Apocalypse xxi.

Notes & Commentary:

From the seventh verse of the foregoing chapter, begins as it were the third part of the Apocalypse containing the coming of antichrist, the great day of judgment, the punishment of the wicked, and the eternal happiness of God’s elect in heaven, or in the celestial Jerusalem, which St. John describes in this chapter as if it were like a large city, beautified and enriched with gold and all manner of precious stones, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 1. New, by their form and qualities, but not by their substance. — The first heaven and first earth was passed away: being changed, not as to their substance, but in their qualities. (Challoner)

Ver. 2. Coming down from God out of heaven. By the city we must understand its citizens, the Angels and saints. (Witham) — Justice, innocence, the good works of the saints, are the ornaments of the inhabitants of this new Jerusalem, the Church triumphant. If the world of the old Adam has appeared so beautiful, so magnificent, good God, what will be the riches of that which is made for Jesus Christ, the second Adam, and for his members! O Jesus! Father of the world to come, render us worthy of this new and everlasting world, and give us a disgust, a mortal hatred, for that which perishes, and which is the cause of our perdition.

Ver. 3. Behold the tabernacle of God with men, inasmuch as God’s elect shall there dwell with him for ever and ever. (Witham)

Ver. 6. It is done. The state of Christ’s Church on earth, and in this world, is now finished; and the time is come to reward the good, and to punish the wicked in the lake burning with fire and brimstone, in hell, with the devils for all eternity. (Witham) — This living water is God himself, of which the saints shall be inebriated at the source; i.e. in God himself. Enviable moment, when all the designs of God upon Jesus Christ and upon his Church will be accomplished: but how little thought of now! And how can we hope to be inebriated at this source of God above, if we do not aspire after it whilst we are in this dreary desert here below? He who begins and finishes gratuitously here below the work of our faith, crowns it still more liberally in heaven.

Ver. 9. I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb: all the Church triumphant in heaven. (Witham)

Ver. 16. The city is situate four-square;[1] and by what follows, so as to be a perfect square, though every thing that is quadrangular is not always a square, or perfect square. (Witham)

Ver. 17. The measure of a man, which is of an Angel.[2] This seems, without doubt, the sense of it. (Witham)

Ver. 22. No temple in it. No need of a temple for divine worship, where God is in such a perfect manner present to all the blessed, where nothing can distract or divert their souls from endless adorations, praises, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 23. Needeth not sun nor moon, where there is no vicissitude or succession of day and night, the divine brightness always shining to them. (Witham)

Ver. 24. The kings of the earth shall bring their glory; the elect, of all states and conditions, shall now be exalted like kings, or rather infinitely above the glory that we can imagine of any kings in this world. (Witham)

Ver. 27. There shall not enter it any thing defiled. This is what we ought always to remember and have in our minds. (Witham)


[1] Ver. 16. In quadro, tetragonos, quadrangularis.

[2] Ver. 17. Mensura hominis, quĉ est Angeli; metron anthropou, o estin aggelou.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The new Jerusalem described.

1 And* I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was passed away, and the sea is now no more.

2 And I, John, saw the holy city, the 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 the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people: and God himself with them shall be their God:

4 *And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any more; for the former things are passed away.

5 And he who sat on the throne, said: *Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me: Write, for these words are most faithful and true.

6 And he said to me: It is done: I am alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. To him that thirsteth I will give of the fountain of the water of life, gratis.

7 He that shall overcome, shall possess these things, and I will be his God; and he shall be my son.

8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their portion shall be in the pool burning with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

9 And there came one of the seven Angels, who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: Come, and I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb.

10 And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain, and he shewed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

11 Having the glory of God: and the light thereof like to a precious stone, as a jasper stone, as crystal.

12 And it had a wall great and high, having twelve gates: and in the gates twelve Angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

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

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

15 And he that spoke with me had a measure, a golden reed, to measure the city and the gates thereof, and the wall.

16 And the city is situate four-square, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth: and he measured the city with the golden reed for twelve thousand furlongs: and the length, and the height, and the breadth of it are equal.

17 And he measured the wall thereof a hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, which is of an Angel.

18 And the building of the wall thereof was of jasper stone: but the city itself pure gold, like to clear glass.

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

20 The fifth, sardonyx: the sixth, sardius: the seventh, chrysolite: the eighth, beryl: the ninth, a topaz: the tenth, a chrysoprasus: the eleventh, a jacinth: the twelfth, an amethyst.

21 And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, one to each: and every several gate was of one several pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

22 And I saw no temple in it. For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb.

23 *And the city hath not sun, nor moon to shine in it: for the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof.

24 And nations shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour into it.

25 *And the gates thereof shall not be shut by day: for there shall be no night there.

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

27 There shall not enter it any thing defiled, or any one that worketh abomination, or a lie, but they who are written in the book of life of the Lamb.



1: Isaias lxv. 17. and lxvi. 22.; 2 Peter iii. 13.

4: Isaias xxv. 8.; Apocalypse vii. 17.

5: Isaias xiii. 19.; 2 Corinthians iii. 17.

23: Isaias lxix. 19.

25: Isaias lx. 11.