Irresistible Attractiveness and Worth
“The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass…And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass (Revelation 21:18 & 21 - you can read the verses in between to get the full effect).”
Down through history gold, precious gems, and pearls attract our attention. They communicate splendor, wealth, and worth. In Revelation 21:18-21, these are used in a measure and size that is far beyond anything we have ever seen or could even imagine. If each of the 12 gates of the immense city were each made of a single pearl, can you imagine the size of the oysters?
Now one thing we must keep in mind is that this image of the city is equal to the image of the bride of Christ (remember 21:9-10). So what is being described is meant to speak of a place, as well as of a people gathered with their God. Here, then, we are being told of a city and a bride of irresistible attractiveness and worth.
As a pastor I sometimes think that someone has secretly stuck a sign on my back that says “ask me questions about heaven.” Middle school boys want to know if they will see their dog in heaven, those who have lost their spouse want my assurance that they will be with their “honey” in heaven.
I understand the reasons for these sorts of questions. It is natural for us to desire more of the best we have known in this world. Yet if the best in this fallen world is the ceiling for our longings in eternity, then we will have aimed far too low. The description in Revelation 21 draws us to think beyond what we have known to things more wonderful, more beautiful and more glorious. Giant pearls and streets of gold are things we would never see in this life, but these descriptions help us to see the precious value the bride-church has in the eyes of her husband, Jesus.