Revelation Chapter Twenty One
1And 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.
Author: Verse 1 of Revelation Twenty One can be seen as attached to Revelation chapter Twenty as the capstone of the events of the judgment and the final display of creation in light of the destruction of the wicked. In any case John saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had been consumed in the fires of God. Those fires had destroyed all vestiges of the old world. There was also no more sea. This concept can mean that God’s people no longer need the sea of glass to stand on while waiting for Jesus for Jesus came and delivered them. It can also mean that the nations, or sea (See Isaiah 57:20-21), are no longer out there to cause problems for God’s people but all people, or waters, are in seen as peaceful waters.
2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Author: John goes back a bit in time and declares that he sees the holy city – the New Jerusalem – coming down from God out of heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband. This is a testimony of the city of God and its role as a bride for Jesus. The city is the symbol of His kingdom. He receives it as a bride and He is the husband of the bride. (See Matthew 25:1-13)
3And 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.
Author: This text summarizes the new covenant promise of Jesus being our God and we being His people. (See Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-13; 10:16-17). Jesus is the summation of all sanctuary symbols. He is the fullness of all truth for He is the truth. Now the people of God have their capital city, their new land, and their God – face to face.
4And 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.
Author: Now that sin, and sinners, have been consumed, and passed away, God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. He assures us that never again will we have tears, sorrows, or death. All suffering and pain have been disposed of with the old world. The new world will be where only joy and satisfaction will come to us. All our hopes and dreams will now come to pass.
5And 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.
Author: Jesus, who sits on His throne, and the throne of His Father, declared that He will make all things new. He also reassures us that what He tells us is true and faithful. We can trust in His Word as we have done on the old earth.
6And 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.
Author: Jesus says that all the old things are done. We do not have to worry about the past. All things are new says the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end. To those who are alive at this time can partake freely of the fountain of the water of life. Nothing will be there to hold us back. Heaven, now on earth, is our home.
7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Author: God brings us back to Revelation Two and Three where He has made all kinds of promises to the overcomers. Now all of those promises have happened, and will continue to happen forever, or as long as we shall live. We shall inherit all things and we will continue to be God’s sons and daughters, and He will be our God, forever.
8But 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.
Author: God again states that all that is evil will have their parts in the lake of fire. God assures us again that all that can harass us has been cared for in the lake of fire – which is the second death. Nothing, or no one, will come out of the lake of fire. There will be no more resurrection, of good or evil.
9And 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.
Author: One of the angels involved with the seven last plagues comes to talk to John and invites him to see Jesus’ bride.
10And 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,
Author: The angel takes John away in vision to a great and high mountain. The great and high mountain is The New Jerusalem. He shows John the city as it is descending out of heaven to earth. This event happens before the destruction of the wicked for Revelation 20:9 tell us that the wicked surrounded the beloved city to take it for themselves, and because they had the idea of molesting the bride of Jesus they were accounted worthy of death.
11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
Author: Jasper stone was a multicolored stone, but in this case it was most precious and clear as crystal. So the New Jerusalem looked like a rainbow of promise coming out of heaven, displaying the glory of God through it.
12And 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:
Author: As the angel takes John through the experience of looking at the Bride of Jesus he sees that the city has a great, and high, wall surrounding the city. The city had twelve gates of pearl. (Revelation 21:21). At each gate was an angel and on each gate was the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Again we get to decide whether the New Jerusalem was for God’s people of all ages or whether it was a city for only Israel. The names on the gates were to identify the tribes, but the foundations of the city were the names of the twelve apostles. So this shows the binding of the name of the tribes of Israel and the name of the twelve apostles. The New Jerusalem is for all of God’s people from the beginning of time.
13On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Author: We can identify the name of the tribes on each of the gates from the names of Israel in their encampment in Numbers chapter 2. The names of the tribes on the east gate would be Judah, Issachar, Zebulon; the name of the tribes on the north would be Levi, Asher, Naphtali; the names of the tribes on the south would be Reuben, Simeon, and Gad; and the names of the tribes on the west would be Manasseh, Benjamin, and Joseph. In this list Levi would replace Dan and Joseph would replace Ephraim. Apparently Dan’s legacy of being called a serpent (Genesis 49:17) was not overcome, and Ephraim’s choice of joining to his idols (Hosea 4:17) was not overcome either. But God still has 12 tribes and all who overcome sin enter into this city through these gates.
14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Author: God says that the all of the city had twelve foundations and on these foundations were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The twelve patriarchs of Israel and the twelve apostles, work together to protect and support the city.
15And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
Author: In this verse God refers us back to Revelation 11:1 and Ezekiel 40 and John is told to measure, and evaluate, the city, the gates, and the walls of the city. In Revelation 11 and Ezekiel 40 the primary focus is on the temple, this measuring will also be about the temple of God as well.
16And 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.
Author: John’s measurements reveal that the city is square as well as being a cube. So the length, breadth, and height are all equal = 12000 furlongs. Depending upon the measurement system used there are 8 furlongs to a Roman mile. So that figure, 12,000 furlongs would equal 1500 miles long, 1500 miles wide, and 1500 miles high. The only other Biblical building that was a cube was the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary. (I Kings 6:20; Ezekiel 41:4; II Chronicles 3:8). So it would appear that this city is the Most Holy Place – the dwelling place of God – and it is now on earth.
17And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
Author: John continues his measurements and finds that the wall, whose foundations are the twelve apostles, is 144 cubits high. This would equal to be about 216 feet high. That is high in comparison to a wall on earth but small compared to a city that is 1500 miles high.
18And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
Author: The jasper (multicolored) stoned wall surrounded the city, almost like the plate of gold that was upon the mitre of the High Priest in Exodus 28:36-38.
19And 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;
20The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
Author: The twelve foundations of the wall are made out of the twelve stones of the High Priests ephod. (Exodus 39:1-31)
21And 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.
Author: With the twelve gates in the wall made of pearl (Matthew 13:45-46), it appears that the great and holy city is the ultimate sanctuary item. It appears to be the city, the capital of God’s kingdom, and it appears to be the Most Holy Place, a huge cube dedicated to God, it appears to be like a crown – a symbol of the possession of the kingdom with the people of God as the Jewels in the crown (Ezekiel 21:26; Zechariah 9:16); and it appears to have all of the features of the High Priest’s sanctuary clothing. All of these things reminding all the Jesus, and His Father are the center of all things pertaining to salvation.
22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
Author: In the holy city John looks for a temple. There is no identified sanctuary structure in the city but the Father and the Lamb are the temple of it, and they both reside in the Holy City of God the New Jerusalem.
23And 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.
Author: In the holy city of God the Father and the Lamb light the city. There is no need for artificial light for all light comes from God.
24And 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.
Author: All of the glory of man will be brought into the city and all will be given to Jesus for it is through Him that all good has come, and He receives the glory for all good.
25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
Author: There is no need to shut the gates, after the wicked are destroyed, for there is nothing else in the entire universe that is wicked, harmful, or mean. All of that has been destroyed in the lake of fire.
26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
Author: God’s city shall have all the glory and honour of the nations in it, for this all of God’s glory will be displayed in it and through it.
27And 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.
Author: God says that in this city nothing enters into it that defiles. No sinner, confirmed in non-repentance, can come into this city. God, and His people, are the only ones who can be comfortable in this wonderful city.
Thus is fulfilled the great promise of Hebrews 11:8-16:
8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.