Advent with the Apocalypse (Ch 21, Dec 23)
December 23, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
Chapter 21 (Saturday of the Third Week of Advent; December 23)

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


The description of the city from heaven in the Book of Revelation is the fulfilment of the Third Isaiah's prophecies, because his words had continued to inspire the dispossessed. The glory of the LORD would rise on the city (21.11). 'Nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising' (Isa. 60.3) inspired, 'By its light shall the nations walk and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it’ (21.24). 'Your gates shall be open continually' (Isa. 60.11) inspired, ‘Its gates shall never be shut by day and there shall be no night there’ (21.25). 'The sun shall no more be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light at night; but the LORD will be your everlasting light and your God will be your glory' (Isa. 60.19) inspired, 'The city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light and its lamp is the Lamb' (21.23). (When Isaiah spoke of 'the LORD' and 'your God' as sources of light, it is never suggested that two divinities were envisaged. Similarly, when the Book of Revelation speaks of God and the Lamb as sources of light, this is another indication that the Lamb is the LORD.)
In the Book of Revelation, the book of life, or the Lamb's book of life (21.27) is the book of the LORD. Its role has not changed; it is still the register of the citizens of Jerusalem (now the heavenly Jerusalem), all who have never practised abomination and falsehood. Those whose names are inscribed know they will be safe at the Last Judgement.
The first heaven and the first earth have passed away (21.1; 20.11) and the sea is no more. The seer sees not 'the holy city Jerusalem' (21.10) which had been the millennium kingdom, but the 'holy city new Jerusalem' (21.2), coming from heaven. He does not attempt to describe this new state of existence beyond time and matter; all he says is that God now dwells with his people, and there will be no more tears, mourning, crying, pain or death (21.4).
Musical Selection 


Blessèd city, heavenly Salem,
vision dear of peace and love,
who of living stones art builded
in the height of heaven above,
and with angel hosts encircled,
as a bride dost earthward move!

From celestial realms descending,
bridal glory round thee shed,
meet for him whose love espoused thee,
to thy Lord shalt thou be led;
all thy streets and all thy bulwarks
of pure gold are fashioned.

Bright thy gates of pearl are shining,
they are open evermore;
and by virtue of his merits
thither faithful souls do soar,
who for Christ's dear name in this world
pain and tribulation bore.

Many a blow and biting sculpture
polished well those stones elect,
in their places now compacted
by the heavenly Architect,
who therewith hath willed for ever
that his palace should be decked.

To this temple, where we call thee,
come, O Lord of Hosts, to-day;
with thy wonted loving-kindness
hear thy servants as they pray,
and thy fullest benediction
shed within its walls alway.

Almighty and everlasting God,
as the nativity of your Son according to the flesh draws near,
grant our humble prayer,
that we may know the mercy of the Word incarnate,
who took flesh of the Virgin Mary
and came to dwell among us.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.