Revelation 21:24
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) And the nations of them which are saved . . .—We must omit, with the best MSS., the words “of them which are saved,” and read, And the nations shall walk by means of its light, and the kings of the earth carry their glory into her. The outlook of the prophet is from the loneliness and depression of the then persecuted and despised churches; but in the vision he sees her beautiful and enlarged and honoured. All nations and peoples flock within the walls: it is the echo of the ancient prophecies. “All kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him.” The Church and kingdom of Christ increase without end; and all will cast their glory at His feet, and call Him blessed in whom all have been blessed (Psalm 72:11; Psalm 72:17).

21:22-27 Perfect and direct communion with God, will more than supply the place of gospel institutions. And what words can more full express the union and co-equality of the Son with the Father, in the Godhead? What a dismal world would this be, if it were not for the light of the sun! What is there in heaven that supplies its place? The glory of God lightens that city, and the Lamb is the Light thereof. God in Christ will be an everlasting Fountain of knowledge and joy to the saints in heaven. There is no night, therefore no need of shutting the gates; all is at peace and secure. The whole shows us that we should be more and more led to think of heaven as filled with the glory of God, and enlightened by the presence of the Lord Jesus. Nothing sinful or unclean, idolatrous, or false and deceitful, can enter. All the inhabitants are made perfect in holiness. Now the saints feel a sad mixture of corruption, which hinders them in the service of God, and interrupts their communion with him; but, at their entrance into the holy of holies, they are washed in the laver of Christ's blood, and presented to the Father without spot. None are admitted into heaven who work abominations. It is free from hypocrites, such as make lies. As nothing unclean can enter heaven, let us be stirred up by these glimpses of heavenly things, to use all diligence, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God.And the nations of them which are saved - All the nations that are saved; or all the saved considered as nations. This imagery is doubtless derived from that in Isaiah, particularly Isaiah 60:3-9. See the notes on that passage.

Shall walk in the light of it - Shall enjoy its splendor, and be continually in its light.

And the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it - All that they consider as constituting their glory, treasures, crowns, scepters, robes. The idea is, that all these will be devoted to God in the future days of the church in its glory, and will be, as it were, brought and laid down at the feet of the Saviour in heaven. The language is derived, doubtless, from the description in Isaiah 60:3-14. Compare Isaiah 49:23.

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.

And the nations of them, which are saved shall walk in the light of it; all that go to heaven shall be thus happy.

And the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it; and such kings of the earth as shall come into heaven, shall see all their honour and glory swallowed up in the glory and honour of that place and state; and confess that all their crowns are infinitely short of this blessed and glorious crown, all their thrones nothing to these thrones. And the nations of them which are saved,.... In distinction from them that will be deceived by Satan, Revelation 20:8. These are not all the nations of the world, which will be gathered before Christ, the Judge, for all will not be saved, there is a world that will be condemned; nor the Gentiles only, which shall come into the church state of the Jews when called, for that state is not here designed; and besides, all Israel shall be saved then; nor the living saints at Christ's coming, who shall have escaped, and are saved from the general conflagration; for these, with the raised ones, will be caught up together to Christ, and descend and dwell together on earth, and make one church state; but all the elect of God, both Jews and Gentiles, whom God has chosen, Christ has redeemed, and the Spirit has called out of all the nations of the earth: these are only saved ones; such are already saved, not only are determined to be saved, and for whom salvation is wrought out by Christ, and to whom it is applied at conversion, and who are representatively set down in heavenly places in Christ, and are already saved by hope and faith, and with respect to the certainty of salvation; all which may be said of saints in the present state; but these will be such, who will be actually and personally saved, will be in the full possession of salvation, enjoying all the blessings of it: they will be partakers of the first resurrection, and the glories of it: the tabernacle of God will be with them, they will be free from all sorrows and death, and will inherit all things: the Syriac version reads, "the nations that are saved"; who are redeemed and saved by Christ: this may teach us how to understand those phrases, which seem to favour general redemption, as all men, the world, the whole world; see Isaiah 45:20. These words, "of them which are saved", are left out in the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, but are in all the copies. These nations are the inhabitants of this city, and they

shall walk in the light of it, which is Christ; they shall enjoy it; they shall have the light of life, and be partakers of the inheritance with the saints in light, and that continually: they shall not only come to it, but continue in it, and walk at it, and by the light of it: the walk of these will be different from the walk of saints now, who walk by faith, and not by sight; but these shall walk by sight, enjoying the beatific vision of God, and the Lamb. The Jews say (b), that Jerusalem, in time to come, will be made a lamp to the nations of the world, , "and they shall walk in its light", or by the light of it, which is the sense of Isaiah 60:3 "the Gentiles shall come to thy light"; see Isaiah 9:1

and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it; by whom may be meant either mystically all the saints, who will be kings as well as priests unto God, and will reign as such with Christ in this state, will cast their crowns at his feet, and give him all the honour and glory; or literally, the kings of the earth, who shall have relinquished antichrist, hated the whore, and burnt her with fire, and who will have been nursing fathers in the spiritual reign; or rather all good kings that ever have been in the earth: not that they will be kings of the earth at this time, for now all rule, authority, and power, will be put down; nor will any worldly riches, honour, and glory, be brought by them into this state, nor will they be needed in it; but it is to be understood of who have been kings on earth, though not of their having brought earthly riches and grandeur into the interest and churches of Christ; as David gave much towards the building of the temple, which was begun and finished by King Solomon his son, and as Constantine greatly enriched and aggrandized the church when he became emperor; but the sense seems to be this, that such who have been Christian kings on earth will prefer the happiness of this state to all their riches and greatness here; and that could all the glory of the kings of the earth be put together, it would not equal, but be greatly inferior to the glory of the new Jerusalem; Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of the inhabitants of this place; see Revelation 20:6 besides, these shall do all homage, and submit to Christ the King of kings in the midst of the church, which may be meant by "glory" and "honour".

(b) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 56. 3.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 21:24-27. The men who enter into the city.

The description is based throughout upon O. T. prophecies,[4359] so that it definitely marks how the mystery of God, which He had long since promised through the prophets, finds then its fulfilment.[4360] Hereby the future expression, now employed by John, is explained, while the aor., written besides in Revelation 21:23 b, reports what has been beheld.[4361] In the tone and language of the ancient prophets, John describes the people who are to find entrance into the future city. In general, as has been said, Revelation 21:27, in a decisive way, they are only such as are written in the book of life;[4362] but in Revelation 21:24-26, the Gentiles are expressly designated as those who, according to the ancient prophecies, are to find admission into the city. Thus by this statement, derived from the ancient prophetical declarations, the ideas of those expositors are not justified who conceive of the “heathen” and “kings,” as dwelling outside of the city,[4363] or who even attempt to determine what had been the moral condition, during their earthly life, of the heathen admitted now into the new Jerusalem.[4364] The essentially parallel description, Revelation 7:9 sqq., leads to the fact that believers from the heathen are to be regarded as entitled to an abode in the new Jerusalem; but the peculiar character of the description is conditioned by the O. T. prototypes, upon which John depends, although in its perspective, that which occurs in the earthly period of the Messianic time—as the conversion of the heathen, which is represented by the heathen coming to the earthly Jerusalem, and bringing presents—does not appear definitely separated from that which, to N. T. prophecy, having the first appearance of the Lord back of it, lies only on the other side of the second coming of the Lord. Altogether inapplicable is the remark made in critical interests,[4365] that the writer of the Apocalypse announces his anti-Pauline-Judaizing view, by making the distinction between heathen and Jews continue, even at the completion of the kingdom of God, in opposition to Galatians 3:28, 1 Corinthians 15:28. It is, indeed, directly stated how the natural distinction is no longer applicable, since the heathen, just as the Jews, receive full citizenship in the new Jerusalem, and, in like manner, participate in the blessed glory of the holy city. Cf. Revelation 22:2. Emphasis on works also in the Apoc.[4366] is not intensified to a bold opposition to Paul.[4367] Cf. Romans 2:9 sqq.; 2 Corinthians 5:10διὰ τοῦ φωτὸς αὐτῆς. With correct meaning, Andr. explains ἐν τῷ φωτί; but the expression gives rather the pictorial view as to how the heathen pursue their way through the light that radiates from the city shining in the δόξα of God (cf. Revelation 21:23).[4368]

τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν, viz., τῶν βασιλεών.[4369] Not until Revelation 21:26 is any thing said of the δόξα κ. τιμ. τῶν ἐθνων.[4370]

καὶ οί πυλῶνες, κ.τ.λ. The constant standing-open of the gates is admissible, for the reason that there is no night, and therefore the bringing-in of glorious gifts (Revelation 21:26) need not be interrupted.[4371] To οἴσουσι,[4372] an impersonal subject is to be supplied,[4373] and not οί βασιλεῖς.[4374]

πᾶν κοινὸν. Cf. Acts 10:14ποιοῦν βδέλυγμα καὶ ψεῦδος. Cf. Revelation 17:4 sq., Revelation 21:8, Revelation 22:15. The more definitely the sins of the heathen are mentioned as the reason for their exclusion from the holy city, the more significant it is to reckon the heathen nations and kings of the earth designated, Revelation 21:24 sqq., among those who are written in the book of life. For they also enter into the city, bringing gifts, and that, too, as citizens who are to remain therein. Thus the innate universalism of the genuine ancient-prophetic Apocalyptics which lies at the foundation also of passages like Revelation 5:9, Revelation 7:9, is expressed the more pregnantly, because the heathen, received into the new Jerusalem, are designated in the same words (τὰ ἔθνη, οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς) as were employed by ch. 13 in the expression standing for the heathen world worshipping the beast.

[4359] Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 60:11; Psalm 72:10.

[4360] Cf. Revelation 10:7.

[4361] Cf. Revelation 22:3 sqq. with Revelation 21:1 sq.; also Revelation 18:9; Revelation 18:15, with Revelation 18:17.

[4362] Cf. Revelation 20:15.

[4363] Ewald, De Wette, Bleek, etc.

[4364] Storr., Diss. II. in Apoc. quaedam loca, p. 355: “Provided, according to the measure of their ability and knowledge, they were devoted to godliness, truth, and right.” See Comment. theolog. edit. a Velthus., Kuin. et Rup., vol. v. Likewise Ebrard.

[4365] Hilgenfeld, Introduction, p. 449.

[4366] Revelation 20:12, etc.

[4367] Hilgenfeld ut supra.

[4368] Hengstenb. Cf., on the other hand, De Wette: “By means of its light.”

[4369] De Wette, Bleek.

[4370] Cf. Isaiah 46:12.

[4371] Cf. Isaiah 40:11.

[4372] Cf. Revelation 12:6, Revelation 10:11.

[4373] Luther, Bengel, De Wette, Hengstenb., Ew. ii., etc.

[4374] Ew. i., Züll.Further traits borrowed from Isaiah 60. (see reff.).24. of them which are saved] Should be omitted. Notice that the new Jerusalem is not the only inhabited part of the new earth, but only its centre and capital, as the earthly Jerusalem was in chap. 20. It follows from Revelation 20:15, that all the dwellers in the new earth are those who were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; but it does not appear who among them have the further privilege of citizenship in the Holy City. That there is such a further privilege, above the lot of all the Elect, has been already suggested by Revelation 7:4; Revelation 7:9, Revelation 14:1-5.

in the light] Read, by or through the light.

and the kings of the earth &c.] Apparently, civic government is still needed, or at any rate still exists, among “the nations” of the regenerate earth. But probably this is only a part of the imagery: Jerusalem is conceived (as in Isaiah 45:14; Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 60:10-11) as an imperial city receiving the tribute of the world, simply because that was the form of world-wide sovereignty recognised and understood in the prophets’ times.

and honour] Should be omitted: the words come in from Revelation 21:26.Revelation 21:24. Τὰ ἔθνη) Erasmus added τῶν σωζομένων,[235] and so did innumerable editors, evidently following his authority without any further examination. If Erasmus were alive at the present day, he would immediately, in my opinion, expunge the commentary of Andreas, which he eagerly caught at as the text. He also and others, who first revised the New Testament in Greek, if they should compare the copious materials collected in these two centuries, with that scantiness with which they themselves formerly had to contend, would willingly yield to the truth, and would exhort the most eager defenders of the reading established by them, in some instances with such difficulty, either to follow or lead them to better things.—ΔΙᾺ) answers to the prefix ל, Isaiah 60:3. In the LXX. it is Τῷ ΦΩΤῚ, without a preposition.—ΦΈΡΟΥΣΙ) The present, after the future ΠΕΡΙΠΑΤΉΣΟΥΣΙ, has the force of a future: comp. Revelation 21:26.

[235] ABh Vulg. reject τῶν σωζομένων, which the Rec. Text has without authority.—E.Verse 24. - And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it; and the nations shall walk by means of her light. Omit "of them which are saved." The description, following that of Isaiah, makes use of earthly symbolism; but it is not, therefore, to be supposed (as Afford) that there will be hereafter a real earth with inhabitants. "The nations" are the redeemed, described in this way on account of their selection from every "kindred, and nation, and tribe, and tongue" (Revelation 7:9): not the wicked nations of Revelation 16:19. Though the Authorized Version is probably incorrect in inserting "of them which are saved," yet these words appear to give the correct sense of the passage. The description is evidently still founded on the prophetical writings, "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising" (Isaiah 60:3). And the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. Omit "and honour," according to א, A, P, and others. Not that there are literal kings and earth. The language is intended to convey an idea of God's supreme glory and unquestioned authority. There are now no kings to dispute his sway. Instead, all join in promoting his glory. Of them which are saved

Omit.

In the light (ἐν τῷ φωτὶ)

Read διὰ τοῦ φωτὸς "amidst the light" or "by the light."

Do bring (φέρουσιν)

The present tense, denoting habit.

Glory and honor

Omit and honor. Compare Isaiah 60:3.

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