GOLD, PRECIOUS STONES, AND PEARLS
The wall of the city is made of jasper upon a foundation of twelve different precious stones (Rev. 21:18-20). Precious stones were first created and then transformed by pressure and heat. They are not merely natural, but were created and then transformed. In the New Testament there is the strong thought of transformation (2 Cor. 3:18). The twelve gates are twelve pearls (21:21). Pearls have also gone through a process. Pearls are produced by oysters in the waters of death. When the oyster is wounded by a particle of sand, it secretes its life juice around the sand and makes it into a precious pearl. In this process we can see the death, the killing, and the secretion of the life juice to produce a pearl.
The entire city is built of gold, precious stones, and pearls. There we will not need to sweep the floor. There is no dust! All the created beings have been transformed.
THE DIVINE BUILDING
WITH TRANSFORMED HUMANITY
Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 says the unique foundation has been laid, but we must be careful how we build upon it. We can build with two categories of materials: gold, silver, precious stones or wood, grass, stubble (3:10-12). Wood, grass, and stubble all become dust after they are burned, but gold, silver, and precious stones cannot.
In Paul’s concept the natural created man is wood, hay, and stubble; the regenerated, transformed men are gold, silver, and precious stones. When Peter came to the Lord Jesus, he was a "dusty" man, a man made of dust (Gen. 3:19), because he was born of the Adamic race. Adam was made of dust, and Peter was born a dusty man. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus called him Cephas (Gk., Peter), which means a stone (John 1:42). The changing of Simon’s name by the Lord Jesus to Peter indicated that Peter would be transformed.
This was the reason Peter was very strong in this concept, even in the writing of his first Epistle. He said that the Lord Jesus is the living stone (1 Pet. 2:4), and that as we come to this living stone, we all become living stones to be built up a spiritual house (2:5). The spiritual house is not built of wood, hay, and stubble. It is built of transformed materials. Because our mentality is fully occupied by the natural thought of ethics, philosophy, and morality, we overlook this matter in the New Testament. The entire New Testament, however, is saturated with this thought of the divine building of transformed humanity. The conclusion of the Bible is a holy city composed of gold, pearls, and precious stones.
(The Basic Revelation in the Holy Scriptures, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)