Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
New Jerusalem #25.
The Pearl of Great Value
December 17, 2009
(12) It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, … and names were written on them,
which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. … (21) And the twelve gates
were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. (Revelation 21:12, 21 NASB)
The last issue dealt with the twelve gates of praise, which are described as single pearls, which, in turn,
speak of righteousness. The twelve gates of praise are also the twelve gates of righteousness, and all who
enter into New Jerusalem to become the city are righteous, and all that they do is righteous. Simply,
New Jerusalem speaks of what is right in the sight of God and of the perfect will of God. New Jerusalem
is the manifestation of God’s righteousness and will.
However, there is more to be seen regarding the twelve gates of pearl. Each gate is described as a single
pearl. Obviously, the pearls in view are much larger than the natural pearl that comes from the sea and,
most likely, were not seen by John as a round orb, for this would be a most unnatural gate. Most likely,
the gates of pearl were seen by John as structures or buildings in the wall. In other words, the gates
were like portals or vestibules made of a substance that looked like pearl.
To me, modern-day renderings of the gates are rather comical. Many depict St. Peter, with wings all
aflutter and clouds all about, standing at the “pearly gates” with clip board in hand, checking off names
of people who are allowed entrance into the city of golden streets. Others sing fanciful songs about
meeting their departed loved ones at the gates. This might be good for songs and raising sentiment, but
it is not the truth of the word of God.
To add to our understanding of the gates of pearl, we need to keep in mind that written on the gates are
the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. At the outset, I feel that my work is cut out for me in
trying to explain this because so many Christians have been taught that, whenever they see the word
Israel , they are to think of the Jews according to the flesh, especially the ones in the present state of
Israel. If you have followed my writings, you know that that there is a difference between the apparent
Jew (circumcised flesh ) and the true Jew (circumcised heart ), and the historic earthly Israel and the
true Israel of God. The true spiritual Israel of God is not based on the flesh but on the spirit and the
heart. Jacob did not become Israel based on his flesh, that is, he was not born Israel; rather, he became
Israel when his heart was changed to see that God rules. Consequently, the true Jew and the true Israel
refer to ones who are born from above, having the seed of God residing within them (1 John 3:9),
having submitted their lives to the rule of God.
Now, with this brief background, let us consider the parable of the merchant seeking fine pearls.
(45) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, (46) and upon
finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew
13:45-46 NASB)
When Jesus walked this earth, He said: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”
(Matthew 15:24 NASB). Many people fail to understand what Jesus meant by this. He was not referring
to them as many refer to the lost (i.e., unsaved) today. He was referring to the fact that after Solomon’s
death, the kingdom was split into two houses (1 Kings 12:16-20), the house of Judah [tribes of Judah
and Benjamin] and the house of Israel [the remaining ten tribes with emphasis on the house of Joseph
because Joseph was given the birthright and thus the name of Israel (1 Chronicles 5:1)]. Judah was
taken captive by the Babylonians, but a remnant of the house of Judah eventually returned to
Jerusalem, so that when Jesus arrived on the scene, they were not lost, for their identity was known. In
fact, most of the house of Judah rejected the very King of Judah and crucified Him. The true house of
Judah, the good figs, was (and still is) made up of all who accepted (accept) Jesus as the King of Judah.
However, in 723 BC, the Assyrians laid siege to the house of Israel as they resided in Samaria, and from
there they were dispersed and their national identity lost. They did not cease to exist nor were they
condemned to some fictitious hell created by the imagination of man. Simply, they ceased being
identified as the house of Israel.
Consequently, Jesus stood in the midst of the Judeans and proclaimed that He had come to seek the
house of Israel that had been split away from Judah and dispersed among the nations. The fact of the
matter is that the whereabouts of the house of Israel was known. The issue at hand was to get the word
to them that Messiah had come, and reunification with Judah was now possible, even if it were not to
take place for at least another 2,000 years when Christ comes a second time.
The house of Israel spread north through the Caucasian Mountains to become known as the Caucasians.
They occupied much of Europe and spread to the British Isles, becoming known as the Anglo-Saxons
and the Celts. All of these names should catch our attention, for these tribes migrated not only
throughout Europe but also to North America to become Canada and the United States, and to South
Africa and Australia, and ultimately throughout the whole earth. Many of us, especially in North
America, are descendants of these tribes.
It was the Lord who caused their loss of identity, for He sold both Judah and Israel to the nations due to
their harlotry and rebellion (Judges 2:14; Nehemiah 5:8; Isaiah 50:1). Joseph being sold into bondage
by his brothers is a type of the Lord selling His brethren of Israel to the nations. But we need to be clear
that the Lord sold both Judah and Israel. A remnant of the house of Judah returned to Jerusalem and
its identity was known; nevertheless, they fell under the rule of other nations, even to this day.
Now, returning to the parable of the pearl, the Lord is the merchant, and He is the one who sold all to
purchase the pearl of great value. This may be a stretch for some, but the selling took place when the
Lord sold ancient Israel to the nations and hid it among the nations. A pearl is formed by a mollusk
when a piece of sand or grit is embedded inside the shellfish. To deal with this irritant, the mollusk
secretes a pearly substance to enshroud the sand until it becomes the exquisite pearl, having been
formed in the sea in a dark, hidden place. The sea often signifies nations. Thus, Israel was cast into the
sea (sold to the nations), hidden in the dark places (among the nations), as the Lord went about taking
the grit and making it into something of great value through trials, tribulations, and discipline. On the
individual level, it is what Jesus called losing the soul-life, which refers to sanctification.
But notice that the merchant found and bought one pearl of great value. This refers to the fact that all
Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26), and both Judah (the King) and Israel (His Kingdom) shall be
reunited as one. The Israel that shall be saved is comprised of all who have been born from above.
Some might question: Do you mean to tell me that the church is Israel and that we are associated with
the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel? Yes, I do mean this. Have you ever asked the Lord for the name of
the tribe you are associated with? Try it! God is not forming two separate entities, one called “the
church” and the other called “Israel.” No; they are one and the same. He is doing one work on one line
in, through, and for His Son. We are all being built up as a new creation in Christ, and this new creation
is the true Israel of God, New Jerusalem, the dwelling of God in spirit.
The Lord started with the ecclesia (church) in the wilderness (Acts 7:38), which is the Passover church;
then He proceeded to call forth the ecclesia (church) from the good figs of Judah and from among the
nations, which is the body of Christ. For the last 2,000 years, this ecclesia has been the Pentecostal
church. The Lord has placed His spirit within a born-from-above people so that His laws can be written
on their hearts, which is the meaning and purpose of Pentecost. But the Lord is not finished, for there is
yet a third ecclesia, the Tabernacles church, which is made up of the immortal conquerors of Christ, the
sons of God and the sons of glory. This ecclesia is the complement of the One completing the all
in all (Ephesians 1:23 CV).
So, the parable of the pearl of great value speaks of one pearl, meaning all Israel is united, which speaks
of both kingship and sonship. However, New Jerusalem has twelve single pearls to signify that all Israel
shall be saved; none will be left out. Thus, New Jerusalem is the full complement of the Son of God.
The Upward Call: #03-0186
by: Stuart H. Pouliot