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Bible Commentaries

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Revelation 21

 

 

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Verse 1

Heaven is God"s dwelling place. The new earth is not one of rocks, trees, etc., since, as McCord notes, we will have spiritual bodies for a spiritual existence. (1 Corinthians 15:44-50) God is a spirit with no flesh and bones. (John 4:24; Luke 24:39) Jesus became flesh to dwell on earth but has now returned to a spiritual existence. (John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:16) We know we will be like him when he receives us unto glory. (1 John 3:2) So, we can say the new earth is a place for spiritual beings. The old heaven and earth will pass away, as other passages also teach. (Hebrews 12:25-28; 2 Peter 3:10) The sea, in other parts of the earth, has stood for the restless masses of humanity. Coffman says some suggest the sea separated John from his beloved brethren in Asia Minor and now the separation was over. In either case, some troubling barrier has been removed and that is a beautiful thought.


Verse 2

The devil and his forces have done all they could to break up this union, but the church is now seen separated from sin and beautifully dressed for her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-27) New Jerusalem is a title for the church. (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22) Perhaps she is let down out of heaven because she is specially prepared of God.


Verse 3-4

This voice reminds us of the one in Revelation 16:17; Revelation 19:5. Again, the speaker is unidentified but his message is obviously from God. the tent of God is with men and he makes his dwelling place with them in heaven. Literally, we should read here, "they shall be his peoples," indicating God"s elect come from every nation under heaven. (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9) The church now has etenal fellowship with her God. God will erase all of sin"s consequences for his people in heaven, which are tears, death, sorrow, crying and pain.


Verses 5-7

Either God the Father or Christ now speaks from the throne. (Revelation 3:21) In the previous verse, some things were identified as having passed away. Now, in their place, we see all things made new. Perhaps John was so touched he stopped writing, for he is now told to write these words that cannot be contradicted. The plan of salvation is now complete, having been begun and finished by God. The promise here reminds us of Jesus" words in the sermon on the mount. (Matthew 5:6) The faithful will have their needs filled. Everyone that overcomes will inherit the beautiful place just described and will be received finally into God"s family as a son. Allof us long for acceptance and can receive it in this greatest form if we overcome. (Ephesians 1:5-6; Romans 8:14-15)


Verse 8

In contrast to the rewards of those who overcome is the punishment of the wicked in the lake burning with fire and brimstone. John now gives a list of some who will be included in that group. The fearful are those who run when the battle is joined. (Hebrews 10:38-39) The unbelieving are those who know the Lord"s will but do not do it in preparation for his return. (Luke 12:45-48) Those who are foul and polluted because of association with idolatry and the sins surrounding it would be considered abominable. Murderers willfully take lives of others with no respect for life or law. Whoremongers are fornicators or those who participate in any illicit sexual activity. Sorcerers use drugs and magical arts to control others. Worshippers of anything but the true God would be known as idolaters. Liars can lie by word, through intimation or silence. (Acts 5:1-11)


Verse 9

This may be the same angel as in Revelation 17:1. It appears the rest of this chapter and most of the next are a more detailed view of things discussed in verses 1-7.


Verse 10-11

John did not need a high vantage point to see the harlot but does to see Jesus" bride. The word "great" is not in the original. She is holy in that she is separated from sin for God"s purpose. Her glory is not her own but solely from God. (Compare Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:11; Ephesians 2:22; Ephesians 3:21.) She radiated light from the Father like a jasper stone, which may have been a diamond. (Revelation 4:3)


Verse 12-13

A walled city in John"s day was considered a place of security. There are three gates on each wall, east, north, south and west. They each have the name of one of the tribes of Israel which may symbolize God"s success in bringing all of his chosen ones safely home.


Verse 14

The names of the Old Testament faithful have already been set forth in the symbolism of the twelve tribes and we now see the New Testament faithful joined to them under the fiure of the twelve apostles. The foundation stones are listed in more detail in verses 19-20.


Verses 15-17

In Revelation 11:1, John had been given a reed, to measure the temple of God with, that was basically a stick. Here an angel measures the city of God in heaven with a golden reed. Measuring the city causes those who read the book to see the vastness of God"s preparation for his people. (John 14:1-6) Twelve is a complete number and 1000 is a full number. A furlong is one-eighth of a mile, so the city is 1500 miles long by the same width and height. If 216 feet is the height of the wall around the city, then we assume the idea here is to emphasize the height of the city and the real lack of need for defense in heaven. The measures were true to those of men in JOhn"s day though they were done by an angel.


Verse 18

The wall was made of jasper, or diamonds, and the city was of a gold so pure one could see through it.


Verse 19-20

The twelve foundations were studded with the beautiful stones of John"s day, some of which can no longer be positively identified.


Verse 21

As we continue to read the beautiful descriptions of this city, we cannot help but think this is the Almighty"s answer to the questions of Revelation 18:18. Each gate, or gate tower, is hewn out of one massive pearl. The street is made of the same transparent gold we have seen earlier.


Verse 22

There will be no need for a special building in new Jerusalem to approach God in, since the glory of the Father and Sn will permeate the whole city. We will be able to worship God from one end to the other.


Verse 23

There will be no need for created light because the source of light will be there. There is a continued emphasis placed upon Jesus throughout the book. Here he is the glory of God and a lamp for the Father"s city.


Verse 24

The saved of every nation, including kings who may have yielded to the King of kings, will walk the streets of that city in the radiance of the Son"s glory. They will not seek glory and honor but bring theirs to Him.


Verse 25-26

All of the Lamb"s enemies have been overthrown so there is no need to close the gates. The night hours have long been feared by good people because thieves and foreign armies have used its darkness to cover their evil deeds. In heaven, there will be no darkness nor evil deeds. Righteous people will bring God all the praise and honor they have received as his servants.


Verse 27

No one who lives an immoral life on earth will be allowed to enter heaven. It will be the home of God"s righteous ones exclusively.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-21.html. 2014.

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