Revelation chapter 21

The new heaven and new earth are created. The holy city, the New Jerusalem appears. It is the home of God’s people. Other people are in the Lake of Fire. [UPDATED]

 


 

THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH ARE CREATED

 

VERSE 1. I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more.

a new heaven. The Greek word for heaven is οὐρανός (“ouranos”). It has two meanings:

  • The sky. This implies the material universe is annihilated and God creates a new one.
  • The invisible realm of the angels. This implies the spirit realm is annihilated and God creates a new one

a new earth. The world we are living on is destroyed. God creates a new earth to take its place.

Isaiah 65:17. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Isaiah 66:22. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me,” says the LORD, “so your offspring and your name shall remain.

Revelation 21:1. I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more.

 

THE NEW JERUSALEM APPEARS

 

VERSE 2. I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

the Holy City, New Jerusalem. This is the “new” Jerusalem. The “old” Jerusalem has been done away with.

coming down out of heaven from God. This is a “spiritual” city, as compared with an “earthly” city.

 

VERSE 3. I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

God’s dwelling is with people. This is already the case in our New Testament era, in the sense that the Holy Spirit dwells within us. However, this verse signifies a whole new thing.

 

VERSE 4. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”

The first things have passed away. That is, the old order of things has passed away. The material universe will be gone. Everything we ever knew about the world is gone. The time-space continuum is gone.

Our existence will be so much greater. We’re not even capable of imagining it.

 

VERSE 5. He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.”

Behold, I am making all things new. Not only will the individual believer be a new creation, but the entire creation will be new:

Isaiah 48:6. You have heard it. Now see all this. And you, won’t you declare it? “I have shown you new things from this time, even hidden things, which you have not known.

2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.

Revelation 21:5. He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.”

 

VERSE 6. He said to me, “I have become the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life.

the Alpha and the Omega. This is where this famous phrase comes from.

I will give freely to him who is thirsty. Jesus Christ is always looking after our needs.

 

VERSE 7. He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.

He who overcomes. In the context of the Book of Revelation, what does it mean to be an overcomer? The next verse tells us:

 

VERSE 8. But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is a synonym for the Lake of Fire. It is also mentioned in:

Matthew 25:41. Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels;

Revelation 19:20. The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

Revelation 20:14. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8. But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

which is the second death. The first death is when our earthly body passes away. But this second death is an unending death, for it is an unending existence in the Lake of Fire.

 

VERSE 9. One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, “Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb’s bride.”

the Lamb’s bride. That is, the Church.

The term “the Church” means all professing Christians everywhere. It it not limited to the people of a specific denomination.

Sometimes Catholics speak of their nuns as the “bride of Christ.” But that is not what is meant here.

 

VERSE 10. He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

the holy city, Jerusalem. Many Christians say the new Jerusalem is a metaphor for “the church.”

However, verse 12 suggests it is founded on the Jewish people.

 

VERSE 11. having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

having the glory of God. The New Jerusalem gleams with the splendor of God.

 

VERSE 12. having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.

at the gates twelve angels. These are actual angels, not metaphorical ones.

the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. The New Jerusalem is centered on Jewish people.

We Christians will be included, in the sense that children are included when their parents go on a trip.

 

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

three gates. Each side of the new Jerusalem has three doors. This evokes the three Persons of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

VERSE 14. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. The New Jerusalem DOES have a Christian aspect to it.

That aspect is added to the foundational Jewish aspect.

 

VERSE 15. He who spoke with me had for a measure a golden reed to measure the city, its gates, and its walls.

 

VERSE 16. The city is square, and its length is as great as its width. He measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand twelve stadia. Its length, width, and height are equal.

Its length, width, and height are equal. The New Jerusalem is a giant cube.

twelve thousand twelve stadia. The New Jerusalem is gargantuan:

  • Length: 1,500 miles
  • Width: 1,500 miles
  • Height: 1,500 miles

That makes for a volume of 3.375 billion cubic miles!

 

VERSE 17. Its wall is one hundred forty-four cubits, by the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.

 

VERSE 18. The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass.

 

VERSE 19. The foundations of the city’s wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;

 

VERSE 20. the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst.

 

VERSE 21. The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each one of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

 

VERSE 22. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.

 

VERSE 23. The city has no need for the sun or moon to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

its lamp is the Lamb. Jesus Christ is the light that burns and gives light!

 

VERSE 24. The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.

The nations will walk in its light. All people of all nations are inside the new Jerusalem.

 

VERSE 25. Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there),

Its gates. There are people “inside” the New Jerusalem, and people who are “outside” of it.

 

VERSE 26. and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter.

 

VERSE 27. There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: Todd Van Natta

I was given a great gift. It is to be passionate about Jesus Christ and the Bible and the spiritual life. I am a Christian believer. I believe in Jesus Christ. I’m in love with Jesus! I believe the Bible. I love the Bible. For decades, I've been reading it cover-to-cover, again and again and again. I’ve memorized a whole lot of Bible verses. Most of all, I want the Bible to help us fall more deeply in love with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with other people, and with ourselves. And I've been reading the great writings from the entire Christian heritage for decades. At Explore the Faith, I share what I have discovered.

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