Posted in street of gold, tribulation, wealth

Wealth is relative

Photo Wikimedia. Our plate had only two claws on it.

Some time ago, I went out to dinner with my husband and a well-heeled couple. The rich couple were hosting some clients. We all ate at a very high-end restaurant in Miami. We had attentive waiters, there were plush carpets, an extensive wine list…one of those places. I remember ordering the stone crab claw appetizers for $30 per plate, and this was in the 1990s.

Growing up, I never paid attention to money much. We always had a lot of it. I thought it was important to be frugal, though, and moderate with money, and to be generous. But as to the amounts, I didn’t pay attention. It was always there.

In my early adult years I owned a home and had a professional job, and not a lot of debt except the house. I liked earning my own money and paying for things in a timely manner. I guess you could say that I was a regular person in my relationship to money and personal wealth.

Now of course, the economy in America has changed and many people are struggling, even if they are lucky enough to have a job. “The working poor” I think the term is.  Wikipedia explains:

While poverty is often associated with joblessness, a significant proportion of the poor in the US and Canada, but also Italy, Spain, and Ireland are actually employed. The wages the working poor receive are insufficient to provide basic necessities and lead to people making choices between having food on the table or having a table. Largely because they are earning such low wages, the working poor face numerous obstacles that make it difficult for many of them to find and keep a job, save up money…

So back to the long-ago fancy dinner in Miami. The bill came to well over $600. I was amazed that one evening’s entertainment could be so expensive. I remarked as such to the host (a person with I was very familiar, so we could speak familiarly). He said, “It’s like this. You go out and spend $60 and it’s not so much money to you, because of your income. I go out and spend $600 and to me it is not so much, because of my income. It’s only another zero.”

He said that in 1998, and I remember it today. “It’s only another zero.”

The coming Tribulation will widen the gap between the working poor, who will simply become the poor, and the rich. There will be extreme wealth (Rev 18:3) and extreme poverty (Rev 6:6).

The extremely wealthy will trade in ivory and gems and spices and men. The poor will work all day for a loaf of bread.

However the relativity of wealth even then will be able to be comprehended. The people eating bread will glare at the large limos gliding by, the wealthy eating in restaurants, and the money traded as ships come in. “It’s only another zero” will still be comprehensible.

However, the wealth I am thinking of is incalculable.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

There are not enough zeroes in the world to comprehend the treasure that awaits His children.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

The inheritance is our salvation come to full fruition in the eternal state. Oh, yes, we will receive physical inheritance, in terms of rewards, and a place in His Father’s house prepared for us, and we will dwell where there are magnificent jewels and a street of gold. That is not the inheritance I am speaking of. That is like what we think of on earth when we inherit the grandmother’s jewels or mom’s house or dad’s roadster.

What we inherit is salvation, and then we inherit Christ. He is the unique jewel of the universe, distinct in glory and beauty.

And there are other things too, we can’t even conceive of.

“But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

The difference between a rich man and a poor man’s zero is minuscule compared to the riches of His immeasurable grace and our inheritance in Christ Jesus.

May these thoughts bless and encourage you. 

Posted in precious, street of gold

Gold is not so precious

The bible discusses gold and treasure quite often. God is a precious metal to us here on earth. It has been since the beginning and it still is today. Subsequently, men become foolish for gold (and other treasure) and store it up. There are lots of warnings about why not to store it up. For example,

“Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.” (James 5:3).

Also, gold and other treasure are destroyed by moths and rust. (Matthew 6:19). It can get stolen. (Matthew 6:20).

1 Peter 1:7 says that gold is destroyed. 1 Peter 1:18 said that gold is perishable. Lamentations 4:1 says that gold tarnishes. Matthew 23:17 says that the temple is infinitely more valuable than the gold in the temple. “You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?”

Gold is called a precious metal, but is it really precious? Most couples have a gold wedding band. Women have gold necklaces or earrings. Men have gold tie clips or cufflinks. A gold watch can be bought for $110. There is gold in every computer’s circuit board. Some people use gold for teeth! Does that sound precious to you?

We think of gold as a precious metal but here on earth it’s not really. In the heavenly eternal state, it’s really not precious.

Typically we think of the gold street as something of beauty that the Lord has adorned His holy city for His bride. (Revelation 21:2). And that is true. But here is an opposite thought just to ponder:

Something that is precious is rare. It is even unique. Faith in Jesus is really the only precious thing there is. (1 Peter 1:7). There is only ONE Jesus! Now, that’s precious! The New Jerusalem even has no temple because God and Jesus is the temple (Rev 21:22).

As Pastor Jordan Hall said, “The traditional thought on these streets of gold (Revelation 21:21b) is that God is demonstrating the worth of Heaven. Could it be instead that God is demonstrating the worthlessness of gold?”

With such a precious treasure before our eyes, what is gold, then? In heaven, it is a common material that we will tread upon with our feet. Did God place the gold underfoot for all eternity to continually remind us of how we were warned not to set our eyes upon what we previously thought of as precious?

In heaven’s economy, gold seems to be the same as asphalt is to us today. Today on earth would we strew around in our home all our gold necklaces and earrings and platters and rings and walk on them? No. But we will in heaven. For the believers who believe by faith, it is an eternally wonderful trade, a faith in Him who is more precious than gold.

Posted in new jerusalem, street of gold

Thoughts on the "street of gold"

“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, transparent as glass.” (Revelation 21:21)

We often marvel at the fact that the main street of the city in our future new home of New Jerusalem will be made of pure gold.

‘Wow!’ we think. ‘Isn’t it amazing that Jesus is adorning the place He is preparing for us so beautifully!’ And He is. (Revelation 21:2)

But I often wondered about the street and its main material: gold. Paving materials are usually waste materials. The Romans used broken stones mixed with cement and sand, cement mixed with broken tiles, curving stones—so the water could drain, and on the top they used tightly packed paving stones, according to Wikipedia. Below is a Wiki photo of a street in Pompeii. I have walked on the Appian Way in Rome and it looks the same.

Encylopedia Brittanica says that in the 1800s when paving became more widespread, “common paving materials were hoof-sized stone blocks, similarly sized wooden blocks, bricks, McAdam’s broken stone, and occasionally asphalt and concrete.”

Do we ever use precious materials for roads? No. We use waste materials, common materials.

I think the street of the city is of gold to remind us that when we tread upon it, what we once thought of as precious will be a vivid reminder that the real preciousness is Jesus. What He considers truly precious is our faith:

“so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

Our faith is more precious than gold, because it is tested by trials. Gold will perish, but Jesus, the object of our faith, will never perish.

In heaven, gold will be as nothing to us, not when the real treasure is before our eyes. In that case, it is only fitting that gold will be under our feet.