Lange Commentary - Revelation 21:9 - 22:5

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Lange Commentary - Revelation 21:9 - 22:5


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

B.—THE HEAVENLY-EARTHLY, IDEO-REAL PICTURE OF THE NEW WORLD. THE KINGDOM OF GLORY

Rev_21:9 to Rev_22:5

1. The City of God as the Heavenly Jerusalem

9     And there came unto me [om. unto me] one of the seven angels which [that] had the seven vials [ins., that were] full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife [wife of the Lamb]. 10And he carried me away in the [om. the] spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great [om. that great—ins. the holy] city, the holy [om. the holy] Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11having the glory of God: and [om. and] her light [light-giver ( öùóôÞñ )] was like unto a stone most precious,12 even like [as to] a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And [om. And] had [having] a wall great and high, and had [having] twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon [inscribed], which are the names [or the names] of the twelve tribes of the children [sons] of Israel: 13On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14And the wall of the city had [having] twelve foundations, and in [upon] them the [om. the—ins. twelve] names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15And he that talked [spake] with me had [ins. a measure,] a golden reed to [om. to—ins. that he might] measure the city, and the gates thereof [her gates], and the wall thereof [her wall]. 16And the city lieth foursquare [four-cornered], and the [her] length is [is] as large [much] as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, [ins. to] twelve thousand furlongs [stadia]. The length and the breadth and the height of it [her] are equal. 17And he measured the wall thereof [her wall], [ins. of] a hundred and forty and four cubits, according to [om. according to] the measure of a man, that is, [om. that is,—ins. which is that] of the [an] angel. 18And the building [structure] of the wall of it [her wall] was of jasper: and the city was pure19 gold, like unto clear [pure] glass. And [om. And] The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished [adorned] with all manner of [every] precious stones [stone]. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a [om. a] chalcedony; the fourth, an [om. an] emerald; 20the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a [om. a] topaz; the tenth, a [om. a] chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a [om. a] jacinth; the twelfth, an [om. an] amethyst. 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate [each one severally of the gates] was [ins. out] of one pearl: and the street [broad-way ( ðëáôåῖá )] of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent [translucent] glass.

2. The City of God as the Holy City of all Believing Gentiles

22     And I saw no [not a] temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty [, the All Ruler,ins. is the temple of her,] and the Lamb are the temple of it [om. are the temple of it]. 23And the city had [hath] no need of the sun, neither [nor] of the moon, to shine in [that they should shine for ( öáßíùóéí )] it [her]: for the glory of God did lighten it [lightened her], and the Lamb is the light thereof [and herlamp was the Lamb]. 24And the nations of them which are saved [om. of them which are saved] shall walk in [by means of] the light of it [her light]: and the kings of the earth do [om. do] bring their glory and honor [om. and honor] intoit [her]. 25And the gates of it [her gates] shall not be shut at all by day: for thereshall be no night there [for night shall not be there]. 26And they shall bring theglory and [ins. the] honor of the nations into it [her]. 27And there shall in no wise enter into it [her] anything that defileth [om. that defileth—ins. common], neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie [and that worketh (or the one working) abomination and a lie]: but they which [who] are [have been] written in the Lamb’s [om. Lamb’s] book of life [ins. of the Lamb].

3. The City of God as the New Universal Paradise—Glorified Nature (Rev_22:1-5.)

1     And he showed me a pure [om. pure] river of water of life, clear [bright] ascrystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it [her broad-way], and on either side [om. on either side] of the river [ins., on this side and on that side,] was there the [om. there the—ins. a] tree of life, which bare [bearing] twelve manner of [om. manner of] fruits, and [om. and] yielded her fruit every month [according to each month yielding its fruit]: andthe leaves of the tree were [are] for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no more curse [And nothing cursed shall be any more]: but [and] the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it [her]; and his servants ( äïῦëïé ) shall serve( ëáôñåýóïõóéí ) him: 4and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in [upon] their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there [and night shall not be any more]; and they [ins. have (or shall have) no] need no candle [om. no candle—ins. of light of lamp], neither [om. neither—ins. and of] light of the [om. the] sun; for [because] the Lord God giveth them light [shall shine upon them]Rev : and they shall reign for ever and ever [into the ages of the ages].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

SYNOPTICAL VIEW

As one of the Angels of Anger, or of the Vials of Anger, showed the Seer the wicked World-city under the figure of the Harlot, so it is now again one of the same Angels who shows the Seer the City of God under the name of the adorned Bride. And it seems as if the Spirit of prophecy would hereby illustrate the fact that the anger of God is a flame, divisible into the lightning of righteousness and the light of love.

The great vision-picture which the Angel exhibits to the contemplation of the Seer, after transporting him to a great and high mountain, the lofty stand-point of a perfected gaze into the region of perfection, is, primarily, the appearance of the new creation, the glorified world of eternal being, which has taken the place of the first creation, the world of temporal becoming. It is, in the next place, that perfected union between Heaven and earth with which the antithesis of life between Heaven and earth, as in accordance with Genesis 1, has become the antithesis of a perfected spiritual communion in love. Even this antithesis, the plastic image of religion, finds its fulfillment here. Heaven has assumed the full, fresh, warm and home-like aspect of a familiar and attractive earth; earth is radiant in the heavenly glory of that Throne of God which has now become visible. The new creation is, further, also the new universal Paradise, which has bloomed from the seed of the first Paradise, buried in the soil of the world’s history. On this very account this new world is no less the realization of the Great City of God, which, first in the camp of Israel and again in the city of Jerusalem, in typical fore-exhibition became a subject of human admiration, longing and hope, and which was subsequently heralded from afar in so many New Testament preludes. But its most glorious name is contained in the title of The Bride; for thereby not only the supremacy of personal life in this new world, not only the perfect unanimity of all blessed spirits, not only their perfect receptivity for the entire self-communication of God, are expressed, but also their Divine dignity, liberty and blessedness in love.

We find in the grand transfiguration-picture of the vision a trilogy, the elements of which are distinctly present even in the Gospel of John: a. Transfiguration of the Theocracy, represented by the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev_21:9-21); b. Transfiguration of the believing Gentile world or the universal new humanity (Rev_21:22-27); c. Transfiguration of all nature, or the appearance of the new Paradise (Rev_22:1-5). The first section justly forms the foundation of the whole, and is therefore the most detailed; it, again, divides into three parts.

The first part of the first section exhibits the holiness of the City of God. In the Doxa of God, or the Shekinah, which diffuses its radiance over the whole City, because it is omnipresent throughout it, the Holy of holies is reflected (Rev_21:11). In the high wall of the City, the economical barrier of the Theocracy is reflected; and the true spirit of that barrier, designed, as it was, to mediate salvation to the whole world, finds its expression in the twelve gates, at which Angels are posted, symbolical here, doubtless, of true messengers of salvation; for the gates are open by threes toward all the four quarters of the world. Thus a two-fold effect of holiness is expressed—repulsion of everything unholy by the wall—free ingress for all that tends to holiness, by the gates (Rev_21:12-14).

The second part gives, in the magnitude of the City, an image of the magnitude of the Kingdom of God (Rev_21:15-17). This magnitude is exhibited throughout in forms of perfection. The City has the form of a perfect cube, like the Holy of holies, and appears in this equality of measurement as an expression of the perfect heavenly world.

The third part of the first section unfolds the riches of the City of God in splendor consisting of the most precious materials; these riches, as ideal and spirit-clarified, being exhibited through the medium of precious stones, pearls and shining gold (Rev_21:18-21).

The second section, likewise, is divisible into three parts. The first part is expressive of the absolute spirituality of the new cultus. Since the City has itself become a Holy of holies, a Temple within it would, in comparison with itself, seem like a thing of inferior sanctity—a remnant of the old world. Nevertheless, it has a spiritual Temple which surpasses even the City. God, as the All-Ruler, is the infinitude of this Temple; the Lamb is the present definitude of it (Rev_21:22-23). The second part of the second section characterizes the City as the great, universal, holy World-City, the City of all redeemed nations and kings, the City of sanctified humanity and of all its moral and eternal properties, yea, the City of the whole heavenly spirit-world and of the eternal radiance of day (Rev_21:24-26). The third part represents the separation between the sanctified heathen-world and true heathenism throughout the world, here portrayed by the three characteristics: commonness (bestiality), abominableness (transgression against nature), and falsehood (embracing both the former attributes). There is no longer any question of persons here; they have become neutra through the obliteration of their personality in their vileness (Rev_21:27). The Lamb’s Book of Life has, from the beginning, comprehended this universality of the sphere of salvation.

The third leading section is an unmistakable antitype of the first Paradise. Its general character consists in the fact that all its holiness [Heiligkeit] has become pure health [Heil] and health-productiveness [Heilswirkung]—an infinitely multiplied life-creating, life-renewing and life-preserving Divine life-power. The river of life forms the first fundamental feature. It does not issue merely from an Eden, or land of delight, such as encircled the first Paradise (Genesis 2); nor does it flow merely from the new Temple of Jehovah, like Ezekiel’s river of salvation [or healing], (Ezekiel 47); it pours forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev_22:1). The second fundamental feature is formed by the trees of life which are on both sides of the river, making an avenue with an interminable perspective; fruit-trees of life, so intensively salutiferous that they bear new fruits every month, and that even their leaves serve for the healing ( èåñáðåßá ) of the heathen [nations]. So absolute is the health-bringing operation of the trees of life in the City, that in this new Paradise nothing banned can arise—much less shall the new humanity here itself be banned, as were its first parents, through the deceit of the serpent and Satan, in the first Paradise (Rev_22:2-3). In the third fundamental feature, the eritis sicut deus is fulfilled in a Divine sense. That which Adam would fain have become, that which he lost in the path of impatience and sin, is now regained in the path of redemption and infinite patience. Now, it is the blessedness of all, that they serve [dienen] God as His servants [Knechte] whilst they see His face as His blessed children, and are able to look upon His face without being terrified like Adam. Again, this blessed relation has become an eternal condition; their holiness has the character indelebilis, the indestructible fixedness of true priests of God. Whilst the abolition of night is again announced here, as Rev_21:25, the announcement has here a new significance. In Revelation 21, the reference is to the day of the blessed in a predominantly spiritual aspect and considered in the abstract; here, however, the unfadingness of this day is intended, pre-eminently, in the sense of the eternal day of the glorified world. That, therefore, which is expressed by the name of God on the foreheads of the blessed—viz., imperishable knowledge of God and consecrateness to God—is supplemented by this declaration. Never again does night come to them, nor any deficiency of light, for God Himself shineth upon them for ever. This, again, is the eternal basis upon which they shall reign as kings, in and with the governance of God, in union with His will, and as organs of His will, eternally free in Him from all the world, for all the world, into the æons of the æons.

The magnificence of the entire picture of the new creation, a magnificence which strikes the taste of ordinary humanism as so peculiar, attains for us its entire significance when we look at it in connection with the whole of Sacred Writ—especially that of the Old Testament—as the lofty corona upon the stem of all Biblical typicism.

Our vision, then, is primarily the picture of the consummation and fulfillment of the whole Theocracy.

The revelation of salvation came down from Heaven in many individual items—in voices, in angels, in Theophanies, and lastly in Christ. The fulfillment finally consists in the descent of the entire City of God from Heaven.

The Congregation of God, called into life by the revelation of salvation, was from the beginning destined to be the Bride of God. Now, it is perfected in this destiny.

The high Mountain, upon which the City of God is situate, was prepared by Mount Zion, and imported the wide, overtowering and firm order and might of the Divine Kingdom. Now, this Mountain of the eternal order and fastness of God, in spirit beheld by the Prophets (Isa_2:2; Eze_40:2), towers over the whole world.

The city of Jerusalem, after its building and consecration as the royal residence and Temple city, inherited the ancient typical honors of the previous cities of God, from the camp-city in the wilderness to Shiloh. It was the residence of the Jehovah cultus and of the theocratic constitution. Now, its archetype exists in visible presence—the City in which cultus and culture, in their perfection, have attained their complete union.

The glory of God, the Shekinah, manifested itself of old only in transient appearances. The central place of its manifestations was the Holy of holies. Now it spreads, in eternal radiance, over the whole City of God.

It was formerly exhibited through typical mediums, through visional angelic forms, through the pillars of cloud and of fire, through the cherubim. Now it beams forth from a permanent nucleus of light ( öùóôÞñ ). The Parousia of Christ is the Epiphany of God, in brilliancy like the most precious jewel.

Israel, in order to the securement of its holy destiny, was encircled by a hedge, which was designed to separate from it every common thing of heathenism [or the Gentile nations], and by this very process to mediate the future bringing again of the Gentiles through the blessing of Abraham. This barrier—first, theocratic law—then, churchly confession—here appears ideally realized in the high wall, which, by means of its insurmountableness, excludes everything common, and by means of its twelve gates, kept by Angels, invites and receives all that is akin to God, i. e., all that is akin to God in the twelve-fold character-form of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The Tribes of Israel were designed to represent in theocratic ground-forms, the fullness of the different human dispositions for the Kingdom of God. These ground-forms are now all fulfilled in the perfecting of the spiritual Israel. Therefore, the gates are adorned with the names of the Tribes of Israel; they are indicative of the ground-forms of the people of God in the interior of the City, as well as of the ground-forms of the people of God entering into the City of God from all the quarters of the world.

In so far as the restoration of the people of Israel itself is concerned, a restoration of its kernel, on the platform of perfect Christian equality and liberty, is simply expressed with the typical import of its Tribes; any renewal, however, of Old Testament legal prerogatives is precluded by this same typical import. The same remark applies to the description of the Sealed (chap. 7). The sealed ones would not be called after Israel, if Israel were not to form a dynamical power amongst them; the same sealed ones would preclude the idea of elect Gentiles, if they were not to be typically understood.

The gates of the cities of Israel, especially Zion, were, even under the Old Covenant, open to the stranger, if he left his heathen practices without. They became the symbols of ingress into the holy City, into the sanctuary, into the fellowship of the saints (Psa_100:4), as well as the symbols of egress, in order to the conversion of the world (Isa_62:10), and in order to the bringing in of the King of Glory through its gates (Psa_24:7; comp. Gen_22:17 [Comm., p. 468, Am. Ed.]).—The new City of God has twelve of these gates, in accordance with the sacred number of completeness. She is lacking in no gate of ingress or of egress.

The stone at Bethel on which Jacob slept when a wanderer, and where he beheld, in a dream, the heavenly ladder, was consecrated as a monument and altar; the prelude of the foundation stones of the House of God (Bethel, Gen_22:22), and of Christ the Corner Stone (Psa_118:22; Isa_28:16; Eph_2:20). This stone is, in the consummation, divided again into the twelve foundation stones of the wall of the holy City, marked with the names of the Twelve Apostles.

The ground-forms of Christ’s mission to the world, the Twelve Apostles, denote, as Apostles of the Lamb, also the ground-forms of the world-conquering cross, and, as such, the foundations of the City of God.

Sacred measure has, in the history of the Temple, an import similar to that possessed, in the Greek view of the world, by the Platonic Idea or the Aristotelian Form; except that the first unitously represents both the latter in the form of practical energy, as real power (Wis_11:20; comp. the Pythagorean system; Job_28:25-27; Isa_40:12).—This power of Ideal Form pervades, in perfect supremacy, all the parts of the City of God,—the City and its gates and its walls.

The form of the perfect geometric square or cube was the form of the Holy of holies. Now, this same form appears as the symmetry of the City of God. Of old, the Holy of holies was a well-nigh inaccessible sanctuary, guarded by terrors. Here, the great City of God has become a manifest and open Holy of holies.

The magnitude of the City exhibits it, in its length and breadth, as a World-City; in its height, as a Heaven-City.—As the corona of the Temple, the City is the phenomenal image of the Kingdom of God, and thus, at the same time, of the glorified universe.

The holy wall which, as a theocratic and a churchly barrier, is an odium of all philosophy of wildness, commonness and indiscipline—here appears in its consummation, built of the material of the most precious jewel, a fact recognized afar off by the Spirit of Prophecy (Isa_54:11).

The covering of the Ark of the Covenant, which was, so to speak, the most Holy in the Holy of holies, was of pure gold (Exo_37:6). Now, the whole City is constructed of pure gold so pure that it glitters like crystal. The City is thus, in an unapproachable exaltedness of thought, signalized as God’s Sanctuary.

The Jewels worn by the High Priest in his breast-plate, were significant of the idiocrasies, the charismatic aptitudes of the Tribes of Israel; of their value, spiritual and affectional, for the heart of God, Whom the High Priest represented. Such a Divine heart-affection, in the perfection of the ground-forms of human charisms, is now reflected in all the jewels which form the foundation-stones of the City-wall. The whole City is founded, as it were, upon the breast-plate of the real High Priest.

As the precious stone was early constituted a symbol of a personal life, consecrate to God, so the pearl was made a symbol of Divine vital wisdom, of that piety which is concentrated in the knowledge or the righteousness of faith. Thus the value of wisdom exceeds that of pearls (Job_28:18; Pro_3:15, [Rev_8:11]); wisdom, however, is also symbolized by pearls and is divided, in its individual traits, into a plurality of pearls (Mat_7:6), whilst, in its consummate spiritual phase, it is concentrated in the One Pearl of great price, whose value surpasses that of all single pearls (Mat_13:46). But how does the pearl enter into a relation to the gate? In Isa_54:12, we read (in accordance with De Wette’s translation): “I make thy battlements of rubies and thy gates of carbuncles (?) and thy whole circuit of costly (precious) stones.” The Septuagint distinguishes jasper for the battlements or parapets, crystals for the gates, precious stones for the walls. As the stone for the gates, àֶ÷ֶãָּä , is one that does not elsewhere appear, and takes its name from the radiance of fire, but is assuredly not a carbuncle, if it be true that the ruby is of like significance with the carbuncle, we might suppose that John apprehended it as a pearl. The generation of the pearl from a wound in the pearl-oyster, its lodgment in the deep, the rarity and difficulty of obtaining it, are obvious symbolical motives for the use of it. The subsistence of each gate in one pearl is a speaking image of that heavenly simplicity which alone finds entrance to the eternal City of God.

In the golden pavement of the streets of the City, the gold of the buildings is raised to an even higher power. Gold like translucent crystal. How far is it from the streets of Jerusalem—consecrated though they were—through Christian city streets and alleys—in which morals and cultivation often, even to this day, carry on a conflict with barbarism—to this goal! Here the lanes and streets are clean; the citizens walk on a pavement of gold, eternally clear and bright as a mirror.

The points which have reference to the perfection of the Theocracy, are followed by the fundamental features of the perfected, believing Gentile world.

As the most pious of the heathen discovered lively signs and traces of the Unknown God, not in their temples, but outside of these, and as the worship of God in spirit and in truth has in all time formed a contrast to the purely local worship on Gerizim and in Jerusalem, so, in accordance with these preludes, a perfect consciousness of the omnipresence of God in His Spirit has been formed. The obscure feeling of God’s omnipresence has continually developed more and more, both outside of the revelation of salvation and within it (comp. Gen_28:16 and Psa_139:7 sqq.). Here this feeling is exchanged for the constant contemplation of the presence of God, or, rather, for the perfect manifestation of God.

The universal natural revelation of God (Rom_1:20) was always, for the heathen, in respect of its fundamental traits, a revelation through the medium, particularly, of the great celestial lights—the sun and the moon. This revelation is now restored and perfected—sun and moon are outshone by the glory of the Lord. In the spiritual radiance which proceeds from God, through Christ His Light-bearer, the lights of Heaven seem, as such, to vanish, because they are for the first time effectual in Him in their full import.

The heathen [or Gentiles] have, in the light of salvation, become nations in the purest sense,—types of peoples, which, in their sanctified idiocrasies, conjoin to form the Kingdom of God. In the blessing of Noah, the first sketch of the variant destinations of the tribes of man appeared; at the foot of the tower of Babel, mankind was divided into gentilisms. The higher charismatic destination of humanity was, however, not only typically symbolized by the Twelve Tribes of Israel and expressed by the idea of the seventy nations and the number of the seventy disciples, but, moreover, it was the constant task of the Christian Church to work out, from the heathen confusion of peoples, the one people of God; but also, however, to work out from the one Christendom the heavenly family of peoples. Here, this heavenly family has attained a visible existence. The nations walk through the light-stream of the Kingdom of God as though they were bathing themselves therein.

Again, that which has ever been represented by kings—that of which bad kings were significant as symbolical figures, and which good kings, heroes, approximately realized, in company with the kingly spirits who ruled right royally, though possessing neither crown nor sceptre (Mat_5:19), potentiated men, as central points of the social organization of humanity—is likewise now fulfilled. The kings of the earth bring all the glory of the earth, their possessions brought under the service of spirit, into the City of God (Isa_49:23; Isa_60:16).

Furthermore, the security which man has now and then enjoyed under the protection of the law, in circles of civilization and on the heights of peace, in the bright day-time in antithesis to the night-time, has always been promoted by the Kingdom of God. Here, at last, in the consummation, the “superb repose of Heaven” prevails, secured by the light of eternal day, in the region of eternal sunshine. The gates of the City of God are not shut, because the day-time is permanent.

As the entire net value of the good things of earth is appropriated to the City of God, so also is the entire net value of humanity, in the glory of the peoples, their manifold and various gifts, the whole treasure of human culture. Israel was chosen to be the people of God, in order that it might make the peoples appear again as peoples, in the blessing of Abraham. It is the task of Christianity to this day to take away the covering of sin, of national corruption, from the beauty of the peoples (Isa_25:7). Here is the fulfillment. In contemplating the one glory of Christ, they all come forth in their glory—the treasure, the harvest of God, the triumphal spoils of Christ.

Real heathenism, however, such as disfigured even Judaism (see Romans 2), is then eliminated forever from the pure Church of God. Its characteristics are commonness [or profaneness, as opposed to consecrateness to God], rudeness, and uncultivation, on the one hand, and, on the other, abomination, transgression against nature, including the perverted forms of mis-culture and over-culture; and the common ground-tone is falsehood—the falsification of the high and holy reality of God, the production of mask-like shadows, which in part appear as rude caricatures of reality, in part as caricatures which ape beauty and holiness. At this process of elimination, humanity, in its higher tendency, has labored, by Jewish laws of purification, Græco-Roman justice and police, and by the Christian administration of the keys [Schlüsselamt], often amid great and gross distortions of the idea of the ban. Here, however, the City of God has attained to an eternal power of purity, in which, with twelve open gates, it still, in dynamical operation, for ever keeps everything common or ban-laden afar off.

As the circle of the Theocracy is surrounded by the circle of holy humanity, so the latter is surrounded by the circle of glorified nature.

Paradise was lost. Lost, however, only as to its visible appearance, and to the world. The grace of God secured the seed of Paradise, and Christ regained that seed for humanity. It lay under the snow, it burst forth again in foretokens and signs in the Promised Land and in Christian civilization.—Here, Paradise is extant again, and how it has grown under the snow! The mysterious garden in Eden has become a glorified universe.

Yonder river of Paradise went out from Eden, the land of delight, and divided into the main rivers of earth. How soon it gathered earthly hues and fell under the doom of transitoriness! And even in Paradise it was no river of life. Gradually, indeed, a fountain of salvation burst forth in humanity—burst forth out of the depths, out of the rock of salvation (Psa_46:5; Isa_12:3; Jer_2:13, et al.), being prefigured by the wells of the Patriarchs and the wells of the desert (Exo_15:27, et al.). Gradually, also, sacred brooks and rivers, Shiloah and Jordan, became streams of blessing, and a great river of life was predicted by Ezekiel.—But here, the mighty, shining river of life bursts forth; it comes from the throne of God and of the Lamb, having, even in this present life, been heralded and opened as a fountain (Joh_4:7); it abides pure as crystal, it pours forth into infinitude through its one deep channel, and is adorned on either side with trees of life.

The one tree of life in Paradise speedily vanished, like a figure in a dream, a celestial apparition. Here it is again. It has become an endless avenue, a glorious grove, and in the plenteousness of its fruits and the healing virtue of its leaves a power of life is expressed which far exceeds all the conceptions of mortal pilgrims. It is the view of a nature completely elevated to the service of spirit, love and life.

Whilst there is here another reference to the fact that nothing banned [cursed] has existence in the City, this is certainly not a repetition of the idea set forth in Rev_21:27. We are rather reminded, within the domain of glorified nature, that, by virtue of patriarchal custom and Mosaic food-laws, a rigorous ban rested upon a large portion of nature. Christianity paved the way for the acknowledgment that every creature of God is clean that is (and can be) partaken of with thanksgiving. Here, there shall evermore be nothing banned (literally, set aside, êáôÜèåìá , a term which it has been deemed necessary to interpret into êáôáíÜèåìá , leaving out of consideration the textual reference). Paradise itself, in whose first rudiment God did, of old, but walk in mysterious appearances, has become a throne of God and of the Lamb. The Word once became flesh, that all nature might be spiritualized.

And because there is question here of the holy tillage of the eternal garden, as Adam was called to till the garden of Paradise, and because the task of tilling the field was resumed by the Theocracy and by civilization, Christianity next mediating the holy cultivation of the earth, the sons of God can here once more appear in the most dignified form. But as they shall serve [dienen] their God as His active servants [Knechte], so they shall rest in the contemplation of His face and bear His name on their foreheads as a people of high-priests, being ever newly energized by Him through the contemplation of His glory (1Jn_3:2).

And whilst, the cessation of the night-time is again mentioned here, as in Rev_21:23; Rev_21:25, let us recollect that even this semblance of tautology is done away with by a discrimination of the fact that in Revelation 21 the reference was to glorified humanity, but here it is to glorified Nature. The night side of Nature, diminished by the most manifold torches, lights and inventions for the obtaining of light, is here abolished.

And because God will Himself be the eternal Day-Light of the blessed, they need no more be continually sinking back into the bosom of night. Even under the Old Covenant, the prelude of a holy spirit-life, often emblematized by festal illuminations, flashed through the night-times of nature. The holy birth-night [Weihnacht—Christmas] of Christ laid the foundation for the bringing in of eternal day. The Holy Supper became the pre-celebration of the morning of that day. As Christianity is in constant combat with ethical night, so Christendom is in constant combat with the uncomfortable features and distresses of physical night. Here, the eternal Day has dawned in the presence of God; therefore do the blessed reign,—royally free, without ever losing their consciousness in night,—into the æons of the æons.

EXPLANATIONS IN DETAIL

Rev_21:9. Comp. Rev_17:1. Ewald and Düsterdieck have also pointed out the contrast of our passage to that cited, which is couched in similar terms. The Bride.—On the change of designations, see Düsterd., p. 565.

Rev_21:10. He carried me away.—See Rev_17:3 (Eze_3:12; Eze_37:1; Eze_40:2; Act_8:39; 2Co_12:2). In accordance with the passages mentioned, we have to distinguish between purely spiritual transports and such as are also followed by a corporeal removal, accomplished, as it were, in a dream. To a great and high mountain.—According to Düsterdieck, the Seer is taken to this mountain in order that he may obtain a free view of the City. The same exegete remarks that the mountain must be so great in order to be so high. The Seer, therefore [as Düsterd. maintains], stands on the mountain and looks down upon the City. A splendid view, it is true, but too modern. The symbolical expression points, according to Hengstenberg, et al., back to the fundamental passages in the Old Testament, especially Eze_40:2; Eze_17:22-23; Eze_20:40; Psa_48:1-2; also, particularly, Isa_2:2. Descending.—See Rev_21:2. The difficulties which Hengstenb. and Düsterd. discover in the apparent repetition of Rev_21:2 vanish when we consider the parallel relation between the Heaven-picture and the Earth-picture.

Rev_21:11. Having, etc.—Or, possessing. The dim radiance in which a large city is always enwrapped at the beginning of night may, on the one hand, have mediated this view; but, on the other hand, it is based upon the idea that the Shekinah no longer hovers over the holy Temple-mount alone, according to the words of the Prophet (Isa_4:5; Isa_40:5), but shines over the entire Holy City. Her light-giver ( öùóôÞñ —light-bearer).—Düsterdieck opposes the assumption of Züllig, that the Messiah is intended by the öùóôÞñ , and cites Rev_21:23 in support of such opposition; that verse, however, is favorable to Züllig’s view—as is also Heb_1:3. Like unto a stone most precious.—Comp. Rev_4:3. A jasper stone, clear as crystal.—See pp. 20 and 151. “Comp. Psellus (in Wetstein): ἡ Ἴáóðéò öýóåé êñõóôáëëïåéóÞò .” Duesterdieck.

[“ ÖùóôÞñ , from Rev_21:23, is the effect of the Divine glory shining in her: see (also) Gen_1:14; Gen_1:16, (LXX.), where it is used for the heavenly bodies.” Alford.—E. R. C.].

Rev_21:12. Having a wall great and high.—The measure of the wall, the gates and the City is qualified throughout by the duodecenary; not, therefore, by the number of complete worldly development, ten, but by the number of perfection of the people of God. Twelve is the number of theocratic perfection; hence it is the number of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the Twelve Apostles, the perfected Church or heavenly Spirit-World (see p. 15). Here, therefore, there is repeatedly reflected, in all the duodecenaries of the City of God, the quantitative number of completeness and the qualitative perfection of the glorified Church of God. It, however, crosses and blends with the number of the world, the quaternary, and indeed is itself composed of three times four, i. e., the God hallowed world-number. Moreover, the quaternary, as it here appears, continually branches into threes. Thus, we read of twelve gates, distributed by threes on the four sides of the City. And again, the City itself, in its quadrangular form, is thrice quadrangular—in length, breadth and height—and is thus a cube. The duodecenary is repeated a thousand times in the qualification of the stadia. The height of the wall is defined by the number twelve times twelve, or a hundred and forty-four. Even from these numeric proportions alone, the thoroughly symbolic nature of the whole picture of the City is manifest, and the same fact is further evident, in particular, from the height of the City.

And at the gates twelve angels—“Bengel judiciously remarks: ‘They keep watch and serve as ornaments.’ We are not authorized to seek for a knowledge of any more definite relations which they may sustain to the City. So soon as we reflect that the new Jerusalem is no longer menaced by enemies, and that it consequently stands in need of no watchmen at its gates, explanations like that of Hengstenberg arise—viz., that these Angels symbolize the Divine protection against all foes ‘of which the imagination, filled with the terrors resting upon the Church Militant, can conceive.’ ” [Duest.] A most marvellous imagination, truly! As if the blessed inhabitants of Heaven were timid children, or were threatened by empty terrors of the fancy! But even the idea of Angels standing always upon the gates for ornament has a singular aspect, and as watchmen—who, however, would be superfluous after the final judgment—they would be obliged to stand in the gates. We have characterized them above as symbols of the destination of Jerusalem to be the medium of salvation to all the world, to all the four quarters of the world (see Isa_43:5; Isa_49:6; Mat_8:11). De Wette: “Guards, probably after Isa_62:6 and after the type of the Levitic temple-guards [or ‘porters’] (2Ch_8:14).” From this point of view, these Angels would symbolically represent the eternal security and inamissibleness of heavenly prosperity or salvation.

And names inscribed.—The twelve names upon the twelve gates, as the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, denote the whole manifoldness of the idiocrasies of the totality of God’s people. The typical fore-image is to be found Eze_48:30 sqq. Jewish Theology has drawn from this rich symbolism the absurd idea that every Israelitish Tribe of the new Jerusalem shall be permitted to go in and out only of that particular gate which is appointed for it (see De Wette, p. 198). If we were to interpret the sealed out of the Twelve Tribes (Revelation 7) literally, as Jewish Christians, we should here be obliged to go on to the tremendous deduction that the entire heavenly City is to be inhabited solely by Jewish Christians.

Rev_21:13. On the east.—See the above-cited passage in Ezekiel, Rev 48.

Rev_21:14. Twelve foundations [Lange: foundation-stones].—The twelve gates give rise to twelve sections of the wall, amongst which De Wette and Düsterdieck distribute the foundation-stones. In accordance with this disposition, four are “to be conceived of as mighty corner-stones.” Symbolical descriptions, however, should not be pushed beyond the idea which they are designed to convey. It may, at all events, be taken for granted that the twelve foundation-stones are open to view, like cornerstones in the ancient sense of the term. As the whole fullness of the theocratic natural disposition was set forth in the Twelve Patriarchs, so the whole fullness of Christ’s Spirit and salvation was manifested in the Apostles. The Apostle John could not, in modesty, have written this, is the cry of an idea-less, snarling criticism. The symbolic expression of the truth, that the celestial City of God is grounded upon the evangelic foundations of the twelve Apostles, can, however, no more lose its ideal value through the one consideration that the name of John is pre-supposed to accompany the names of the other Apostles, than through the other consideration that the name of Paul seems to be omitted from the group; nor is it a necessary inference from, the citation of the Twelve Tribes of Israel in our passage, that the modifications in their names (Revelation 7) are to be abolished. Comp. Eph_2:20, where a freer apprehension of the symbolic idea already appears: “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the corner-stone.”

Rev_21:15. He that spake with me (see Rev_21:9) had a measure.—Comp. Eze_40:3; Eze_40:5. The fact that the discourse occurring in symbolical representations must be determined by the fundamental thought thereof, is evidenced by Zec_2:3 sqq. “The angel who shows John the City (comp. Rev_21:9) gives him a perfectly distinct idea of its dimensions by actually measuring it before the eyes of the Seer (Bengel, Ewald, De Wette).” Duesterd.—The measure (see Rev_11:1; Eze_42:16) denotes the ideality of the eternal Church, the Divine knowledge and appointment of it—qualities which are expressed also in John 17; Romans 8; Ephesians 1. The measure is golden: through the Divine faithfulness, the ideal Church has become the actualized eternal Church. The Angel performs the measurement in the true sequence: first, the City is defined, with reference to the fullness of its inhabitants; next, the proportion of the gates and the wall.

Rev_21:16. And the City lieth.—“The fact (Rev_21:16 a) that the City lies ( êåῖôáé ; comp. Rev_4:2) four-cornered (like ancient Babylon and the new Jerusalem of Ezekiel), rectangular, and with equal length and breadth, and that therefore the ground-plan of it forms a perfect square (comp. Eze_48:16), is recognized by John even before the Angel begins to measure.” Duesterd.—Twelve thousand stadia, i.e., 300 geographical [German (1384 Eng. statute)] miles. It is a question whether the 12,000 stadia qualify the whole area of the City, so that the dimensions of each side amount, to 3,000 stadia (in accordance with Vitringa, et al.), or whether the 12,000 stadia are to be taken as applying in their entirety to each of the four sides, and as referring also to the height (Bengel, Züllig, et al.). In regard to the former hypothesis, the further question arises, whether the height also is stated at 3,000 stadia, like the length and the breadth. De Wette opposes the idea that the height of the City amounts to 12,000 stadia. The conception would, in such case, he declares, be that of a lofty fortress, whilst it is manifestly a city that is represented, as mention is made of streets (Rev_22:2); he even maintains that the height is determined only by the wall. Düsterdieck, on the other hand, finds in the 12,000 stadia the measure alike for length, breadth and height (with Bengel, Hengstenberg, et al.). Whilst the idea is a prodigious one, we must recollect that we have to do with a thoroughly symbolical description. A height of even 3,000 stadia far exceeds that of the loftiest steeples. If, however, we keep strictly to the text, we find that, the measure of the entire square in respect of length and breadth, as the measure of the City, is 12,000 stadia; and, accordingly, the height of the City is to be determined by the quarter of this, as 3,000 stadia. The fact that the wall will then be considerably lower than the height, of the City itself, should not occasion any difficulty. The height of the Kingdom of God towers far above the theocratic barrier. Here, therefore, the typical cube-form of the Tabernacle is realized in the highest sense; and the breadth, length, depth and height of the Divine dispensation of salvation (Eph_3:18) are embodied in symbolical significance, in analogy with the incarnation of the Word. (The Word became flesh [Joh_1:14].)

Rev_21:17. Her wall.—“The height of the City is not the height of the wall, as Bengel also assumes, and therefore maintains that the 144 cubits are equivalent to the 12,000 stadia.” Duesterd.—The measure of a man.—The additional clause: which is that of an angel, occasions difficulty. De Wette: The Angel has made use of human measure. Ebrard: The measure of glorified men is like the measure of the Angel. Hengstenberg (and Düsterdieck): The measure of the Angel, who makes his measurement for men, is like the measure of men. A reminder of the symbolic import of the act of measuring is probably contained in our passage;—the human measure with which the Sanctuary was measured, is here an angelic measure, i. e., it has a symbolic, higher import. The Seer frequently inserts similar reminders of the symbolic nature of his forms of speech; see especially chs. Rev_1:20; Rev_13:18; Rev_16:14; Rev_17:9. Now if the wall denotes the security of the City of God, and the cubit the measure of the Sanctuary, the height of 144 cubits is expressive of the perfect measure of heavenly confirmation or verification: the theocratic twelve of the plan of the Kingdom multiplied by the apostolic twelve of the consummation of the Kingdom in the fullness of the Spirit of Christ. This symbolical nature of the cubit-measure is expressed in the prophecy of Ezekiel by the fact that every cubit there spoken of is a hand-breadth longer than a common cubit. The figure of the wall approaches the idea of Zechariah (Rev_1:5): “For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her;” [Lange (not, G. V.): “and will manifest my glory in her”]. The prodigious extent of the City is also expressive of an idea—or, rather, of the ideal fact that it extends, with unseen limits, through the universe, and towers up into the height of eternity; that it belongs to Heaven, whence it has descended to earth. A discussion of the relative lowness of the wall in proportion to the height of the City, see in Düsterdieck, p. 568.

Rev_21:18. And the structure of her wall.—The materials. On the rare word ἐíäüìçóéò , comp. the Lexicons. Jasper.—See above, p. 20. The material of the wall is thus of like import with its height,—infinite value in infinite duration, qualities which both appertain to the most precious of precious stones. The city was pure gold.—The material of the houses is absolutely pure gold, similar, in consequence of this purity, to pure crystal or glass.

This may be understood as referring either to the transparency of glass, or to the mirror-like brightness of crystal. We adopt the latter signification, retaining it also when äéáõãÞò is predicated of the golden street-pavement [ ðëáôåῖá ] (Rev_21:21). According to Ebrard, there is a prospect that, gold itself will really be translucent in the world to come. The genuine heavenly purity and faithfulness of the inhabitants of the City shall, therefore, be reflected in the golden brilliance of their dwellings.

Rev_21:19. The foundations of the wall etc.—The meaning is, that the foundations or foundation-stones of the City consist of precious stones, as is clearly evident from the following verse (comp. Isa_54:11). “As the twelve èåìÝëéïé have nothing to do with the number of the Israelitish Tribes (comp. Rev_21:14), that artificial mode of interpretation by which the stones (Rev_21:19 sq.) are brought into an assumed relation to those worn by the High-priest in his breast-plate (comp. especially Züllig Excursus II., pp. 456 sqq.; also Ewald II., Luthardt, Volkmar), is to be discarded as decidedly as the vain attempt to assign individual jewels to individual Apostles (Andr., Bengel, et al.).” Duesterd. If it be proved that a relation exists between the Twelve Tribes of Israel, whose names the High-priest wore in his breast-plate, and the Twelve Apostles,—a relation as between the theocratic plan and the apostolic development,—a general relation will also be assumable between the jewels in the breast-plate and the jewels which constitute the foundations of the Holy City. But if an individual combination of the Twelve Tribes and the Twelve Apostles is impracticable, it will be still less possible to make out a concordance of the stones in the high-priestly breast plate and the foundation-stones of the New Jerusalem. The general symbolic significance lies in the nature of the precious stones, and also, particularly, in their colors, in the grouping of which they appear as a symbolism of eternal individualities, all, in equal purity, brilliant with the same light, which they refract in the most diverse rays (see Introduction, pp. 20 sq.; Lange’s Miscellaneous Writings, vol. 1. p. 15). The first …. jasper.—Comp. pp. 20 sq. and 151, and Rev_21:11. Sapphire.—Exo_24:10; Exo_28:18; Eze_28:13; see Winer, Title, Precious Stones; [also Kitto’s Cyclopædia and Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible]. “Our sapphire is sky-blue (comp. Eze_1:26), translucent, and harder than the ruby. That which the ancients so denominated, must, according to Pliny (37, 39) and Theophr. (ch. vi. 23, 37), have been the lapis lazuli,” etc. Winer remarks, in conclusion, however, that we must suppose the Hebrew word to denote the true sapphire, as is clearly evident from the passages cited from Exodus and Ezekiel. The opinion of Düsterdieck, therefore, who assumes the lapis lazuli to be intended, is incorrect. Chalcedony.—Not the agate, precisely. Winer: A chalcedony-agate. Emerald.—Grass-green, not very hard, translucent, with double refraction (see Winer, Precious Stones, No. 3).

Rev_21:20. Sardonyx.—See Winer, No. 16; comp. No. Revelation 1 : “Consisting of a combination of onyx and carnelian.” Sardius.—Or carnelian: it is striped with brown and is not very sharply distinguished from the preceding stone. Chrysolite.—See Winer, No. Revelation 10 : “Pale-green, perfectly translucent, with double refraction. According to Pliny, it is of the color of gold, and hence the topaz has been understood by it.” Beryl.—Winer, No. 11. Topaz.—Winer, No. 2. This seems to have been frequently confounded with the chrysolite. Chrysoprasus.—Winer, No. Revelation 15 : “Pale green, shading into yellowish and brown—translucent.” Jacinth [Hyacinth].—Winer, No. 7. Amethyst.—Winer, No. 9.

In respect of color, we distinguish blue stones: Sapphire, chalcedony, amethyst (violet-blue); Green: Emerald, beryl, and, more or less, chrysoprasus; Golden or yellow: Chrysoprasus (see above), chrysolite, topaz; Red: Hyacinth [jacinth], sardonyx, sardius (carnelian). The jasper is, most probably, as a diamond, of the pure hue of light; as an ordinary jasper, it would be non-translucent and of various colors. It is evident from chs. Rev_4:3, Rev_21:12, as well as from the fact that in accordance with New Testament order it stands at the beginning, and in accordance with Old Testament order at the close, that it is to be regarded as the chief or most precious stone. Of the jewels in the breast-plate two names are absent from our catalogue, viz., the ruby and the agate, whilst, on the other hand, the names chalcedony and chrysoprasus are wanting in the breast-plate (comp. Introduction, p. 20). For a comparison of the lists, see Ebrard, pp. 533 sqq.; Hengstenberg, vol. ii, pp. 417 sq. [Eng. Trans.]; De Wette, p. 200.

Rev_21:21. Of one pearl.—Düsterdieck quotes the Jewish tradition from Bava Bathra:Deus adducet gemmas et margaritas, triginta cubitos longas, totidemque latas.” There is, however, a heaven-wide distinction between a great pearl as modified by Christian symbolism, and a great pearl as modified by Jewish Chiliasm. The broad-way of the city. Ðëáôåῖá [i. e., the flat, as opposed to the elevated, the buildings]. Doubtless significant of the pavement or ground of all the streets and alleys; not merely the market-place (Bengel) or principal street (Züllig). [See foot-noteRev_11:8, p. 231.—E. R. C.]. As it were translucent glass.—We apprehend this not literally, but poetically, of the mirror-like brightness.

Rev_21:22. “The peculiar glory of the City is further described.” Duesterdieck. That is, the pause is unobserved by him.

[In the old Jerusalem the Temple was at once the dwelling-place and the concealer of Jehovah. Though present, He was not visibly present—in a sense He was sheltered by the Temple. The new Jerusalem shall have no place for the shelter of the Lord, for she shall be sheltered by Him. He shall tabernacle over her, Rev_7:15. Her inhabitants shall dwell under His manifest and sheltering light. He shall be her Temple.—E. R. C.]

Rev_21:23. The glory of God lightened her.—See Isa_60:19. On the distinction between this passage and Rev_21:11, see above.

Rev_21:24. And the nations (Isa_2:3; Isa_60:11; Psa_72:11) shall walk by means of [Lange: through] her light.—Significant future. “This description, drawn from the declarations of the old Prophets, does not justify the idea of those expositors who conceive of the heathen [nations] and the kings as dwelling outside of the City (Ewald, De Wette, Block et al.), or who would even attempt to determine what moral condition the heathen [nations] now admitted into the new Jerusalem, occupied during their earthly life (Storr, etc.).” Duesterdieck. Their glory.—That is, that which the kings possessed of glory. The Apocalyptist knows no political partyism. He recognizes a glory of the kings and also a glory of the peoples (Rev_21:26).

[Alford: “If then the kings of the earth, and the nations bring their glory and their treasures into her, and if none shall ever enter into her that is not written in the book of life, it follows that these kings, and these nations, are written in the book of life. And so perhaps some light may be thrown on one of the darkest mysteries of redemption. There may be,—I say it with all diffidence,—those who have been saved by Christ without ever forming a part of His visible organized Church.”

The conclusion may be granted without recognizing the force of the argument. The distinguished commentator takes for granted that the kings and nations are those that lived before the Millennial period, or at least before the great consummation. Is it not rather probable that the great truth is adumbrated in this revelation (see also Rev_20:2, last clause), that, even after the new creation, the human race is to be continued (ever propagating a holy seed, such as would have been begotten had Adam never sinned) under the government of the glorified Church?—E. R. C.].

Rev_21:25. Her gates shall not be [Lange: do not be] shut.—They stand open uninterruptedly, for the bringing in of all the glory of the kings and the peoples (Isa_60:11).

Rev_21:26. And they shall bring.—“An impersonal subject should be supplied to ïἴóïõóé (comp. Rev_12:6; Rev_10:11 [the reading ëÝãïõóéí ]; Luther, Bengel, De Wette, Hengstenb., Ew. II., et al.), not ïἱ âáóéëåῖò (Ew. I., Züll.).” Duesterd.

Rev_21:27. Anything common.—See Rev_21:8; Rev_22:15; Act_10:14. The elevation of the Apocalypse above Judaistic views is sufficiently evident from this passage alone, which, in connection with the preceding context, thoroughly distinguishes between believing ethnics and the essence of ethnicism, determining the ðᾶí êïéíüí purely in accordance with moral characteristics.

Rev_22:1. A river.—The water of life is not to be taken here in a purely spiritual sense, at least not, primarily, as in Joh_4:14; Joh_7:38. It denotes the stream of spirituo-corporeal life-power which, as an eternal renewing power, ensures the imperishability and vital freshness of the new world (see Eze_47:1; Zec_14:8; comp. 1Pe_1:4). The unitous spirituo-corporeal operation is especially expressed in the fact that the river proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb—from the living God, through the glorified Christ, in accor
SPECIAL DOCTRINO-ETHICAL AND HOMILETICAL NOTES (ADDENDUM)

Section Twenty-First

Heavenly-Earthly Picture (Earth-Picture) of the New World. The Kingdom of Glory. (Rev_21:9 to Rev_22:5.)

General.—The Kingdom of glory is the Kingdom of consummation; of the consummate development of all the human capabilities of mankind, as born again through Christianity, together with the consummate development of the renewed cosmos of mankind; the Palingenesia of the human world, founded on the holy Birth and Resurrection of Christ—His Primogeniture from the dead—and mediated by the regeneration and resurrection of the faithful.—Relation of the human cosmos to the universe in general.—This relation is modified by the absolute priority of Christ, resting upon His Divine-human nature, the ideal perfection of His life, the holiness of His cross, the glory of His victory. The consummation itself, however, as eternal, is based upon the super-creaturely, God-related, æonic nature of humanity; upon the eternal foundation, the eternal aim, and the eternal value of the life and work of Christ; and upon the covenant-faithfulness of God and the sureness of His promises.

The promises of God, as
real prophecies, in nature and in the development of life, as well as in those verbal prophecies of the Kingdom of God which hover above this life, have all aimed at that glorious consummation, at the eternalization of the Christian life and its sphere, the eternal City of God. Hence, the domain of the consummation is at the same time the domain of all fulfillments; it is both of these as the Kingdom of glory, the blessed realm of spirits, filled with the life of the Eternal Spirit.

The Kingdom of glory unfolds in three spheres, appearing (1) as the consummation and fulfillment of the Theocracy, or as the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God (Rev_21:9-21); (2) as the consummation and fulfillment of all the truth and all the longing contained in the religious history of mankind, or as the holy Home-City of all believing Gentiles [nations] (Rev_21:22-27); (3) as the consummation and fulfillment of all the prophecies of nature, or as the Home-Country of all souls, the universal, new Paradise (Rev_22:1-5).

Special.—The perfected Kingdom of God, in respect of its different designations and imports: Historic form of the Kingdom of God (Rev_21:9-21); the City of God; the heavenly Jerusalem; the Bride.—Blessed prospect of the City of God. Most glorious of all prospects. “Jerusalem, du hoch gebaute Stadt,” etc. [“Jerusalem, thou city fair and high”]. “Ich hab’ von ferne, etc.”—Procession of the City of God: 1. From Heaven to earth; 2. From earth to Heaven; 3. Back again, from Heaven to earth.—[Rev_21:10.] The descending City of God, or perfected communication between Heaven (the starry world) and earth.—Description of the City of God (Rev_21:11-21). Its source of light; its walls; its gates; its dimensions and fundamental forms; its fundamental materials.—Spiritual, universal form of the Kingdom of God (Rev_21:22-27). Its spiritual Temple. Its spiritual Sun. Its spiritual Church. Its spiritual liberty. Its spiritual fullness. Its spiritual purity and consecrateness.—The new Paradise (Rev_22:1-5). The river of life: 1. Where does it appear? 2. Whence does it come? 3. Whither does it flow?—The river of life: 1. In respect of its name; 2. In respect of its beauty (like crystal); 3. In respect of its products.—The trees of life—the manifestation of highest life: 1. From the Fountain of life to the River of life; 2. From the River of life to the Trees of life; 3. From the Trees of life to their fruits; 4. From the fruits to the health-producing leaves.—The perfected, pure, consecrated creature (Rev_22:3).—The laws of purity for creaturely life: a prophecy of the future glorification of the world.—Activity and rest in the Paradise of God (Rev_22:3-4).—Perfect union of culture and cultus in the Paradise of God.—The service (Rev_22:3).—The blessed rest (the beholding of God [Rev_22:4]).—The region of eternal sunshine [Rev_22:5].—The new world shining in the radiance of the glory of the Lord.—The glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8), in its eternal duration and renewal.

Starke: [Rev_21:12.] God is a fiery wall and protection to His Church (Zec_2:5).

Rev_21:13. Entrance into the Church is free to all people, in all corners of the world, who will but come to the fellowship of the Church (1Ti_2:4).

Rev_21:14. The one true Foundation of the Church and of eternal blessedness is Christ alone (1Co_3:11). This Foundation is laid solely through the Apostles (Eph_2:20). (The reconcilement of the apparent contradiction is to be found in the fact that Christ has organically unfolded His fullness in the twelve Apostles.)—On Rev_21:23, comp. Isa_60:19-20.—On Rev_21:24, comp. Isa_60:3; see Isa_49:23; Isa_2:2 sq.; Psa_72:10-11; also Isa_52:1; Isa_60:21; Eze_44:9.—Rev_22:2. A contrast to ancient Babylon is here presented. As the Euphrates flowed through the midst of Babylon, and as the river of Babylon dried up (Rev_16:12), so, on the other hand, the spiritual Jerusalem has the river of the Holy Spirit, which brings water through the midst of the City and which shall never dry up.—Christ is the Tree of life, which has life in itself.—On Rev_21:3, comp. Zec_14:11.

W. Hoffmann, Maranatha (Ruf zum Herrn, Vol. VIII. Sermon on 2Pe_3:13-14. P. 180). We shall speak of the new world of the redeemed, as described in our text in the following words: “But we wait for a new Heaven and a new earth.” For the first word of revelation from God’s mouth runs: “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth,” and the last word of prophecy is that which we have just read. Thus, between the first coming into existence of Heaven and earth and the last everlasting being of Heaven and earth, all the Divine economy moves.

[From M. Henry: Rev_21:10. They who would have clear views of heaven must get as near heaven as they can, into the mount of vision, the mount of meditation and faith, from whence, as from the top of Pisgah, they may behold the goodly land of the heavenly Canaan.

Rev_21:11. Having the glory of God; glorious in her relation to Christ, in His image now perfected in her, and in His favor shining upon her.

Rev_21:12. Note, 1. The wall. Heaven is a safe state. 2. The gates. It is accessible to all those that are sanctified.

Rev_21:22. There the saints are above the need of ordinances, which were the means of their preparation for heaven. Perfect and immediate communion with God will more than supply the place of gospel-institutions.

Rev_21:23. God in Christ will be an everlasting Fountain of knowledge and joy to the saints in heaven.

Rev_21:27. The saints shall have (1) no impure thing remain in them, (2) no impure persons admitted among them.

Rev_22:1. All our springs of grace, comfort and glory are in God; and all our streams from Him, through the mediation of the Lamb.

Rev_22:3. And there shall be no more curse. Here is the great excellency of this paradise—the Devil has nothing to do there; he cannot draw the saints from serving God to be subject to himself, as he did our first parents, nor can he so much as disturb them in the service of God.

Rev_22:4-5. Note, 1. There the saints shall see the face of God; there enjoy the beatific vision. 2. God will own them, as having His seal and name on their foreheads. 3. They shall reign with Him forever; their service shall be not only freedom, but honor and dominion. 4. They shall be full of wisdom and comfort, continually walking in the light of the Lord.—From The Comprehensive Commentary. Rev_21:9-27. “Glorious things are” indeed here “spoken of the City of God” (Psa_87:3); and the whole is well suited to raise our expectations and enlarge our conceptions of its security, peace, splendor, purity and felicity; but, in proportion to our spirituality, we shall be more and more led to contemplate heaven as filled with “the glory of God,” and enlightened by the presence of the Lord Jesus, “the Sun of righteousness,” and the Redeemer of lost sinners, knowing that “in His presence is fullness of joy, and pleasures at His right hand for evermore.” (Scott.)—As nothing unclean can enter thither, let us be stirred up, by these glimpses of heavenly things, in giving diligence to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God;” that we may be approved as “Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile,” and have a sure evidence that we are “written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Scott.)—Rev_22:5. In that world of light and glory there will “be no night,” no affliction, or dejection, no intermission of service and enjoyments; they will “need no candle;” no diversions or pleasures of man’s devising will there be at all wanted; and even the outward comforts which God has provided, suited to our state in this world, will no longer be requisite. (Scott.)—From Vaughan: Rev_21:22. The Lord God and the Lamb are the Temple of it. The worship of heaven is offered directly, not only to God, but in God. It is as if God Himself were the shrine in which man will then adore Him. The blessed will be so included in God that even when they worship, He will be their temple.—If we would hereafter worship in that temple which is God Himself, Christ Himself, we must know God now by faith; we must have life now in Christ.—Rev_22:3. If in heaven we would serve God, we must begin to be His servants here.—From Bonar: Chs. 20, 21. What a termination to the long, long desert-journey of the Church of God, calling forth from us the exulting shout which broke from the lips of the Crusaders, when first from the neighboring height they caught sight of the holy city: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem!”]