Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:13

There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Gates;   Jerusalem;   Readings, Select;   Thompson Chain Reference - Future, the;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Home;   The Topic Concordance - Jerusalem;   Newness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jerusalem;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Create, Creation;   Dead Sea Scrolls;   Elder;   Jesus Christ;   New Jerusalem;   Touch;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Wall;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Noah;   Revelation of John, the;   Thousand Years;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Art and Aesthetics;   Heaven;   Heavenly City, the;   Number Systems and Number Symbolism;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Gate;   Magi ;   New Jerusalem;   Numbers;   West ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gate;   Lamb;   North;   Numbers as Symbols;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gareb;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Apostle;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Revelation of John:;   South;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eschatology;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

On the east three gates - The city is here represented as standing to the four cardinal points of heaven, and presenting one side to each of these points.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

On the east three gates … - The city was square Revelation 21:16, and the same number of gates is assigned to each quarter. There does not appear to be any special significancy in this fact, unless it be to denote that there is access to this city from all quarters of the world, and that they who dwell there will have come from each of the great divisions of the earth - that is, from every land,

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-21.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

On the east three gates,.... On which were written the names of Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan:

on the north three gates; on which were written the names of Reuben, Judah, and Levi:

on the south three gates; on which were written the names of Simeon, Issachar, and Zabulon:

and on the west three gates; on which were written the names of Gad, Asher, and Naphtali; see Ezekiel 48:31. This denotes the collection of the saints from all parts of the world, who shall come from east, west, north, and south, and sit down in the kingdom of God; and therefore here are gates at every point to enter in at; see Isaiah 43:5.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-21.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

on the south — A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, “And on the north and on the south.” In Ezekiel, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan (for which Manasseh is substituted in Revelation 7:6), are on the east (Ezekiel 48:32); Reuben, Judah, Levi, are on the north (Ezekiel 48:31); Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, on the south (Ezekiel 48:33); Gad, Asher, Naphtali, on the west (Ezekiel 48:34). In Numbers, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun are on the east (Numbers 2:3, Numbers 2:5, Numbers 2:7). Reuben, Simeon, Gad, on the south (Numbers 2:10, Numbers 2:12, Numbers 2:14). Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, on the west (Numbers 2:18, Numbers 2:20, Numbers 2:22). Dan, Asher, Naphtali, on the north (Numbers 2:25, Numbers 2:27, Numbers 2:29).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "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

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

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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 21:13". "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

East ( ἀνατολῆς )

See on Matthew 2:2, and see on day-spring, Luke 1:78. See the tribes arranged by gates in Ezekiel 48:31-34.

West ( δυσμῶν )

Lit., the goings down or settings.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "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.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

Ver. 13. On the east three gates] The Church is collected and heaven filled from all quarters of the earth. Hence it is by one compared to the Samaritan’s inn ( πανδοχειον), because it recciveth and lodgeth all strangers that come. In the synagogue there was not lodging for all; the Ammonites and the Moabites were excluded the congregation of Israel. But Christ was born in an inn, to signify that in his kingdom all may be entertained. He is called the second Adam; the Greek letters of which name (as Cyprian noteth) do severally signify all the quarters of the earth. {a} His garments were divided into four parts, because out of what coast or part soever we come (saith a divine) Christ hath garments to clothe us, and room to receive us. There are those who have observed that the name of God in all the chief languages consisteth of four letters (as יהוה θεος, Deus, Dieu, Gott, & c.), to intimate that he hath his people in all the four quarters of the earth, out of all countries, nations, and languages.

{a} α ανατολη, δ δυσις, α αρκτος, ΄ μεσηυβρια.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-21.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:13

The Gates of the Church.

I. The Church stands in a very definite and imperative relation to the Churches and the whole community about it. There can be no more thorough reversal of the idea of the Church than that its life, and work, and relations are within itself. It is indeed right that a Church should be well knit together, a body fitly joined and compacted, every part working effectually, increasing its body, and edifying itself in love. It has a life of its own, a work within itself, a growth from within to secure, a witness to bear by its own harmonious and righteous order. But when this is done, the Church is simply on the threshold of its larger duties and relations; it has so far only made itself effective for that distinctively Christian work that belongs to it. For of all institutions in the world the Church is an institution that stands in vital and binding relations to what is outside of it. It may lie four-square and have all harmony of proportion within itself, but it must also have gates open on all sides, or it is no heavenly city.

II. The Church links the community to the nation. No Church fulfils its idea that does not do this. Every conception of the Church that can be drawn from Holy Scripture points to an identification of the Church and the nation. Such was the Church at the beginning, and such it will be in the end: a holy city, in whose light the nations of the saved shall walk, and into which they will bring their glory and honour. The relation may never again be formal, but more and more will it become real. The only reason why in the unfolding of society Church and State may be formally separate is because the State is becoming moral and is working out those principles of righteousness, and mercy, and humanity for which the Church stands, separate, but coming under the same eternal laws and labouring for the same ends.

III. The Church stands in a vital relation to the past of its own history.

IV. The Church stands in near and definite relation to the Church of all ages.

V. The Church is linked to the Christian ages, to the true line of progress and to the truth that is worked out by the ages.

VI. The Church has a still higher relation. It is linked to the Churches and the community about it, to the nation, to its own past history, to the Church in all ages, and to the whole course of human society behind and forward. The abiding and all-determining relation of the Church is its relation to God and eternity.

T. T. Munger, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxix., p. 1.


Reference: Revelation 21:14.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 534.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-21.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

To signify it was made up of persons from all parts of the world. This agreeth with Ezekiel’s vision, Ezekiel 48:31-34. The triumphant church will be a collection of believers, who from all nations have come into it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-21.html. 1685.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

on the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

East ... north ... south ... west ... The order of the mention of these is intriguing:

In Numbers 2:3ff, the tribes are arranged in a square, the sides of which look ESWN, in Ezekiel NESW, in Revelation ENSW, a change that seems deliberate.[33]

"Both John and Ezekiel seem deliberately to have avoided having the gates in the order observed in the astrology of the day."[34]

[33] Ibid.

[34] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 187.

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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 21:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-21.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Evidently geographical directions will exist in the new creation as they do in the old, suggesting that space will exist throughout eternity as well as time (cf. Revelation 20:10). Which names will be on which gate-towers remains to be seen. The placement of the tribes around the tabernacle in the wilderness and the gates in the millennial temple do not necessarily provide this information.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "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 21:13. The distribution of the gates follows in this verse.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-21.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

On. Greek. apo. App-104.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "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

On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

On the north ... on the south. 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, read, 'and on the north and on the south.' In Ezekiel 48:32, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan (for which Manasseh is substituted in Revelation 7:6), are on the east; Reuben, Judah, Levi, on the north; Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, on the south; Gad, Asher, Naphtali, on the west. In Numbers 2:1-34, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, are on the east; Reuben, Simeon, Gad, on the south; Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, on the west: Dan, Asher, Naphtali, on the north.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-21.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Ezekiel 48:31-34
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-21.html.

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

The tabernacle of the Mosaic system had much beauty in its formation, and also in the garments of the priestly service. That was not as an encouragement to vanity or doing something for mere show. But God is the designer and maker of all things, and those that are seen in the universe that are beautiful are not so by accident. Among the items that contribute to the beauty of any structure is the symmetry of its arrangement. A city that is foursquare should not have a varying number of gates in its walls. There are twelve gates to this city and the equal distribution of them in sets of three is very appropriate. It might have seemed sufficiently clear to say that the gates were equally divided amidst the four sides of the city. However, this is supposed to be a somewhat poetical or picturesque description of a very superb spot, and it is fitting to go into these details.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-21.html. 1952.

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

Revelation 21:13. On the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. The gates serve as avenues through which the chosen go into the city; comp. on Revelation 21:12 and Revelation 21:25, according to which they constantly stand open for this purpose. Their being directed to all the quarters of heaven, points to the oecumenical character of the new Jerusalem.[Note: Vitringa: Fore ut populis, qui ex omnibus terrae oris, secundum coeli climata et plagas divisis accessuri se aggregare vellent civitati huic coelesti, ubique commoda obtingat ejus adeundae occasio.] That the east should be first in order (while in Ezekiel, Ezekiel 48:31, sq., it is the north) and the west last, is to be explained by means of a reference to the word of the Lord in Matthew 8:11, "But I say unto yon, that many shall come from the east and from the west; and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." Also in the word in Isaiah 43:5-6, "I will bring thy seed from the east and gather them from the west. I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, keep not back; bring my sons from far and my daughters from the ends of the earth," to which the Lord alludes, the east forms the beginning, and the north precedes the south; comp. Luke 13:29.[Note: Properly as here: from the risings and from the settings. The fundamental passage shews, that the rending ἀ νατολῶ ν (see on the plural at ch. 16:12), is here the correct form, and that ἀ νατολῆ ς is to be rejected. In ch. 16:12 also an attempt boa been made to supplant ἀ νατολῶ ν.]

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-21.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.Three gates on each side, always open, with an angel welcomer at each gate for all the rural excursionists to the capital.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-21.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 21:13". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-21.html. 1897-1910.