Monday, December 26, 2011

Fool's Gold

Fool's Gold
Dec 26, 2011
Rev 21:21 ". . . The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass."

Gold is a naturally occurring element, and in its purest form can stand alone without any other chemical element added to it. Gold is considered extremely valuable; pure gold is rare. It has been used since the history of mankind as a form of currency, which also adds to its intrinsic value. It is extremely malleable, conducts electricity very well, yet resists corrosion and maintains its luster. It currently has a market price of $1,600 USD per ounce (it's very heavy, so that's about the same volume equivalent as two teaspoons (10ml) of water). The gold used in making jewelry usually has a mixture of nickel, zinc, and other metals, bringing the cost down and adding strength. Gold is not a good construction material for buildings because it is one of the softer metals. It dents easily, and you certainly wouldn't want to be touching gold if it was struck by lightning.

The Bible declares that the walls and streets of Heaven are made of gold. Well, sort of. The Bible states that the walls and streets of Heaven are like gold. If you want to translate the Bible literally, then you can read that the streets of Heaven would be made of a pure substance as we understand it on our periodic table of elements (Au). But I would argue for a moment that the depiction of Heaven with streets of gold is a metaphor for the vast richness and glory in comparison to earth. The passage in Revelation depicts one of the most valuable substances on earth as common and even something that is tread upon. Back when the Bible was written, the construction material for walls and roads was brick (usually made of dirt and clay). In writing the Bible, God wasn't trying to convince us of the building materials that are used in Heaven, He was trying to convince us that Heaven is a place we should want to someday live because of its richness. He also made clear that something we value here on earth is not so important in Heaven, especially if we can walk on it like dirt.

There is another substance on earth that is nicknamed "fool's gold". At first appearance it looks like gold, but in reality it is far from being a close cousin to it. "Fool's gold" is iron pyrite, made of iron and sulfur. Many people looking for gold think they have found it, but end up with iron pyrite, which has hardly the same value and properties of gold. Depending on its form, iron pyrite is worth less than $1 USD per ounce, sometimes even less than a few pennies. You can imagine the disappointment if a person thinks he has found a few ounces of gold and it turns out to be iron pyrite. This is why it is nicknamed "fool's gold".

The Bible says that you and I are easily fooled into believing what is truly valuable on this earth. You and I like to place value on what we have in comparison to others: possessions, status, activities, etc. Nothing we have on this earth has any value in Heaven, though. The only things of worth in Heaven are what we do on this earth that give glory to the Lord. The Apostle Peter writes it this way, ". . . the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." In other words, Peter was saying how you respond to situations in life and what you do for the Lord are the only things that matter on this earth. This is hard to swallow, as we like to have nice things sometimes, we like feeling good about ourselves, and we like being respected and important. The Lord would say that this is a fool's pursuit, trying to attain things in life that are worthless in the Kingdom of Heaven.

It takes a mature Christian to find real value in life, the value in all that is done in the name of the Lord. Everything else is worthless, even an ounce of gold.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Prov 8:11, Acts 14:15, Rom 8:18, Phil 3:8, Col 1:10, 2 Thess 1:11, James 1:26, 1 Peter 1:6-8, 1 Peter 3:4, Rev 21

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