Revelation 21:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Revelation 21:18, NIV: The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.

Revelation 21:18, ESV: The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

Revelation 21:18, KJV: And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

Revelation 21:18, NASB: The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

Revelation 21:18, NLT: The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass.

Revelation 21:18, CSB: The building material of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold clear as glass.

What does Revelation 21:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

John observed that the wall of New Jerusalem is constructed of jasper. Verse 11 indicates the jasper is translucent. It may be a crystalline red. Because the wall is constructed of this translucent jewel, it must glow with brilliant color. The city appeared to John to be clear, pure, transparent gold. This gold is quite different from gold as we know it. The gold we know is solid and not transparent. Jasper, as well, is not literally clear. John's words here seem to be an attempt to describe the indescribable using terms most likely to be understood. This would be like a modern person describing something as a "ray of darkness," though everyone involved knows there is no such literal thing.

The point of John's description is this: the city glows with brilliant light, both dazzling red and shiny gold. Because God is glorious, the city reflects His glory. Earlier, John saw a vision of God on His throne (Revelation 4:3–4) and wrote that He had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, which is very similar to ruby. A rainbow circled His throne. This description portrays God and His throne as glorious, so we should not be surprised that the city He designs and builds is arrayed with brilliant colors.