1. Revelation 21:9 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Who is John’s guide as he tours the New Jerusalem?

Revelation 21:9 (ESV)

9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

John’s tour guide is one of the seven angels whom the Lord had mandated to pour his ultimate plagues upon the earth, Revelation 16:1. For the significance of these bowls, see the commentary on Revelation 15:7. It was (is!) the emptying of the contents of these bowls in the course of New Testament history that sets in motion the fall of Babylon (Revelation 17:1 – 18:24) and so the removal of God’s enemies from the earth (Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10), and so in turn gives space for the safe arrival of the Bride, the New Jerusalem. By having one of these seven angels—earlier mandate completed!—serve as John’s tour guide in the heavenly city, the Lord gives John (and his readers) a clear reminder of why the coming of this city is possible. Clearly, we do not know which of the seven angels Christ Jesus mandated to give John the tour. That is to say that his further identity is not important.