And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea.
The glory and happiness of the church of God on earth prophesied by Isaiah (chap. 60:122 I the LORD will hasten it in his time; in Christs time) is here revealed to John in this vision of the new heaven and the new earth, which he saw, whereby is signified the world to come, (Heb. 2:5) in contradistinction to this world, (Matthew 12:32 and Eph. 1:21). God promised the primitive saints, that he would create new heavens, and a new earth, (Isa. 65:1718 and 66:22) and therefore the latter day saints do, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, (2 Pet. 3:13) [For the first heavens and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.] So the apostle St. Peter testified, (2 Pet. 3:13) Nevertheless we according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. By the sea, we are to understand the gathering together of the multitude of many waters, as Genesis 1:10. And by the waters, upon which the whore satteth, we may understand, people, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues, (Rev. 17:15) called the See of Rome; so the See of Canterbury, and the See of York: Whereby is figured the rage, troubles and persecutions, stirred up by the wind of unsound and popish doctrine of the church of Rome, as Isaiah 57:20.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
By [the holy city, new Jerusalem,] we are to understand Jerusalem that is above, (Gal. 4:26) which shall come [down from God out of heaven] upon Mount Zion, (Heb. 12:2224) [Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.] She is the bride, the Lambs wife. See Revelation 19:78 and verse 9 of this chapter; that is, the church in her latter day glory, (Rev. 21:2227) And I saw no Temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the Temple of it. And 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. And 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 honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsover worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lambs Book of Life. And Isaiah 60:122 Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my Glory. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee, shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee, shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The City of the LORD, the Zion of the holy one of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw it self: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of the mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hand, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven; saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
[Behold] that is, observe, ponder and consider what God speaketh by his voice from heaven. [The tabernacle of God is with men;] that is, God is come down with his church from heaven, unto the new earth, which he hath created: And in this respect Christ is said to rejoice in the habitable parts of his earth; and his delights are with the sons of men, (Prov. 8:31) [And he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.] These words are the substance and tenor of the new and everlasting Covenant of grace, both with converted Jews and gentiles, (Isa. 55:13, Jer. 31:3240, Heb. 8:610, Rom. 11:2426). Isa. 19:2325 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt, and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
The time of the glorious state of the church, and kingdom of Christ on earth, before the general resurrection and the eternal judgment, will be a sorrowless time and condition to the church and people of God. For, first, they shall have no sufferings; (Isa. 60:1418). Secondly, they shall have no sins, (Isa. 60:21) Thy people also shall be all righteous, and (Zeph. 3:1315) The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity; and (Rev. 14:45) For they are without fault before the throne of God. Thirdly, they shall have no enemies to hurt them, to persecute them, nor to destroy them, (Isa. 11:916). They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And I will punish the world, for their evil, and the wicked for their inquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes, their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Read Isaiah 14:15, 25:8, Jer. 23:34, Ezek. 28:24 and Zeph. 3:1315) [For the former things are passed away;] that is, all those things that occasioned sorrows and sufferings, tears and temptations, lamentations and weeping to the church and people of God are come to an end; that is, the old serpent is bound, the beast and false prophets taken and cast into the lake of fire. (See chap. 19:20, 21 and chap. 20:211). Now the church of God hath rest, peace and glory. Now the Lords redeemed ones are made unto God kings and priests, and shall reign on earth, (Rev. 5:910 and Rev. 11:15 and Dan. 2:44 and 7:27, 28).
And he that sat upon the throne, said, behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, write: for these words are true and faithful.
[He that sat upon the throne] is our Lord Jesus Christ, who made the world and all things therein, (John 1:13 and Heb. 1:2) Whose name is called the Word of God, (Rev. 19:13) [I make all things new;] that is, I will now restore all things to their original purity and perfection, (Acts 3:1921).
And he said unto me, it is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end: I will give unto him that is a thirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely.
[It is done;] that is, the seventh trumpet is sounded, (Rev. 11:15). The seventh vial of the last plagues is poured out upon Babylon, (Rev. 16:17) all is performed and fulfilled. Now the mystery of God is finished, (Rev. 10:7). Christ, who was the Alpha or beginning of the creation of God, by whom all things were made, (Col. 1:1518) is now the Omega or end; that is, the finisher of all things, of the new heaven and the new earth, even he that maketh all things new. [I will give unto him that is a thirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely.] Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, (Matthew 5:6, Isa. 55:13 and Rev. 22:17). They shall be filled, satisfied with the water of life and salvation, (Isa. 12:3).
He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
There are four soul-enemies, that saints militant here on earth (like good soldiers of Jesus Christ) are to fight against, noted in the scripture of truth; viz. the devil, the world, sinful lusts, and the beast. Now by [he that overcometh] we are to understand him or her, that by faith in Christ getteth the victory over the devil, as 1 John 2:13 over the world, as 1 John 5:45 over their sinful lusts of the flesh, as Roman 6:12 and 1 Peter 2:11 and over the beast, Revelation 15:2 and 20:4. These victors are more than conquerors, (Rom. 8:3539). And they [shall inherit all things] that is, these conquerors shall be co-heirs with Christ the great conqueror, (Rev. 3:2122) [And I will be his God, and he shall be my son] that is, his God and Father in Jesus Christ, (John 20:17) And they shall be his sons and daughters by faith in Christ Jesus, (Gal. 3:26 and 2 Cor. 6:18) [But the fearful (verse 8) and unbelieving, etc., shall have their part in the lake, which is the second death] that is, hell, or Gehenna; everlasting burnings, into which the beast and false prophet were cast alive, (Rev. 19:20) also the devil himself, (Rev. 20:10 and vv. 14, 15).
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, and the Lambs Wife.
And 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.
This, probably, is the same angel that showed John the vision of the great whore, (Rev. 17:1) who now shows him [the bride, the Lambs Wife] (see chap. 19:7, 8) that is, the true visible church of God, as chap. 21:1, 2 See the exposition of those two verses; and here also, verse 10 [That great city the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God] Read Hebrews 12:2224.
Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
This glory of the Church of God on earth in the latter days, was foretold by the holy prophets, (Isa. 28:5, 60:113 and 62:23) etc. [And her light was like unto a stone most precious] (Isa. 30:1926) For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven fold, as the light of the seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound, (Isa. 60:1920) And 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, (Rev. 21:23). And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this Prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book, (Rev. 22:519).
And 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.
On the east, three gates; on the north, three gates; on the fourth, three gates; and on the west, three gates.
A wall is principally for defence, and also for ornament; so the wall of the new Jerusalem was great and high, garnished with all manner of precious stones, (Rev. 14:1118). [And had twelve gates] every several gate of one pearl. The wall was one hundred forty and four cubits (v. 17) in breadth, and twelve thousand furlongs in length, (v. 16) which signifies the greatness of the new Jerusalem. [And at the gates twelve angels] they are the holy watchers, who safe keep the city. [And names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel.] Read Isaiah 60:1820 Thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise.
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
By the [twelve foundations] here, we are to understand the fundamental doctrines of Christs apostles, upon which the true Church of God is built, Christ being the chief corner stone, (Eph. 2:1922 and Heb. 6:14) And other foundation can no man lay, (1 Cor. 3:11) These [twelve foundations] therefore have in them [the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb] that is, of Christ crucified, among whom Matthias was numbered, (Acts 1:2526).
And he that talked with me, had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
By this [golden reed] we are to understand the written Word of God, the holy scripture of truth, the rule of every believers faith, worship, and life, (Gal. 6:15). See the exposition of chapter 11, verse 1. And hereby we may understand, that in the latter days, the Church of God, his worship, ordinances, and worshippers, will all be according unto the golden rule of the written Word of God.
And the city lieth four square, 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.
This holy city, the new Jerusalem, is square, [the length, and the breadth, and the height of it are equal] Resembled by Solomons Temple, (1 Kings 6:20) Gods most holy house, (2 Chron. 3:8) the holy Temple in Jerusalem, (Ezek. 41:14) which were figures of the true Jerusalem, and holy City of God, (Heb. 9:24).
And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
And the building of the wall of it was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
The wall of a city is for safety and defence, (Isa. 4:56 and 5:12) See the exposition of the 12 and 15, 16 verses of this chapter; by exact measure.
And 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.
The 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.
And 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.
In these three verses, the glorious spiritual state of the holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Church of God on earth in the latter days, is mystically figured forth. And the city was pure gold, like the seven churches in Asia in their first constitution (see Rev. 1:1220) but in far greater purity, holiness, and glory. The precious stones are, first, a jasper; which is called by jewellers the mother pearl, most precious, clear as crystal; Christ himself is resembled by it, (Rev. 4:3) like a jasper. Secondly, a sapphire; a precious stone shining with golden sparks, highly prized by the citizens of Tyre, and worn for ornament, (Ezek. 28:13) . God promised to lay the foundation of the church with sapphires, (Isa. 54:11). Read Job 28:1416, Ezekiel 1:26 and 10:1. Thirdly, a chalcedony; fourthly, an emerald, etc. Read Exodus 28:1721. By these [precious stones] we are to understand those living stones, which shall be built up a spiritual house, upon that living stone Christ Jesus, (1 Pet. 2:49).
And I saw no Temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the Temple of it.
And 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.
And 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.
There shall be no material Temple in the new Jerusalem, [for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the Temple of it. And 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] (Isa. 60:19)
Verse 24 by [the nations of them which are saved] we may understand all those that were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ out of all nations, (Rev. 5:910) that is, the gentile nations, (Isa. 60:3).
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
And 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 Lambs Book of Life.
The gates standing open continually, doth show the entrance in of the abundance of the converted gentiles into the church of the converted Jews in the latter days, (Isa. 6:1014) even the fullness of the gentiles, (Rom. 11:2527). And the glory of the gentile nations shall be brought to the new Jerusalem; and God will glorify the house of his glory, (Isa. 60:720 and v. 27). All persons, whose names are not written in the Lambs Book of Life, shall be kept out of the new Jerusalem: None but Gods elect shall have an entrance admitted to them into that holy city, (2 Pet. 1:1011 and Rev. 22:1415).