Revelation 21:1-7

Revelation 21:1-7
Feast of the Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary – A Women’s Lectionary

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Then I sawA a newB heavenC and a new earth,D for the first heaven and the firstE earth had passed away,F and the seaG was no more. 

Notes on verse 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 “first” = protos. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier). This is what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief.
F “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.
G “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.

And I saw the holyH city,I the new Jerusalem,J coming downK out of heaven from God,L

Notes on verse 2a

H “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.
I “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.
J “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) + shalam (to make amends, to be complete or sound)}. This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.
K “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.
L “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

preparedM as a brideN adornedO for her husband.P 

Notes on verse 2b

M “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.
N “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 shares a root with “nymph” and “nymphomaniac.”
O “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.
P “husband” = aner. This is man, male, husband, or fellow. It can also refer to an individual.

And I heardQ a loudR voiceS from the throneT saying,U

Notes on verse 3a

Q “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
R “loud” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
S “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.
T “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.
U “saying” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.

“See,V the homeW of God is among mortals.X

Notes on verse 3b

V “see” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
W “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.
X “mortals” = anthropos. Related to “husband” in v2 & “saw” in v1. Probably from aner (see note P 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 dwellY with them;
they will be his peoples,Z
and God himself will be with them and be their God;AA

Notes on verse 3c

Y “dwell” = skenoo. Related to “home” in v3. 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 W above). This is to encamp, dwell, have or pitch a tent.
Z “peoples” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.
AA Some manuscripts add, “as their God” = autos + Theos. Theos is the same as “God” in v2. See note L above.

he will wipeBB everyCC tearDD from their eyes.EE

Notes on verse 4a

BB “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.
CC “every” = pas. This is all or every.
DD “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.
EE “eyes” = ophthalmos. Related to “saw” in v1 & “mortals” in v3. From optanomai (see note X above). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy.

DeathFF will be no more;
mourningGG and cryingHH and painII will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

Notes on verse 4b

FF “death” = thanatos. From thnesko (to die, be dead). This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.
GG “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.
HH “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.
II “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 seatedJJ on the throne said, “See,KK I am makingLL all thingsMM new.”

Notes on verse 5a

JJ “seated” = kathemai. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + hemai (to sit). This is to sit, be enthroned, or reside.
KK “see” = idou. Same as “see” in v3. See note V above.
LL “making” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
MM “all things” = pas. Same as “every” in v4. See note CC above.

Also he said, “WriteNN this, for these wordsOO are trustworthyPP and true.”QQ 

Notes on verse 5b

NN “write” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
OO “words” = logos. Related to “saying” in v3. From lego (see note U above). 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.
PP “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.
QQ “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!RR I am the AlphaSS and the Omega,TT the BeginningUU and the End.VV

Notes on verse 6a

RR “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.
SS “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
TT “Omega” = O. Related to “loud” in v3. 4x in NT. From o (Omega; also oh!) + megas (see note R above). This is Omega, the letter, which literally means “big o.” Figuratively, it can refer to infinity or finality. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/omega
UU “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.
VV “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 thirstyWW I will giveXX water as a giftYY from the springZZ of the waterAAA of life.BBB 

Notes on verse 6b

WW “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.
XX “give” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
YY “gift” = dorean. Related to “give” in v6. 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 XX above). This is freely, without purpose, a free gift, unearned not for merit or obligation. It is freely in a literal or figurative sense.
ZZ “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.
AAA “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.
BBB “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.

Those who conquerCCC will inheritDDD these things, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.EEE

Notes on verse 7

CCC “conquer” = nikao. From nike (victory, conquest; figurative for what makes one successful). This is to have victory, overcome, conquer, or prevail. It implies a victory that follows a battle. This root is part of “Nicodemus’s” name and it is also the root where Nike comes from.
DDD “inherit” = kleronomeo. 18x in NT. From kleronomos (heir); {from kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out, assign)}}. This is to acquire or get by inheriting.
EEE “children” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.


Image credit: A window at the Chapel of the New Jerusalem at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, British Columbia. Photo by Joe Mabel, 2015.

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