity to him. The change of emblems from a bride to a city, shows that we are only to take general ideas from this description. The wall is for security. Heaven is a safe state; those who are there, are separated and secured from all evils and enemies. This city is vast; here is room for all the people of God. The foundation of the wall; the promise and power of God, and the purchase of Christ, are the strong foundations of the safety and happiness of the church. These foundations are set forth by twelve sorts of precious stones, denoting the variety and excellence of the doctrines of the gospel, or of the graces of the Holy Spirit, or the personal excellences of the Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven has gates; there is a free admission to all that are sanctified; they shall not find themselves shut out. These gates were all of pearls. Christ is the Pearl of great price, and he is our Way to God. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. The saints in heaven tread gold under foot. The saints are there at rest, yet it is not a state of sleep and idleness; they have communion, not only with God, but with one another. All these glories but faintly represent heaven.

22-27 Perfect and direct communion with God, will more than supply the place of gospel institutions. And what words can more full express the union and co-equality of the Son with the Father, in the Godhead? What a dismal world would this be, if it were not for the light of the sun! What is there in heaven that supplies its place? The glory of God lightens that city, and the Lamb is the Light thereof. God in Christ will be an everlasting Fountain of knowledge and joy to the saints in heaven. There is no night, therefore no need of shutting the gates; all is at peace and secure. The whole shows us that we should be more and more led to think of heaven as filled with the glory of God, and enlightened by the presence of the Lord Jesus. Nothing sinful or unclean, idolatrous, or false and deceitful, can enter. All the inhabitants are made perfect in holiness. Now the saints feel a sad mixture of corruption, which hinders them in the service of God, and interrupts their communion with him; but, at their entrance into the holy of holies, they are washed in the laver of Christ's blood, and presented to the Father without spot. None are admitted into heaven who work abominations. It is free from hypocrites, such as make lies. As nothing unclean can enter heaven, let us be stirred up by these glimpses of heavenly things, to use all diligence, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Revelation 21

  • LG Spears on Revelation 21
    In v.16 it says the lg., breadth & ht. of heaven are =. Is the ht. a mistake? In v.17 it says the wall is 144 cubits, is this thick. or ht or both since a wall has both & I suppose we assume it goes around heaven. Is 12,000 fur. the total dist. around the wall; if so, then heaven has about 141,000 sq. mi. of land which is about 1/2 the size of Texas & if 1/2 the land is used for housing & everyone in heaven lived in 2000 sq.ft. houses/ 5 persons per house on lots of 3,000 sq.f.t each, then heaven could house about 33,000,000 people. This would free up the remaining 1/2 of land for churches, golf courses, beaches, parks, nature trails & shopping malls--almost forgot ,& football stadiums.
  • Chris - in Reply on Revelation 21
    It's always an interesting exercise when considering future events & places & the one you are sharing is one of them.

    Firstly, the New Jerusalem will be on the New Earth, i.e. not in Heaven. With the dimensions given of the city, it appears to sit in a cube, though one can rightly assume that the height of it probably means to the point where the clouds/atmosphere ends. The walls at 144 cubits (1 cubit = 1.5 ft) makes them 216 ft (again, probably height since the necessity for walls of that thickness seem unnecessary). Your further details of population density was interesting: I had never considered this to that extent. Though, our whole being (i.e. as those outfitted for Heavenly life) & therefore the necessity for shopping malls, beaches, etc. seem unnatural since we will be in the presence of Almighty God (v3), enjoying Him & His Son in continual praise & worship & thus we would pursue a lifestyle akin to what had in Heaven.

    What did pique my interest was vv 26,27. "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." I just can't work out why the reference to sinners in a New Earth since all evil has been locked away by this time. Or, is it just to show the purity & holiness of the Earth & Jerusalem, that nothing evil could ever hope to come into it (i.e. if evil existed). And who are the nations? Any thoughts?
  • LGSpears - in Reply on Revelation 21
    I greatly appreciate the thoughtful reply by Chris regarding the size of our New Heaven. I have looked more carefully at Rev. 21: vs 12, 16 & 17 & conclude the following: Vs. 12 plainly states, "And (the new heaven) had a wall GREAT and HIGH ----"; Vs. 16 last part says "The Length and the Breadth AND the Height of it are Equal;" then going to the first part it says "And the city lieth foursquare and thus the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, 12,000 furlongs (one furlong = 582 ft.).

    SO, Vs. 12 says the New Heaven would have both a great & high wall + Vs. 16 says the lg., breadth (width) & ht. of the walls are equal. These two statements rule out using the 144 cubit (210 ft.) measure for the height of the wall but instead limit it to the thickness; which does make sense because during this time period city walls where described by their heigth & thickness + their composition (for this wall it is jasper).

    Now one has to both read & think carefully. The first of Vs. 16 says the city is foursquare ( laid out in a square) with length = breadth/width and he measured the city with a reed and it was 12,000 furlongs. Now the question here is, what is 12,000 furlongs describing? One missing piece of info now is the perimeter around the city, which is provided by the stated 12,000 furlong measurement. Since the city is a square each wall must be 3,000 furlongs in lg. Then from the last portion of Vs. 16, we can conclude that since the lg., breadth and ht. are equal, that the ht. of the walls are also 3,000 furlongs or 1,746,000 feet or 331 miles.

    The above generates 2 interesting questions about the walls. The obvious first question is, why are the walls so high? How can a wall be that high and only 210 ft. thick, especially when you consider that it is made mainly of "jasper"(jasper is a brittle stone used for decrative objects).

    The above indicates that heaven should cover about 141,000 sq. miles or about 1/2 of Texas.
  • Chris - in Reply on Revelation 21
    LGSpears, as with you, I find this subject fascinating & even though measurements are given in Rev 21, we have to assume that with our limited knowledge with how measurements were actually derived in those days, some errors will be there. For example, 1 (US) Furlong = 660 ft. So using 582 ft as you have done, isn't a great deviation from whatever was originally considered, however it does remind us that are musings over these facts can only at best be speculative, even to the actual construction dimensions of the city.

    However, I do see the measurements given are for the New Jerusalem & not the New Heaven. You might be seeing this as one & the same but I understand that the "first heaven & the first earth" as applying to the present earth & sky (which may include objects found in inner or deep space), & not to the place of God's Abode.

    Re: the dimensions of the city. Agreed, that length, breadth & height are equal, but I seem to read in v 16, that only measurement of one of the equal sides was taken (i.e. 12,000 furlongs = 1,500 miles). If this is the case, then we have 144,000 sq furlongs = 18,000 sq miles of land area & not including the 1,500 miles of vertical measurement of one side. Or is this a misunderstanding on my part? I won't even try to contemplate what the wall would appear like as a result!

    And another interesting feature in all this, which you no doubt would have observed, is the use of the figure '12' as the cardinal number seen in Revelation (e.g. 7:4-8; 12:1; 14:1,3; 21; 22:2) as well as its appearance in other Scriptures (e.g. 12 disciples, etc.). How does this all figure out in God's Design & Plan?
  • Charley on Revelation 21
    judas iscariot went to hell read your bible, jesus called him a devil yet he performed

    many miracles preached the gospel, yet went to hell. acts 1-18,luke 6-16,john6-70
  • Andrew Anthony on Revelation 21:8
    But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. I believe we all lie and some of us fall under the other things listed. So, because we all lie, doesn't that mean we are all going to experience the first or second death?
  • D W L - in Reply on Revelation 21
    (I believe we all lie and some of us fall under the other things listed. So, because we all lie, doesn't that mean we are all going to experience the first or second death?)

    So that says you don't believe! No one has authority to take from or add to --

    Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and ALL liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Chris - in Reply on Revelation 21
    DWL, Rev 21:8 does indeed speak of such sinners being deserving of the second death. But these are not Christians, washed in Christ's Blood & forgiven from the old carnal life of sin & disobedience, but speaks of those who are without Christ & have lived carelessly given wholly over to a life of unabated sin.

    Does this new position we have in Christ give us licence to behave as those in verse 8? Rom 6:1,2: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" It is impossible for a Spirit-filled person to pursue such a lifestyle, or else if he so chooses to do, he would need to examine him/herself & get back to the foot of the Cross. And yes, it is possible (indeed, probable), that a Christian will trip up & commit sin, as we still exist in this body of sin & thus continue to be an open gateway for Satan to tempt us. But our response & recourse is instantaneous & sure, as we seek forgiveness & resolve in His Strength to avoid sin's pull & our grieving the Lord.
  • Bendito Palavra - in Reply on Revelation 21
    In Romans chapters 5 and 6, 1st Corinthians 15 and then in 2nd Corinthians chapter 5, among other passages, we can see that our old sinful nature will be done away with and that we will fully experience our new nature as the born again in Jesus Christ. This new nature (Christ in us) is sinless, free of corruption. We being crucified with Christ have all our sins forgiven, nailed to the cross. Romans chapters 7 and 8 detail the struggle between our old nature and our new nature; we can and still do commit sin on occasion. The victory is in Christ Jesus. The second death has power over those who have rejected Jesus Christ and remain in their unforgiven sins.
  • Adam on Revelation 21:4
    I can't wait to be in this paradise. I can't imagine the love, the powerful bonds. Words probably can't adequately describe it.


 

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