Revelation chapter 21

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

9And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children 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 twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

What does Revelation chapter 21 mean?

From the time described midway through Genesis chapter 3 until the events of Revelation 20, earth experienced—is experiencing—the presence of sin and death. At the end of chapter 20, John sees God delivering the final and ultimate judgment on Satan, casting all evil into the lake of fire. At that point, creation will finally be free from everything wicked, and what follows is a description of a remade, restored earth.

Following the great white throne judgment of chapter 20, John sees a new heaven and a new earth. Scholars debate whether this means that all of creation will be destroyed and re-made, or that God will re-condition creation. The terminology used seems to suggest a renewal. John sees the new city of Jerusalem descending onto the earth, and voices celebrating the restored relationship between God and man. In particular, John hears the voice from the throne declare an end to suffering, pain, and death for all of eternity. At the same time, John hears a reminder that sin, and those who chose it over God, are condemned to the "second death" of hell (Revelation 21:1–8).

John attempts to describe the New Jerusalem in terms others can understand. In doing so, he mentions precious materials such as gold and jasper, but associates them with properties those materials don't normally have. Gold, for instance, is not normally "clear," and neither is jasper. This is John's struggle in explaining what he sees; a modern person might say they saw smoke that looked like "transparent lead," and those hearing it would understand the mixture of two separate ideas. Here, John does something similar in his effort to describe the indescribable (Revelation 21:9–21).

John also points out that there is no temple in this new city, since there is no need for a temple. Temples, priests, and rituals are all necessary when man is somehow separated from God. Two people speaking face-to-face don't need telephones or letters; those living in direct communion with God won't need a temple. This description also re-emphasizes the perfect holiness of this New Jerusalem, and the fact that only those who put their faith in Christ will be found there (Revelation 21:22–27). Revelation 22 is the final chapter of the New Testament. There, John will complete his description of the New Jerusalem and give some final words to those who read this text.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: