The New Heaven and the New Earth. 1a Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.* 2I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,* coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.b 3I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.c He will dwell with them and they will be his people* and God himself will always be with them [as their God].* 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.”d
5The one who sat on the throne* said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”e 6He said to me, “They are accomplished.* I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water.f 7The victor* will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son.g 8But as for cowards,* the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”h
The New Jerusalem.* 9One of the seven angels who held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come here. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”* 10He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.i 11It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal.j 12It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, [the names] of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. 13There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west.k 14The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles* of the Lamb.l
15* The one who spoke to me held a gold measuring rod to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16The city was square, its length the same as [also] its width. He measured the city with the rod and found it fifteen hundred miles* in length and width and height. 17He also measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits* according to the standard unit of measurement the angel used. 18* The wall was constructed of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19The foundations of the city wall were decorated with every precious stone; the first course of stones was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,m 20the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl; and the street of the city was of pure gold, transparent as glass.
22* n I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. 23* The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it,o for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light,* and to it the kings of the earth will bring their treasure.p 25During the day its gates will never be shut, and there will be no night there. 26The treasure and wealth of the nations will be brought there, 27but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any[one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.q
* [21:1–22:5] A description of God’s eternal kingdom in heaven under the symbols of a new heaven and a new earth; cf. Is 65:17–25; 66:22; Mt 19:28.
* [21:1] Sea…no more: because as home of the dragon it was doomed to disappear; cf. Jb 7:12.
* [21:2] New Jerusalem…bride: symbol of the church (Gal 4:26); see note on Rev 19:7.
* [21:3–4] Language taken from Ez 37:27; Is 25:8; 35:10; cf. Rev 7:17.
* [21:3] People: other ancient manuscripts read a plural, “peoples.”
* [21:5] The one…on the throne: God himself; cf. Rev 4:1–11.
* [21:6] They are accomplished: God’s reign has already begun; see note on Rev 20:1–6. Alpha…Omega: see note on Rev 1:8. Life-giving water: see note on Rev 7:17.
* [21:7] The victor: over the forces of evil; see the conclusions of the seven letters (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). He will be my son: the victorious Christian enjoys divine affiliation by adoption (Gal 4:4–7; Rom 8:14–17); see note on Rev 2:26–28.
* [21:8] Cowards: their conviction is so weak that they deny Christ in time of trial and become traitors. Second death: see note on Rev 2:11.
* [21:9–22:5] Symbolic descriptions of the new Jerusalem, the church. Most of the images are borrowed from Ez 40–48.
* [21:9] The bride, the wife of the Lamb: the church (Rev 21:2), the new Jerusalem (Rev 21:10); cf. 2 Cor 11:2.
* [21:14] Courses of stones…apostles: literally, “twelve foundations”; cf. Eph 2:19–20.
* [21:15–17] The city is shaped like a gigantic cube, a symbol of perfection (cf. 1 Kgs 6:19–20). The measurements of the city and its wall are multiples of the symbolic number twelve; see note on Rev 7:4–9.
* [21:16] Fifteen hundred miles: literally, twelve thousand stades, about 12,000 furlongs (see note on Rev 14:20); the number is symbolic: twelve (the apostles as leaders of the new Israel) multiplied by 1,000 (the immensity of Christians); cf. Introduction. In length and width and height: literally, “its length and width and height are the same.”
* [21:17] One hundred and forty-four cubits: the cubit was about eighteen inches in length. Standard unit of measurement the angel used: literally, “by a human measure, i.e., an angel’s.”
* [21:18–21] The gold and precious gems symbolize the beauty and excellence of the church; cf. Ex 28:15–21; Tb 13:16–17; Is 54:11–12.
* [21:22] Christ is present throughout the church; hence, no temple is needed as an earthly dwelling for God; cf. Mt 18:20; 28:20; Jn 4:21.
* [21:23] Lamp…Lamb: cf. Jn 8:12.
* [21:24–27] All men and women of good will are welcome in the church; cf. Is 60:1, 3, 5, 11. The…book of life: see note on Rev 3:5.
a. [21:1] Is 65:17; 66:22; Rom 8:19–23; 2 Pt 3:13.
b. [21:2] 19:7–9.
c. [21:3] Ez 37:27.
d. [21:4] 7:17; Is 25:8; 35:10.
e. [21:5] Is 43:19; 2 Cor 5:17.
f. [21:6] 22:17; Ps 36:8–9; Is 55:1.
g. [21:7] 2 Sm 7:14.
h. [21:8] 22:15; Rom 1:29–32.
i. [21:10] Ez 40:2.
j. [21:11] Heb 11:10.
k. [21:13] Ez 48:31–35.
l. [21:14] Eph 2:20.
m. [21:19] Is 54:11–12.
n. [21:22] Jn 2:19–20.
o. [21:23] Is 60:1–2, 19–20.
p. [21:24] Is 60:11.
q. [21:27] Is 35:8; 52:1; Zec 13:2 / Rev 3:5; 20:12.