Excerpts from One Precious Pearl: God's Design for His Church
Prolog - Two Adams
Part One - Understanding the One Precious Pearl
1 The Pearl in Scripture
2 The Parables of Matthew Thirteen
3 The Parables Grouped
4 Is the Pearl Salvation?
5 Is the Pearl the Kingdom?
6 Is the Pearl the Church?
7 The Pearl Is
Part Two - Lessons From the One Precious Pearl
Unique Aspects of a Pearl
Interesting Aspects of a Pearl
15 Costly - Expensive
16 Costly - Life
Costly - Value
Epilog - Three Gifts
Appendix - Good News
About the Author
As a child I spent my summers with my aunt and uncle on an
island in the Pacific Northwest. It was a wonderful place for a child to grow.
We pretty much lived off the land including venison in season. My uncle Chuck
maintained a small orchard, a vegetable garden, chickens, and a barn with a
cow. We also savored great seafood including salmon, cod, red snapper, clams,
and oysters. My brother and I spent many hours out in a small boat fishing.
The home was situated
on a bay of salt water which teemed with sea life of all kinds. Sometimes we
would swim in that bay and I remember being afraid of the larger Dungeness
Crabs and their big pinchers. I also received some cuts on my feet from broken
The home was modest - built
out of materials from the island. In the kitchen on the window ledge above the
sink was a bowl with some of the best pearls my aunt Anne had found in some of
the oysters which we harvested. They were of varying sizes and perfection; none
was very valuable, but she treasured them. Her daughter Stacey continues to
treasure them today.
A pearl is an
unusual gem in regard to its source - it comes from the sea. The pearl is an
unusual gem since it is found in an unusual location. A pearl comes from the
sea rather than from the earth like other gems. Of the seven mysteries in
Matthew 13, only the last two have anything to do with the sea.
In the Bible the
word "sea" sometimes has a symbolic meaning representing the masses of
humanity - specifically the Gentile nations. It can represent man's confusion and
depravity. As an example, in Daniel 7:2-3 we read, "Daniel said: 'In my vision
at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning
up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up
out of the sea.'" It is believed by many that these four great beasts represent
the four great world kingdoms. In other words, out of the masses of humanity
and the confusion of mankind in this present day and age, these four great
world kingdoms arise.
"But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud. 'There is no peace,' says my God, 'for the
wicked'" (Isaiah 57:20-21).
We read in
Revelation 13:1, "And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a
beast coming out of the sea." Again, the sea symbolizes the masses of humanity,
out of which in this case comes the Beast.
The Israelites were
a land people, fearful of large bodies of water such as the Mediterranean. Part
of this fear was due to the treacherous nature and peril that was associated
with storms while on the water. Interestingly John, in speaking about heaven,
tells us that there is no sea there (Revelation 21:1). It is interesting to
note that no mention of tides is found in Scripture.
Palestine was a
crossroad for the Roman world. This was not only true on land but also the
Mediterranean coast. As merchant ships sailed along, they frequently stopped at
ports in Palestine. The Jewish people would have been aware of the value of
pearls to the other nations.
The pearl comes from
the sea; out of the masses of humanity and the confusion of mankind, Jesus
Christ is forming His Church. The Church is being formed little by little, with
people from all walks of life and social backgrounds, from all financial
backgrounds, all ethnic backgrounds, and out of all nations. The kingdom of
heaven and the Church contain Gentiles and Jews alike, all who put their trust
in Jesus Christ are being added to His Church and to His kingdom.
A pearl is a unique
gem - the only gem which is formed in the sea.
Copyright 2008 (c) Robert Lloyd Russell. All rights reserved. Last Update: Jun. 2015