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.
the voice in vv. 3b-4d. Moreover, in vv. 5-8 the Lord God himself proceeds to speak in the first person47. He does it three times with much decision and authority and in a solemn, climactic way. He points out his identity and sovereignty. One can scarcely avoid the impression that this intentional theocentrism might have caused the somewhat strange absence of the Lamb in vv. 1-8.
Nevertheless, husband in 21,2c contains a reference to the Lamb. Moreover, immediately after 21,1-8 the Lamb is mentioned several times: the bride, the wife of the Lamb (21,9); the twelve apostles of the Lamb (21,14); its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb (21,22); the glory of God is its light and its lamp is the Lamb (21,23); the throne of God and of the Lamb (22,1). These five references appear to be a conscious clarification, almost a corrective 48. In 22,13 Christ applies to himself Gods identification of 21,6c: I am the Alpha and the Omega ... the beginning and the end.
III. The Last Two Visions
Why can Rev 20,11-15 and 21,1-8 be called the last two visions? What about 21,922,5? Just as in 17,1-3 one of the seven angels who had the bowls carries John away in the spirit into the wilderness, so also in 21,9-10 one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues carries John away in the spirit to a great high mountain. In 17,3 John sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast (Babylon, Rome) and in 21,10 he sees the holy city Jerusalem (the bride, the wife of the Lamb) coming down out of heaven from God. Just as in 17,4-18 so also in 21,1122,5 the interpreting angel provides the explanation of what is seen by John. Strictly speaking, both passages, 17,1-18 and 21,922,5 are not visions; the first does not carry forward Gods judgment of his enemies nor does the second complete