Revelation 21:1-27 . THE NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH: NEW JERUSALEM OUT OF HEAVEN.
14. twelve foundations--Joshua, the type of Jesus, chose twelve men out of the people, to carry twelve stones over the Jordan with them, as Jesus chose twelve apostles to be the twelve foundations of the heavenly city, of which He is Himself the Chief corner-stone. Peter is not the only apostolic rock on whose preaching Christ builds His Church. Christ Himself is the true foundation: the twelve are foundations only in regard to their apostolic testimony concerning Him. Though Paul was an apostle besides the twelve, yet the mystical number is retained, twelve representing the Church, namely thirty the divine number, multiplied by four, the world number.
in them the names, &c.--As architects often have their names inscribed on their great works, so the names of the apostles shall be held in everlasting remembrance. Vulgate reads, "in them." But A, B, Syriac, Coptic, and ANDREAS read, "upon them." These authorities also insert "twelve" before "names."
15. had a golden reed--so Coptic. But A, B, Vulgate, and Syriac read, "had (as) a measure, a golden reed." In Revelation 11:2 the non-measuring of the outer courts of the temple implied its being given up to secular and heathen desecration. So here, on the contrary, the city being measured implies the entire consecration of every part, all things being brought up to the most exact standard of God's holy requirements, and also God's accurate guardianship henceforth of even the most minute parts of His holy city from all evil.
16. twelve thousand furlongs--literally, "to twelve thousand stadii": one thousand furlongs being the space between the several twelve gates. BENGEL makes the length of each side of the city to be twelve thousand stadii. The stupendous height, length, and breadth being exactly alike, imply its faultless symmetry, transcending in glory all our most glowing conceptions.
17. hundred . . . forty . . . four cubits--twelve times twelve: the Church-number squared. The wall is far beneath the height of the city.
measure of a man, that is, of the angel--The ordinary measure used by men is the measure here used by the angel, distinct from "the measure of the sanctuary." Men shall then be equal to the angels.
18. the building--"the structure" [TREGELLES], Greek, "endomeesis."
gold, like . . . clear glass--Ideal gold, transparent as no gold here is [ALFORD]. Excellencies will be combined in the heavenly city which now seem incompatible.
19. And--so Syriac, Coptic, and ANDREAS. But A, B, and Vulgate omit. Compare Revelation 21:14 with this verse; also Isaiah 54:11 .
all manner of precious stones--Contrast Revelation 18:12 as to the harlot, Babylon. These precious stones constituted the "foundations."
chalcedony--agate from Chalcedon: semi-opaque, sky-blue, with stripes of other colors [ALFORD].
20. sardonyx--a gem having the redness of the cornelian, and the whiteness of the onyx.
chrysolite--described by PLINY as transparent and of a golden brightness, like our topaz: different from our pale green crystallized chrysolite.
beryl--of a sea-green color.
topaz--PLINY [37.32], makes it green and transparent, like our chrysolite.
chrysoprasus--somewhat pale, and having the purple color of the amethyst [PLINY, 37, 20, 21].
jacinth--The flashing violet brightness in the amethyst is diluted in the jacinth [PLINY, 37.41].
21. every several--Greek, "each one severally."
22. no temple . . . God . . . the temple--As God now dwells in the spiritual Church, His "temple" (Greek, "naos," "shrine"; 1 Corinthians 3:17 , 6:19 ), so the Church when perfected shall dwell in Him as her "temple" (naos: the same Greek). As the Church was "His sanctuary," so He is to be their sanctuary. Means of grace shall cease when the end of grace is come. Church ordinances shall give place to the God of ordinances. Uninterrupted, immediate, direct, communion with Him and the Lamb (compare John 4:23 ), shall supersede intervening ordinances.
23. in it--so Vulgate. But A, B, and ANDREAS read, "(shine) on it," or literally, "for her."
the light--Greek, "the lamp" ( Isaiah 60:19 Isaiah 60:20 ). The direct light of God and the Lamb shall make the saints independent of God's creatures, the sun and moon, for light.
24. of them which are saved . . . in--A, B, Vulgate, Coptic, and ANDREAS read "(the nations shall walk) by means of her light": omitting "of them which are saved." Her brightness shall supply them with light.
the kings of the earth--who once had regard only to their glory, having been converted, now in the new Jerusalem do bring their glory into it, to lay it down at the feet of their God and Lord.
and honour--so B, Vulgate, and Syriac. But A omits the clause.
25. not be shut . . . by day--therefore shall never be shut: for it shall always be day. Gates are usually shut by night: but in it shall be no night. There shall be continual free ingress into it, so as that all which is blessed and glorious may continually be brought into it. So in the millennial type.
26. All that was truly glorious and excellent in the earth and its converted nations shall be gathered into it; and while all shall form one Bride, there shall be various orders among the redeemed, analogous to the divisions of nations on earth constituting the one great human family, and to the various orders of angels.
27. anything that defileth--Greek, "koinoun." A and B read [koinon,] "anything unclean."
in the Lamb's book of of the old Jerusalem was carried outside the walls and burnt there, so nothing defiled shall enter the heavenly city, but be burnt outside (compare Revelation 22:15 ). It is striking that the apostle of love, who shows us the glories of the heavenly city, is he also who speaks most plainly of the terrors of hell. On Revelation 21:26 Revelation 21:27 , ALFORD writes a Note, rash in speculation, about the heathen nations, above what is written, and not at all required by the sacred text: compare Note,