Keys to Revelation - chapter 21
Written by: Capoccia, Tony Posted on: 05/12/2003
Category: Bible Studies
Keys to Revelation - Chapter 21
Taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York
International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
BIBLE TEXT COMMENTARY
REV 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven [Then I saw] - This follows the Final
and a new earth, for the first Judgment of the Wicked. They were
heaven and the first earth had all thrown into the Lake of Fire at
passed away, and there was no the end of Chapter 20.
longer any sea.
[new heaven and a new earth] - The
old heaven and earth were totally
destroyed just prior to the Great
White Throne Judgment (REV 20:12).
In 2PE 3:13 we had the promise of a
new heaven and earth, "...in keeping
with his promise we are looking
forward to a new heaven and a new
earth, the home of righteousness."
[first...had passed away] - This was
prophesied in 2PE 3:10, "The heavens
will disappear with a roar; the
elements will be destroyed by fire,
and the earth and everything in it
will be laid bare." It is amazing
that our original home is the earth
and that we look forward to "going to
heaven," yet will someday return to
the earth forever, but a new earth.
[no longer any sea] - As John looked
at the new earth, he was impressed
with the fact that there was no
longer any sea. On the present earth
the sea serves a number of purposes,
one is to provide a source of food
for mankind, another is to separate
nations, thus hindering the process
of a "one world and one language
society" (GEN 11:1-9). Lastly, the
seas are critical to the evaporation
process, providing clouds, rains,
rivers, and springs.
On the new earth God provides all the
nourishment the redeemed will need.
There will be no need for separation,
in fact we will all live in the same
city, billions of us! Also, there
will be no more cloudy, rainy days.
REV 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the [Holy City] - Jerusalem was God's
new Jerusalem, coming down out of Holy City, the place where He dwelt
heaven from God, prepared as a in a special way, within the
bride beautifully dressed for her Tabernacle. But because the Jews
husband. rejected their Messiah, God then
rejected their nation and the Holy
City. Yet, God had prepared, up in
heaven, a new Jerusalem, the true
Holy City (GAL 4:26, HEB 12:22).
[coming down] - The glorious,
dazzling city was slowly descending
from the Third Heaven, much like a
bride slowly coming down the aisle on
her Wedding Day. As we shall see in
verse 10, the city is brilliant and
transparent, like a large, jeweled
[beautifully dressed] - The city's
dress is discussed in detail in REV
REV 21:3 And I heard a loud voice [God is with men] - Although God has
from the throne saying, "Now the visited the earth at various times in
dwelling of God is with men, and he the O.T. and even, "lived for a while
will live with them. They will be among us" (JOH 1:14), now we see that
his people, and God himself will be He will live with man, in all of His
with them and be their God. Glory and Splendor forever on the new
earth. For those who would advocate
the existence of other intelligent
beings from other parts of the
universe, this verse says clearly,
that there is only God and man,
living on the Earth that was made
exclusively for mankind.
God can and will dwell with man
because we have been made pure and
holy because of the shed blood of
Jesus Christ. He is ours and we are
His for all of eternity with never a
separation. As Christians, we need
to remember this truth. When the
trials and sufferings come, let us
look forward to that sure day when
Our Holy and Precious God will live
visibly with us.
REV 21:4 He will wipe every tear [wipe every tear] - the situations
from their eyes. There will be no that caused these tears of sadness
more death or mourning or crying or have been eliminated, for there will
pain, for the old order of things be no more death of man, woman, or
has passed away." child. There will be no more
mourning the loss of loved ones, no
more nights of crying, and no more
suffering of pain. These are
promises to look forward to as we
experience the trials and sufferings
of this sin cursed earth.
REV 21:5 He who was seated on the [He who was seated] - This is Our
throne said, "I am making Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in all
everything new!" Then he said, of His glory. He identifies Himself
"Write this down, for these words as the creator, "making everything
are trustworthy and true." new," which agrees with COL 1:16-17.
Further evidence of His identity
comes in 21:6 when He says, "I am the
Alpha and the Omega," for we see
this same title proclaimed in REV
22:13 by Jesus (REV 22:16).
[everything new] - Think of the joy
we experience with 'new' on this
present earth. It could be a new
baby, a new job, a new house, a new
car, a new discovery, etc. But Jesus
says, "everything on earth and in
heaven will be made new." Jesus made
each of us new at our rebirth in
Christ and now literally does the
same with the material universe.
[Write this down] - John was given
orders to write down what he sees in
both REV 1:11 and 1:19, but here is
reminded to write again in order to
express the importance of these
events. These particular verses give
the redeemed considerable hope in the
future newness when they are facing
the corruptness of this old sinful
REV 21:6 He said to me: "It is [It is done] - Jesus spoke these same
done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, words on the Cross of Calvary with
the Beginning and the End. To him reference to salvation (JOH 19:30).
who is thirsty I will give to drink Here, the words refer to the entire
without cost from the spring of the redemptive plan for man to include
water of life. his environment. Sin, death, and the
curse are gone forever and now
redeemed mankind is free to enjoy the
glorious bliss of the presence of
[Alpha and Omega] - The first and
last letter of the Greek alphabet
which reminds us that our Jesus is
both the beginning and the end of all
things. He was in there when man's
history began (JOH 1:1) for he
created man (COL 1:16). There was
never a time when Jesus did not exist
for He always was. Likewise, He will
always be for He will continue to
control all things forever in eterni
[drink without cost] - The reader of
this Book of Revelation is again
reminded of the offer of salvation.
While it is a free gift in that there
is nothing we can pay to obtain it,
there is a condition that we give all
that we are to obtain it. We must
give up our sin and stubbornness
against the things of God, by
repenting of our sins and believing
in Christ as we willing submit to His
[water of life] - A literal river
that exists on the new earth (see REV
REV 21:7 He who overcomes will [overcomes] - In order to become a
inherit all this, and I will be his a Christian and have a home on the
God and he will be my son. new earth one must overcome the world
and the evil one (ROM 12:21, 1JO
2:13; 5:4). In our natural flesh we
have no power to accomplish this, but
the Holy Spirit tells us how, "Who is
it that overcomes the world? Only he
who believes that Jesus is the Son of
God" (1JO 5:5). This believing is
not a mere intellectual assent of
the truth about Jesus but a Holy
Spirit led faith in Christ manifested
by repentance and submission to the
Lord of the Universe -- Jesus Christ.
[I will be His God] - A direct
statement from Jesus that He is truly
God. Many false religions doubt the
deity of Christ, but they can only do
so by ignoring the clear teaching of
REV 21:8 But the cowardly, the [But the...] - The overcomer is
unbelieving, the vile, the contrasted against those who have not
murderers, the sexually immoral, overcome the world and the evil one.
those who practice magic arts, the Their condition and practices are
idolaters and all liars--their listed and we should remember that
place will be in the fiery lake of is what some of us were (1CO 6:11)
burning sulfur. This is the second but we have been washed by the Blood
death." of Christ.
[their place] - "They perish because
they refused to love the truth and so
be saved" (2CO 2:10). This is what
our end would have been except for
the Grace of God through His elective
choice. They have been thrown into
the fiery lake in REV 20:14-15.
[second death] - See comments REV
REV 21:9 One of the seven angels [One of the seven angels] - The seven
who had the seven bowls full of the angels were introduced in REV 16 and
seven last plagues came and said to as can be seen here minister God's
me, "Come, I will show you the judgment as well as His blessings.
bride, the wife of the Lamb."
[bride] - The city of the New
Jerusalem is referred to as the
"bride" for it is occupied by people
who are the bride of Christ. In the
N.T. the Church is referred to as the
bride, likewise in the O.T. Israel is
considered the wife of God. Thus,
the New Jerusalem consists of both
Israel and the Church that are made
one in Christ and collectively are
the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.
REV 21:10 And he carried me away [he carried] - The angel transported
in the Spirit to a mountain great John to a vantage point where he
and high, and showed me the Holy could get a good look at the city as
City, Jerusalem, coming down out of it descended from the Third Heaven.
heaven from God. The city is still in a gradual
descent that began in REV 21:2. One
might note that in REV 19:14 we the
redeemed of God were visible on the
pages of Scripture, riding on white
horses. Here in verse 10, we are
also there in the scene, inside the
city that is descending from Heaven.
In fact, if John could look closely
inside that lovely city he could see
himself in there enjoying the joy of
REV 21:11 It shone with the glory [It shone] - Imagine a brilliant
of God, and its brilliance was like crystal diamond flashing blazing
that of a very precious jewel, like light everywhere. I think of a
a jasper, clear as crystal. very large chandelier that is
ablaze with light, and imagine all
colors that will be seen.
[glory of God] - The light of the
city comes from God (REV 21:23), for
God is light (1JO 1:5).
REV 21:12 It had a great, high [great, high wall] - The presence of
wall with twelve gates, and with a wall is not to suggest that there
twelve angels at the gates. On the is a need of security precautions in
gates were written the names of the the eternal state. In the minds of
twelve tribes of Israel. the peoples of John's day, the ideal
city would have the security of
strong outer walls. The wall will be
a further reminder to God's people
that they are forever secure in
[twelve gates] - There were three
gates on each of the fours sides of
the city (21:13), and each was named
for one of the twelve tribes of
Israel. This gives evidence that we
will maintain our present names as
part of our future identification in
heaven, for what would be the purpose
of memorializing the names if the
people no longer were identified with
[twelve angels] - These are the gate-
keepers. Again there is no need of
guards at the gates, but in the minds
of the ancient peoples this added to
the security of the city. I like to
think of these dear angels like the
doorman at a very prestigious hotel
that is there to greet and honor the
REV 21:13 There were three gates The city is laid out as a square and
on the east, three on the north, we can come and go from any of the
three on the south and three on the four sides. The fact that there are
west. gates would indicate that we will
have the freedom to go out of the
city to travel about the other parts
of the new earth and the new heavens.
REV 21:14 The wall of the city had [wall...had...twelve foundations] -
twelve foundations, and on them There are twelve foundations, each
were the names of the twelve layered upon the other. On each
apostles of the Lamb. layer was inscribed the name of an
Apostle. Remember, that while God
has chosen to honor these faithful
servants, they were not greater than
any other saint. It was God who
elected them for salvation and then
called them for special service that
He empowered them to do.
REV 21:15 The angel who talked [rod of gold] - On the earth a ruler
with me had a measuring rod of gold is made of wood, plastic, or a cheap
to measure the city, its gates and metal, but in the new world a ruler
its walls. is made of gold.
REV 21:16 The city was laid out [The city] - It is in the shape of a
like a square, as long as it was cube whose length, width, and height
wide. He measured the city with the are all equal. This shape is similar
rod and found it to be 12,000 to the shape of the inner sanctuary
stadia in length, and as wide and of the temple, the place of divine
high as it is long. presence (1KI 6:20).
[12,000 stadia] - Roughly about 1,400
miles. Therefore, we are presented
with the astounding fact that this
city is 1,400 miles long, 1,400 miles
wide, and an unbelievable 1,400 miles
high! Imagine this cube sitting on
the Eastern part of the U.S., it
would occupy a space from Kansas City
to New York City, and from Chicago to
Tampa. And then jutting out into
space for 1,400 miles.
REV 21:17 He measured its wall and [144 cubits] - Approximately 200 feet
it was 144 cubits thick, by man's thick, which would again add to the
measurement, which the angel was sense of security that the wall pro-
REV 21:18 The wall was made of [wall...of jasper] - This would be
jasper, and the city of pure gold, of the same type of jasper found in
as pure as glass. 21:11 that was as clear as crystal.
[city of pure gold] - The city itself
was made of a gold so pure that it
was transparent as glass. I picture
a glass-like city that had a beauti
ful golden hue.
REV 21:19 The foundations of the [foundations decorated] - These were
city walls were decorated with layered crystal clear jasper, that
every kind of precious stone. The were overlaid with precious stones.
first foundation was jasper, the
second sapphire, the third [first...jasper] - The first layer of
chalcedony, the fourth emerald, foundation was simply covered with
crystal clear diamond like gems.
[second sapphire] - A deep blue
[third chalcedony] - A sky-blue
[fourth emerald] - This is a bright
REV 21:20 the fifth sardonyx, the [fifth sardonyx] - A layered stone of
sixth carnelian, the seventh red and white.
chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the
ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, [sixth carnelian] - This was a blood-
the eleventh jacinth, and the red stone.
[seventh chrysolite] - A yellow
[eighth beryl] - This was a green
stone ranging from transparent sea
green to opaque blue.
[ninth topaz] - A greenish yellow or
[tenth chrysoprase] - This is an
apple green stone that is also highly
[eleventh jacinth] - A bluish purple
[twelfth amethyst] - A stone that is
a clear transparent purple or bluish
REV 21:21 The twelve gates were [twelve pearls] - Many have used the
twelve pearls, each gate made of a term "Pearly Gate" and rightly so,
single pearl. The great street of for each gate is made or covered with
the city was of pure gold, like pearl. Jesus, who causes an oyster
transparent glass. to produce the tiny pearl could also
create from nothing twelve pearls,
each large enough to be formed into a
John MacArthur states, "Pearls are
made by a little animal that has been
wounded. Without a wound, no pearl
is formed...heaven is entered through
the suffering and agony of the cross.
The pearls we pass through are the
pearls made by the wounded Christ.
No Calvary...no heaven!"
[great street of the city] - This is
the main street, as distinguished
from all the many other streets of
[street...of pure gold] - On the
earth today, our streets are made of
base materials, such as, gravel,
cement, tar, and asphalt. In heaven
the base materials used for walls and
streets is a pure, transparent gold.
REV 21:22 I did not see a temple [temple] - In the Old Testament the
in the city, because the Lord God the temple was the place where the
Almighty and the Lamb are its the people of God could draw near to
temple. their God. The word "temple" (Gr.
naos) is the word used for the
sanctuary, or God's dwelling place,
the Holies of Holies. No longer is
it necessary for a structure to exist
for the Believers are now in the
immediate presence of God.
REV 21:23 The city does not need [does not need...sun or moon] - Every
the sun or the moon to shine on it, indication is that there is no Sun or
for the glory of God gives it Moon in the new heavens. Their light
light, and the Lamb is its lamp. would be overpowered by the glory of
God. God the Father and Jesus
radiate a glorious light that will
illuminate the transparent city of
the New Jerusalem. From the previous
description of the construction of
the city, it is truly designed to
transmit light through the
transparent walls and streets.
REV 21:24 The nations will walk by [nations...kings] - This is a very
its light, and the kings of the difficult statement to define. It
earth will bring their splendor may be that the Saints will
into it. actually reside in groups (nations)
outside the New Jerusalem. They
could have some appointed over them
as kings and this being part of the
eternal reward. All the residents of
the new nations can and will go to
the New Jerusalem to glory and honor
God in His immediate presence and to
enjoy the beauty and splendor of the
I realize that this is only a guess
at what might be meant in this verse.
I do know that the God who put Adam
and Eve in a garden also gave them
purpose and function. We can expect
that God does have a plan for His
redeemed for all of eternity. We
will not be sitting around the New
Jerusalem forever with nothing to do.
God will give us tasks and things to
accomplish for His glory.
REV 21:25 On no day will its gates [no night] - In the ancient days it
ever be shut, for there will be no was necessary to close the gates of
night there. the city at night to keep the
intruders out. They like most
sinners, do their evil deeds in the
darkness of night. But here in the
New Jerusalem there is no need to
ever shut the gate or to lock any
doors for all the wicked are forever
locked up in the Lake of Fire.
REV 21:26 The glory and honor of See comments on REV 21:24
the nations will be brought into
REV 21:27 Nothing impure will ever [only those] - Another statement of
enter it, nor will anyone who does fact that only the redeemed saints
what is shameful or deceitful, but are in the eternal state. All of the
only those whose names are written wicked have been forever sealed in
in the Lamb's book of life. the literal judgment of the Lake of
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