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Grant Osborne: The rest of the chapter provides a glimpse of the holiness, glory, and joy that will typify life in the eternal city. It consists of a series of negative statements telling what of this earthly sphere will have no part in the city followed by a γάρ (gar, for) clause providing the reason for the removal (21:22, 23, 25, with 21:27 having the negative without the γάρ clause). In addition, two parenthetical comments regarding the “nations” (21:24, 26) further clarify the themes in the surrounding context. The passage as a whole tells what conditions will characterize the New Jerusalem. . .

The final section of 21:9–27 continues the theme of 21:4 regarding all the negatives of the old earth that are to be removed from the celestial city. There is no temple because all that was signified in the earthly temple (the presence of God and the relationship between him and his people) are now finalized, so the temple is indeed God and the Lamb with his people (21:22). There is no need for external sources of light (21:23, 25) because God’s Shekinah glory and the presence of the Lamb illumine the city. Therefore, all the glory of the nations are surrendered to God. This culminates the mission theme in Scripture. As Jesus said, “The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world . . . and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). Thus, the nations have been evangelized (the missionary journeys of Paul repeated throughout church history), and those who responded to the gospel’s proclamation now enter the eternal city. This is an incredible moment, one the evangelizing church constantly awaits with all its heart. Like 21:1–8, this section also ends with a warning to those who are “impure, shameful, and deceitful” that they will have no place in the New Jerusalem (21:27).

Albert Mohler: An intriguing feature of the new Jerusalem is what it does not have: it does not have a temple because God and the Lamb dwell there.  What made the temple in Israel special was its purpose as God’s dwelling place in the land with his people.  Most Israelites were only permitted to enter the temple courts, since only the priests could actually enter the temple sanctuary in the new Jerusalem, all of God’s redeemed people have direct access to God at all times throughout the entire city.  What is more, there is no longer any need for the sun and moon because the city is illuminated by God’s own presence (v. 23; Isa 60:19-20).  The darkness of night is no more.  Though God’s earthly temple was to be a house of prayer for the nations (Isa 56:7; Mt 21:13), Israel had made it exclusive and had corrupted it, but now eternal access is guaranteed because the gates will never shut.  The temple city of the new Jerusalem is filled with people from every nation, tribe, people, and language redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Rev 5:9; 7:9).  Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life enter it because it is a pure city populated by the purified people of God.  This is nothing less than heaven on earth.



And I saw no temple in it,

for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.

Grant Osborne: We must remember that the major religious feature of the temple was that God resided there. The entire Book of Ezekiel ends with the new name of the eschatological city, “THE LORD IS THERE” (48:35). It was his Shekinah presence in the Holy of Holies that made the temple sacred. But now he physically resides among his people (Rev. 21:3), and the entire city has been made into a Holy of Holies (21:16). As Park (1995: 209–10) says, “Just as the NJ [New Jerusalem] is more than a place, i.e., denoting the community of God’s people, the temple is more than a place, i.e., denoting the presence of God and the Lamb in the community of his people.” Thus, when his presence among his people is final and eternal, there is no need for a temple. . .

Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple (Mark 13:2 par.) and said to the Samaritan woman, “A time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem” (John 4:21). Stephen said that “the Most High does not live in houses made by men” (Acts 7:47). In Heb. 9 the furniture of the tabernacle (vv. 1–5) has been replaced by the new covenant Christ mediated with his blood (vv. 11–15). In Revelation the temple is heavenly (7:15; 11:19; 14:17; 15:5), and in chapter 21 it comes to earth in the form of the New Jerusalem. Once again, there is no temple in the eternal city partly because it is the Holy of Holies itself.

John MacArthur: We will be the true worshipers that the Father has always sought. Our worship will be pure and true and perfect. We will be worshiping in perfect spirit and in perfect truth in His eternal presence. And I think it’s interesting that that’s the first thing that John noted. Because it was important to him; it was priority to him. After all, he was the one that wrote about God seeking true worshipers. He was the one who was so concerned about God being worshiped, and he was the one who had been taking through all of these tremendous visions in the book of Revelation and been instructed about how important worship was and what happened to people who didn’t. And he had seen glimpses of heaven where worship was the constant occupation. And so, naturally, the first thing he would look for, when he was taken to the inside of the capital city of heaven, would be to see if there was a place of worship there, and the answer is there isn’t any; it’s not necessary, because there won’t be anything but worship, there wouldn’t be any need to go somewhere and worship.



And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it,

for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Grant Osborne: This verse flows naturally out of the preceding verse: as the Shekinah glory fills the temple (Ezek. 43:2–3 = Rev. 21:22), so the light of God’s “glory” fills the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23), with the result that “there is no need for sun or moon.”  Isaiah 60 as a whole is behind this verse, for themes of light and glory also begin the chapter, as in 60:1 (“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you”) and 60:2b–3 (“His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light”). In James 1:17 God is called “the Father of the heavenly lights,” and 1 John 1:5 says, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (cf. 1 Tim. 6:16, God “lives in unapproachable light”). The idea of “its lamp is the Lamb” combines Ps. 132:17, “I will . . . set up a lamp for my anointed one,” and John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” In heaven we will see the final realization of the exhortation in 2 Cor. 4:6, “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (cf. Eph. 5:8; 1 John 1:7).

Charles Swindoll: Throughout the Bible, the images of light and darkness are used to describe two opposing cosmic and spiritual realms:

  • truth versus error (John 3:21; 1 Jn. 1:5-8)
  • God’s perfect order versus sin’s corrupt disorder (John 1:1-5)
  • pure Spirit versus impure flesh (Rom. 13:12-14)
  • God’s heavenly kingdom versus Satan’s worldly kingdom (Col. 1:13-14)

J.A. Seiss: That shining is not from any material combustion, not from any consumption of fuel that needs to be replaced as one supply burns out, for it is the uncreated light of Him who is light, dispensed by and through the Lamb, as the everlasting lamp, to the home and hearts and understandings of His glorified saints.

When Paul and Silas lay wounded and bound in the inner dungeon of the prison of Philippi, they still had sacred light which enabled them to beguile the night with happy songs. When Paul was on his way to Damascus, a light brighter than the sun at noon shone round about him, irradiating his whole being with new sights and understanding and making his soul and body ever afterward light in the Lord.

When Moses came down from the mount of his communion with God, his face was so luminous that his brethren could not endure to look upon it. He was in such close fellowship with light that he became informed with light and came to the camp as a very lamp of God, glowing with the glory of God. And on the Mount of Transfiguration, that same light streamed forth from all the body and raiment of the blessed Jesus. And with reference to the very time when this city comes into being and place, Isaiah said, “the moon shall be ashamed and the sun confounded,” – ashamed because of the outbeaming glory which then shall appear in the New Jerusalem, leaving no more need for them to shine in it, since the glory of God lights it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Brian Tabb: No More Night

The Scriptures regularly associate “night” with darkness, lamentation, sin, and judgment. For example, God sends plagues of darkness against Egypt and the beast’s kingdom (Exodus 10:21–22; Revelation 16:10), and there is darkness throughout the land when Jesus is crucified (Mark 15:33). There is no night in John’s vision of the new creation because the dazzling glory of God and the Lamb will so illumine the New Jerusalem that no other lights will be necessary — including the sun (Revelation 21:23; 22:5; cf. Isaiah 60:19). Moreover, the city’s gates remain open as a picture of comprehensive safety and security since no enemies remain to threaten God’s people under cover of darkness (Revelation 21:25; Isaiah 60:11).



A.  (:24-26) Only Dedicated Worshipers in New Jerusalem

  1. (:24a)  Guidance in Holy Living

And the nations shall walk by its light,

  1. (:24b)  Glory of Kings Submitted to God

and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it.

Grant Osborne: In other words, John has replaced the idea of military victory and plunder with that of conversion and worship.  By inserting “glory” instead of “wealth,” there has been a subtle shift of emphasis, for the “glory” theme in Revelation centers on the glory of God (1:6; 4:9, 11; 5:12–13; 7:12; 15:8; 19:1, 7; 21:11, 23) and the conversion of the nations (11:13; 14:7; 16:9). These are the only two verses that speak of any kind of “glory” other than what belongs to God, and it is natural to suppose that 21:24, 26 mean the earthly “glory” that the nations possessed is now being given back to the one who alone deserves it.

Richard Phillips: This language seems confusing to some, since it implies Gentile peoples outside the city. But this scene takes place after the final judgment when all unbelievers and enemies of Christ have been cast into the lake of fire (20:15). Therefore, John sees not future people bringing the material wealth into the city, but rather believers from all the nations coming from this age into the eternal age, having believed in Christ and then offering themselves for worship to God. Isaiah foretold this scene in a passage to which John is referring throughout this vision, using language appropriate to his ancient setting: “Your gates shall be open continually . . . , that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession” (Isa. 60:11). Ancient conquerors paraded their spoils of victory with captured kings led before them in chains. In Christ’s eternal city, his “conquests” will have been won by grace, and they will fulfill their hearts’ desire in yielding their fervent worship to God. As G. K. Beale puts it, the nations “are bringing . . . themselves as worshipers before God’s end-time presence.”  Our greatest treasure is our lives, offered up in service to Christ now and praising the glorious presence of God forever.

G.K. Beale: Isa. 66:12 speaks of the glory of the nations coming to Israel as an overflowing stream, as God extends peace to her like a river. The glory spoken of in Rev. 21:24-26 focuses not on the literal wealth of nations, but is grounded in Isaiah’s picture of glory in the form of praise arising to God from the nations, which then results in Israel’s peace with them. Presumably, this refers to those formerly antagonistic but subsequently redeemed from among the nations who will submit to God, praise Him, and so become unified with redeemed Israel (see for instance Isa. 11:6-12). . .

The point of the figurative picture is that the believing Gentiles will never be separated from open, eternal access to God’s presence and that nothing evil can threaten such access. Whereas in the old world the gates of Jerusalem, and of all ancient cities, had to be closed at night to protect the inhabitants from unexpected intruders, the new city faces no such danger. Though direct entrance by humans to the tree of life was blocked by angelic beings throughout history (Gen. 3:24), at the end of history angels stand guard to ensure that people retain free access (22:14).

  1. (:25) Gates Remain Open Always

And in the daytime (for there shall be no night there)

its gates shall never be closed;

Robert Mounce: The gates of the New Jerusalem stand open because with the demise of evil security measures are no longer necessary. John’s parenthetical remark about the absence of night explains why only day is mentioned in the preceding clause. Day extends indefinitely without interruption because darkness never comes. Thus there is no need of closing gates. One is reminded of the Isaianic declaration concerning the restored Jerusalem, “Your gates will always stand open” (Isa 60:11). Through these open gates the kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations. The reference is to the choicest of earthly treasures.

Buist Fanning: John adds that the impressive gates described earlier are not obstacles to these lively connections since they “will never close by day” (v. 25a).  This appears to be specifically designed to build on the pattern of Isaiah 60:11 (Jerusalem’s gates will “never be shut by day or night”), but to show its intensification in the new Jerusalem.

Craig Keener: That the gates of the new Jerusalem are never closed (21:25) suggests unlimited access (borrowing the exaltation image of Gentiles continually bringing tribute, Isa. 60:11). To control access, Roman cities usually provided entrance on only one side of the city. For safety reasons, city gates were usually shut at night. But new Jerusalem welcomes all (22:17) and has no enemies to fear.

  1. (:26) Glory of Kings Submitted to God

and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;

Craig Keener: This is the most positive vision of the future possible: Whereas Gentiles once trampled the temple city (11:2), now they honor it, coming to worship God (15:4; cf. Ps. 102:15; Zech. 14:16-19). . . .  They offer their glory to God in light of God’s greater glory (21:23), forsaking idolatry.

G.R. Beasley-Murray: The encouragement which this expectation would afford the original readers of the Revelation, and its pertinence to their situation, should not be overlooked.  It indicates that their opponents, whose hostility is to grow to murderous proportions, are yet to render up their sword to God and the Lamb and offer him the tribute of their adoration.  It suggests more.  The nations who once offered their riches to the city of the Antichrist will yield them instead to the city of God and the Lamb (vv. 24 and 26), and that implies a sanctification of the whole order of this created world and its products.

B.  (:27a) Nothing Unclean or Nobody Practicing Sin

  1. Nothing Unclean

and nothing unclean

Grant Osborne: Unclean things are an abomination to Yahweh (Lev. 11:40–43; Deut. 7:25–26; 14:3; et al.), for they offend his holiness. Thus, in the eternal Holy City nothing “unclean” is to be allowed.

  1. Nobody Practicing Sin

and no one who practices abomination and lying,

shall ever come into it,

John Walvoord: Verse 27 indicates plainly that nothing will ever enter the city that is in any sense evil, as only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life are eligible for entrance. This is another reminder that all who are there have entered the city as the objects of God’s grace, otherwise they too would be excluded. This will be a perfect environment in contrast to the centuries of human sin, and the believers will enjoy this perfect situation through all eternity to come. The inhabitants of the city will be characterized by eternal life and absolute moral purity.

C.  (:27b) Only the Truly Redeemed in New Jerusalem

but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Richard Phillips: We are not permitted to look into God’s Book of Life before the final judgment, but we can identify the distinguishing character of those whose names are there. J. C. Ryle points out that, first, “they are all true penitents.”  Those destined for the new Jerusalem have felt the condemnation of their sins, have grieved before God for their guilt, and have hated the presence of sin in their lives.

Second, “they are all believers in Christ Jesus.”  Those who dwell in the eternal glory are those who trust the saving work of Christ, especially his atoning work as the Lamb of God who died for their sins. They found salvation nowhere else, but believed in Jesus, received his offered mercy, and continued in faith throughout their lives despite all manner of persecution.

Third, those whose names are written in God’s Book of Life “are all born of the Spirit and sanctified.”  This means that they began in this life, however imperfectly, the holy life they will enjoy perfectly in the age to come. They have been inwardly renewed by the Holy Spirit with a nature that inclines after God. Ryle writes: “The general bent of their lives has always been towards holiness—more holiness, more holiness, has always been their hearts’ desire. They love God, and they must live to Him.”

This is how you know that you are destined to enjoy eternity in the glory of God’s presence: not church membership alone, not fleeting spiritual experiences, not money given to the church or good deeds that you think will overcome your sins, but a penitent heart that embraces the Lamb of God in faith and seeks thenceforth to live for the glory and honor of God.