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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - REVELATION 21
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    CHAPTER 21

    Re 21:1-27. THE NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH: NEW JERUSALEM OUT OF HEAVEN.

    The remaining two chapters describe the eternal and consummated kingdom of God and the saints on the new earth. As the world of nations is to be pervaded by divine influence in the millennium, so the world of nature shall be, not annihilated, but transfigured universally in the eternal state which follows it. The earth was cursed for man's sake; but is redeemed by the second Adam. Now is the Church; in the millennium shall be the kingdom; and after that shall be the new world wherein God shall be all in all. The "day of the Lord" and the conflagration of the earth are in 2Pe 3:10, 11 spoken of as if connected together, from which many argue against a millennial interval between His coming and the general conflagration of the old earth, preparatory to the new; but "day" is used often of a whole period comprising events intimately connected together, as are the Lord's second advent, the millennium, and the general conflagration and judgment. Compare Ge 2:4 as to the wide use of "day." Man's soul is redeemed by regeneration through the Holy Spirit now; man's body shall be redeemed at the resurrection; man's dwelling-place, His inheritance, the earth, shall be redeemed perfectly at the creation of the new heaven and earth, which shall exceed in glory the first Paradise, as much as the second Adam exceeds in glory the first Adam before the fall, and as man regenerated in body and soul shall exceed man as he was at creation.

    1. the first--that is the former.
    - passed away--Greek, in A and B is "were departed" (Greek, "apeelthon," not as in English Version, "pareelthe").
    - was--Greek, "is," which graphically sets the thing before our eyes as present.
    - no more sea--The sea is the type of perpetual unrest. Hence our Lord rebukes it as an unruly hostile troubler of His people. It symbolized the political tumults out of which "the beast" arose, Re 13:1. As the physical corresponds to the spiritual and moral world, so the absence of sea, after the metamorphosis of the earth by fire, answers to the unruffled state of solid peace which shall then prevail. The sea, though severing lands from one another, is now, by God's eliciting of good from evil, made the medium of communication between countries through navigation. Then man shall possess inherent powers which shall make the sea no longer necessary, but an element which would detract from a perfect state. A "river" and "water" are spoken of in Re 22:1, 2, probably literal (that is, with such changes of the natural properties of water, as correspond analogically to man's own transfigured body), as well as symbolical. The sea was once the element of the world's destruction, and is still the source of death to thousands, whence after the millennium, at the general judgment, it is specially said, "The sea gave up the dead . . . in it." Then it shall cease to destroy, or disturb, being removed altogether on account of its past destructions.

    2. And I John--"John" is omitted in A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and ANDREAS; also the "I" in the Greek of these authorities is not emphatic. The insertion of "I John" in the Greek would somewhat interfere with the close connection which subsists between "the new heaven and earth," Re 21:1, and the "new Jerusalem" in this verse.
    - Jerusalem . . . out of heaven-- (Re 3:12; Ga 4:26, "Jerusalem which is above"; Heb 11:10; 12:22; 13:14). The descent of the new Jerusalem out of heaven is plainly distinct from the earthly Jerusalem in which Israel in the flesh shall dwell during the millennium, and follows on the creation of the new heaven and earth. John in his Gospel always writes [Greek] Hierosoluma of the old city; in the Apocalypse always Hierousaleem of the heavenly city (Re 3:12). Hierousaleem is a Hebrew name, the original and holy appellation. Hierosoluma is the common Greek term, used in a political sense. Paul observes the same distinction when refuting Judaism (Ga 4:26; compare Ga 1:17, 18; 2:1; Heb 12:22), though not so in the Epistles to Romans and Corinthians [BENGEL].
    - bride--made up of the blessed citizens of "the holy city." There is no longer merely a Paradise as in Eden (though there is that also, Re 2:7), no longer a mere garden, but now the city of God on earth, costlier, statelier, and more glorious, but at the same time the result of labor and pains such as had not to be expended by man in dressing the primitive garden of Eden. "The lively stones" were severally in time laboriously chiselled into shape, after the pattern of "the Chief corner-stone," to prepare them for the place which they shall everlastingly fill in the heavenly Jerusalem.

    3. out of heaven--so ANDREAS. But A and Vulgate read, "out of the throne."
    - the tabernacle--alluding to the tabernacle of God in the wilderness (wherein many signs of His presence were given): of which this is the antitype, having previously been in heaven: Re 11:19; 15:5, "the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven"; also Re 13:6. Compare the contrast in Heb 9:23, 14, between "the patterns" and "the heavenly things themselves," between "the figures" and "the true." The earnest of the true and heavenly tabernacle was afforded in the Jerusalem temple described in Eze 40:1-42:20, as about to be, namely, during the millennium.
    - dwell with them--literally, "tabernacle with them"; the same Greek word as is used of the divine Son "tabernacling among us." Then He was in the weakness of the flesh: but at the new creation of heaven and earth He shall tabernacle among us in the glory of His manifested Godhead (Re 22:4).
    - they--in Greek emphatic, "they" (in particular).
    - his people--Greek, "His peoples": "the nations of the saved" being all peculiarly His, as Israel was designed to be. So A reads. But B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, "His people": singular.
    - God himself . . . with them--realizing fully His name Immanuel.

    4. all tears--Greek, "every tear."
    - no more death--Greek, "death shall be no more." Therefore it is not the millennium, for in the latter there is death (Isa 65:20; 1Co 15:26, 54, "the last enemy . . . destroyed is death," Re 20:14, after the millennium).
    - sorrow--Greek, "mourning."
    - passed away--Greek, "departed," as in Re 21:1.

    5. sat--Greek, "sitteth."
    - all things new--not recent, but changed from the old (Greek, "kaina," not "nea"). An earnest of this regeneration and transfiguration of nature is given already in the regenerate soul.
    - unto me--so Coptic and ANDREAS. But A, B, Vulgate, and Syriac omit.
    - true and faithful--so ANDREAS. But A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic transpose, "faithful and true" (literally, "genuine").

    6. It is done--the same Greek as in Re 16:17. "It is come to pass." So Vulgate reads with English Version. But A reads, "They ('these words,' Re 21:5) are come to pass." All is as sure as if it actually had been fulfilled for it rests on the word of the unchanging God. When the consummation shall be, God shall rejoice over the work of His own hands, as at the completion of the first creation God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good (Ge 1:31).
    - Alpha . . . Omega--Greek in A and B, "the Alpha . . . the Omega" (Re 1:18).
    - give unto . . . athirst . . . water of life-- (Re 22:17; Isa 12:3; 55:1; Joh 4:13, 14; 7:37, 38). This is added lest any should despair of attaining to this exceeding weight of glory. In our present state we may drink of the stream, then we shall drink at the Fountain.
    - freely--Greek, "gratuitously": the same Greek as is translated, "(They hated Me) without a cause," Joh 15:25. As gratuitous as was man's hatred of God, so gratuitous is God's love to man: there was every cause in Christ why man should love Him, yet man hated Him; there was every cause in man why (humanly speaking) God should have hated man, yet God loved man: the very reverse of what might be expected took place in both cases. Even in heaven our drinking at the Fountain shall be God's gratuitous gift.

    7. He that overcometh--another aspect of the believer's life: a conflict with sin, Satan, and the world is needed. Thirsting for salvation is the first beginning of, and continues for ever (in the sense of an appetite and relish for divine joys) a characteristic of the believer. In a different sense, the believer "shall never thirst."
    - inherit all things--A, B, Vulgate, and CYPRIAN read, "these things," namely, the blessings described in this whole passage. With "all things," compare 1Co 3:21-23.
    - I will be his God--Greek, "I will be to him a God," that is, all that is implied of blessing in the name "God."
    - he shall be my son--"He" is emphatic: He in particular and in a peculiar sense, above others: Greek, "shall be to me a son," in fullest realization of the promise made in type to Solomon, son of David, and antitypically to the divine Son of David.

    8. the fearful--Greek, "the cowardly," who do not quit themselves like men so as to "overcome" in the good fight; who have the spirit of slavish "fear," not love, towards God; and who through fear of man are not bold for God, or "draw back." Compare Re 21:27; 22:15.
    - unbelieving--Greek, "faithless."
    - abominable--who have drank of the harlot's "cup of abominations."
    - sorcerers--one of the characteristics of Antichrist's time.
    - all liars--Greek, "all the liars": or else "all who are liars"; compare 1Ti 4:1, 2, where similarly lying and dealings with spirits and demons, are joined together as features of "the latter times."
    - second death-- Re 20:14: "everlasting destruction," 2Th 1:9; Mr 9:44, 46, 48, "Where THEIR worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

    9. The same angel who had shown John Babylon the harlot, is appropriately employed to show him in contrast new Jerusalem, the Bride (Re 17:1-5). The angel so employed is the one that had the last seven plagues, to show that the ultimate blessedness of the Church is one end of the divine judgments on her foes.
    - unto me--A, B, and Vulgate omit.
    - the Lamb's wife--in contrast to her who sat on many waters (Re 17:1), (that is, intrigued with many peoples and nations of the world, instead of giving her undivided affections, as the Bride does, to the Lamb.

    10. The words correspond to Re 17:3, to heighten the contrast of the bride and harlot.
    - mountain--Compare Eze 40:2, where a similar vision is given from a high mountain.
    - that great--omitted in A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and CYPRIAN. Translate then, "the holy city GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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