Revelation 21:9
And there came to me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM DESCRIBED (Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5).—Before entering upon this section it is wise to recall once more that the descriptions here given are figurative, and are not to be understood literally. “There is nothing in it as it seems saving the King.” This remark may well be thought needless; but the misconceptions and misrepresentations of the Christian’s hope have been many and reckless; and, even were this not the case, there is always a certain proportion of people who seem incapable of understanding figurative language. Half the errors of the Church have been due to prosaic-minded men who could not discern the difference between figure and fact; and men of unpoetical and vehement temperament have blundered over these descriptions, and their blunders have discredited the whole Apocalypse in the eyes of some. The following are the features of the heavenly city, which the description seems designed to enforce upon our thoughts. The great and holy community will be one which draws its glory from God (Revelation 21:11; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5). Its blessings are not for a few, but open to all, for its gates lie open to all quarters (Revelation 21:12-13). The heavenly and the earthly will be at one; angels, apostles, and patriarchs are there (Revelation 21:12; Revelation 21:14). Diverse characters will find entrance there; the gates bear the names of the twelve tribes. The door of admission is alike for all, though diverse characters from diverse quarters will enter in (Revelation 21:21). It will be the abode of all that is fair and good, and no disproportions will mar its loveliness (Revelation 21:17-18). The ancient truths, spoken by various lips, will be found to be eternal truths, full of varied but consistent beauty (Revelation 21:14; Revelation 21:19-20). The forms and helps which were needful here will not be needful there (Revelation 21:22-23); all that the servants of God have righteously hungered and thirsted for here will be supplied there (Revelation 22:1-2). There will be blessings, various, continuous, eternal; new fields of labour and new possibilities of service will be opened there (Revelation 22:3-4).

(9) And there came unto me one of the seven angels . . .—The words “unto me” should be omitted. One of the seven angels which had the seven vials of wrath had shown to the seer the scarlet-clad harlot, the great and guilty Babylon: so here does one of the same company of angels show him the pure Bride of the Lamb, the new and holy Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:9-14. And there came unto me one of the seven angels — Most probably the same who had (Revelation 17:1, &c.) showed John the mystic Babylon and her destruction, and now shows him, by way of contrast, the new Jerusalem and her glory. And he carried me away in the Spirit — The same expression as is used before, Revelation 17:3; to a great and high mountain — Thus Ezekiel 40:2, was brought in the visions of God, and set on a very high mountain: and showed me the holy city Jerusalem — The old city is now forgotten, so that this is no longer termed the new, but absolutely, Jerusalem. O how did St. John long to enter in! But the time was not yet come. Ezekiel also describes the holy city, and what belongs to it, (chap. 40.-xlviii.,) but a city quite different from the old Jerusalem, as it was either before or after the Babylonish captivity. The descriptions of the prophet and of the apostle agree in many particulars; but in many more they differ. Ezekiel expressly describes the temple and the worship of God therein, closely alluding to the Levitical service. But St. John saw no temple, and describes the city far more large, and glorious, and heavenly, than the prophet. His description, indeed, is an assemblage of the sublimest, richest imagery, not only of Ezekiel, but of other ancient prophets. Having the glory of God — For her light, Revelation 21:23; Isaiah 60:1-2; Zechariah 2:5; and her light — Or the lustre thereof, as ο φωστηρ αυτης may be rendered; was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper — For brightness; clear as crystal — The divine shechinah illuminating the whole city, which, as it was represented to St. John pendant in the air, shone with an elegant and amazing lustre, expressive of the perfect illumination, purity, and holiness of its happy inhabitants. And had a wall great and high — To show its strength and security under the almighty protection of its founder and preserver; and had twelve gates — With angels for guards, still waiting upon the heirs of salvation; and names written thereon — On the gates; of the twelve tribes of Israel — To signify that it was the dwelling of the Israel of God, and that such as had been faithful members of the true church had a right to be admitted, and to show also the great glory of that city, where angels were appointed to keep guard; an honour properly due only to the majesty of God’s presence, and to the seat of it. On the east, north, south, and west, three gates — To show that people of all climates and nations may have access to it. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles — Figuratively showing how great dependance the church had on their testimony, what an influence the gospel which they preached had had on raising this divine structure, and that the inhabitants of it had built only on that faith which the apostles once delivered to the saints.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.And there came unto me one of the seven angels ... - See the notes on Revelation 16:6-7. Why one of these angels was employed to make this communication is not stated. It may be that as they had been engaged in bringing destruction on the enemies of the church, and securing its final triumph, there was a propriety that that triumph should be announced by one of their number.

And talked with me - That is, in regard to what he was about to show me.

I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife - I will show you what represents the redeemed church now to be received into permanent union with its Lord - as a bride about to be united to her husband. See the notes on ver. 2. Compare Revelation 19:7-8.

9. The same angel who had shown John Babylon the harlot, is appropriately employed to show him in contrast new Jerusalem, the Bride (Re 17:1-5). The angel so employed is the one that had the last seven plagues, to show that the ultimate blessedness of the Church is one end of the divine judgments on her foes.

unto me—A, B, and Vulgate omit.

the Lamb's wife—in contrast to her who sat on many waters (Re 17:1), (that is, intrigued with many peoples and nations of the world, instead of giving her undivided affections, as the Bride does, to the Lamb.

One of the seven angels; one of those mentioned Revelation 15:6.

I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife; I will show thee the whole church, (invisible heretofore), the glorious state of the church triumphant, under the representation of a great city. And there came unto me one of the seven angels,.... Either the first of them, as one of the four beasts is the first of them, Revelation 6:1 or it may be the last, and very likely the same as in Revelation 17:1

which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues; that is, the wrath of God poured out by them on the antichristian party; see Revelation 15:1.

And talked with me, saying, come hither; see Revelation 17:1.

I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. The "Lamb" is Christ, who is often so called in this book; see Revelation 5:6 Revelation 19:7 and is the Son of God, the heir of all things, the Maker and Governor of the universe, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; and who, as Mediator, has all accomplishments and qualifications to recommend him as a bridegroom, such as beauty, riches, and wisdom: the bride, his wife, is not any particular believer, nor any particular church; not the Gentile church, nor the Jewish church only, but all the elect of God, consisting of the raised and living saints at the coming of Christ; who will make up one body, one general assembly, and be as a bride, prepared and adorned for her husband: these were first betrothed to Christ in eternity, and were openly espoused by him, one by one, at conversion; and now being all gathered in by the effectual calling, the dead being raised, and the living changed, and all glorified, the marriage is consummated, and they are declared publicly to be the bride, the Lamb's wife; See Gill on Matthew 22:2. And now, though John had had a sight of her before, Revelation 21:2 yet that was but a glimmering one, at a distance, he being in the wilderness, Revelation 17:3 wherefore the angel calls him to him, and proposes to give him a clear, distinct, and particular view of her, in all her glory; and a glorious sight this indeed! to see the bride brought to the King in raiment of needlework, and the queen stand at his right hand in gold of Ophir. This is a sight of a quite different nature from that of the filthy strumpet, which the same angel proposed to give to John in Revelation 17:1.

{6} 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, the Lamb's wife.

(6) A transition to the describing of the heavenly Church, by the express calling of John in this verse, and his enrapturing by the Spirit, in confirmation of the truth of God in the verse following.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
to Revelation 22:5Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5. One of the seven vial-angels, another of whom had shown John the judgment of the great harlot,[4281] now carries the seer to a high mountain, in order to afford him a close view of the new Jerusalem. Then there follows the special description which portrays in brightest colors the final goal of Christian hope, and thus puts the glorious end of what is to happen[4282] at the close of the peculiarly revealed visions.

[4281] Revelation 17:1.

[4282] Cf. Revelation 4:1.

Revelation 21:9-10. Δεῦρο, κ.τ.λ. The uniformity of the description makes prominent the contrast with the judgment presented to view (Revelation 17:1).[4283]

τὴν νύμφην, τὴν γυναῖκα τοῦ ἀρνίου. It belongs to the contrast with the woman representing the worldly city, that here the holy city, wherein the holy Church of God dwells, appears as the bride, the wife belonging to the Lamb.[4284]

ἀπήνεγκέν-g0- με-g0-. Cf. Revelation 17:3; Ezekiel 40:2.

μέγα-g0- καὶ-g0- ὑψηλὸν-g0-. “Great” in circumference must the mountain be in proportion to its height; but the height assures the seer of the complete view of the city spread out before him, which at all events does not lie upon the mountain.[4285]

καταβαίνουσαν, κ.τ.λ. Hengstenb.[4286] finds that described here for the first time in proper terms which previously designated, by way of introduction, Revelation 21:2; but Revelation 21:10 cannot have the same relation to Revelation 21:2 as, e.g., ch. 15 Revelation 21:5 has to Revelation 21:1, for, in this connection, already at Revelation 21:2 reference was made to the descending Jerusalem. The scene is thus to be regarded in the way that the descending of the city (Revelation 21:2), which gives occasion for the speeches of Revelation 21:3-8, has already begun, but Revelation 21:10 proceeds further, so that, while the city is sinking down from heaven to earth, and here finds its place, John is carried by the angel to the mountain, and thence gazes upon the city now found upon earth.

[4283] Cf. Ewald.

[4284] Cf. Revelation 21:2; Revelation 19:7.

[4285] Against Hengstenb. and Luthardt.

[4286] On Revelation 21:1.The Vision of the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5The Measure of the City, Revelation 21:9-179. And there came unto me &c.] As in Revelation 17:1. “unto me” should be omitted, so that the sentence as far as “vials” is verbatim the same as there. The identical form of introduction emphasizes the contrast between Babylon and Jerusalem, the harlot and the bride.

full] According to the correct text, this word is made to agree not with “the seven bowls” but with “the seven angels.” But probably it is a merely accidental grammatical inaccuracy of St John’s. There is a much worse “false concord” in Revelation 14:19.

in the Spirit] Revelation 17:3, Revelation 1:10. Cf. Ezekiel 3:14.

to a great and high mountain] Ezekiel 40:2. The preposition rendered “to” plainly implies that St John was set on the mountain; whether the city occupied the mountain itself, or another site within view. In Ezek. l.c. the city apparently occupies the southern slope of the mountain, whence the seer views it.

that great city, the holy Jerusalem] Read, the holy city Jerusalem.

descending … from God] Verbatim the same as in Revelation 21:2, according to the true text. The descent described here is no doubt the same as there, but St John’s vision of the descent is not exactly the same. He has seen, as it were in the distance, the appearance of the city: but his attention was absorbed in listening to the sayings of Revelation 21:3-8. Now, he is summoned to attend to the other, and finds it at the same stage where he noticed it in passing before.Verse 9. - And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues. Omit "unto me." "Full of" must be connected with "angels." Just as these angels had carried out God's judgments upon the ungodly, and one of them had exhibited the judgment of the harlot (Revelation 17:1), so now one of them shows the picture of the bliss of the faithful - the bride of the Lamb. And talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife; hither (omitting "come"). The wording of this verse (except the last phrase) is almost identical with Revelation 17:1. The last phrase is the great contrast to the former chapter. In Revelation 17. I was seen a picture of a harlot, the unfaithful part of Christ's Church; here we have a description of those who have been "faithful unto death" (Revelation 2:10), and whose purity and faithfulness are symbolized under the figure of the "wife of the Lamb" (see on Revelation 17:1). Unto me

Omit.

Vials

Properly bowls. See on Revelation 5:8.

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