Revelation 21:5 ESV And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

A. Do "these words" refer to all the words of Revelation?

B. Do "these words" refer to the same words as "write what you see" in Rev 1:11?

C. In John 6:32 "alethinon...arton" is the true/real/ultimate bread of which the manna of Exodus 16:31 was a shadow. In what sense are "these words" the real/true/alethinoi words?

D. Do "these words" refer to something just spoken or about to be spoken? e.g. "I am the Alpha and the Omega" Rev 21:6 might be the real/true/alethinoi beginning and end to which all other beginnings and ends point.

  • The natural reading would be everything spoken in Rev 21:5 to 21:8
    – Henry
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


The operative word here in Rev 21:5 is οὗτοι (= these) the plural of οὗτος (= this). In this case it occurs in the phrase οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι (literally, "these the words".

Grammatically, according to BDAG, this phrase could refer to either:

  1. What immediately precedes, thus, "I am making everything new!"
  2. What immediately follows, thus, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give freely from the spring of the water of life. The one who overcomes will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. But to the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.”

I believe that in this instance we have at least three indicators of the first possibility, what immediately precedes because:

  • The speech is part of the One seated on the throne saying things
  • The phrase is not just "these words", but "these the words" - note the use of the article which is most often anaphoric, ie, refers to something that which comes before.
  • There are three clauses introducing direct speech in V5-8 as follows:
  • καὶ εἶπεν (and he said) the one sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!"
  • καὶ λέγει (and he says) "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
  • καὶ εἶπέν (and he said) "“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End ...

Note that the middle speech is a continuation of the first. But the third is the beginning of a new speech.


"These words" very likely refers to what was just said, namely, "I am making everything new!"

Having said that, John is often told to write things down because the verb appears quite often in the book of Revelation - about 28 times. We have it here today so John was certainly faithful in doing all the writing he was commanded to complete - the entire book of revelation.


The Greek word γράφω to write is used 29 times in Revelation. It is a running theme in this book.

Revelation 1:11

which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea."

John is periodically reminded to record what he sees and hears throughout the whole book. Just before the verse that you quoted, we have Revelation 19:9

Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" And he added, "These are the true words of God."

Then John continues to see and hear more things till Revelation 21:5

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

In its immediate context, "these words" refers to what he has heard since after Revelation 19:9.

Another theme of this book is the emphasis on the truthfulness of the words he hears. As John continues in Revelation 22:6

The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place."

John 6:32

Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.

In Revelation, John receives true words from the glorious heavenly Jesus.

Revelation 22:19

And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

Bread sustains our physical life. Indeed, John's recorded words in Revelation sustains our eternal life.

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