Revelation, Chapter 21

This will begin by giving you the scripture from the King James Version of the Bible, then will go into our description of what the verses mean. You will be able to read various additional information contained in more specific files under "Research Materials".

To skip the Introduction for Revelation chapter 21, Chapter 21 Scripture Begins Here

Revelation chapter 21 and 22 contain a description of the eternal state (following the Millennium and the final judgment), centering in the new Jerusalem as the eternal habitation of the saved.

The first heaven and the first earth are replaced by a new heaven and a new earth, predicted by Isaiah (65 v.17; 66 v.22) The present universe will thus be cleansed from all the effect of sin. Since there will be no more sea, the increased land space will be fully capable of handling large numbers of redeemed people from all ages.

The New Jerusalem is fully described in chapter 21 starting with verse 10 and going to chapter 22 verse 5. It is a holy city, totally separate from sin. It is being prepared as the habitation of the bride of Christ. From God shows its diving purpose, and out of heaven its divine origin.

Chapter 21

21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2 Pet. 3 v.10)

"A new heaven and a new earth": The "new heaven" is the atmospheric heaven around and above the earth. A New Heaven and a New Earth

This area has been the domain of Satan (see Eph. 2: verse 2) and must be purified before the heaven of God can come down to the new earth. This new earth will be a perfect environment similar to that of the Garden of Eden. A unique distinction of this new earth will be that the vast oceans of water that now cover three fourths of the world's surface will not be included, leaving much more habitable land for the population of the redeemed.

This "new heaven and new earth" are actually a heavenly pattern of what the Garden of Eden was a miniature of on earth. We will see the Tree of Life restored with water that flows from the throne of God.  It didn't rain in the Garden of Eden. Plants were watered from beneath the earth. The water in the Garden of Eden flowed out in four rivers (symbolic of enough for the whole world). This river that flows from the throne of God is the same water that Jesus told the woman at the well, if she drank it, she would never thirst again.

21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Now John sees the new holy city which is not heaven, but is called that since everyone who will be in it is holy. This is Christ's Kingdom. "Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection." (20 v.6)

New Jerusalem will be coming down to the new heaven and new earth mentioned in verse 1. The old heaven and earth which was in chapter 20 verse 11 fled away and was no more.

The city is illustrated as a bride because it contains the bride and takes on her character. John saw the bride adorned for her husband because the time for the consummation had arrived. The concept of the bride includes not only the church, but all the rest of the redeemed from all the ages who will live forever in that eternal city.

1 Cor. 15 v.28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.

The tabernacle of God is with men. The tabernacle was the original symbol of God dwelling with His people. In eternity, mankind will dwell with God. In that eternal state, we will not only enjoy fellowship with our redeemed loved ones but will also have actual fellowship with God Himself.

"Tabernacle" here means dwelling place of God. No longer will he be far off. No longer will he be "veiled" in the human form of Jesus Christ, in a cloud, a pillar of fire or in a Holy of Holies.

Just like God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, He will be in heaven with us continually. As Matthew 5 v.8 states: The pure in heart shall see God. Believers will see God as He is.

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.

All tears, pain, sorrow, and death will be removed in that heavenly New Jerusalem where Christians will live. This is the exact opposite of the curse that resulted from Adam's sin (see Gen. 3: verses 16 to19). The effects of the curse are removed, and all things are made new. God does not merely repair the creation, He re-creates it for His children to enjoy for all eternity.

Just as the disciples knew security when Jesus was there to take care of all their needs, we will know perfect peace and joy in heaven. Jesus is the king of peace. Jesus defeated death on the cross. The biggest fear of mankind is death. We just read where the Christians will not taste the second death. This fear is gone away. Death will no longer hang over the Christian. The Christian has eternal life (not death).

There won't be any reason to cry for in heaven. The devil and all his problems he brought upon the Christians have been thrown into the lake of fire. Every negative thing has been done away with.

21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

"The One who sits on the throne said", is the same One "from whose presence earth and heaven fled away. (Rev 20 v.11)

Here we see God sitting on the throne saying that He "makes all things new" when we are saved we become a new creature. We know this saying is true for the believer. Just as He did not throw us away and get a new person: He says here "I make all things new". 

He did not say He made new things.  He just takes the old things and transforms them into new. Here we see that Jesus commanded John to write, because all the things He has been shown are true. Jesus is the truth.

21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

It is done. These words mark the end of redemptive history. This is a statement ( Gr. gegonan) of divine finality. It represents God's promise that this new state will be forever. Alpha and Omega is the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Hence, this phrase represents the sum of all things. In Revelation 1: v.11 and 22: verses 12 to13 it is used of Christ. Here it is used of God the Father ("He that sat on the throne"), indicating the deity of both the Father and the Son.

Just as Jesus said on the cross "It is finished" You see, Jesus is the way to get to the water of life. In fact, He is the water. He is life. He who hungers and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.  There is nothing before Him and nothing after Him.

A citizen of heaven is described as one who "thirsts" signifying those who recognize their desperate spiritual need, "hunger and thirst for righteousness", Matt. 5 v.6.

21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

An overcomer is one who exercises saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A person who in faith drinks the water of salvation freely offered by God. Each of the seven letters to the churches in Rev. 2 and 3 end in the promise of he that overcomes will inherit these things.

Just as a bride is an equal inheritor of all that is her husband's, so the Church, the Bride of Christ, will inherit all that is His. He even promises that He will be our God and we shall be His son. These terms of endearment are experiences we as Christians shall enjoy forever. How Do I Become a Christian

From this scripture, we see there is something we must overcome. If we are faithful to Him in the face of all odds, we will inherit eternal life. The New Testament is actually an inheritance to the believers. If we believe, we can collect on that inheritance. Who ever we are faithful to, is our God. If he is our God, He will claim us as His son.

21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

The contrasts between verses seven and eight are graphic. They represent the age-old concept that there are only two kinds of people with God, believers and unbelievers. They experience two different lifestyles on earth and go to two different eternal destinies. Believers go to "eternal life" while unbelievers experience "the second death," which is the lake of fire. Second Death

Fear is not of God. Fear is the opposite of faith. In fact, it is mentioned twice here by saying "fearful and unbelieving". Jesus cannot be someone's Savior, unless they believe they He is their Savior.

Abomination, meaning vile, polluted, detestable, wholly caught up in wickedness and evil. Here, we see those who do abominable things taking part in the second death.

Notice here this says "murderers" not accidental killing or killing in war. This is premeditated murder, or those who hate their neighbors.

We see here "whoremongers" (this means not only in the physical but also in the spiritual).

"Sorcerers" has to do with the occult and also drugs.

"Idolaters" has to do with anything or anyone you put ahead of God.

"Liars" can do more harm than you can imagine. Many have a tendency to tell little white lies, but any untruth is a lie.

Those whose lives are characterized by such things give evidence that they are not saved and will not enter into the heavenly city.

After we are forgiven of our sins and born again, we must practice salvation. We must not have the habit of sinning. We may slip and sin, but if we do, we have an advocate with the Father. Repent and ask forgiveness, and then as Jesus told the woman who the Pharisees had caught in the art of adultery, "Go and sin no more". Do not practice sin. The horror of it all if you do not change from these evils, is that you will be thrown into the lake of fire.

21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

From the past, at the beginning of the millennium, one of the seven angels who poured out a bowl or vial appeared to John.

Now the angel was to show John the Lamb's bride, the Lamb's wife. New Jerusalem is likened to a bride because the redeemed are forever united to God and the Lamb.

At this point, the marriage has already taken place in 19 v.7 and now is referred to as "The Lamb's Wife.

21:10-11 "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God," " "Having the glory of God: and her light [was] like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;:

That great city, the holy Jerusalem. The Lamb's wife is described as the new city of Jerusalem. This magnificent city is where the bride of Christ (the Church) will live forever. The most dominant characteristic of the holy city is the presence of God's Glory, which personifies God's presence with His people. The Glory that departed from the Old Jerusalem (see Ezek. Chapters 8 to 11) is restored to the New Jerusalem of the future.

John's incredible vision began when the angel carried him away in the Spirit in Rev. 1 where he received the visions that make up the book of Revelation. John's visions were not dreams, but spiritual realities, like the one's Paul saw when he was also caught up to the third heaven.

From John's vantage point atop a great and high mountain, he repeats his observation of verse 2 that New Jerusalem came down out of heaven from God, emphasizing its divine origin.

Note what is described here is not the creation of heaven, but the descent of what already existed from eternity past. Now it's being situated in the center of the new heaven and the new earth.

"The Glory of God": The brilliance radiating from New Jerusalem caused by the full manifestation of God's glory will be so much, the city will have no need of the sun or the moon as the glory of God will illuminate it.

21:12 And had a wall great and high, [and] had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are [the names] of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

The inclusion of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles in the foundations and gates of the city  (see 21 v.14), indicates that both Jewish and Gentile believers will all be part of the family of God and share eternity as one. Although it would seem that the Jews are distinct from the Church during the Millennium, they will all be one as children of the living God for eternity.

If you have ever been to Jerusalem in Israel, you know the old city has a large wall around the city. The physical Jerusalem here has 12 gates. You see, this earthly Jerusalem is a replica of this heavenly Jerusalem.

Here we see their names (twelve tribes), celebrating God's covenant relationship with Israel, the people of the promises, covenants, scriptures and the Messiah.

These angels are stationed to attend to God's glory and to serve His people.

21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

This is reminiscent of the way the twelve tribes camped around the tabernacle in numbers 2 and the allotment of tribal lands around the millennial temple. (Ezek. 48)

21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The foundation of Christianity was established by Jesus through the twelve apostles. You can easily see, this is not only a city but stands for the Christians as well.

These stones commemorate God's covenant relationship with the church of which the apostles are the foundation of.

The layout of New Jerusalem's gates picture God's favor on all His redeemed people from both the old and new covenant.

21:15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

This is like Ezek. 40 v.3 and the measuring of the millennial temple. Also, the measuring of the Tribulation temple described in chapter 11 v.1.

All three measurements is showing the significance that shows what belongs to God.

21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

The city lies foursquare. The size of this city indicates that each border is approximately fifteen hundred miles long. Thus the dimensions of the city would be equal to the area from the eastern seaboard of the United States to Colorado on one side and from the Canadian border to the southern tip of Florida on the other. In addition to the length and breadth, the city will be fifteen hundred miles high. This great size will afford sufficient space for the habitation of the saints from all ages of history.

We see here that this city is a cube. Twelve thousand furlongs is 1500 miles. This city is 1500 miles square and 1500 miles high.

21:17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred [and] forty [and] four cubits, [according to] the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

A cubic is 18 inches or 1-1/2 feet. Times 144, the wall was 216 feet across. Just as in Babylon the walls, were wide enough for chariot races. This is even wider.

To emphasize the city's dimensions are literal and not mystical, John tells us that the measurements are given according to human measurements.

21:18 And the building of the wall of it was [of] jasper: and the city [was] pure gold, like unto clear glass.

The massive walls a material called jasper. This is the same diamond like stone that was mentioned in verse 11. (Clear as crystal)

Next the city itself was pure gold, like clear glass. Imagine how God's glory will radiate throughout and light up the entire city.

21:19-20 "And the foundations of the wall of the city [were] garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation [was] jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;" "The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst".

Jasper = Diamond

Sapphire = A brilliant blue stone

Chalcedony = Sky blue with colored stripes

Emerald = Bright green stone

Sardonyx = Red and white striped stone

Sardius = Various shades of Red

Chrysolite = Transparent gold or yellow

Beryl = Shades of green, yellow and blue

Topaz = Yellowish green

Chrysoprasus = Gold tinted green

Jacinth = Blue or violet colored

Amethyst = Purple stone

These brightly colored stones will refract the shinning brilliance of God's glory into a spectrum of beautiful colors that will flash from New Jerusalem throughout the re-created universe.

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, as it were transparent glass.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Every gate will be one pearl, each large enough to cover the gateway to this huge city. In addition, the street of the city will be "pure gold, like unto clear glass," indicating that believers will walk on golden streets. The holy city of God will be so magnificent that believers will literally walk on precious metals that today are used for costly adornments.

There is no silver in the city. Silver means redemption and we have already been redeemed. These stones show us things that are important here on the earth are plentiful in heaven. You see, God owns all the wealth in the world. God has so many rare stones He even puts them in the wall. Each gate is made of just one pearl.

And remember the height of the cube is 1500 miles. That makes for a very large pearl.

The streets in New Jerusalem is made of the highest quality of pure gold which is like everything else, transparent. We are not familiar with transparent gold here on earth, but everything in heaven is transparent to let the light of God's glory blaze unrestricted.

21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

"No temple therein:" There will be no need for a temple in heaven to provide a means for a man to fellowship with God. Because of Jesus sacrificial death on the cross, sin will not exist there. God and the Lamb are the temple of the eternal city. This clearly emphasizes the deity of Christ as equal in essence to that of the father.

There will be not need for anyone to go anywhere to worship God. Believers will constantly be in His presence. There will never be a minute when they are not in perfect, Holy Communion with the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. Therefore there will be no need for a temple, cathedral, church, chapel or any other house of worship. Believers will be the true worshipers God has always sought.

21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof.

No more day and night but there will be one eternal day. The Glory of God will illuminate New Jerusalem and its lamp with be the Lamb Jesus, who is the Light, and does away with darkness.

21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

The reference to "nations" reminds us that our national distinctions, like our personal appearances, are God-given. Revelation 7: v.9 refers to "a great multitude of all nations," and Revelation 5: v.10 refers to believers as "kings and priests" who reign with Christ.

Not that any national identities will be preserved in the eternal state, but rather just the opposite. People from every tongue, tribe and nation whether Jews or Gentiles, will be united as God's people. Every believer will be fully equal in the eternal capital city.

This just means that God doesn't care whether you are Chinese, African, or American. If you accept Jesus, you will be in heaven regardless of what country you're from.

21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

Its gates will never be closed. This depicts the city's complete security and that there is no need to close them.

New Jerusalem is a place of rest, safety and refreshment where God's people will "rest from their labors." Never again will anything have to be shut up for fear of loosing it by thieves and robbers. None of that will ever exist again.

21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

All who enter heaven will surrender their earthly prestige and glory when they enter. All who enter heaven "will cast their crowns before the throne" of God". (Chapter 4 v.10)

21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

This Scripture just means that this is a holy city (a place of true worship). There will be no evil of any kind in it. The residents are the redeemed, those washed in the blood of the lamb. Those who have been made righteous in Christ.

Once again, we are confronted with the significance of having our names written in the Lamb's book of life assuring us that Christ knows each believer personally, by name. Lamb's Book of Life

What a wonder this will be - to continually see God's face (Rev. 22 v.4) and to walk in the light of His presence (Rev 21 v.23 and  22 v.5) No wonder John tells us there is no temple in heaven (21: v.22) for as Paul wrote, "who hopes for what one already has" (Romans 8 v.24). What need could you have for a temple when everywhere you go is God? But a temple is not the only thing missing in heaven. What else does it lack?

Consider the following short list:

It would be enough to call this place "heaven" just from that list of what it lacks. But that wouldn't tell half of the story! Now consider some of the remarkable features eternity will boast:

Beyond these thrilling descriptions from the book of Revelation, we know from other Bible texts that heaven will be a place of:

With all that heaven and eternity have to offer, it is hard to see why anyone would deliberately choose to miss it.

Yet many will, according to Rev. 21 v.8, 27 and 22 v.11, 15. Make sure you're not one of them!

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