Have you ever wondered how a pearl is formed? First of all, the mother of pearl oyster is a very fragile soft bodied creature that dwells within outer shells that can close or shut at will with any threat. It has an obvious hard exterior but very fragile and vulnerable interior. When an oyster is threatened, it closes its shell, using the very strong adductor muscle. After further research of this amazing sea creature I found this description. “As the oyster grows in size, its shell must also grow. The mantle is an organ that produces the oyster’s shell, using minerals from the oyster’s food. The material created by the mantle is called nacre. Nacre is made of crystals of calcium carbonate aligned with each other so that light passing along the axis of one, is reflected and refracted by the other to produce a rainbow of light and color. The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle. It’s kind of like the oyster getting a splinter. The oyster’s natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl.”
As I studied further, I learned that many have a misconception that a grain of sand gets lodged inside of the oyster and the “nacre” begins forming layers around the sand to protect the entire organism. Though this may be possible in some instances the oyster is quite ingeniously created, and since it lives in a bed of sand is quite easily able to expel a grain of sand. It would appear that the more common reason for the beginning of the nacre substance being excreted over the invasion from outside is either a parasite or a particle of food, etc. that could cause muscle damage. This process of forming protective layers around the point of injury is what eventually builds the beautiful pearl which can take from 3-7 years to form. The size and form of the pearl have a lot to do with its quality. Most pearls are pea shaped but can actually grow quite large. They are prized for their luster which is the ability to reflect light. (interestingly enough pearls come in different colors and can be black or white or shades in between)
Comparing this natural formation to a spiritual application opens many possibilities. We are really fragile creatures with walls around our heart that we must guard from foreign invasion. Anything destructive that makes it past the outer shell can lodge inside. The Holy Ghost is the “nacre” that begins to form around the injury as we yield the injury to God. The more trials we endure and allow the Lord to bring His healing, the more lustruous the pearl within becomes. Pearls are of such high value in the eyes of God that Heavenly Jerusalem will have 12 gates of pearl.
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” Rev. 21:21 Oneness is a predominant theme throughout the Bible. Deuteronomy 6:4 says “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” If we confess that Jesus is Lord then we are saying that He is the only true God. This is a deep revelation. We need not look for another for He alone is the true God of heaven and earth.
I Corin. 8:6, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we by him.”
I Corin. 10:17, “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
Eph. 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
Gates are always referred to in the Bible as the place of judgment. The saints will be given the seat of judgment in the age to come. Could these pearl gates spoken of in Rev. 21:21 symbolically be speaking of the saints who have come through much tribulation and have now become one beautiful pearl reflecting the glory of God at the entrance to the eternal city?
To further this progression of thought let us consider the parable that Jesus spoke concerning the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13:45. “Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who when he had found one pearl of great price went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Think about this for a moment. Jesus is likening the Kingdom of Heaven to a pearl of “great price (value)”. This particular merchant went out looking for goodly “pearls”. We usually think of a string of pearls as being of costly ornamental beauty and this merchant went out with the intention of finding pearls (plural). Instead, he found one very unique pearl that was of such high quality and value that it far exceeded his original expectation of many pearls. The world offers a plethora of “cultured” (artificiallly grown) pearls. In the Book of Revelation we see the Babylonian Mother of Harlots adorned with “pearls”. Satan has deceived the minds of multitudes that one pearl just isn’t enough; however, there was something inside of this merchant that Jesus spoke of that saw such value in the pearl he found he was willing to sell everything to purchase it. Think of it. He was willing to give up everything he owned to possess the glory of this “one” pearl. Jesus Christ, and the eternal Kingdom He has promised, is the “Pearl of Great Price” and it is worth any and every sacrifice to obtain. Notice that the pearl was bought. Grace is freely given by our heavenly Father, but it will cost us everything to keep it. Through much tribulation we enter into the Kingdom. “Buy the truth and sell it not.”
Another point of view is that it was actually the Lord Himself who was the merchant looking for “goodly pearls”. Jesus shed His sinless blood for the entire world, but it was His holy bride “Pearl” that He had on His mind at Calvary and ever since.
There is only “One” way to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and that is what Jesus told Nicodemus (John 5:7). “Unless a man is born of water and spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” Acts 2:38 fulfills this scripture, but the journey has just begun. The pearl within is still not formed until we allow the Lord to begin to transform our lives, much as the oyster’s mantle begins to secrete the nacre substance over the injury. As the pearl is formed its purity becomes more pronounced – its luster and silvery brightness more obvious.
Pearls are compared in the Bible to the holy things of God and the wisdom of God (Job 28:18). The scriptures tell us that a time would come when people would not be able to discern between the holy and the profane, the clean from the unclean and would treat sacred things as common. “Be ye holy for I am holy”. This is how you can tell the people of God from the people of the world. It will not be “cultured” pearls you see, but the “real thing”. The wisdom of this world says more is better, but the wisdom of God says one is enough. This is the simplicity of Christ and my prayer is that God will grant revelation to all who read this.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you.” Mat. 7:6
Finally, let us continue to highly value the pearls of revelation the Lord has placed inside of us as we hunger and thirst for His righteousness. We take this responsibility to share His Word in the fear of God, because we are living in a time when many are rejecting the ways of God. Lord grant us eyes to see and ears to hear your voice and not the clamor of the world.
Psalm 118:19, “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord.”