“After this”, once more “a great multitude in heaven” is heard by John, now crying their “Hallelujah” twice (19:1ff), answered by the Beings around the throne as well as by a Voice coming from the throne – all this answered once more by a Hallelujah from the multitude. Now the angel tells John to write the third beatitude heard in his visions: “Blessed are those invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:9) – now that the apocalyptic process is coming to its consummation. But when he wants to fall down and worship the angel, he is told not to do this, as they are fellow servants. And once more having seen “heaven opened”, a white horse appearing, with One sitting upon it, (19:11), he sees and hears all which happens successively, which makes it possible that a new heaven and a new earth come into being.
In the final vision of that new heaven and new earth, after the proclamation that “the dwelling of God is with human beings” and the words of Him sitting on the throne: “Behold, I make all things new”, John is for the last time told to write: “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true” (21:6). And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls comes to John, to show him the second woman: the Bride, the wife of the Lamb, carrying him away “in the Spirit” (21:9-10) to show him the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, from God, as well as the river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city, with the tree of life on either side of the river.
In the following contribution, we will look at the book and its structure.
After a presentation in the Boston Christian Community congregation, July 15, 2007. Edited by Muriel Morris.
See Emil Bock in the chapter on John the Evangelist in his Caesars and Apostles (Floris Books, Edinburgh 1998). On the website of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, www.vggalllery.com/paintings, can be found a picture of Van Gogh’s “Raising of Lazarus”.
An overview of the structure of the Revelation to John will be added to part 2 of this series: “The Book”.
Let’s here use the word which Matthew in his Gospel uses for the final “separation” within mankind, when the Son of Man has come with all his angels, to “separate the sheep from the goats” (25:31ff), even when we are speaking about a separation on a cosmic scale.