Summary: Everything you can learn about the sun--it's power, light, and fire, will increase your love for, and awe of Jesus. Study the sun, and you are studying theology, for it is a symbol of what Jesus will be to us forever.
Isaac Asimov, the most prolific writer of this age, author of over 500 books, has a delightful essay
on gold in his book, The Sun Shines Bright. He gives us scientific confirmation of why God would
make the New Jerusalem a city of gold. The ancient world considered gold the most noble of
metals. Even though gold is heavier than lead, gold has always been a metaphor for lightness.
People talked of walking with leaden feet, and being leaden-hearted. When you could not stay
awake, your eyelids were like lead. But gold, which is nearly twice as heavy, is used to describe the
opposite. You dance trippingly on golden feet, and golden slippers are not leaden weights, but are
like feathers. To be golden-hearted is not to be heavy-hearted, but happy and buoyant.
Beauty is the key factor that is seen in gold, and, therefore, gold is the metal of aesthetics. God
certainly knew that man would discover other metals in the future that would have nobler
characteristics than gold, yet he still revealed the New Jerusalem to be a city of pure gold. Why not
platinum? It is used in science because laboratory equipment made of platinum is untouched by air
or water, or by chemicals that contact it. It can stand temperatures that would melt gold. It can be
heated white hot and not be damaged. It is as rare as gold, and superior in so many ways. So then,
why not a holy city of platinum? Was God being old fashioned, and behind the times, to reveal the
eternal city as one of pure gold? Listen to the conclusion of the most read scientific author of our
Neither Platinum nor any other metal ever discovered
has the warm yellowness of gold, and none is anywhere
near as beautiful. Platinum can have all the nobility and
density and high-meltingness and rareness you can give it,
and can even be more expensive than gold, but it will
never have gold's beauty, or be as cherished and
desired as gold is.
If God's purpose was to describe the eternal city as a place of unmatched beauty, then He could
not have chosen a better substance than gold. Gold is so beautiful because it is the color of the sun.
All through history the sun and gold were related. Gold coins were made round as symbols of the
sun. On the hieroglyphics of Egypt the gold circle was called, "Child of the sun." Gold has always
been the metal most connected with worship, because of it's connection with the sun--the source of
all life on our planet.
The chemical symbol of gold is AU, from Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. In temples all over
the world the highest point is covered with gold. You see it today, not only on churches and
cathedrals, but on capital buildings. Gold is the highest metal in man's estimation, and God's, as
well, for it so beautifully reflects the sun. It is like congealed sunlight on the earth.
All of this is relevant to our study of God's revelation of what heaven is going to be like. John
tells us in verse 23, the city does not need the sun anymore, for the glory of God lights the city, and
the Lamb is it's light. Jesus is not only the light of the world, but the light of the universe. Notice in
verse 24, the nations will walk by it's light. The light of the holy city of gold will be replacing the
sun. It will be the sun of the earth for eternity. Since Jesus is the Lamp--the source of that light, He
will be forever the sun of the earth, as well as the sun of heaven.
The sun of our solar system has been, all along, just a symbol of the Son of God. It is the center
around which all revolves. It is the source of all life, and all warmth, and all beauty. It is the
physical symbol of what Jesus is, and of what He will be forever in God's eternal kingdom. He is
light, life, and love. All that is beautiful and precious has it's source in Him. The awesome beauty
of a city of pure gold, like glass, with Jesus as the sun shining everywhere, answers for me the
question a little child recently asked--"will there be shadows in heaven?" Since the positive value of
shadows, which is their coolness, and escape from the heat of the sun, is no longer needed, and
because the negative aspect of shadows, the evil lurking in them, is eliminated, the answer is no! It
is a city with no shadows, for the light of Jesus is everywhere. He is a Sun that casts no shadow.
There is no need to hide from the golden rays of His light. We will bask in it's beauty with no concern