Note: Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.
21:1 Then I saw a new [in character, kind, or quality] heaven and a new earth [some see this as an all-encompassing phrase meaning a whole new universe], for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no [absence of] longer any sea [symbol of turmoil and danger; nothing to separate as the sea separated him (on Patmos) from his fellow believers (on the mainland)].
21:2 I saw the Holy City [pure and beautiful like a new bride], the new [same meaning as in verse 1] Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven [as a gift] from God [the “architect and builder” as per Heb. 11:10; origin and source], prepared [by God] as a [metaphor/description of the most intimate human relationship] bride [the Holy City; redeemed humanity] beautifully dressed for her husband.
21:3 And I heard a loud voice [unidentified] from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling [Gr. skene: tabernacle, tent, booth (temporary dwellings)] of God is with men [no more need for earthly temple like the one in earthly Jerusalem], and He will live [permanently] with [Gr. skenosei: dwell or tabernacle with] them. They will be His people [literally “peoples”], and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
21:4 He will wipe [tenderly so] every tear from their eyes [no more sorrow because no more sin]. There will be no more death [the result of sin; cf. Rev. 20:14 and 1 Cor. 15:26] or mourning [one of the effects of sin and death] or crying [as a result of persecution, daily circumstances, sin] or pain [a penalty of the fall (cf. Gen. 3:16)], for the old [previous] order of things has passed away.”
21:5 He [Jesus Christ] who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true [because “these words” were spoken by the One who is Himself trustworthy and true].”
21:6 He said to me: “It [the results of redemption are fully completed] is done [cf. Jesus’ declaration from the cross in Jn. 19:30]. I am the Alpha and the Omega [the A to Z], the Beginning [the beginning source of all things] and the End [the goal of all things]. To him who is thirsty [those who recognize that they are spiritually needy] I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
21:7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
21:9 One of the seven angels [John’s “tour” guide] who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues [cf. 17:1] came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride [symbolizes the close, harmonious relationship that exists between Christ and the congregation of the redeemed], the wife of the Lamb [this title used seven times in 21:9-17].”
21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high [perhaps in contrast to the desert where John had seen the harlot (17:3); a place where John could gain a wide view], and showed me the Holy City [inhabited by the redeemed], Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
21:11 It shone [no need for a sun or moon] with the glory [brilliance or radiance; the fullness of who God is; the abiding presence of God] of God, and its brilliance [radiance: something in which light is concentrated] was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
21:12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
21:13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
21:14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
21:15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.
21:16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.
21:17 He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man’s measurement, which the angel was using.
21:18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
21:19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone [among the Hebrews, precious stones symbolized God’s presence (Robbins); same jewels/stones which adorn breastplate of high priest (Ex. 28:17-20)]. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
21:20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
21:22 I did not see a temple [a notable absence for any Jew who thought of the temple when thinking about Jerusalem; a temple (a place where people worshiped and encountered God) was necessary in a fallen world] in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
21:23 The city does not need the sun [natural light] or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God [the Creator of Light] gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
21:24 The nations [people groups (people of every tribe and culture) rather than political entities; our identity as people groups will still be evident in the new Jerusalem] will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring [in tribute] their splendor [glory] into it.
21:25 On no day will its gates ever be shut [on earth gates are shut because of fear and for security], for there will be no night [darkness] there.
21:26 The glory and honor of the nations [people groups; heaven will be a multicultural place] will be brought into it [cf. Isa. 60:5].
21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful [these have their own final place of destruction where they will spend eternity], but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.