Summary: Every major kingdom in history, in an out of the Bible, was noted for it's abundance of gold. This is why the final kingdom of God's people is pictured as one of pure gold, for that has been the test of the glory of all the kingdoms in history.
THE GOLD OF HEAVEN based on Rev. 21:9-21
By Glenn Pease
On our vacation in South Dakota, we stopped in the small town of Keystone. Almost every store in town had a variety of Black Hills Gold on display. Seeing all this gold made me want to study gold in the Bible. The streets of the New Jerusalem are to be made of pure gold, and that means gold will be a part of the eternal environment.
There are at least 367 references to gold in God's Word. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states, "No metal has been more frequently mentioned in Old Testament writings than gold, and none with more terms applied to it." There are about a dozen different words for gold in the Bible. In the New Testament gold is mentioned 41 times, with 21 of them in the book of Revelation. 16 of the 21 are very positive, with only 2 negative, and 3 are neutral.
The first reference to gold is in Gen. 2:11-12. The first river that flowed from Eden wound it's way through the land of Havilah, where there is gold, and the gold of that land is good. The first reference to gold in the Bible, and the last, refer to it as a good thing. It is the first and last precious metal mentioned in the Bible, and all through the Bible gold is a symbol of glory and wealth.
Every major kingdom in history, in an out of the Bible, was noted for it's abundance of gold. This is why the final kingdom of God's people is pictured as one of pure gold, for that has been the test of the glory of all the kingdoms in history. If God's people are to have the best in the end, then gold streets are a necessity to make their city the greatest ever.
In Athens, the most renowned sculptor of Greece, Pheidias, made a 38 foot ivory and gold statue of Athene, the patron goddess. It was completed in 438 B. C., and looked out over the city from the Parthenon, high on the Acropolis. More than a ton of gold was in robes alone. Next, he made a 60 foot statue of Zeus, which sat on a throne of gold, and wore a golden crown, held a golden sceptre, and wore golden sandals.
Alexander the Great conquered the world in search of gold. He first conquered Egypt, with it's vast wealth of gold. Then he marched to Babylon, where gold was so abundant their chariots were trimmed with gold. The Bible always pictured Babylon as a city full of gold, but where it was greatly abused, and worshipped as an idol. Gold was the god of Babylon. The great image that Nebuchadnezzar sit up was a gold image 90 foot high and 9 foot wide, according to Dan. 3:1. The only negative references to gold in the book of Revelation are those dealing with the idolatry of Babylon. Alexander captured all this gold, and most of the gold of the rest of the world, but he died at 33 in Babylon, and was buried in a gold coffin.
Rome was the next gold hungry empire, and Caesar soon had the gold of the world flowing into Rome. Augustus Caesar had so much gold he decided to sit up a mint, and make coins of it. The mint was set up in the temple erected to Juno Moneta, and the coins made there became known as "money." When Nero came to power, he was a gold fanatic, and built himself a palace called The Golden House. At the entrance he had a statue of himself complete with golden curls 120 ft. high. It was so heavy that it took 24 elephants to drag it away, when a later emperor wanted it removed. The Golden House had over 100 rooms and gardens, and a pool so large it was more like a sea. Guests washed heir hands in water that flowed from golden taps.
The point of all this is to show that the world of the early Christians was full of public gold. If John would have had a vision of the eternal city that was less impressive then that created by scoundrels like Nero. The Christian message would have lost it's credibility. If God can not create a richer, more beautiful environment than the emperor, why should people give up emperor worship to follow Jesus?
We need to see the golden city of Revelation as a legitimate appeal to the materialistic heart of man. Man is a gold hungry creature. He desires wealth and luxury, and all the beauty and glory that comes with gold. This is not a bad thing, for if it was, God would not appeal to this desire by giving us this description of beauty beyond our imagination. The gold, the jewels, the beautiful garden fruit trees, and the clear flowing stream from the throne of God, are all a part of the final paradise. Peace and prosperity forever is just what man most craves. That is what the search for gold has always meant to people. To get enough gold, so as to have complete security in a fallen world, is the hunger of every human being. That is why the lottery is so popular.