Revelation 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) And I John saw the holy city . . .—Better, And the holy city, new Jerusalem, I saw coming down out of the heaven from God, prepared . . . The name John is omitted in the best MSS. The new Jerusalem is more fully described later on (Revelation 21:10 et seq.). The city is also the bride (comp. Revelation 21:9-10). Both images—the “city” and the “bride”—are familiar to the Bible student. The sacred city appears linked to God by a sacred bond. (Comp. Psalm 45:13-14; Isaiah 61:10; Isaiah 62:4-5; Galatians 4:26; Ephesians 5:25-27.) The city-bride is now adorned for her Husband. We know what her ornaments are, now that He is about to present her to Himself a glorious Church: the meekness and gentleness of Christ, and her loving obedience to Him (1Peter 3:4), are her jewels. She is seen, not rising from earth or sea, like the foes of righteousness (Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:11), but coming down from heaven. The world will never evolve a golden age or ideal state. The new Jerusalem must descend from God. The true pattern, which alone will realise man’s highest wishes, is the pattern in the mount of God (Acts 7:44).

21:1-8 The new heaven and the new earth will not be separate from each other; the earth of the saints, their glorified, bodies, will be heavenly. The old world, with all its troubles and tumults, will have passed away. There will be no sea; this aptly represents freedom from conflicting passions, temptations, troubles, changes, and alarms; from whatever can divide or interrupt the communion of saints. This new Jerusalem is the church of God in its new and perfect state, the church triumphant. Its blessedness came wholly from God, and depends on him. The presence of God with his people in heaven, will not be interrupt as it is on earth, he will dwell with them continually. All effects of former trouble shall be done away. They have often been in tears, by reason of sin, of affliction, of the calamities of the church; but no signs, no remembrance of former sorrows shall remain. Christ makes all things new. If we are willing and desirous that the gracious Redeemer should make all things new in order hearts and nature, he will make all things new in respect of our situation, till he has brought us to enjoy complete happiness. See the certainty of the promise. God gives his titles, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, as a pledge for the full performance. Sensual and sinful pleasures are muddy and poisoned waters; and the best earthly comforts are like the scanty supplies of a cistern; when idolized, they become broken cisterns, and yield only vexation. But the joys which Christ imparts are like waters springing from a fountain, pure, refreshing, abundant, and eternal. The sanctifying consolations of the Holy Spirit prepare for heavenly happiness; they are streams which flow for us in the wilderness. The fearful durst not meet the difficulties of religion, their slavish fear came from their unbelief; but those who were so dastardly as not to dare to take up the cross of Christ, were yet so desperate as to run into abominable wickedness. The agonies and terrors of the first death will lead to the far greater terrors and agonies of eternal death.And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven - See the Analysis of the chapter. On the phrase "new Jerusalem," see the Galatians 4:26 note, and Hebrews 12:22 note. Here it refers to the residence of the redeemed, the heavenly world, of which Jerusalem was the type and symbol. It is here represented as "coming down from God out of heaven." This, of course, does not mean that this great city was "literally" to descend upon the earth, and to occupy any one part of the renovated world; but it is a symbolical or figurative representation, designed to show that the abode of the righteous will be splendid and glorious. The idea of a city literally descending from heaven, and being set upon the earth with such proportions - three hundred and seventy miles high Revelation 21:16, made of gold, and with single pearls for gates, and single gems for the foundations - is absurd. No man can suppose that this is literally true, and hence this must be regarded as a figurative or emblematic description. It is a representation of the heavenly state under the image of a beautiful city, of which Jerusalem was, in many respects, a natural and striking emblem.

Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband - See the notes on Isaiah 49:18; Isaiah 61:10. The purpose here is, to represent it as exceedingly beautiful. The comparison of the church with a bride, or a wife, is common in the Scriptures. See the Revelation 19:7-8 notes, and Isaiah 1:21 note. It is also common in the Scriptures to compare a city with a beautiful woman, and these images here seem to be combined. It is a beautiful city that seems to descend, and this city is itself compared with a richly-attired bride prepared for her husband,

2. And I John—"John" is omitted in A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas; also the "I" in the Greek of these authorities is not emphatic. The insertion of "I John" in the Greek would somewhat interfere with the close connection which subsists between "the new heaven and earth," Re 21:1, and the "new Jerusalem" in this verse.

Jerusalem … out of heaven—(Re 3:12; Ga 4:26, "Jerusalem which is above"; Heb 11:10; 12:22; 13:14). The descent of the new Jerusalem out of heaven is plainly distinct from the earthly Jerusalem in which Israel in the flesh shall dwell during the millennium, and follows on the creation of the new heaven and earth. John in his Gospel always writes [Greek] Hierosoluma of the old city; in the Apocalypse always Hierousaleem of the heavenly city (Re 3:12). Hierousaleem is a Hebrew name, the original and holy appellation. Hierosoluma is the common Greek term, used in a political sense. Paul observes the same distinction when refuting Judaism (Ga 4:26; compare Ga 1:17, 18; 2:1; Heb 12:22), though not so in the Epistles to Romans and Corinthians [Bengel].

bride—made up of the blessed citizens of "the holy city." There is no longer merely a Paradise as in Eden (though there is that also, Re 2:7), no longer a mere garden, but now the city of God on earth, costlier, statelier, and more glorious, but at the same time the result of labor and pains such as had not to be expended by man in dressing the primitive garden of Eden. "The lively stones" were severally in time laboriously chiselled into shape, after the pattern of "the Chief corner-stone," to prepare them for the place which they shall everlastingly fill in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The holy city, new Jerusalem; that is, the whole chorus or number of the elect of God, answering God’s chosen people in Jerusalem.

Coming down from God out of heaven; not locally coming down, but who had their original from heaven, and were all persons of heavenly minds.

Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; in their best robes of glory, such as brides use to wear, when on their wedding day they adorn themselves for their bridegrooms. And I John saw the holy city,.... The same with the beloved city in Revelation 20:9 the church of God: sometimes the church militant is called a city, of which the saints are now fellow citizens, governed by wholesome laws, and enjoying many privileges; but here the general assembly and church of the firstborn, or all the elect of God, are intended, the whole body and society of them, being as a city, compact together; called holy, not only because set apart to holiness by God the Father, and their sins expiated by the blood of Christ, or because he is made sanctification to them, or because internally sanctified by the Spirit of God, which now is but in part; but because they will be perfectly holy in themselves, without the being of sin in them, or any spot of it on them: and John, for the more strong ascertaining the truth of this vision, expresses his name, who saw it, to whom God sent his angel, and signified to him by these Apocalyptic visions what should be hereafter; though the name is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions:

new Jerusalem; the church of God, both in the Old and New Testament, is often called Jerusalem, to which its name, which signifies the vision of peace, agrees; it was the city of the great King, whither the tribes went up to worship; it was a free city, and a fortified one: the Gospel church state in its imperfection is called the heavenly Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem above, which is free, and the mother of all; and here the church in its perfect state is called the new Jerusalem, where will be complete peace and prosperity; and which is called new, because it has its seat in the new heaven and new earth: the inhabitants of which will appear in their new and shining robes of immortality and glory; and to distinguish it from the old Jerusalem, and even from the former state of the church; for this will be "the third time" that Jerusalem will be built, as say the Jews, namely, in the time of the King Messiah (r):

coming down from God out of heaven; which designs not the spiritual and heavenly original of the saints, being born from above, on which account the church is called the heavenly Jerusalem; but a local descent of all the saints with Christ from the third heaven into the air, where they will be met by living saints; and their bodies being raised and united to their souls, they will reign with Christ in the new earth: and this is

"the building which the Jews say God will prepare for the Jerusalem which is above, "to descend into" (s):''

prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; Christ is the husband, or bridegroom, and the church is his spouse, and bride; and in these characters they will both appear at this time, when the marriage between them will be consummated: and the church may be said to be prepared as such, when all the elect of God are gathered in, the number of the saints is perfected; when the good work of grace is finished in them all, and they are all arrayed in the righteousness of Christ: and to be "adorned", when not only they are clothed with the robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation, and are beautified with the graces of the Spirit, but also with the bright robes of immortality and glory. The phrase is Jewish, and is to be read exactly as here in the book of Zohar (t).

(r) Zohar in Gen. fol. 126. 4. (s) Ib. fol. 103. 4. (t) Zohar in Gen. fol. 53. 2.

{2} And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

(2) The state of this glorious Church is first described generally to Re 21:3-8, and then specially and by parts, in the verses following. The general description consists in a vision shown afar off, Re 21:2 and in speech spoken from heaven. In the general these things are common, that the Church is holy, new, the workmanship of God, heavenly, most glorious, the spouse of Christ, and partaker of his glory in this verse.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
ἐκ=origin, ἀπὸ = originator. This conception of the new Jerusalem as messiah’s bride in the latter days is an original touch, added by the prophet to the traditional Jewish material (cf. Volz, 336 f.). In 4 Esd. 6:26 (Lat. Syr.) “the bride shall appear, even the city coming forth, and she shall be seen who is now hidden from the earth”; but this precedes the 400 years of bliss, at the close of which messiah dies. In En. xc. 28 f. a new and better house is substituted for the old, while in 4 Esd. 9–11. the mourning mother rather suddenly becomes “a city builded” with large foundations (i.e., Zion). These partial anticipations lend some colour to Dalman’s plea that the conception of a pre-existent heavenly Jerusalem was extremely limited in Judaism, and that John’s vision is to be isolated from the other N.T. hints (see reff.). For a fine application of the whole passage, see Ecce Homo, ch. 24. The vision conveys Christian hope and comfort in terms of a current and ancient religious tradition upon the new Jerusalem (cf. Charles on Apoc. Bar. iv. 3). The primitive form of this conception, which lasted in various phases down to the opening of the second century, was that the earthly Jerusalem simply needed to be purified in order to become the fit and final centre of the messianic realm with its perfect communion between God and man (cf. Isaiah 60; Isaiah 54:11= Tob 13:16-17, Ezekiel 40-48, En. x. 16–19, xxv. 1, Ps. Sol. 17:25, 33, Ap. Bar. xxix, xxxix.–xl, lxxii, lxxiv, 4 Esd. 7:27–30, 12:32–34, etc.). But alongside of this, especially after the religious revival under the Maccabees, ran the feeling that the earthly Jerusalem was too stained and secular to be a sacred city; its heavenly counterpart, pure and pre-existent, must descend (so here, after En. xc. 28, 29, Ap. Bar. xxxii. 3, 4, Test. Daniel 5, etc.). In rabbinic theology, the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem was taken from Adam after his lapse, but shown as a special favour to Abraham, Jacob and Moses (cf. Ap. Bar. iv). The Christian prophet John not only sees it but sees it realised among Christian people—a brave and significant word of prophecy, in view of his age and surroundings.The New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:22. And I John saw] Read simply, and I saw.

new Jerusalem] For the old Jerusalem, though we saw (Revelation 20:9, and note) that it is to be again “a holy city” in the last days as of old, will have passed away with “the first earth.”

coming down from God out of heaven] Transpose the two clauses, out of heaven from God. This is the New Jerusalem of which the earthly city is an imperfect copy; see on Revelation 4:6, Revelation 6:9 for the heavenly Temple. While this world lasts, this true Jerusalem is above (Galatians 4:26); and we only know its nature from the earthly copy of it, before Christ came, and the spiritual approach to it (Hebrews 12:22) since. But in the days here described, it will be realised on earth in all its perfection.

prepared] The building and arrangements of the city serve the same purpose as the dress and ornaments of a bride. Cf. Isaiah 61:10.

as a bride] See Revelation 19:7, and notes thereon.

adorned &c.] Isaiah 61:10.Revelation 21:2. Ἱερουσαλὴμ) It is not without reason that John always writes in his Gospel Ἱεροσόλυμα, of the old city; in the Apocalypse always Ἱερουσαλὴμ, of the heavenly city. Ἱερουσαλὴμ is a Hebrew name, the original and more holy one: Ἱεροσόλυμα, afterwards in ordinary use, is a Greek name, and rather used in a political sense. St Paul observes the same difference, when refuting Judaism, Galatians 4:26 (comp. the same Epistle, Revelation 1:17-18, Revelation 2:1); Hebrews 12:22, although at other times he uses them indiscriminately, and says to the Romans and Corinthians, for the sake of σεμνότητος [dignity] and to win their favour, Ἱερουσαλήμ.—εἶδον, I saw) The more recent Editions have incorrectly introduced the name of John in this verse.[224] It was the beginning of an ecclesiastical section [used in the services of the Church]; but the text itself most closely connects together the new heaven, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem. The new city has no connection with the millennium, as Lange and some others judge, Comm. Apoc. f. 241, etc.; but it belongs to the state of perfect renovation and eternity, as is shown by the series of visions, the magnificence of the description, and the opposition to the second death: ch. Revelation 20:11-12, Revelation 21:1-2; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 21:8-9, Revelation 22:5.—καταβαίνουσαν, coming down) This may be taken in vision, respecting the act of descending: in the reality signified, without reference to that act, it may be understood of the state of the Divine συγκατάβασις to men. For in Topographies, words which convey the idea of motion, often signify a condition, and among them this very verb of descending: Psalm 104:8; Joshua 15:3; Joshua 15:10, etc. The whole city is inclusive and included; in so far as it includes the inhabitants, it descends.

[224] ABh Iren. and best MSS. of Vulg. have not ἐγὼ Ἰωάννης, which Rec. Text has inserted without good authority.—E.Verse 2. - And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem. "John" must be omitted, according to all the best manuscripts. "The holy city" is the Church of God (see on Revelation 11:2), now glorified and prepared for perfect communion with her Redeemer (cf. the promise in Revelation 3:12, which is now fulfilled; cf. also Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 11:10, 16). Contrast this figure of the holy city with that of Babylon (see on Revelation 18.). Coming down from God out of heaven. Connect "out of heaven" with "coming down." The same words occur in Revelation 3:12 (which see). Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Here is the contrast to the "harlot" (see on Revelation 17:1). Though many of those forming the bride are rewarded according to their works (see Revelation 20:13), yet their own works are insufficient to fit them for their future life; they are prepared by God. This appearance is anticipated in Revelation 19:7 (which see). IJohn

Omit John.

New Jerusalem

Others join new with coming down, and render coming down new out of heaven.

A bride

Compare Isaiah 61:10; Isaiah 62:5.

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