All That Glitters Is Not Gold By Grant Phillips

In The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien said:

“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.”

In William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice we read:

“All that glisters is not gold;

Often have you heard that told:

Many a man his life hath sold

But my outside to behold:

Gilded tombs do worms enfold.

Had you been as wise as bold,

Young in limbs, in judgement old

Your answer had not been inscroll’d

Fare you well, your suit is cold.”

And then there was Geoffrey Chaucer who gave two early English versions:

“But all thing which that schyneth as gold / Ne is no gold, as I have herd it told,” and “Hyt is not al golde that glareth.”

Apparently this well-known saying, “All that glitters is not gold” originated in the 12th century and may have even dated back to Aesop according to Wikipedia.

When reading Chaucer’s versions, I want to scratch my head and go, “UH?” This in turn reminds me of the KJV only Bible thumpers who insist we read only the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible because it’s the only one approved by God, according to them. They never use anything but the originalKing James Version (KJV) of the Bible, so they say. The facts are; if they actually had the original King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, they wouldn’t be able to read it, let alone understand what it is saying. Anyway, that’s another subject. Let’s talk about “All that glitters is not gold.”

I have never panned for gold and assume not many of you have either. Regardless, when we study the process and listen to those who have, we learn that there are two types of gold to be found; true gold, and what is called “fools gold.” Fools gold is actually pyrite. True gold is rather dull, while pyrite reflects considerably more light. True gold equates to wealth. Not so with pyrite.

Many people over the years have dug up pyrite, thinking it was gold, but the joke was on them, when they found out it was just fools gold. I can see them now dashing into the Assayer’s office bubbling over with excitement thinking they have struck it rich, but then feeling like a fool when the Assayer informs them it’s just pyrite. No wonder they call it fools gold. One would certainly feel like a fool.

How many are going to feel like a fool when standing before God at the judgment because they think they have the real thing, and He tells them they just have a pocket full of lies. That’s what fools gold is you know. It’s dressed up to look like the real thing, but it’s just a lie. We fall for it, and become just another fool.

Those without Christ who expect to enter Heaven with anything other than God’s grace through His Son Jesus have nothing to present but the work of a fool. Unless we are wrapped in the cloak of God’s righteousness our destination will be 180 degrees in the other direction. Only the saving blood of Jesus Christ upon the cross can provide entrance into our Heavenly home. Only that empty grave assures our destination. It is all about what He has done for us, not what we can do for ourselves or for Him. The work of Jesus Christ is pure gold. Anything else is fools gold.

How many will stand before God thinking all their sparkly good deeds will out-weigh the bad? How many glittering excuses will there be that will come from the mouths of fools? Will we hold our shiny pyrite before God expecting entrance? If so, we may hear from Him:

“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:2-3

When Jesus came the first time to provide a way for us to be saved from our sins, He did not come in kingly robes and with a marching band. He came as the pure gold of Heaven to die for us. Read the remainder of Isaiah chapter 53. Only in Him is there true wealth and happiness.

Satan throws every enticement he can at mankind to prevent us from finding that which provides true spiritual wealth and happiness. Our very first parents discovered this when they chose to eat of the forbidden fruit. (By the way, nowhere in the Bible does it say the forbidden fruit was an apple.)

Even today most people seek wealth and happiness in areas that will never supply what they so desperately need.

Another thing to consider is all the garbage Satan throws at us that looks good (for a while), sounds good (for a while) and feels good (for a while).

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 2 Peter 5:8 (NASB)

Whether it be spiritually or materially related, test everything against God’s Word. The Bible is our Assayer’s office.

Many people, including Christians, in our modern society may be in violation of God’s commands and think they’re living a “saintly” life because everyone “thinks this way, therefore it’s politically correct.” Don’t take someone’s word that this or that is okay. If you are a Christian, be a diligent student of the Bible, not just a casual once in a blue moon, if ever, reader of the Word. Only God speaks the Truth all the time, and His Word is final.

With enough persuasion, most any activity or belief may look good under the right circumstances, but is it? Is it true gold, or is it fools gold?


Grant Phillips