Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:1

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Astronomy;   Earth;   Heaven;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Readings, Select;   Restoration;   Sea;   Thompson Chain Reference - Future, the;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Heavens;   Home;   Joys, Family;   Mutability;   Mutability-Immutability;   New;   No Mores, the Seven;   Seven;   World, the;   The Topic Concordance - Covenant;   Earth;   Heaven/the Heavens;   Jerusalem;   Newness;   Sorrow;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Sea, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jerusalem;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   Eschatology;   Millennium;   Peace;   Prophecy, prophet;   Vision;   Zion;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Animals;   Apocalyptic;   Church, the;   Confidence;   Create, Creation;   God;   Jesus Christ;   New;   New Command;   New Creation;   New Heavens and a New Earth;   New Jerusalem;   Restore, Renew;   Suffering;   Touch;   World;   Worship;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Conflagration;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Galilee, Sea of;   Heaven;   Jacob;   Lamech;   Noah;   Thousand Years;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bride;   Chaos;   Eschatology;   Future Hope;   Heaven;   Heavens, New;   Jesus Christ;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Dualism;   Hope;   Rahab;   Restoration;   Revelation, Book of;   Sea;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Atonement (2);   Eschatology;   Fire;   Grace;   Isaiah ;   Love;   New Jerusalem;   Night (2);   Prophet;   Restitution;   Sea ;   Tomb, Grave, Sepulchre;   Union with God;   World;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Creation, the New;   Eternal State;   Heaven;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Crystal,;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Heavens, New (and Earth, New);   Parousia;   Regeneration;   Revelation of John:;   Sea, the Great;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for December 1;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A new heaven and a new earth - See the notes on 2 Peter 3:13; : The ancient Jews believed that God would renew the heavens and the earth at the end of seven thousand years. The general supposition they founded on Isaiah 65:17.

There was no more sea - The sea no more appeared than did the first heaven and earth. All was made new; and probably the new sea occupied a different position and was differently distributed, from that of the old sea.

However, with respect to these subjects as they stand in this most figurative book, I must express myself in the words of Calmet: Vouloir dire quels seront ce nouveau ciel, et cette nouvelle terre, quels seront leurs ornamens et leur qualite, c'est a mon avis la plus grande de toutes les presomptions. En general, ces manieres de parler marquent de tres grands changemens dans l'univers. "To pretend to say what is meant by this new heaven and new earth, and what are their ornaments and qualities, is in my opinion the greatest of all presumptions. In general these figures of speech point out great alternations in the universe."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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 Revelation 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 the notes on 2 Peter 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 the notes on 2 Peter 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 people - 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 the notes on 2 Peter 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.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-21.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth,.... This vision relates to a glorious state of the church, not in the times of the apostles, or first dispensation of the Gospel; when the old Jewish church state, with its ordinances, rites, and ceremonies, passed away, and a new church state, a new dispensation, new ordinances, and a new people, took place; and when saints came not to Mount Sinai, but to Mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; and when God tabernacled and dwelt with men in particular churches and congregations; and the curse of the law and the sting of death were taken away by Christ, and there was no condemnation to them that were in him; which is the sense of some: but death did not then cease, it has reigned over men in common ever since, in a natural way, and immediately upon that dispensation arose persecution unto death, both by Jews and Gentiles; and for the first three hundred years, instead death being no more, and sorrow and sighing fleeing away, there was scarce anything else: nor can it be said that there was no temple, or places of pubic worship, or that the church had no need of the sun and moon of the Gospel and Gospel ordinances then, since these have continued ever since, and will to the end of the world; nor did the kings of the earth bring their honour and glory into that church state in any sense, but set themselves against it, and endeavoured to destroy it; nor were the churches even of that age so pure as here described, Revelation 21:27 many persons both of bad principles and bad practices crept into them; there were tares among the wheat, goats among the sheep, and foolish virgins with the wise: nor does this vision refer to the times of Constantine, when the old Pagan idolatry was removed out of the empire, and the Christian religion was revived, and came to be in a flourishing condition, and a new face of things appeared, and Christianity was embraced and honoured by the emperor, and the great men of the earth; there was not that purity as in this state; the Christian doctrine and worship were soon corrupted, being mixed with Judaism and Paganism; a flood of errors was brought in by Arius, Eutychius, Nestorius, Macedonius, and Pelagius, and others; yea, doctrines of devils, and which at length issued in a general apostasy, and in the revelation of the man of sin; nor was there that peace and comfort, and freedom from evils, as from death, pain, and sorrow; witness the Arian persecution, the incursions of the Goths and Vandals into the empire, and the inhuman butcheries and numerous massacres and murders of the Popish party since. Nor has this vision anything to do with the conversion and restoration of the Jews, when they will become a new people, quit their old principles and modes of worship, and there will be no more among them the sea of corrupt doctrine, respecting the Messiah, the works of the law, &c. for this will be over before this vision takes place, as appears from the 19th chapter: nor does it belong to the spiritual reign of Christ, which will be in the present earth, whereas this glorious state of the church will be in the new heavens and new earth; that will be at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and in the Philadelphian church state, this will not be till prophetic time and antichristian times will be no more, when the mystery of God will be finished, and after the Laodicean state is at an end; in that there will be public worship, the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances, but not in this; and though there will be then great spirituality and holiness, yet not in perfection, nor will the churches be clear of hypocrites and nominal professors, and will at last sink into a Laodicean state. Nor is this vision to be interpreted of the church triumphant in heaven, or of the ultimate glory of the saints there; since the new Jerusalem here described descends from heaven, that is, to earth, where the saints will reign with Christ; and since the church is represented as a bride, prepared and adorned for her husband, but not as yet at the entrance of this state, delivered up to him; and since the tabernacle of God is said to be with men, that is, on earth; and this dwelling of God with them is as in a tabernacle, which is movable, and seems to be distinct from the fixed state of the saints in the ultimate glory; to which may be added, that in this state, Christ, as King of saints, will be peculiarly and distinctly glorified, whereas in the ultimate one, when the kingdom is delivered to the Father, God will be all in all: this therefore is to be understood of the glorious state of the church during the thousand years of Satan's binding, and the saints' living and reigning with Christ; the holy city, and new Jerusalem, is the same with the beloved city in Revelation 20:9 what is there briefly hinted, is here largely described and insisted on; this will be the time and state when the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, will first meet together, and be brought to Christ, and be presented by him to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, and Christ will reign gloriously among them: the seat of this church state will be the "new heaven" and "new earth" which John saw, and which are the same that Peter speaks of, in which dwelleth righteousness, or in which righteous persons only dwell, 2 Peter 3:13 for as the first heaven and earth both here and there are to be understood literally, so in like manner the new heaven and new earth; which will be new, not with respect to the substance, but their qualities; they will be renewed, or purged from everything that is disagreeable, and is the effect of the sin of man; the first heaven and earth were made chiefly for men, but, on account of the sin of man, the earth was cursed, and brought forth thorns and thistles, and both the earth and air, or the heaven, were attended with noxious vapours, &c. and the whole creation was made subject to vanity and corruption; from all which they will be cleared at the general conflagration, and a new earth and heaven will appear, fit for the habitation of the second Adam, and his posterity, for the space of a thousand years. So the Jews speak of new heavens, as מחודשים, "renewed" ones, which are the secrets of sublime wisdomF15Zohar in Gen. fol. 5. 2. vid. Kimchi in lsa. lvi. 6. : and they sayF16T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 92. 2. & Gloss. in ib. Zohar in Gen. fol. 69. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 150. 2. , that the holy blessed God will renew his world a thousand years, and that in the seventh millennium there will be new heavens and a new earthF17Zohar in Gen. fol. 35. 3. :

for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; not those in Revelation 20:11 but the heaven and the earth which were first made, which passed away, as Peter also says, adding, with a great noise; meaning not as to their substance, but as to their form, fashion, and qualities:

and there was no more sea; which may be understood either as to the being of it; it was "exhausted", as the Ethiopic version renders it, being dried up by the conflagration; see Amos 7:4 and if Mr. Burnet's hypothesis can be supported, that the paradisiacal earth, or the earth fore the flood, was without a sea, that being made, with the mountains and hills, by the falling of the surface of the earth into the waters under it, there is a surprising agreement between that earth and this new one; but the Alexandrian copy reads, "and I saw the sea no more"; it might be in being, though John saw it not and since, at the end of the thousand years, the sea will give up the dead which are in it, it must be in being, unless it can be interpreted of the place where the sea was: wherefore it seems best to understand it with respect to its use and qualities; and that as the heaven and earth will pass away, not as to their substance, but quality, so in like manner the sea will be no more used for navigation, nor may it be a tumultuous and raging one, or have its flux and reflux, or its waters be salt, as now; the schoolmen say it will no more be a fluid, but will be consolidated into the globe as the sphere; and, in a mystical sense, there will be no more wicked men; tumultuous and turbulent men are like the troubled sea, that cannot rest, Isaiah 57:20 for in the new heavens and earth only righteous persons will dwell, 2 Peter 3:13.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-21.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And 1 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.

(1) Now follows the second part of the history prophetic of the future estate of the Church in heaven after the last judgment, to (Revelation 21:2) ; (Revelation 22:5). In this are two things briefly declared. The station, seat, or place of it, (Revelation 21:1). Then her state and condition, in the verses following. Before the state of the Church described, is set down the state of the whole world, that there shall be a new heaven, and a new earth; (Isaiah 65:17) ; (Isaiah 66:22) ; (2 Peter 3:13) and this is the seat or place of the Church, in which righteousness shall dwell.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-21.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 21:1-27. The New Heaven and Earth: New Jerusalem out of Heaven.

The remaining two chapters describe the eternal and consummated kingdom of God and the saints on the new earth. As the world of nations is to be pervaded by divine influence in the millennium, so the world of nature shall be, not annihilated, but transfigured universally in the eternal state which follows it. The earth was cursed for man‘s sake; but is redeemed by the second Adam. Now is the Church; in the millennium shall be the kingdom; and after that shall be the new world wherein God shall be all in all. The “day of the Lord” and the conflagration of the earth are in 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:11 spoken of as if connected together, from which many argue against a millennial interval between His coming and the general conflagration of the old earth, preparatory to the new; but “day” is used often of a whole period comprising events intimately connected together, as are the Lord‘s second advent, the millennium, and the general conflagration and judgment. Compare Genesis 2:4 as to the wide use of “day.” Man‘s soul is redeemed by regeneration through the Holy Spirit now; man‘s body shall be redeemed at the resurrection; man‘s dwelling-place, His inheritance, the earth, shall be redeemed perfectly at the creation of the new heaven and earth, which shall exceed in glory the first Paradise, as much as the second Adam exceeds in glory the first Adam before the fall, and as man regenerated in body and soul shall exceed man as he was at creation.

the first — that is the former.

passed awayGreek, in A and B is “were departed” (Greek, “{apeelthon},” not as in English Version, “{pareelthe}”).

wasGreek, “is,” which graphically sets the thing before our eyes as present.

no more sea — The sea is the type of perpetual unrest. Hence our Lord rebukes it as an unruly hostile troubler of His people. It symbolized the political tumults out of which “the beast” arose, Revelation 13:1. As the physical corresponds to the spiritual and moral world, so the absence of sea, after the metamorphosis of the earth by fire, answers to the unruffled state of solid peace which shall then prevail. The sea, though severing lands from one another, is now, by God‘s eliciting of good from evil, made the medium of communication between countries through navigation. Then man shall possess inherent powers which shall make the sea no longer necessary, but an element which would detract from a perfect state. A “river” and “water” are spoken of in Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:2, probably literal (that is, with such changes of the natural properties of water, as correspond analogically to man‘s own transfigured body), as well as symbolical. The sea was once the element of the world‘s destruction, and is still the source of death to thousands, whence after the millennium, at the general judgment, it is specially said, “The sea gave up the dead  …  in it.” Then it shall cease to destroy, or disturb, being removed altogether on account of its past destructions.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-21.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

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.

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-21.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

New ( καινὸν )

See on Matthew 26:29. Compare Isaiah 65:17.

There was no more sea ( ἡ θάλασσα οὐκ ἔστιν ἔπι )

Lit., as Rev., the sea is no more. Here as in Revelation 20:13. Some explain the sea as the ungodly world. I cannot help thinking this interpretation forced. According to this explanation, the passage is in the highest degree tautological. The first earth was passed away, and the ungodly world was no more.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-21.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

And I saw — So it runs, Revelation 19:11; 20:1,4,11, in a succession. All these several representations follow one another in order: so the vision reaches into eternity.

A new heaven and a new earth — After the resurrection and general judgment. St. John is not now describing a flourishing state of the church, but a new and eternal state of all things.

For the first heaven and the first earth — Not only the lowest part of heaven, not only the solar system, but the whole ethereal heaven, with all its host, whether of planets or fixed stars, Isaiah 34:4; Matthew 24:29. All the former things will be done away, that all may become new, verses4,5; 2 Peter 3:10,12.

Are passed away — But in the fourth verse it is said, "are gone away." There the stronger word is used; for death, mourning, and sorrow go away all together: the former heaven and earth only pass away, giving place to the new heaven and the new earth.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-21.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

A new heaven and a new earth; that is, an entirely new state and constitution of things.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-21.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 1. And I saw a new heaven] New for form and state, but the same as before for matter and substance; as an old garment translated is called a new one; and as whoso is in Christ is a new creature.

Passed away] i.e. Were purged from their vanity and defilements.

And there was no more sea] i.e. Trouble and tumult. The sea is of itself restless, and often tossed with storms and tempests, Isaiah 57:20. As for the element of water, it shall remain, probably, as earth, air, and fire do. Andreas thinks there shall be no more sea.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-21.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:1

With this verse begins the closing passage of the book of God: the revelation of the things beyond the end. Now the veil lifts for the last time, and we behold the new universe. He who in the beginning created the heaven and the earth now reveals to the gaze of faith His second and final world. It would be idle to say that there cannot be a literal meaning to our text. Assuredly it may please the Creator to order His new universe so that there shall be there scenes which answer to our earth and no scenes which answer to our sea. But it is plain that the main purpose of the phrase is spiritual. We are to put before us as we read not so much a state in which we shall never look out on a waste of tossing waters, as a state in which the sea of the soul shall be for ever gone.

I. We read here that all tumultuous agitations and vehement changes shall be over there. Again and again in Scripture we find the sea made the picture of human agitation. In the new universe this sea shall be no more. Its waves shall be silent at last and for ever; none of the sinful agitations, none of the upswelling passions, whether of persons or of nations, shall break in through the endless duration of the new universe upon that perfect life and perfect rest of holiness and joy.

II. We read here that there shall be no more separation. In the days when God caused the Bible to be written even more than now, the sea was a separating thing. Every year in those old days, before the mariner's compass had made new paths on the deep, well nigh from Michaelmas to Easter, the sea, in the Roman term, was "shut." The fierce, dreadful waters were scarce traversed by a single sail. Land from land, friend from friend, was barred those long months by the severing sea. Here at best heart to heart is like isle to isle, with deep waters between, even when these waters are oftenest crossed; there heart to heart will make, as it were, one bright, beautiful, continuous continent of sympathy and mutual joy, together for ever with the Lord.

H. C. G. Moule, Fordington Sermons, p. 107.


I. Let us consider this great and blessed promise as the revelation of a future in which there shall be no more painful mystery. We look out upon the broad ocean, and far away it seems to blend with air and sky. Mists come up over its surface. Suddenly there rises on the verge of the horizon a white sail, that was not there a moment ago; and we wonder, as we look out from our hills, what may be beyond those mysterious waters. And to these ancient peoples there were mysteries which we do not feel. What should we see if depth and distance were annihilated, and we beheld what there is out yonder and what there is down there? And is not our life ringed round in like manner with mystery? Surely to some this ought to come as not the least noble and precious of the thoughts of what that future life is, "There shall be no more sea," and the mysteries which come from God's merciful limitation of our vision and some of the mysteries that come from God's wise and providential interposition of obstacles to our sight will have passed away.

II. The text tells us of a state that is to come when there is no more rebellious power. In the Old Testament the floods are often compared with the rage of the peoples and the rebellion of man against the will of God. Our text is a blessed promise that, in that holy state to which the apocalyptic vision carries our longing hopes, there shall be the cessation of all strife against our best Friend, of all reluctance to wear His yoke whose yoke brings rest to the soul. The opposition that lies in all our hearts shall one day be subdued.

III. The text foretells a state of things in which there will be no more disquiet and unrest. Life is a voyage over a turbulent sea; changing circumstances come rolling after each other, like the indistinguishable billows of the great ocean. On the heavenly shore stands Christ, and there is rest there. There is no more sea, but unbroken rest, unchanging blessedness, perpetual stability of joy and love in the Father's house.

A. Maclaren, Sermons in Manchester, 2nd series, p. 325.


References: Revelation 21:1.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 98; vol. xii., p. 77; H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Waterside Mission Sermons, 2nd series, No. 15; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 356; R. A. Bertram, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 136; Ibid., vol. iv., p. 332; P. W. Darton, Ibid., vol. xxxii., p. 73. Revelation 21:2.—G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons to English Congregations in India, p. 179; J. B. French, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 195. Revelation 21:3.—H. P. Liddon, Ibid., p. 1.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-21.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 21:1.— We are now come, in the course of these prophesies, to the consummation of all things. This vision stands in the prophesy, after the last attempt of the enemies of religion had been defeated; after the dead, small and great, had appeared before God's judgment seat, and were judged according to their works; after the wicked were doomed to everlasting punishment, and all who were not found written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire. The order of the prophesies seems to point out to us, that the new heaven and new earth represented in this vision, signify that state of unchangeable perfection and heavenly happiness, to which the true and faithful servants of the living God shall be advanced, when all their trials and sufferings in this life shall be ended. Nothing could be more proper to the useful design of these Revelations, than such a conclusion of them, with so affecting a representation of the final, complete, and everlasting happiness of all the true worshippers of God, the faithful servants of Jesus. This is a powerful motive to present and constant patience; a firm foundation of present hope; a strong encouragement to zeal in the cause of true religion, and constancy in the uncorrupt faith of Jesus. Itis a very ancient observation, "That happiness is the reward of virtue in the end;" but here is a sure word of prophesy, which beforehand acquaints us what will be the last period and state of things: the present world, for a few years,—a very few in comparison of eternity,—will be a state of various sorts of trials and troubles; of evils caused by wicked men; of evils wherewith the righteous Governor of the world punishes their wickedness; but the unchangeable purpose of God has appointed another state of things, when the dead shall be raised, and judged according to their works. All the faithful servants of God will then enjoy a state of eternal life, in perfect peace and security, in complete prosperity and happiness. It is with great advantage that this encouragement is given the church in such a prophesy: an observation of the faithful and punctual accomplishment of the former parts of this prophesy in times past, for several hundred years, serves much to confirm our faith and hope in as exact a performance of what remains. It must be owned, several interpreters of good reputation understand the following vision, as a description of the happy state of the church during the one thousand years inwhich it shall reign with Christ; or, of the full and complete reformation of the Christian church during the last period upon earth: but as there seems nothing in the prophetic description to confine it to this meaning, so the order of the prophesies, the principal design of them, and the description itself, greatly favour the judgment of those learned authors, who understand these last visions as alluding to the future state of happiness in heaven after the general resurrection and last judgment. Thus, this seventh and last period concludes the whole plan of Providence, and finishes it in an endless Sabbatism.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-21.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

By the new heaven and the new earth here, all understand a new state and face of the church; but some apply it to the state of the church militant here upon earth, and others to the state of the church triumphant in heaven.

Accordingly they take the new heaven and the new earth to be the effect of that great change which shall be made by fire at the universal conflagration; and they are called new, not so much in regard to substance, as in respect of qualities, being now for nature more stable, and for beauty more glorious.

Quest. But what use shall there be of this new heaven and new earth? and who shall dwell therein?

Ans. We cannot tell, but must rest satisfied with what God has told us, that therein shall dwell righteousness; that it shall be a standing monument of God's power and greatness.

It is added, that the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; not by annihilation, but by a qualitative mutation. And no more sea; that is say some, as it was before, turbulent, changeable, subject to corruption and vanity; say others, no more troublesome state of things, which is oft-times signified by the sea. A new and glorious state of things was undoubtedly here designed relating to the church.

Observe next, The character St. John gives of the glorious state of the church triumphant, Revelation 21:2. He compares her,

1. To a beautiful city, for amplitude and largeness, for compact structure, and for commodious habitation; she is called holy, because no unclean thing can enter into her, and because that holiness shall there be perfected which was here begun.

2. To an adorned bride; no spouse on her marriage-day so adorned as she was. The church in heaven is so called, to denote her dignity, and the love which Christ bears to her, and the delight which he takes in her, which is so continual, as if it were always a wedding-day; and she is adorned for him, and adorned by him, with spiritual beauty and glory, and perfection of grace.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-21.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 21:1. οὐρανὸν καινὸν, κ. τ. λ.) The new heaven and the new earth preserve the name of heaven and earth because of the former ones: therefore the substantives precede in the former clause only; and there follows, for the first heaven and the first earth, etc. It is not a flourishing state of the Church in the last time which John here describes, but he speaks of all things entirely new and perfect for eternity. Augustine says: There are many obscure things in this book; but in these words, where he says, God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, that which is spoken concerning the future world and immortality, and the eternity of the saints (for it is only then and there that these things will cease to be), is spoken with such light, that we ought neither to seek nor to read anything plain in the sacred writings, if we shall think these things obscure: lib. xx. de Civ. Dei, c. 17.— παρῆλθε) But in Revelation 21:4, ἀπῆλθον, as ch. Revelation 9:12. To pass away is something more in sound than to pass by, [as the Greek ought to be translated in Revelation 21:1, not passed away, as Engl.]

[223] Death, sorrow, crying, and pain, altogether pass away; the former heaven and the former earth pass by, giving way to a new heaven and a new earth.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-21.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 21

Revelation 21:1 A new heaven and a new earth.

Revelation 21:2 The new Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:3-7 The blessedness of God’s people.

Revelation 21:8 The judgment of the wicked.

Revelation 21:9-27 A description of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Chapter Introduction

This chapter begins with the vision of the new heaven and the new earth, by which all understand a new state of the church, but are divided in their opinions, whether what is spoken be to be understood of the church militant upon the earth, or of the church triumphant in heaven. Those who understand it of the church militant here upon earth, are divided in their opinions as to that period of the church which is here spoken of; some understanding it of the thousand years after the time of Constantine, for which I see no reason (nor, I believe, will any that wisely considers the state of the church in that time); others understanding it of the thousand years mentioned Revelation 20:1-3, in which (as was said) the church should enjoy great quiet and peace. I must confess I choose much rather to agree with them who judge it signifieth the church triumphant, being overcome with the reasons given by those reverend authors, a summary of which may be found in Mr. Pool’s Latin Synopsis.

1. That interpretation carrieth on the history in order; whereas, according to the other, we must say the history, Revelation 20:1-5, was interrupted by the battle with Gog and Magog, and the account of the day of judgment, Revelation 21:7,15.

2. In reason, as the close of the former chapter gave us an account of the issue of the day of judgment, as to wicked men, so this should give us some account how it should fare with the saints.

3. We shall find some things in the new Jerusalem here described, which will agree to no state of the church upon earth: see Revelation 21:22,23.

A new heaven and a new earth; a new and glorious state of things relating to the church.

For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea; for now there was an end to the world, and all the troubles that the people of God had met with in it, as well as the material earth, heaven, and sea, were passed away. This new heaven was prophesied of of old by Isaiah, and more lately by Peter, 2 Peter 3:13.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-21.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Глава начинается после того, как все грешники независимо от возраста: и бесы, и люди, а также сатана, зверь и лжепророк – навсегда брошены в озеро огненное. Вся прежняя вселенная разрушена, и Бог создает новую вселенную, которая будет местом вечной жизни спасенных.

новое небо и новую землю Вся та вселенная, которую мы знаем, будет разрушена (2Пет. 3:10-13), вместо нее будет создана новая, которая будет существовать вечно. Об этом написано и в Ветхом Завете (Пс. 101:26, 27; Ис. 65:17; 66:22), а также в Новом Завете (Лк. 21:33; Евр. 1:10-12). См. пояснение к 20:11-15.

моря уже нет В настоящее время вода покрывает три четверти земной поверхности, в новой окружающей среде не будет воды, будут совершенно иные климатические условия. См. пояснение к 22:1, 2.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-21.html.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

John in Vision is led to see the New Jerusalem. He beholds Christ upon his Throne. A Description of the Holy City. The Lord's Presence, the everlasting Glory of the Place. None can enter into it, but they whose Names are in the Book of Life.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-21.html. 1828.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

EPILOGUE

(Revelation 21-22)

REV:21

The scene here moves to eternity, after the end of time, when all the enemies of God have been vanquished, following the final judgment of all men, and when the long drama of human struggles and temptations shall have been concluded.

Christ promised that his faithful servants should "enter into the joy" of their Lord at his coming (Matthew 25:23); Paul encouraged the Philippians with precious words of their "citizenship ... in heaven" (Philippians 3:20); Peter wrote that, "We look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13); James said that Christians "shall be heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him" (James 2:5); Jude extolled the glory of "Him who is able to present you before the throne of his glory ... in exceeding joy" (Jude 1:1:24); and the author of this prophecy promised that, "We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). Thus, all of the sacred writers and all of their prophecies of an eternal state of joy find their culmination and fulfillment (prophetically) in these final two chapters of Revelation. The Bible would not be complete without them.

We must not be perplexed or confused by the remarkable language of these chapters. Language itself, as a vehicle for the conveyance of thought, is incapable of any adequate portrayal of the realities symbolized. It is impossible to describe heaven. No metaphor, regardless of how powerful, can really carry the full weight of what the holy apostle sought to reveal in this sparkling portrayal of the final home of the soul. Therefore, we shall not spoil the picture by belaboring the symbols, nor by literalizing the materials, dimensions, and conceptions which abound in it. The beauty, riches, joy, and glory of heaven are exceedingly beyond all that people may think or imagine; and the very best description of them can be nothing but a feeble suggestion of their fullness. Nevertheless, we humbly thank God for what is written, and we shall strive to catch a little glance of what it will be to be there when the Lord comes to claim his own.

Before taking up a verse by verse study of this chapter, it is appropriate to make a survey of the doctrine of heaven as it appears in the word of God. Such a background study is essential to a full appreciation of this and the final chapters.

HEAVEN

The keystone of the sacred arch of Christian theology is the doctrine of HEAVEN. In the English New Testament, the word occurs 261 times in some 20 New Testament books. Matthew quoted the word "heaven" 70 times from the words of Jesus, and the writings of the apostle John record it 83 times. The conception dominates the New Testament. Besides the 261 direct references using the term "heaven," there are many other passages, including whole sections of the holy Scriptures, in which it appears under a somewhat different terminology.

Jesus, for example, said:

And make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles (Luke 16:9).

Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34).SIZE>

Peter likewise spoke of the same blessed estate when he said of the Christian graces:

For thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11).

Paul's magnificent 1 Corinthians 15, with its references to putting on "incorruption" and "immortality," is actually a discussion of heaven; and the same subject was his topic again, when he said:

For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).

Jesus also referred to heaven under the figure of a house from God, saying:

In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also (John 14:2-3).

Likewise the Old Testament reveals the same basic conception of heaven as a place of reward for the righteous who shall live eternally with God:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalms 25).

Daniel spoke of the book of life and of the time of the end, declaring that:

Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2).

There is no understanding whatever of Jesus Christ except in the light of his unique relationship to HEAVEN:

In heaven he was from the beginning.

From heaven he came.

Of heaven he spoke.

To heaven he pointed the way.

From heaven angels announced his birth.

From heaven angels ministered to him in Gethsemane and in the Wilderness.

From heaven angels came to announce his resurrection.

From heaven the voice of God declared him to be the Son of God.

From heaven angels came to escort him to Glory.

To heaven he ascended.

From heaven the angels announced his Second Coming.

In heaven he sits at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

In heaven he reigns until all enemies shall be put underfoot.

In heaven he intercedes for Christians.

From heaven he will come again to raise the dead and summon all who ever lived to the judgment of the Great White Throne.SIZE>

Take heaven out of the Bible and you have nothing left!

I. Heaven will Fulfill Man's Most Urgent Need

A. Our current dwelling place in the tabernacle of the flesh is ephemeral, uncertain, and inadequate.

The sacred writers made the most delicate reference to this, but the very tenderness of their words underscores the pitiful and overwhelming nature of that need.

As Paul put it, "If the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved!" What kind of an "if" is this? Can any man doubt that the dissolution of this frail tent of a body is otherwise than certain and impending? How pitiful are the efforts of people to deceive themselves in such a matter as this! Mrs. Winchester, widow of the man who introduced the Winchester rifle, left behind a monstrosity of a mansion in Santa Clara, California; because she supposed that as long as she kept adding on to her house she would not die. Hundreds of stained glass windows, inverted pillars, blind doors, and almost countless rooms augmented the estate until it covered several acres of floor space. She slept in a different room each night, so that if death entered the house it could not find her. But at last death came into the blue room where she slept, and all of her striving went for naught. Mrs. Mary Baker Patterson Glover Eddy pretended that death would not come. When she could no longer ride in the buggy through the streets, she had her nurse go in her place to keep up the pretense of good health; but even in the likeness of all others, her soul deserted the body which had nowhere to go but to the grave.

Our Lord put this need in focus when he said, "WHEN YE FAIL ... (KJV)." Not "if," but "when." It is in the light of this basic fact that the walls of jasper and the streets of gold rescue the soul from the blackness of despair. Heaven is the glory that plants the lilies of the resurrection upon the grave itself and arches the tomb with the rainbow of promise. Apart from this blessed hope, how tragic is all human life.

B. And what of them who reject this hope? To reject it is to commit spiritual suicide. To refuse to believe the promise of the Saviour in this sector is to accept for one's self exactly the status of a worm or a dog. To renounce this promise of heaven is consciously to accept an evaluation of one's own life that leaves it without any cosmic value whatever, and to claim the rottenness of the grave as one's eternal destiny. No wonder that Jesus marveled at unbelief!

II. Where Is Heaven?

A. The only one who ever went to heaven and came back was the apostle Paul who was "caught up into the third heaven"; and he was specifically forbidden to speak of it:

He was caught up into the third heaven ... he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is unlawful for a man to utter (2 Corinthians 13:2-4).

This prohibition enforced upon the apostle Paul could account for the fact that Paul did not speak of heaven as often as Matthew or John; and yet the few things that he said are abundantly rich in significance.

1. "The third heaven ..." Here is the explanation of why "heavens" in the plural is so frequently used in the Old Testament, where one reads repeatedly of "the heaven of heavens," the same plural reference also appearing in the New Testament, as in "Christ is made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26). The Jews had developed a fantastic theory of seven heavens, but the word of the Lord knows nothing of any such thing.

Joe Barnett, minister of Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, to whom I am indebted for assistance in this sermon, identified the three heavens in Paul's experience as: (1) the earth's atmosphere as evident in such Scriptures as "The fowls of the heaven and the beasts of the field" (Jeremiah 15:3); (2) the starry firmament above as in Isaiah's words: "the stars of heaven and the constellations" (Isaiah 13:10); and (3) the third heaven is the heaven where the throne of God is; "God's throne is in heaven" (Psalms 11:4).

Two of these heavens are visible to us, although the visibility of the second heaven of the stars and constellation is only partial and limited. There is a third heaven beyond both of those which we, in a sense, can see; but the perverse and arrogant ignorance of man is reluctant to receive such a truth.

The ancient Christian cathedrals of the Kasan and St. Isaac's in Leningrad have been plundered and raped by the godless atheistic Communists who have torn down the high altars and installed in the place of them the enlarged photographs of the vulgar Russian cosmonauts, Titov and Gegarin, with huge placards in four languages (Russian, German, French, and English) declaiming that, "We have searched the heavens, and there is no God!" Indeed, indeed! What an impudent arrogance is this! A worm has climbed to his perch on a cabbage leaf and affirms in the authority of his blindness that there are no stars or constellations. It is a measure of man's rebellion against his Creator that, at a time when he has not explored one billionth part of the second heaven, he has the audacity to proclaim that there is no third! That God is not! That man is supreme! That there is nothing in the universe any higher than a man, who even as he boasts is brushed into the grave.

III. What Is in Heaven?

A. The throne of God is there.

Straightway I was in the Spirit, and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting upon the throne ... he is the Lord God, the Almighty (Revelation 4:2,8).

The universe is not directed by blind law, or some form of robot control but by the Person upon the throne.

B. The Lamb of God is likewise on the throne.

And I saw in the midst of the throne ... a Lamb standing as though it had been slain ... and the voice of ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, saying, Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and honor and glory, and blessing (Revelation 4:6,12).

C. Our hope is there.

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast and which entereth into that which is within the veil (Hebrews 6:19).

D. Our treasure is there.

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust doth not corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal (Matthew 6:20).

Jesus promised the persecuted, "Great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:12).

Peter spoke of the inheritance "reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4).SIZE>

E. Our citizenship is there.

Our citizenship is in heaven, whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory (Philippians 3:20,21).

Illustration: After the battle of Actium (Sept. 2,31 B.C.), Augustus Caesar, at last enthroned with absolute power made Philippi a Roman colony and banished the soldiers of Anthony, his final rival, to live there. Thus, their true citizenship was in Rome, but they lived out their days as strangers in a foreign land. This illuminates Paul's words here.SIZE>

F. Our names are written in heaven.

Help these women, for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, whose names are written in the book of life (Philippians 4:3).

To the returning Seventy, Jesus said, "Nevertheless rejoice not in this that the spirits are subject unto you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20).SIZE>

G. Our loved ones are there.

It's the people who will make up heaven. That's what makes any city; and the host of the redeemed of all ages await us on the other shore. Barnett tells the story of an old man who said:

When I was young, I thought of heaven as a far away place of gold, domes and spires, with mansions and a world of light and angels tripping about, none of whom I knew. Then my little brother died, and I thought of heaven as a place of golden domes and spires, streets of gold and gates of pearl and one tiny little precious face that I knew. But the Great Reaper continued his harvest of the earth, and my father and mother, and my wife and children died; and my friends, one by one faded away, until like the last leaf on the tree I alone was left. And when I think of heaven now, I always think of the loved ones whom I have loved and lost awhile, but who shall welcome me into the eternal habitations. "Oh think of the home over there, by the side of the river of light, Where the saints all immortal and fair are robed in their garments of white."

IV. Heaven Viewed in Its Greater Dimensions

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Over and beyond those things which so intimately concern ourselves, the benefits and glories of heaven exceed the very limits of the imagination. As Paul expressed it:

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Read these two great chapters again; take a bird's eye, general view of the whole vision; what do you see?

Note that John first described the city as it would appear from a distance:

It sits upon an immense platform of twelve foundations of precious stones: jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald right on through the list of twelve, the last being amethyst.

Above the grand foundation rise the solid jasper walls, perforated by twelve gates, each made of a single immense pearl.

It lies foursquare. Have you ever considered the dimensions indicated in this description: 12,000 stadia, or furlongs ... FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES wide and FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES LONG, an area 8.4 times the entire state of Texas and bigger than either Australia or Europe. But that's not the half of it, IT IS FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES HIGH. Allowing a tenth of a mile to the level, that would be 15,000 levels, allowing a floor space of 33 3/4 billion square miles, many times the total area of the terraqueous globe.SIZE>

Then John described the interior,

The gates ... each one a pearl. What can this mean? It means that heaven will be a place for those who have overcome. A pearl is produced by a little sea animal's response to a tragedy, being the only gem that is made from suffering.

Heaven is a place where there will be no more tears, but what could this mean to one who had never cried?

Heaven is a place where there is no more sorrow, but who could appreciate this who was never brokenhearted?

Heaven is a place where there is no more death, but who can appreciate this like one who has buried out of sight his beloved dead?

Heaven is a place where there is no more pain, but what can that mean to one who has never suffered?SIZE>

And the street of gold! What can that mean? It means that the yellow dust which people worship on earth shall at last have found its proper place under foot in the eternal city!

And the tree of life and the river of life! Here are the fountains of eternal joy, unending bliss, security, salvation, and glory!

The leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. Whatever affliction oppresses people on earth shall there be healed forevermore. The blind shall not be blind there. The cripple shall walk there. The helpless shall be strong there. The sad shall be happy there. The old shall be young there! The dead in Christ shall live there.

One of the great Restoration preachers lay dying in terrible suffering; and when a friend inquired "How are you doing?" he replied, "I am almost well"; and in a moment he was dead; but that is exactly what he was talking about. Think of grasping a hand and finding it to be the hand of the Lord, or of breathing new air and finding it to be celestial, of being transformed and finding it immortality! Think of waking up and finding it HOME! This, my beloved Christians, is the Christian's HOMECOMING!

My beloved brothers and sisters, you see, we are all making a journey. We are passing through our allotted probation, but we have a destination that is neither in time nor space. Death marks the terminal here, but we cannot properly appreciate the significance of it. In that famous speech made by the infidel Ingersoll over the grave of a little child, he said:

We do not know which is the greatest blessing, life or death. We cannot say that death is not good. We do not know whether the grave is the end of life, or the door of another, or whether the night here is not somewhere else a dawn. Every cradle asks us, "Whence?" and every coffin, "Whither?" The poor barbarian weeping over his dead can answer the question as intelligently and satisfactorily as the robed priest of the most authentic creed. The tearful ignorance of the one is just as consoling as the learned and unmeaning words of the other.

Apart from the blessed word of God, Ingersoll was right. But you see, my beloved fellow Christians, Paul and Jesus and the blessed apostles viewed this question in the light of eternal truth, and not in the light of merely natural knowledge; and for us there is no doubt, or uncertainty. Down two millenniums of human history, the words ring out over the cemeteries of the sad earth, "We know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle be destroyed, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens." Our entry into THAT is the HOMECOMING to which we prayerfully direct your thoughts this day.

For many of us the journey is soon to be concluded. Like the river, the stream of life inevitably reaches the sea.

Where runs the river? Who can say Who hath not followed all the way By alders green and sedges gray And blossoms blue?

The meadows wide, and hill and wood Curve round to hem the eager flood. It cannot straightly as it would Its way pursue.

Whatever fields or wooded plains And waterfalls o'er which it strains, The stream at last the Vast attains. And I and you!

- AnonymousSIZE>

May all Christians, therefore, think of the final HOMECOMING with joy and not with sorrow. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and may we refrain from facing the inevitable change with anything less than infinite trust in Him who loved us and gave himself for us.

The climax of that HOMECOMING, of course, will be the joy of seeing the Saviour face to face. One like unto ourselves is upon the throne of God himself, and he shall welcome us beyond the veil. "We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is"; and in my Saviour's face all the tribulations of life shall be swallowed up in joy. As Alfred Lord Tennyson expressed it:

Sunset and evening star, and one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, when I put out to sea, But such a tide as moving seems asleep, too full for sound or foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep, turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell, and after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell when I embark, For though from out our home of Time and Place, the flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face when I have crossed the bar.

We shall take the liberty of changing Tennyson's verb in the last line: "I KNOW I'LL SEE MY PILOT FACE TO FACE; WHEN I HAVE CROSSED THE BAR."

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. (Revelation 21:1)

A new heaven and a new earth ... "What is promised here is the fulfillment of Isaiah 65:17; 66:22, passages strongly ascribed by millennarians to the thousand years."[1] One of the unsolvable mysteries in this is just what is meant by "new." Paul wrote, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17) and yet the "new" man, in some sense, is the same as the old, the "newness" being in the vital change. From this, some have supposed that a similar thing could be meant by the "new" heaven and earth. Ladd wrote that, "Biblical thought always places man on a redeemed earth, not in a heavenly realm removed from earthly existence."[2] However, we are by no means sure that such a conclusion is correct. Zerr thought the new earth here "is the one Jesus meant,"[3] when he said, "The meek shall inherit the earth." Isaiah's prophecy was understood by some among the Jews as a figure, and others understood it literally.[4] The same element of uncertainty prevails now. It is not really necessary for us to know exactly what may be meant by this promise.

The first heaven and the first earth are passed away ... This sheds no light on the problem noted above. Peter described the destruction of the heavens and the earth by fire (2 Peter 3:10) in language that seems to say they will utterly perish; but he compares it with the "destruction" of the earth by water in flood during the times of Noah (2 Peter 3:5). Throughout Revelation, the fleeing of the earth from God's presence, and the removal of the islands, etc., suggest a literal destruction of the planet, as does Hebrews 12:27,28. We confess our inability to find any certainty on this question.

And the sea is no more ... The same problem persists here. "The three-fold division of heaven, earth, and sea represents the whole of this world";[5] but some very perceptive writers interpret "sea" here as did Cox, "The sea of unrest, the sea of anxiety is no more."[6] It has also been noted that "the sea" at the time of this writing separated John from his beloved Christians in Asia Minor, and that the absence of it in the vision would mean "there will be no more separation, from loved ones." The meaning is rich, however interpreted.

[1] Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954), p. 330.

[2] George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 275.

[3] E. M. Zerr, Bible Commentary, Vol. 6 (Marion, Indiana: Cogdill Foundation, 1954), p. 346.

[4] G. R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation (Greenwood, South Carolina: The Attic Press, 1974), p. 306.

[5] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 509.

[6] Frank L. Cox. Revelation in 26 Lessons (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1956), p. 119.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-21.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

The New Heavens and the New Earth (Revelation 21:1-8).

‘And I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away, and the sea is no more.’

We read about the passing away of the first heaven and the first earth in Revelation 20:11. But all is now light. For all things are new and full of righteousness and purity. This is the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13), where former things will not be remembered or come to mind (Isaiah 65:17). ‘The sea is no more’. To Israel who made little use of the sea it was always a troubled sea. They saw how quickly it could be stirred up from its innocence and become a tumult. It was from the sea that the tumult among men came (Revelation 13:1. Compare Job 38:8-11; Psalms 89:9; Isaiah 57:20.). However that has now passed away. There is now no source of tumult.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-21.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

1. The vision of the new heaven and earth21:1

John now saw a new scene that expounded the passing away of the present earth and heaven to which he had just referred briefly ( Revelation 20:11). The new earth and heaven will come into existence after the Millennium and the great white throne judgment. Many interpreters take the new earth and heaven as a picture of the present age of the church, but this is unwarranted.

The reason God will destroy the present heaven and earth is that He originally made them as the habitat for humanity. However sin so thoroughly corrupted not only the human race but the race"s environment that He will destroy it and create a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. This is the final stage in His plan to deliver humanity into the blessing He originally intended people to enjoy.

"Throughout the entire Bible, the ultimate destiny of God"s people is an earthly destiny. In typical dualistic Greek thought, the universe was divided into two realms: the earthly or transitory, and the eternal spiritual world. Salvation consisted of the flight of the soul from the sphere of the transitory and ephemeral to the realm of eternal reality. However, biblical thought always places man on a redeemed earth, not in a heavenly realm removed from earthly existence." [Note: Ladd, p275.]

Is this a creation out of nothing (ex nihilo) like the creation of the first heaven and earth ( Genesis 1)? [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, pp439-40; Beasley-Murray, p307; et al.] Or is it a thorough renovation of the present heaven and earth? [Note: Gale Z. Heide, "What Is New about the New Heaven and the New Earth? A Theology of Creation from Revelation 21,2Peter3," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society40:1 (March1997):37-56.] I favor an entirely new creation in view of 2 Peter 3:10-12. A renovation of the present earth will take place earlier, namely, at the beginning of the Millennium.

Is the new heaven and earth that John saw the same new heaven and earth that Isaiah predicted ( Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; cf. Psalm 102:25-26; Isaiah 51:6)? We would normally assume that the entities are the same since the terms that describe them are almost identical. However the descriptions of these places vary. Isaiah wrote that people will die in the new earth ( Isaiah 65:17-20), but John said there will be no more death there ( Revelation 21:4). Isaiah predicted that the moon will shine in the new heavens ( Isaiah 66:22-23), but John implied that there will be no moon there ( Revelation 21:23). Apparently Isaiah spoke of both the Millennium and the eternal state generally as new heavens and a new earth ( Isaiah 65:17 to Isaiah 66:24), which is accurate since even in the Millennium the world will experience renovation. John, in the progress of Revelation, distinguished these two aspects of the eschaton and applied the name "new heaven and earth" only to the eternal state, which is appropriate since God will eventually destroy the present world and create a new world (cf. 2 Peter 3:10). Isaiah"s view of the future was more general while John"s was more specific. Similarly the Old Testament prophets spoke of Messiah"s coming but did not distinguish the first coming from the second coming. Later revelation clarified that there would be two comings. This is in harmony with how God has revealed many things in His Word: first generally, then more specifically (e.g, the biblical covenant promises).

By the first heaven and earth John quite obviously meant this planet and the heavens above it. He did not mean the abode of God that Scripture also calls heaven elsewhere (i.e, the third heaven of 2 Corinthians 12:2; cf. Ephesians 4:10; Hebrews 4:14).

The new earth will have no seas, but oceans will exist in the Millennium ( Psalm 72:8; Jeremiah 31:9-10; Ezekiel 47:8-20; Ezekiel 48:28; Zechariah 9:10; Zechariah 14:8). This is another indication that what John saw in chapter21was not the Millennium but the eternal state that will follow it. The sea is the first of seven evils that John said would not exist in the new creation, the others being death, mourning, weeping, pain, night, and the curse ( Revelation 21:4; Revelation 21:25; Revelation 22:3; Revelation 22:5). Since these other evils are literal entities, we should probably understand the sea as literal too. The sea is an evil in the sense that it opposes humankind. For example, it was the sea that kept John on the Island of Patmos separate from the churches of Asia. [Note: Swete, p275.] Presently the seas cover over three-quarters of the earth"s surface. Therefore an earth without seas will be a radically different planet. The seas affect the atmosphere, the climate, and other living conditions as well as human transportation. The absence of any sea is the chief characteristic of the new earth, as John described it.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-21.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 21:1. It is a new heaven and a new earth that the Seer beholds, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. Yet it is not necessary to think of an entirely new creation, as if the first had disappeared, and a second were called into existence by a fresh creative act of the Almighty. The last clause of the verse, and the sea was no more, is itself at variance with any supposition of the kind; for, had the old heavens and earth been literally extinguished, the sea would have shared their fate, and no special mention of it would have been required. The same conclusion is to be drawn from the word used by St. John to mark the fact that the heavens and the earth which he now saw were ‘new.’ Two words are employed in the New Testament to express the idea of newness, the one bringing prominently forward the thought of a recent introduction into existence (as in the case of young persons), the other of that freshness or continuing greenness of quality which may belong even to what is old. In this latter sense the body of our Lord was laid in a ‘new tomb,’ in a tomb not it may be recently prepared, but which, because no man had as yet been laid in it, retained that quality of freshness by which it was fitted for Him who could see no corruption. In like manner the ‘tongues’ referred to in Mark 16:17 are described by the same word for ‘new.’

In one sense old, they were devoted to a new purpose, enabled to express the mysteries of a new and higher state of being. The ‘heavens,’ the ‘earth,’ and the ‘Jerusalem’ here spoken of are in this sense ‘new.’ They are the ‘new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness’ (2 Peter 3:13).—The meaning of the last clause of this verse is difficult to determine. But it seems clear that we are not to understand the words in their literal acceptation. We must seek the solution of the difficulty in that meaning of the word ‘sea’ which we have found it necessary to apply in almost every passage of this book where we have met it. The ‘sea’ is not the ocean; it is the emblem of the ungodly. It connects itself with the thought of restlessness, disorder, and sin. These shall be excluded from the better and higher state of the redeemed in their abode of future blessedness.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-21.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

New, by their form and qualities, but not by their substance. --- The first heaven and first earth was passed away: being changed, not as to their substance, but in their qualities. (Challoner)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-21.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

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.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-21.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

saw. App-133.

heaven, &c. See Isaiah 51:16 (plant, &c); Revelation 65:17; Revelation 66:22. 2 Peter 3:7.

new. See Matthew 9:17.

heaven. See Revelation 3:12.

earth. App-129.

first. Greek. former, as Revelation 21:4.

there . . . sea = the sea is no more (longer). A proof that this belongs to the post-millennial period. See Psalms 72:8, Zechariah 9:10.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

The remaining two chapters describe the eternal and consummated kingdom of God on the new earth. As the world of nations is pervaded by divine influence in the millennium, so that of nature shall be, not annihilated, but transfigured, in the subsequent eternal state. The earth was cursed for man, but is redeemed by the second Adam. Now is the Church; in the millennium shall be the kingdom; after that shall be the new world, wherein God shall be all in all. The "day of the Lord" and conflagration of the earth are, in 2 Peter 3:1-18 spoken of together, from which many argue against a millennial interval between His coming and the general conflagration, preparatory to the new earth; but "day" is used often of a period comprising events closely connected, as are the Lord's second advent, the millennium, and the general conflagration and judgment. Compare Genesis 2:4, "day." Man's soul is redeemed by spiritual regeneration now; man's body shall be so at the resurrection; man's dwelling-place, his inheritance, the earth, shall be so at the creation of the new heaven and earth, which shall exceed the first paradise, as much as the second Adam exceeds in glory the first Adam before the fall, and as man regenerated in body and soul shall exceed man at creation. Isaiah (Isaiah 65:17) mentions the "new heaven and new earth" in the beginning of the millennium; John, at its close: because Isaiah takes the beginning to be a pledge of the completion. God's works are progressive. The millennium, in which sin and death are much restricted, is the transition state from the old to the new earth. The millennium is the age of regeneration. The final age shall be wholly free from sin and death. The millennial earth will not be the dwelling, but the kingdom, of the transfigured saints: they shall be "the new Jerusalem" on the new earth subsequently.

The first - the former.

Passed away. In 'Aleph (') A B, 'were departed' [ apeelthon (Greek #565), not pareelthe].

Was - `is:' graphically setting it before our eyes.

No more sea - the type of perpetual unrest (Isaiah 57:20; Mark 4:39). Hence, our Lord 'rebukes' it as an unruly hostile troubler of His people. It symbolized the political tumults out of which "the beast" arose (Revelation 13:1). As the physical corresponds to the spiritual world, so the absence of sea, after the earth's metamorphosis by fire, answers to the unruffled peace which shall prevail. The sea, though severing lands, is now, by God's eliciting good from evil, made the medium of their communication, through navigation. Then man shall possess powers which shall make the sea no longer necessary, but a hindrance: a perfect state. A "river" and "water" are mentioned, Revelation 22:1-2, probably literal (i:e., with such changes of the natural properties as correspond analogically to man's own transfigured body), as well as symbolical. The sea was once the element of the world's destruction, and is still death to thousands; whence, at the general judgment, it is specially said, "the sea gave up her dead." Then it shall cease to destroy or disturb: removed on account of its past destruction.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-21.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XXI.

THE FINAL REGENERATION.—ALL THINGS NEW: NEW HEAVENS NEW EARTH NEW JERUSALEM (Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:5).

THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH.

(1) And I saw a new heaven . . .—The hope of the renewal and restitution of all things had been long cherished. Earlier prophets had sanctioned the hope: Isaiah had told of new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65:17); Ezekiel had closed his prophecy with the splendid vision of a renewed land of promise (Ezekiel 40-48); Christ Himself had spoken of the era which He inaugurated as the regeneration (Matthew 19:28); His followers soon caught the truth that the outcome of the gospel age would be the realisation of all those marvellous visions with which prophets had sustained the fainting hopes of the people of God. The hope was not to be for ever receding as new height after height was surmounted. It will not always be said, “The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth” (Ezekiel 12:22). The fulfilment may seem to tarry; the unbelieving might doubt or scoff (Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:4); but those who felt that the gospel was a power of spiritual regeneration, making all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17), learned to look forward to the widest and fullest restoration, and to expect new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). The characteristic word which runs throughout the description is the word “new.” All things are to be made new: the heavens and earth are new; the Jerusalem is new. There are two words which are translated new in our English version: one of these (neos) relates to time; the other (kainos) relates to quality. The one would be applied to what had recently come into existence; the other to what showed fresh features. The tomb, for example, in which our Lord’s body was laid was new, not in the sense that it had been recently hewn out of the rock, but in the sense that it had never been used before; it may have been long made, but it was one wherein never man was yet laid. To describe it the second word (kainos) is used (Matthew 27:60 and John 19:41). In the same way, the wine-skins (called “bottles” in our English version) required for the new wine were not necessarily wine-skins only just prepared for service, but they were skins which had not grown withered, but retained their freshness and elasticity. Here, again, the second word (kainos) is employed to describe them. Now, it is this latter word which is used throughout this chapter, and, indeed, throughout the book of Revelation. The newness which is pictured is the newness of freshness: the old, decaying, enfeebling, and corrupting elements are swept away. The aspects and features which will surround the inhabitants of that new earth will be full of novelty to satisfy the progressive instincts of our nature; but the imagery no less conveys the assurance that the conservative instinct, which clings to what is old, and finds sanctity in the past, will not be disregarded. All things may be new, full of fresh and fair beauty; but all things will not be strange; there must be some correspondency between the old and the new, when the new things are called new heavens, new earth, new Jerusalem. The description is figurative, but the spirit of it implies that in the restitution age the sweetness of things loved and familiar will blend with the charm of all that is fresh and new.

And there was no more sea.—Or, better, And the sea is (exists) not any more. Among the more detailed features of the new earth, this obliteration of the sea stands first. It is strange that so many commentators should vacillate between literal and figurative interpretations of the chapter; the ornaments and decorations of the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10-21) are treated as symbolical; the annihilation of the sea is considered as literal. It is wiser to leave the literal meaning to the future, and to grasp the spiritual teachings, which are of infinite and present interest, The sea has played an important part in the symbolism of the book: out of the sea rose the wild beast (Revelation 13:1); the purple-clad Babylon sat enthroned upon many waters (Revelation 17:1); the restless, tumultuous ocean, now discordant with its clamorous waves, now flooding the earth in confederate force; the troubled sea of evil, which cannot rest, and casts up but mire and dirt (Isaiah 57:21), is no more to be found on the face of that earth, or near that city whose peace is as a river, and whose righteousness as the waves of the sea (Isaiah 48:18), and whose inhabitants are delivered from “the waves of this troublesome world.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-21.html. 1905.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

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--21:1.

The new conditions of the earth and of the sea did not signify abolition of the old order of governments, nor the formation of new secular and political powers. The earth throughout the apocalypse referred to the place of the nations, with particular reference to Palestine; and the placid or tossed sea referred to the state of society; and the word heaven denoted the existing authorities of government. The new heaven and earth, and the trouble sea, having passed away and represented as being no more, indicated the changed conditions within the existing governments and society to make them favorable for the prosperity of the cause of Christ and his church throughout the empire. The old system of Judaism had been removed and the opposition of heathenism had been overcome ; and the vision represented new conditions to surround the church in the changed world.

The word new has various connotations. It may refer to that which has never been used; or to a thing of late date and recent origin; or to something novel and strange; or simply to something else, another possession, relation or state. In this context the evident meaning of the new earth was that the surroundings were prepared and made favorable for the expansion of the kingdom of Christ, made possible by the removal of Judaism, the Jewish theocracy and the Jewish state. The literal Jerusalem was no more.

The armies of Nero and Vespasian had laid waste the old Jerusalem and Judea; and on the rocks of the Aegean sea John envisioned the forward march of the church, the expansion of the kingdom of Christ, and the spread of the gospel to "the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

This phrase, new heaven and new earth, was not new in scripture terminology. The Old Testament prophets referred to Israel's return from Babylon and their restoration to their own land of Judea as to them a "new heaven and new earth." (Isaiah 65: 17--66:22; Ezekiel 11: 19--36:26-36). To the Corinthians the apostle Paul described the new state in Christ as the old things having passed away--referring to the new spiritual relation to Christ in the new covenant versus the old fleshly Israelism of the old covenant. (2 Corinthians 5:17) To the scattered Jerusalem church the apostle Peter adapted that phrase in his exhortation to look for the heavenly reward in the eternal world. (2 Peter 3:13) In the apocalypse the apostle John applied the same phrase to the emergence of the church from the tribulation period.

The figurative use of the sea has a natural connection. The creator has secured and fortified the natural world by the divisions of the earth, with the interposition of vast expanses of water as barriers to conquest. This barrier in society was figuratively removed for the conquest of Christ through the expansion of the gospel--there would no longer exist separating barriers between the people of the earth. Christianity without the restraint of heathen government would become universal, as the prophet declared: "for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as waters cover the sea." It is significant that this prophecy of Isaiah was uttered in the context of the eleventh chapter dealing with the prevalence of the gospel under the rule and reign of Christ; and it was quoted by Paul in his epistle to the Romans (chapter 15:12) as being fulfilled in that time.

The heavenly city, new Jerusalem, symbolic of the victorious church was visualized as having been withdrawn from the scene of the removal and destruction of the old Jerusalem; but now that the old order had passed away with the disappearance of its city and sanctuary; the church having survived annihilation, the new Jerusalem was seen as descending from heaven. The new earth represented the renovation of old conditions; and the vision that thereafter there should be no more sea meant no more such sea as that from which the beast had emerged. The vision meant that a new state had been wrought by the truth, by the word of the Conqueror whose name was The Word, by which sword all foes had been vanquished; and there was no more the tossed and troubled sea of tribulation.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-21.html. 1966.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
a new
5; Isaiah 65:17-19; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13
for
20:11
and there
13:1; Isaiah 27:1; 57:20; Daniel 7:3
Reciprocal: Job 14:12 - till the heavens;  Psalm 24:4 - pure;  Psalm 102:26 - They shall;  Ecclesiastes 1:9 - and there;  Isaiah 51:11 - and sorrow;  Isaiah 64:4 - have not;  Micah 4:1 - the mountain;  Matthew 16:18 - shall not;  Luke 16:17 - it;  Romans 8:19 - expectation;  2 Corinthians 5:17 - old;  Hebrews 1:11 - shall perish;  Hebrews 12:27 - signifieth;  2 Peter 3:7 - the heavens;  2 Peter 3:10 - in the which;  Revelation 21:4 - the former

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-21.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH.

Revelation 21:1. — The Seer relates a new vision: "I saw a new Heaven and a new earth." Both are made new, and adapted to the vast moral and physical changes which the eternal state necessitates. The "new Heaven" is for the raised and changed saints; the "new earth" is to form the habitation of those who during the millennial reign were alive on the earth — those companies described in Revelation 7:1-17; Revelation 14:1, etc. Thus, even in eternity, the everlasting distinction is preserved between the heavenly and earthly peoples of God. However close the connection they will never be united or merged in one (see Ephesians 3:15, R.V.).

The "new Heaven" in our text must not be confounded with the Heaven of Heavens, the dwelling of God. This latter subsists in moral and physical perfection, and undergoes no change.

All is new. All is according to God in His nature. All is fixed. No economic changes now. We are introduced into God's everlasting rest, into God‘s unchanging state, one of absolute perfection. We have not here the Lamb and the fulfilment of counsel and prophecy, nor the mediatorial kingdom and the reign of righteousness, but the kingdom given up, and God all in all (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Time distinctions, geographical boundaries, and limitations as at present entirely disappear in the grand eternal state, which, whether in Heaven or earth, displays the energy of God Himself. The "new Heaven" and "new earth," the respective spheres of all the saved, shall be brought into blessed harmony with what God is. This is the state referred to by Isaiah 66:22, and Peter's second Epistle 3: 13, a state in which righteousness shall dwell, not reign as in millennial times. Neither enemy nor evil shall invade either of the spheres where the redeemed will for ever dwell. Every one and everything will re-echo the glad refrain, God is light and God is love.

1. — "For the first Heaven and the first earth had passed away." The undoubted reference is to the statement in the previous chapter. "From whose face the earth and the Heaven fled away" (v. 11). This dissolution, not annihilation, is effected by fire (2 Peter 3:10). Scripture is silent as to any future act of creating material in a literal sense, and is equally silent on what some foolishly contend for, namely, annihilation or total extinction of being. Scripture knows nothing of such a baseless theory. Not an atom of matter, not a blade of grass, and surely not a sentient being in the wide universe is doomed to extinction. Our planet will be put in the crucible, altered, changed, and made new, to abide for ever. There being no sin, there can be no corruption. The new earth is eternal. The terms "first Heaven" and "first earth" are in contrast to the "new Heaven" and "new earth."

NO MORE SEA.

1. — "And the sea is no more." The continuity of the earth, the same in substance after the deluge and after its destruction by fire, seems evident. It exists, but as remade.{*The earth exists after the passing away of Heaven and earth (Revelation 20:11-13). It cannot therefore signify cessation of existence, but means that in its then present condition it passes away, not that the thing itself becomes extinct, but certain time conditions cease, to give place to others of a permanent kind. A distinguished geologist has written, "I confess myself unable to find any evidence for it (extinction of our planet) in Nature, Reason, or Scripture."} "The sea is no more." This great, restless, destructive, and separating element of nature shall cease to exist. The sea, now essential to animal and vegetable life on earth, is not needed in God's eternity. He is not only the source of life as He ever was and is, but is then the direct sustainer of it. The sea exists in the millennial age. There we read of nations, and seas, and rivers,{* Nations as such can have no place in the eternal state, for these were the fruit of governmental judgment (Genesis 11:1-9). The first nine verses of chapter 11 of Genesis historically precede chapter 10, and really account for the existence of the many nations mentioned in that important historical chapter. Then in the great change which Scripture refers to as "The Regeneration" (Matthew 19:28), commonly spoken of as the millennium, we read of the dead sea, or east sea (Ezekiel 47:1-23). The great sea, or the Mediterranean, is also referred to in that same interesting millennial chapter. (See Zechariah 14:8; Psalms 72:8; Joel 3:18, etc.).} but in the eternal state these no longer exist. It is God and men, and an earth without sea, all brought into ordered subjection. The conditions of life are so different in the everlasting state that time conditions of life and happiness are no longer needed. No sea in the new and eternal earth gives, of course, an immensely extended land surface, far exceeding that which presently exists. The countless hosts of saved Jews and Gentiles on earth during the millennial reign shall then people the new earth, but not, we apprehend, in any distinctive or national sense, but simply as men in direct relation to God.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-21.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

General remarks. When this and the next chapter are being considered, it is usually asked if the statements are literal or figurative. And as a rule no distinction is made between the righteous and the wicked when asking the question. Evidently a distinction should be made since the conditions of the persons themselves will not be the same. At any rate we do not have the specific information concerning that of the wicked that we do of the righteous. Therefore I believe it will be well to offer some remarks on this matter before taking up the verses. It is known that the Bible uses both literal and figurative language all through the volume, which is true of most compositions of literature. It is also true that a statement might be made of some truth or fact that could be correctly applied in either way, depending on how the statement is worded. For instance it might be declared of a certain thing that it is dead. But that might be said of its personal being and mean that it is dead because the life has actually gone out of it. Or it might be declared to be dead because the whole being is separated from something else, the word "death" meaning a separation. But if the statement is made from the former standpoint the meaning would be literal, and if from the other the figurative sense should be understood.It will be necessary, therefore, to consider the context in specific passages in determining which form of language is used.

There is no direct information nor promise for the wicked to have a spiritual or glorious body after the resurrection. Any positive aflirmation that may be made on this matter must be done in the absence of any declaration in the Bible. As far as the promises or information are concerned, the wicked will go into the next world with the same kind of bodies they had when they left this world. That is not so concerning those who die in Christ, or there are many passages that promise them a body that will be changed from a fleshly to a spiritual character. Hence it is an unavoidable conclusion that the future circumstances of the righteous must be the kind that can be experienced and enjoyed by a person who is wholly spiritual. Then a logical question may be asked as to why the Lord would use language that is apparently literal if it must be understood figuratively. It is in order to bring the divine thoughts to within the human understanding. Isaiah 55:9 says of God: "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." If the thoughts of God are that much higher than those of Prayer of Manasseh, had He clothed his thoughts in language correspondingly high, then man never could have comprehended them. For that reason the heavenly thoughts are expresed in human terms. Accordingly Paul says, "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh" ( Romans 6:19). Man would have no other way of appreciating a description of the future after this life except by such a form of speech. Even the inspired apostle John did not know what we will be in the next life ( 1 John 3:2). Hence in giving man a description of the eternal state of the righteous, it is often contrasted with things we dislike and compared with what we enjoy. And even such illustrations may be relative only, for a thing may be desirable from one standpoint and undesirable from another. To cite a single instance we are told that "there shall be no night there." That is said from the standpoint that we prefer the daylight to darkness. And yet from another we might think favorably of the night because it brings us the cooling atmosphere and the time of rest. And so all of these thoughts should be observed when considering the two chapters now before us. I will offer another suggestion before starting into the comments on the verses.

God never exaggerates the truth, and in giving us a description of the future condition of mankind, He has not made it look any stronger than it actually will be. If the description of the fate of the lost is figurative only, then What will be the literal state? Likewise, if the home of the soul as described in these chapters is pictured in figurative language only, then how wonderful the real situtation will be! In the words of the song: "We speak of the realms of the blest, that country so bright and so fair; and oft are its glories confessed, but what must it be to be there! We speak of its pathways of gold, of its walls decked with jewels so rare; of its wonders and pleasures untold, but what must it be to be there!" And thus on the basis of the foregoing paragraphs, I shall try to explain the various descriptions given in these closing chapters of the great Book.

Verse1. New heaven and a new earth. The heavens means the atmospheric region surrounding the earth and is a part of the same unit in creation. The home of the redeemed is called by the phrase "heaven and earth" because that is the present kind of home man lives in. If we were birds instead of men the vision would have showed John a "new nest." This new heaven and earth is what Jesus means in Matthew 5:5 where He says, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." It is the one Peter is looking for when he says, "We, Acts - cording to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteouness" ( 2 Peter 3:13). No more sea. This is an instance of a kind referred to in the general remarks, where the application must be made upon the basis of the context. In some respects we can think of the sea in a favorable light, with its wondrous treasures and submarine plants. and the innumerable varieties of food to gratify our appetites. But we know the vision is to show something desirable on the basis of contrast, and that makes us think of the ceaseless unrest and destructive billows that engulf men and ships,

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-21.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 21:1

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.

The glory and happiness of the church of God on earth prophesied by Isaiah 60:1-22 I the LORD will hasten it in his time;( in Christ's time) is here revealed to John in this vision of the new heaven and the new earth, which he saw, whereby is signified the world to come, { Hebrews 2:5} in contradistinction to this world. { Matthew 12:32; Ephesians 1:21} God promised the primitive saints, that he would create new heavens, and a new earth, { Isaiah 65:17-18; Isaiah 66:22} and therefore the latter day saints do, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, { 2 Peter 3:13}

For the first heavens and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

So the apostle St. Peter testified, { 2 Peter 3:13} Nevertheless we according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. By the sea, we are to understand the gathering together of the multitude of many waters, as Genesis 1:10. And by the waters, upon which the whore satteth, we may understand, people, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues, { Revelation 17:15} called the See of Rome; so the See of Canterbury, and the See of York: Whereby is figured the rage, troubles and persecutions, stirred up by the wind of unsound and popish doctrine of the church of Rome, as Isaiah 57:20.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-21.html.

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

The first verse of the chapter gives us the key to what follows: "And I saw a new heaven (beside real heavens) and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."

This reference to the passing of the old earth and heavens is sufficient to show that we are dealing with things beyond the resurrection and final judgment.

We find in II Peter, chapter3, a similar reference. The day of the Lord will come as a thief, the heavens shall pass away, the earth shall be burned up; nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Peter is quite probably referring to this twenty-first chapter of Revelation; however, they agree as to the facts, in placing the new heavens and earth after the first have "passed away," or been "burned up." Here is the evident antithesis between what we call "this world" and the "next world."

That there should be "no more sea," fitly expresses a condition of the heavenly life. The sea to the ancients was not so much expressive of majesty and grandeur, as something dangerous, destructive, restless. Isaiah says: "The wicked are like the troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." But that heavenly life will be calm and peaceful, no storms to break, no uncanny dangers to lurk and threaten.

What cosmical changes are involved in the conception here presented, what siderial and systemic reconstruction, is a subject not involved in the interpretation of this book and on which it is wise not to speculate.

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Harold Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Verse1.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away; and the sea was no more." John was a prisoner on the island of Patmos. The sea separated him from his friends. John expressed the joy that there will be no barriers separating us from one another in heaven by saying "The sea was no more." But also, we recall that "the sea" has been used all through the book of Revelation as a symbol of the restless, turbulent worldliness of people and races that rolls its barriers between the dwellings of God"s people (chapter specifically states "The sea is peoples, and multitudes and nations and tongues.") It was out of "the sea" that the wild beast arose in13:1.

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Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 21:1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For, the first heaven and the first earth were passed away,[Note: The reading ἀ πῆ λθον or ἀ πῆ λθαν, for παρῆ λθεν has probably been derived from Revelation 21:4. Passing by in the sense of vanishing, is an Old Testament expression ( עבר), which in the Apocalypse has the advantage of originality on its side. It is found also in 1 John 2:8 and Revelation 21:17, "and the world passes away ( παρά γεται) and the lust thereof." This latter passage, with which also 1 Corinthians 7:31 is to be compared, perfectly accords also in meaning. From all analogies it may be presumed, that John alludes to the word of our Lord in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, ( παρελεύ σεται)," as Peter does also in 2 Peter 3:10, rather than that the copyists had introduced the reference to that passage.] and the sea is no more. The new heaven and the new earth is first mentioned by Isaiah in Isaiah 65:17, "For, behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor will it come into mind"—a passage, to which Isaiah 66:22 refers, and of which we may regard what is said respecting the earth in Isaiah 11, as but the expansion. The fundamental passage in the New Testament is 2 Peter 3:13, "But we, according to his promise (in Isaiah 65:17, Isaiah 66:22) look for a new heaven anda new earth, in which righteousness dwells." In substance the regeneration corresponds, or the renewing of the world in Matthew 19:28. There is a presupposition of the new heaven and the new earth in the renewing, of which the apostle speaks in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all is become new." As the corruption began with persons, and then passed over to the other parts of creation, the renewing also must proceed in the same way. In the germ, therefore, there is to be seen the new heaven and the new earth in the first appearance of Christ, and the new powers of life brought into operation in him and conferred on the human race. The commission of his militant church for centuries has been to rear occupants for the new earth, citizens for the new Jerusalem.

The announcement of the new heaven and the new earth joins on immediately to ch. Revelation 20:11, where the destruction of the present heaven and the present earth was predicted; a connection to which the words, "for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away," expressly points. In regard to the desolations which sin has effected on the old earth and heavens, comp. what was said on the passage referred to. Only these desolations vanish, the kernel remains. Berleb. Bible: "Nature will not be annihilated, but purified; all corruption shall be abolished; the work of God himself remains, and is merely set free from its dross. It will be such a change as may fitly enough be called a destruction of what previously existed. For the change shall not be a small, but an entire one." That the subject of discourse should be simply, without any further explanation, a new heaven and a new earth, shews quite plainly how deeply the effects of sin have been imprinted on the heavens and the earth.

De Wette thinks, that "a limitation of the renewal is to be found in the circumstance, that the fiery lake of hell belonging to the old world still continues." Zllig, however, remarks on the other hand, "that this is not a mark of incompleteness, but an eternal testimony to the divine righteousness, and for the friends of God a thought fitted to quicken their sense of deliverance and of the happier condition appointed to them." Evil, in its state of absolute restraint, is no longer a witness against the better world. All the complaints of the righteous regarding the state of matters on the old earth. proceed not on the existence alone of evil, but on the freedom, with which it is allowed to operate. The final hell, the lake of fire, which belongs not at all to the old, but only to the new world, serves not less for the glorification of God, than the new Jerusalem. The damned weep the praise of God, as the elect sing his praise.

Vitringa and others would understand by the new heaven and the new earth "a renewal of the state of the church," a completion of the Reformation. Against this view, however, which greatly weakens and evacuates the meaning of the words, ch. Revelation 20:11 is alone quite decisive. Bengel: "The former heaven and the former earth has passed away in flight at the last day from the presence of him, who sat upon the throne, ch. Revelation 20:11. And just as in ch. Revelation 20:15 it was unfolded, where those shall go, who were not found written in the book of life, so it is now related, where those are to be sent, who are written in that book, Revelation 21:27."

The sea is the sea of the peoples, the wicked restless world—comp. at ch. Revelation 20:13. That passage throws light on the one before us. According to it, along with the sea, there also vanishes from the creation the Cainite spirit of brotherly hatred, which led men to kill one another (comp. ch. Revelation 6:4). By it sea and death are inseparably connected with each other. There is no longer any sea, after every one who is not written in the book of life, has been cast into the lake of fire (ch. Revelation 20:15). The sea disappears along with the wicked (Isaiah 57:20). The vanishing of the merely natural sea, which is not referred to in any other part of Scripture, would not be in its proper place here, even if it were actually to happen. The natural sea belongs, according to Genesis 1 to creation in its original state, whereas here that alone is removed from heaven and earth, which was the effect of sin. It is the sea that most of all occupies a prominent place in the praises found in the Old Testament respecting the Creator's greatness,—comp. for example Psalms 104:25-26.

Revelation 21:2. And the holy city,[Note: Luther (And I John saw) follows the not sufficiently supported reading: καὶ ἐ γὼ ιωά ννης εἶ δον, which has come from ch. 22:8, and against which Bengel remarks: Textua ipse coelum novum, terram novam, Jerusalem novam arctissime connectit.] the new Jerusalem, I saw come down out of heaven, from God,[Note: Luther has, from God out of heaven. The reading here, ἀ πὸ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐ κ τοῦ ὀ υρανοῦ is a consequence of the false reading in ch. 20:9.] prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. First the new heaven and the new earth is mentioned, then the new Jerusalem. Farther, the new heaven and the new earth already stand before the internal eye, while the new Jerusalem first comes down before the eyes of the Seer. By the two it is indicated, that the former is the condition of the latter. Hence they are guilty of folly, who expect on the old earth a triumphant and glorious church. The holy city—so is the church of the future world named here and in ch. Revelation 22:19, because she shines forth in the splendour of her virtues (comp. on ch. Revelation 19:8) and of the glory lent her by God (comp. on the subject of the glory at ch. Revelation 4:8). This predicate was applied even to the old Jerusalem, the church in her militant state (comp. ch. Revelation 11:2); but it belongs to the new in so surpassing, transcendent a sense, that it is called simpliciter the holy city. In Isaiah 52:1, Jerusalem is called the holy city in the sense of the august and glorious, and in regard to its glorified state after the appearance of salvation.

The new Jerusalem. A threefold Jerusalem is peculiar to the New Testament. First, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22, comp. Revelation 11:10; Revelation 11:16, Revelation 13:14), or the Jerusalem that is above, (Galatians 4:26) the heavenly community of the righteous. Then a Jerusalem here below, in the present life, the church in her militant state. Finally, the new Jerusalem on the glorified earth, with the introduction of which the two others vanish, which has in common with the first its heavenly character, and with the second a dwelling on the earth. Berleb. Bible, "The Jerusalem above comes down to that which is below; but that here below has become quite changed."In the Revelation, the heavenly Zion is mentioned with its 144,000 of perfectly righteous (ch. Revelation 14:1-5); the militant church is indirectly denoted as Jerusalem (comp. on ch. Revelation 11:2); the holy city (ch. Revelation 20:9); the beloved city; but John has reserved the name Jerusalem for the new Jerusalem, of which it is used, besides here, in Revelation 21:10, and in ch. Revelation 3:12. It never once denotes the militant church, much less that lifeless corpse, the literal Jerusalem.[Note: It goes hand in hand with this, that John in the Gospel never call the literal Jerusalem ἱ ερουσαλή μ, the original Old Testament, sacred form, but always ἱ ερουσά λυμα, the heathenish, Grecianised form, made as it were by art (comp. ch. 1:19, 2:13, 4:45, 5:1, 2). Bengel: "It is not without a reason that John in his Gospel always writes ἱ ερουσά λυμα, when referring to the ancient city; in the Apocalypse always ἱ ερουσαλή μ, of the heavenly city; the latter is the Hebrew term, original and more sacred; the other, at that time common, Grecian, more polished. Paul makes the same distinction when refuting the Judaizers in Galatians 4:26, comp. with 1:17, 2:1, Hebrews 12:22, although elsewhere he speaks promiscuously, and as a mark of respect and favour uses ἱ ερουσαλή μ when writing to the Romans and Corinthians."]

The new Jerusalem, as distinguished from "the beloved city" in ch. Revelation 20:9, which is on all sides warred against and beleaguered—the militant church. That the new Jerusalem, which is as much as the glorified Jerusalem, forms the contrast to this, not to the literal Jerusalem, is evident from this simple consideration, that the latter is never mentioned in the Apocalypse, while the militant church is indirectly represented as Jerusalem in the passages already referred to. Add to this, that the new Jerusalem is mentioned for the consolation of those who groaned under the oppression of the sufferings that befel the militant church, and not because of the loss of the literal Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem, besides, is always mentioned in connection with the coming down. Never is the heavenly Jerusalem as such designated by the name of the new Jerusalem. It is the new Jerusalem only in so far as it comes in place of the old. All is not new in heaven. The new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God. That the city comes actually down to the earth, that it is not merely inclined toward it, in order to be more distinctly perceived by the Seer (as has been supposed in a false view of such passages as John 14:2, where the many mansions in the house of the Father are only the provisional abodes of safety for believers[Note: Also what is said in Philippians 3:20, ἡμῶν γὰρ τὸ πολίτευμα ἐν οὐρανοῖς ὑπάρχει is, according to the same verse and Revelation 21:21, only of temporary force. For with the change of the mortal body into the body of glory the kingdom of God comes down from heaven to the earth.]), appears from Revelation 21:10 and the connection with the new earth, and specially the vanishing of the sea in Revelation 21:1.

The new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven in a double respect. First, in so far as till then the great number of its citizens, the just made perfect, had been preserved in heaven for their future inheritance upon earth. In this respect the coming down from heaven here corresponds to the ascending up to heaven in ch. Revelation 11:12 (comp. in regard to the double stage of blessedness in the Apocalypse, the first the heavenly, the second the earthly, at ch. Revelation 20:5). The descending of the new Jerusalem from heaven upon earth forms the counterpart to the removal of the ungodly out of the provisional state of misery into the final, to their being cast into the lake of fire, ch. Revelation 20:13-15. Then again it does so, in so far as the church of the future has its origin in God, who makes all things new, Revelation 21:5. There is an intentional correspondence with ch. Revelation 20:9, "and fire came down from heaven and consumed them." That coming down out of heaven from God prepares the way for this, and is its essential pre-requisite.

Bengel: "It comes down from God, and still his throne is in the city, and he himself is with men therein, Revelation 21:3, ch. Revelation 22:3."

The preparation refers partly to the glorious virtues with which she is adorned, and in whose lustre she shines forth (comp. on ch. Revelation 19:7-8), partly to the glorious distinctions with which she is furnished by God, as they are more fully and particularly unfolded in Revelation 21:9, sq. The "prepared," etc., corresponds to the holy at the beginning. In Isaiah 61:10 the church says in the day of salvation, "I rejoice in the Lord, and my soul is joyful in my God. For he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of righteousness covered me, as a bridegroom adorned with priestly ornament, and as a bride, who bedecks herself with jewels." There the glory of the future state is already compared to the ornamented apparel of a wedding-season.

According to ch. Revelation 22:5, "And they shall reign for ever," there can be no doubt that this form of the church is the last. We are led also to infer the same from the glory of the description, which excludes all further advance.[Note: Bengel: "It is not the new city of the millennium, but one perfectly new and eternal, as is shewn by the series of visions, the magnificence of the description, and the contrast in regard to the second death, ch. 20:11, 12; 21:1, 2, 5, 8, 9; 22:5."]

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-21.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. The final glorious awardthe new heaven and earth, Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:5.

a. Visible descent of the New Jerusalem to the new earth, Revelation 21:1-4.

1.And—The old world—this our present earth—disappeared before the approach of the judgment throne, (Revelation 20:11.) The new celestial earth now forms the visional scene. Over its broad surface sin and pain are no more, and a sorrowless immortality reigns. But the greatest glory of the new earth is its central metropolis. It is not the old antichristic Babylon— quite the reverse; nor is it even the old Jerusalem, real or mystical, for that has gone with the old earth. But it is one which comes, in complete structure, down from God himself, from above the firmament. It is made up of materials the most glorious that thought can conceive. It is lighted, not by lamp or by sun, but by the glory of the present divine Essence; and as that neither faints nor fails, there is no night, but one ever-glorious day. Into this, their divine metropolis, the nations of the saved over the universal surface bring, not trade and manufactures, but their glory and honour.

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The immortal health and youth of the heavenly populations is secured by the following divine provision. In, as we may say, the city park, is the divine throne. From its front goes forth a very broad street. And through the length of the street there flows a crystalline river, with rows of trees on each side. The fruit of this tree and the waters of this river are immortalizing. And as these flow from the throne so the stream of man’s heavenly perpetuity flows from the immortal God. The description, and indeed the whole apocalypse proper, closes at Revelation 22:5.

I saw—The narrative is continuous with the last preceding chapter. That is, it is a description, not, as some maintain, of the gospel state, commencing with the first advent and closing with the second; nor, especially, is it a picture of the thousand millennial years of Satan’s imprisonment, as others maintain: but it is a shadowing of the post-judgment eternal state of the blessed, the final glorification—HEAVEN. For, 1. Such is the proper assumption. The writer’s order of narration must not be changed but for good assignable reason. We hold it for a fixed law, that the entire train of events of the seventh trumpet is invariably consecutive, admitting of no transposition. 2. Death exists during the millennial period; for it is not destroyed until the resurrection and judgment, Revelation 20:14. But in these chapters death does not exist, Revelation 21:4. These chapters, therefore, describe not the millennium, but the post-resurrection and post-judgment state. 3. If these two chapters are supposed to describe the millennium of Revelation 20:3-6, then the apocalyptic narrative closes very tamely with the eternal penalty of the wicked at Revelation 20:15, with no correspondent description of the eternal reward of the righteous. It possesses no well-rounded close, and a required antithesis is lost. On the contrary, the consecutive interpretation closes the apocalypse and the New Testament with a glorious termination. The Bible, which opens with the fall of man, closes with the final restoration. It finishes by leading us to, and leaving us in, glory. Where should the word of salvation leave us but in heaven?

A new heaven and a new earthA new land beneath, a new sky above. The land is seen and supposed, stretching to an indefinite extent, and capable of being, in thought, a boundless, varied plain, or even a globe.

No more sea—Dusterdieck collects a curious variety of opinions as to there being no more sea in the new world. Besides those commentators who hold the sea to be a figurative term for peoples, Andreas held that the cessation of the difficulty of distant locomotion and of the necessity of navigation renders the sea needless; Beda held that the sea would be destroyed by the final conflagration; De Wette and Luthardt, that, as the old world sprang from water, the new springs from fire; Ewald, that the idea of the abolition of the sea arises from horror of the sea in the minds of the inland peoples, as the ancient Israelites, Egyptians, and Indians; Zullig, that paradise was without a sea; Volkmar, that the sea and the abyss, or “bottomless pit,” being connected, neither belong to the new state. Finally, Dusterdieck holds that St. John means simply that the sea disappeared with the rest of the old world. Heaven, earth, and sea, he thinks, departed together, and whether a new sea appeared in the new world or not is not said. Most of these opinions are consistent with each other, and we think correct. We agree with Dusterdieck, that the triad, heaven, earth, and sea, disappear together; but the special phrase, and the sea was no more, seems to indicate that it had no existence in the new state. This accords with the other views; of Ewald, as to the ancient aversion to the sea; of Andreas, that its navigation uses were no more; and of Volkmar, that sea and abyss alike belonged not to the new system.

 

 

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-21.html. 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

1. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. New – in the sense of being radically changed. [KAINOS, not NEOS, “entirely new, unused”] Creation is to be set free from its slavery to decay (Romans 8:21). Our present universe is to be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). But God has promised new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Acts 3:21).

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 21:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-21.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.