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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Revelation 21



Other Authors
Verse 1

A new heaven and a new earth (ουρανον καινον και γην καινηνouranon kainon kai gēn kainēn). This new vision (ειδονeidon) is the picture of the bliss of the saints.

The first heaven and the first earth (ο πρωτος ουρανος και η πρωτη γηho prōtos ouranos kai hē prōtē gē) are passed away (απηλτανapēlthan went away, second aorist active indicative of απερχομαιaperchomai). “Fled away” (επυγενephugen) in Revelation 20:11.

And the sea is no more (και η ταλασσα ουκ εστιν ετιkai hē thalassa ouk estin eti). The sea had given up its dead (Revelation 20:13). There were great risks on the sea (Revelation 18:17.). The old physical world is gone in this vision. It is not a picture of renovation of this earth, but of the disappearance of this earth and sky (not heaven where God dwells). It is a glorious picture here in Revelation 21:1-8 in sharp contrast to the lake of fire in Revelation 20:11-15. The symbolism in neither case is to be pressed too literally, but a stern and a glorious reality exists behind it all.

Verse 2

The holy city, new Jerusalem (την πολιν την αγιαν Ιερουσαλημ καινηνtēn polin tēn hagian Ierousalēm kainēn). “The New Earth must have a new metropolis, not another Babylon, but another and greater Jerusalem” (Swete), and not the old Jerusalem which was destroyed a.d. 70. It was called the Holy City in a conventional way (Matthew 4:5; Matthew 27:53), but now in reality because it is new and fresh (καινηνkainēn), this heavenly Jerusalem of hope (Hebrews 12:22), this Jerusalem above (Galatians 4:26.) where our real citizenship is (Philemon 3:20).

Coming down out of heaven from God (καταβαινουσαν εκ του ουρανου απο του τεουkatabainousan ek tou ouranou apo tou theou). Glorious picture caught by John and repeated from Revelation 3:12 and again in Revelation 21:10. But Charles distinguishes this new city of God from that in 21:9-22:2 because there is no tree of life in this one. But one shrinks from too much manipulation of this symbolism. It is better to see the glorious picture with John and let it tell its own story.

Made ready (ητοιμασμενηνhētoimasmenēn). Perfect passive participle of ετοιμαζωhetoimazō as in Revelation 19:7. The Wife of the Lamb made herself ready in her bridal attire.

As a bride adorned (ως νυμπην κεκοσμημενηνhōs numphēn kekosmēmenēn). Perfect passive participle of κοσμεωkosmeō old verb (from κοσμοςkosmos ornament like our cosmetics), as in Revelation 21:19. Only here the figure of bride is not the people of God as in Revelation 19:7, but the abode of the people of God (the New Jerusalem).

For her husband (τωι ανδρι αυτηςtōi andri autēs). Dative case of personal interest.

Verse 3

The tabernacle of God is with men (η σκηνη του τεου μετα των αντρωπωνhē skēnē tou theou meta tōn anthrōpōn). It is one of the angels of the Presence (Revelation 16:17; Revelation 19:5) speaking.

And he shall dwell with them (και σκηνωσει μετ αυτωνkai skēnōsei met' autōn). Future active of σκηνοωskēnoō already in Revelation 7:15 from Ezekiel 37:27; Zechariah 2:10; Zechariah 8:8 and used of the Incarnate Christ on earth by John (John 1:14), now a blessed reality of the Father. The metaphor stands for the Shekinah Glory of God in the old tabernacle (Revelation 7:15; Revelation 13:6; Revelation 15:5), the true tabernacle of which it was a picture (Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:11). God is now Immanuel in fact, as was true of Christ (Matthew 1:23).

Verse 4

Shall wipe away every tear from their eyes (εχαλειπσει παν δακρυον εκ των οπταλμων αυτωνexaleipsei pān dakruon ek tōn ophthalmōn autōn). More exactly, “shall wipe out every tear out of their eyes” (repetition of εχex) like a tender mother as in Revelation 7:17 (Isaiah 25:8). There is no more that ought to cause a tear, for death (τανατοςthanatos) is no more, mourning (πεντοςpenthos), associated with death and crying (κραυγηkraugē wailing), and pain (πονοςponos as in Revelation 16:10) are all gone. There is peace and bliss.

Verse 5

Behold, I make all things new (Ιδου καινα ποιω πανταIdou kaina poiō panta). The first time since Revelation 1:8 that God has been represented as speaking directly, though voices have come out of the throne before (Revelation 21:3) and out of the sanctuary (Revelation 16:1, Revelation 16:17), which may be from God himself, though more likely from one of the angels of the Presence. This message is not addressed to John (Revelation 7:14; Revelation 17:7; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:6), but to the entire world of the blessed. See Isaiah 43:18. for the words (Ιδου εγω ποιω καιναIdou egō poiō kaina). The idea of a new heaven and a new earth is in Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; Psalm 102:25. For the locative here with επιepi (επι τωι τρονωιepi tōi thronōi) see Revelation 7:10; Revelation 19:4 (genitive more usual, Revelation 4:9.; Revelation 5:1, Revelation 5:7, Revelation 5:13, etc.). See Revelation 20:11 for the picture.

And he saith (και λεγειkai legei). Probably this means a change of speakers, made plain by μοιmoi (to me) in many MSS. An angel apparently (as in Revelation 14:13; Revelation 19:9.) assures John and urges him to write (γραπσονgrapson as in Revelation 1:11; Revelation 2:1, Revelation 2:8, Revelation 2:12, Revelation 2:18; Revelation 3:1, Revelation 3:7, Revelation 3:14; Revelation 14:3). The reason given (οτιhoti for) is precisely the saying in Revelation 22:6 and he uses the two adjectives (πιστοι και αλητινοιpistoi kai alēthinoi) employed in Revelation 19:11 about God himself, and Revelation 3:14 about Christ. In Revelation 19:9 αλητινοιalēthinoi occurs also about “the words of God” as here. They are reliable and genuine.

Verse 6

They are come to pass (ΓεγονανGegonan). Second perfect active indicative of γινομαιginomai with αν̇an for ασι̇asi See Revelation 16:17 for a like use of γεγονενgegonen “They have come to pass.” Here again it is the voice of God because, as in Revelation 1:8, He says:

I am the Alpha and the Omega (Εγω το Αλπα και το ΟEgō to Alpha kai to O) with the addition “the beginning and the end” (η αρχη και το τελοςhē archē kai to telos), the whole used in Revelation 22:13 of Christ. In Isaiah 44:6 there is something like the addition, and in Colossians 1:18; Revelation 3:14 η αρχηhē archē is applied to Christ, while here God is the First Cause (αρχηarchē) and the Finality (τελοςtelos) as in Romans 11:36; Ephesians 4:6. But God works through Christ (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2.; Colossians 1:12-20). God is the bountiful Giver (James 1:5, James 1:17) of the Water of Life. See Revelation 7:17; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:17 for this metaphor, which is based on Isaiah 55:1. It is God‘s own promise (Εγω δωσωEgō dōsō), “I will give.”

Of the fountain (εκ της πηγηςek tēs pēgēs). For this partitive use of εκek see Matthew 25:8, without εκek Revelation 2:17.

Freely (δωρεανdōrean). See Matthew 10:8; John 4:10; Romans 3:24; Acts 8:20; Revelation 22:17.

Verse 7

He that overcometh (ο νικωνho nikōn). Recalls the promises at the close of each of the Seven Letters in chapters 2 and 3.

Shall inherit (κληρονομησειklēronomēsei). Future active of κληρονομεωklēronomeō word with great history (Mark 10:17; 1 Peter 1:4; Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:17), here interpreted for the benefit of these who share in Christ‘s victory.

I will be his God (Εσομαι αυτωι τεοςEsomai autōi theos). Repeated Old Testament promise (first to Abraham, Genesis 17:7.). Cf. Revelation 21:3.

He shall be my son (αυτος εσται μοι υιοςautos estai moi huios). Made first of Solomon (2 Samuel 7:14) and applied to David later in Psalm 89:26.

Verse 8

Their part shall be (το μερος αυτωνto meros autōn). In contrast to the state of the blessed (Revelation 21:3-7) the state of “those who have disfranchised themselves from the Kingdom of God” (Charles) is given. They are with Satan and the two beasts, and are the same with those not in the book of life (Revelation 20:15) in the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10, Revelation 20:14.), that is the second death (Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14). See also Revelation 14:10. There are eight epithets here used which apply to various sections of this direful list of the doomed and the damned, all in the dative (case of personal interest).

For the fearful (τοις δειλοιςtois deilois). Old word (from δειδωdeidō to fear) for the cowardly, who recanted under persecution, in N.T. only here, Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:40.

Unbelieving (απιστοιςapistois). “Faithless,” “untrustworthy,” in contrast with Christ “ο πιστοςho pistos ” (Revelation 1:5). Cf. Revelation 2:10, Revelation 2:13; Revelation 3:14; Revelation 17:14. Disloyalty is close kin to cowardice.

Abominable (εβδελυγμενοιςebdelugmenois). Perfect passive participle of βδελυσσωbdelussō old verb, in N.T. only here and Romans 2:22, common in lxx, to pollute (Exod 5:21). Those who have become defiled by the impurities of emperor-worship (Revelation 7:4.; Revelation 21:27; Romans 2:22; Titus 1:16).

Murderers (πονευσινphoneusin). As a matter of course and all too common always (Mark 7:21; Romans 1:29; Revelation 9:21).

Fornicators (πορνοιςpornois). Again all too common always, then and now (1 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Timothy 1:9.). These two crimes often go together.

Sorcerers (παρμακοιςpharmakois). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 22:15. Closely connected with idolatry and magic (Revelation 9:21; Revelation 13:13.).

Idolaters (ειδωλολατραιςeidōlolatrais). See 1 Corinthians 5:10.; 1 Corinthians 10:7; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 22:15. With a powerful grip on men‘s lives then and now.

All liars (πασι τοις πσευδεσινpasi tois pseudesin). Repeated in Revelation 22:15 and stigmatized often (Revelation 2:2; Revelation 3:9; Revelation 14:5; Revelation 21:8, Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:15). Not a “light” sin.

Verse 9

One of the seven angels (εις εκ των επτα αγγελωνheis ek tōn hepta aggelōn). As in Revelation 17:1 with the same introduction when the angel made the announcement about the harlot city (Babylon), so here the description of the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, is given by one of the same group of angels who had the seven bowls. Thus the νυμπηnumphē (Bride) is placed in sharp contrast with the πορνηpornē (Harlot). The New Jerusalem was briefly presented in Revelation 21:2, but now is pictured at length (21:9-22:5) in a nearer and clearer vision.

The bride the wife of the Lamb (την νυμπην την γυναικα του αρνιουtēn numphēn tēn gunaika tou arniou). Twice already the metaphor of the Bride has been used (Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2), here termed “wife” (γυναικαgunaika), mentioned proleptically as in Revelation 19:7 if the marriage is not yet a reality. For the use of the same metaphor elsewhere in the N.T., see note on Revelation 19:7.

Verse 10

He carried me away in the Spirit (απηνεγκεν με εν πνευματιapēnegken me en pneumati). See same language in Revelation 17:7 when John received a vision of the Harlot City in a wilderness. Here it is “to a mountain great and high” (επι ορος μεγα και υπσηλονepi oros mega kai hupsēlon). So it was with Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40:2) and so the devil took Jesus (Matthew 4:8). It was apparently not Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1), for the New Jerusalem is seen from this mountain. “The Seer is carried thither ‹in spirit‘ (cf. Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:1); the Angel‘s δευροdeuro is a και εδειχεν μοιsursum cor to which his spirit under the influence of the ‹Spirit of revelation‘ (Ephesians 1:17) at once responds” (Swete).

And he shewed me (δεικνυμιkai edeixen moi). First aorist active indicative of δειχω σοιdeiknumi just as he had said he would do in Revelation 21:9 (καινηνdeixō soi I will shew thee). Precisely the same words about Jerusalem as in Revelation 21:2, save the absence of kainēn (New).

Verse 11

Having the glory of God (εχουσαν την δοχαν του τεουechousan tēn doxan tou theou). Syntactically this clause goes with Revelation 21:10, the feminine accusative singular participle εχουσανechousan agreeing with πολινpolin the radiance of the dazzling splendour of God as seen in Isaiah 60:1; Ezekiel 43:5. God‘s very presence is in the Holy City (the Bride).

Light (πωστηρphōstēr). “Luminary,” late word (in lxx, papyri), in N.T. only here and Philemon 2:15. Christ is the light (πωςphōs) of the world (John 8:12) and so are Christians (Matthew 5:14) who have received the illumination (πωτισμοςphōtismos) of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) and who radiate it to men (Philemon 2:15). See both words in Genesis 1:3, Genesis 1:14. “The ‹luminary‘ of the Holy City is her witness to Christ” (Swete).

Like unto a stone most precious (ομοιος λιτωι τιμιωτατωιhomoios lithōi timiōtatōi). Associative instrumental case after ομοιοςhomoios ΤιμιωτατωιTimiōtatōi is the elative superlative.

As it were a jasper stone (ως λιτωι ιασπιδιhōs lithōi iaspidi). As in Revelation 4:3, which see.

Clear as crystal (κρυσταλλιζοντιkrustallizonti). Verb not found elsewhere from κρυσταλλοςkrustallos (old word, Revelation 4:6; Revelation 22:1), “of crystalline brightness and transparency” (Thayer), “transparent and gleaming as rock-crystal” (Moffatt).

Verse 12

Having a wall great and high (εχουσα τειχος μεγα και υπσηλονechousa teichos mega kai hupsēlon). John returns, after the parenthesis in Revelation 21:11, to the structure in Revelation 21:10, only to use the accusative εχουσανechousan as before to agree with πολινpolin but the nominative εχουσαechousa as again with “twelve gates” (πυλωνας δωδεκαpulōnas dōdeka). ΠυλωνPulōn is an old word (from πυληpulē gate) for a large gate as in Luke 16:20 and six times in Rev for the gate tower of a city wall (Revelation 21:12, Revelation 21:13, Revelation 21:15, Revelation 21:21, Revelation 21:25; Revelation 22:14) as in 1 Kings 17:10; Acts 14:13. See Ezekiel 48:31. for these twelve gates, one for each tribe (cf. Revelation 7:1-8).

At the gates (επι τοις πυλωσινepi tois pulōsin). “Upon the gate towers.”

Twelve angels (αγγελους δωδεκαaggelous dōdeka). As πυλωροιpulōroi or πυλακεςphulakes according to Isaiah 62:6; 2 Chronicles 8:14.

Names written thereon (ονοματα επιγεγραμμεναonomata epigegrammena). Perfect passive participle of επιγραπωepigraphō are the names (α εστινha estin). Just as in Ezekiel‘s vision (Ezekiel 48:31.), so here the names of the twelve tribes of Israel appear, one on each gate.

Verse 13

Three gates (πυλωνες τρειςpulōnes treis) on each of the four sides as in Ezekiel 42:16.; “on the east” (απο ανατοληςapo anatolēs as in Revelation 16:12, starting from the east), “on the north” (απο βορραapo borrā from the north, as in Luke 13:29), “on the south” (απο νοτουapo notou from the south, as in Luke 13:29), “on the west” (απο δυσμωνapo dusmōn from the west, as in Matthew 8:11).

Verse 14

Had (εχωνechōn). Masculine present active participle of εχωechō instead of εχονechon (neuter like to τειχοςteichos), and the participle occurs independently as if a principal verb (ειχενeichen) as often in this book.

Twelve foundations (τεμελιους δωδεκαthemelious dōdeka). Foundation stones, old adjective (from τεμαthema from τιτημιtithēmi), here as in 1 Corinthians 3:11.; 2 Timothy 2:19, with λιτουςlithous (stones understood), though often neuter substantive to τεμελιονthemelion (Luke 6:48.; Acts 16:26). See Isaiah 28:16; Hebrews 11:10. Twelve because of the twelve apostles as foundation stones (Ephesians 2:20).

On them (επ αυτωνep' autōn). On the twelve foundation stones.

Names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (ονοματα των δωδεκα αποστολων του αρνιουonomata tōn dōdeka apostolōn tou arniou). Jesus had spoken of twelve thrones for the apostles (Matthew 19:28); names of all twelve are here written, not just that of Peter, as some would argue from Matthew 16:18. As a matter of fact, Christ is the corner stone or ακρογωνιαιονakrogōniaion (1 Peter 2:6; 1 Corinthians 3:10; Ephesians 2:20), though rejected by the Sanhedrin (Matthew 21:42.). One may wonder if the name of Judas is on that stone or that of Matthias.

Verse 15

Had (ειχενeichen). Regular imperfect here, no longer εχωνechōn a measure a golden reed (μετρον καλαμον χρυσουνmetron kalamon chrusoun). See Revelation 11:1 for καλαμοςkalamos (reed). ΜετρονMetron is an old word, kin to μητηρmētēr (mother, moulder, manager), an instrument for measuring (μετρεωmetreō) as in Matthew 7:2, here in the predicate accusative.

To measure (ινα μετρησηιhina metrēsēi). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the first aorist active subjunctive of μετρεωmetreō The rod of gold was in keeping with the dignity of the service of God (Revelation 1:12; Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3; Revelation 9:13; Revelation 15:7).

Verse 16

Lieth foursquare (τετραγωνος κειταιtetragōnos keitai). Present middle indicative of κειμαιkeimai The predicate adjective is from τετραtetra (Aeolic for τεσσαρεςtessares four) and γωνοςgōnos (γωνιαgōnia corner, Matthew 6:5) here only in N.T. As in Ezekiel 48:16, Ezekiel 48:20. It is a tetragon or quadrilateral quadrangle (Revelation 21:12.).

The length thereof is as great as the breadth (το μηκος αυτης οσον το πλατοςto mēkos autēs hoson to platos). It is rectangular, both walls and city within. Babylon, according to Herodotus, was a square, each side being 120 stadia. Diodorus Siculus says that Nineveh was also foursquare.

With the reed (τωι καλαμωιtōi kalamōi). Instrumental case (cf. Revelation 21:15 for καλαμοςkalamos) and for μετρεωmetreō (aorist active indicative here)

Twelve thousand furlongs (επι σταδιων δωδεκα χιλιαδωνepi stadiōn dōdeka chiliadōn). This use of the genitive σταδιωνstadiōn with επιepi is probably correct (reading of Aleph P), though A Q have σταδιουςstadious (more usual, but confusing here with χιλιαδωνchiliadōn). Thucydides and Xenophon use επιepi with the genitive in a like idiom (in the matter of). It is not clear whether the 1500 miles (12,000 furlongs) is the measurement of each of the four sides or the sum total. Some of the rabbis argued that the walls of the New Jerusalem of Ezekiel would reach to Damascus and the height would be 1500 miles high.

Equal (ισαisa). That is, it is a perfect cube like the Holy of Holies in Solomon‘s temple (1 Kings 6:19.). This same measurement (πλατοσ μηκοσ υπσοςplatosβατοςmēkoshupsos) is applied to Christ‘s love in Ephesians 3:18, with bathos (depth) added. It is useless to try to reduce the measurements or to put literal interpretations upon this highly wrought symbolic language. Surely the meaning is that heaven will be large enough for all, as Jesus said (John 14:1.) without insisting on the materialistic measurement of a gorgeous apartment house full of inside rooms.

Verse 17

A hundred and forty and four cubits (εκατον τεσσερακοντα τεσσαρων πηχωνhekaton tesserakonta tessarōn pēchōn). Another multiple of 12 (12x12=144) as in Revelation 7:4; Revelation 14:1. It is not clear whether it is the height or the breadth of the wall that is meant, though υπσοςhupsos (height) comes just before. That would be 216 feet high (cf. Revelation 21:12), not enormous in comparison with the 7,000,000 feet (1500 miles) height of the city.

According to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel (μετρον αντρωπου ο εστιν αγγελουmetron anthrōpouεμετρησενho estin aggelou). No preposition for “according to,” just the accusative case of general reference in apposition with the verb emetrēsen Though measured by an angel, a human standard was employed, man‘s measure which is angel‘s (Bengel).

Verse 18

The building of the wall (η ενδωμησις του τειχουςhē endōmēsis tou teichous). Or ενδομησιςendomēsis elsewhere so far only in Josephus (Ant. XV. 9. 6, a mole or breakwater) and in an inscription (Syll. 583 31), apparently from ενδομεωendomeō to build in, and so the fact of building in. The wall had jasper (Revelation 21:11) built into it.

Was pure gold (χρυσιον καταρονchrusion katharon). No copula ηνēn (was) expressed. The city shone like a mass of gold in contrast with the jasper lustre of the wall.

Pure glass (υαλωι καταρωιhualōi katharōi). Associative instrumental case after ομοιονhomoion υαλοςHualos (apparently from υειhuei it rains, and so raindrop) in N.T. only Revelation 21:18, Revelation 21:21.

Verse 19

Were adorned (κεκοσμημενοιkekosmēmenoi). Perfect passive participle of κοσμεωkosmeō as in Revelation 21:2, but without the copula ησανēsan (were), followed by instrumental case λιτωιlithōi (stone).

With all manner of precious stones (παντι λιτωι τιμιωιpanti lithōi timiōi). “With every precious stone.” The list of the twelve stones in Revelation 21:19, Revelation 21:20 has no necessary mystical meaning. “The writer is simply trying to convey the impression of a radiant and superb structure” (Moffatt). The twelve gems do correspond closely (only eight in common) with the twelve stones on the high priest‘s breastplate (Exodus 28:17-20; Exodus 39:10.; Ezekiel 28:13; Isaiah 54:11.). Charles identifies them with the signs of zodiac in reverse order, a needless performance here. See the stones in Revelation 4:3. These foundation stones are visible. For jasper (ιασπιςiaspis) see Revelation 4:3; Revelation 21:11, Revelation 21:18; Isaiah 54:12; sapphire (σαππειροςsappheiros) see Exodus 24:10;. Isaiah 54:11 (possibly the λαπις λαζυλιlapis lazuli of Turkestan); chalcedony (χαλκηδωνchalkēdōn) we have no other reference in N.T. or lxx (described by Pliny, H.N. XXXIII.21), possibly a green silicate of copper from near Chalcedon; emerald (σμαραγδοςsmaragdos) here only in N.T., see Revelation 4:3 σμαραγδινοςsmaragdinos and like it a green stone.

Verse 20

Sardonyx (σαρδονυχsardonux), here only in N.T., white with layers of red, from sardion (red carnelian) and onyx (white); for sardius (σαρδιονsardion) see Revelation 4:3; chrysolite (χρυσολιτοςchrusolithos), here only in N.T. (Exodus 28:20), stone of a golden colour like our topaz or amber or a yellow beryl or golden jasper; beryl (βηρυλλοςbērullos), again here only in N.T. (Exodus 28:20), note the difficulty of identification, much like the emerald according to Pliny; for topaz (τοπαζιονtopazion), here only in N.T. (Exodus 28:17), a golden-greenish stolle; chrysoprase (chrusoprasos), here only in N.T. (not in lxx), in colour like a teek, translucent golden-green; jacinth (υακιντοςhuakinthos), of the colour of the hyacinth, a violet colour (Pliny), already in Revelation 9:17 like blue smoke, like achates in lxx; amethyst (αμετυστοςamethustos), only here in N.T. (Exodus 28:19), of a violet and purple colour, more brilliant than the υακιντοςhuakinthos Swete sums up the colours thus: blue (sapphire, jacinth, amethyst), green (jasper, chalcedony, emerald, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase), red (sardonyx, sardius), yellow (chrysolite). But even so there is great variety in hue and brilliancy and in the reaction on each other. Clement of Alexandria argues that this variety illustrates the variety of gifts and graces in the twelve apostles. Possibly so.

Verse 21

Twelve pearls (δωδεκα μαργαριταιdōdeka margaritai). These gate towers (πυλωνεςpulōnes) were mentioned in Revelation 21:12. Each of these (cf. Isaiah 54:12) is a pearl, one of the commonest of jewels (Matthew 7:6; Matthew 13:46; 1 Timothy 2:9).

Each one (ανα εις εκαστοςana heis hekastos). Distributive use of αναana but with the nominative (used as adverb, not preposition) rather than the accusative (as a preposition) as appears also in Mark 14:19; John 8:9; with καταkata in Romans 12:5, “a barbaric construction” according to Charles.

Street (πλατειαplateia). For which word (broad way, οδοςhodos understood) see Matthew 6:5, here the singular, but includes all the streets.

Transparent (διαυγηςdiaugēs). Old word (from διαdia through, αυγηaugē ray, shining through), here alone in N.T.

Verse 22

I saw no temple therein (ναον ουκ ειδον εν αυτηιnaon ouk eidon en autēi). “Temple I did not see in it.” The whole city is a temple in one sense (Revelation 21:16), but it is something more than a temple even with its sanctuary and Shekinah Glory in the Holy of Holies.

For the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple thereof (ο γαρ Κυριος ο τεος ο παντοκρατωρ ναος αυτης εστιν και το αρνιονho gar Kurios ho theos ho pantokratōrnaos autēs estin kai to arnion). “For the Lord God, the Almighty, is the sanctuary of it and the Lamb.” The Eternal Presence is the Shekinah Glory of God (Revelation 21:3). In 2 Corinthians 6:16 we are the sanctuary of God here, but now God is our Sanctuary, and so is the Lamb as in chapters Revelation 4:1-11; Revelation 5:1-14. See Revelation 1:8 and often for the description of God here.

Verse 23

To shine upon it (ινα παινωσιν αυτηιhina phainōsin autēi). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the present active subjunctive of παινωphainō to keep on shining. Light is always a problem in our cities. See Isaiah 60:19.

Did lighten it (επωτισεν αυτηνephōtisen autēn). First aorist active indicative of πωτιζωphōtizō to illumine, old verb from πωςphōs (Luke 11:36). If the sun and moon did shine, they would give no added light in the presence of the Shekinah Glory of God. See Revelation 21:11 for “the glory of God.” Cf. Revelation 18:1; Revelation 21:3. “Their splendour is simply put to shame by the glory of God Himself” (Charles).

And the lamp thereof is the Lamb (και ο λυχνος αυτης το αρνιονkai ho luchnos autēs to arnion). Charles takes ο λυχνοςho luchnos as predicate, “and the Lamb is the lamp thereof.” Bousset thinks that John means to compare Christ to the moon the lesser light (Genesis 1:16), but that contrast is not necessary. Swete sees Christ as the one lamp for all in contrast with the many λυχνιαιluchniai of the churches on earth (Revelation 1:12, Revelation 1:20). “No words could more clearly demonstrate the purely spiritual character of St. John‘s conception of the New Jerusalem” (Swete).

Verse 24

Amidst the light thereof (δια του πωτος αυτηςdia tou phōtos autēs). Rather “by the light thereof.” From Isaiah 60:3, Isaiah 60:11, Isaiah 60:20. All the moral and spiritual progress of moderns is due to Christ, and the nations of earth will be represented, including “the kings” (οι βασιλειςhoi basileis), mentioned also in Isaiah 60:3, “do bring their glory into it” (περουσιν την δοχαν αυτων εις αυτηνpherousin tēn doxan autōn eis autēn). Present active indicative of περωpherō Swete is uncertain whether this is a picture of heaven itself or “some gracious purpose of God towards humanity which has not yet been revealed” and he cites Revelation 22:2 in illustration. The picture is beautiful and glorious even if not realized here, but only in heaven.

Verse 25

Shall in no wise be shut (ου μη κλειστωσινou mē kleisthōsin). Double negative with the first aorist passive subjunctive of κλειωkleiō day (ημεραςhēmeras). Genitive of time. Mentioned alone without νυκτοςnuktos (by night), “for there shall be no night there” (νυχ γαρ ουκ εσται εκειnux gar ouk estai ekei). This looks like a continued picture of heaven.

Verse 26

They shall bring (οισουσινoisousin). Future active indicative of περωpherō Rome gathered the merchandise of the world (Revelation 18:11.). The City of God will have the best of all the nations (Isaiah 60:5, Isaiah 60:11), an expansion of Revelation 21:24.

Verse 27

There shall in no wise enter into it (ου μη εισελτηι εις αυτηνou mē eiselthēi eis autēn). Double negative again with the second aorist active subjunctive of εισερχομαιeiserchomai with ειςeis repeated. Like Isaiah 52:1; Ezekiel 44:9.

Anything unclean (παν κοινονpān koinon). Common use of πανpān with negative like ουδενouden and the use of κοινοςkoinos for defiled or profane as in Mark 7:2; Acts 10:14, not just what is common to all (Titus 1:4).

Or he that (και οkai ho). “And he that.”

Maketh an abomination and a lie (ποιων βδελυγμα και πσευδοςpoiōn bdelugma kai pseudos). Like Babylon (Revelation 17:4 which see for βδελυγμαbdelugma) and Revelation 21:8 for those in the lake of fire and brimstone, and Revelation 22:15 for “every one loving and doing a lie.” These recurrent glimpses of pagan life on earth and of hell in contrast to heaven in this picture raise the question already mentioned whether John is just running parallel pictures of heaven and hell after the judgment or whether, as Charles says: “The unclean and the abominable and the liars are still on earth, but, though the gates are open day and night, they cannot enter.” In apocalyptic writing literalism and chronology cannot be insisted on as in ordinary books. The series of panoramas continue to the end.

But only they which are written (ει μη οι γεγραμμενοιei mē hoi gegrammenoi). “Except those written.” For “the book of life” see Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:15. Cf. Daniel 12:1.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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