|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:9-21 God has various employments for his holy angels. Sometimes they sound the trumpet of Divine Providence, and warn a careless world; sometimes they discover things of a heavenly nature of the heirs of salvation. Those who would have clear views of heaven, must get as near to heaven as they can, on the mount of meditation and faith. The subject of the vision is the church of God in a perfect, triumphant state, shining in its lustre; glorious in relation to Christ; which shows that the happiness of heaven consists in intercourse with God, and in conformity to him. The change of emblems from a bride to a city, shows that we are only to take general ideas from this description. The wall is for security. Heaven is a safe state; those who are there, are separated and secured from all evils and enemies. This city is vast; here is room for all the people of God. The foundation of the wall; the promise and power of God, and the purchase of Christ, are the strong foundations of the safety and happiness of the church. These foundations are set forth by twelve sorts of precious stones, denoting the variety and excellence of the doctrines of the gospel, or of the graces of the Holy Spirit, or the personal excellences of the Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven has gates; there is a free admission to all that are sanctified; they shall not find themselves shut out. These gates were all of pearls. Christ is the Pearl of great price, and he is our Way to God. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. The saints in heaven tread gold under foot. The saints are there at rest, yet it is not a state of sleep and idleness; they have communion, not only with God, but with one another. All these glories but faintly represent heaven.
Verse 13. - On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. The following are the dispositions of the tribes in the Old Testament: - Order in Numbers 2. East -
Zebulun. North -
Naphtali. South -
Gad. West -
Order in Ezekiel 49:30. East -
Dan. North -
Levi. South -
Zebulon. West -
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
On the east three gates,.... On which were written the names of Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan:
on the north three gates; on which were written the names of Reuben, Judah, and Levi:
on the south three gates; on which were written the names of Simeon, Issachar, and Zabulon:
and on the west three gates; on which were written the names of Gad, Asher, and Naphtali; see Ezekiel 48:31. This denotes the collection of the saints from all parts of the world, who shall come from east, west, north, and south, and sit down in the kingdom of God; and therefore here are gates at every point to enter in at; see Isaiah 43:5.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. On the north … on the south—A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, "And on the north and on the south." In Ezekiel, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan (for which Manasseh is substituted in Re 7:6), are on the east (Eze 48:32); Reuben, Judah, Levi, are on the north (Eze 48:31); Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, on the south (Eze 48:33); Gad, Asher, Naphtali, on the west (Eze 48:34). In Numbers, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun are on the east (Nu 2:3, 5, 7). Reuben, Simeon, Gad, on the south (Nu 2:10, 12, 14). Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, on the west (Nu 2:18, 20, 22). Dan, Asher, Naphtali, on the north (Nu 2:25, 27, 29).
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