Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:21

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Gates;   Glass;   Gold;   Heaven;   Jerusalem;   Paradox;   Pearl;   Readings, Select;   Walls, of the Cities;   Thompson Chain Reference - Future, the;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Home;   Pearls;   The Topic Concordance - Glory;   God;   Jerusalem;   Jesus Christ;   Light;   Newness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Precious Stones;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Glass;   Jerusalem;   Pearls;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Create, Creation;   Dead Sea Scrolls;   Jesus Christ;   New Jerusalem;   Touch;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gate;   Glass;   Pearl;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gate;   Noah;   Number;   Pearl;   Thousand Years;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Art and Aesthetics;   Glass;   Heaven;   Heavenly City, the;   Minerals and Metals;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Pearl;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Arts;   Door ;   Gate;   Gate (2);   Gold;   Gold ;   House;   New Jerusalem;   Pearl ;   Precious Stones ;   Street;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gate;   Glass, Looking Glass;   Gold;   Lamb;   Numbers as Symbols;   Pearl;   Stones;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gareb;   Pearl;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Gate;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Number;   Pearl;   Stones, Precious;   Street;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Ate;   Old - golden;   Pearl;   Street;   Transparent;   Twelve;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Glass;   Sapphire;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Beauty;   Gate;   Glass;   Revelation of John:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eschatology;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The twelve gates were twelve pearls - This must be merely figurative, for it is out of all the order of nature to produce a pearl large enough to make a gate to such an immense city. But St. John may refer to some relations of this nature among his countrymen, who talk much of most prodigious pearls. I shall give an example: "When Rabbi Juchanan (John) once taught that God would provide jewels and pearls, thirty cubits every way, ten of which should exceed in height twenty cubits, and would place them in the gates of Jerusalem, according to what is said Isaiah 54:12, I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, one of his disciples ridiculed him, saying, Where can such be found, since at present there is none so large as a pigeon's egg? Afterwards, being at sea in a ship, he saw the ministering angels cutting gems and pearls; and he asked them for what purpose they were preparing those. They answered, to place them in the gates of Jerusalem. On his return he found Rabbi Juchanan teaching as usual; to whom he said, Explain, master, what I have seen. He answered, Thou knave, unless thou hadst seen, thou wouldst not have believed; wilt thou not receive the saying of the wise men? At that moment he fixed his eyes upon him, and he was reduced into a heap of bones." - Bava bathra, fol. 77, 1, and Sanhedrim, fol. 100, 1, page 393. Edit. Cocceii. See Schoettgen.

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

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the twelve gates - Revelation 21:12.

Were twelve pearls - See the Revelation 17:4 note; Matthew 13:46 note.

Every several gate was of one pearl - Each gate. Of course, this is not to be understood literally. The idea is that of ornament and beauty, and nothing could give a more striking view of the magnificence of the future abode of the saints.

And the street of the city was pure gold - Was paved with gold; that is, all the vacant space that was not occupied with buildings was of pure gold. See the notes on Revelation 21:18.

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

The Biblical Illustrator

Revelation 21:21

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls.

The gates of pearl

It was no fantastic vision separated from all earthly associations that the seer of Patmos beheld. On the contrary, it was linked to all that was dear and sacred to himself and to his race. The forms were the same, but the materials were changed. The materials of the earthly city were substances that faded and decayed, for they had only a temporary purpose to serve; those of the heavenly were unchangeable and indestructible, matter in its most sublime and enduring form connected with the unceasing service of bodies and spirits of just men made perfect. Not from his recollections of his own old home could the unique feature of the gates of pearl have been derived. It must have been suggested by the circumstances of his island home, as Peter’s vision on the housetop at Joppa took shape from the hunger of his body and the occupation of the tanner with whom he lodged. There was nothing to remind him of the gates of pearl in the earthly Jerusalem.

I. The number of the gates. There were twelve of these gates; three on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west. What a contrast does this feature of the heavenly city present to the narrowness and exclusiveness of the old Jewish polity! The Jews were the hermits of the human race. They were kept apart from all other nations on the high plateau which had walls of mountain, desert, river-trench, and stormy sea hemming them in on every side. It was considered unlawful for a Jew to keep company with or come in to one of another nation. The people prided themselves on their exclusive privileges as the favourites of heaven, and pushed to an extreme the restrictions of their religion. Even St. John himself could not altogether divest his mind of his Jewish prejudices. He could hardly yet realise the idea that the world was greater in God’s eyes than Judaea. Unlike the little Jewish capital, type of its narrow creed, the heavenly city was vast as the largest thought or hope could compass, a perfect cube of twelve thousand furlongs, capable of containing all the cities of the world within its circuit. Through the earthly Jerusalem no river ran, no highway passed. Its gates were shut for safety and security in its mountain fastness. But through the heavenly Jerusalem the broad full river of life flowed; and through its gates or up the river the nations brought their wealth into it. Through its gates, open to the four quarters of the globe, a multitude which no man could number of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues had entered in. If there was one thing especially opposed to the whole tenor of Jewish thought, it was Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. And to us in the Christian Church, who have been placed on a more elevated standing-point, and have been educated by eighteen centuries of Christian experience, the range of the Divine regard seems as limited as ever. We are accustomed to hear about the strait gate and the narrow way and the few who find it; and we make out of the saying a straitened faith and a narrow gospel. We need, indeed, the vision of the vast heavenly city--with its twelve gates pointing to every part of the compass, and its multitude, which no man can number, out of every nation--to correct our narrow, selfish judgments of men, and to enlarge our hopes of the destiny of the race. That vision is the highest illustration of the teaching of Scripture by precept and example, that God is no respecter of persons. But while there are many modes of entrance into the heavenly city corresponding to the varying conditions and circumstances of men, there is only one way of salvation. The gates of the New Jerusalem, although twelve in number and placed on different sides, are nevertheless composed of the same material. Every several gate is of one pearl. It is the one Cross that draws all men to the Saviour. It is by the rugged, tear-stained path to Calvary that the Good Shepherd finds every lost sheep straying in the wilderness and brings it back to the fold. We are told that the gates are not shut day or night. They are not needed for defence or security like those of the earthly city, for the inhabitants dwell in a peaceful habitation, and in a sure dwelling and in a quiet resting-place. Like the broken sword laid in the grave are the gates of the celestial city. Their existence reminds the inhabitants of a former condition of warfare and insecurity, while their open state shows the contrast between the old guarded fortress, exposed to continual alarms, and the present freedom and enlargement of the quiet habitation, defended only by the glory of God, as the wide border of Canaan was guarded by angel sentinels during the keeping of the solemn feasts. For beauty therefore, not for use, the heavenly city has its twelve gates. All that might cause fear or a feeling of insecurity will be gone for ever; but all that will remind the redeemed of the way by which they had been led in the past, all that will enhance the value of the Saviour’s love and serve to deepen their own peace, will be kept before their minds by everlasting memorials.

II. The material of which the gates were composed. Every several gate was of one pearl. What a beautiful symbol this is! Death is the gate by which every one must enter the heavenly city. And what a dark and gloomy appearance does it present to us on this earthly side! Sin has done everything possible to make the gate unsightly to poor creatures of sense. But how different is the entrance into the heavenly life! We pass through the iron gate of death, and looking back from the other side, from the golden street of the celestial city, we see it transformed into a gate of pearl. All its gloom has disappeared; all its relics of mortality have vanished. It is a triumphal arch for the passage of those who have been made more than conquerors through Him that loved them. How strange will be the transition to many of God’s timid saints who are in bondage all their lifetime to the fear of death, who dread every allusion to it, and keep every object and association connected with it away from their eye and their mind! Through darkness into light, through pain and weeping into everlasting joy, through fear and dread into a bright and blessed assurance for evermore; the gate of iron changed into a gate of pearl; that which was an object of the utmost abhorrence into an object of admiration unbounded! How much do these gates of pearl say to the redeemed souls that have passed through them! To the inner ear these gates of pearl, set up where there is no more sea, speak of the far-off vanished seas of earth, through whose dangers the redeemed escaped safe to land. None, too, can gaze upon the gates of pearl without being reminded of their wonderful deliverances, when the Lord “ drew them out of great waters” and cheered them with a precious promise like a pearl found in the depth--“When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee.” They cannot think of the storm without thinking of Him who came through the storm to their help, and said to the waves within and without, “Peace be still.” How were these gates of pearl formed? The walls of the heavenly city are formed of jewels, each of which was crystallised in the dark depths of the mine, under the pressure of rocks, by igneous or aqueous agency. From sand and clay and coal, and other worthless or repulsive substances, they were sublimed into their present beautiful forms and hues, as the blossoms of the mineral kingdom. But the truth that what is fairest and most precious is obtained only through sore and long-continued struggle, which the jewelled walls witness to, is attested in a more tender and touching way by the gates of pearl. This substance is not of mineral but of animal formation. A pearl is caused by the irritation of a minute parasite, or by the presence of a particle of sand or other extraneous matter accidentally introduced between the mantle and the shell of a species of mussel. The creature cannot get rid of it, and therefore to allay the irritation, covers it over with a series of layers of nacre or pearly matter. This smooth, round shining object, which feels so soft and pleasant to the touch, which reflects the light in a tender way like snow or moonlight, which is so precious that it is deemed worthy of a place in the crown of a monarch, is caused by a struggle with difficulties, an effort to overcome a trial; subliming by a wonderful alchemy, by the victorious power of life, into enduring patience a source of irritation, turning a worthless grain of sand into a pearl. The fact therefore that the heavenly gates are made of a substance with such a remarkable history as this, irresistibly suggests the trials by which those who pass through them are made meet for their abundant entrance into the city. That gate speaks of temptations vanquished, of degree of excellence reached through suffering, of a Divine beauty destined to supersede every mark of sorrow and be eternal. Who would have thought that out of the rough, broken, coarse-looking shell, as it appears on the outside, and by the labours and sufferings of a creature almost at the lowest point in the scale of life, whose structure is as simple as it can well be, without beauty of form or hue to attract, the glistening loveliness and preciousness of the oriental pearl could be produced! And who could have thought that out of the dark and sorrowful experiences of earth, purified by suffering, could have come the great white-robed multitude within the gates of pearl! (H. Macmillan, D. D.)

Gates of pearl

Thoreau thinks that he can trace the leaf pattern throughout all the kingdoms of nature, and he declares that the Creator, in making this earth, but patented a leaf. One who follows the building art through the centuries, from its first rudimentary principles to its consummate blossom in the medieeval cathedral, is impressed with the idea that the architect has but patented a door. A habitation without some way of getting into it was of course useless. The way of ingress and egress being the most important feature of the domicile, it naturally called forth the first exercise of that architectural skill which distinguishes man from the beaver or bird. This skill was shown by placing a horizontal stick or stone upon two perpendicular posts, and forming what is called a door lintel. This simple principle, multiplied and extended, gives us the common frame building or stone building, with windows and a fiat roof. It is the principle which, under the touch of Grecian genius, resulted in that matchless gem of architecture, the Athenian Parthenon. It has been suggested that this simple door lintel, at some time or other, broke under the heavy weight which was placed upon it, and that the broken halves were set up against each other upon the doorposts in an inclined position. The transition from this arrangement to three or more wedge-shaped stones fitted together, was easy, and thus, in time, the arch sprang into being, out of which have grown the wonders of mediaeval and modern architecture. The entrance way being thus, in a sense, the germ of the building, it is not strange that it should, in time, become the gem of the building. Being a conspicuous feature, and the first to attract critical inspection, it was natural that the architect should employ his subtlest skill in adorning it. Carrying our thought over into another realm, we are reminded that it is a rule of literature to be mindful of beginnings--to beautify the gateway. A preface is the most difficult part of the book to write. If well written, it is the most important part, for it predisposes the reader to a favourable acceptance of what is to follow. The same is true of introductions to speeches and lectures. “The success of a discourse,” says Gaichies, “often depends upon the beginning. From first impressions, whether good or bad, we do not easily recover.” And I am tempted to add that the same is true of people. From our first impressions of them we do not easily recover. Everything depends upon the gateways of life, and the reason, I think, has been made obvious, because at the portals we get our first impressions of the structure. Now I might turn this truth before you in a great many lights, and apply it in many ways, but I must confine myself to two of them. And, first, I think of the youth-time as the portal which opens into the realities of life, and I think how important it is to make of it a gate of pearl, that the young spirit which passes through may receive only wholesome impressions. What book lies upon the table? What words fall from the lips of parents and friends? Do they possess the pearl quality? Do they foreshadow to the child the grand, true man which he may be? Do they inspire him to be that man? I am just here reminded of three gateways and the impressions which they give of what lies beyond them. Should you take a drive or a walk upon a certain suburban road, you would pass all three of them. At the first you would find a rickety gate swinging askew upon a single hinge, as though making a vain attempt to obtain a bill of divorcement from the tottering post to which it is attached. Beyond the dilapidated gateway you picture to yourself a dilapidated farm, a dilapidated house, and a dilapidated family. The country proverb,”A farmer is known by his fences,” comes to you, and you pass on, saying, “The owner of that place is a thriftless man.” You may be mistaken, of course, but that is your first impression. A weary, heart-broken wife and mother, hinged to a thriftless, unfeeling, and perhaps drunken husband, surrounded with the weeds, the nettles, and the briars of domestic infelicities. Scowls and oaths, blows and recriminations, envy, impatience, irreligion--these are the influences through which thousands of the children of the land are looking into the untried future. It is the only gateway to life which they know. Is it any wonder that they make life a cruel, thriftless thing? But this suburban road will bring you to another gateway, an imposing structure, with massive stone posts, and two strong iron gates, which are closed Over them is written, “These are private grounds; visitors not allowed. All trespassers will be promptly prosecuted.” A magnificent estate evidently--broad, winding avenues, luxuriant shrubbery, and beyond, probably, acres of velvet lawn, with flowers from every clime, and a mansion wherein wealth and taste find rendezvous. But that frowning wall and that inhospitable gate! Strange, you say, that the owner should create so much beauty, and then wall it in to his family and a few friends. How many homes we find like this gateway, beautiful, thrifty homes, but seclusive and exclusive, in the sense of being closed to the outgoing and incoming sympathies and charities of life; homes in which children receive the impression that the great world which lies before them is a selfish world, and that their own lives, to be successful, must be devoted to selfish getting and selfish enjoying! But if you go far enough on that suburban road, you will find a third gateway, as imposing as the second, but it stands open, and from either side of it, around the broad acres, extends a low, rustic fence. Near the entrance is a sign bearing the words, “Visitors will kindly refrain from injuring the shrubbery.” You notice the inviting seats and vine-covered arbours. As you look upon this vision of beauty, you feel very much as the good woman did, who, dewing her wealthy neighbour’s well-kept grounds from her humble chamber, exclaimed, “How good the Lord is to give me the enjoyment of this paradise without the trouble of taking care of it!” You may be wrong in your estimate of the man who owns this estate, but you cannot avoid the impression that he is an open-hearted, public-spirited citizen, one who, in seeking enjoyment himself, is willing that the others should share it. And so you point another moral: Homes there are, yes, thousands of them, which to the young are like this last open gateway, suggesting and opening into a large, unselfish, beneficent life; homes where the young are inspired by Christian example to live Christian lives. But, taking this last thought with us, I am prompted to lead you still farther along the line of our text. There is a material life and there is a moral and spiritual life; two realms adjoining; and there are ways which take us from the one to the other. I suppose there is no experience more familiar to many of us than that of finding in some strong, true character the example and the instruction which leads us to noble striving. Hood, in speaking of Cromwell, says, “An age cannot move without its great men. They inspire it, they urge it forward. They are its priests and its prophets and its monarchs.” All of which is but saying that the great man is the portal of promise and opportunity to the ago in which he lives. His superior character furnishes the model, his superior genius provides the opportunity, for the development and advancement of the race. The progress of humanity has been continuously through these gates of pearl--these massive, resplendent lives which have sprung, clean-out and beautiful, out of the conditions of their times. Even the unbeliever is one with us here. He admits the power of example, and the influence of the stronger soul. He says, “Yes, these are the gateways of character, these strong men and women standing all around us, and they help us to live better lives.” Is it not strange that one who can believe all this does not go a step farther, does not stand in loving faith before Him who alone can give us entrance into the highest possible life, who hath said, “I am the door; by Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” Here is the gate of pearl which, swinging back upon its hinges reveals to us, and admits us to a lifo which the world knew nothing of before the Advent. The direct agency of God in bringing a soul through the portal of the new life we cannot explain. Regeneration is a Divine mystery, but it is none the less a Divine fact. But the going through the door, the passing into a higher manhood and womanhood through Jesus Christ, the Elder Brother and Saviour, is something which we can understand. It is through Him that we are made meet for the kingdom of heaven. (C. A. Dickinson, M. A.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Revelation 21:21". 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 twelve gates were twelve pearls,.... Denoting the purity and preciousness of Christ, by whom the saints enter, and of the saints who enter in thereat, as well as of the place into which they enter.

Every several gate was of one pearl; the pearl of great price, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only gate, door, and way into this happy state: this shows that this account cannot be taken literally, but mystically, for no such pearl was ever known, large enough to make a gate of.

"A pearl is a hard, white, shining body, usually roundish, found in a shell fish resembling an oyster, but is three or four times the size of the common oyster; and which ordinarily yields ten or twelve pearls, and sometimes more. Those of the largest size that have been known are that of Cleopatra, valued by Pliny at centies H S, or at 80,000 pound sterling; and that brought in 1574 to Philip the Second, of the size of a pigeon's egg, worth 14,400 ducats; and that of the Emperor Rudolph, mentioned by Boetius, called "la peregrina", or the incomparable, of the size of a muscade pear, and weighing 30 carats; and that mentioned by Tavernier, in the hands of the emperor of Persia in 1633, bought of an Arab for 32,000 tomans, which, at three pounds nine shillings the toman, amounts to 110,400 pounds sterlingF16Chambers's Cyclopedia in the word "Pearl". .'

But what is one of these pearls to make a gate of, for a wall which was an hundred and forty four cubits high? Revelation 21:17. The Jews sayF17T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 100. 1. & Bava Bathra, fol. 75. 1. & Yalkut, par. 2. fol. 54. 1. , that the holy blessed God will bring precious stones and "pearls" of thirty cubits by thirty, &c. and place them "in the gates of Jerusalem", as it is said, Isaiah 54:12 which must be understood also not in a literal but mystical sense: and L'EmpereurF18Misn. Middot, c. 4. sect. 2. Vid. Yalkut Simconi, par. 2. fol. 54. 1. makes mention of an ancient commentary on Psalm 87:1 which says, that the holy blessed God will make a gate at the east (of the temple), and in it two doors, each of one pearl. So R. Joshua ben Levi saysF19Yalkut Simeoni, par. 1. fol. 7. 1. , that there are in paradise two gates of agates or diamonds; some render the word rubies.

And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass; denoting the preciousness and delightfulness of the saints' conversation one with another; and the purity and cleanness of it, there being no mire and filth of sin in these streets; and the sincerity and openness of it, each one walking in his uprightness; which will be seen and known of all, as clearly as anything can be beheld in a transparent glass. So the Jews sayF20Sepher. Avodah Hakkodesh, fol. 46. 1. of paradise, that the ground is paved with precious stones, the lustre of which may be compared to the light of burning torches.

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

Geneva Study Bible

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

(d) By street, he means the broadest place of the city.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 21:21". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-21.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

every severalGreek, “each one severally.”

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:21". "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

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

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

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

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

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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 21:21". "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

Pearls ( μαργαρίται )

The pearl seems to have been known from the earliest times to the Asiatic Greeks, in consequence of their intercourse with the Persians. Among the motives which impelled Caesar to attempt the conquest of Britain, was the fame of its pearl-fisheries. Pearls held the highest rank among precious stones. The Latin term unio (unity ) was applied to the pearl because no two were found exactly alike; but the word became in time restricted to the fine, spherical pearls, while the generic name was margarita. Shakespeare uses union for pearl in Hamlet, Act v., Sc. 2.

“The king shall drink to Hamlet's better health:

And in the cup an union shall he throw

Richer than that which four successive kings

In Denmark's crown have worn.”

And again:

“Drink of this potion: is thy union here?”

Every several gate ( ἀνὰ εἷς ἕκαστος τῶν πυλώνων )

Rev., each one of the several gates, thus bringing out the force of the genitive πυλώνων ofgates. The idea several is conveyed by ἀνά , as Luke 9:3, ἀνὰ δύο χιτῶνας “two coats apiece:” John 2:6, ἀνὰ μετρητὰξ δύο ἣ τρεῖς “two or three firkins apiece.”

Street ( πλατεῖα )

See on Luke 14:21. From πλατύς broadHence the broadway.

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

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The foregoing description seems to be simply intended to combine those elements which are regarded among men as expressive of magnificence and splendor. We are probably not to look for any mystical meaning in the several details of the description.

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

Scofield's Reference Notes

street

Revelation 22:2, cf: Revelation 3:4.

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 21:21". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-21.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 21. And the twelve gates] i.e. Gatekeepers, preachers of the righteousness that is by faith.

Were twelve pearls] All which do receive their lustre and worth from Christ, that pearl of price, Matthew 13:45-46, like as the pearl by being often beaten upon by the sunbeams, becometh radiant as the sun.

Was pure gold] Which no dirty dog may ever trample upon.

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

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I am not willing to descant further in particulars, conjecturing (for it is no more) what each metaphorical term signifies in this unusual description of a city. I do think the scope of the whole is no more, than to let us know that the mansions of heaven will be most glorious places, giving the souls of those to whom God shall give to enter into them, an infinite satisfaction, beyond what the most rich and glorious things in the world can give our outward senses.

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

одной жемчужины Каждые ворота города представляют собой отдельную, высотой 1 500 миль (2 413 км) жемчужину. Подобно тому как земные жемчужины образуются, нанося раны улиткам, так и эти невообразимо огромные жемчужины будут напоминать святым в вечности о величии страданий Христа и о Его вечном для них благодеянии.

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

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the several gates was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

Twelve gates were twelve pearls ... The gates of admittance are all one, as far as their character is concerned; one is not of lead, another of brass, etc. All who enter must meet the same requirements and enter by the gate of pearl, a symbol of the Christian's "overcoming." See sermon on "Heaven" in chapter introduction.

And the street ... was pure gold ... It is said also that this was, as it were, "transparent glass." What kind of gold is that? Roberts thought that, "These symbols have no special significance";[51] but it seems important that the very thing people worship on earth should at last have found its place under foot instead of upon the throne. "The street," as used here, does not mean that there was only one street. "The street here is not one street, but all streets."[52]

[51] J. W. Roberts, op. cit., p. 190.

[52] @@

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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 21:21". "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 twelve gates were twelve pearls, each one of the several gates was one pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.’

In Matthew 7:6 pearls represented what was holy and precious, compare the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:46). Gold again is symbolic of the holy sanctuary, where all is made of gold. The transparency may well denote total openness and honesty. The city contains all that is most splendid. We can compare many of these splendours with those which poured into Babylon at its finest (Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:12), but here it is heavenly gold, heavenly jewels and heavenly pearls of a size unknown to earth.

But in the new creation such things as gold and precious stones in their literal senses will be meaningless. They are used as descriptions here only because of fallen man’s peculiar propensities. They denote what is better far than gold. Note that only one street is mentioned and yet there are twelve entrances. As there are no buildings the whole inside may be intended to be seen as the street. The point is that all is of gold. (Not liveable in but splendid in conception).

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

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Evidently each gate-tower that John saw ( Revelation 21:12-13) had been carved out of one huge pearl (cf. Isaiah 54:11-12). [Note: Swete, p294.]

"Among the ancients, pearls were ranked highest among precious stones, because their beauty derives entirely from nature, improvement by human workmanship being an impossibility ..." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p473.]

John further described the street or pavement of the city probably referring to all the streets since all would be connected. These were pure gold ( Revelation 21:18), as pure as transparent glass. Old Testament priests who ministered in Solomon"s temple walked on a gold floor originally ( 1 Kings 6:30).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:21". "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 21:21. Having described the foundations, the Apostle now passes to the gates and street of the city. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl. No attempt is made to attain verisimilitude. It is enough that the figure helps to bring out the surpassing splendour.

And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. We are probably not to think of only one street, for a city so large, and with so many gates, must have had many streets. But it is unnecessary to dwell upon them all. Each is of the same material as the rest, and all are of gold, but, as in Revelation 21:18, of gold transfigured and glorified.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 21:21". "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

As we continue to read the beautiful descriptions of this city, we cannot help but think this is the Almighty"s answer to the questions of Revelation 18:18. Each gate, or gate tower, is hewn out of one massive pearl. The street is made of the same transparent gold we have seen earlier.

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

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

street. Greek. plateia. See Revelation 22:2 and Compare Revelation 11:8. Figure of speech Heterosis (of Number). App-6.

as it were. Not that it is glass, but gold of a kind unknown to us.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 21:21". "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 twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

Every several - `each one severally.'

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

(21) And the twelve gates . . .—Or, gate-towers. Each gate was of one pearl—i.e., made out of one pearl. The foundations are diverse; the gates are alike. There is one way, though there are many roads; one mode of entrance, through twelve gates. All find entrance through one new and living Way (John 14:6; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Hebrews 10:20). The pearl was esteemed of the greatest value among the ancients; it is an appropriate emblem of the highest truth, and so of Him who is the Truth as well as the Way of Life. Lord Bacon compared truth to a pearl “that showeth best by day.” Another feature may be added. It is the only precious stone which the art and skill of man cannot improve. The tools of the artificer may give fresh lustre to the emerald and the sapphire; but he must lift no tool upon the pearl. So is it with the truth, which sets men free (1 Corinthians 3:10). Through truth, and Him who is Truth, we enter the city; and the street of the city was gold, pure as transparent glass. (See Note on Revelation 21:18.)

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

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
the twelve
12; 17:4; Matthew 13:45,46
every several
pure
18; 17:4; 18:16; 22:2; 1 Kings 6:20; Isaiah 60:17,18
as it
11,18
Reciprocal: Job 28:18 - pearls;  Ezekiel 48:31 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 21:21". "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

Every several gate was of one pearl. There is nothing said nor intimated that the gates resembled pearls or were merely as beautiful as pearls. No, the first phrase Isaiah, the twelve gates were twelve pearls. And we should take for granted that the Lord would not use any but genuine pearl, but He would also use the best of it for the construction of a city to be the eternal home of the redeemed, where they are to share the glory with Him and all the celestial beings that He has created. I will quote from Smith"s Bible Dictionary some information about pearls: "The finest specimens of the pearl are yielded by the pearl oyster . . . the oysters grow in clusters on rock in deep water, and the pearl is found inside the shell, and is the result of a diseased secretion caused by the introduction of foreign bodies, etc, between the mantle and the shell . . . The size of a good Oriental pearl varies from that of a pea to about three times that . . . Pearls have been valued as high as $200,000 apiece." Now let us do some calculating and try to form some idea of the beauty and value of just the gates to the celestial city. Everything thus far has been in the proportions that would be required for beauty, hence these gates would be of the width and height that would not be out of proportion. In a wall fifteen hundred miles high and two hundred and sixteen feet thick, any opening of ordinary dimensions would look like a tunnel more than an entrance to a city of residence. We are not given the actual dimensions of the gates, but in order to bring them near enough for us to do some kind of calculating, we know they would not have been less than a hundred feet wide and two hundred feet high. If a pearl three times the size of a pea is worth two hundred thousand dollars, then one pearl as large as I have suggested (and doubtless these gates were larger) would be worth many times more than all the wealth of the world, and besides this, there were twelve of these costly gems. I would be willing to give a year or more of the severest kind of service just to see one of those gates.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 21:21". 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 21:21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, every several gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. That the description of the new Jerusalem is not to be taken in a realistic sense, that its glory is only represented under images derived from what is most glorious on the earth as it now is, is evident especially from the expression: each of one pearl, with which prosaic expositors, like J. D. Michaelis, have found themselves so much embarrassed. The street, in contrast to the city in Revelation 21:18, stands here, as in ch. Revelation 11:8, Revelation 22:2, for the streets. The whole of the streets are thrown together into one ideal street. It is not to be conceived, that a city of such compass should have only one street. Had such been the case, it would have been expressly said. The transparency of glass is mentioned as a sign of its purity, and it is the purity of gold, which alone is taken into account, (comp. at Revelation 21:18).

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

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

21.Twelve pearls—The material of each gate was a solid pearl. This gave variety to the aspect.

The street , would include any regular spacing, as street, public square, or city park. You trod on transparent gold in walking its pavement; and you beheld structures of the same transparent gold as you looked around you.

 

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