Revelation 21:1-6 & 22:1-5

Revelation 21:1-6 & 22:1-5
Narrative Lectionary

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21:1 Then I sawA a newB heavenC and a new earth;D for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,E and the seaF was no more. 

Notes on verse 21:1

A “saw” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
B “new” = kainos. This is not new as in new versus old. This is new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh.
C “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
D “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
E “passed away” = aperchomai. From apo (from, away from) + erchomai (to come or go). This is to depart, follow,  or go off in a literal or figurative sense.
F “sea” = thalassa. Perhaps from hals (sea, salt, a boy of saltwater) or halas (salt; can be figurative for prudence). This is the sea, a lake, or seashore.

2 And I saw the holyG city,H the new Jerusalem,I

Notes on verse 21:2a

G “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
H “city” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a town of variable size, but one that has walls. This is where “metropolis” and “police” come from.
I “Jerusalem” = Ierousalem.  From Hebrew yerushalaim (probably foundation of peace); {from yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalem (to make amends, to be complete or sound)}. This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.

coming downJ out of heaven from God,K preparedL as a brideM adornedN for her husband.O 

Notes on verse 21:2b

J “coming down” = katabaino. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + baino (to walk, go). This is to come down whether from the sky to the ground or from higher ground to lower. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense.
K “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
L “prepared” = hetoimazo. From hetoimos (make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge). This is to prepare or provide.
M “bride” = numphe. 8x in NT. Perhaps from nupto (to put on a veil as a bride does – in Latin nupto means simple to marry); related to numphon (the room where the marriage bed is). This is bride, daughter-in-law, young wife, or young woman. This share a root with “nymph” and “nymphomaniac.”
N “adorned” = kosmeo. 10x in NT. From kosmos (order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants; literally, something that is ordered; can refer to all creation or decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and so more beautiful); perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is to order, arrange, beautify. It is more beautiful because it is properly arranged in a literal or figurative sense. It can also be used to mean trim a wick.
O “husband” = aner. This is man, male, husband, or fellow. It can also refer to an individual.

3 And I heardP a loudQ voiceR from the throneS saying,

Notes on verse 21:3a

P “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
Q “loud” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
R “voice” = phone. Probably from phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is a voice, sound, tone or noise. It can also be a language or dialect.
S “throne” = thronos. Probably from thanos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne or seat – the place where the king sits. So, it is used figuratively to mean power, dominion, or a potentate. This is where the word “throne” comes from.

“See,T the homeU of God is among mortals.V

Notes on verse 21:3b

T “see” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, re member, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
U “home” = skene. Perhaps related to skeuos (vessel, tool, container, implement; also vessel in a figurative or literal sense) or perhaps related to skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is a tent, booth, tabernacle, or dwelling. It could be a cloth hut. This is a tent in a literal or figurative sense.
V “mortals” = anthropos. Related to “husband” in v21:2 & “saw” in v21:1. Probably from aner (see note O above) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (see note A above)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

He will dwellW with them;
they will be his peoples,X
and God himself will be with them;Y

Notes on verse 21:3c

W “dwell” = skenoo. Related to “home” in v21:3. 5x in NT– 1x in John 1 & 4x in Revelation. From skenos (tent, tabernacle; used figuratively for the body as the home of the spirit; this is generally a hut or temporary home); from skene (see note U above). This is to encamp, dwell, have or pitch a tent.
X “peoples” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.
Y Some manuscripts add, “as their God.”

he will wipeZ every tearAA from their eyes.BB
DeathCC will be no more;

Notes on verse 21:4a

Z “wipe” = exaleipho. 5x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + aleipho (to anoint as an act of homage, for healing, to celebrate a festival, to honor a guest, as anointing the dead); {from a (with, together with) + liparos (oil, fatty; figuratively, something rich or luxurious); {from lipos (fat, grease)}}. This is to wipe out, smear, remove, plaster, blot out (so, erase). Figuratively, it can also mean cancelling a duty or forgiving a sin.
AA “tear” = dakruon. 10x in NT– 2x of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet, 2x of Paul’s tears about people distorting the truth, 2x of God wiping away ever tear of the saints in heaven, 1x of Paul missing the Corinthians, 1x of remembering Timothy’s tears, 1x of Esau’s tears, 1x of Jesus’ tears. This is tear or teardrop.
BB “eyes” = ophthalmos. Related to “saw” in v21:1 & “mortals” in v21:3. From optanomai (see note V above). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy.
CC “death” = thanatos. This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.

mourningDD and cryingEE and painFF will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

Notes on verse 21:4b

DD “mourning” = penthos. 5x in NT– 1x in James & 4x in Revelation. Perhaps from pascho (to be acted on for good or ill; often used for negative treatment; properly, feeling strong emotions – especially suffering; can also be the ability to feel suffering). This is mourning, sorrow, or grief.
EE “crying” = krauge. 6x in NT. From krazo (to cry out, scream, shriek; onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call; figuratively, this is means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt). This is a very emotional shout or cry generally or clamor against someone else. It can express alarm, trouble, or grief.
FF “pain” = ponos. 4x in NT– 1x in Colossians & 3x in Revelation. From the base of penes (a laborer, poor person, starving or indigent person; someone who works for their living); from pernomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is labor, anguish, suffering, pain.

And the one who was seatedGG on the throne said, “See,HH I am makingII all things new.” Also he said, “WriteJJ this, for these wordsKK are trustworthyLL and true.”MM 

Notes on verse 21:5

GG “seated” = kathemai. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + hemai (to sit). This is to sit, be enthroned, or reside.
HH “see” = idou. Same as “see” in v21:3. See note T above.
II “making” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
JJ “write” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
KK “words” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
LL “trustworthy” = pistos. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is faithful, trustworthy, reliable, sure, or true. It is a fullness of faith. This is the same root as the word “faith” in Greek.
MM “true” = alethinos. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to the test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic); {from a (not) + lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares)}. This is literally made of truth – that which is true or real, authentic. Something that is true from its source and has integrity.

Then he said to me, “It is done!NN I am the AlphaOO and the Omega,PP the beginningQQ and the end.RR

Notes on verse 21:6a

NN “is done” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
OO “Alpha” = Alpha. 4x in NT– all in Revelation. “From Phoenician 𐤀‎ (ʾ /ʾālep/; first letter of alphabet);” “From Proto-Canaanite , from Proto-Sinaitic , from Egyptian 𓃾 (see kꜣ) representing an ox head, whence the letter name 𐤀𐤋𐤐‎ (ʾlp, “head of cattle”).”” This is Alpha, the beginning of the Greek alphabet. It can be used a prefix (meaning “un-” or “with”). It can also mean 1 or 1,000. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/alpha & https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%F0%90%A4%80#Phoenician
PP “Omega” = O. Related to “loud” in v21:3. 4x in NT. From o (the letter omega; an interjection) + megas (see note Q above). This is Omega, the end of the Greek alphabet. Figuratively, it is infinity or without end. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/omega.
QQ “beginning” = arche. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for what is preeminent.
RR “end” = telos. From tel– (to reach a goal or aim); This is an end, aim, purpose, completion, goal, consummation, or tax. It is completing a stage of something and everything that results from that completion. It can be literal or figurative.

To the thirstySS I will giveTT water as a giftUU from the springVV of the waterWW of life.XX

Notes on verse 21:6b

SS “thirsty” = dipsao. 16x in NT. From dipsa (thirst); from dipsos (thirst). This is thirst in a literal or figurative sense. Can also mean keenly desire.
TT “give” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
UU “gift” = dorean. Related to “give” in v21:6. 9x in NT. From dorea (a free gift given voluntarily and not received by merit or entitlement; emphasizes the benevolence of the giver); from doron (gift, offering, sacrifice; emphasizes that the gift is given freely, voluntarily); from didomi (see note TT above). This is freely, without purpose, a free gift, unearned not for merit or obligation. It is freely in a literal or figurative sense.
VV “spring” = pege. 11x in NT. This is a fount in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be a spring of water, a fountain, or a well. It is also used for a flow of blood. It can mean more generally the source of something: water, blood, fun.
WW “water” = hudor. Perhaps from huetos (rain); from huo (to rain). This is water literal or figurative. It is one of the roots that “hydrogen” and “hydroelectric” come from.
XX “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.

22:1 Then the angel showedYY me the riverZZ of the water of life, brightAAA as crystal,BBB flowingCCC from the throne of God and of the LambDDD 

Notes on verse 22:1

YY “showed” = deiknumi. This is to show in a literal or figurative sense so it can be to teach, bring, or point out.
ZZ “river” = potamos. 17x in NT. From pino (to drink). This is a river, brook, or water. It can also be a riverbed flowing with heavy rain or melted snow (like an arroyo).
AAA “bright” = lampros. 9x in NT. From the same as lampas (a torch or lantern that was hand held, perhaps made of clay with a flax wick and oil); from lampo (to give light literally or figuratively). This is literally bright or shining. By analogy, it can be splendid, gorgeous, fine (of quality), or gleaming white.
BBB “crystal” = krustallos. 2x in NT. From kruos (frost). This is literally ice, which is figuratively used to refer to crystal. It is where the word “crystal” comes from.
CCC “flowing” = ekporeuomai. From ek (from, from out of) + poreuomai (to go, travel, journey, die; refers to transporting things from one place to another; focuses on the personal significance of the destination); {from poros (passageway)}. This is to go forth, depart from, be spoken, flow out, project. This word emphasizes the result a process or passage – how it impacts the person or thing.
DDD “Lamb” = Arnion. From aren (sheep, male lamb); perhaps from the same as arren (male); perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is a lamb. In earlier usage this was a diminutive (i.e. a little lamb). At this point, it may have meant young lamb. Figuratively, it was someone pure or innocent.

2 through the middleEEE of the streetFFF of the city. On either side of the river is the treeGGG of life withHHH its twelve kinds of fruit,III

Notes on verse 22:2a

EEE “middle” = mesos. Perhaps from meta (with among, behind, beyond; implies a change following contact or action). This is middle, among, center, midst.
FFF “street” = plateia. 9x in NT. From platus (wide, spread flat, broad); perhaps from plasso (to form, mold; to create like a potter shapes clay). This is a street or some kind of broad place like a public square.
GGG “tree” = xulon. This refers to things made of wood such as a tree trunk, club, staff, or cross. It can also refer to timber used as fuel for a fire.
HHH “with” = poieo. Same as “making” in v21:5. See note II above.
III “fruit” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.

producingJJJ its fruit each month; and the leavesKKK of the tree are for the healingLLL of the nations.MMM 

Notes on verse 22:2b

JJJ “producing” = apodidomi. Related to “give” and “gift” in v21:6. From apo (from, away from) + didomi (see note TT above). This is to give back, return, give away. It is to restore as when one makes payment – to rend what is due, to sell.
KKK “leaves” = phullon. 6x in NT. Perhaps from the same as phule (clan, tribe, lineage); {from phuo (to produce, spring up, grow, germinate; perhaps originally meaning puff or blow). This is a sprout or a leaf.
LLL “healing” = therapeia. 3x in NT. From therapeuo (to serve, care, attend, heal, or cure; can be used for doctors and those who serve God; to worship); from therapon (servant, attendant, minister); perhaps from theros (properly heat and so used for summer); from thero (to heat). This is attention, healing, treatment, care, household. It is where the word “therapy” comes from.
MMM “nations” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.

Nothing accursedNNN will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servantsOOO will worshipPPP him; 

Notes on verse 22:3

NNN “accursed” = katanathema. 1x in NT. From katathmema (a curse); {from katatithemi (to lay down, deposit in a literal or figurative sense); {from kata (down, against, throughout, among) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position)}} OR from kata (down, against, throughout, among) + anathema (solemn, anathema, or accursed; a thing that is laid up, such as a votive offering or something one pledges to God; a divine curse or a divine ban, something or someone that is cast out); {from anatithemi (to set up or fort, communicate, submit, declare); {from ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + tithemi (see above)}}. This is a curse, oath, anathema, or something that is to be destroyed.
OOO “servants” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
PPP “worship” = latreuo. From latris (a hired servant; someone who is qualified to perform a technical task). Properly, this is giving good, technical service because qualified or equipped to do so. It can be serve, minister, worship, or give homage.

they will seeQQQ his face,RRR and his nameSSS will be on their foreheads.TTT 

Notes on verse 22:4

QQQ “see” = horao. Same as “saw” in v21:1. See note A above.
RRR “face” = prosopon. Related to “saw” in v21:1 & “mortals” in v21:3 & “eyes” in v21:4. From pros (at, towards, with) + ops (see note V above). This is the face, surface, or front. It can imply presence more generally.
SSS “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
TTT “foreheads” = metopon. Related to “saw” in v21:1 & “mortals” in v21:3 & “eyes” in v21:4 & “face” in v22:4. 8x in NT. From meta (with, among, behind, beyond) + ops (see note V above). This is beyond the eye, i.e. the forehead.

And there will be no more night; they needUUU no lightVVV of lampWWW orXXX sun,YYY

Notes on verse 22:5a

UUU “need” = echo + chreia. Literally “have need.” Echo is to have, hold, or possess. Chreia is from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request); related to chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary). This is the is task, business, or affair. It can also be need, want, or destitution.
VVV “light” = phos. Related to “voice” in v21:3. From phao (see note R above). This is light, a source of light, fire, or radiance. This is light with specific reference to what it reveals. It is luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative.
WWW “lamp” = luchnos. 14x in NT. Perhaps from the base of leukos (bright, white, brilliant); from luke (light). This is a lamp that is portable and fueled by oil. It can mean light in a literal or figurative sense.
XXX {untranslated} = phos. Same as “light” in v22:5. See note VVV above.
YYY “sun” = helios. This is sun, which would imply light in general or the east.

 for the LordZZZ God will be their light,AAAA and they will reignBBBB forever and ever.CCCC

Notes on verse 22:5b

ZZZ “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
AAAA “be…light” = photizo. Related to “voice” in v21:3 & “light” in v22:5. 11x in NT. From phos (see note VVV above) This is to shine or give light, illumine or reveal. Properly, it is to enlighten in a literal or figurative sense. It can mean to brighten up or to make one see.
BBBB “reign” = basileuo. Related to “coming down” in v21:2. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (see note J above). This is to reign as king, to rule in a literal or figurative sense.
CCCC “forever and ever” = eis + ho + aion + ho + aion. Literally, “to the ages of the ages.” Aion is from the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.


Image credit: “Floor mosaic of a the Tree of Life (as a pomegranite) from the Big Basilica at Heraclea Lyncestis. Bitola, Macedonia,” from the fourth century BCE.

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