corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Revelation 21

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-27

Revelation 21:1. 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.

Astronomers tell us that, within living memory, several starry worlds have burnt out, and vanished out of sight. The apostle Peter has told us that this world also will be destroyed by fire, but it will afterwards be renewed, and a new sky and a new earth will appear after the first firmament and the first earth shall have become extinct. God means that this planet should continue to exist after it has had a new creation, and renewed its youth. The regeneration of his people, their new birth, is a foretaste of what is yet to happen to this whole world of ours. We have the first-fruits of the Spirit, and we groan within ourselves while we wait for the fullness of that new creation. “The first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea,” because the sea is the emblem of separation, and destruction, and unrest. The sea hath her dead which shall be given up. The sea now cannot rest nor be quiet, but all shall be calm and tranquil in the new heaven and the new earth.

Revelation 21:2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

John saw, in vision, the glorified Church of God coming to dwell on the new earth, descending for a while from heaven to be the very glory of the newly-created world.

Revelation 21:3-4. 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. 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.

When there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, and the Church shall be in her new and glorified condition, then there will be no need for all those purifying forces which have been so active here below. There shall be no death, nor sorrow nor crying, nor pain, nor trial of any kind; all shall be happiness for all shall be holiness. And then, as God dwelt of old among his people in the wilderness, and as Jesus Christ, the Word, was made flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we beheld his glory, so in that new world shall God reveal himself to his people by a special indwelling and a peculiar nearness.

Revelation 21:5. 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.

Once, the Lord might have said, “Behold, I make all things;” but now he says, “Behold, I make all things new.” Glory be unto the great Creator! Did not the morning stars sing together for joy when he made the world? But equal if not greater glory must be ascribed to the great Regenerator, the New Creator, shall we not all sing together to his praise? Yes, that we shall if we are numbered among the “all things” that he makes new.

Revelation 21:6. 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.

Probably John did not expect to hear that sweet gospel message just then. The Lord Jesus Christ was speaking of lofty themes, of worlds newly made, and yet in the very middle of it all he puts this gracious promise. Let this be a pattern to all of you who are preachers or teachers, no matter what your subject may be, a gospel promise or invitation is always in place and in season. You may put it among the most golden sentences like a precious stone in a setting of pure gold, and it will never be out of order come when it may. Men hate God without the slightest reason for doing so, and God loves men without the slightest reason; there was every reason why men should love God, and not hate him; yet they have hated him without a cause, and there is every reason why God should hate man and not love him, yet he loves him so much that he gave his only-begotten Son to die, that whosoever believeth in him may live for ever.

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

What a wonderful word is that! “He shall be my son,” — not my servant, but “my son.” God give us the faith to rise to this more than royal dignity! “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.”

8.But the fearful, —

No, that is not the right word, it is the cowardly, for there are many who are full of fear who are nevertheless most sincere and right in God’s sight:

“But the cowardly,” —

Revelation 21:8. And unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, —

And the apostle John tells us that “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer, —

Revelation 21:8. And whoremongers,

Unchaste and unclean men and women, —

Revelation 21:8. And sorcerers, —

Persons who profess to have communications with the dead necromancers, spiritualists, and all people of that sort, —

Revelation 21:8. And idolaters, —

That is, all who love anyone or anything better than God, —

Revelation 21:8. And all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

That is the death that never dies, the death which is far more to be dreaded than the death of the body.

Revelation 21:9. 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.

John had already caught a glimpse of “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven;” and now this angelic messenger bids him come nearer, and look more closely into this mysterious and glorious city “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Revelation 21:10-13. 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, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 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: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

God’s Church glorified lieth open to all quarters of the infinitude of space, it is no prison-house of souls that dare not go beyond its borders, but a many-gated city, so that the blessed spirits there can fly whithersoever they will.

Revelation 21:14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Not Peter only, but the whole of the twelve apostles shall have their names in the foundations of that holy city.

Revelation 21:15-16. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 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.

It seems at first to be astounding that the height of a city should be equal to the length and the breadth of it; but if you have traveled in Italy, you must have seen many a city, perched upon a hill, which seemed to be even higher than it was broad or long, if you included the wall of the city, and the houses one above another right up to the loftiest minaret or tower. Yes, like a priceless square casket made all of costly jewels is this wondrous city, equally glorious whichever way you look at it: “The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”

Revelation 21:17-18. 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. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

Such gold as never was, nor is, nor ever shall be on this earth until that time when God shall have purified it. Our gold is dull, opaque; light is blocked out by it. How many might see if it were not for the gold which blinds them, and hides the truth from them!

Revelation 21:19-20. 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, 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.

You know that the stones of which this holy city is built are living stones. You and I, if we are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, shall be there, living stones prepared by living grace to have a name and a place in this living city. But what changes will have to be wrought in us before we are fit to be put among these precious jewels! We are like poor blocks of common-looking stone, but we do not know what we shall be like when we have been cut and polished on the great Lapidary’s wheel. You may take a precious stone to a jeweler, and ask him what its value is, but he will say, “I cannot tell what it is worth until it has been cut and polished.” That is how the Lord will prove the value of his living stones. If he will but work upon us by his grace, we cannot tell what he will make of us before he places us in the position he has appointed for us in the glorious city that rests upon these twelve precious foundations.

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

John had already said that “the city was pure gold like unto clear glass;” and now he says that “the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” We do not always get such a combination as this here below, gold, precious and pure, yet unstained with blood, and undimmed with the oppression of the poor, — diaphanous gold, “as it were transparent glass.”

Revelation 21:22-23. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 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.

Yes, and the glorified Church herself, because of this light, sheds such a bright light on all within her that all the saints rejoice in her light.

Revelation 21:24-25. 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. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

Shut gates signify war; open gates mean peace. There shall be no more fear of war, no Gog and Magog to gather together to battle, no Armageddon to be dreaded by the glorified Church of Christ, which shall be in perfect peace for ever.

Revelation 21:26-27. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

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.


Verses 9-27

Revelation 21:9-22. 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. 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, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone,, clear as crystal; 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: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 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. 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. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 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; 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. 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. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

The less there is of true religion, the more there usually is of outward ritualism. When true religion shall fill every heart, and God shall be the supreme joy of his people, they will need no temple.

Revelation 21:23. 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.

Outward means are abolished when their mission is accomplished.

Revelation 21:24. 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.

The Church shall be the metropolis of the world; it shall be honoured and esteemed among the nations of mankind. When men are godly, then will they reverence the abode of God, namely, the living Church, built up of living stones, upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ.

Revelation 21:25. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

There will be no need to shut out enemies at night, for the day shall last right on. The Church’s most intimate intercourse with God, her constant commerce with the skies, will have begun then.

Revelation 21:26-27. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 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.

Into this holy city, the graceless, the Christless, the faithless shall never come. Here, we have a mixture of light and darkness; but, in those better days, it shall be all light, and the darkness shall have fled far away for ever.


Verses 10-27

Here we shall see a picture of what the Church of God is to be in the latter days; but inasmuch as this vision came out of heaven, it gives us an idea of what is in heaven already. Crowded as it is with almost impossible beauties, this description is given to us to let us think, and by faith conceive, of the glories of the future state.

Revelation 21:10-11. 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. Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

But what the glory of God may be, what mortal mind can imagine. All the imagery which the Apostle uses must fall far short of that simple expression, “Having the glory of God.” That glory is to be upon the Church, and upon every individual member of it. The glory of every believer shall be nothing less than the glory of God.

Revelation 21:12-13. And had a wall great and high. and had twelve gates, and at the gate twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

From every quarter of the world God’s chosen shall come and find a gate straight before them, an entrance into heaven. Die at the Equator, or die at the Pole, there is an immediate entrance into the rest of God from any place where we may die. Blessed be the name of God for this.

Revelation 21:14-16. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 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.

This is an idea scarcely to be grasped, to see a city which is as high as it is broad. Such cities cannot exist on earth. They are meant for that glorious future state. They will exist under the new heavens and in the new earth, for which we look at the coming of our Lord.

Revelation 21:17-18. And be measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was of pure gold. like unto clear glass.

All these joys are without sediment of sin. Gold on earth is a dull thing. You cannot look into it. But the joys of heaven, if compared to gold, must be diaphanous. “Pure gold like unto clear glass” — all the earth taken out of it, from all its earthly grossness quit. The joy of heaven is divine.

Revelation 21:19-20. 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; 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.

See how lovingly our Apostle counts the foundations. He might have run them all into one, and said, “The foundations were of these twelve stones,” but it must be the first foundation, the second, the third, the fourth. He dwells on every one. The joys of heaven will bear dwelling upon; they will bear reflection. Here our joys, when they are over, leave but a handful of thorns — but a handful of ashes like thorns that crackle and blaze under the pot, and leave little behind them. But the joys eternal and spiritual will bear for us to go into detail, and each one shall be most precious.

Revelation 21:21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls.

Whoever heard of such pearls? In what ocean but in the depth of God could such pearls be found? The twelve gates were twelve pearls.

Revelation 21:21. Every several gate was one of pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

Streets are used for fellowship. There men meet each other, and the fellowship of heaven will be golden, bright, clear, perfect. Here, when we meet with one another, we soon display and discover our mutual faults, but there they shall delight each other with their common beauty, all the beauties being borrowed from the Lamb, who is the glory of the place.

Revelation 21:22. And I saw no temple therein.

For it was all one temple.

Revelation 21:22-23. For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 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.

Let us be going that way soon, brothers. Ah! my brothers, may we all meet there. What must it be to be there!

Revelation 21:24-27. 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. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

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

This exposition consisted of readings from Romans 8:26-30; Revelation 21:10-27; Revelation 22 :l-5.


Verses 22-27

Revelation 21:22. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

It has a temple, that better state, that land of the Well-beloved, but not a material temple that John could see, yet he knew that it had a temple “ for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Where they are is the holy place where all the tribes of the spiritual Israel shall be gathered at the last to go no more out for ever. “ The Lord God Almighty “and the Lamb “ have a glory far greater than Solomon’s temple ever had and far greater even than that later temple which excelled even his in glory.

Revelation 21:23. 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.

We have need of both the sun and the moon while we are in this world if it were not for the great central luminary, the solar system would cease to be, and this earth and the moon and all their sister planets would die out in darkness. But when the sun has been turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, it shall still be said of this holy city, the new Jerusalem, that the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. See how blessedly God and the Lamb are linked together, for Father and Son are truly one. It is pleasant also to reflect that he who is “the light of the world” is also the light of the world that is yet to be revealed: “ the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Revelation 21:24. 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.

This is the Church of the latter days; the beginning of the heavenly state, a true type of what the eternal glory of the saints will be. The Church will no longer, like her Lord, be despised and rejected of men; but the highest and greatest among men shall count it an honour and glory to be permitted to share its blessings and triumphs.

Revelation 21:25. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

Well did Dr. Doddridge sing,-

“No rude alarms of raging foes

No cares to break the long repose

No midnight shade, no clouded sun

But saved, high, eternal noon.”

The saints will then be able to bear that eternal noontide for the sun shall not smite them by day; and they will have no need of the night which is now so necessary for resting our wearied bodies and minds, so “there shall be no night there.” There will also be no night of sorrow, no night of sin, no night of death in that blest land of light.

Revelation 21:26-27. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 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. That holy city would itself be defiled if anything that defileth could enter into it. Only they who are written in the Lamb’s book of life shall be found in the glorious city of which he is the light.

“Those holy gates for ever bar pollution, sin, and shame. None can obtain admittance there But followers of the Lamb.”

This exposition consisted of readings from Revelation 21:22-27; and Revelation 22

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/revelation-21.html. 2011.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology