« Prev Revelation 21:1 Next »

REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 21 - Verse 1

 

CHAPTER 21.

 

ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER 21., 22 1-5

THE whole of chapter 21, and the first five verses of chapter 22, relate to scenes beyond the judgment, and are descriptive of the happy and triumphant state of the redeemed church, when all its conflicts shall have ceased, and all its enemies shall have been destroyed. That happy state is depicted under the image of a beautiful city, of which Jerusalem was the emblem, and it was disclosed to John by a vision of that city—the New Jerusalem—descending from heaven. Jerusalem was regarded as the peculiar dwelling-place of God, and to the Hebrews it became thus the natural emblem or symbol of the heavenly world. The conception having occurred of describing the future condition of the righteous under the image of a beautiful city, all that follows is in keeping with that, and is merely a carrying out of the image. It is a city with beautiful walls and gates; a city that has no temple—for it is all a temple; a city that needs no light—for God is its light; a city into which nothing impure ever enters; a city filled with trees, and streams, and fountains, and fruits—the Paradise Regained. The description of that blessed state comprises the following parts:—

I. A vision of a new heaven and a new earth, as the final abode of the blessed, Re 21:1. The first heaven and the first earth passed away at the judgment, Re 21:11-15 to be succeeded by a new heaven and earth fitted to be the abode of the blessed.

II. A vision of the holy city—the New Jerusalem—descending from heaven, as the abode of the redeemed, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband—representing the fact that God would truly abide with men, Re 21:2-4. Now all the effects of the apostasy will cease; all tears will be wiped away, and in that blessed state there will be no more death, or sorrow, or pain. This contains the general statement of what will be the condition of the redeemed in the future world. God will be there; and all sorrow will cease.

III. A command to make a record of these things, Re 21:5.

IV. A general description of those who should dwell in that future world of blessedness, Re 21:6-8. It is for all who are athirst; for all who desire it, and long for it; for all who "overcome" their spiritual enemies, who maintain a steady conflict with sin, and gain a victory over it. But all who are fearful and unbelieving—all the abominable, and murderers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and liars—shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. That is, that world will be pure and holy.

V. A- minute description of the city, representing the happy abode of the redeemed, Re 21:9-26. This description embraces many particulars:—

(1.) Its general appearance, Re 21:11,18,21.

It is bright and splendid—like a precious jasper-stone, clear as crystal, and composed of pure gold.

(2.) Its walls, Re 21:12,18. The walls are represented as "great and high," and as composed of 'jasper.'

(3.) Its gates, Re 21:12,13,21.

The gates are twelve in number, three on each side; and are each composed of a single pearl.

(4.) Its foundations, Re 21:14,18-20.

There are twelve foundations, corresponding to the number of the apostles of the Lamb. They are all composed of precious stones—jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst.

(5.) Its size, Re 21:15-17. It is square—the length being as great as the breadth, and its height the same. The extent of each dimension is twelve thousand furlongs—a length on each side and in height of three hundred and seventy-five miles. It would seem, however, that though the city was of that height, the wall was only an hundred and forty-four cubits, or about two hundred and sixteen feet high. The idea seems to be that the city—the dwellings within it—towered high above the wall that was thrown around it for protection. This is not uncommon in cities that are surrounded by walls.

(6.) Its light, Re 21:23,24; 22:5.

It has no need of the sun, or of the moon, or of a lamp, Re 22:5, to enlighten it; and yet there is no night there, Re 22:5, for the glory of God gives light to it.

(7.) It is a city without a temple, Re 21:22. There is no one place in it that is peculiarly sacred, or where the worship of God will be exclusively celebrated. It will be all a temple, and the worship of God will be celebrated in all parts of it.

(8.) It is always open, Re 21:25. There will be no need of closing it as walled cities on earth are closed to keep enemies out, and it will not be shut to prevent those who dwell there from going out and coming in when they please. The inhabitants will not be prisoners, nor will they be in danger, or be alarmed by the prospect of an attack from an enemy.

(9.) Its inhabitants will all be pure and holy, Re 21:27. There will in no wise enter there anything that defiles, or that works abomination, or that is false. They only shall dwell there whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

(10.) Its enclosures and environs, Re 22:1,2. A stream of water, pure as crystal, proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb. That stream flows through the city, and on its banks is the tree of life constantly bearing fruit—fruit to be partaken of freely. It is Paradise Regained—a holy and beautiful abode, of which the garden of Eden was only an imperfect emblem, where there is no prohibition, as there was there, of anything that grows, and where there is no danger of falling into sin.

(11.) It is a place free, consequently, from the curse that was pronounced on man when he forfeited the blessings of the first Eden, and when he was driven out from the happy abodes where God had placed him.

(12.) It is a place where the righteous shall reign for ever, Re 22:5. Death shall never enter there, and the presence and glory of God shall fill all with peace and joy.

Such is an outline of the figurative and glowing description of the future blessedness of the redeemed; the eternal abode of those who shall be saved. It is poetic and emblematical; but it is elevating, and constitutes a beautiful and appropriate close, not only of this single book, but of the whole sacred volume—for to this the saints are everywhere directed to look forward; this is the glorious termination of all the struggles and conflicts of the church; this is the result of the work of redemption in repairing the evils of the fall, and in bringing man to more than the bliss which he lost in Eden. The mind rests with delight on this glorious prospect; the Bible closes, as a revelation from heaven should, in a manner that calms down every anxious feeling; that fills the soul with peace, and that leads the child of God to look forward with bright anticipations, and to say, as John did, "Come, Lord Jesus," Re 22:20.

 

Verse 1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. Such a heaven and earth that they might properly be called new; such transformations, and such changes in their appearance, that they seemed to be just created, He does not say that they were created now, or anew; that the old heavens and earth were annihilated;—but all that he says is that there were such changes that they seemed to be new. If the earth is to be renovated by fire, such a renovation will give an appearance to the globe as if it were created anew, and might be attended with such an apparent change in the heavens that they might be said to be new. The description here (Re 21:1) relates to scenes after the general resurrection and the judgment—for those events are detailed in the close of the previous chapter. In regard to the meaning of the language here, see Barnes on "2 Pe 3:13".

Compare, also, "The Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences," by Edward Hitchcock, D.D., LL.D., pp. 370-408.

For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. They had passed away by being changed, and a renovated universe had taken their place. See Barnes on "2 Pe 3:10".

 

And there was no more sea. This change struck John more forcibly, it would appear, than anything else. Now, the seas and oceans occupy about three-fourths of the surface of the globe, and of course to that extent prevent the world from being occupied by men—except by the comparatively small number that are mariners. There, the idea of John seems to be, the whole world will be inhabitable, and no part will be given up to the wastes of oceans. In the present state of things, these vast oceans are necessary to render the world a fit abode for human beings, as well as to give life and happiness to the numberless tribes of animals that find their homes in the waters. In the future state, it would seem, the present arrangement will be unnecessary; and if man dwells upon the earth at all, or if he visits it as a temporary abode, (see Barnes on "2 Pe 3:13,) these vast wastes of water will be needless. It should be remembered that the earth, in its changes, according to the teachings of geology, has undergone many revolutions quite as remarkable as it would be if all the lakes, and seas, and oceans of the earth should disappear. Still, it is not certain that it was intended that this language should be understood literally as applied to the material globe. The object is to describe the future blessedness of the righteous; and the idea is, that that will be a world where there will be no such wastes as those produced by oceans.

{a} "new heaven" Isa 65:17-19; 66:22; 2 Pe 3:13

« Prev Revelation 21:1 Next »





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |