What does Revelation 21:9 mean?
ESV: Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
NIV: One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, 'Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.'
NASB: Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, 'Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.'
CSB: Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
NLT: Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, 'Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.'
KJV: And 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.
NKJV: Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
Verse Commentary:
One of the seven angels that poured their bowls of judgment onto the earth beckoned to John to come and see the bride, the Lamb's wife. Perhaps this angel is the same one that had shown the apostle John the woman who sat on a scarlet beast (Revelation 17:1–3). The angel now shows John another woman. Whereas the woman on the scarlet beast was thoroughly immoral, the woman of Revelation 21:9 is thoroughly pure. She is the Lamb's bride and wife.

The first woman symbolized the Beast's city, Babylon. The woman here represents God's city, the New Jerusalem. Once again, the Bible contrasts unrighteousness and righteousness, impurity and purity, evil and good, what is marked for destruction and what abides eternally. A bride presents herself to her fiancé as beautiful. Similarly, as we see in the subsequent verses, the bride and wife of our Lord presents herself as beautiful.
Verse Context:
Revelation 21:9–27 presents a description of the New Jerusalem. Interpreters disagree about whether this is a flashback to the millennial reign of Christ, or a description of the eternal state of the city. A flashback is not unprecedented in Revelation, occurring in chapters 11, 14, 15, and 17. However, some verses here clearly refer to eternal conditions, and most scholars take this as a depiction of the eternal, final heavenly city.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter focuses on the New Jerusalem. This is not the earthly, historic Jerusalem of the tribulation (Revelation 11:2, 8). Nor is it the surviving Jerusalem of the millennium that serves as Jesus' capital (Revelation 20:9). It is the heavenly city referred to in Hebrews 12:22, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10, 16). John attempts to describe the indescribable using analogies to precious gems and metals.
Chapter Context:
Leading up to this chapter, all sin and evil have been entirely defeated. Satan is banished to hell, along with every person who rejected Christ, as seen in chapter 20. Here, John describes the nature of the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city which descends onto earth after the ultimate victory over evil. Chapter 22 is a further description of this perfect eternity, and last messages from Jesus to those who read John's words.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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