I am in the states right now in my hometown as everyone knows if you have been following this blog at all over the past month or so. God has truly brought me into a real living intimate relationship with Himself!!! But what I want to focus on today is that right now my Pastor at my sending and home church has been preaching through a series on the Book of Revelation since the Fall of 2009 or so. (I obviously was not here for some of it)
It has been interesting listening over the last few months. I must say and make it absolutely clear that (Not because of his preaching in any way.) but rather because of what was my personal lost spiritual condition before God, I have had a variety of reactions to the sermons over the past few Spring months. These reactions at first were pure boredem, then fear, a sense of condemnation (I wasn't God's yet), then eventually peace, worship, awe, and joy (Because I had been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light.)
So we are close to finishing up Revelation and this past Sunday he preached from Revelation 21:1-22:1-5 (you are just going to have to go and read it-I am not going to be able to quote it all word for word tonight. And there were two things that I have been thinking about throughout the last two days. My first thought has been that the Ultimate source of joy about the New Jerusalem is not the beauty of it and all that it will contain. But rather it is that God himself will be present with us. Revelation 22:3-5 says, "There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever." WHAT JOY THE THOUGHT BRINGS ME THAT EVERYTHING WILL AT LAST BE TRULY AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE----AND WE WILL HAVE GLORIOUS PERFECT UNHINDERED FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD!! IT WILL BE AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE FOR US TO SERVE HIM!!!!! THERE WILL BE A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH! THE OLD WILL HAVE PASSED AWAY---AND WILL BE NO MORE!
But there also is a second thought that I have been pondering. I've been thinking about Revelation 21:21a quite a bit. It says, "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl." (I encourage you to read the whole portion of text so that you get it for yourself and things don't get taken out of context.) I think it is significant that each gate is a single pearl.
I started thinking about how a pearl is formed, which is basically that a natural pearl forms when an irritant, such as a piece of sand, works its way into a particular species of oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, the mollusk secretes a fluid to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating is deposited on the irritant until a lustrous pearl is formed. It is out of 'suffering' in a sense that something so beautiful and valuable, the natural way, is formed.
So why is it that the gates each being made of a single pearl is so significant? I guess it was a really concrete reminder to me that in eternity each time we enter those gates, hopefully we will remember that Christ's suffering for us was the greatest sacrifice of all......that our salvation came at the highest possible price-Our Beloved Savior's suffering on our behalf. Now let me make it clear that His suffering was a sacrifice made ONCE AND FOR ALL!!! It was not a continual suffering in the sense of constant irritation which forms a pearl, It was something He did ONCE FOR OUR SIN IN OUR PLACE---and that one time of suffering was totally and completely sufficient in EVERY WAY to pay the penalty for our sin that WE DESERVED TO PAY. May the gates of the New Jerusalem remind us that He not only suffered for us, but ALSO that WE CAN ONLY ENTER THE GATES OF PEARL IF WE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO THE PLACE BY THE GRACIOUS MERCY AND KINDNESS OF GOD WHERE WE RECOGNIZE THAT HIS SUFFERING TRULY WAS ENOUGH!!!!!! Matthew 13:44-46 puts it this way: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Let me totally say here that we CANNOT BUY IN ANY WAY OR EARN OUR SALVATION-it is a gift from God. But What Christ has done for us is MORE VALUABLE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS WORLD!!!!!