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Gold - The Streets of the New Jerusalem
What can be said about gold that hasn't already been said? Gold has been the epitome of wealth, the essence of all things bright, clear, shiny, rich, and royal. Gold has been the standard by which countries and empires have measured their wealth and traded their goods. It has graced many palaces, crowns, jewelry, and even used in the plating of many implements in the ancient Hebrew Tabernacle. King Solomon overlaid much of the woodwork in his temple with gold, and it was a world wonder until it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
Today we will discuss the properties of gold, and what it means to the Bride of Christ. For those who have read the other hubs related to the 12 Tribes of Israel, there will be no integration of that discussion this time. We have left Aaron's Breastplate and now focus on the last remaining description of the New Jerusalem before going on to other passages in the Bible where God adorns His Bride.
Sources and Research
Make-up and Characteristics
Gold is an interesting metal. It is one of the few metals that can maintain it's beauty and lustre without regard to exposure to the elements. By itself, gold is a very soft metal and quite malleable. For a metal worker to get it to hold it's shape, gold must be mixed with another metal to form a gold alloy. The percentage of gold in the alloy is what lends to the concept of ranking pieces of jewelry according to karats. 24 karate gold is considered the densest alloy available while still maintaining strength to hold form and desired appearance.
Gold's ability to resist corrosion by most chemicals, conduct electricity, and it's malleability have led it into more than just wealth and accessories. Gold also finds itself working hard for a living in various commercial settings such as dentistry, where gold is often used in tooth crowns and caps.
Typically, gold is a yellow colour, but when combined with various alloys, can take on the appearance of white or rose, and even other colours less common. Gold has been mined all over the world from ancient times to the present.
Analogy in Scripture
Gold's refiniing process is so ancient that it was easily used as a reference point when God spoke through the prophets. He gives the analogy of the Refiner sitting at his fire, boiling the impurities to the surface and skimming them off until he see his reflection. This analogy describes how God will refine His people, until they reflect His face to the world around them.
We see God adorning His Bride with gold in Exekiel and Song of Solomon. They are described as chains of gold around their neck. In Exekiel, gold and silver are the metals described for the earings, bracelet, necklace, forehead ornament and crown. As we are only discussing the metal right now, we won't go into those other presentations for today. But these are mentioned to point out that in the New Jerusalem, the gold considered so precious by the world's standards, will be used as pavement instead. God Himself appreciates the appearance of gold or He wouldn't use it, but the lowly position in which it is given in eternity should help us put this precious metal into perspective.
So what does this metal have to say about the Bride of Christ?
In John's description of the streets paved with gold, he mentions that they are of the purest gold, and transparent at that. No gold known to man has ever been transparent, but as best the human mind could fathom when seeing this magnificent city come down out of heaven, such was the description chosen by John.
This would suggest that the Bride of Christ has gone through the purifying flames of trial and testing. The dross of sin has been removed from her soiled garments of righteousness, and she stands pure before God, transparent before Him, confident that she can bare everything to Him in complete transparency, and He is pleased. His glory is reflected in her, as described of the New Jerusalem, and there is no evil in her.
We've heard it said many times throughout the Church age, that trails and temptations come to test us, to see if we've learned the ways of God and are walking in them, bringing to the surface issues that God wants to address in our lives. We are told in Scripture not to think it evil when firey trials assail us, but to rejoice because we are being transformed into His likeness.
Just as pure gold is malleable and easily pliant in the hand of the smithy and the jeweler, so God desires that we would be moldable in His hands just like the concept of wet clay on the potter's wheel. (another analogy we won't go into for the purposes of this discussion) God longs to see His glory reflected in our lives. Gold, the colour, represents God's glory in the Christian useage of colour in Scripture. The more we reflect His glory, the more we allow difficult times to refine us, the more pliable we are in His hands, the more intimate a relationship we can then enjoy with the Creator of the Universe. A couple cannot truly enjoy each other if they are not transparent with each other. Nor can we enjoy an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ if we do not let Him see into every area of our lives. One day the Bride of Christ will stand before Him pure and transparent, radiating His glory.
© 2013 Marilynn Dawson