Vs. 1 The new heaven and new earth represents a change to a new system of things. It has always stood for a change in the present system. For example:
Isa. 65:17-19 (This context discusses the restoration of Israel [from Babylonian captivity?] into restored Israel and finally the church)
Isa. 66:22 (This context speaks of the same changed order, restored Israel.)
2 Pet. 3:10-13 (Here he speaks of the new system after the destruction of the universe.)
Vs. 2 The Holy City, New Jerusalem refers not to heaven, but something from heaven, the church.
The bride is the church. This further proves that the vision here is of the church, not heaven.
Heb. 12:22-23 (The heavenly Jerusalem is called the church!)
Gal. 4:26 (The church is referred to as the Jerusalem from above, the mother of us all.)
2 Cor. 11:2 (Christians are said to be married to Christ.)
Mt. 9:15 (Christ refers to himself as the bridegroom.)
Isa. 62:5 (Restored Israel, the church, is said to be the bride of christ.)
Hos. 2:16 (Restored Israel will call God a name meaning husband instead of task master.)
Vs. 3 The tabernacle of God is with men. Perhaps this is a way of saying God's dwelling is now with men. Col. 1:20-21 Or more likely it speaks of the church as the present temple of God.
He also speaks of our relationship with God. He is our God and we are his children. This speaks of our current, new covenant relationship with God. Compare with Jer. 31:31-33.
Eph. 2:19-22 (We as individual christians are lively stones in God's spiritual temple, the church.)
Ezek. 37:27 (Ezekiel prophesies of the new covenant era and says during this time, God's tabernacle will be with men.)
Vs. 4 God wipes away all tears, there is no more death, sorrow, crying or pain. This is so because the former things are passed away. The passing away of the former things [compare Isa. 65:17b] possibly refers to the death of the beast, pagan Rome, that had persecuted the church. See Rev. 18:2-10. Thus this signifies, not the end of all sorrows, but the end of persecution from the enemy of the church.
Isa. 35:8-10 (This passage speaks of the state of God's kingdom, probably the church, as having an end of sorrow.)
Isa. 51:11 (Restored Israel will see an end of sorrow.)
Isa. 14:3 (After the fall of Babylon, Israel will have a rest from sorrow. This spoke specifically of the end of certain persecutions, not the total cessation of all sorrow.)
Vs. 5 All things are made new. 2 Cor. 5:17 (In Christ, old things are done away. Our past life is gone. We live life as a new creature.)
Vs. 6 Christ offers us the water of life, living water. Living water represents the grace of God, his word, the new life in him, the indwelling Spirit, etc..
Zech. 14:8 (In this passage, the living water speaks of forgiveness that comes from Christ, both to those in the former ages and those in the christian age.)
Jn. 4:10 (When Jesus offered the woman at the well living water, he was offering her forgiveness and a changed life.)
Jn. 7:37-39 (Here the living water speaks specifically of the Holy Spirit that dwells with us as an indication that we are God's child. See Rom. 8:16, Eph. 1:13-14, etc..)
Vs. 7 Those who overcome and are part of the inheritance will have the relationship with God discussed in verse 3. See also II Cor. 6:16-18.
Vs. 8 The wicked, those not in the city, will be lost.
Vs. 9 This verse makes it perfectly clear that what is being presented in this chapter is not heaven but the bride of Christ, the church.
Vs. 10 This repeats what was seen in verse 2. Compare his seeing this from a great mountain with Ezek. 40:2.
Vs. 11 The city is illuminated by the glory of God. Compare with Ezek. 43:5.
Vs. 12-13 The city was walled with twelve gates, one for each tribe. Compare with Ezek. 48:31-34.
Vs. 14 The city has 12 foundations, one for each apostle. See Eph. 2:20.
Vs. 15-16 The city is measured with a golden reed. Compare this with Rev. 11:1. The measuring with a golden reed symbolizes the holiness of the church in contrast with the profane institutions of men. Ezek. 10:1-5, Ezek. 42:20
Vs. 17-18 The wall is jewelled and the city is gold.
Vs. 19-20 The twelve foundations [see verse 14] are made of different stones.
1 Cor. 3:12 (In this passage, precious metals and stones are used in reference to christian work.)
Isa. 54:10-13 (Here the idea of a jewelled city is used to suggest the people being at peace with God.)
Vs. 21 The gates are pearl and the streets are golden. See notes above.
Vs. 22 There is no temple there. See Jn. 4:21. Christ replaces the literal temple because his death replaces the sacrifices once made there. Heb. 10:1-12
Vs. 23 Christ and God are the light of the city.
Isa. 60:19-20 (Restored Israel is promised the Lord will be their light.)
Isa. 9:2/Mt. 4:12-16 (The teaching and influence of Christ is compared to a light.)
Jn. 8:12, Eph. 5:14 (Christ is our light. By shedding the light of his truth, he offers us freedom from the darkness of sin.)
1 Jn. 1:5 (God is light. Truth and guidance for a righteous life come from him.)
Vs. 24 The saved shall walk in the light. This is taught in passages like 1 Jn. 1:7.
Isa. 49:23 (Leaders of the earth are elsewhere seen as giving honor to God's kingdom. This stands in contrast with the former state of Roman rulers trying to destroy the church.)
Vs. 25 The gates of the city are always open. Compare this with Isa. 60:11. The salvation opportunity perpetually goes out to all people of all nations.
There will be no night during with the gates are closed and access is denied. See Isa. 60:20 and Zech. 14:7.
Isa. 2:2-3 (The house of God, the church, will be accessed by all nations.
Acts 2:39 (The promise of salvation goes out to people of all nations and ages.)
Vs. 26 The glory of the nations is brought to the kingdom. This corresponds with verse 25 with Isa. 2:2. Also note Isa. 60:2-5.
Vs. 27 No person that is defiled shall enter, only those written in the book.
Acts 2:47 (Only the saved are added to the church.)
Isa. 52:1 (Here is a promise of the changed condition of entering God's kingdom.)