Revelation 21: 21
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 51st session of ‘Heaven’ sermon series. Since the 43rd session, I have been talking about New Jerusalem. This is the ninth session dealing with New Jerusalem, but we have not even gone into the city.
So far we have learned about the city wall and twelve foundation stones, and how we could find the key to New Jerusalem from them.
The first key to New Jerusalem is in the city wall made of jasper. Jasper symbolizes the fifth level of faith, which is the faith to please God. This is the first key to New Jerusalem.
The second key was found in the twelve foundation stones. The consolidation of the spiritual hearts represented by the twelve foundation stones is the perfect love, and this perfect love is the second key to New Jerusalem.
In this session, I will tell you where the third key is found.
It is in the gate of the city of New Jerusalem. I hope you will keep in mind all the messages you listened to and take the key to New Jerusalem. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will receive the authority to pass through the city gates of New Jerusalem and go into the city.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there are twelve gates in which the third key to New Jerusalem is hidden. There are three gates on each side, north, south, east, and west, and each of them is placed 2,000 Ri or 800 km away from one another.
Revelation 21:25 says, “In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;”
Here, ‘never being closed’ means that they will never be locked. The gate is closed but not locked, so when one stands before the gate, it automatically opens.
Revelation 21:12 says “It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels.”
So, there is one angel guarding each gate of New Jerusalem. The angels that guard the gates of New Jerusalem are enormous beyond our imagination.
These angels are like chief gatekeepers.
Gate keepers used to guard the gates of the city walls day and night not to let strangers in. It was important to keep the gates secure especially during a war. Once the gate is opened, it is easy to conquer the city.
But in heaven, there are no enemy forces or anything like that, and the gates of New Jerusalem are always open. So, what is the reason that there are angels to guard the gates?
There are three reasons for this. The first is to express the wealth, authority, and honor of the city of New Jerusalem. Even on this earth, some important people in politics or the business field have their private guards and security people in their houses. Along with the security function, it also shows the wealth and authority of the house owner.
The significance of the angles guarding the gates of New Jerusalem is similar.
Just by seeing the angels guarding the gates, we can feel how magnificent a place New Jerusalem is.
In the city of the New Jerusalem is located the throne of God. Also, it is the place where the greatest men of faith in human history live forever.
Befitting this fact, even the angels keeping these gates have great dignity and authority. So, just by seeing the angels guarding the gates of the city, we can feel the great honor of New Jerusalem.
Second, to keep the gates is one of the duties of angels. Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”
The fundamental reason why God made angels is for them to help and attend to the children of God.
God sends one angel to each person on this earth.
These angels are responsible for each person respectively. They have the duty to record all the words and actions of each person on this earth.
And God rewards each one according to those records on the Judgment Day.
But to God’s children who believe in Him, He gives them at least one more angel.
We usually refer to them as a ‘guardian angel’. God makes these angels protect His children from disasters or disease. Of course, angels are able to protect God’s children when they walk in the light.
According to the law of justice, even the angels cannot protect them if they walk in darkness.
So, angels are doing their work even on this earth. They have even more and varied duties in the heavenly kingdom.
The world of angels is also very well organized, and each one will take care of various duties respectively.
One of them is to guard the gates of the city.
Of course, spirit of darkness cannot come into heavenly kingdom, especially New Jerusalem.
Even if the angels were not to guard the gates, nothing would happen.
But the reason why angels guard the gates is because it is their duty as ministering angels for God’s children. It’s not something they are forced to do but this duty is given to the angels in the organization and harmony of the spiritual realm.
The third reason why angels guard the gates of New Jerusalem is to show the order of the city of New Jerusalem.
The heavenly kingdom is run according to precise and exact order, without any error.
Not by force or by command but within the order set by God, everything is run naturally.
The rewards, positions, and authorities are given according to the justice of God who repays us for what we have done, and everything is run in an orderly manner according to the ranks.
But nobody boasts of himself or sets himself up high just because his position is high. In heaven, everyone is God’s child and they respect and love one another. And this is done very naturally according to the spiritual order. It is as those who are very well mannered will respect and treat elderly people very well.
In heavenly kingdom, respect and love will stem out from heart according to the spiritual ranks.
So, in heaven, everything is operated smoothly in all areas.
For example, when God the Father gives a big banquet in the City of New Jerusalem, He will also invite some people from other dwelling places in heaven.
Those who are invited can come in according to the spiritual order.
Those in the third kingdom of heaven will come first, and then those in the second kingdom, the first kingdom, and then from paradise.
But what would it be like if those who are in the third kingdom or lower were able to enter into New Jerusalem any time they wanted?
Those who are in the third kingdom or lower might feel happy about it, but without self-control the value would be lost of the better things that are there.
If the order in New Jerusalem is broken, its beauty cannot be kept either. New Jerusalem must have the greatest magnitude of happiness and comfort, and breaking of that order will not happen. So, to keep the order of the city of New Jerusalem, we also need angels to guard the gates.
Of course, even if there are no angels keeping the gates, it doesn’t mean those who are in the third kingdom and lower can go into New Jerusalem whenever they please. It’s because the light of glory is significantly different in New Jerusalem.
But by having the angels to keep the gates of the city, God shows that heavenly kingdom is operated in perfect order.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I said that the key to New Jerusalem is hidden in the gate of the city. But it doesn’t mean a real key is hanging somewhere in the city gate.
Then, why did I say there is a key, and how can we get this key?
Revelation 21:21 says, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl.” The material of the twelve gates of New Jerusalem is pearl.
And as said, ‘each one of the gates was a single pearl,’ each gate is made of one whole pearl.
It’s not that many pearls make up one gate but one pearl is one gate.
On this earth such a big pearl does not exist, but in heaven there is, and its color is much more beautiful and lucid than on earth.
When we have a close look at the gate of New Jerusalem, it is an enormous arch-shaped gate made with a single pearl. It opens to the two sides and has a handle made with pure gold and set with jewels.
Some may think it would be better to decorate the 12 gates with various jewels. But when God the Father made the gate with only a single pearl, He had a very important spiritual purpose in doing it.
He hid the third key to the New Jerusalem in this pearl gate.
It means through the pearl, He wants us to realize how we can go into New Jerusalem.
Pearl is made very differently from other jewels. All of the gold, silver, and the precious gemstones that make up the 12 foundation stones, they all come from the earth.
But pearl is uniquely made from a living thing. Let me briefly tell you how a pearl is made. Most pearls are made by pearl oysters.
Typical stimuli including organic material, parasites, or even physical damage cause displacement of mantle tissue to another part of the oyster’s body. Small particles or organisms enter the oyster when the shell valves are open for feeding or respiration.
Or, sometimes some microscopic hard foreign substance like a grain of sand gets into the oyster.
Then, it is said that the oyster feels very sharp pain, as if a needle is piercing into its flesh.
The flesh of oyster is very soft, but the foreign substance is very hard and sharp and it really pierces the flesh.
Now the oyster secretes nacre, which is the mother-of-pearl, to cover the irritant.
This secretion process is repeated many times, thus producing a pearl. Nowadays most pearls are cultured by applying the principle of pearl production.
They insert a stimulus into the shell, which is an intruder for the oyster.
When the oyster covers this foreign substance, the cover is the nacre.
The thicker this nacre, the brighter will be the glittering of the pearl.
When we look at the surface of the pearl, higher quality pearls will reflect our faces more clearly- like a mirror.
If the nacre layers become thicker, the pearl will also become bigger and obviously more expensive.
If we want to go into New Jerusalem, we all have to make at least one spiritual pearl.
We have to make a pearl in our heart. What does this mean? The pearl oyster endures with pain and secrets the nacre to make a pearl.
Likewise, God’s children also have to endure with pain until they recover the image of God fully.
Man was first created in the image of God and had a blameless and pure heart. But as the first man, Adam, committed the sin of disobedience, sin came into the world.
All Adam’s descendants have inherited the original sin from Adam, and they also commit sins themselves.
As sin came into the world and people became stained with sins more and more, they lost the image of God.
In the heart of men were planted evil and untruth, and their hearts became unclean, giving out foul stench. And God the Father showed His great love even to these people who were living with sinful hearts in sinful world.
He opened the way of salvation through His one and only Son Jesus Christ.
Anybody who believes in Jesus Christ will be cleansed of his sin through the blood of Jesus.
Not only sins of the past, but also when he commits sins again, God will forgive him if he repents truly from the heart.
But to repeatedly repenting and sinning again and again is only for children.
Even if you clean up children, they will get dirty again and again while playing.
But the kind of true children that God the Father wants is those children who are fully grown and matured. He wants those who will not get themselves dirty again after they are washed. Spiritually, it means they do not commit sins any more, but please the Father God with perfect faith.
And to have this kind of perfect faith, we first have to have true hearts. We can have a true heart when we remove all sins and evil from our heart and fill it with goodness and love instead.
The more goodness and love we have, the more we have recovered the image of God.
God the Father allows refining trials to His children so that they can cultivate goodness and love.
He lets them find out sins and evil in their hearts in various kinds of situations.
When we find our sins and evil, we will feel the pain in our heart.
It’s like when a sharp intruder gets into an oyster and pierces into the soft flesh. But we have to acknowledge the fact that we have pain when we go through trials because of sins and evil in our heart.
We have pain, not because the situation is hard or because somebody else is giving us a hard time, it is because our own evil causes us to feel the difficulty.
If we really acknowledge this fact, we can now make a spiritual pearl in our heart.
We will pray fervently to cast off the sins and evil we have discovered. Then, the grace and strength of God will come upon us. Also, the Holy Spirit will help us.
As a result, the sins and evil we have found out will be removed, and instead, we will have spiritual heart.
For example, if we cast off hatred, love will grow up and replace it.
It is said the pearl oyster covers the unwelcome intruder layer by layer with nacre adding thickness layer by layer. Likewise, when we go through trials with faith, the nacre of our heart will become thicker.
Also, when we toil with love and accomplish works of faith for the kingdom of God and other souls, the “nacre” of our heart will become thicker.
God the Father is perfect, and He wants us to be perfect, too.
That is why He allows us trials of faith until we have true heart and perfect faith.
He knows that we feel painful, but He cannot stop because the honor that we can gain after overcoming the trials will be great.
1 Peter 1:7 says, “so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The earthly life including all the times of our trials are just a moment compared to the eternal life in the heavenly kingdom.
So, God the Father always encourages us to overcome the trials of faith, even though they may be hard.
Therefore, even if we have pains when we go through trials, we should realize that it is also the love of the Father. When the trials are hard, some believers say, “Father, please take this trial away from me, for I will be satisfied with paradise or 1st kingdom of heaven.”
They want to give up because they feel the goal of New Jerusalem is too tough for them. But the Father God does not give up on anybody. He continues to lead all of us to better heavenly dwelling places, up to New Jerusalem.
We should realize that trials of faith are constantly allowed to us in this love of the Father. If we go into whole spirit, we will realize how deep the love of the Father is in leading us, and we will be truly thankful.
So, those believers who pass through the pearl gates and go into New Jerusalem will continue to shed their tears of thanks.
In the next session, I will tell how emotional it will be when one passes through the pearl gates.
We will finally get into the city of New Jerusalem.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in this session, I talked to you about the pearl gate, which is the third key to New Jerusalem.
As a pearl oyster makes a pearl, we believers also have to make spiritual pearl to go into New Jerusalem.
Namely, we have to cultivate true hearts and perfect faith and we have to fully recover the image of God through trials of faith. God the Father wants us to go into New Jerusalem more than we want to do that.
Those who truly realize and believe from heart this love of the Father God will be able to make the spiritual pearl that is needed.
They will be thankful even for flesh-piercing pain or even pain that penetrates into their bones.
It’s because they understand very well that all that is the love of God the Father for them.
Now, I hope you will all give thanks with this kind of heart and make a beautiful pearl in you.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will go into the city of New Jerusalem passing through the pearl gate with many thanks.