The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. –Revelation 21:21
There was a rich man who wanted to take his money with him beyond the grave. When he was nearing death, he prayed fervently about the matter. An angel appeared to him and said, “Sorry, you can’t take all your wealth with you after death, but the Lord will allow you to take one suitcase. Fill it with whatever you wish.” Overjoyed, the man got the largest suitcase he could find and filled it with pure gold bars. Soon afterward he died and showed up at the gates of heaven. St. Peter, seeing the suitcase, said, “Hold on, you can’t bring that in here with you.” The man explained how God had given him special permission.
“OK,” said St. Peter. “You can bring the suitcase in with you, but first I must check its contents.” He opened the suitcase to see what worldly items this man had considered too precious to leave behind. “I don’t believe it!” exclaimed St. Peter. “You brought pavement?!”
I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. –Revelation 14:2
There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of ‘Heaven’ ridiculous by saying they do not want to “spend eternity playing harps.” The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them. All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible. Musical instruments are mentioned because for many people (not all) music is the thing known in the present life which most strongly suggests ecstasy and infinity. Crowns are mentioned to suggest the fact that those who are united with God in eternity share His splendor and power and joy. Gold is mentioned to suggest the timelessness of Heaven (gold does not rust) and the preciousness of it. People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs. –C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
Revelation 21:1-5 — Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 — As the scripture says, “What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him.”
O Lord, support us all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.
—Book of Common Prayer