Why are the streets in heaven paved with gold?

From Issue: Discovery 9/1/2002

Dear Hannah,

That is an excellent question! In Revelation 21, the apostle John wrote about his miraculous vision of heaven, and described it as being a city of “pure gold” (21:18). One thing we must remember when we read this is that John was using physical terms we understand in order to paint a word picture of a spiritual place—the most beautiful place we can imagine.

Have you ever painted a word picture before of some place you have visited on vacation (such as the mountains or the beach)? A word picture is when, instead of drawing a picture, you use words to describe what you have seen. That’s what John did. Except, instead of writing about a physical place, he was writing about a celestial (non-physical) place. Unlike Earth, heaven is not a physical place with physical things in it. (Heaven is a real place; it’s just not a physical place.) The gold in heaven is not the same physical gold we see today. In fact, John described the gold of heaven as being like clear, see-though glass (21:18,21). Thus, heavenly gold is not the exact same “treasure” we have here on Earth.  

Also, remember that it is not the possession of gold that is wrong, but the love of gold and money that is a sin (1 Timothy 6:10). We must never allow money to come between our service to God. Instead, we are to use it to His glory by helping others (read Matthew 25:31-46).


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