Everyday on my way home, I pass a billboard advertising a condo/town home community which says the community is “LIKE HEAVEN – A GATED COMMUNITY”. This prompted me to think about this statement and its validity and even discuss it further via email and other interests. The answers and observations I received were very fascinating. Participation in this discussion is very welcome. Like Heaven, a gated community. Why IS heaven gated, I asked and you answered with some great ideas to ponder.
Interestingly, only one person pointed out the fact that the book of Revelations, wherein the gates of Pearl are mentioned, was written during the Roman historical era. “Since Rome invented gated communities, and the New Testament was written and distributed by Romans, I would imagine that they are the ones that imagined the pearly gates and the paved roads in heaven.”
Something to take note of – how often do we actually take into account the people, era and their cultural images and ideals and how those might affect the passages read.
Some answers focused specifically on style –
“Perhaps just the grand entrance to the City? Walls and gates are also significant to a kingdom. As far as ornate (pearl), why not? It’s God’s home for us with no ‘expense’ spared.”
This one was intriguing…a reverse showing off, perhaps, to the one who had style but could never enter –
“Because the Devil has a great sense of style.” (The devil, or Lucifer, the Angel of Light and pearls being luminiscent….hmmm)
This answer brought new insight into the purpose…
“Also, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, with the New Jerusalem coming down…..so all of the Christians for all of time surely won’t be bound by the cubic city. Heaven will be ‘A’ place, not ‘THE’ place.”
Of note in this answer also is the reference to a cube….there are some who are of the opinion that the city will be pyramidal shaped – allowing for the water from the River of Life to flow downward from the throne of God…and yet, the black rock in the city of Mecca is cube-shaped and though we oft hate to acknowledge the fact, Muslims derive their theology and mysticism from their interpretations of the Abrahamic Covenant through Ishmael and Muhammed. According to them, the Kaaba, the Most Holy Place in Islam, has several similarities to the New Jerusalem. The Kaaba is a large cuboidal building located inside the mosque known as al-Masjid as-Haram in Mecca. The mosque was built around the original Kaaba. According to the Quran, the Kaaba was built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismail (Ishmael). Islamic traditions assert that the Kaaba ‘reflects’ a house in heaven called al-Baytu l-Ma?mur (Arabic: ????? ???????) and that it was first built by the first man, Adam. Ibrahim and Ismail rebuilt the Kaaba on the old foundations.
But there are several other items to consider here:
Why are the streets paved with gold? Are gold and pearls really necessary in heaven? Are you going to be buying a lot of stuff?
Why would you need a mansion? Are you are going to have a body?
Is your mansion going to be sporting some plasma tellies, and a four car garage with a Lamborghini Gallardo in it?
Who gets the jobs in heaven?
There must be a guy who paves these streets, as it does say ‘paved with gold’.
Who builds the mansions, and when your plumbing goes, who fixes it?
And as for the gold itself –
Gold is a very maleable metal, and does not make for a very good road. It would have dents, and bumps, and be like driving through New York.
Building a gate out of something like pearls is a bad idea.
Imagine if we built a fence across the border with hell. Wouldn’t the demons just steal the fence piece by piece?
But the last piece of ponderance that brought an interesting point to the fore (and remember, the 1611 KJV of the Bible was translated and put together at a time when sun spots were first discovered on the sun, tobacco was introduced to the Virginia colony from Trinidad and James was king of England (ie Jamestown, VA)). Men were by no means equal, nor declared such in any way until 1776 and the Declaration of Independence. Which is why one astute reader was able to point out that it was “to encourage poor people that everyone will be rich, or everything will be equal after they die.” After all, the New Jerusalem has been the inspiration for almost every Utopian society attempted since the 18th century….
WHAT DO YOU THINK??