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.
(21,23; cf. 22,5). Gods dwelling with men cannot but produce a covenantal relationship: they are his peoples, he is their God (21,3de).
This eschatological salvation is further explained negatively: no more grief and groaning, no more death (21,4abc and cf. the exclusion sayings of 21,8.27; 22,3a), but then also positively: the gift of water (21,6d), inheritance (21,7a), sonship (21,7bc) and, of course, Gods radiant glory itself (21,22-26), as well as the river of the water of life (22,1-5ab). The believers will reign forever and ever (22,5c; cf., e.g., 20,6: they are priests of God and of Christ and they will reign)45.
Covenant and Adoption. Are the covenant formula (21,3de) and the adoption formula (21,7bc) without a mutual connection? Just as in the alleged fragment 2 Cor 6,147,1, so also in Rev 21,1-8 both formulae are employed in the same context and in a similar interrupted sequence. The two formulae appear to be intended as complementary promises; they interpret one another, but adoption appears to be more than covenant. Compare 2 Cor 6,16d with Rev 21,3de (covenant), and 2 Cor 6,17d-18b with Rev 21,7bc (adoption). In 2 Cor 6 Paul inserts allusions to other Old Testament texts; he uses introductory expressions which show that he wants to cite; the covenant formula is most probably cited from Lev 26,12, not from Ezek 37,27; in 6,18 he expands the last clause of the adoption formula: and you will be sons and daughters to me46.
John does not formally introduce his references; as a matter of fact he does not quote properly. Within the context of 21,1-8 the adoption formula probably has a climactic function. No longer the voice and the third person as for the covenant formula, but God himself speaks in the first person singular. Moreover, the collective plural of men and peoples gives way to a seemingly more direct and engaging singular: the individual is addressed. Not only divine presence and gifts and inheritance are offered, not only overwhelming riches, but a filial relationship with God.
God and Lamb. The passage 21,1-8 is remarkably theocentric. In vv. 1-4 God is explicitly mentioned three times. He is the only agent; he makes all things new (cf. v. 5b). This is highlighted by the words of