Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:4

and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Death;   Fellowship;   Heaven;   Pain;   Readings, Select;   Restoration;   Righteous;   Sorrow;   Tears;   Thompson Chain Reference - Afflicted, Promises, Divine;   Afflictions;   Death;   Distress;   Dying;   Future, the;   God's;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Home;   Joy-Sorrow;   Joys, Family;   No Mores, the Seven;   Pain;   Promises, Divine;   Seven;   Sorrow;   The Topic Concordance - Covenant;   Earth;   Heaven/the Heavens;   Jerusalem;   Newness;   Sorrow;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Death, Natural;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jerusalem;   Solomon's Song;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   City;   Death;   Disease;   Eschatology;   Evil;   Millennium;   Miracles;   Mission;   Peace;   Prophecy, prophet;   Sorrow;   Vision;   Zion;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Animals;   Church, the;   Confidence;   Create, Creation;   Death, Mortality;   Eternal Punishment;   God;   Image of God;   Jerusalem;   Jesus Christ;   New Creation;   Restore, Renew;   Touch;   Widow;   World;   Worship;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Resurrection of the Dead;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Heaven;   High Priest;   Mourning;   Noah;   Thousand Years;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Evil;   Heaven;   Heavenly City, the;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hope;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Eschatology;   Evil;   Mourning;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Eternal State;   45 Pain Travail Labour Weariness;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Bride;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cry, Crying;   Death;   Fall, the;   Former;   Pain;   Revelation of John:;   Sorrow;   Tears;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for October 19;   Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for December 27;   Faith's Checkbook - Devotion for January 28;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

There shall be no more death - Because there shall be a general resurrection. And this is the inference which St Paul makes from his doctrine of a general resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:26, where he says, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." But death cannot be destroyed by there being simply no farther death; death can only be destroyed and annihilated by a general resurrection; if there be no general resurrection, it is most evident that death will still retain his empire. Therefore, the fact that there shall be no more death assures the fact that there shall be a general resurrection; and this also is a proof that, after the resurrection, there shall be no more death. See the whole of the note on 1 Corinthians 15:27.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes - This will be one of the characteristics of that blessed state, that not a tear shall ever be shed there. How different will that be from the condition here - for who is there here who has not learned to weep? See the notes on Revelation 7:17. Compare the notes on Isaiah 25:8.

And there shall be no more death - In all that future world of glory, not one shall ever die; not a grave shall ever be dug! What a view do we begin to get of heaven, when we are told there shall be no “death” there! How different from earth, where death is so common; where it spares no one; where our best friends die; where the wise, the good, the useful, the lovely die; where fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, all die; where we habitually feel that we must die. Assuredly we have here a view of heaven most glorious and animating to those who dwell in a world like this, and to whom nothing is more common than death. In all their endless and glorious career, the redeemed will never see death again; they will never themselves die. They will never follow a friend to the tomb, nor fear that an absent friend is dead. The slow funeral procession will never be witnessed there; nor will the soil ever open its bosom to furnish a grave. See the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:55.

Neither sorrow - The word “sorrow” here - πένθος penthos- denotes sorrow or grief of any kind; sorrow for the loss of property or friends; sorrow for disappointment, persecution, or care; sorrow over our sins, or sorrow that we love God so little, and serve him so unfaithfully; sorrow that we are sick, or that we must die. How innumerable are the sources of sorrow here; how constant is it on the earth! Since the fall of man there has not been a day, an hour, a moment, in which this has not been a sorrowful world; there has not been a nation, a tribe - a city or a village - nay, not a family, where there has not been grief. There has been no individual who has been always perfectly happy. No one rises in the morning with any certainty that he may not end the day in grief; no one lies down at night with any assurance that it may not be a night of sorrow. How different would this world be if it were announced that henceforward there would be no sorrow! How different, therefore, will heaven be when we shall have the assurance that henceforward grief shall be at an end!

Nor crying - κραυγὴ kraugēThis word properly denotes a cry, an outcry, as in giving a public notice; a cry in a tumult - a clamor, Acts 23:9; and then a cry of sorrow, or wailing. This is evidently its meaning here, and it refers to all the outbursts of grief arising from affliction, from oppression, from violence. The sense is, that as none of these causes of wailing will be known in the future state, all such wailing will cease. This, too, will make the future state vastly different from our condition here; for what a change would it produce on the earth if the cry of grief were never to be heard again!

Neither shall there be any more pain - There will be no sickness, and no calamity; and there will be no mental sorrow arising from remorse, from disappointment, or from the evil conduct of friends. And what a change would this produce - for how full of pain is the world now! How many lie on beds of languishing; how many are suffering under incurable diseases; how many are undergoing severe surgical operations; how many are pained by the loss of property or friends, or subjected to acuter anguish by the misconduct of those who are loved! How different would this world be, if all pain were to cease forever; how different, therefore, must the blessed state of the future be from the present!

For the former things are passed away - The world as it was before the judgment.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-21.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Revelation 21:4

God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

No tears in heaven

Tears are the symbol of sorrow. Tears are sometimes shed through excess of joy. Yet a tearful joy is ever akin to grief.

I. The present state of the believer is one of tears.

1. Because he is living in a world of sin.

2. Because he is in a world of suffering. Because of sin, suffering has an inlet through our whole nature, and is the chief burden of its history. It rises up like mist out of the landscape, to darken the whole scene of our present pilgrimage.

3. Because the world in which he lives is a world of death. As a curse, death is inseparable from sorrow. Even where unstinged, it tells of pain, of suffering, and tears.

II. The future state of the believer is one in which there shall be no tears.

1. This removal of tears is directly traceable to God. It is enjoyed through grace in virtue of the Saviour’s blood, and God bestows it through the pardon of the believer’s sins, and by giving him a right and title to eternal life.

2. This removal of tears is complete. In the future world every source of sorrow shall have gent.

3. This removal of tears shall be for ever. Never shall heaven’s sky be clouded nor heaven’s bliss be interrupted by one single moment’s experience of the vicissitudes of time.

III. The reason why the future state of the believer shall be a state free from tears.

1. Because of the believer’s personal presence with Christ.

2. Because it is a state of personal perfection.

3. Because it shall be a state of renewed union and communion with Christian friends for ever.

4. Because it is a state of unalloyed happiness. (G. Jeffrey, D. D.)

The tearless heaven

Amongst the troubles of this chequered earth our griefs are sometimes so sore that tears come as a relief. But this is not because tears are a good thing in themselves, but because an outward weeping is better than an inward lamentation. Tears have but one deep, primary source, and that source is sin. Beneath our gentlest virtues there sleeps the lava of an evil impulse ready to spring forth at any small ignition. When the penitent weeps over his sins, when the Christian weeps over his shortcomings, it is well; for they are the mourners in Zion to whose gloom a dawn is promised. “Blessed are they that thus mourn, for they shall be comforted.” When the finger of the destroyer beckons us to look at our cherished ones lying in his embrace, it is not wrong to weep. Such tears must flow, for they are the signs of severed love. From whatever source the tears we shed may spring, they shall be wiped away in heaven.

1. They are sometimes caused by temporal depression. Such depression cannot extend beyond the bounds of time. In the abode where tears are wiped away there shall be no more poverty. “They shall hunger no more,” etc.

2. Defective friendships are a prolific source of tears. Sometimes this defection is occasioned by infirmity, temper, ignorance, or prejudice. Many are our friends just so long as the sun of prosperity is shining; bat as soon as our sky darkens into gloom, their smiles darken into frowns. Ay, and treacherous relationships, too, draw forth our tears. What bitter tears did David shed over the perfidy of his own son! And there’s many a father now who knows something of the same grief. The flatterer of to-day is the reviler of to-morrow. The smile will often wreath into a sneer, and the eulogy change into a scoff. But there will be no faithless friends in heaven. No Judas shall be found sitting at the board. No tears shall fall over the treachery of lover, brother, friend.

3. How widely, moreover, do the fingers of affliction fling open the sluices of our tears! These frames of ours are frail. “All flesh is grass.” And it is an affecting sight to watch in those we love the gradual or quick transition from health to sickness, from activity to languor, and from strength to pain. But there is no infirmity, no mental or physical decay, to break in upon the immortal activity and youth of heaven. And what is the hand which shall thus wipe away our tears? It is a hand which once was pierced with nails; but there is no scar upon it now.

The banishment of these tears is an act which is Divine. He sends no ministering angel round to soothe and comfort those He has redeemed; but He is His own missionary, and carries His own solace. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

1. He will do in lovingly. As the “brother born for adversity,” He will come gently on His assuaging errand; and as a high priest touched with a feeling of our infirmities, will He bid our mourning cease.

2. And He will do it effectually. He will not merely dry up a fountain that shall anon break forth afresh; but all tears shall be wiped away. Every cause of tears shall be removed; for He shall destroy sin, the great master evil--the wide, deep ocean from which all tears have been supplied. (A. Mursell.)

The utter removal of sorrow in heaven

I. We are to consider the tears.

1. We will mention those which arise from secular affliction.

2. Those that arise from social losses.

3. Those that arise from bodily pains and infirmities.

4. Those which arise from moral imperfections--to a Christian the most painful of all.

5. Those which arise from the wickedness of others.

II. Let us pass from the tears to consider the removal of them. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

1. It is Divine. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” He alone can do it; He is the Father of mercies, the God of all grace, the God of all comfort.

2. The deliverance is future. It is not said, God does, but “God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes.” Earth will always be distinguished from heaven. You are now in the conflict; and it is a trying one. It is death that will proclaim the triumph, and say the warfare is accomplished.

3. The deliverance is complete. “God shall wipe away all tears.” Nothing shall be seen but joy and gladness--nothing heard but thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

4. It is certain. Thy hope maketh not ashamed, because it is founded in the word of Him that cannot lie.

III. The uses we are to make of this delightful assurance.

1. Are you found in the number of the heirs of this promise? Will this be accomplished with regard to you?

2. The subject should remind us of our obligation to the Redeemer of sinners.

3. Does not this subject completely roll away the reproach of religion?

4. Christians, in the midst of your troubles, this subject ought to comfort you. You see that the last is the best, not only of some but of all your trials. (W. Jay.)

No more death.

What is death?

I. Death is “the wages of sin.” Men try to keep that fact out of view, and ascribe death to accident, disease, and second causes, without fathoming the depths to which they ought to descend. In Adam’s transgression, that was wrapped up like the oak in the acorn. “The wages of sin is death.” Man works for and wins that; and the Judge of all the earth uprightly pays it.

II. Or, death is a divine appointment--“It is appointed unto man once to die.” It did not obtain a place in God’s world without His permission or decree. No casualty, no blind chance precipitates man into the grave. It is not nature worn out, or so much animal machinery wasted away, it is the judicial appointment of the Holy One, protesting against all iniquity.

III. Or, death is “the king of terrors.” It is often called “the debt of nature”; and that is one of the softening epithets by which men try to disguise from themselves the true character of death. But, in truth, nature abhors and recoils from such an allegation. Death comes because nature has been outraged, because the heart of man has revolted against his God; and the rebel must therefore encounter all that is terrific, since he supposed there was a more excellent way than living in amity and walking in love with his Maker.

IV. Or, death is the extinction of spiritual life--“In the day that thou eatest thou shalt die.” Man then became dead to God, to holiness, to happiness, and heaven--he was dead in trespasses and sins.

V. But mercy did interpose; and we therefore proceed to view death under another aspect--it is an abolished thing; Christ has “abolished death.” Strange message that, amid our crowded churchyards, where the dead far outnumber the living in the less crowded city! Yet not more strange than true--wherever the way appointed by the Lord of Life is followed, death is abolished, and the body and soul will both live for ever.

VI. Or, death is a sleep. “Sleep in Jesus.”

VII. Or, death may be regarded as the servant, and the very property of believers: “All things are yours … whether life or death.” In such a case, death is the messenger sent to call the believer home, or to summon him into the presence of his Father. The grotto of Posilippo is a long dark passage through a mountain near Naples. While in that vault-like place, extending over some hundreds of yards, the wayfarer feels the dreariness and discomfort of the scene. But when he emerges to the west, the bay of Bairn stretches at his feet, one of the richest and most balmy even of Italian scenes; or to the east--then he is greeted by the bay of Naples, with its unutterable outspread of beauty, of city, of mountains, ocean, and volcano, till the eye revels and luxuriates amid the profusion of loveliness. It is a type of the believer emerging from death. The new heavens and the new earth are spread out before him; and though there be “no more sea,” the fulness of joy becomes his beatitude for ever. The curse is quenched--the sting is extracted; and misery, sorrow, fear--for all these things are portions of death--are over for ever. (Christian Treasury.)

Neither sorrow.--

The end of sorrow

How many tears now fall daily from weeping eyes.

1. How oft-times the Christian sheds the tears of penitence, as he feels the shadow of guilt fall across the memories of the past. But there the painful remembrance of his errors will be lost in the glad radiance of eternal absolution.

2. Here we sometimes cannot help the bitter tears of mortification rising to our eyes at our own failures in the Christian life. In a better world we shall see how God led us. He will wipe away the tears of regret and mortification, as we learn why it was that our lives were moulded and shaped in this or that fashion.

3. Often in this life the Christian sheds tears of indignation. Dean Swift, who, with all his faults, had an honest hatred of what was mean and unjust, had inscribed, by his own direction, on his tomb, that he hoped to rest, “where fierce indignation would no longer lacerate his heart.” But the balmy air and the sunny slopes of the new paradise of God will never know anything of the sin, the injustice, and the cruelty, which, by their shadows, darken the heart even of the Christian here. (W. Hardman, LL. D.)

Neither … pain.--

No more pain

There is no need to explain to any human being what it is that is meant by pain. We know pain by the best means of knowing: we know it by having felt it. There is a sense in which we may use the word, in which its meaning is wider than it is as it stands in this text. Pain may be taken to mean everything that you would shrink from, from whatever source it may come everything that implies suffering, sorrow, anguish. But it is not in this large sense that the word is to be understood in this text. For you observe that the writer of the Revelation distinguishes it from sorrow, from death, from tears. But pain means bodily suffering. Pain means that suffering which though felt in the soul has its origin in the body. And now you see that in the better world there is to be an end of it. “There shall be no more pain.” In the better world above, then, pain shall be unknown. Many a poor sufferer, doubtless, will cherish a very soothing and cheering thought of heaven as the only place where there is “no more pain.” Pain is in itself never a desirable thing. Great good may come through it, or of it; but the actual suffering in itself must always be a thing from which we would, if it were possible, shrink away. You know how pain, even when not very great, and even when not likely to be followed by serious consequences, destroys the enjoyment of life. A thousand blessings may be neutralised, so far as concerns their power of making us happy, by one little fretting pain. For pain is a thing that you cannot well forget while you are enduring it; it has a wonderful power of compelling attention to itself; you cannot long or heartily think of anything else while you are suffering acute pain. But pain does worse than mar the enjoyment of life; it unfits, as a general rule, for the work and duty of life. As a general rule you cannot do your work well when you are suffering pain even if not very great. It worries you; it draws off your attention from what you are about; you have no heart for your task. And there are worse possibilities about pain than even these. I do not forget that by God’s blessed Spirit’s working it has often been sanctified to work the soul great good; it has served to wean the affections from the things of time and sense. But this is the tendency of pain sanctified, it is not the natural tendency of pain. Do not you know that pain just as frequently makes the sufferer fretful and impatient, peevish and ill-tempered to those around; nay, ready to repine at the allotment and providence of God! But all this naturally leads us to ask, If pain be so bad a thing, and if it be so happy an assurance that the day is coming when there shall be no more of it, why is it here at all?

1. Pain teaches us, for one thing, how feeble and dependent we are. The proverb says that pride feels no pain: only let the pain be great enough and where will be the pride!

2. And for a second thing, pain is something to remind us of the evil of sin. You never would bare had a headache if it had not been for sin. You never would have known a sleepless night, a shooting pang through the nerves, or a dull weight at the heart, if it had not been for sin. Our natural tendency is to think to ourselves, oh, sin is not right--it cannot be justified, it is bad no doubt,--but it is not such a very great matter after all. What does pain say to that, think you!

3. And another lesson taught us by pain is suggested by this, it is how terribly God can punish; what tremendous appliances of punishment He has at His command. What fearful suffering God does inflict even in this world! No man would have kept that poor sufferer in that suffering for one minute. But God keeps him there: keeps him day after day, week after week. Oh, we have an inflexible Judge to face, merciful though He be! So pain teaches something of the severity of God. But I turn gladly to another lesson, a far happier lesson, taught us by pain.

4. It reminds us how great was our blessed Saviour’s love for our poor sinful souls, which made Him bear such an unutterable load of anguish as He bore for us. Such are certain lessons which we are taught by pain. But in the better world pain will not be needful to enforce them. They will be remembered there so far as it is fit that they should be remembered, without the necessity of having that sad monitor ever near. And thus, as in that happy country, pain would be of no use, pain will go. Oh the comfort of the thought! Christians who have suffered much in this being remember this, that in heaven there shall be “no more pain.” The parting pang which the believer feels in leaving this world is the very last that he shall ever feel at all. (A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

No pain among the blessed

I. What are the evils which flow from pain, and usually attend it in this life?

1. Pain has a natural tendency to make the mind sorrowful as well as the body uneasy.

2. Another evil which attends on pain is this, that it so indisposes our nature as often to unfit us for the business and duties of the present state.

3. Pain unfits us for the enjoyment of life as well as for the labours and duties of it.

4. Another inconvenience and evil which belongs to pain is that it makes time and life itself appear tedious and tiresome, and adds a new burden to all other grievances.

5. Another evil that belongs to pain is that it has an unhappy tendency to ruffle the passions, and to render us fretful and peevish within ourselves, as well as towards those who are round about us.

6. Pain carries a temptation with it, sometimes to repine and murmur at the providence of God.

7. To add no more, pain and anguish of the flesh have sometimes prevailed so far as to distract the mind as well as destroy the body. Extreme smart of the flesh distresses feeble nature, and turns the whole frame of it upside down in wild confusion. It has actually worn out this animal frame, and stopped all the springs of vital motion.

II. What just and convincing arguments or proofs can be given that there are no pains nor uneasy sensations to be felt by the saints in a future state, nor to be feared after this life?

1. God has assured us in His Word that there is no pain for holy souls to endure in the world to come.

2. God has not provided any medium to convey pain to holy souls after they have dropped this body of flesh.

3. There are no moral causes nor reasons why there should be anything of pain provided for the heavenly state.

III. What are the chief moral reasons or designs of the blessed God in sending pain on His creatures here below, and at the same time show that these designs and purposes of God are finished.

1. Pain is sometimes sent into our natures to awaken slothful and drowsy Christians out of their spiritual slumbers, or to rouse stupid sinners from a state of spiritual death.

2. To punish men for their faults and follies, and to guard them against new temptations.

3. To exercise and try the virtues and the graces of His people.

IV. Inquire what are those spiritual lessons of instruction which may be learned on earth from the pains we have suffered or may suffer in the flesh.

1. Pain teaches us feelingly what feeble creatures we are, and how entirely dependent on God for every moment of ease.

2. The great evil that is contained in the nature of sin, because it is the occasion of such intense pain and misery to human nature.

3. How dreadfully the great God can punish sin and sinners when He pleases in this world or in others.

4. When we feel acute pains we may learn something of the exceeding greatness of the love of Christ, even the Son of God, that glorious Being who took upon Him flesh and blood for our sakes, that He might be capable of pain and death, though He had never sinned.

5. The value and worth of the Word of God, and the sweetness of a promise which can give the kindest relief to a painful hour, and soothe the anguish of nature.

6. The excellency and use of the mercy-seat in heaven, and the admirable privilege of prayer.

Lessons:

1. The frequent returns of pain may put us in mind to offer to God His due sacrifices of praise for the years of ease which we have enjoyed.

2. To sympathise with those who suffer.

3. Since our natures are subject to pain it should teach us watchfulness against every sin, lest we double our own distresses by the mixture of guilt with them.

4. Pain in the flesh may sometimes be sent to teach us to wean ourselves by degrees from this body which we love too well; this body which has all the springs of pain in it.

5. We are taught to breathe after the blessedness of the heavenly state wherein there shall be no pain. (T. Hannam.)

The painless world

I. Pain is not needed there to stimulate scientific research. Supreme love for the Creator will give men such a delightful interest in all His works as will make inquiry the highest delight of their nature.

II. Pain is not needed there to test the reality of moral principle. The character will be perfected--the gold purified from all alloy.

III. Pain is not needed there to promote the development of character. We shall be like Christ, changed into His image, from glory to glory.

IV. Pain is not needed there to aid us in appreciating the sufferings of christ.

V. Pain is not needed there to impress us with the enormity of sin. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Pain: its mystery and meaning

Suffering is the most stupendous fact in human experience; it is the most difficult problem in our religion. Alas! it is not necessary to prove its existence. We see it everywhere. It is a blessed thing that amidst such surroundings sensitive persons, who feel the thrusts of life keenly, and acutely sympathise with pain in its manifold forms, as experienced by others, can by means of the imagination be cheered with a foreglance of a better state of things when the former things shall have passed away. The Apostle Paul, a man of massive and logical intellect, the greatest Jew that ever lived, was a glorious dreamer who found comfort and courage in the bright prospect of the far-off future. The first point of view in which pain presents itself is that of a mystery. Let us hear what metaphysicians have to say respecting it. Plato tells us that pain is the root, the condition, the antecedent of pleasure, and the latter is only a restoration of the feeling subject from a state contrary to nature to a state conformable with nature. The Kantian philosophy maintains that pleasure is the feeling of the furtherance, pain of the hindrance of life. “Pleasure,” says Hamilton, “is a reflex of the spontaneous and unimpeded exertion of a power, of whose energy we are conscious. Pain, a reflex of the overstrained or repressed exertion of such a power.” “Pain,” affirms Calderwood, “is not merely a negation or want of pleasure, but a positive experience opposite in kind.” “By pleasure and pain I must be understood to mean whatsoever delight or uneasiness is felt by us, whether arising from any grateful or unacceptable sensation or reflection,” is the opinion expressed by John Locke. After reading all that philosophers have written on the subject, mankind will still regard it as an unmitigated evil, nor will they be on the way to unravel the mystery. It may be said that this is a world of probation, and that pain is penal or disciplinary. Such is often the case, but it is not always so. Walk through the lengthy wards of a children’s hospital. There is no discipline there. Poor children! they are too young to be its fitting subjects. Take man as we find him--African or Englishman, Greek or Roman--and stud what you see. The poor beggar that sweeps the crossing, and that holds out his hat to you for a copper, is a child of God as much as you; the only difference being that perhaps you know it and try to act like a child, while he has forgotten it altogether. Every-day life experiences are illustrative of the Pauline expression, “The whole creation groaneth,” etc. Does Almighty God find His pleasure in the most degraded form of sensualism, in witnessing the torments of His creatures? Were such a conclusion possible, I could not ask you to render homage to Him, because He is the sweetest, gentlest, noblest of beings. I should become the victim of despair. But let me crush the spirit of blasphemy, and clear up this dark mystery by consulting the oracles of God. Therein I learn that man is the author of all the misery he endures. God made man free, the arbiter of his destiny; but when put to the proof he failed, yielded to temptation, and chose evil for his good. Man being the creature of sin, disease, and pain, his posterity, from the hour of birth, must have inherent in their nature the elements of multiform suffering. Here you see that sin is not necessarily the penalty, but the consequence, always of previous transgression. Moreover, you will observe that each generation, by its own irregularities, will entail upon its successor minds more debased, and bodies more accessible to disease. Here you have an explanation of the mystery of pain. From our own experience we can reason that pain in its manifold shapes works for our good. Tell me the painful feeling in you, and I will explain to you its mode of operation. Have you a want unsatisfied, are you weary of your pleasures, are you discontented with your circumstances? In this feeling there is a strong impulse to action. Are you depressed by a sense of deficiency or of transgression? Therein you have an impulse towards virtue, towards improvement. Do you sigh for friendship, or feel the sting of unrequited love? Therein you are urged to live out of self, and to be kind, generous, and pitiful to the many hearts that bleed in this cold and selfish world. Are you sick-bereaved? Has pain deadened your body to all sensuous pleasure? Or, surrounded by your kind, is your heart a desolation? Fortitude, faith, patience, trust in heaven, the hope of heaven there are no other resources when the heart is broken and the body shattered by disease. To the eye of a sculptor in every block of stone there is a statue; but to make it visible to every eye it must be cut out of the block with mallet and chisel. But the stone does not see the end in view, it only feels the rough treatment which it querulously resents. It wishes to be left alone. It is quite satisfied with itself as it is. “How long must I suffer?” asks the stone sorrowfully. “Only till all that is unsuitable and improper shall be removed,” rejoins the chisel; “and when made meet for the high situation you are to occupy, you will be placed amongst the others, and be as beautiful as they are.” Pain is oftentimes the result of disobedience to physical laws; not seldom is it hereditary, the diseased body and corrupt affections being transmitted by parents to their offspring; but in many instances it is not traceable to either of these causes. A being may be sinless and still a sufferer; a sufferer, not because his heart is base, but because his soul is noble. It we be pitiful, tender, and sympathetic, we cannot escape suffering. Such suffering develops character; and by it we become partakers of God’s holiness--of His exquisite compassion and sensibility. Do not, therefore, suppose that simply because you suffer you are set apart of God and made an example. You are under the law which Christ lived under, which all human families live under. Those who have never suffered know only the surface of life. As one must strike flint to call forth sparks of fire, so must we strike the heart to make it capable of great and noble deeds. Austerity and mortification moulded the saints of old. They met misfortune with a smile, and scorned the fear of death even when the fire was at the stake, and the flames rose around their heads, because they knew that out of their very ashes God would call them to an immortality of happiness. This is the true effect of sorrow: it detaches us from the earth, lifts us up to heaven, and unites us to God. (J. E. Foster, M. A.)

Pain

I. The existence, and even the dominance of pain. I do not think that we get to the deepest root of this tree of mystery by the common assertion that it was the sin of man from which all death and pain sprang. It is a significant fact that the higher the nature the more sensitive it is to pain.

II. It is not impossible for us to discover some of the purposes of pain whose prevalence in this world is so widespread.

1. Take one of the lower signs of human progress by way of example. Think of the increase in knowledge and skill which has followed on the sufferings of the race.

2. Think next of the connection existing between sufferers and sympathy. May it not be a part of God’s purpose in permitting pain that it links us together in the bonds of love?

3. Nor must we overlook the effect of pain and sorrow on moral character and on religious faith. Wrongly received, they provoke to sin; rightly received, they lead us to self-conquest, to patience, to sympathy for others, and to fellowship with Christ. (A. Rowland.)

Pain ended

“Neither shall there be any more pain.” This is the inscription on the tomb of Robert Hall in Bristol cemetery. He would often roll on the carpet in agony, we are told, with the pain in his back. (Thos. Cooper.)

Chronic suffering

Pascal, the great mathematician and moralist, said, “From the day that I was eighteen I do not know that I have ever passed a single day without pain. (J. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)

F.W. Robertson’s sufferings

Torturing pains in the back of his head and neck, as if an eagle were rending there with its talons, made life dreadful to him. During Monday, Tuesday, and the greater part of Wednesday in every week he suffered severely. Alone in his room he lay on the rug, his head resting on the bar of a chair, clenching his teeth to prevent the groans which, even through the sleepless length of solitary nights, the ravaging pain could never draw from his manliness. (S. A. Brooke, M. A.)

For the former things are passed away.--

The transient making room for the permanent

As a mere statement of a fact obvious to one who reviews any period of a history from a point subsequently reached, this of course is comparatively commonplace. The former things are always passing away as one advances in knowledge and character and power. It is so with the individual. No man or woman has reached the period of maturity without having left behind many things which belong to the earlier periods of life. And what is true of the individual is true as well of the community; true of a city. So it is with the world itself. All former things are continually passing away. The early cannibalism, the early human sacrifices; war undertaken simply in an impulse of rapacity and carried on in a spirit of ferocious cruelty; tyrannies, kingly and feudal; slaveries which were so universal in the past--they have gone into history. Society, in the world at large, has thus been radically changed, and while perhaps not complete, certainly the life is better; it has more liberal institutions, juster legislation, wider possibilities, a trust in God more quickening, more instructive literature, more lovely and laudable arts than it had in the earlier time. Former things from it have passed away, the chains have dropped from the limbs of the emancipated slave as the darkness passes from the vision under the hand of the skilful surgeon who removes the cataract from the eye. Many things are lost which we would like to keep in this process of development, and which we would like to blend with the knowledge and power of our maturer years--the simplicity of childhood, its capacity for learning, its confidence and admiration and wonder. In the city as it goes on in opulence and power we would like to retain, if it were possible, the early neigh-hourly feeling, early simplicity of manners. And the world at large loses something in losing its primitive fancies, which belong to the auroral period of human experience. And yet, upon the whole, it is vastly for the better, as we are constantly aware. The hope of humanity consists in this continual progress, where the former things are passing away and the new things are being attained and realised. It is the introduction of Christianity into such sluggish, stagnant and unaspiring empires as those of China or of Japan, as they were only a single century ago, which gives for them hope and promise as concerning the future. The former things are passing away. In the nature of the case they must pass away from the individual and from the race, as higher influences come to act upon it. So we should anticipate that when John, the prophet of the Apocalypse, looked forward into the final period of human history he would be struck with this fact that all the former things were passed away and He who is Lord of the earth hath made all things new. He would find his prophecy in part realised if he were to return again upon the earth and mingle in human society as it now exists. But yet these changes as they have already appeared, and as he would see them if he were to revisit the planet, are only prophetic of changes which are to be realised when the power by which these have been wrought has come to its complete consummation in history. And it is a beautiful thing in his prophecy that, looking forward to the very termination of history on earth, he sees the earth and the heavens closely assimilated, so that you cannot tell where the horizon of the earth ends and that of heaven begins. There are some points I will remark upon for your consideration.

1. One is that we here touch the characteristic difference between the Christian and any other form of religion known in the world. What is sadder in history than to see how the Greek mind, the Egyptian mind, the Persian mind, and the Roman mind had sunk into hopelessness of the future, at the time when the gospel of Christ was preached in the world. On the other hand, the gospel looks forward to glory to be realised in the centuries to come; sees for ever things passing away that better things may appear; sees the customs of society shivered and suddenly disappearing or gradually disintegrating, or falling into heaps of rubbish. So in all a new force is working in the world to lead men forward in communities to a higher level and nobler vision. It expects its ultimate victory in the glory of the future.

2. That is one thought, and another is of the superb confidence which the early Christianity felt in itself and which its teachers had in it. It is to conquer where philosophies have failed; it is to triumph where arts have only degraded the world; it is to purify where the human race has been sinking deeper and deeper in the mire of sin. Now, cannot we enter into the sublime confidence of the apostles, with Christianity enthroned already over the larger half of the world? I am ashamed of myself; I am ashamed of any Christian individual or Church where there is the least fear or apprehension concerning the progress and the mastery of this religion, whose earliest disciples knew its power, because they had seen the Lord; had stood around His Cross; had looked into the gate of the sepulchre from which He had come forth.

3. Another thought is suggested--namely, this: I have said already that we are sorry to lose many things which we, after all, have to leave behind us as we go on in our life personally or as communities, but when sin is expelled there is no longer any reason why that which has been lovely in the earlier life of any person should not continue, and only come to its more perfect manifestation in the completed maturity. What is it that corrodes and destroys the simplicity of childhood? What is it that destroys that early and tender confidence in others which is the beauty of our unfolding life? What is it that makes us desirous in future life of the consciousness of power out of which comes pride? Of the consciousness of position out of which we are aware that we have lost the pure sincerity and sweetness of our childhood’s years? Everywhere it is the element of sin. When at last that completed state is realised from which sin itself is eliminated, all the innocence of childhood with all the wisdom of age shall be charmingly combined; all the sweetness of early fancy with all the power of developed faculty; and then, in addition to this, that which has been imperfect and ignorant in the first will become an occasion of gladness and praise because we have been delivered from it.

4. Finally, the perfection of that state is the warrant of its fixedness and finality; that which is perfect is susceptible of no further change; you cannot re-make the sunshine, because it is perfect, the same to-day as when it fell on the bowers and blooms of paradise; you cannot re-make the atmosphere, because it is perfect, the same as when the lungs first inhaled it on the earth; you cannot re-make the element of water, or the blue of the sky, or the green of the verdure, or the sunset splendours. When this final stage is reached for which the Lord died, on account of which He underwent His sacrifice, which the apostle saw in prophetic vision, of which we beforehand may catch the beauty through his eyes, and for which it is the privilege in life of each of us to work and pray; when that final period comes where earth and heaven blend and holiness and wisdom bring perfect peace, the absolute completion of it, with sin expelled and grief left behind, is the Divine warrant that it shall be everlasting. (R. S. Storrs, D. D.)

The coming of the perfect, and the departure of the imperfect

I. The former things connected with the body have passed away. Our bodies shared the ruin into which sin brought our race. Mortality and corruption took possession of them. They became subject to pain, and weariness, and disease, in every organ and limb. All this shall yet be reversed. Former things shall pass away. This head shall ache no more; these hands and feet shall be weary no more; this flesh shall throb with anguish no more.

II. The former things connected with the soul have passed away. The beginning of this renovation was our “being begotten again unto a lively hope.” This re-begetting displaced the old things and introduced the new. The sin, and the darkness, and the misery, and the unbelief, and the distance from God--all these shall come to a perpetual end. In their place shall come holiness, and love, and light, and joy, and everlasting nearness--unchanging and unending fellowship with that Jehovah in whom is life eternal.

III. The former things connected with the earth have passed away. This earth is the seat of evil since man fell. The curse came down on it; creation was subjected to the bondage of corruption; Satan took possession of it. The devouring lion shall be in chains, and “no lion shall be there.” The curse shall vanish from creation; the blight disappear. Beauty shall clothe all things. Paradise shall return. Holiness shall revisit earth. God shall once more delight in it and set His throne in it. Righteousness shall flourish, and holiness to the Lord be inscribed everywhere. And all this irreversible! No second fall. Messiah--even He who died for us and who rose again--is on the throne, and no usurper can assail it. He ever lives and ever reigns. (H. Bonar, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Revelation 21:4". 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 God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,.... Occasioned by sin, Satan, the hidings of God's face, and afflictive dispensations of Providence; for these will be no more:

and there shall be no more death; natural or violent; there will be no more putting of the saints to death, or persecution of them unto death, as in former times; nor will they die a natural death any more; these children of the resurrection, and inhabitants of the new heaven and earth, will be like the angels, who die not; there will be no more deadness as to spiritual things among the saints; and as for the second death, that will have no power over them. So the Jews sayF21Echa Rabbati, fol. 48. 2. & Midrash Kohelet, fol. 61. 2. , אין מיתה לעתיד לבא, "there is no death in the world to come"; good is laid up for the righteous in the world to come, and with them is no deathF24Maimon. Teshuva, c. 8. sect. 1. ; and after the resurrection the body is perfect, and shall never after taste the taste of deathF25Midrash Hanneelam in Zohar in Gen. fol. 70. 1. .

Neither sorrow, nor crying; on account of sin, or because of oppression and persecution, or through the loss of near relations and friends; sorrow and sighing will flee away, all occasions thereof being gone: neither shall there be any more pain; either of body or mind; there will be nothing to afflict the mind, and make that uneasy, but all the reverse; nor will there be any sickness or diseases of body, for the body will be raised glorious, powerful, incorruptible, and spiritual.

For the former things are passed away; not only the first heaven and earth, the world, its fashion, and its lusts; but the former grievous times under Rome Pagan and Papal, and everything which in this present life gives uneasiness and distress.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-21.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

all tearsGreek, “every tear.”

no more deathGreek, “death shall be no more.” Therefore it is not the millennium, for in the latter there is death (Isaiah 65:20; 1 Corinthians 15:26, 1 Corinthians 15:54, “the last enemy  …  destroyed is death,Revelation 20:14, after the millennium).

sorrowGreek, “mourning.”

passed awayGreek, “departed,” as in Revelation 21:1.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "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

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

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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 21:4". "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

And God shall wipe away

Omit God. Read, as Rev., and He shall wipe away.

All tears ( πᾶν δάκρυον )

Lit., every tear. Compare Isaiah 25:8.

There shall be no more death ( ὁ θάνατος οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι )

Render, as Rev., death shall be no more.

Sorrow ( πένθος )

Better, as Rev., mourning, since the word signifies manifested grief. See on Matthew 5:4; see on James 4:9. Compare Isaiah 65:19. “That soul I say,” observes Socrates, “herself invisible, departs to the invisible world - to the divine and immortal and rational: thither arriving, she is secure of bliss, and is released from the error and folly of men, their fears and wild passions, and all other human ills, and forever dwells, as they say of the initiated, in company with the gods” (Plato, “Phaedo,” 81). So Sophocles:

“Sorrow touches not the dead.”

Oedipus Coloneus,” 966

“How thrice happy those of mortals, who, having had these ends in view, depart to Hades; for to them alone is it given there to live; but to others, all things there are evil” (“Fragment”). And Euripides:

“The dead, tearless, forgets his pains.”

Troades,” 606

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "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 God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

And death shall be no more — This is a full proof that this whole description belongs not to time, but eternity.

Neither shall sorrow, or crying, or pain, be any more: for the former things are gone away — Under the former heaven, and upon the former earth, there was death and sorrow, crying and pain; all which occasioned many tears: but now pain and sorrow are fled away, and the saints have everlasting life and joy.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-21.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Ver. 4. And God shall wipe away] As mothers do their children’s tears. "Sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Baca shall be turned into Berachah, sighing into singing, misery into majesty; as Queen Elizabeth was exalted from a prisoner to a princess; and as our Henry IV was crowned the very same day that, the year before, he had been banished the realm. (Daniel.)

No more death] For mortality shall be swallowed up of life.

Neither sorrow] πενθος. Properly for loss of friends; for we shall inseparably and everlastingly enjoy them. We shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have communion with them; not only as godly men, but as such and such godly men. And if with them, why not with others whom we have known and loved in the body?

Nor crying] κραυγη. Qualis est in tragoediis, saith Aretius.

Nor any more pain] πονος. Or, hard labour for a livelihood, to be gotten with the sweat either of brow or brain.

For the former things, &c.] The Latins call prosperous things Res secundas, because they are to be had hereafter; they are not the first things.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-21.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:4

God wiping away all Tears.

The subject teaches—

I. A lesson of resignation.

II. A lesson of gratitude. The same hand which chastises will one day wipe away our tears. It will not be long that we must wait before the faithfulness of God's word will be established.

J. N. Norton, Golden Truths, p. 443.


References: Revelation 21:4.—G. Calthrop, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 97; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 325.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-21.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Scarce any of the passages in this verse, taken in the plain, literal sense, are applicable to any state of the church in this life: for though in the thousand years, mentioned Revelation 20:1-3, the state of the church (as it is presumed) will be very happy comparatively to what it ever was before, and free from its enemies’ molestations and persecutions; yet I think none hath asserted that in that time no members of it shall die, or be sick, or have any sorrow or pain. There must be a great allowance of figures, if we will apply this to any state of the militant church; but all will be literally true as to the church in heaven.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". 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

отретвсякую слезу На небесах не будет слез, потому что не будет ничего, вызывающего печаль, разочарование, обман, несовершенство, зло (ср. Ис. 53:4, 5; 1Кор. 15:54-57).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-21.html.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Reader! let us pause over this verse, for it is a refreshing one. What a happy climate this must be? Contrast it to the present state. Then look to Jesus, who hath purchased for us such vast mercies. Depend upon it, there is more of Jesus, even in the least of our common blessings, than we are aware of. The thorns of this world, are all the inheritance which sin left us. Therefore, whenever a thorn is taken out, whenever any ease or mitigation to sorrow is found, it is Jesus who is the purchaser of those blessings. How little is this thought of by men? I do not mean men of the world, for how shall carnal, unawakened men think of Jesus, who know not themselves? But I am speaking of the Lord's people. And yet, what a double sweetness would this thought, when coming warm to the mind, put into the enjoyment of every blessing? This is the fruit, and effect of Jesus's love. I wish any child of God, that reads this short observation when I am no more, may, through grace, feel his heart led out to the consideration of it. All blessings, all mercies, are the fruits and effects of Jesus's love, and very blessed it is to eye Jesus in them. I make a nice distinction between the most precious blessing, and Jesus himself, the Giver of that blessing. It is blessed, yea, very blessed, to receive the gifts of Jesus as his gifts. But it is a thousand times more blessed, to know, and enjoy Jesus himself in those gifts, as the love tokens of his heart, from whence they come. To love him is blessed, but to be beloved by him in infinitely more blessed. This is the cause, the other is the effect. He it is it is said, that will wipe away all tears from the eyes of his people. This is blessed. But wherefore he doth it, is more so. Because he loves them and they are beloved by him. This is the coronet of the whole. This the head of all blessedness.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-21.html. 1828.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.

And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes ... The highly symbolical nature of this language is evident in the truth that if "literally" there is no more crying, then there would also be no tears. It is so easy to fall into literalism, like the little girl who heard this read and exclaimed, "God certainly must have a big handkerchief!" Of course, what is meant is that there will be no causes of tears. "Descriptions of eternal blessedness are often figurative or couched in negatives because the realities are inconceivable to us in our present state."[13] Compare this with Isaiah 25:8; 65:19. The long agony of mankind shall at last be resolved in the blissful joy of eternal life with God.

Death ... mourning ... pain ... How can we imagine a life which bears none of the marks so indelibly stamped upon it here? The "first things" are passed away indeed!

ENDNOTE:

[13] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 620.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "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 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more, the first things are passed away.’

Compare Revelation 7:17 where the wiping away of tears was promised to the martyrs. Now it is for all God’s people. The former troubles are forgotten (Isaiah 65:16). Compare also Isaiah 25:7-8 where death is swallowed up for ever and the Lord God will wipe away all tears from all faces, and remove the veil of mourning. ‘Neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain’. John is concerned that in the coming suffering and persecution of the people of God described throughout the book, which will include the pain of the loss of loved ones, the people will realise that one day all their suffering will be taken away.

‘Death will be no more’ for it has been destroyed in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). Isaiah 35:10 reveals the scene with a greater emphasis on joy, ‘the ransomed of the Lord will return and will come with singing to Zion, and everlasting joy will be on their heads, and they will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away’.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-21.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Revelation 21:3 describes the benefits of the New Jerusalem positively, and Revelation 21:4 does so negatively. Probably God will wipe away all tears at the inception of the eternal state rather than at some time after that. These are tears caused by life in the old creation, not tears of repentance. This reference to wiping away tears highlights God"s compassion for His people. Sorrow, death, and pain will all end along with the tears, mourning, and crying that result from them. This is a final reversal of the curse ( Genesis 3). All these former experiences will be gone forever then. However note that the removal of tears will take place after the judgments, including the judgment seat of Christ when some Christians will suffer the loss of reward ( 1 Corinthians 3:15; cf. 1 John 2:28). The "first" things are the former things, the things associated with the old creation.

"How different is this concept of heaven from that of Hinduism, for example? Here heaven is depicted as a city, with life, activity, interest, and people, as opposed to the Hindu ideal of heaven as a sea into which human life returns like a raindrop to the ocean." [Note: Johnson, p593.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "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 21:4. All the most precious fruits of such a fellowship shall also be experienced. He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes. Not ‘all tears’ are spoken of, but ‘every tear.’ Each single tear they shed shall be wiped away, even before it falls.

And death shall be no more. It has been destroyed by Him who ‘was dead, and behold, He is alive for evermore’ (chap. Revelation 1:18); and it can no longer disturb with its terrors, or its separations between the loving and the loved.

Neither shall there be mourning. The reference is not to mourning in general, but to wailing for the dead.

Nor crying, nor pain, any more. ‘Crying’ is the acute cry produced by any pain: ‘pain’ is the burden laid upon us by any woe, especially by such woes as are connected with the toils and sufferings of the present outward world. From all sorrow whether sharp or dull; from all burdens whether proceeding from the body or the mind, the dwellers in the New Jerusalem shall be for ever free. These trials belonged to the first things, to the old earth; and the old earth, the ‘first things,’ has passed away.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-21.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

from. The texts read Greek. ek. App-104.

there shall, &c. Read "death shall be no (App-105.) more" (longer).

neither, nor. Greek. oute.

any more = no more, as above.

for. The texts omit.

former things. Compare Isaiah 25:7, Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 35:10. Jeremiah 31:16.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "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 God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

All tears - `every tear.'

No more death - `death shall be no more:' not the millennium, for in this there is death (Isaiah 65:20; 1 Corinthians 15:26; 1 Corinthians 15:54, "the last enemy ... destroyed is death," Revelation 20:14, after the millennium).

Sorrow - `mourning.'

Passed away - `departed,' as Revelation 21:1.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "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

(4) And God shall wipe away all tears . . .—Instead of “all tears” we should translate “every tear,” and so possess the promise in its true and tender form. The first, or former, things are passed away: death shall not be any longer; neither shall mourning, nor crying, nor pain, be any longer. The splendid array of negatives come as heralds of the positive peace of the new Jerusalem: no sea, no tears, no death, no mourning, no crying, no pain; with the former things these six shadows pass away from life. “The mourning is that grief which so takes possession of the whole being that it cannot be hid” (Abp. Trench). It is the same word that is rendered “wailing” in our English version (Revelation 18:15). It is used of mourning for the dead. Crying is the voice of despair and dismay, as well as sorrow; it is the loud outcry which is the witness that “the times are out of joint.” Pain includes painful labour and weariness. With the passing away of these there must depart the ground for the often-repeated cry of “Vanity of vanities! “The sad minor of the poet’s song will cease, for—

“Time with a gift of tears,

Grief with a glass that ran,”

together with “travail and heavy sorrow,” shall be no more. On the whole passage, comp. Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 65:19.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-21.html. 1905.

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

4. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away--21:4.

This passage was the fulfillment of the promise in chapter 7:14-17 which was vouchsafed by Christ himself that the faithful through tribulation would become recipients of the blessings signified in the symbolic phrases of these two texts. The same figures of speech are employed by Isaiah in the descriptions of the blessings that should come upon Israel when freed from exile and returned to their land. It could not reasonably be argued that the metaphors of no more weeping and crying in Isaiah 65:19 referred to heaven. Israel had been weeping with their harps hanging on the willows in Babylon; but upon return to their land the weeping and tears of exile would be wiped away. It was the same metaphorical representation in Revelation 7:17; Revelation 22:4 --no more death referred to the martyrdom of the saints as in chapter 2: 10; neither sorrow nor crying referred to the sorrows of persecution; and neither any more pain was just another phrase for no more tribulation. The rider of the red horse of death had been conquered by the Rider of the white horse of deliverance from the scenes of tribulation, and these descriptions were in the continuity of the vision.

The mourning of Israel in exile was pictured as having been ended in the return to their own land in several references in the prophecies of Isaiah, examples of which are in chapters 35:10; 51:11 and 65:19. Here it was declared by the prophet that after the return from exile their sorrow and mourning should then flee away. The same application must be made of the death (martyrdom) and the sorrow, crying and pain (of the tribulation) in the continuing vision of Revelation which referred to the exclusion from their new heaven and new earth the experiences of the tribulation period. The threefold army and horsemen of the woes had been banished, defeated by the conquering Rider of the white horse; and in the same metaphors employed by the prophets to represent Israel's deliverance from exile, the Seer of Revelation adapted that imagery to signify the deliverance of the spiritual Israel, the church, from the period of tribulation. It falls into the complete harmony with the Lord's discourse in Matthew 24:1-51 and with all of the visions of Revelation as a whole.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-21.html. 1966.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
God shall
7:17; Isaiah 25:8
no
20:14; 22:3; Isaiah 25:8; Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:26,54-58; Hebrews 2:14,15
neither sorrow
Isaiah 30:19; 35:10; 60:20; 61:3; 65:18,19; Jeremiah 31:13
the former
1; Psalms 144:4; Matthew 24:35; 1 Corinthians 7:31; 2 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Peter 3:10; 1 John 2:17
Reciprocal: Genesis 15:1 - and thy;  2 Samuel 7:10 - neither;  2 Kings 2:21 - there shall;  1 Chronicles 17:9 - and shall be;  Psalm 15:1 - Lord;  Psalm 17:15 - I shall;  Psalm 30:11 - turned;  Psalm 37:29 - GeneralPsalm 57:1 - until;  Psalm 65:4 - we shall be;  Psalm 73:26 - portion;  Psalm 116:8 - mine;  Isaiah 33:24 - the inhabitant;  Isaiah 51:11 - and sorrow;  Jeremiah 31:12 - and they;  Ezekiel 28:24 - a pricking;  Ezekiel 37:23 - they be;  Hosea 2:23 - Thou art my God;  Zephaniah 3:15 - is in;  Zechariah 13:9 - It is my people;  Zechariah 14:11 - there;  Matthew 5:4 - GeneralMatthew 6:13 - deliver;  Luke 16:17 - it;  Luke 20:36 - can;  John 11:25 - I am;  Acts 3:19 - that;  Acts 20:37 - wept;  Romans 7:24 - wretched;  2 Thessalonians 1:7 - who;  2 Timothy 1:4 - being;  Hebrews 4:9 - remaineth;  Revelation 7:15 - dwell;  Revelation 7:16 - the sun;  Revelation 21:22 - I saw

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-21.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

EARTH'S SORROWS GONE.

Revelation 21:4. — "And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall not exist any more, nor grief, nor cry, nor distress shall exist any more, for the former things have passed away," It is only in the eternal state that the effects of sin, physical and moral, are completely removed. The millennial era is not, as we have seen, a perfect condition, and hence even under the beneficent sway of the Lord tears will be shed on earth. The words, "He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes," is verbally repeated in Revelation 7:17. There, however, it is a millennial scene; here it is in the everlasting state. The wiping away of tears is not an action ascribed to the Lamb either here or in the earlier scene. God does this. If He wipes away every tear, then He removes every cause and occasion of sorrow. The tear-drop will never again glisten in the eye. The eye is said to be "the fountain of sorrow," but God shall wipe it dry.

Death shall cease. The physical dead of the madly rebellious gathered under Satan covered the old earth, at least in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and the eternal inhabitants of the new earth had witnessed the awful sight (Revelation 20:7-9). But it exists no more.

"Nor grief," the same word as in Revelation 18:15, "wailing," or mourning, the outward expression of the heart's deep sorrow.

"Nor cry," the voice of hopeless misery (Isaiah 65:19).

"Nor distress," or pain within, no internal trouble or weariness, no pain from without or from within. These things which together make up the volume of human misery exist no more, neither does that which caused them — sin. All have passed away. "The former things," of which those mentioned are part, "have passed away."

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-21.html.

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

God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, Upon hearing this read once a little girl was caused to exclaim, "God must have a large handkerchief." I report this because she was making the same erroneous interpretation of the passages that many older people make. That is because they forget that they are reading in a book that was written on the basis of symbols. The significance of the statement is that the tears will be wiped away by removing or preventing anything that could cause tears; the next words of the verse agree with this explanation. There shall be no more death. The Saviour of men went down into the depths of death and came out again, bringing with Him the eternal victory over it, thus removing the possibility for the "grim monster" ever again to overcome those who are accounted worthy of the "better resurrection" with either physical or spiritual death. This will prevent sorrow, crying and pain, which explains how God will wipe away all tears. Former things are passed away will be true at that period beyond the resurrection of the righteous.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-21.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 21:4

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The time of the glorious state of the church, and kingdom of Christ on earth, before the general resurrection and the eternal judgment, will be a sorrowless time and condition to the church and people of God. For, first, they shall have no sufferings; { Isaiah 60:14-18} Secondly, they shall have no sins, { Isaiah 60:21} Thy people also shall be all righteous, and { Zephaniah 3:13-15} The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity; and { Revelation 14:4-5} For they are without fault before the throne of God. Thirdly, they shall have no enemies to hurt them, to persecute them, nor to destroy them. { Isaiah 11:9-16} They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea- And I will punish the world, for their evil, and the wicked for their inquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible-Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger-Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes, their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Read Isaiah 14:1-5; Isaiah 25:8; Jeremiah 23:3-4; Ezekiel 28:24; Zephaniah 3:13-15

For the former things are passed away;

that Isaiah, all those things that occasioned sorrows and sufferings, tears and temptations, lamentations and weeping to the church and people of God are come to an end; that Isaiah, the old serpent is bound, the beast and false prophets taken and cast into the lake of fire. {See Revelation 19:20-21; Revelation 20:2-11} Now the church of God hath rest, peace and glory. Now the Lords redeemed ones are made unto God kings and priests, and shall reign on earth. { Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 11:15; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:27-28}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-21.html.

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

Revelation 21:4. And he will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the first things are passed away. The words, "he will wipe away all tears from their eyes," have already occurred in ch. Revelation 7:17. There it referred to the heavenly section of the church. Now at length the flow of her tears is completely and for ever stayed

After the tears death is mentioned, as that which in this vale of tears calls forth the bitterest weeping. As it had come into the world through sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12), it must again cease through the complete victory over sin (1 Corinthians 15:54).

As tears precede death (that they stand connected with it, appears from the fundamental passage Isaiah 25:8, where the destruction of death precedes, and the ceasing of death follows), so it is again succeeded by mourning, which is also connected with death in ch. Revelation 18:8.— The crying is not that of persons fighting, but of those oppressed, overpowered, despairing, Isaiah 65:19.

On the expression "no more," Bengel says, "therefore till now it had not wholly ceased." A memorial for those who would ascribe more to the thousand years' reign, than what may be found in the period already past! It belongs to the first department of things, which through manifold stages still remains the same in all that is essential; respecting which in every stage it may still be said, "This world is aye a vale of tears, Full of pain, distress, and tears," and "Poor worms we are upon the earth, Struggling with guilt and woe and death."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-21.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4.The present God makes all the happiness of heaven. It is he who will wipe away all tears.

No more death—For the resurrection took place previously to the great white throne, Revelation 20:11, and death died at Revelation 20:14. The inhabitants quaff immortality from the river of life.

Crying—Rather, outcry, from the oppression and violence of assailants.

Pain—The healing leaves of the tree of life give perfect health.

Former things—The pains, sorrows, deaths, and violences of the old world.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-21.html. 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

4. He will wipe away all tears. This is fulfilled now in the “peace which is beyond human understanding” which God gives the Christian (Philippians 4:5-7). Again, the Church Triumphant will receive a greater fulfillment in Eternity (see notes on Revelation 7:13-17).

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-21.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.