The Bear Cave
Kings and nations have been coveting gold since the beginning of time, sending out explorers to scout lands for the precious metal. When we hear tales of lost treasure, it’s almost always chests of gold coins or vaults of golden artifacts.
For America, the prospect of gold brought hundreds of thousands of migrants to the west in what became known as the California Gold Rush. After a discovery of gold in Sutter’s Mill, men with hope in their hearts raced to the area in 1849 and the years to follow. A PBS special report said the miners braved disease, the cold, violent competition and dangerous working conditions for a mere chance of obtaining gold.
So why is gold so valuable? Why can a single nugget of gold bring such wealth and, more importantly, why are men willing to die for it?
The precious metal is uniquely beautiful. Unlike other metals, gold does not rust, tarnish or corrode. It can be pounded into thin sheets called gold leaf that can be used for design purposes. Its beauty, combined with its malleability, makes it perfect for jewelry and other forms of craftsmanship.
But gold is not only used for aesthetic purposes. Its malleability, stability with other elements and ability to conduct heat and electricity make gold useful in electronics, technology and even medicine. All of these properties have made gold “the one material that is universally accepted in exchange for goods and services” according to Britannica.com. Even in the Bible, the English word gold is used over 400 times. The book of Revelation uses the word gold over 20 times alone.
Revelation 21:21 describes the New Jerusalem as having streets of gold when it says, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” Whether the verse is interpreted literally or figuratively, the image of gold likely represents the pure beauty and spiritual richness of heaven. The implication is that everything in heaven is pure, beautiful, radiant and holy.
Considering how gold was used in the Old Testament, such as in the making of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:11-12; 11:17-18) and when King Solomon built the House of the Lord (1 Kings 6:20-22; 28-30), it can also be assumed that gold symbolizes the divinity and holiness of God.
In the physical world, gold is often found tainted by other minerals and impurities. The ores containing traces of gold must be purified and refined. This is like how we as humans need refinement in our spiritual lives.
Malachi 3:2-3 states, “But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.”
We’re not perfect, but with the grace of God, we can get there. We can be made fit to enter into his kingdom of heaven where one day, we might walk down the golden streets of the New Jerusalem.
But to do that, we must set our sights on the glory of God, the gold of heaven, not the wealth of this world. If men of the Gold Rush era were willing to drop everything and skip town for the hope of wealth and a better future, then we can drop everything and run towards the real and radiant gold of heaven.
Bear is the feature editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X