The Meaning of Revelation 21:4 Explained

Revelation 21:4

KJV: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

YLT: and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and the death shall not be any more, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, because the first things did go away.'

Darby: And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall not exist any more, nor grief, nor cry, nor distress shall exist any more, for the former things have passed away.

ASV: and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.

What does Revelation 21:4 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Revelation 21:3 describes the benefits of the New Jerusalem positively, and Revelation 21:4 does so negatively. Probably God will wipe away all tears at the inception of the eternal state rather than at some time after that. These are tears caused by life in the old creation, not tears of repentance. This reference to wiping away tears highlights God"s compassion for His people. Sorrow, death, and pain will all end along with the tears, mourning, and crying that result from them. This is a final reversal of the curse ( Genesis 3). All these former experiences will be gone forever then. However note that the removal of tears will take place after the judgments, including the judgment seat of Christ when some Christians will suffer the loss of reward ( 1 Corinthians 3:15; cf. 1 John 2:28). The "first" things are the former things, the things associated with the old creation.
"How different is this concept of heaven from that of Hinduism, for example? Here heaven is depicted as a city, with life, activity, interest, and people, as opposed to the Hindu ideal of heaven as a sea into which human life returns like a raindrop to the ocean." [1]

Context Summary

Revelation 21:1-8 - "a New Heaven And A New Earth"
Here is a vision of the new creation. This is the "restitution of all things" to which Peter refers in Acts 3:21, and the deliverance of creation from the bondage of corruption which Paul anticipates in Romans 8:21. No words can portray in positive description what that universe will be, and even the inspired writer has to confine himself to negatives. All he does is to name various elements of terror and dread, saying: This shall not be there, nor that, nor the other, all of which are the fell brood of human sin. The one great positive blessing will be that which was given to Israel in type, but then will be the perpetual experience of the human family. Compare Revelation 21:3 and Exodus 25:8. Let us see to it that here and now the Lord Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the A and Z of our life. If so, we may even in this mortal life begin to experience the life of the redeemed. We may now inherit all these things, and know the intimacy of Revelation 21:7. But we must overcome. Note that the fearful, that is, the cowardly, who draw back in the face of opposition, are classed with the abominable and murderers. [source]

Chapter Summary: Revelation 21

1  A new heaven and a new earth
10  The heavenly Jerusalem, with a full description thereof
23  She needs no sun, the glory of God being her light
24  The kings of the earth bring their riches unto her

Greek Commentary for Revelation 21:4

Shall wipe away every tear from their eyes [εχαλειπσει παν δακρυον εκ των οπταλμων αυτων]
More exactly, “shall wipe out every tear out of their eyes” (repetition of εχ — ex) like a tender mother as in Revelation 7:17 (Isaiah 25:8). There is no more that ought to cause a tear, for death (τανατος — thanatos) is no more, mourning (πεντος — penthos), associated with death and crying (κραυγη — kraugē wailing), and pain (πονος — ponos as in Revelation 16:10) are all gone. There is peace and bliss. [source]
And God shall wipe away []
Omit God. Read, as Rev., and He shall wipe away. [source]
All tears [πᾶν δάκρυον]
Lit., every tear. Compare Isaiah 25:8. [source]
There shall be no more death [ὁ θάνατος οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι]
Render, as Rev., death shall be no more. [source]
Sorrow [πένθος]
Better, as Rev., mourning, since the word signifies manifested grief. See on Matthew 5:4; see on James 4:9. Compare Isaiah 65:19. “That soul I say,” observes Socrates, “herself invisible, departs to the invisible world - to the divine and immortal and rational: thither arriving, she is secure of bliss, and is released from the error and folly of men, their fears and wild passions, and all other human ills, and forever dwells, as they say of the initiated, in company with the gods” (Plato, “Phaedo,” 81). So Sophocles:“Sorrow touches not the dead.”“Oedipus Coloneus,” 966 “How thrice happy those of mortals, who, having had these ends in view, depart to Hades; for to them alone is it given there to live; but to others, all things there are evil” (“Fragment”). And Euripides:“The dead, tearless, forgets his pains.”“Troades,” 606 [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Revelation 21:4

Colossians 4:13 Zeal [ζῆλον]
Read πόνον laborwhich occurs elsewhere only in Revelation 16:10, Revelation 16:11; Revelation 21:4, in the sense of pain. Πονος laboris from the root of πένομαι towork for one's daily bread, and thence to be poor. Πόνος toil πένης onewho works for his daily bread, and πονηρός wickedhave a common root. See on wickedness, Mark 7:22. In their original conceptions, κόπος labor(1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 6:5) emphasizes the fatigue of labor: μόχθος hardlabor (2 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:9), the hardship: πόνος theeffort, but πόνος has passed, in the New Testament, in every instance but this, into the meaning of pain. [source]
Hebrews 4:10 As God did from his [ὤσπερ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰδίων ὁ θεός]
Rend. as God (did ) from his own. Ἰδίων ownsignifies more than mere possession. Rather, works peculiarly his own, thus hinting at the perfect nature of the original works of creation as corresponding with God's nature and bearing his impress. The blessing of the Sabbath-rest is thus put as a cessation from labors. The basis of the conception is Jewish, the rest of the Sabbath being conceived as mere abstinence from labor, and not according to Christ's conception of the Sabbath, as a season of refreshment and beneficent activity, Mark 2:27; John 5:17. Our writer's conception is not the rabbinical conception of cessation of work, but rather of the cessation of the weariness and pain which accompany human labor. Comp. Revelation 14:13; Revelation 21:4; Luke 11:7; Luke 18:5; Galatians 6:17. [source]
1 Peter 1:4 Incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away []
Note Peter's characteristic multiplication of epithets. Incorruptible ( ἄφθαρτον )From ἀ , not, and φθείρω , to destroy or corrupt. Undefiled ( ἀμίαντον )From ἀ , not, and μιαίνω , to defile, though the verb means especially to defile by staining, as with color; while μολύνω , also translated defile (1 Corinthians 8:7), is to besmirch, as with mire. We might render unstained, though the word is not used with any conscious reference to its etymology. That fadeth not away ( ἀμάραντον ) Used by Peter only, and but once. From ἀ , not, and μαραίνομαι , to wither. The loveliness of the heavenly inheritance is described as exempt from the blight which attaches to earthly bloom. As between ἄφθαρτον , incorruptible, and ἀμάραντον , unwitheringthe former emphasizes the indestructibility of substance, and the latter of grace, and beauty. The latter adjective appears in the familiar botanical name amaranth. It will be observed that all of these three epithets are compounded with the negative particle ἀ , not. Archbishop Trench aptly remarks that “it is a remarkable testimony to the reign of sin, and therefore of imperfection, of decay, of death throughout this whole fallen world, that as often as we desire to set forth the glory, purity, and perfection of that other, higher world toward which we strive, we are almost inevitably compelled to do this by the aid of negatives; by the denying to that higher order of things the leading features and characteristics of this.” Compare Revelation 21:1, Revelation 21:4, Revelation 21:22, Revelation 21:23, Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:3, Revelation 22:5. [source]
Revelation 11:14 Is past [απηλτεν]
Second aorist active indicative of απερχομαι — aperchomai See Revelation 9:12 for this use and Revelation 21:1, Revelation 21:4. The second woe (η ουαι η δευτερα — hē ouai hē deutera) is the sixth trumpet (Revelation 9:12) with the two episodes attached (10:1-11:13). [source]
Revelation 16:10 Was darkened [εγενετο εσκοτωμενη]
Periphrastic past perfect passive with γινομαι — ginomai and σκοτοω — skotoō (Revelation 9:2). Like the darkness of the Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:22) and worse, for the effects of the previous plagues continue.They gnawed their tongues (εμασωντο τας γλωσσας αυτων — emasōnto tas glōssas autōn). Imperfect middle of μασαομαι — masaomai old verb (to chew), from μαω — maō (to knead), only here in N.T.For pain “Out of distress” (cf. εκ — ek in Revelation 8:13), rare sense of old word (from πενομαι — penomai to work for one‘s living), in N.T. only here, Revelation 21:4; Colossians 4:13. See Matthew 8:12. [source]
Revelation 16:10 For pain [εκ του πονου]
“Out of distress” (cf. εκ — ek in Revelation 8:13), rare sense of old word (from πενομαι — penomai to work for one‘s living), in N.T. only here, Revelation 21:4; Colossians 4:13. See Matthew 8:12. [source]
Revelation 18:7 So much give her of torment and mourning [τοσουτον δοτε αυτηι βασανισμον και πεντος]
Second aorist active imperative of διδωμι — didōmi to give. The correlative pronoun τοσουτον — tosouton is masculine singular accusative, agreeing with βασανισμον — basanismon for which see Revelation 9:5; Revelation 14:11, and is understood with the neuter word πεντος — penthos (mourning), in N.T. only in James 4:9; Revelation 18:7.; Revelation 21:4 (kin to πατοσ πενομαι — pathosκατημαι βασιλισσα — penomai). [source]
Revelation 20:14 Were cast [εβλητησαν]
As the devil (Revelation 20:10) followed the two beasts (Revelation 19:20) into the same dread lake of fire. Death is personified and is disposed of, “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26) and Paul sings the paean of victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:54., from Hosea 13:14). Hades has no more terrors, for the saints are in heaven. There is no more fear of death (Hebrews 2:15), for death is no more (Revelation 21:4). The second death (Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 21:8) is here identified as in Revelation 21:8 with the lake of fire. [source]
Revelation 7:17 And God shall wipe away [και εχαλειπσει ο τεος]
Repeated in Revelation 21:4 from Isaiah 25:8. Future active of εχαλειπω — exaleiphō old compound, to wipe out (εχ — ex), off, away, already in Revelation 3:5 for erasing a name and in Acts 3:19 for removing the stain (guilt) of sin. [source]
Revelation 18:7 Herself [αυτην]
Reflexive pronoun, accusative also with εδοχασεν — edoxasen wanton First aorist (ingressive) active indicative of στρηνιαω — strēniaō (to live luxuriously), verb in late comedy instead of τρυπαω — truphaō (James 5:5), from στρηνος — strēnos (Revelation 18:3), only here in N.T.So much give her of torment and mourning (τοσουτον δοτε αυτηι βασανισμον και πεντος — tosouton dote autēi basanismon kai penthos). Second aorist active imperative of διδωμι — didōmi to give. The correlative pronoun τοσουτον — tosouton is masculine singular accusative, agreeing with βασανισμον — basanismon for which see Revelation 9:5; Revelation 14:11, and is understood with the neuter word πεντος — penthos (mourning), in N.T. only in James 4:9; Revelation 18:7.; Revelation 21:4 (kin to πατοσ πενομαι — pathosκατημαι βασιλισσα — penomai).I sit a queen Predicate nominative for the old form βασιλις — basileia Feminine of the adjective πεντος ου μη ιδω — chēros (barren), old word (Mark 12:40).Shall in no wise see mourning Confident boast of security with emphatic position of ου μη — penthos (see above) and double negative οραω — ou mē with the second aorist active subjunctive of horaō (defective verb). [source]
Revelation 7:17 Shall be their shepherd [παιμανει αυτους]
“Shall shepherd them,” future active of ποιμαινω — poimainō (from ποιμην — poimēn shepherd), in John 21:16; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2; Revelation 2:27; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:15. Jesus is still the Good Shepherd of his sheep (John 10:11, John 10:14.). Cf. Psalm 23:1.Shall guide them (οδη γησει αυτους — hodē gēsei autous). Future active of οδηγεω — hodēgeō old word (from οδηγος — hodēgos guide, Matthew 15:14), used of God‘s guidance of Israel (Exodus 15:13), of God‘s guidance of individual lives (Psalm 5:9), of the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), of Christ‘s own guidance here (cf. John 14:4; Revelation 14:4).Unto fountains of waters of life The language is like that in Isaiah 49:10; Jeremiah 2:13. Note the order, “to life‘s water springs” (Swete) like the Vulgate ad vitae fontes aquarum, with emphasis on ζωης — zōēs (life‘s). For this idea see also John 4:12, John 4:14; John 7:38.; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:17. No special emphasis on the plural here or in Revelation 8:10; Revelation 14:7; Revelation 16:4.And God shall wipe away (και εχαλειπσει ο τεος — kai exaleipsei ho theos). Repeated in Revelation 21:4 from Isaiah 25:8. Future active of εχαλειπω — exaleiphō old compound, to wipe out (εχ — ex), off, away, already in Revelation 3:5 for erasing a name and in Acts 3:19 for removing the stain (guilt) of sin.Every tear Old word, with other form, δακρυ — dakru in Luke 7:38, Luke 7:44. Note repetition of εκ — ek with οπταλμων — ophthalmōn (out of their eyes). “Words like these of Revelation 7:15-17 must sound as a divine music in the ears of the persecuted. God will comfort as a mother comforts” (Baljon). [source]
Revelation 7:17 Unto fountains of waters of life [επι ζωης πηγας υδατων]
The language is like that in Isaiah 49:10; Jeremiah 2:13. Note the order, “to life‘s water springs” (Swete) like the Vulgate ad vitae fontes aquarum, with emphasis on ζωης — zōēs (life‘s). For this idea see also John 4:12, John 4:14; Revelation 7:15-17.; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:17. No special emphasis on the plural here or in Revelation 8:10; Revelation 14:7; Revelation 16:4.And God shall wipe away (και εχαλειπσει ο τεος — kai exaleipsei ho theos). Repeated in Revelation 21:4 from Isaiah 25:8. Future active of εχαλειπω — exaleiphō old compound, to wipe out (εχ — ex), off, away, already in Revelation 3:5 for erasing a name and in Acts 3:19 for removing the stain (guilt) of sin.Every tear Old word, with other form, δακρυ — dakru in Luke 7:38, Luke 7:44. Note repetition of εκ — ek with οπταλμων — ophthalmōn (out of their eyes). “Words like these of John 7:38 must sound as a divine music in the ears of the persecuted. God will comfort as a mother comforts” (Baljon). [source]

What do the individual words in Revelation 21:4 mean?

And He will wipe away every tear from the eyes of them - death not will be any longer nor mourning crying pain they will be because the former things have passed away
καὶ ἐξαλείψει πᾶν δάκρυον ἐκ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν θάνατος οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι οὔτε πένθος κραυγὴ πόνος ἔσται ὅτι τὰ πρῶτα ἀπῆλθαν

ἐξαλείψει  He  will  wipe  away 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐξαλείφω  
Sense: to anoint or wash in every part.
πᾶν  every 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: πᾶς  
Sense: individually.
δάκρυον  tear 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: δάκρυον  
Sense: a tear.
ὀφθαλμῶν  eyes 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ὀφθαλμός  
Sense: the eye.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
θάνατος  death 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: θάνατος 
Sense: the death of the body.
ἔσται  will  be 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ἔτι  any  longer 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἔτι  
Sense: yet, still.
οὔτε  nor 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: οὔτε  
Sense: neither, and not.
πένθος  mourning 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: πένθος  
Sense: mourning.
κραυγὴ  crying 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: κραυγή  
Sense: a crying, outcry, clamour.
πόνος  pain 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: πόνος  
Sense: great trouble, intense desire.
ἔσται  they  will  be 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ὅτι  because 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
πρῶτα  former  things 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: πρῶτος  
Sense: first in time or place.
ἀπῆλθαν  have  passed  away 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ἀπέρχομαι  
Sense: to go away, depart.