Apocalypse Revealed # 876

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876. REVELATION: CHAPTER 21

1. Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And there was no more sea.

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

3. And I heard a great voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. And He Himself will be with them their God.

4. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more toil (suffering), for the former things have passed away."

5. Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."

6. And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who thirsts I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely.

7. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

8. But the fearful, faithless, and abominable, and murderers, the sexually licentious, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

9. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."

10. And he carried me away in the spirit onto a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

11. having the glory of God; and its light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.

12. It had a great and high wall, and twelve gates, and over the gates twelve angels, with names written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

13. three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.

14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.

16. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed at twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height were equal.

17. Then he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.

18. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

19. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20. the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.

21. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22. But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

23. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its lamp.

24. And the nations that are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it.

25. Its gates shall not be shut by day, for there shall be no night there.

26. And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.

27. But there shall not enter it anything unclean, or that creates an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING

The Contents of the Whole Chapter

This chapter has as its subject the state of heaven and the church following the Last Judgment, that through the New Heaven, a New Church will afterward emerge on earth which will worship the Lord alone (verses 1-8). Its conjunction with the Lord (verses 9, 10). A description of it as regards its intelligence gained from the Word (verse 11); as regards its consequent doctrine (verses 12-21); and as regards its whole character (verses 22-26).

The Contents of the Individual Verses:

Verse ContentsSpiritual Meaning
1. Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth,The Lord formed a new heaven out of Christians, which today is called the Christian heaven and is inhabited by people who worshiped the Lord and lived in accordance with His commandments in the Word, who consequently possess charity and faith. Found there also are all the little children of Christians.
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.The heavens formed, not by the Lord, but by the people themselves who came into the spiritual world from the Christian world, all of which were dispersed at the time of the Last Judgment.
And there was no more sea.The outer part of the heaven composed of Christians since the church was first established was likewise dispersed, after those who were written in the Lord's Book of Life were liberated from there and saved.
2. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,The New Church to be established by the Lord at the end of the previous one, which will be affiliated with the New Heaven and possess Divine truths in its doctrine and in its life.
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.This church conjoined with the Lord through the Word.
3. And I heard a great voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,The Lord speaking out of love and proclaiming that He will now be present with people in His Divine humanity.
and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. And He Himself will be with them their God.Their conjunction with the Lord, which is of such a nature that the people are in Him and He in them.
4. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more toil, for the former things have passed away."The Lord will take away from them all grief of mind, all fear of damnation, all fear of evils and falsities from hell, and of temptations or trials on account of them, and they will remember them no more, because the dragon that inflicted them has been cast out.
5. Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."The Lord assuring them all as regards the New Heaven and the New Church after the Last Judgment was completed,
6. And He said to me, "It is done!that it is the Divine truth;
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.that the Lord is God of heaven and earth, and that He formed everything in the heavens and on earth, and governs all things by His Divine providence and directs them in accordance with it.
To him who thirsts I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely.To those who desire truths for some useful spiritual purpose, the Lord will give of Himself through the Word everything conducive to that useful purpose.
7. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.People who overcome the evils, that is, the Devil, in themselves, and do not succumb when tempted by adherents of Babylon or followers of the dragon, shall enter into heaven and dwell there in the Lord and have the Lord in them.
8. But the fearful, faithless, and abominable,People who have no faith and no charity, and are consequently caught up in evils of every kind, and murderers, the sexually licentious, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars and all those who have no regard for the Ten Commandments, and do not refrain from any of the evils named there as sins, and therefore live caught up in them shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, for them hell awaits where their loves of falsities and lusts for evil reside.
which is the second death."Damnation.
9. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."An influx and revelation from the Lord from the inmost of heaven regarding the New Church, which will be conjoined with the Lord through the Word.
10. And he carried me away in the spirit onto a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,John transported into the third heaven and his sight opened there, and the Lord's New Church in respect to its doctrine presented to him in the form of a city.
11. having the glory of God; and its light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.In that church the Word will be understood, because its spiritual sense will come shining through.
12. It had a great and high wall,The Word in its literal sense from which the doctrine of the New Church comes.
and twelve gates,All the concepts of truth and goodness by which a person is introduced into the church.
and over the gates twelve angels, with names written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:The Divine truths and goods of heaven in those concepts, which are also the Divine truths and goods of the church, and safeguards to keep someone from entering into them unless he does so from the Lord.
13. three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.Concepts of truth and goodness which have in them spiritual life from the Lord out of heaven and introduce into the New Church are provided for people who possess more or less love or affection for goodness, and for people who possess more or less wisdom or affection for truth.
14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations,The Word in its literal sense contains all of the doctrines of the New Church.
and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.All of the doctrines from the Word regarding the Lord and living in accordance with His commandments.
15. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.To people who possess the goodness of love, the Lord grants a faculty for understanding and knowing the nature of the Lord's New Church as regards its doctrine and its introductory truths, and as regards the Word from which they are drawn.
16. The city is laid out as a square;Justice in that church.
its length is as great as its breadth.Goodness and truth in that church are united, like essence and form.
And he measured the city with the reed at twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height were equal.John shown the character of that church arising from its doctrine, that every part of it arose from the goodness of love.
17. Then he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits,John shown the nature of the Word in that church, that from it come all of its truths and goods.
the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.The character of that church, as being united with heaven.
18. The construction of its wall was of jasper;With people of that church the Divine truth in the spiritual sense shines through every Divine truth in the literal sense.
and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.Therefore everything connected with that church embodies the goodness of love flowing in together with light out of heaven from the Lord.
19. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones:All of the doctrines of the New Jerusalem taken from the Word's literal sense will, among the people in that church, be seen in a state of light, in accordance with their reception of it.
the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
20. the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.All of the doctrines of that church from the Word's literal sense in their order, with those who turn directly to the Lord and live in accordance with the Ten Commandments by refraining from evils as being sins; for they and no others possess a doctrine of love toward God and love for the neighbor, which are the two foundations of religion.
21. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each gate was of one pearl.An acknowledgment and concept of the Lord join all the concepts of truth and goodness in the Word into one and introduce into the church.
And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.Every truth of that church and its doctrine embodies the goodness of love flowing in together with light from the Lord out of heaven.
22. But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.That church will have no external element divorced from an internal one, because it turns to the Lord Himself in His Divine humanity, from whom comes everything connected with the church, and worships and adores Him alone.
23. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its lamp.People of that church will not be caught up in self-love and their own intelligence and so possess a natural sight only, but from the Word's Divine truth will possess a spiritual light from the Lord alone.
24. And the nations that are saved shall walk in its light, All those people who live a good life and believe in the Lord will live in that church in accordance with Divine truths and will see those truths inwardly in themselves as the eye sees its objects.
and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it.All those people who possess truths of wisdom springing from spiritual goodness will in that church confess the Lord and attribute to Him all the truth and all the goodness that they possess.
25. Its gates shall not be shut by day, for there shall be no night there.

The New Jerusalem continually receives into it people who possess truths that spring from the goodness of love from the Lord, because it has no falsity in its faith.
26. And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.Those who enter the New Jerusalem will bring with them a confession, acknowledgment and faith that the Lord is God of heaven and earth, and that every truth of the church and every good of religion comes from Him.
27. But there shall not enter it anything unclean, or that creates an abomination or a lie,No one is received into the Lord's New Church who adulterates the goods in the Word and falsifies its truths, and who does evils deliberately and so also devises falsities.
but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.The only people received into the New Church, or New Jerusalem, are those who believe in the Lord and live in accordance with His commandments in the Word.

THE EXPOSITION

21:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth. This symbolically means that the Lord formed a new heaven out of Christians, which today is called the Christian heaven and is inhabited by people who worshiped the Lord and lived in accordance with His commandments in the Word, who consequently possess charity and faith. Found in that heaven also are all the little children of Christians.

The new heaven and new earth do not mean the natural heavens that are visible to our eyes or the natural earth inhabited by the human race. Rather they mean a spiritual heaven and the land of that heaven where angels dwell. That that heaven and the land of that heaven are meant is something everyone sees and acknowledges if only he can be drawn away from a purely natural and material idea when he reads the Word.

It is apparent that an angelic heaven is meant because we are told in the very next verse that John saw the holy city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. This does not mean some Jerusalem coming down, but the church, and the church on earth descends from the Lord out of the angelic heaven, since angels in heaven and people on earth are united in everything having to do with the church (no. 626).

It can be seen from this how naturally and materially some people have thought and continue to think who, from these words and those that follow in this verse, have fabricated for themselves the dogma regarding the destruction of the world and everything's being created anew.

[2] This new heaven was the subject several times before in the book of Revelation, especially in chapters 14, 15. It is called the Christian heaven, because it is apart from the ancient heavens which were constituted of people of the church before the Lord's advent. These ancient heavens are above the Christian heaven, for the heavens are like expanses, one above another. The same is the case with each of the heavens, for every heaven is in itself distinguished into three heavens - an inmost or third heaven, an intermediate or second heaven, and a lowest or first heaven. So with this new heaven. I have seen its inhabitants and spoken with them.

This new Christian heaven is inhabited by all those people who from the first establishment of the Christian Church have worshiped the Lord and lived in accordance with His commandments in the Word, and who consequently possess both charity and faith from the Lord through the Word, thus whose faith is not a lifeless one but a living one.

Regarding this heaven, see various mentions above, in nos. 612, 613, 626, 631, 659, 661, 845, 846, 856.

Found in that heaven likewise are all the little children of Christians, because they are brought up by angels in the two essential elements of the church, namely an acknowledgment of the Lord as God of heaven and earth, and living in accordance with the Ten Commandments.

  
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Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.