Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 21:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The bride, the Lamb's wife - The pure and holy Christian Church.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And there came unto me one of the seven angels … - See the notes on Revelation 16:6-7. Why one of these angels was employed to make this communication is not stated. It may be that as they had been engaged in bringing destruction on the enemies of the church, and securing its final triumph, there was a propriety that that triumph should be announced by one of their number.

And talked with me - That is, in regard to what he was about to show me.

I will show thee the bride, the Lamb‘s wife - I will show you what represents the redeemed church now to be received into permanent union with its Lord - as a bride about to be united to her husband. See the notes on ver. 2. Compare Revelation 19:7-8.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 706

Verse 9

The Bride, the Lamb's Wife. — This testimony is positive that the New Jerusalem is the bride, the Lamb's wife. The angel told John distinctly that he would show him the bride, the Lamb's wife; and we may be sure that he did not practice upon him a piece of deception, but fulfilled his promise to the very letter; hut all that he did show him was the New Jerusalem. It would be unnecessary to offer a word of proof that this city is not the church, were it not that popular theology has so mystified the Scriptures as to give it this application. This city, then, cannot be the church, because it would be absurd to talk of the church as lying foursquare, and having a north side, a south side, an east side, and a west side. It would be absurd to speak of the church as having a wall great and high, and having twelve gates, three on each side toward the four points of the compass. Indeed, the whole description of the city which is given in this chapter would be more or less an absurdity if applied to the church.DAR 706.3

Again: Paul, to the Galatians, speaks of the same city, and says that it is the mother of us all, referring to the church. The church, then, is not the city itself, but the children of the city. And verse 24 of the chapter under comment, speaks of the nations of the saved, who walk in the light of this city. These nations, who are the saved, and on earth constitute the church, are distinct from the city, in the light of which they walk. It follows that the city is a literal city, built of all the precious materials here described.DAR 707.1

But how can it then be the bride, the Lamb's wife? Answer: Inspiration has seen fit to speak of it under this figure, and with every believer in the Bible, that should be sufficient. The figure is first introduced in Isaiah 54. The new-covenant city is there brought to view. It is represented as being desolate while the old covenant was in force, and the Lord's care was confined to the Jews and old Jerusalem; but it is said to her that “the children of the desolate” shall be many more than “the children of the married wife.” It is further said to her, “Thy Maker is thy husband;” and the closing promise of the Lord to this city, contains a very similar description to the one which we have here in Revelation; namely, “I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; and I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” It is this very promise to which Paul refers, and upon which he comments in his Epistle to the Galatians, when he says, “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26); for he quotes, in the next verse, this very prophecy from the book of Isaiah to sustain this declaration. Here, then, Paul makes an inspired application of Isaiah's prophecy which cannot be mistaken; and in this he shows that under the figure of a “woman,” a “wife” whose “children” were to be multiplied, the Lord by the prophet speaks of the New Jerusalem, the city above, as contrasted with the earthly Jerusalem in the land of Palestine; and of this city the Lord calls himself the “husband.” In addition to this, we have the positive testimony of the twenty-first chapter of Revelation to the same facts.DAR 707.2

With this view, all is harmony. Christ is called the Father of his people (Isaiah 9:6); the Jerusalem above is called our mother, and we are called the children; and, carrying out the figure of a marriage, Christ is represented as the Bridegroom, the city as the bride, and we, the church, as the guests. There is no confusion of parties here. But the popular view, which makes the city the church, and the church the bride, exhibits the inexcusable confusion of making the church at the same time both mother and children, both bride and guests.DAR 708.1

The view that the marriage of the Lamb is the inauguration of Christ as King upon the throne of David, and that the parables of Matthew 22:1-14; 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-37; 19:12, 13, etc., apply to that event, is further confirmed by a well-known ancient custom. It is said that when a person took his position as ruler over the people, and was invested with that power, it was called a marriage, and the usually accompanying feast was called a marriage supper. Dr. Clarke, in his note on Matthew 22:2, thus speaks of it: —DAR 708.2

“A marriage for his son.] A marriage feast, so the word ?????? properly means. Or a feast of inauguration, when his son was put in possession of the government, and thus he and his new subjects became married together. Many eminent critics so understand this parable as indicating the Father's induction of his Son into his Messianic kingdom. (See 1 Kings 1:5-9, 19, 25, etc., where such a feast is mentioned.)”DAR 708.3

A Christian City. — The names of the twelve apostles in the foundations of the city, show it to be a Christian and not a Jewish city; while the names of the twelve tribes on the gates, show that all the saved, from this dispensation as well as from the former, are reckoned as belonging to some one of the twelve tribes; for all must enter the city through some one of these twelve gates. It is this fact which explains those instances in which Christians are called Israel, and are addressed as the twelve tribes, as in Romans 2:28, 29; 9:6-8; Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 2:12, 13; James 1:1; Revelation 7:4.DAR 709.1

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
God has various employments for his holy angels. Sometimes they sound the trumpet of Divine Providence, and warn a careless world; sometimes they discover things of a heavenly nature of the heirs of salvation. Those who would have clear views of heaven, must get as near to heaven as they can, on the mount of meditation and faith. The subject of the vision is the church of God in a perfect, triumphant state, shining in its lustre; glorious in relation to Christ; which shows that the happiness of heaven consists in intercourse with God, and in conformity to him. The change of emblems from a bride to a city, shows that we are only to take general ideas from this description. The wall is for security. Heaven is a safe state; those who are there, are separated and secured from all evils and enemies. This city is vast; here is room for all the people of God. The foundation of the wall; the promise and power of God, and the purchase of Christ, are the strong foundations of the safety and happiness of the church. These foundations are set forth by twelve sorts of precious stones, denoting the variety and excellence of the doctrines of the gospel, or of the graces of the Holy Spirit, or the personal excellences of the Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven has gates; there is a free admission to all that are sanctified; they shall not find themselves shut out. These gates were all of pearls. Christ is the Pearl of great price, and he is our Way to God. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. The saints in heaven tread gold under foot. The saints are there at rest, yet it is not a state of sleep and idleness; they have communion, not only with God, but with one another. All these glories but faintly represent heaven.
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 429.4

Now the Saints Have Nothing to Fear—Strong and terrible have become the masters of iniquity in the world under the control of Satan, but strong is the Lord God who judgeth Babylon. The just have no longer anything to fear from force or fraud as long as they are loyal and true. A mightier than the strong man armed is set for their defense. All power and greatness and excellence of character will be given to those who have believed and stood in defense of the truth, standing up and firmly defending the laws of God. 3SM 429.4

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 44.2

Scenes of Familiarity and Adultery—While in Europe the things that transpired in ----- were opened before me. A voice said, “Follow me, and I will show you the sins that are practiced by those who stand in responsible positions.” I went through the rooms, and I saw you, a watchman upon the walls of Zion, were very intimate with another man's wife, betraying sacred trusts, crucifying your Lord afresh. Did you consider that there was a Watcher, the Holy One, who was witnessing your evil work, seeing your actions and hearing your words, and these are also registered in the books of heaven? 3SM 44.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 986

Conduct Befitting the Bride of a King—The church is the bride, the Lamb's wife. She should keep herself pure, sanctified, holy. Never should she indulge in any foolishness; for she is the bride of a King. Yet she does not realize her exalted position. If she understood this, she would be all-glorious within (Letter 177, 1901). 7BC 986.1

(Chs. 3:4; 7:14; 16:15.) Clean Garments—The church is the bride of Christ, and her members are to yoke up with their Leader. God warns us not to defile our garments (Letter 123a, 1898). 7BC 986.2

11-16. See EGW on ch. 16:13-16. 7BC 986.3

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