Why then am I writing about jewels this week? I suppose what brought the topic to mind was the fact that I’ve been doing some window shopping on the internet—not buying, but just looking to see what was available if I could buy. And I wasn’t looking at diamonds or rubies or pearls. I’ve been searching for gemstones like beryl and jasper, sardonyx and chalcedony, chrysolite and jacinth.
Huh? Now why would I be interested in jewels like those? I mentioned last week that I had embarked on a new hobby of jewelry making. It occurred to me that it would be interesting to make a bracelet of the twelve precious stones that will be the foundation of the New Jerusalem that God is preparing for us someday; namely jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst.
I should probably back up here and tell you that I did a little research on those twelve precious stones a couple months ago as I was wrapping up my study in Revelations. I don’t know about you, but I had always been curious to know what beryl and jasper and some of those other less familiar stones looked like. We all recognize emeralds and sapphires, and even topaz and amethyst, but what is a jacinth or a sardius? As I read the description of the New Jerusalem I wondered about the foundation that God made for her, and what those twelve precious stones looked like all sandwiched together.
Here—I’ll let you read John’s description of it for yourself: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband...And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 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.” (Revelation 21:1, 2, 10-21)
My curiosity was up, though, when it came to those precious gemstones. What were their colors? How would they look all sandwiched together? I knew I could not begin to imagine the scope of its beauty, but at least I wanted to get some glimpse of what it might appear to be. I mean, we can try to imagine the pearly gates, and even the streets of pure gold although the Bible says the pure gold will be like transparent glass, but the foundation of all those beautifully colored jewels? Ahh—how lovely to have the world at our fingertips via the Internet! In a matter of seconds, my curiosity about the precious gemstones of the foundation was satisfied!
More or less. I did run into a couple interesting side notes and one little glitch. For instance, the chrysolite of today is what is more commonly called peridot, and is a pale green color. The chrysolite of a couple thousand years ago, and probably what John described, is a translucent gold. And jasper? That was a problem. Revelation 21:11 says, “Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;" When I had researched the precious stones, the only jasper I could find is an opaque reddish-brown color and usually spotted or striped. It is not clear at all. I began to wonder then if the jasper of the Bible is different than the jasper we have today. I could find no pictures of clear jasper, but I did a little more research and found out that jasper is a microcrystalline variety of quartz. Because it contains up to 20% foreign material, the color and appearance of the stone is rarely uniform and does not have the appearance of a crystal quartz stone, although clear crystal-like inclusions are visible in different varieties of the stone. Could it be that the jasper of Revelation was pure crystal, with no impurities to cloud it or add color? I'm not a geologist, so I could be way off base, but the description in Revelation 21 seems to support that idea.
And why is all this important to us now and how do we apply it to our lives? Well, I suppose the answer to that question is that it is not terribly important to us right now. I just got off on a tangent and spent many more hours researching it than it deserved in light of all the other far more important issues we find in the book of Revelations. The Lord gave us this description of the New Jerusalem, however, so that we believers might have something to look forward to and to show us how much He loves us and is planning only the best for us both now and when He calls us home. This journey here on earth is hard sometimes, but no matter how poor we feel sometimes, or how tired or discouraged, we have all the riches and beauty of God to look forward to in the end. The journey is will be worth it all when we reach our destination!
I remember the pastor I grew up with would often say that we ought not to be so heavenly-minded that we were no earthly good. I understand what he was saying, and yet what a joy it is to think every now and then on all the glories of Heaven and what the Lord is preparing for His children! He wants us to live with Him for all eternity! He wants to reunite us with our loved ones and to have us share in fellowship and worship with all our brothers and sisters from every tribe and nation and age of this world! What a family reunion that will be! He wants to motivate us to work to bring others with us to Heaven. And for the believer, He wants us to understand that there is no fear in death. We have glory and peace and joy to look forward to someday. Hallelujah and Amen!