Jan Lambrecht, «Final Judgments and Ultimate Blessings: The Climactic Visions of Revelation 20,11-21,8», Vol. 81 (2000) 362-385
Rev 20,11-15 and 21,1-8 contain the last two vision reports. The first does not deal with a general resurrection followed by a general judgment with respectively reward and condemnation. Attention is negatively focused on the final judgments of Death and Hades, as well as of those whose names are not found written in the book of life. In the second vision John sees a new heaven and a new earth and, more specifically, the new Jerusalem, i.e., the church universal of the end-time. The voice from the throne and God himself climactically proclaim final blessings. The covenant formula announces God's dwelling among the peoples, the adoption formula even a divine filial relationship: these are the main content of the ultimate blessings. Hermeneutical reflection on annihilation or transformation, on theocentrism versus human responsibilty and on the expectation of Christ's imminent parousia conclude the study.
Rev 20,1121,8 can hardly be called a self-contained pericope, nor even a text unit. Within the major section 16,1722,5 (seventh bowl and completion) the passage 20,11-15 concludes the text unit of the final judgment which deals with the destruction of the beast, the false prophet and the dragon, and with the judgment of the dead (19,1120,15), while the new Jerusalem passage 21,1-8 is clearly connected with the description and explanation given by the interpreting angel in 21,922,5. These two passages, however, can be taken together. They constitute the final two visions of John the prophet in which something happens to mortals, one rather negative (the judgment of the dead) and the other very positive (the appearance of the new Jerusalem, the bride)1.
Moreover, the two passages each with a twofold kai_ ei]don (20,11.12 and 21,1.2) are also linked by themes and vocabulary: see death in 20,14 and 21,4; the identification of the second death in 20,14 and 21,8. The lake of fire in 20,14 and 15 corresponds to the lake that burns with fire and sulphur in 21,8. The disappearance of the (first) heaven and the (first) earth is spoken of in 20,11 as well as in 21,1. Sea in 21,1 refers to sea in 20,13 (sea, Death and Hades giving up the dead) but also proves that the author has not forgotten its absence in 20,14 (only personified Death and Hades are punished). Moreover, the theme of life in the book of life (20,12 and 15) reappears in the fountain of the water of life in 21,6. Some of those whose name was not found written in the book of life in 20,15 are specified in the list