And the street of the city was pure gold.
South of Cairo, travelers can walk about seven miles to a harbor on Lake Qarun. This little stretch of roadway has the distinction of being the oldest paved road in the world. People have been treading it for 4,600 years. It’s one of several ancient roads that still exist and conjure up feelings of wonder. Think of the Silk Road that traversed Asia, the Appian Way outside Rome, and the Inca Road system that linked South America and created an empire. Civilization needs roadways, and some of them are breathtakingly beautiful and even enchanting.
But none of these roads are as beautiful, enduring, breathtaking, or dazzling as the golden boulevard that links the neighborhoods of New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:18, we’re told that the entire city is constructed of “pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, “And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
Those are visual terms, and the Lord revealed this information so we can begin to picture heaven in advance and anticipate its glories. If you’re taking to the road today, look at that black asphalt beneath your tires and compare it with the glory to be revealed. Your heart will glisten.
What wonderful visions of beauty, what glorious scenes shall unfold; / And what dazzling splendors surround me, when I walk up the streets of gold.
From the anonymous hymn “When I Walk Up the Streets of Gold”