Revelation 21


Revelation 21
Papyrus 47 Rev 13,16-14.4.jpg
Revelation 13:16-14:4 on Papyrus 47 from the third century.
BookBook of Revelation
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part27

Revelation 21 is the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. This chapter contains the accounts of "the new heaven and the new earth", followed by the appearance of the New Jerusalem the Bride.[1]


Revelation 21:3 on the exterior cornerstone of Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Columbia, Missouri).

The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 27 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are among others:[2][a]

A new heaven and a new earth (21:1–8)

A new heaven and new earth. Revelation 21. Apocalypse 37. Scheits. Phillip Medhurst Collection.

Verse 1

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

— Revelation 21:1

Non-conformist minister Alexander Maclaren interprets "a new heaven and a new earth" as meaning "a renovated condition of humanity" and suggests that "and the sea is no more" is "probably ... to be taken in a symbolic sense, as shadowing forth the absence of unruly power, of mysterious and hostile forces, of estranging gulfs of separation". Referring to the island of Patmos where the writer experienced his vision, Maclaren continues, "The sad and solitary and estranging ocean that raged around his little rock sanctuary has passed away for ever".[4]

Verse 2

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

— Revelation 21:2

The name John appears in the King James Version and New King James Version but is generally omitted in other English translations.[5]

Verse 6

And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment."[6]
  • "It is done": from Greek Γέγοναν, Gegonan,[7] alluding that "the things promised (plural) have come to pass".[8] Whereas in Revelation 16:17 the statement "it is done" (Greek: Γέγονεν, Gegonen) signifies 'the completion of the wrath of God', here it is 'at the making of all things new'.[8]
  • "Without payment" (KJV: "freely"): from Greek δωρεάν, dōrean,[7] "a free, unmerited gift".[9]

The new Jerusalem {21:9–27)

Verses 9–11

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." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God

— Revelation 21:9-11

The beginning part of this section (verses 9–10) forms a parallel with Revelation 17:1–3, which is similar to the parallel between Revelation 19:9–10 and Revelation 22:6–9, indicating a distinct marking of a pair of passages about Babylon and the New Jerusalem with Revelation 19:11–21:8 as a transition from the destruction of Babylon to the arrival of the New Jerusalem.[10]

Verse 14

Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

— Revelation 21:14

W H Simcox, in the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, observes that St John the Apostle (if he was the author) "does not notice his own name being written there".[11]

Verses 15–21

The ground plan of the New Jerusalem is shown to be a square (cf. Ezekiel 40:3), '12000 stadia in each direction' (verse 16), but the general form is actually a 'perfect cube', unlike any 'city ever imagined', but 'like the holy of holies' in the Solomon's temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:20), although the New Jerusalem needs no temple (verse 22), because 'the whole city is the holiest place of God's presence'.[12]

Verses 22–27

But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

— Revelation 21:27

The description of the New Jerusalem in many ways is in agreement with the models in the Old Testament and apocryphal literature (Isaiah 52:1; 54:11-12; 60; Ezekiel 40:2-5; 47:1-12; 48:30-34; Zechariah 14:6-21; Tobit 13:16-17), except for the absence of a temple in the new city.[12] The New Jerusalem is called in the Book of Ezekiel as 'The Lord is There' (Ezekiel 48:35) and in the Book of Zechariah the whole city is declared as holy as the temple (Zechariah 14:20–21; cf. Isaiah 52:1).[12]

See also


  1. ^ The Book of Revelation is missing from Codex Vaticanus.[3] and this chapter is missing from Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus.


  1. ^ Bauckham 2007, p. 1289.
  2. ^ Elliott, J. K. "Revelations from the apparatus criticus of the Book of Revelation: How Textual Criticism Can Help Historians." Union Seminary Quarterly Review 63, no. 3-4 (2012): 1-23.
  3. ^ Claremont Coptic Encyclopaedia, Codex Vaticanus, accessed 29 September 2018
  4. ^ Maclaren, A., MacLaren: Expositions of Holy Scripture on Revelation 21, accessed 16 December 2018
  5. ^, Revelation 21:2 in various translations
  6. ^ Revelation 21:6 ESV
  7. ^ a b Revelation 21:6 Greek text analysis. Biblehub
  8. ^ a b Ellicott, C. J. (Ed.) (1905). Ellicott's Bible Commentary for English Readers. Revelation 21. London : Cassell and Company, Limited, [1905-1906] Online version: (OCoLC) 929526708. Accessed 28 April 2019.
  9. ^ Benson, Joseph. '’Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. Revelation 21. Accessed 9 Juli 2019.
  10. ^ Bauckham 2007, pp. 1303–4.
  11. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Revelation 21, accessed 17 December 2018
  12. ^ a b c Bauckham 2007, p. 1304.


  • Bauckham, Richard (2007). "81. Revelation". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 1287–1306. ISBN 978-0199277186. Retrieved February 6, 2019.

Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain: Gill, John. Exposition of the Entire Bible (1746-1763).

External links

  • Revelation 21 King James Bible - Wikisource
  • English Translation with Parallel Latin Vulgate
  • Online Bible at (ESV, KJV, Darby, American Standard Version, Bible in Basic English)
  • Multiple bible versions at Bible Gateway (NKJV, NIV, NRSV etc.)