Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:18

The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Glass;   Gold;   Heaven;   Jerusalem;   Paradox;   Readings, Select;   Walls, of the Cities;   Thompson Chain Reference - Future, the;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Home;   The Topic Concordance - Jerusalem;   Newness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Glass;   Jerusalem;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Create, Creation;   Dead Sea Scrolls;   Jesus Christ;   New Jerusalem;   Touch;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Glass;   Jasper;   Wall;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Noah;   Number;   Thousand Years;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Art and Aesthetics;   Glass;   Heaven;   Heavenly City, the;   Jasper;   Minerals and Metals;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jewels and Precious Stones;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Arts;   Building;   Gold ;   House;   New Jerusalem;   Numbers;   Wall;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gate;   Glass, Looking Glass;   Gold;   Lamb;   Numbers as Symbols;   Stones;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gareb;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Glass;   Weights and Measures;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - City;   Lass;   Old - golden;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Carbuncle;   Glass;   Jasper;   Sapphire;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Glass;   Revelation of John:;   Stones, Precious:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eschatology;   Gems;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The building of the wall of it was of jasper - The oriental jasper is exceedingly hard, and almost indestructible. Pillars made of this stone have lasted some thousands of years, and appear to have suffered scarcely any thing from the tooth of time.

Pure gold, like unto clear glass - Does not this imply that the walls were made of some beautifully bright yellow stone, very highly polished? This description has been most injudiciously applied to heaven; and in some public discourses, for the comfort and edification of the pious, we hear of heaven with its golden walls, golden pavements, gates of pearl, etc., etc., not considering that nothing of this description was ever intended to be literally understood; and that gold and jewels can have no place in the spiritual and eternal world. But do not such descriptions as these tend to keep up a fondness for gold and ornaments? In symbols they are proper; but construed into realities, they are very improper.

The ancient Jews teach that "when Jerusalem and the temple shall be built, they will be all of precious stones, and pearls, and sapphire, and with every species of jewels." - Sepher Rasiel Haggadol, fol. 24, 1.

The same authors divide paradise into seven parts or houses; the third they describe thus: "The third house is built of gold and pure silver, and all kinds of jewels and pearls. It is very spacious, and in it all kinds of the good things, either in heaven or earth, are to be found. All kinds of precious things, perfumes, and spiritual virtues, are there planted. In the midst of it is the tree of life, the height of which is five hundred years; (i.e., it is equal in height to the journey which a man might perform in five hundred years), and under it dwell Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, and all that came out of Egypt, and died in the wilderness. Over these Moses and Aaron preside, and teach them the law," etc. - Yalcut Rubeni, fol. 13, 4. In the same tract, fol. 182, 1, we find these words: "Know that we have a tradition, that when the Messiah, with the collected captivity, shall come to the land of Israel, in that day the dead in Israel shall rise again; and in that day the fiery walls of the city of Jerusalem shall descend from heaven, and in that day the temple shall be builded of jewels and pearls."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the building of the wall of it - The material of which the wall was composed. This means the wall above the foundation, for that was composed of twelve rows of precious stones, Revelation 21:14, Revelation 21:19-20. The height of the foundation is not stated, but the entire wall above was composed of jasper.

Was of jasper - See the notes on Revelation 4:3. Of course, this cannot be taken literally; and an attempt to explain all this literally would show that that method of interpreting the Apocalypse is impracticable.

And the city was pure gold - The material of which the edifices were composed.

Like unto clear glass - The word rendered “glass” in this place - ὕαλος hualos- occurs in the New Testament only here and in Revelation 21:21. It means, properly, “anything transparent like water”; as, for example, any transparent stone or gem, or as rock-salt, crystal, glass (Robinson, Lexicon). Here the meaning is, that the golden city would be so bright and burnished that it would seem to be glass reflecting the sunbeams. Would the appearance of a city, as the sun is setting, when the reflection of its beams from thousands of panes of glass gives it the appearance of burnished gold, represent the idea here? If we were to suppose a city made entirely of glass, and the setting sunbeams falling on it, it might convey the idea represented here. It is certain that, as nothing could be more magnificent, so nothing could more beautifully combine the two ideas referred to here - that of “gold and glass.”

Perhaps the reflection of the sunbeams from the “Crystal Palace,” erected for the late “industrial exhibition” in London, would convey a better idea of what is intended to be represented here than anything which our world has furnished. The following description from one who was an eyewitness, drawn up by him at the time, and without any reference to this passage, and furnished at my request, will supply a better illustration of the passage before us than any description which I could give: “Seen as the morning vapors rolled around its base - its far-stretching roofs rising one above another, and its great transept, majestically arched, soaring out of the envelope of clouds - its pillars, window-bars, and pinnacles, looked literally like a castle in the air; like some palace, such as one reads of in idle tales of Arabian enchantment, having about it all the ethereal softness of a dream. Looked at from a distance at noon, when the sunbeams came pouring upon the terraced and vaulted roof, it resembles a regal palace of silver, built for some Eastern prince; ‹when the sun at eventide sheds on its sides his parting rays, the edifice is transformed into a temple of gold and rubies;‘ and in the calm hours of night, when the moon walketh in her brightness, the immense surface of glass which the building presents looks like a sea, or like throwing back, in flickering smile, the radiant glances of the queen of heaven.”

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-21.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Revelation 21:18

And the building of the wall of It was of jasper.

The jasper super-structure

That is, the superstructure, all that part of the wall which rises above the foundation rows, was one great mass of brilliant jasper. There was jasper at the foundation and jasper at the summit; this stone is “the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, of the heavenly building, clasping the intervening rows together by two perfect bands of light.” Now what this jasper was cannot be exactly ascertained; but it is perfectly certain that it was not the stone which bears that name now. The common jasper is of many kinds. Sometimes purple, sometimes cerulean, sometimes green, and more frequently a green stone streaked with veins of red. Moreover, it is not very precious, not distinguished by its brilliancy, and it is far surpassed both in beauty and worth by many others. These marks prove beyond question that our jasper is not the stone which was in the apostle’s mind. The descriptions which are given of it in the Apocalypse correspond exactly with the characters of the diamond, and unless the diamond was unknown to the ancients, which is hardly possible, the jasper must have been this stone. But whether the diamond or not, the jasper of John’s vision had all the characteristic features of the diamond. It was the most precious of stones, it shone like the sun, and, while showing no particular colour, contained all the colours in its pure, white light. Bear in mind, further, that the jasper throughout the Apocalypse is the type of Christ. “He that sat upon the throne was to look upon like a jasper,” says the inspired writer; and, further, “God Almighty and the Lamb are the light of the city,” and “this light is like unto a jasper.” The thought of our text, then, is this--that above the foundation rows, with their stones of various colours and of various price, is the stone most precious, most brilliant, shining with the pure, white glorious light of Christ. Christ is the top-stone as He is the chief corner-stone, the superstructure as He is the foundation.

I. The superstructure of this building contains in perfection and completeness all that the foundations save in imperfection and incompleteness. The sapphire, the chalcedony, the sardius, and the rest, are very beautiful; but they are stones of one or, at most, two colours, and these colours not clear, but flecked and stained with spots and dark lines; while the white light of the jasper, like the white light of the sun, contains all the colours, and contains them in unmixed purity. As all the hues of the rainbow are in the sun’s rays, so all the hues of the twelve foundation stones are combined in the splendid jasper band which crowns the summit. Or, putting it in other words, while the foundations have each their separate grace, and shine each with their distinct glory, the jasper superstructure holds all the graces, there all the glories unite. All the special qualities found separately in the stones below are found in splendid combination in the building above. And this means--

1. That Christ combines in Himself all actual and possible graces. The prophets and apostles and holy men of old were like the rows of foundation stones, men of one colour, of some one or two distinguishing graces. At their best they were still one-sided men; giants in one Christ-like virtue. God’s glory shone through them all, but they were imperfect mediums. They intercepted more than they transmitted of it: they showed only one or two hues of the jasper light in perfection. But Christ unites them all, and shows them all in their most complete and glorious form. It is this all-comprehending beauty and perfection of Christ that charms us, touches every fibre of our moral nature, and chains our wandering fancies to His feet. Everything that we have ever admired, or ever longed for in our best moods, meets us here. Here is perfect love and sinless anger; mighty self-assertion, and still mightier self-abnegation; a child’s humility, and a king’s dignity; a peasant’s simplicity, and a philosopher’s profundity; David’s fearlessness, Elijah’s zeal, Isaiah’s raptures, Jeremiah’s tears, a woman’s tenderness, and God’s almighty strength. Yes: in Him is all that the most aspiring souls ever longed for, and the most heroic hearts ever throbbed for. “He is the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely.”

2. The ideal Church, the Church that is to be, combines in itself, like Christ, all the graces. It is growing up out of the parti-coloured stones into the white, all-embracing jasper. The Church, as we have known it in history and experience, has always been one-sided; the successive ages of the Church have been almost exactly like the foundation stones, showing each of them one prominent colour. Each period in the Church’s history has been distinguished by one strongly marked Christian virtue. The first age was bold in confessing Christ, strong in its contempt for the world, full of the martyr’s zeal; yet strangely impatient, almost inviting martyrdom. That early Church was sublime in some of its moods, but altogether childish in others. Look at the early monastic age again. There also the Church is strong in its contempt for the world’s pleasures, in its power to trample on the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life; but there is no Christ-like sympathy, no concern for a guilty, sorrowing world. See again the Church of the Reformation. It has a giant’s strength and courage; faith mighty enough to remove mountains. It walks with God, but its sternness is not tempered by the gentleness of Christ. It has the Master’s hatred of sin without the Master’s mercy for the sinner. And the Church of to-day, while great in charity and humanitarianism, is in danger of becoming, if it has not already become, just as one-sided in another way. It is tempted to look only on the gentle side of Christian doctrine, to let charity enfeeble its robustness, and pity for the sinner engender shallow views of sin. But the Church is striving up, patiently, through the coloured rows, to the superstructure. When it has attained that it will no longer be a partial, one-sided Church, but beautiful, with all the graces of the Master. More faithful than the early Church, purer from the world’s stains than the Monastic Church, stronger in its zeal against sin than the Reformation Church, and more tender and charitable than the Church of to-day. Nothing will be lacking to its completeness.

3. The same thing is true of the individual believer. Our growth in Christ is like that of the Church--each stage characterised by some prominent grace, but not one of them uniting all the graces. In the early stages of the Christian life there is much faith and courage, but little patience; in the later stages, great patience, but often diminished zeal. The average Christian is never eminently Christ-like at more than one or two points. It is as if he had to starve one grace to feed another. When our lives are fairest and our faith strongest we still show only one or two sides of the beauty of our Lord. We have His tenderness without His strength, or His gentleness without His stern hatred of sin, or His boldness without His forbearance. But this is because the building has not yet risen above the foundation rows. The superstructure of it is of jasper. We shall be “complete in Christ.” When He has finished the work in us there will be nothing wanting. No partial colouring there, but the white jasper light which combines all the hues. For each believer, then, as well as for the Church, “the building of the wall is of jasper.”

II. The beauty and glory of the superstructure are made up in great part of the elements which compose the foundation. If you could take the twelve rows of stones, bring all their varied colours into combination, concentrate their diffused radiance, and remove all impurity, the result would be just such a brilliant diamond belt as the wall of jasper. As you trace the foundation stones from the base to the summit, you see them becoming continually more glorious and ethereal, nearer to the perfect white, the higher bands taking in all the colours of the underlying ones until the jasper completes and embraces all. And the thought is this, that the glory of the perfected Church will be made up, as it were, of all that it has been and done and suffered through all the ages of its history. In spite of all evidences to the contrary, the Church of to-day is stronger and more faithful and more able to wrestle and endure, more like her Master than she has ever been before. For she has learnt something, and won something, from every one of her past experiences. The fervour of the first centuries, the purity and contempt for the world of the monastic age, the strong warrior-like faith and courage of the Reformation period, have influenced her, moulded her, bequeathed their best features to her. And all her waiting, all her labours, all her conflicts, are still helping to supply the colours which are wanted for her perfect beauty, so that the jasper wall may be at last complete. And this truth holds of individual believers just as fully as of the Church. The superstructure of our lives, the glory to which we are growing in Christ, is made up in large measure of the trials and struggles and patience, the faith and hope and love, of our present changeful experience. If you look at the solar spectrum--that is, sunlight divided into its component rays by passage through a prism--you will see all the colours of the rainbow there; and not only these colours, but dark lines, thousands and thousands of them--dark lines, and quite mysterious, for scientists cannot explain them, or say what purpose they serve. Yet they are necessary parts of the ray, they join with the colours to make the light complete. And so it is with our lives when they are fashioned into Christ’s perfect beauty, made up of many colours bright and sombre, from sorrowful blood-red to triumphant purple, and crossed with dark lines innumerable, incomprehensible. We would leave some of these colours out if we could, we should like to erase all the dark lines. We would have no red, especially--no passion, no tears, no sorrow. But the result would be miserably disappointing. For the royal purple is made up of blue and red, and the golden has red for its base, and the perfect white light needs all the colours and all the dark lines to make it complete. We cannot reach the jasper superstructure without passing through the trial and patience which are symbolised by the stones below. But all these things are helping to form the perfect Christ in us. The foundation-stones are beautiful because Christ is in them, but they are not like the top-stone which knows no darkness, no lines of sin, no incompleteness, and where joy and peace are stamped in perfect and eternal characters. We are reaching up to that, Christ’s strong hand holding ours to make the ascent secure. And the superstructure is of jasper. (J. G. Greenhough, M. A.)

The jasper wall

The picture of the measurement of the city has a colour and tone of triumph in it. Heaven rejoices in its divinely perfect proportions. Goal marks with the exactness of love the holy city that mirrors heaven’s own beauty, and would proclaim its lineaments and proportions of glory to all the world. There are some things that are not worth measuring. Heaven will take no copy of some lives, that they may die the sooner. The measurement also symbolises heaven’s inexorable demand for ideal perfection in human life. In the city of God there must be no defect or redundancy. The vessels of God’s glory must be without flaw and without alloy. No column in His temple shall be broken or deficient. God will not stop half-way, or be content with rough approximations to His ideal. Hence it is that the best human structures must fail and be condemned. This measuring is, therefore, further, a symbol of eternal preservation. To “measure off” implies a selection for some purpose or other, and here it is clearly for the purpose of honour and preservation. In the first verse of the eleventh chapter we find “the temple of God and the altar, and them that worship therein,” measured in the same way, while “the court without the temple” is left unmeasured. In that passage the symbol is explained by the assertion that the” outer court” is so far left unprotected that it has been given unto the nations for forty and two months.

I. The first question that presses for an answer in any attempt to interpret this symbol is, What relation does the jasper wall hold to the general structure and constitution of that city?

1. In the first place, the “jasper wall” gives unity to the varied expanse of the city. In the ancient conception, a city without a surrounding wall scarcely found a place in the mind at all, except as a picture of desolation and ruin. The myriad-sided life of the city and State can never be gathered into perfect harmony except within the wall of jasper, except by being pervaded by the Divine life in its profoundest manifestation of love. Men will of a certainty remain scattered, in spite of all human devices, until they are united by that transcendent love which comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Through this, and through this alone, are those strong conflicting interests overcome that separate men from one another.

2. Further, this wall of jasper marks the extent of the city. With the encompassing wall the city ends. The description which John gives, therefore, represents the ideal city as being of vast and magnificent extent. It is bounded by the “jasper wall”--that is, by nothing of narrower dimensions than the vast thought, purpose, and power of redeeming love. At this point John adds symbol to symbol, in order that there may be no mistake as to his meaning, and that the meaning may be emphasised in the strongest way. The length and breadth and height of the city are given in symbolic numbers. The three are equal, and their measurement is twelve thousand furlongs. That is, we are informed by a new symbol that this city is as vast as the energies of the Divine kingdom of redeeming love. Of course, it is now clear that the length and the breadth and the height of it cannot be other than equal. In every direction of its life it must reach the full measurement of redeeming power. As far as the love of Calvary can transform the lives of men, as far as it can lift the thoughts and purposes and attainments of men towards the lofty heavens, so great is the length, the breadth, and the height of the holy city.

3. It is instructive to note, further, that the wall of a city was its great watch-tower. Upon its summit the watchman stood to take observation of the country around, to warn the city of danger, and to instruct it concerning the outer world. The walls of the ideal city are not only ramparts, but also watch-towers, the place of furthest vision. The blind children of this world make the mistake of supposing that the city of redemption is a narrow enclosure, which hides from us the wide and varied prospect which they imagine lies before themselves. They pity us, and invite us to leave the narrowness of the Cross, and the fetters of redeeming love, that our vision may become as free as theirs. It is they that are enclosed around, and cannot see afar off. The Cross is the true watch-tower of the mind, as well as of the spirit. It is not only the centre of power, but also of wisdom and knowledge. It is the light of God in which “we also shall see light.” In proportion as we rise to the knowledge of the revelation of God in Christ, all the vast realm of thought will appear in its true character and proportions before us; for the God-man is, in every sense, the light of the world.

4. The jasper wall is, further, representative of the defence of the city. The need of defence against attack was probably the earliest reason for the construction of the ancient city walls, the other ideas of which we have spoken having afterwards grown upon this underlying one. So the ideal city is safe for ever, guarded by this wall of jasper, which is great and high. No battering ram can beat down these walls, for they are constructed out of the mightiest forces of omnipotence, the forces of eternal grace and infinite love.

II. A few words will suffice to show the relation of the jasper wall to the foundations of the city. The first thing that strikes us as impressively suggestive is the fact that the deepest base of the city and its towering walls are composed of the same material. When we begin to search for the strength of the twelve foundations, John meets us with the assertion: “The foundation is jasper.” When we raise our eyes to behold its lofty ramparts, and would fain know what its topmost glory is that mingles with the skies, John again says: “The building of the wall thereof was jasper.” It is the symbolic representation of the utterance of the Divine Saviour, who says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” In Christ, the effulgence of the Father’s glory, the first foundations are laid of the city of a glorified human life, and in Him its final splendour will be realised. The name of Jesus is the all-potent source of new life for the fallen sons of earth, and it shall be the eternal boast and wonder of the glorified. As is the lowest foundation of the holy city, so shall be its supremest splendour. The Cross can never be superseded. The wall of jasper is a living growth out of the foundations of precious stones. This living relation in the growth of the ideal city is determined by eternal and inexorable law. The city’s jasper wall cannot be built unless the foundations are set in precious stones, and the deepest of these is jasper. Passing from symbolic language to plainer speech, the quality of a city’s life cannot rise higher than its deepest foundations. The nature of the principles and ideals upon which men proceed will determine the value and permanence of such a social life as they are likely to create. Upon foundations of iron and brass nothing better than iron and brass can ever be built. If our ideals fall short of the divinest that are possible to men, if our deepest principles fall short of the glory of the eternal skies, then the building of the ideal city becomes for ever impossible for us. On the other hand, the foundations of precious stones cannot fail to issue in the wall of jasper. “When Divine forces form the base, the city is certain to rise in the likeness of God. Out of the love of the Cross a kingdom of love shall of necessity grow. All ye that desire to build the jasper wall, remember that it cannot be built except on the jasper foundation.

III. There are one or two points remaining in the characterisation of the jasper wall which must receive brief notice. One consists in the measurement of the thickness of the wall, which is declared to be a hundred and forty and four cubits--that is, twelve cubits by twelve. This is clearly, once more, the number that symbolises redemption, and so brings the thickness of the city-wall into line with the twelve thousand furlongs that measure the length and breadth and height of it. In the last place, it is instructive to note that the city when measured proves to be an exact cube. “The length and the breadth and the height thereof are equal.” The cube has from ancient times been regarded as a symbol of ideal perfection. Here human life is at last full and complete, having found the complete cycle of its power. Probably, however, John’s picture is more immediately connected with the form of the “holy of holies” in the tabernacle, which was also a perfect cube, no doubt based upon the ancient idea of that form as being specially perfect and sacred. (John Thomas, M. A.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Revelation 21:18". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/revelation-21.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the building of the wall of it was of jasper,.... Which is expressive of the impregnableness, duration, brightness, and glory of salvation by Christ, the jasper being a very hard, durable, and bright stone; and salvation can never be made void, and of none effect; it will last for ever, and in this state will come forth as light, and as a lamp that burneth; it is represented by the same precious stone as God and Christ themselves are; see Revelation 4:2. And the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass; it was made or built of gold; its parts, buildings, houses, and palaces, were all of gold, and that the best; and it was like to transparent glass; that is, either the city, as most copies read, or the gold; for the Alexandrian copy reads, ομοιον, and so the Vulgate Latin version; the gold of which it was is different from common gold; and as this city, the new Jerusalem, designs the saints, the precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, the inhabitants of the new earth; this denotes the solidity, excellency, and preciousness of them, the rich and happy state they will be in, as well as their purity and freedom from all sin and corruption, and the clear knowledge of things they themselves will have, and others will have of them; their hearts and actions will be open to all; nor will this gold have any rust upon it any more, or ever be changed, and become dim.

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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 21:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-21.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

15 And the building of the wall of it was [of] jasper: and the city [was] pure gold, like unto clear glass.

(15) The matter most precious and glittering, which the presence of God makes most glorious.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-21.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

the building — “the structure” [Tregelles], Greek, “{(endomeesis}.”

gold, like … clear glass — Ideal gold, transparent as no gold here is )[Alford]. Excellencies will be combined in the heavenly city which now seem incompatible.

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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 21:18". "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

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

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

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

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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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "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

The building ( ἐνδόμησις )

Only here in the New Testament. From ἐν inand δωμάω tobuild. Lit., that which is built in. Hence the building of the wall is the material built into the wall; of which the wall was composed.

Glass ( ὑάλῳ )

Only here and Revelation 21:21. For the kindred adjective ὑάλινος ofglass, see on Revelation 4:6.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "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 the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

And the building of the wall was jasper — That is, the wall was built of jasper.

And the city — The houses, was of pure gold.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-21.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Gold, like unto clear glass; the richness and value of gold combined with the brilliancy and splendor of glass.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-21.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 18. Was of jasper] A stone of great worth and glory, the beauty whereof, saith one, it is easier to admire than to declare. It hath a variety of sweetness in it; such as none of the most cunning wits and sharpest eyes are able to distinguish. Heaven (we are sure) is such as eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, &c. Sermo non valet exprimere, experimento opus est. Words are too weak to utter its happiness; get to it once, and you will say so. (Chrysost.)

Pure gold] A metal that shineth in the fire wasteth not in the use, rusteth not with long lying, rotteth not though cast into brine or vinegar (as Pliny noteth), to show that this city is incorruptible, invincible.

Like unto clear glass] Glittering gold, such as this world affords not. No, not those two islands in India called Chryse and Arger, for the abundance of gold and silver there found, as Soline telleth us.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-21.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Some will have all this to signify and represent the purest state of the church here upon earth; but if there shall be any state on this side eternity which answereth this glorious representation, how much more will the perfect glorious church in heaven fully answer it; What was said of Jerusalem of old may be truly spoken of the New Jerusalem above, Very excellent things are spoken of thee thou city of God, Psalms 87:3 : her pavement of gold, her gates of pearl, her walls of precious stones, denoting the durableness and permanency of the saints' happiness, the delight and satisfaction that accompany it, and the resplendent glory of it; as gold excels all metals, and is not subject to corruption, as precious stones are full of splendour and glory, in like manner will the mansions of heaven be most glorious, the conversation there pure and incorrupt, affording saints such an entire satisfaction as entirely exceeds all that the most rich and glorious things of this world can afford for the gratification of the outward senses.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". 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 21:18. ἐνδόμησις) Hesychius, δώμησις (for it is written with ω and ο) οἰκοδομή. Therefore the structure itself of the wall is here of jasper, as it is commonly of stone. ἐν, in this particular compound word, has the sense of entirely.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". 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

And the building of the wall of it was of jasper; strong and impregnable, not subject to impressions from enemies, as it is said of the jasper, that no hammer will break it.

And the city was pure gold; all that make up this city are perfect and noble.

Like unto clear glass; pure, without spots.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". 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

ясписа См. пояснение к ст. 11. Материал, из которого сделана толстая стена – алмаз!

чистое золото, подобен чистому стеклу В отличие от земного золота, это золото будет прозрачным, чтобы сверхмощное излучение Божией славы могло преломляться и сиять над всем городом.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-21.html.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the building of the wall thereof was jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto pure glass.

Jasper ... See under above verse. This is the appearance of the whole city (Revelation 21:11), again suggesting that the wall is a solid diamond 266 feet thick encompassing the entire city in all dimensions as a protective shield or armor-plate. At least, this interpretation of it gives effective imagery. In that case, it would not need to be any thicker than 266 feet.

Pure gold, like unto pure glass ... The exceeding preciousness, beauty, purity, holiness, and glory of the city are indicated by this.

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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 21:18". "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

‘And the building of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold like pure glass.’

The jasper is presumably similar to the jasper of Revelation 21:11, clear as crystal which, with the glass-like nature of the city, demonstrates its purity and righteousness. The mention that it is made of gold stresses that it is beyond price and demonstrates its magnificence. Even Solomon’s Temple and Herod’s Temple pale into insignificance beside it. It again indicates its identity with the inner Sanctuary.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-21.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The walls appeared to be glistening (cf. Revelation 21:11; Revelation 4:3). The word "material" (Gr. endomesis) means "building in" and suggests that the material on the wall was jasper, not that the wall was solid jasper. Perhaps John meant that the walls were overlaid with this brilliant material, suggesting further the radiance of God"s holy presence. The whole city appeared to shine as a mass of pure gold. The many limestone buildings of old Jerusalem today take on a beautiful golden color in the light of the rising or setting sun, but this is a pale shadow of what the New Jerusalem will look like. Clear glass was the best quality glass in John"s day, so when he compared the gold to clear glass he probably meant that there was no impurity in the city. [Note: Mounce, p381.] John apparently described the New Jerusalem by using similes and metaphors to communicate its ineffable glory.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "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 21:18. The measuring has been completed. We have next the materials of which the city was composed. Those of the wall are first mentioned. And the building of the wall of it was jasper. We have been already told in Revelation 21:11 that the light shining from the city was like that of a jasper stone. The wall, which was of jasper, must have shone with a like crystalline clearness,—a distinct proof of the falseness of the idea which makes ‘the wall’ low in order that it may not obstruct the light of the city.

And the city was pure gold, the most precious metal known, but in this case transfigured and glorified, for it was like unto pure glass.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-21.html. 1879-90.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

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

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-21.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

building = fabric, or material. Greek. endomesis. Only here. pure, clear. Same word.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "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 the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

The building - `the structure' (Tregelles) [ endoomeesis (G1746a)].

Gold, like unto clear glass - ideal gold, transparent as no gold is (Alford). Excellencies will be combined, now incompatible.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "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

THE BUILDING OR MATERIAL OF THE CITY.

(18) And the building of the wall . . .—Or, And the building-work (or, the masonry, so Alford) of the wall of it was jasper, and the city was pure gold, like pure glass. The general aspect of the city was jasperlike, because the material of the wall was of the jasper stone. On this stone, see Note on Revelation 4:3, and on Revelation 21:11 above. The city was gold. On the meaning of the gold see Note on Revelation 21:15 and on Revelation 3:18. To what has been said may be added the following:—“Gold has an inalienable reference to the sun itself, consequently, to the symbol of the face of God, or Christ, i.e., to the manifestation of God’s love” (Lange).

The wealth of heaven is love; love is the circulating medium of all holy activity and of all holy work: all who dwell within the heavenly city are encompassed by it; all who tread the streets of that city move along the ways of love; no dimness or obscuring motives of self-interest mar its lustre—the gold is clear as pure glass.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
was of
11,19
like
11,21
Reciprocal: Exodus 24:10 - in his clearness;  Exodus 28:20 - a jasper;  1 Kings 6:30 - General1 Chronicles 29:2 - onyx stones;  2 Chronicles 3:6 - precious;  Isaiah 54:11 - I will lay;  1 Corinthians 3:12 - precious;  Revelation 15:2 - a sea

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "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 body of the wall was of jasper, which we are told in verse11is a substance that is "clear as crystal" thus describing a diamond. Let us try to see with our mind"s eye a diamond that is fifteen hundred miles in diameter and we will have a mental picture of one side of this city. City was pure gold means the street of it according to verse21. Gold is a metal (not a stone), hence the likeness to clear glass is explained in verse21as of transparent glass. Literal gold is one of the most condensed of metals and hence would naturally be the opposite of transparent. So we should understand that the metal was so pure and the texture so fine that it would take on a very high polish. It was so much that way that in looking upon it one would really seem to see a substance that his eyes were penetrating (as if they were performing the action of an X-ray), when in reality he was beholding something with an incomprehensibly high gloss.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". 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 21:18. And the building of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold like to pure glass. The subject of Revelation 21:18-21 is, the glory and splendour of the new Jerusalem. First here, the wall and city as the two great objects which attract the eye, the city projecting high above the walls; then, as the eye glances downwards, the foundations of the walls and gates; lastly, the streets of the city. The fundamental passage for Revelation 21:18-21 is Isaiah 54:11-12, where the glory of the Jerusalem that was to be is thus described, "Behold I lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I make thy battlements of rubies, and thy gates of precious stones, and all thy borders of select stones"

The building here forms the contrast to the foundation, in Revelation 21:19, and denotes what is built on it.[Note: The word, ἐ νδό μησις, properly in-building, occurs only here, it seems, and in Josephus, Ant. XV. 9, 6, where it is used of a mole in a harbor. The building on, in respect to its firm and close connection with the foundation, might be called an in-building.] The building consists only of one material. The most glorious among stones is chosen, the jasper (see at Revelation 21:11). A great variety, however, is found, in respect to the foundations. There the jasper takes the first place. It may seem strange, that the jasper, to which the glory of God is compared in Revelation 21:11, should appear here as material for building. But if the author, out of respect to Revelation 21:11, had chosen an inferior stone, another wall of a more glorious description might then have been conceived of. But this must be regarded as the most glorious imaginable.

The city, as distinguished from the wall here, and the street in Revelation 21:21, can only denote its mass of houses. These, however, are not believers themselves, but their places of abode.

The gold (Bengel: "the white jasper-colour and the yellow gold suit admirably together") comes into consideration here, as in ch. Revelation 17:4, in respect to its splendour. From the connection it denotes, not "the purity and excellence of faith in the elect," but the glory, with which they shall be crowned by God in reward of their fidelity. The point of comparison between the gold and the glass is expressly intimated; it stands simply in the purity; the transparency, which is noticed in Revelation 21:21, of the glass, not of the gold, is taken into account merely as a symbol of purity. The gold by the predicate of purity is distinguished from other gold, which is not pure; in the glass, on the other hand, the predicate of purity serves to distinguish it from other objects, which are not pure. Glass, considered generally, is pure, and on this account, what is pure only exceptionally is compared with it. The subject here is not transparent gold. Not its splendour, not its transparency, but its absolute purity and homogeneity are the qualities regarded.[Note: Mill.: Est enim aurum, cui comparatur haec civitas, simile vilrn, non omnifariam ac quoad διαφανί ς ac τὸ ὁ μογενέ ς partium.]

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-21.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

18.The building—That is, the superstructure standing above and upon the foundations.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 21:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-21.html. 1874-1909.