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.
In what the voice announces in 21,3-4 no more attention is given to the comparison of v. 2c. Three elements can be distinguished: (1) that city is Gods tent (skhnh/) among men (a!nqrwpoi); God will put up his tent (skhnw/sei) among them (v. 3bc); (2) this divine dwelling results in a reciprocal relationship: they will be Gods peoples (laoi/) and God himself will be with them as their God (v. 3de: the covenant formula); (3) the whole of verse 4 then indicates what God through this newness will bring about; he will take away all suffering and even death.
In v. 5a the one who is seated renders the same Greek term as the one who sat in 5,1 (kaqh/menon). Three times a verb of saying introduces a direct speech of God: kai_ ei]pen (v. 5a), kai_ le/gei (v. 5c) and kai_ ei]pe/n moi (v. 6a) 24. The third and last time Gods speaking is much longer (see vv. 6b-8b)25. Therefore, verses 5-8 are best divided into v. 5ab, v. 5cd and vv. 6-8. (1) By means of see, I am making all things new in v. 5b God refers to the new things mentioned in vv. 1-4 and highlights his personal involvement (cf. v. 2b: from God). The prophetic present I am making refers to the end time. (2) By his command to write as well as by its motivation in v. 5d God underscores the validity of what he said in v. 5b (and, through v. 5b, of course, of the entire content in vv. 1-4)26.