Summary: Jesus, the king of all creation, is with his people for eternity.
Chapter 21 can actually be subdivided into two large sections. The first deals with the new heaven and new earth in verses 1-8, The second deals with the new Jerusalem in verses 9-26.
Vision three of Revelation contrasts the two rival cities, the prostitute Babylon and the bride New Jerusalem. In chapters 17–18 John foresaw the prostitute city’s doom. In chapters 19–20 the Lamb-Bridegroom’s wedding was announced. Now, at last, the third vision concludes with a brief scene of the holy bride city. At once John is ushered into his fourth and final vision (21:9–22:5). This time, he is shown the bride city in detail. The most wonderful part of the final vision, however, is his portrait of Jesus among his people throughout eternity. – Easley, K. H. (1998). Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 393). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
When God destroys the final product of civilization, a great wicked city, its commerce and culture will vanish forever because it enticed people away from true religion and holiness and into false religion and impurity.
Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 325.
- Chapters 17 and 18 go together as a unit. 17 focuses more on what was seen, 18 more on what was heard.
- The chapter can be understood from two different perspectives. A heavenly one in verses 1-8, and and earthly perspective in 9-ff.
John has a vision of human civilization, religious but independent of God, blossoming for one last time as a splendid city supported by Antichrist. The city is personified as a gorgeous prostitute drunk on the blood of God’s people yet doomed to be destroyed by Antichrist and his forces. – Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 302.
- Chapters 17-21 feature the personification of two systems, worldview, and allegiances. The first, here, described as a prostitute, the other, later, described as a virtuous bride.
In six scenes, bowls of divine wrath demolish the realm of nature and the realm of Antichrist. In the seventh scene the whole world is engulfed in one final catastrophic judgment. – Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 282.
1-9 – Wrath Upon Creation
10-16 – Wrath Upon The Beast
17-21 – Final Consummation Of Wrath (Armageddon)
One commentator noted that this chapter begins the “final exodus”. A parallel probably intended by John, where he makes obvious connections to God’s deliverance from his people from the hands of Egypt. There are multiple mentions of plagues and a song of Moses as well. Through Moses, God delivered his people from the Egyptians, through Christ he will deliver them from the domain of darkness and the consequences of sin.
“Revelation 15, the shortest chapter in the entire book, is remarkably parallel to Exodus 15. The victorious saints are gathered on “the other side” and stand beside the sea. They praise God for their great salvation. They have participated in the final exodus.” – Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 269.
9 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.
- Whereas the first four trumpets had a direct impact upon creation: land, water, and sky, the fifth trumpet (9.1-11) has a direct impact upon man.
5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
- “In the right hand” – a position of prestige, importance, or honor.
- “right hand of him” – God, for the first time in Revelation is described in human-like terms.
- Scholars have debated the nature of this unnamed scroll, but this most likely a scroll of judgment when you look at it’s placement within the context of Revelation. This scroll was probably originally mentioned in Ezekiel 2.9-10
And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.