Suffering

Why Are They Gates of Pearl?

From The Hidden Passages Series

The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass. Revelation 21:21

The Bible describes the New Jerusalem or heaven in vivid detail. As we keep in mind that there is meaning buried within symbolism that is used throughout the Scriptures, we see God is trying to tell us something about the Gates of heaven. Why did God make the 12 gates into his holy city out of pearl? Why not gold or rubies? The ancients consider pearls to be of the highest value among precious stones. The fact that these gates are comprised of one individual pearl speaks volumes. Questions arise… where do you get 12 massive pearls for huge gates, for walls that are 200 feet tall? Are there oysters that big in heaven or on other planets? That may not be as important as the fact that God uses pearls in the first place.

A pearl starts out as a single grain of sand that finds itself inside an oyster or mollusk. No matter how hard the shell tries to expel the irritating piece of sand it can’t. Then a special transformation takes place. What was an irritating situation for the clam, becomes an environment for creating a priceless gem. From the shell of a mollusk, the sand particle is slowly covered up by calcium carbonate in tiny crystalline form, which becomes deposited in concentric layers. Layer upon layer, line upon line, precept upon precept, something special takes place. A beautiful pearl is created.

Simply put, those who have identified with the life of a pearl, have great access to the experiential life of heaven and the kingdom of God. Those who have painfully endured situations or have held their ground over the years in difficult and irritating places, are those who can be transformed into something pure and priceless. These are the ones with a good and noble heart who become better in their situation, not bitter over their constraining circumstances.

That one thing that has been a constant thorn in your flesh, that one big irritant or painful trial that you struggle with, can become a pearl of great price in your life. The Lord may be allowing you to go through these painful experiences to prepare you for greater access and authority in the kingdom of God. Perhaps the very trials and tribulations that you have been faithfully enduring through the years, qualifies you as an entryway into a particular aspect of the tangible presence of God. The Lord has covered you with layers of grace and wisdom, and now you have become a priceless passageway for others to experience the kingdom.

Maybe we should take a moment and shift our focus on things from God’s perspective. Could it be, that these “Gates of Pearl” represent the Lord putting up with billions of us, and our persistent, resistant sinful behavior for thousands of years? Could His choice to patiently endure with us, instead of punishing us, create these 200-foot-tall gates of pearl into His kingdom? Yes, I know I may be stretching things a bit here. But could these huge pearly gates be a heavenly symbol of how large God’s enduring love is? I can imagine every time I would walk by those pearly gates, I would remember how precious those gates would be to me…and everyone entering through them.

Many today look to those who are outwardly successful and prosperous in business and in the Church for knowledge on how to experience God’s blessing. We might want to pay attention to those who have remained faithful during great pain and suffering for directions to the right passageway. After all, it was God who chose to make His gateways of pearl. I think He may be telling us something about how we truly enter His kingdom…what do you think?

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46

Misconceptions About God – God Won’t Let You Go Through More Than You Can Handle

Pic 12One of the first things we learn in God’s School of Ministry is that there are some incorrect suppositions about how God deals with people. These misconceptions are widely taught as gospel truth in our seminaries and church pulpits. The first misconception that a believer realizes is the falsehood that God will not allow us to go through more than we can handle. Those who continue to espouse such a belief either don’t understand the Scriptures, or have never been to Roadkill Seminary.

We often tell young Christians that God won’t put them through more than they can handle to comfort them. In general, from a theological perspective, it is appropriate for new believers to understand that God will not allow them to be destroyed or vanquished into oblivion by trying times in their life. However it can be terrifying when we are faced with a situation that is presently overwhelming our ability to cope. We can become greatly confused and disoriented because we have been incorrectly taught that these trials and tribulations were never supposed to get this difficult. Besides what makes this belief irrelevant in the first place, is that our idea and God’s idea of what is too difficult for us to handle is not the same.

This failure to cope during a trial may cause us to think we are really messed up because we are presently experiencing more than we can handle; yet in our mind we remember being taught this should never happen to a Christian. We falsely think God should’ve come to our rescue by now. “Why don’t the Scriptures work for me?” we think to our self. I believe this misconception adds to the drop-out rate (and sadly, sometimes even suicide) for Christians all over the world.

Believers who are experiencing tests and trials that are beyond their ability end up thinking God has abandoned them, or they just don’t have what it takes, so they often give up on their walk. The source of this misconception is rooted in a misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you except such is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it.

What the Bible says here is that no “temptation” will entice us so forcibly, so powerfully, that we will have to succumb to it. No one will be able to stand before God on Judgment Day and say to God, “I’m sorry Lord, I just had no choice but to sin, he or she was just too beautiful to turn down.” Joseph escaped the temptation of Potiphar’s wife by running. God made a way of escape. However trials are different. Joseph couldn’t escape the pit or the prison. There are no escapes from these kinds of trials. Just ask Daniel about the lion’s den and the three Hebrew children who were thrown in the fiery furnace, or the countless martyrs throughout history who didn’t have a way of escape. The Scripture here in First Corinthians is referring to no “temptation” will overwhelm us. It is not referring to a trial or the testing of our faith.

Paul himself said, he was burdened by circumstances so great they were beyond measure and above his strength to bear. Contemporary preachers may try to sanitize RKS from the Bible, but the apostle’s words are still in black and white in 2 Corinthians 1:8:

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we  despaired even of life.

For the Christian who is being prepared for a higher calling, it appears God will allow, and even specifically design, circumstances and trials to break them, to take them beyond their present ability to cope. It’s only when the Lord takes us beyond our breaking point, and blows our “circuit breakers” that we truly discover where our life ends and His Spirit begins. This is the beginning of the Spirit-dependent life.

We acknowledge in the eternal sense that our God wouldn’t allow a trial to destroy us. In truth these trials are about us dying to the strength of flesh and discovering His enabling grace. However, there are times when the Lord out necessity allows us to be overwhelmed beyond our ability to bear, so we will discover the reality of His resurrection power. Are you still unconvinced that God would have you go through something you cannot bear? Look at how Jesus Himself fell under the weight of the Roman cross on the way to Golgotha (Matthew 27:32). It was more than Jesus could handle. The Roman soldiers had to get another man to help Him carry it to the finish line. God will also have particular people positioned in our life to help us continue towards our appointment with death/trial … then resurrection.

As we become obedient unto death as Jesus did, the Bible becomes more than a religious book; it becomes the Living Word of Life. Those who don’t hunger for the higher calling and purposes of God, or those who have shrunk back from God’s dealings, may find this difficult to accept. Understandably there is a naïve sense of security in believing we’ll never have to face more than we can handle. As we stated earlier, many are called, but few choose the path of the chosen. Maybe we’ll never be given the opportunity to be tested like we are discussing here. Yes I said opportunity. It is a privilege to suffer for Christ. It is only the grace of God that has allowed anyone to suffer faithfully for the Lord.

So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. Acts 5:41

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

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