世上各民族都對新年有些期望，一元復始，萬象更新，希望真能夠有新的開始。過去倒楣的事、不如意的事，都希望不再發生。但日光之下無新事，老問題帶著新名字重新出現，每一年都希望，但每一年都失望。這裡告訴我們有一個新的將來，有真正新的生活，所有舊問題不再存在，那纔是真正的過新年。People in this world have different expectations for the new year, they hope for a new beginning, a new start. They hope that all the bad stuff from the past and all the unhappy things will not happen again. But there is nothing new under the sun, old problems return with a new name. People hope for something better every year but every year there is disappointment. The passage here tells us that there will be a new future, it will truly be a new life, all the old problems will disappear; that will really be a new year.
IT IS AN ALL-NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH
1 我看見一個新天新地，因為先前的天地已經過去了，海也不再有了。1 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.
新東西很難描寫，有時是找不到適合的名詞或形容詞。所以約翰最好的辦法，是用消極的比較方式，與現在作比較，不是甚麽，不再有甚麽。所以這裡多個這樣的辭，不再有海了，不再有悲哀、哭號、疼痛，再沒有死亡，再沒有黑夜。不需日月的光，也再沒有咒詛等。他只能這樣說，告訴舊世界裡的人，新世界是不同的。Sometimes is it difficult to find the right words to describe something new. So, the best way for John to describe the new heaven and the new earth was for him to use negative statements to compare future things to the present, no more of this and no more of that. He said, there was no longer any sea, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death. No need for the sun or the moon to shine on the earth, no more curse. He could only use these words to tell the people of the old world that the new world would be different.
他說，先前的天地已經過去。廿章說舊的天地找不到了，彼得說，被烈火熔化了。以後再沒有機會回到舊世界，這個宇宙完全不同了。He said, the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Chapter 20 says, “Earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.” Peter said that the elements will be consumed by fire. There will not be a way to go back to the old world; this universe will be completely different.
5 “Behold, I am making all things new.”
希臘文有兩個｢新｣字，nea 指時間上的新，像新年，發現新大陸，都用這字。kaina 是指素質上的新，所以翻作更新。就是說，這東西以前有過，但素質上全部更新了，不一樣了。像保羅說的：｢若有人在基督裡，他就是新造的人。｣他是更新過的，像被重新創造過一樣，在素質上完全不一樣了。The Greek uses two words that means “new”, “ nea ” which refers to a new time, like a new year or discovering of a new land. And, “ kaina ” which refers to newness of quality or basic essence; that is why it is translated into renew. In other words, those are things that existed in the past, but the inner quality, the basic essence of them is completely new, completely different. It is similar to Paul saying: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” That person is renewed, as in being created anew, the quality is completely different.
IT IS GOD ‘ S MASTERPIECE
5 坐寶座的說：看哪，我將一切都更新了。又說：你｢要寫上，因這些話是可信的，是真實的。｣5 And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
在舊的天地裡，海佔很大部份，地面四分之叁是海。所以人造衛星掉下來，多數都會掉到海裡。海是動盪不安、充滿苦難的地方，可以稱為｢苦海｣。海對於當時的人來說，是充滿邪惡力量的。十叁章的獸從海中出來，羅馬的軍隊從海上來，海，是災難的來源。In the old heaven and the old earth, the sea accounts for a large part of it; it takes over three fourths of the world. That is why when satellites fall from the sky, they fall mostly in the sea. The sea is a place full of turmoil, unrest and suffering. It is a “sea of suffering”. People in ancient times considered the sea as an evil force. The beast in chapter 13 came out of the sea, the Roman army troupes came from the sea. The sea was the source of disaster.
廿章說，｢海要交出死人｣，表示海裡死了很多人。約翰被關在海島上，海使他與所愛的人分開，海就是黑暗勢力的所在。到了新天新地，沒有海了。以賽亞描寫的平安國，仍然有海，所以他所說的平安國，仍然在現今這個世界上，不在新天新地裡。Chapter 20 says, “The sea will give up the dead that were in it,” this means that many people died at sea. John was imprisoned on an island, the sea separated him from his loved ones; the sea was a place where dark forces dwelt. In the new heaven and the new earth, the sea will be no more. The kingdom of peace described in Isaiah had a sea, it was still in this world; therefore, he is not referring to the new heaven and the new earth.
希臘思想中認為這世界是暫時的，將來人的靈魂全部進入靈界，再沒有物質世界。印度思想說，人像一滴水溶歸大海，消失於大海中，再沒有自我。但從啟示錄所見的新天新地，是一個更新、更好的世界，雖然會有很多不一樣的地方，但它仍然是一個物質世界，不是靈界，不是只有靈的存在，將來仍然有靈魂體的活動，我們的思想、藝術、才能繼續有發展，我們敬拜、讚美的模式繼續有進步。The Greek believed that this world was temporary and that in the future; the souls of the people would all go to a spirit world. The Hindus believe that people are like a drop of water that eventually will fade away in the sea, there will be no more of oneself. But the new heaven and the new earth that we see in Revelation is indeed a new place, a better world; and even though there will be many things that are different, it will still be a material world, not a spiritual world. We will not exist only in spirit; we will have a body, a soul and a spirit. Our thoughts, our artistic talents, our abilities will continue to develop. Our worship and the way we praise God will continue to improve.
IT IS CHRIST ‘ S BRIDE
2 我又看見聖城，新耶路撒冷，由神那裡從天而降。預備好了，就如新婦妝飾整齊，等候丈夫。2 I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
這是一個從天上，從神那裡降下來的新耶路撒冷，不是現在的耶路撒冷城。現在的耶路撒冷是他們的敬拜中心，預表基督的身體，預表全地的教會。但這個新的聖城代表所有將來住在裡面的人，包括新舊約，古今所有屬神的子民。是從神那裡降下來。這也包括那被提的基督徒與殉道者，或在主里安息已經復活的人，都在基督天上七年的婚筵中，算是正式的新娘子。Here it refers to the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God; it is not the present Jerusalem city. The present Jerusalem city is a place of worship, it represents the body of Christ, it represents the churches of the whole world. But the new Holy City represents all those who will live in that city, all those from the Old and New Testament, all those people from the past and the present who belong to God. It comes down from God. It also includes Christians who were raptured, those who were martyred and those who were asleep in Christ and were resurrected. Those who were part of Christ’s wedding feast for seven years, officially considered Christ’s bride.
這位新娘妝飾整齊、漂亮，擁有一切屬靈的美德，是教會最漂亮、最榮耀的時候。而且等候與基督聯合，永遠不再分開。保羅說：｢我們如今彷彿對著鏡子觀看，糢糊不清，到那時要面對面了。｣現在與主親近的人，每天花幾個小時親近神，仍然是糢糊不清的。內心有感動，似乎是這樣，神好像呼召我做這事，是否百分之百肯定？很難說。This bride that is beautifully dressed with all spiritual virtues is the most wonderful an d glorious time of the church, joined together with Christ, never again to be separated from Him. Paul said: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. ” At present, those who spend hours every day to be closer to God, what they see is still blurry, not clear. The heart is moved, there might be something, it feels that God wants me to do something, but am I 100% sure about it? It is difficult to say.
啟示錄的末後兩章，像跟創世記前面叁章作對應。舊世界與新世界的對應。舊的造了太陽光體，新的不再需要光體；舊的有黑夜，新的沒有黑夜；舊的有海，新的沒有海；舊的受咒詛，新的再沒有咒詛；舊的有死亡，新的再沒有死亡；舊的被趕離生命樹，新的可再回生命樹。The final two chapters of Revelation seem to correspond to the first three chapters of Genesis ; a comparison of the old world and the new world. The sun was created for the purpose of giving light in the old world but there is no need for that kind of light in the new world. In the old world there is darkness, the new world has no darkness. The old world had a sea; the new world does not have a sea. The old world was cursed, the new world is not. There is death in the old world; there is no more death in the new world. In the old world the tree of life was banished, in the new world the tree of life is back.
還有一樣特別之處，舊的是｢園子｣，新的是｢城市｣，園子與城市分別非常大。很多人對城市有反感，美國人多搬到郊區，新移民喜歡住在城內。城市裡又髒又亂，交通一蹋糊塗，很多人對城市沒有好的印象。There is one other particular thing, the old world was “a garden”, the new world is “a city”, there is a big difference between a garden and a city. Many people dislike the city. Many people in America move away from the city to the suburbs but the new immigrants prefer to live in the city. The city is filthy and chaotic, and traffic is a mess. Many people don’t have a good impression of a city.
但聖經對城市有相當正面的評價。不單我們將要住在新的耶路撒冷城，雅歌6:4 也用大城市形容所愛的美人：｢親愛的，妳像得撒那麽美麗，像耶路撒冷那麽動人。｣我們聽慣了對耶路撒冷的稱讚，但再加上得撒是北部的大城，城市會比花園更美麗嗎？我們今天對城市的負面印象，是因為太多罪案、環境骯髒。其實如果沒有這些，城市裡有多姿多彩的生活，有很多趣味的活動，有許多人聚在一起，有歡笑、有藝術、有技能，再加上沒有眼淚、死亡、悲哀、哭號、疼痛，城市是一個熱鬧又美好的地方。But the Bible has a fairly positive assessment of the city. We will be living in the New Jerusalem which is a city. Song of Solomon 6:4 mentions the names of big cities to describe his beloved beautiful woman: “You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling, as lovely as Jerusalem.” When we hear the praises about the cities of Jerusalem and Tirzah, a great northern city, wouldn’t that make us think that a city would be more beautiful than a garden? We have a negative impression of cities because there are too many crimes and the environment is very filthy. But, if there were no crimes or filth in a city and if there were a lot of fun things to do and people would gather together and laugh, enjoy art and skills, and if there were no tears, no death, no sorrow, no crying and no pain, then that city would be a lively and happy place to live in.
IT IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE FEAST OF THE TABERNACLES
3 我聽見有大聲音從寶座出來說：看哪神的帳幕在人間｢，祂要與人同住，他們要作祂的子民，神要親自與他們同在，作他們的神。｣3 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.
舊約聖經裡面的節期，是整個天國歷史的過程。第一個逾越節，殺羊、吃年夜飯，成就第一步救恩，有了天國的子民；五旬節聖靈降臨，教會開始，天國正式開始建造；吹角節主耶穌再降臨，用吹號呼召祂的子民，教會被提；贖罪日預告猶太人全家悔改得贖；最後住棚節，神要在新天新地裡與人同住，祂的施恩座在人中間。The festivals in the Old Testament represent the course of events of the entire history of the kingdom of heaven. The first Passover, the sacrifice of the lamb and the eating of the New Year’s eve dinner accomplished the first step of salvation, there are the people of the kingdom of heaven; during Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down, the church started, the kingdom of heaven officially started its construction; the festival of trumpets, Jesus’ return to earth again, using a trumpet call to gather His people, the church is raptured. Day of Atonement which announces in advance the repentance and salvation of all the Jews. And finally, the feast of the tabernacles, God wants to be with His people in the new heaven and the new earth, His mercy seat will be among the people.
住棚節的｢棚｣，是帳幕，也叫帳棚。住棚節是住在帳幕的節期。到現在，每一年十月住棚節的時候，猶太人仍然大事慶祝，雖然他們不知道有甚麽意義，很多人到耶路撒冷買個小帳棚，住在街上一星期。連那些家庭在耶路撒冷的，都蓋個帳棚在門前。因為這是神吩咐的。他們不讀啟示錄，也不知道這最後大節有甚麽作用，以為只是記念古代先人，像亞伯拉罕等，或出埃及的人眾都曾住在帳棚裡。The “tabernacle” in the feast of tabernacles is a tent which is also called a tabernacle. During the feast of tabernacles, people would live in tents. Nowadays, every year during the month of October, the Jews have a big celebration during the feast of the tabernacles. Although they don’t really know the meaning of it, many people would go to Jerusalem and buy and pitch a tent on the streets and stay in it for one week. Even those who live in Jerusalem would pitch a tent outside their homes. They do it because God commanded them to do it. They do not study the book of Revelation, and they do not know what is the purpose of this great festival. They think that it is just for remembering their ancestors, like Abraham or to remember their people who left Egypt and stayed in tents.
IT IS A PLACE OF JOY AND PEACE
4 要擦去一切眼淚，不再有死亡，不再有悲哀、哭號、疼痛，因為以前的事都過去了。4 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. 其實神的帳幕在人間，乃是預表在新天新地裡，神與人永遠同住。不單與以色列人同住，是與全部眾聖徒、教會全體同住。他們要作祂的子民。laoi 是一個複數字，在別處稱神的子民，都用單數字，但這裡卻用複數字，天下萬國、萬民，所有屬神的人都在裡面。God’s tabernacle among the people represents God dwelling eternally with us in the new heaven and the new earth. He will not only live among the Israelites but also among all the saints, the whole church. They will be His people. The world “ laoi ” is in the plural form. In other passages, whenever it speaks of God’s people, a singular form is used, but here a plural form is used, this includes all peoples of all nations that belong to God.
神應許亞伯拉罕，萬國要因他的後裔得福，眾民族會得福，所有災禍、咒詛不再存在，再沒有眼淚、死亡、悲哀、哭號、疼痛。以後只有福氣沒有災難。啟示錄把這完美結局預示。God promised Abraham that through his offspring all nations of the earth would be blessed. Therefore, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. In the future there will only be blessings, there will be no more disasters. Revelation tells us about this perfect ending.
GOD ‘ S PROVISION FROM BEGINNING TO END
6 祂對我說：都成了，我是阿拉法、是俄梅戛，是初、｢是終，我要將生命泉的水，白白賜給那口渴的人喝。｣6 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.
我們知道這些事，必定發生，因為這是神的工作。祂是創始成終的主。｢都成了｣表示都由神作成了。耶穌在十架上也說過｢成了｣，但兩個｢成了｣是不同的字。在十架上祂的救恩工作已經做完，地上使命做完。但以後地上教會還有很多事要做。只不過祂的重要部份已經做完。在這裡的｢成了｣是整個大計劃完全出現了，因為祂是創始成終的，在十字架上創始了，這裡成終了。We know these things will definitely take place because it is the work of God. He is the Lord from beginning to end. “It is done” means that God is the one who did it all. Jesus also said “It is done” when He was on the cross but both words are different. On the cross, His work of salvation was finished, He had finished His mission on earth. But after that, the church on earth had to many things. It was only the important part that was done. Here, the word “done” talks about His great plan, He was the one who did it from beginning to end, it all started on the cross and ended here.
這裡也出現一句奇怪的話：｢我要將生命泉的水，白白賜給那口渴的人喝。｣這話常指救恩可以白白得到。在以色列地這話很容易明白。因為｢井｣通常是私人自己挖的，當然不會白白供應別人水喝。但泉水不同，是從石山湧出來的，見者有份，人人白白取用，不必得別人同意，不需要政府批准，不需要交水費。耶穌也曾用過這比喻，說人人可以得到祂的救恩。但這裡是告訴我們，到新天新地的時候，祂是創始成終的主，由始至終，祂讓渴慕的人得到滿足，每個渴慕靈福的人都得滿足。只有那些不覺渴的人享受不到救恩。An odd phrase appears here: “To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life . ” This phrase often refers to the free gift of salvation. This phrase is easy to understand when you are in Israel. “ Wells” are dug up on private properties, and so water would not be given to others for free; but a spring of water is different, it flows out from the rocks, everyone can have it for free, they don’t have to ask for anyone’s permission or get approval from the government, you don’t have to pay for it. Jesus once used this metaphor to tell people that everyone could have His salvation. But here it tells us that when we get to the new heaven and the new earth, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End and He satisfies all those who are thirsty. Every soul that thirsts for blessings will be satisfied but those who do not feel thirsty will not enjoy His salvation.
IT IS THE INHERITANCE OF GOD ‘ S PEOPLE
7 得勝的必承受這些為業，我要作他的神，他要作我的兒子。8 惟膽怯的、不信的、可憎的、殺人的、淫亂的、行邪術的、拜偶像的，和一切說謊話的，他們的分就在燒著的硫磺火湖里，這是第二次的死。7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 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.”
為甚麽要得勝的人纔能承受呢？｢得勝｣在中、英文都是很重的字，像要成為勝利英雄，纔能承受新天新地，像要打很多勝仗，死很多細胞纔成。但拉丁語係並沒有這麽嚴重。｢征服｣不一定用在打仗事上，贏得朋友的心，贏得美人歸，也可以用這字。它的意思靠近｢成功｣多過｢戰勝｣，在生活上勝過了自己原有的軟弱，與主的關係成了圓滿的關係。How come only the victorious will inherit all this ? The word “victory” is a very weighty word in Chinese and in English. As if you had to be hero in order to inherit the new heaven and the new earth, as if you had to win many battles. But in the Latin language the word isn’t as weighty. The word “to conquer” not always needs to be used in a battle, it can be used as to win a friends heart or to win a beautiful woman, this word can be used in these cases also. Its meaning is more like “being successful” than to “win a battle”. In our daily lives we must overcome our weaknesses so that we can have a satisfactory relationship with our Lord.
｢膽怯｣這字似乎也過份的嚴重，人人都有害怕的事。如果膽子小一點就要下地獄，是不是太過份了？舊的英文譯本作fearful ，新的翻作cowardly ，似乎比較清楚。不是說膽子小、有害怕情緒的人，都要下地獄。乃是針對當時為信仰受迫害的，如果因為有難處就不敢跟隨主，不敢認主，那就會失去了在天國里的福氣。有很多人雖然害怕，仍然跟隨，那就不算膽怯。像有人站在台上發抖，都要做詩班員或領會，就不是膽怯。人都有發抖的毛病，這不是問題。有沒有堅持原則纔是問題。“The cowardly”, this word seems excessively harsh because everyone is afraid of something. Wouldn’t it be somewhat unduly that if we are a little afraid, we would have to go to hell? In the old English translation, the word “fearful ” is used, in the new translation, the world “cowardly” is used, this seems to clarify it more. It doesn’t say that those who are afraid or those who feel afraid will have to go to hell. Rather, it refers to those who are persecuted for their faith. If they are afraid to follow Jesus when trouble comes, if they are afraid to acknowledge Jesus as their Lord, then they will loose the blessings in the kingdom of heaven. Many people, even though they are afraid, they would still follow Jesus, those people are not considered cowards. I like when people who have stage fright, yet they are part of the choir or are chairman during worship service, they are not considered to be cowards. Everyone is afraid of something but that is not a problem. The problem is when they do not remain committed to their principles.
｢可憎的｣指公開鬧事，不知廉恥，公開犯罪，驕傲自大的人。所以這裡的形容詞，不是說人要做多少纔能進天國，這全是神的作為。成功的人都有神的作為在他們身上。“The vile”, refers to those who openly cause trouble, those who are shameless, those who sin openly, those who are arrogant. These adjectives are not saying that people have to do a lot of things in order to enter the kingdom of heaven because it all depends on God.