I am a Christian. I believe in the God of the Bible, in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. I believe in Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV)" I am a biochemist and a pharmacist by education. As such I have a desire to understand nature. I am writing this blog as my way to express the facts of true science as I understand them, from the perspective of one who believes that all things were created by God, for God and for His purposes.

Feel free to comment, to offer your perspective, or to give suggestions for subjects.
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Genetic Engineering - Un-Natural Selection?

In California we had a measure on the ballot on November 6th, Proposition 37. If it had passed, it would have required labels on certain foods when they contain "Genetically Engineered" ingredients. It sounds kind of like science fiction doesn't it? The term Genetically Engineered brings up thoughts of mutant plants and Evolution on Steroids!

But what exactly is a Genetically Engineered food anyway?

In one sense, all food is genetically engineered since all living things contain genes that direct their growth and characteristics. In the natural world God is the one who does the engineering. But man has also gotten into the act. For centuries man has been genetically engineering his food, although possibly without really knowing it. As man began to cultivate plants for food, cross pollination and mutations would form larger or hardier crops and by selectively using the improved varieties, man was, in a very broad sense, genetically engineering. Later as we understood the science better, deliberate cross breeding of plants and animals resulted in increased crop yields, larger feed animals and more milk production.

Scientifically this is referred to as "artificial selection" to distinguish it from "natural selection" where the cross breeding leads to traits that increase survival - the mainstay of evolution. In both of these examples the genetic changes occur naturally, within the organism, without direct manipulation of its genetic material.

Genetic Engineering (GE) is a process in which scientists use recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology to introduce desirable traits into an organism. Done in the laboratory, GE alters the organism's genetic makeup by either removing genetic material from that organism or introducing externally prepared DNA into the organism. Genetic manipulation in this fashion can be used to produce the same changes that could be attained by artificial selection, only much faster. This process, called Cisgenesis, introduces genes in one generation that would take multiple generations to introduce through artificial selection. Thus it just speeds up an already "natural", albeit forced, mutation.
Selective breeding transformed teosinte's few fruitcases (left)
into modern corn's rows of
exposed kernels (right).

There is a second type of GE and that is where the going gets tougher. This type is called Transgenesis. Transgenesis introduces foreign genes into the genome and thus can not occur by any natural process. Typically, genetically modified foods are transgenic plant products - soybean, corn, canola and rice. The aim is to introduce a new, beneficial trait into the plant. Since the new material is not naturally available in the species' gene pool, the potential for moral, ethical and safety concerns is much greater.

We have to weigh the benefits and the risks, both to us and to our environment, both in a physical sense as well as morally and ethically. But we should not ban something just because it seems like science fiction. Should we ban cars because they kill people? Deconstruct the Internet because it contains porn? Stop all animal experiments as some may die? No, but we need to be sure we treat all living things with dignity and respect, with human life given the highest consideration. Thus, in my mind, human cloning or stem cell research is absolutely off the table when it results in the taking of a human life, even an embryo, but it is reasonable and desirable to develop adult stem cells or tissue cloning for the purposes of improving our individual and corporate health.

Looking back over the history of chemistry we see that human manipulation of natural chemicals has resulted in numerous products that have improved life as we know it. In ancient times, man combined different elements together, often unintentionally, to make compounds that had superior qualities - copper and tin to make bronze, or copper and zinc to make brass.

Later man isolated compounds from plants and used them as medicines, such as Caffeine or Aspirin. Other compounds were chemically altered (engineered?) to make more powerful drugs. Now man is going one step further - using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to produce even more complex drugs, with more opportunities to improve the human condition.

Genetic Engineering has Opened Up
Many New Possibilities
For Advances in Drug Therapy

In medicine genetic engineering has been used to mass-produce insulin, human growth hormones, human albumin, monoclonal antibodies, antihemophilic factors, vaccines and many other drugs. Genetically modified mice have been used to study and model cancer (the oncomouse), obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, substance abuse, anxiety, aging and Parkinson disease. Potential cures can be tested against these mouse models.

Gene therapy is the genetic engineering of humans by replacing defective human genes with functional copies. It has been used to treat patients suffering from immune deficiencies and trials have been carried out on other genetic disorders. There are ethical concerns should the technology be used not just for treatment, but for enhancement, modification or alteration of a human being's appearance, adaptability, intelligence, character or behavior. Some consider the enhancement of humans a desirable potential outcome of gene therapy.

But is this manipulating God's plan?

We must address the safety, ethical and moral concerns that come with these benefits. What are the human health implications of eating genetically modified food, in particular will toxic or allergic reactions occur? Can genes flow into related non-transgenic crops, causing off target effects on beneficial organisms and have a negative impact on biodiversity? Moral and ethical concerns raised involve religious beliefs, corporate control of the food supply, intellectual property rights and the level of labeling needed on genetically modified products.

As you can see there is much work to be done before Genetically Engineered Foods and Organisms will be widely accepted as part of our everyday lives, even in spite of the fact that many of our everyday foods already are directly or indirectly produced through some form of genetic engineering. We must evaluate the risks against the opportunity to improve the human condition. I think God has given us that right and it is up to us to handle it responsibly.

Deuteronomy 29:29 (NIV) - The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

Genesis 1:28-29 (NIV) - God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 29Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

The call came in at 2:53am, why does it seem like it is always early in the morning, "Mom, can you come over now, we need you." My daughter-in-law had looked different when I saw her on Sunday afternoon at a birthday party. It was obvious that the baby had dropped and it was almost "time." She was clearly uncomfortable and ready to go soon, even though the due date was not for two weeks. During the party her water broke but she did not think they needed to rush to the hospital. No time-able contractions yet. This is child number four so she was not wanting to rush in, only to be sent home again. My wife went to watch the older children, I will join them later. It is Monday morning 5:09am and no word yet so hopefully things are going well.

I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made;
Marvelous are Your Works
Psalms 139:14

Genesis 3:16a (NKJV) - To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children;"

Because of the fall in the Garden, the labor won't be easy, but joy will come when the baby is born.

Luke 12:7a (NIV) - Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Each of us was made in His image, He has numbered the very hairs on our head. We are priceless in His sight. God has set forth a plan and purpose for every one of us. He will guide us through that purpose, if we just let Him.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) - For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

In spite of what life may bring, what physical maladies may present, what emotional trauma, what struggles we may endure, God loves us and wants us to know Him and come to Him. He knit us together, we should not destroy that for any reason.

Psalms 139:13 (NIV) - For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

He has given us wisdom and knowledge in the inner workings of our physical bodies and we must use that understanding for healing and not for destruction.

Deuteronomy 29:29 (NIV) - The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

And yet we have much more to learn. Science is a gift from God, giving us a glimpse directly into His mind, allowing us to pursue Him as we discover and uncover His marvelous works.

Psalms 139:14 (NKJV) - I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Phosphorus and the Cola Controversy

As with my last blog, (M for Magnesium), this entry is expanding on one of the elements discussed previously in a frequently visited story, this time Phosphorus. The blog "Fire and Brimstone" is currently number three on the list, battling it out for second place with "Salt of the Earth." There must be schools out there somewhere that are looking at the third period of the Periodic Table regularly. All of the elements discussed in my top three blogs - Sodium, Magnesium, Aluminum, Phosphorus, Sulfur and Chlorine - are in the third period.

Phosphorus is the chemical element with symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the Nitrogen group, Phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, inorganic phosphate. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms — white phosphorus and red phosphorus — but due to its high reactivity, it is never found as a free element. Phosphorus was the 13th element to be discovered and the first element discovered in modern times.

White Phosphorus is the least stable, the most reactive and the most toxic of the allotropes. It consists of tetrahedral P4 molecules, in which each atom is bound to the other three atoms by a single bond. White Phosphorus gradually changes to red Phosphorus. Red Phosphorus is polymeric in structure. It can be viewed as a derivative of P4 wherein one P-P bond is broken, and one additional bond is formed between the neighboring tetrahedron resulting in a chain-like structure. Red Phosphorus may be formed by heating white phosphorus to 250 °C (482 °F) or by exposing white Phosphorus to sunlight.

Phosphorus is highly flammable and pyrophoric (self-igniting) upon contact with air. White Phosphorus is used as an additive in napalm. The odor produced on combustion has a characteristic garlic smell. Elemental Phosphorus glows in the dark (when exposed to Oxygen) with a very faint tinge of green and blue. The term phosphorescence (re-emitting light that previously fell onto a substance and excited it) is derived from Phosphorus but the reaction that gives Phosphorus its glow is properly called chemiluminescence (glowing due to a cold chemical reaction).

Due to its flammability, Phosphorus was used in "strike anywhere" matches, first produced in the 1830s. They were sensitive to storage conditions, toxic and unsafe, as they could be lit by striking on any rough surface. Their production was gradually banned in different countries starting in 1872 up until 1925. As a consequence, the "strike-anywhere" matches were gradually replaced by the "safety matches" we know today. White Phosphorus was replaced with Phosphorus Sesquisulfide (P4S3), Sulfur or Antimony Sulfide. Such matches are hard to ignite on an arbitrary surface and require a special strip containing red Phosphorus. The Phosphorus heats up upon striking, reacts with the Oxygen-releasing compound in the head and ignites the flammable material.

Phosphoric Acid binds Calcium
And may decrease Bone Density
So drink Cola in Moderation

Inorganic Phosphorus in the form of the Phosphate ((PO4)−3) is essential for most life, playing a major role in biological molecules. Phosphate is a key component of DNA, RNA, and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Nearly every cellular process that uses energy obtains it in the form of ATP. It is also found in the phospholipids that form all cell membranes. Elemental Phosphorus was first isolated from human urine, and bone ash was an important early Phosphate source. The chief commercial use of Phosphorus compounds is for the production of fertilizers to meet the need for Phosphorus that plants require to grow. Elemental Phosphorus is highly toxic, causing severe liver damage. Ingestion of white Phosphorus can also cause a medical condition known as "Smoking Stool Syndrome" where the stool will emit white smoke when exposed to air.

One area of debate involving Phosphorus is around the use of Phosphoric acid (H3PO4) in carbonated soft drinks, primarily colas. Phosphoric acid is added to give colas their tangy flavor. It also slows the growth of molds and bacteria, which otherwise would multiply rapidly in the sugary solution.

Phosphoric acid has been linked to lower bone density in some epidemiological studies. One such study showed that women who consume colas daily have a lower bone density than those who don't. Total phosphorus intake was not significantly higher in daily cola consumers than in non-consumers; however, the Calcium-to-Phosphorus ratios were lower. Consuming highly acidic substances can promote a deterioration of the teeth, jawbone, pelvis and femur. From this study and others like it, drinking Phosphoric acid appears to dissolve away your skeletal system.

Phosphate binds Calcium and can lead to increased elimination of Calcium from your system. Another study suggests that the decreased systemic Calcium is due to the fact that if someone has a high soda intake, they have a low milk intake - substituting soda for milk as their source of liquids. This study concluded that the net effect of carbonated beverages — including those with caffeine and Phosphoric acid — is negligible, and that the skeletal effects of carbonated soft drink consumption are likely due primarily to milk displacement.

Phosphorus itself is an important bone mineral. But if you're getting a disproportionate amount of Phosphorus compared to the amount of Calcium in your diet, that could lead to bone loss. Aside from this risk of osteoporosis, Cola consumption has also been linked to chronic kidney disease and kidney stones.

American consumption of carbonated soft drinks fell to 491 twelve ounce servings in 2009, down from 507 servings in 2008. (Per capita consumption peaked in 1998 at 576 twelve ounce servings.) Only a small fraction of the Phosphate in the American diet comes from additives in soft drinks. One twelve ounce can of cola contains approximately 37 mg of Phosphorus. The recommended daily intake is about 1000mg so drinking six sodas a day would constitute only about 22% of the daily allowance. Most Phosphorus comes from meat and dairy products. The amount of Phosphoric acid in soda is minimal compared to that found in chicken or cheese and no one's telling us to stop eating chicken. So your reason for not drinking cola should be its sugar content and artificial food colorings, not the Phosphoric acid.

There are a few things you can do to boost your bone health:

  • Cut down your cola intake by one or two cans a day or switch to a non-cola soda if you can not stop entirely.
  • For every soda you skip, reach for a glass of milk instead.
  • Add milk instead of water when you prepare pancakes, waffles, and cocoa.
  • Add nonfat powdered dry milk along with liquid milk to recipes using milk - puddings, cookies, breads, soups, gravy, and casseroles.
  • Take a Calcium and Vitamin D supplement if you still aren't getting enough Calcium.
  • Get plenty of weight-bearing and resistance exercise. Walk, walk, walk everywhere!
Proverbs 25:15 (NIV) - Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

M for Magnesium

Since starting this blog over a year ago, Magnesium has been, by far, the most frequently searched term. Not sure why but even to this day, after more than a year, the blog Magnesium & Aluminum tops the page count day after day, week after week and month after month. So I thought I would do an update, at least for Magnesium, so here it is.

"Remember, remember the 5th of November..." - V for Vendetta

(for those of us in the US we need to remember the 6th this year).

Guy Fawkes Night is an annual commemoration observed on November 5th, primarily in England. Its history begins with the events of November 5, 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London. Within a few decades Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was also known, became the predominant English state commemoration. Towards the end of the 18th century November 5th gradually became known as Guy Fawkes Day. Present-day Guy Fawkes Day is usually celebrated at large organized events, centered around a bonfire and extravagant fireworks.

The film "V for Vendetta," based on the comic book series of the same name, plays on the Guy Fawkes theme as a futuristic political thriller where the key protagonist plans to destroy the House of Parliament on Guy Fawkes Day in the year 2021. Although V, a bold, charismatic freedom fighter, dies before his plot is carried out, the House of Parliament is destroyed and V is identified as "all of us" fighting political oppression.

The Magnesium post is by far the most popular. Why? Is everyone making bombs out there? Or is it a fascination with fireworks?

A sparkler is a type of hand-held firework that burns slowly while emitting colored sparks or flames. In the United Kingdom, a sparkler is often used by children at bonfire and fireworks displays on Guy Fawkes Night and in the United States on Independence Day, the 4th of July.

The "classic" type of sparkler consists of a stiff metal wire approximately 8 inches long that has been coated with a thick batter of slow-burning pyrotechnic material and allowed to dry. It contains one or more from the following categories:
  • A mandatory Metallic fuel - to make sparks
  • Optional Additional fuel - to modify the burn speed
  • A mandatory Oxidizer
    • Potassium nitrate
    • Barium nitrate
    • Strontium nitrate
    • Potassium perchlorate
  • Optional pyrotechnic colorants - to color flames
    • Chlorides and nitrates of metals - barium, strontium, or copper
  • A mandatory Combustible binder - hold the fuel together
    • Dextrin
    • Nitrocellulose

Magnesium is explosive when finely slivered, spontaneously bursting into flame when exposed to air. Once ignited, it is difficult to extinguish. Magnesium is capable of reducing water to highly flammable Hydrogen gas, and as a result, water cannot be used to extinguish Magnesium fires; the Hydrogen gas produced will only intensify the fire. Magnesium also reacts with Carbon Dioxide to form Magnesium Oxide and Carbon, hence, Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers cannot be used for extinguishing Magnesium fires either. Burning Magnesium is usually quenched by using a Class D dry chemical fire extinguisher, or by covering the fire with sand to remove its air source.

The spark of explosive Magnesium
Reminds us of the flash that split the darkness
when God said "Let there be light"

On burning in air, Magnesium produces a brilliant white light which includes strong ultraviolet rays. Thus Magnesium flash powder was used as a source of light in the early days of photography. Later, Magnesium ribbon was used in flash bulbs. And, of course, Magnesium powder is used in the manufacture of fireworks and marine flares where a brilliant white light is required.

Magnesium is the chemical element with symbol Mg. It is the second element in Period 3, with an atomic number of 12, located between Sodium and Aluminum. Magnesium is the fourth most common element in the Earth as a whole (behind Iron, Oxygen and Silicon) and makes up 13% of the planet's mass. It is highly soluble in water and is the third most abundant element in seawater.

Magnesium ions are sour to the taste, and in low concentrations they help to impart a natural tartness to fresh mineral waters. In 1618, a farmer in England attempted to water his cows from a well. The cows refused to drink because of the water’s bitter taste, but the farmer noticed that the water seemed to promote healing of scratches and rashes. The substance, hydrated Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4·7 H2O), became known as Epsom Salts, named for the farmer's town, and its fame quickly spread.

In the human body, Magnesium is the eleventh most abundant element and its ions are essential to all living cells, playing a major role in manipulating important biological polyphosphate compounds like ATP, DNA, and RNA. Hundreds of enzymes require Magnesium ions to function.

Magnesium is a vital component of a healthy diet. Spices, nuts, cereals, coffee, cocoa, tea, and vegetables are rich sources of Magnesium. Green leafy vegetables, being high in chlorophyll, are also rich in Magnesium. Low levels of Magnesium in the body has been associated with the development of a number of human illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Alcoholism can also produce a Magnesium deficiency. Taken in the proper amount, Magnesium plays a role in preventing both strokes and heart attack. Magnesium can shorten the length of a migraine and the symptoms can be less severe. Excess Magnesium in the blood is freely filtered at the kidneys, and for this reason it is difficult to overdose on Magnesium.

In manufacturing, Magnesium is the third most commonly used structural metal, following Iron and Aluminum. It has been called the lightest useful metal. Its main applications are, in order: as a component of Aluminum alloys, in die-casting (alloyed with Zinc), to remove Sulfur in the production of Iron and Steel, and in the production of Titanium. In its purest form, Magnesium is strong and light so it is used in automotive and truck components. Specialty, high-grade car wheels of Magnesium alloy are called "mag wheels", although the term is often more broadly misapplied to include Aluminum wheels.

Magnesium is also extensively used in electronic devices. Because of its low weight, good mechanical and electrical properties, Magnesium is widely used for manufacturing of mobile phones, laptop and tablet computers, cameras, and other electronic components.

The spark of explosive Magnesium reminds us of the flash that split the darkness when God said "Let there be light: and there was light." Genesis 1:3 (KJV)

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Final Look at the Minerals of Revelation

When I wrote the first blog for this study, I envisioned that it would be a series of three or four blogs. Little did I suspect that I would write a separate blog entry for each of the foundational stones. But as I began to research each stone, I realized that there was a wealth of information, and mis-information, on the history and identity of the stones. As I worked through them all, I have tried to identify what seems right to me. But this is just my opinion, and it is just for now. I may go back and review this in the future and come to different conclusions about the stones, their colors and their significance.

The New Jerusalem
- Public Domain

As I studied I found good arguments for labeling the stones differently. Some Bible searchers considered the types of stones known to be present in Egypt at the time of the Exodus, assuming that the Israelites received the gems as gifts when they left Egypt after the last plague. One source identified the stones so that the colors would have significance, moving from a clear Jasper prism to a red Ruby and ultimately to a violet Amethyst passing through all of the colors of the rainbow. Others still examined the Hebrew and Greek roots, the Biblical text associated with these words and as much history as they could find to anchor their interpretation.

I tried to mix the first and third approach, assessing all I could discover in the light of history and then settling on a choice. As I said before, my thoughts of today may change as I uncover more about these precious gems. Here I am presenting the "facts" as I see them today but take them with a grain of salt and do your own study into the "Minerals of Revelation."

A Gem cannot be Polished without Friction,
Nor a Man Perfected without Trials.
Chinese Proverb

Here is a brief description of each mineral listed in Revelation 21:19ff. I have linked each stone to its blog entry.
  • Jasper - is an opaque, impure variety of Silica (SiO2), usually red, yellow, brown or green in color.
  • Sapphire - is a variety of Corundum, an Aluminium Oxide (Al2O3). Trace amounts of other elements give it a blue, yellow, pink, purple, orange or greenish color.
  • Chalcedony (Agate) - is a microcrystalline variety of Silica characterized by its fineness of grain and brightness of color.
  • Emerald - is a variety of the mineral Beryl (Be3Al2(SiO3)6) colored green by trace amounts of Chromium and sometimes Vanadium.
  • Sardonyx (Onyx) - is a banded variety of Chalcedony. The colors of its bands can be almost every color.
  • Sardius (Carnelian) - is a brownish-red mineral variety of Chalcedony colored by impurities of Iron Oxide.
  • Chrysolite (Peridot) - is a Magnesium Silicate with the formula (Mg,Fe)2SiO4.
  • Beryl - is a Beryllium Aluminium Cyclosilicate with the chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6.
  • Topaz - is a silicate mineral of Aluminium and Fluorine with the chemical formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2.
  • Chrysoprase - is a variety of Chalcedony that contains small quantities of Nickel. Its color is normally apple-green.
  • Jacinth - is a red transparent variety of Zircon (ZrSiO4).
  • Amethyst - is a violet variety of Quartz (SiO2).

This first table assembles the chemical facts I reported in each of the individual blog entries. Many of the stones are Quartz, a common mineral - as abundant as the sands of the sea - but with various mineral structures and impurities that create the different stones. Most of these minerals come in a variety of colors but I listed the one color that seems the best fit to me. The Mohs hardness is a scale where a Diamond, the hardest gem, is a 10.

Sardonyx5SiO2QuartzBanded Red/White/Brown6.5-7
with Iron Oxide
Chrysoprase10SiO2 with NickelQuartzApple-Green6-7
or ZrSiO4
SilicateDark Red6.5-7.5
Amethyst12SiO2 with Fe+3QuartzViolet7

This next table connects the stones to the Breastplate of the High Priest in Exodus 9:8ff. As mentioned in the individual blog entries, each stone is tied to a son or grandson of Jacob by either birth order or by the order of the tribes in the camp. In addition, the stones each reference an Apostle of Jesus. Several stones have multiple apostolic links but I have listed just one.

Emerald3LeviZebulonJohn the Evangelist
Sardonyx11JosephAsherJames (son of Zebedee)
Sardius1ReubenJudahBartholomew (Nathaniel)
Jacinth7GadEphraimSimon the Zealot

Finally, this last table lists some possible alternative stones that could have been the true identity of the stone listed. This is due to the fact that the names of several stones have changed over the years such that the name from the Bible does not point to the stone we know today by that name. Only Amethyst is lacking another possible stone. I include here as well the Hebrew and Greek words linked to the King James Version of the Bible that point to the stones along with a short description of my interpretation of the symbolism of each foundational stone.

JasperDiamondyashĕphehiaspisThe sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross
SapphireLapsis LazulicappiyrsapphirosThe divine connection between God and man
ChalcedonyAgateshĕbuwchalkedonOur service to the Lord that is done in secret
EmeraldCarbunclebareqethsmaragdosThe Shekhinah Glory of God
SardonyxOnyxshohamsardonuxThe Blood of the Martyrs
or Ruby
odemsardinosThe Shed Blood of Jesus
or Peridot
nophekchrysolithosThe Counsel of the Holy Spirit
BerylAquamarinetarshiyshbēryllosGod's Power as the Giver of Life
TopazChrysolitepitdahtopazionSeeking and finding the Kingdom of God
ChrysopraseEmeraldyahalomchrysoprasusThe Apple of God's Eye
or Zircon
leshemhyakinthinosThe Light of God reflected in His Creation
AmethystNAachlamahamethystosThe Royal Priesthood

I hope you have found this series interesting and informative. May it spur you on to your own study of the greatest book ever written.

Revelation 21:2-4 (NIV) - I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He 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."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Amethyst - The Royal Stone

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" John 19:1-3a (NKJV)

Many Catholic churches cover their spiritual images with purple cloth during Lent, especially the large crucifix overhanging the altar, to impact the faithful, creating a spiritual hunger to see the face of their savior, Jesus Christ, once again. This covering shifts the focus from simple worship and adoration to a deeper form of meditation, remembering Christ's redemptive acts through His sacrifice on the cross.

Amethyst - The Final Foundational Stone
The Color of a Royal Priesthood

The color purple has long symbolized Royalty. The dictionary defines purple as “any color having components of both red and blue” and as a “symbol of royalty or high office.” Purple's elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it. The earliest archaeological evidence for the origins of purple dyes points to the ancient land of Canaan.

The twelfth and final foundational stone is the Amethyst, a deep purple or violet stone, the only gem of this color. Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz (SiO2) and owes its violet color to irradiation of trivalent iron impurities (Fe3+) and the presence of large trace elements. It is the most precious member of the quartz family. The hardness of the mineral is the same as quartz (Mohs 7) and thus it is suitable for use in jewelry.

The Amethyst is also found in the Breastplate of the High Priest, the third stone in the third row. It represents Issachar by birth order and Benjamin by the order of the camp. For the Apostles, it has been linked to Andrew and also to Matthew because of its fiery aspect.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word is "achlamah" meaning the precious stone now known as Amethyst. It is thought to have derived from the root "chalam," meaning to dream, and thus the Amethyst is sometimes referred to as the "dream-stone." The Greek word "amethystos," used in the New Testament, means "not drunken" and thus the Amethyst was thought to ward off drunkenness. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that Amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence.

Amethyst signifies the heart of the lowly that die with Christ. It represents those who pray for their enemies and their persecuters. It is worn by Roman Catholic Bishops as a symbol of trust, piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom. Moses described it as a symbol of the Spirit of God in the official robes of the High Priest of the Jews.

As the last foundation of the New Jerusalem, it is only proper that this stone symbolize the royal nature of the King that will rule and reign forever!

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jacinth - The Light of Noah's Ark?

The Talmud has it that in Genesis 6:16a God said "A light (tsohar, also translated here window and elsewhere noonday) shall you make for the Ark" and so Noah gathered luminous stones and jewels, that they might give light as bright as the noonday sun. Noah, it is reported, used the light from the jewels as a lantern to safely steer his Ark through the darkness of the night. These stones provided the only source of light inside the Ark.

When Noah entered the Ark, he brought precious stones and jewels with him to keep track of day and night. When the jewels shone dimly, he knew that it was daytime, and when they shone brightly, he knew that it was night. It was important for Noah to be able to tell day from night, for some animals eat only during the day, and others eat only during the night, and thus Noah could determine the proper feeding times for the animals under his care. Noah needed the jewels because the account of him bringing jewels into the Ark followed the view that the celestial bodies – including the sun – did not shine their light during the year of the Flood and thus no sunlight entered the Ark.

Now "tsohar" is translated "noon" or "noonday" everywhere else it appears in the Bible and "challown" is the word in Genesis 8:6-7 that is used for the "window" that Noah sent forth the raven looking for dry ground. It seems reasonable to say that there could be some truth to the story found in the Talmud.

In some accounts, the stone identified above is said to be the Garnet. The Garnet is a red stone, chemically a magnesium aluminum silicate with the formula Mg3Al2(SiO4)3. The Jacinth, the eleventh foundational stone we are discussing here, is sometimes thought to be a Garnet or possibly a red transparent variety of Zircon (ZrSiO4), another type of silicate. In any case, the stone is likely dark red bordering on black.

Jacinth is a semi-precious stone that can be a lustrous orange-yellow, orange-red, yellow, or yellow-brown in addition to dark red. It has been prized since antiquity. The brilliant and intense fire it displays surpasses that of even the diamond. Jacinth has a hardness of about 6.5 to 7.5. It changes its color with the condition of the sky, clear and it shines, cloudy it does not.

The Light of God
Is reflected in His Creation

The Ligure (in Hebrew "leshem") is considered the same stone as the Jacinth. Ligure is mentioned in Exodus 28:19 as the first stone in the third row of the High Priest's Breastplate, the seventh stone, and thus represents Gad in birth order and Joseph's son Ephraim in the order of the camp. Jacinth represents the Apostle Simeon the Zealot for his passion.

In Revelation 21:20, the Greek word for Jacinth is "hyakinthinos" or "hyakinthos," signifying a precious stone of dark red or dark blue. There is one scripture that seems to tip the scales as to pin point the color the stone "Jacinth" represented to John. In Revelation 9:17 we are told the horsemen have breastplates of fire (red), Jacinth, and brimstone (sulfur or yellow). But then we are told they breath out fire, smoke, and brimstone. This strongly suggests that the color of Jacinth corresponds to the color of the smoke accompanying the fire, favoring the dark red interpretation.

The Jacinth signifies the angelic life. It represents those who are wise and comprehend how to contend with wise men in understanding, preparing themselves just as the apostle Paul said, yet among the mature believers they can impart wisdom. In the Jacinth is the wisdom of discernment.

The Garnet symbolizes fire, faith, courage, truth, grace, compassion, constancy and fidelity. Garnets have been widely known for thousands of years and are found in jewelry from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman eras.

The Zircon is a stone of purity and innocence, helping us to be more at peace with ourselves.

Isaiah 60:19 (NKJV) - "The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chrysoprase - The Apple of God's Eye

What do you think of when you hear the word apple? The computer company (see my last blog)? A ruby Red Delicious or a soft green Granny Smith? William Tell and his arrow or Newton sitting under the apple tree? Maybe even Adam and Eve eating that first forbidden fruit? Then there are the sayings "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" or "you are the apple of my eye."

The Chrysoprase, the tenth foundational stone, is a rare gemstone variety of chalcedony that contains small quantities of nickel. The nickel silicate inclusions impart the stone with an opalescent apple-green hue. It is this unique golden-green color that gives the stone its value. Did God make the stone this hue to remind us that we are the apple of His eye?

The Greek word chrysoprasus, translated Chrysoprase, comes from the Greek chrysos meaning 'gold' and prasinon, meaning 'green'. It is often mistaken for Imperial jadeite, a light green Sodium-Aluminum Silicate form of Jade. Chrysoprase has a hardness of 6 - 7 on the Mohs hardness scale which makes it a good gemstone to create ornamental jewelry. Chrysoprase is cryptocrystalline, it is composed of crystals so fine that they cannot be seen as distinct particles under normal magnification.

Chrysoprase has been known to man since ancient times. It was valued and formed into cameos and intaglios by the Greeks and Romans. Ancient Egyptians also saw the worth of this fine stone and used it in decorations that adorned the pharaohs. Chrysoprase is said to have been the favorite gemstone of Alexander the Great. In the 14th century, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV used Chrysoprase to decorate chapels including the Chapel of Saint Wenceslas in Prague.

God cherishes us above all Others
We are the Apple of His Eye

The Chrysoprase, along with Chalcedony, is not specifically mentioned in the Breastplate. Possible matches could be the third stone - the Emerald, the fourth stone - the Turquoise or Carbuncle, or the eighth stone - the Agate. We have matched all of these stones previously with other foundational stones. The only unmatched stone is the sixth stone, most often referred to as the Diamond but in a couple of translations it is named as the Emerald. Since the Chrysoprase is a type of Chalcedony, it could be the eighth stone we named as Chalcedony or possibly the sixth stone as a stretch because of its green color. If it references the eighth stone it would signify Asher by birth order and Joseph's son Manasseh by the order of the camp. Placed as the sixth stone, it would be Naphtali by birth order and Gad by the order of the camp. The Chrysoprase, more brightly tinged with a gold hue than gold itself, symbolizes the Apostle St. Thaddaeus.

Chrysoprase helps to make conscious what was unconscious. It encourages hope and joy, symbolizes spiritual protection and increases grace and equilibrium. Chrysoprase is demonstrated in the work of the righteous and their reward. It portrays unity and is the perfect charity of which no ferocity can defeat. It signifies those who spend their life in hardships, labor and suffering, yet always remaining in love.

So did God color Chrysoprase to remind us that we are the apple of His eye? He could have! This phrase first appeared an Old English work attributed to King Alfred (the Great) of Wessex in AD 885. Shakespeare also used it in the 1590s when he wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream. Its first appearance in the Bible was in the King James Translation of 1611. Referencing back to the Greek, in most instances it refers to the pupil but more specifically to the refection of the person you are looking at, "the little man in the eye." Thus we are the reflection in God's eye - reminding us how He loves and cares for us. Chrysoprase, with its apple-green color, can remind us of our special place in God's plan, how He cherishes us above all others - "Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows" Luke 12:7b (KJV).

Psalms 17:8 (NIV) - Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Topaz - Seeking the Fire of the Son

Back in 1992 I got a Mac Portable, one of the first laptop computers. I bought it second hand to take along on a once in a lifetime motor-home trip with three of my kids. It was great for recording the events of the trip and to keep the kids entertained at night on the long stretches of deserted highway as we toured America. My how laptops have changed!

Macintosh Portable (photo from OldComputers.net):
  • Release date - September 20, 1989 (Original), October 15, 1990 (Backlit)
  • Introductory price - $6,500
  • Weight - 16 lbs
  • Discontinued - October 15, 1990 (Original), October 21, 1991 (Backlit)
  • Operating system - 6.0.4 (Original) 6.0.7 (Backlit) - 7.5.5
  • CPU - Motorola 68000 @ 16 MHz
  • Memory - 1 MB, expandable to 9 MB, 8 MB backlit version (SRAM)
The previous owner of the Portable had loaded an engaging maze game on it called the "Scarab of Ra." The goal of the game was to search the Great Pyramid of Ra and learn its secrets, and (if you can) survive to tell the outside world of its wonders. The ancient Egyptians considered the scarab beetle sacred as it seemed the young beetles emerged spontaneously from the dung burrow were they were born. This connected them to the sun god Ra who rose spontaneously out of the darkness of Nun, the primordial waters. Nun was more than an ocean, he was a limitless expanse of still water and the all-powerful Ra arose from the water to bring the full creation into existence.

The plagues of Moses, poured out on the Egyptians by God when the Pharaoh would not let His people go, were each directed at a different god of the Egyptians. The plague of darkness that could be felt, the ninth plague, was a direct attack on Ra. The plagues showed that Yĕhovah was the one true God, the true Creator.

Ancient Egyptians said Topaz was colored with the glow from the sun god Ra. It is found in various colors - white, yellow, pink, green, pale gray, reddish-orange, blue brown, and black; but it is with one of the first three colors that it is most familiar as a gem. Blue Topaz is actually quite rare but can be artificially created by irradiation. Pure Topaz is colorless and transparent but is usually tinted by impurities, mostly iron and chromium, and is commonly opaque to transparent or translucent. Topaz is a silicate mineral of Aluminium and Fluorine, a fluorosilicate, with the chemical formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2. With its relatively high refractive index and a Mohs hardness of eight, it makes a beautiful gemstone.

Topaz - Fiery like the Sun
Symbolizes those who love God
Burning ever brighter for the Cause of Christ

Topaz is the second of the twelve breastplate stones of the High Priest referred to in the Book of Exodus. It represents Simeon in birth order and Issachar in the order of the camp. With its ruddy color, Topaz denotes the apostle Matthew for he was animated by divine zeal and his blood was fired for the cause of Christ.
The name Topaz is believed to have been derived from the sanskrit word ‘tapas’, meaning fire. Another possible source for the name is from Topazos, a small island in the Red Sea, where the Romans obtained a stone which they called by this name. The word Topazein, after which the island was named, means "to seek after." The island was often lost amidst the fog and so the legend goes that some pirates, trapped by the weather and pressed by famine, discovered the stone while tearing up roots for food. The Topaz from the island was later found to be Peridot.
American Gem Trade Association

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word "pitdah," meaning a precious stone - Topaz or Chrysolite, is rendered in most biblical translations as Topaz. Pitdah is derived from Sanskrit words (pit = yellow and dah = burn), meaning "yellow burn" or, metaphorically, "fiery". The New Testament word was "topazion," a greenish yellow precious stone. In each case the word could be interpreted to be Chrysolite or Peridot. It is thus possible that the stone referenced here was something other than the Topaz of today.

The Topaz has been known for at least 2000 years and is the ninth gemstone in the foundation of the New Jerusalem. All of the apocalyptic stones are intended to serve as protection against the enemy and as a symbol of beauty and splendor. The Topaz was called by Pliny "The Stone of Strength," and he describes it as the most valuable of stones having a predominate tint of orange. Topaz is a symbol of truth and forgiveness and is known as a “stone of true love” and success in all endeavors. It is said to promote individuality and creativity, and provide self-confidence in expressing ideas.

Topaz signifies seeking and finding as in Luke 11:9 (KJV) - "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Topaz symbolizes those who love God and their fellow man, being intent always on heavenly things they become clearer, purer and more beautiful.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV) - But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Ephesians 3:14 (KJV) - For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Beryl - from Goals to God's Power

What is it about a game that keeps you running for 45 minutes straight times two, with low scores and frequent ties and only lets you touch the ball with your head or your feet? Why do so many people love this game? Why is it the most popular game on the planet? Is it the deft touches that move the ball across the field? Or maybe the two foot leaps to head the ball into the net, just out of the goalie's reach. Or even the shout of GGGGOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! by the sportscaster, drowned out by the body numbing vibrations of a thousand Vuvuzela's blaring in excitement?

Soccer, also known as football outside of the US, is one crazy game. And it seems you either love it or you hate it. It is filled with action, skill and finesse knit together into a battle to be the team that can hammer in that winning goal before the clock runs out. All of my kids, with the exception of my youngest, played soccer at some time in AYSO when they were small. I coached teams for my youngest son and oldest daughter for a number of years. My son still plays it periodically in several adult leagues and I still enjoy watching him play. Going to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 would be a dream.

So what does Soccer have to do with Beryl, the eighth foundational stone, you ask? Nothing really except that the largest soccer complex in our town is at Beryl Park and is situated between Beryl and Carnelian Streets. With four fields I spent many a day there coaching and yelling from the sidelines as an avid Soccer Dad. As I mentioned in the Sardonyx blog, our town has a street for just about every foundational stone mentioned in the Bible.

So lets get back to the real subject of this blog, the foundational stone Beryl. Beryl is a Beryllium Aluminium Cyclosilicate with the chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6. It is sometimes confused with Chrysoberyl which is an aluminate of beryllium with the formula BeAl2O4. Despite the similarity of their names, Chrysoberyl and Beryl are two completely different gemstones. We will focus on Beryl here. Beryl has a Mohs hardness of 7.5-8, making it one of the harder of the foundation stones. Pure Beryl is colorless but impurities can change it into a number of colors: green, blue, yellow, red, and white. An Emerald is a green Beryl and a blue Beryl is an Aquamarine.

In Revelation 21:19-20 (KJV) the Greek word "bēryllos" is used for the Beryl foundational stone whereas the word "smaragdos" is used for the Emerald stone. Both words refer to "a precious stone of a pale green color" so it is not clear the difference between the stones. It may be that they are the same stone but then why the two words. A more exact definition of Bēryllos describes "a precious stone of the blue-green color of sea water" so it may be that the Beryl was actually an Aquamarine in a turquoise or blue-green shade.

The blue-green Beryl or Aquamarine
with the Colors of the Sea and Sky
Reflects God's Power as the Giver of Life Eternal

In the Old Testament, specifically in Exodus 28:20 (KJV), the Hebrew word "tarshiysh," meaning "a yellow colored precious stone," is used as the tenth stone in the Breastplate of the High Priest. It is translated Beryl in most versions of the Bible with the exception of the NIV where it is Chrysolite. This stone may have been a golden Beryl. As the tenth stone in the Breastplate Beryl would represent Zebulon by birth order and Dan by the order of the camp.

The Beryl as Aquamarine, imitating the colors of the sea and air, suggests the apostle Thomas as he sailed to India, the farthest traveling apostle, to preach to the Jews there. Thomas, which means twin, is best known biblically for his doubting that the Lord has risen, needing to see the nail prints and put his hand into His side to believe. This links with Beryl's association with "clarity of vision." The word beryllus, in Latin, means a magnifying glass.

Beryl relates to happiness and everlasting youth. It is a symbol of truth, charity, and faith. It represents God's Spirit of POWER AND MIGHT. God wants us to be blessed which means to be empowered to prosper as a result of having God's favor in your life.

Aquamarine is often called “The Stone of Courage" as it is believed to enhance one’s innate abilities to always be prepared. The color is aligned with truth and justice. Since early times, Aquamarine has been believed to endow the wearer with foresight, courage, and happiness.

The blue of Aquamarine is a divine, eternal color, the color of the sky and the color of water with its life-giving force. It reflects God's Power as the Giver of Life Eternal.

Genesis 1:20 (KJV) - And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Revelation 5:13 (NKJV) - And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power [Be] to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chrysolite - The Golden Green Counsel of God

The golden green eyes were fixed on me and two of my kids. We could not see the body that they emanated from, it was if they were just floating in the dark like two tiny flashlights pointed back at us. We were on a night hike in the foothills above our home, an excursion I had expressed trepidation over. My son had assured me he was an old hand at this, having taken the same hike numerous times with his friends, reaching Cucamonga Peak in time for the first glimmer of sunlight; an awesome view I was not risking my life to appreciate.

I have three sons, all into enjoying the physical side of nature - mountain biking, surfing, and backpacking. My third son is a Physical Ed teacher at a local middle school and participates regularly in Soccer and Iron Man type events. Now I enjoy hiking and backpacking with them but I had never tried this style of "fun" before. I also knew, from living here for 30 plus years, that mountain lions and bears live in the hills above us. I was afraid, but my son and daughter convinced me to go. Now the reason for my fear was staring back at me.

The eyes of a fully grown mountain lion or puma are often a remarkable golden color. They have a unique feature in the structure of their eyes that reflects back the light hitting the retina which enhances interpretation of low-light images, giving the puma a second chance to discern what it is looking at. This thin layer of reflective cells, called the "tapetum lucidum," is responsible for the characteristic "eye-shine" of reflected light that is frequently seen in mammals at night. In the mountain lion, this eye-shine is a yellowish green, not unlike the color of the Chrysolite, the seventh stone in the Foundation of the New Jerusalem.

The name Chrysolite can refer to two different minerals, Chrysoberyl, an aluminate of beryllium with the formula BeAl2O4 or Olivine, a magnesium iron silicate with the formula (Mg,Fe)2SiO4. Chrysoberyl is used primarily when discussing the stones in the Breastplate of the High Priest. Since Beryl is listed as a separate stone in the Foundation, we will focus on the magnesium iron silicate form of Chrysolite.

www.holistichealingnews.comThis mineral is known by different names, according to its color, being called Peridot when of a deep olive-green, Olivine when of a yel­lowish-green, and Chrysolite when of a lighter or golden-yellow color. Chrysolite is from the Greek "chrysolithos" meaning a precious stone of golden color. It comes from "chryso" meaning precious things made of gold, and lithos meaning of building stones. The name Peridot is derived from the Greek word 'peridona', which means "to give richness." Peridot is the gemstone form of Olivine or Chrysolite and possesses a much richer green color.

Mg-rich Olivine has been discovered in meteorites, on the Moon, and on Mars. Chrysolite and Olivine in general are a very abundant, but gem quality Peridot is rather rare. The Peridot is one of only a few gemstones found in just one color. The rich, green color with the slight tinge of gold is caused by very fine traces of iron. The intensity of the color depends on the amount of iron actually present. Peridot is not particularly hard, only 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, but is a fairly robust stone for use in jewelery. Chrysolite is so ancient that it can be found in Egyptian jewelery from the early second millennium BC. The stones came from a deposit on a small volcanic island in the Red Sea, some 45 miles off the Egyptian coast.

The Peridot represents God's Spirit - His Counsel
When we receive God's Counsel we are receiving
His purpose and plan for our lives.

There is some confusion between the Chrysolite and the Topaz, another foundational stone. Some think that these two stones have been switched over the centuries and the Topaz of today is actually the Peridot and the Peridot, the Topaz. The Hebrew word for Topaz (in the KJV), "pitdah," is translated as Peridot in the NLT. In fact, the Chrysolite is mentioned alternately as four different stones in the Breastplate, in place of the second - Topaz, the third - Emerald or Carbuncle, the fourth - Emerald or Turquoise, and the tenth - Beryl. The 3rd or 4th stones seem the most likely to me as the Olivine is sometimes called the "Evening Emerald" and these are the positions most referenced for that stone. As we placed the Emerald in the third position we will place the Peridot in the fourth - representing Judah by birth order and Reuben by camp order. The designation as an apostolic stone is just as confusing; the Chrysolite is aligned with no less than three Apostles - Thaddeus, Bartholomew or Thomas.

The gemstone meaning of Chrysolite is said to be gold, which in turn signifies wisdom and charity, virtues which are considered more perfect than all others. It gleams just like a furnace and represents wise and charitable men and women who demonstrate what they believe to others in both word and deed.

Peridot is considered good for healing the healers. It brings understanding of destiny and purpose. Catholic Bishops traditionally wear a ring of Peridot and Amethyst as symbols of purity and morality. It is also said to represent the excellence of Jesus' divine nature. The Peridot represents God's Spirit - His Counsel. Counsel means the interchange of opinion; consultation and advice. But most importantly it means purpose and plan. When we receive God's Counsel we are receiving His purpose and plan for our lives.

When my son, daughter and I saw those olive green eyes of the mountain lion, I was afraid. And in my fear, I failed to seek the counsel of God; to pray for His protection. Although I followed the rules - I did not run - I continued to look back expecting to see those shining eyes looking down on me from the ledge above or from the trees close to the trail. I let my fear overcome me and in one anxious moment I caught my foot between the rocks and fell, breaking my leg and tearing my ankle. In that moment I had forgotten Him who holds me up.

Psalms 17:5 (NKJV) - Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.

Psalms 27:1 (NKJV) - The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

2 Chronicles 18:4b (NIV) - "First seek the counsel of the LORD."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sardius, Carnelian or Ruby - The Sacrificial Blood

We are now at the half way point, working on the sixth foundation stone, with six more to go. Foundation six has a little identity crisis. It is called Sardius in the KJV and NKJV and called Carnelian in the NLT and NIV. The Sardius from the Breastplate (Exodus 28:17) in the KJV is translated as Ruby in the NIV. So which is it - the Sardius, the Carnelian or the Ruby? I would say it could be any or all of the three!

In the Old Testament, when referencing the first stone in the Breastplate of the High Priest, the Hebrew word used is "odem" which means a precious stone; a Ruby or Carnelian. It is derived from "adom" which means to be or look red. The New Testament Greek word is "sardion" or "sardinos" - a precious stone, the Carnelian or Sard. In ancient times the Sardius stone was obtained from Sardis in Asia Minor (Sardis was also the location of one of the prophetic Seven Churches of Revelation).

The Sardius is the red band found in the Sardonyx - a red Carnelian or Sard. It is a brownish-red mineral variety of Chalcedony (Silicon Quartz - SiO2) colored by impurities of Iron Oxide. A Ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral Corundum (same as a Sapphire - Aluminum Oxide - Al2O3). The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. The Ruby has a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with diamond having a Mohs hardness of 10.0.

The Sardius Stone occupied the first place on the High Priest’s Ephod. It represents Reuben by birth order and Judah by camp order. Inscribed upon the Sardius Stone was the name Judah which means Praise of Jehovah and denotes the expression of praise. The Sardius signifies the apostle Bartholomew, or Nathaniel, who Jesus immediately characterized as "Now here is a genuine son of Israel — a man of complete integrity." (John 1:47 - NLT).

The Red color of the Sardius Stone
Represents the Shed Blood of Jesus

This stone signifies the Scepter of God and the Power and Glory of God that comes forth in His purified people. It is God in His company of Saints. Those who walk in the Spirit and Power of Elohim without measure. It embodies the glory of God in judgment. All three stones, and in particular the Ruby, can be blood red and speak of the sacrifice of blood, pointing to the cross and Jesus shedding His blood for the remission of our sins.

Isaiah 5:16 (KJV) - But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.

John 1:29b (NIV) - "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sardonyx - Blood Red and Robes of White

Last August I told you a little about where I live (see The Wizard of Ozone); just 50 miles east of LA. In my town we have a street named after most every foundational stone listed in the book of Revelation. However, for the fifth foundational stone we have two streets, Sard and Onyx, but not one for them together - Sardonyx.

The word sardonyx comes from the Greek "sardonux," derived from "sard," meaning “reddish-brown," and "onux," meaning “fingernail," and has remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Sard is another name for red Chalcedony (Quartz - SiO2) or the stone Carnelian (the sixth foundation) and Onyx is a mineral formed of alternating Chalcedony bands. The Onyx bands are parallel to one another and a variety of different colors of which the Black Onyx is perhaps the most famous. Sardonyx is a variant of Onyx in which the colored bands are Sard (shades of red) rather than black. In both the alternating color is usually white Chalcedony. Onyx is generally only two layers, black and white as in the black Onyx, whereas the Sardonyx of old is generally presented with three layers - a superficial stratum of red, an intermediate band of white, and a base of dark brown Chalcedony.

In ancient times Sardonyx was often extravagantly carved to make intricate cameos and seals. This is due to its relatively soft nature, rated at 6.5 to 7 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness, and its structure, composed of many layers of tiny quartz fibers stacked one on top of another. It was also said to never stick to wax. Early Roman writers spoke of it as a “gem of great value.” In antiquity, Sardonyx was, at times, considered more valuable than gold, silver or sapphire.

Sardonyx signifies the Blood of the Martyrs
Their Souls cleansed of Sin
With Humility in their Hearts

In the Breastplate of the High Priest (Exodus 28:20 NIV) the Sardonyx, represented by the Onyx, is the eleventh stone and would signify Joseph (by birth order) or Asher (by camp order). Of the Apostles it is said to represent James, son of Zebedee, brother of John. James was the first of the Twelve to suffer martyrdom, and the only one of the Twelve whose death is recorded in the New Testament (Acts 12:1-2 NIV).

Traditionally Sardonyx is considered a stone of strength, integrity, stamina and vigor. It is said to represent happiness and stability such as in partnerships with friends, in marriage and in business. Sardonyx has been used as a protection against evil. Some people lay out a grid of Sardonyx - placing it at each corner of their house, over doors and at windows to protect against crime and misfortune.

Sardonyx displays the humility of believers in spite of their gifts. It has three colors: on top it is red, in the middle white, and underneath it is black (or dark brown). It represents those who bear the suffering that their zeal produces in the name of Christ (red). Inside their soul they are white, or without hypocrisy, but they feel like detestable sinners (black). The Sardonyx is often referred to as the Gem of Courage or the Gem of Virtue, the Sard signifying the martyrs shedding their blood for Christ, and the white their heavenly Robes.

Revelation 6:9-11 (KJV) - And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day - The Chemistry of Liberty

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress of the United States approved the Lee Resolution and declared their LIBERTY from the tyranny of King George and the British Empire. A committee was already working on a formal declaration and John Adams had proposed Thomas Jefferson to draft the document for Congressional approval. On July 4, 1776 Jefferson's draft, a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence, was approved.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The document declared that men have certain God given rights - to be governed justly, to be represented equally, and to not to be oppressed. No one person is born more important than another. No elite has a right to rule over the masses by virtue of their birth.

--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

And that governments are established to guarantee this equitable treatment, establishing the law on the will of the people, something we seem to be forgetting today.

--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Whenever the existing government becomes oppressive, the people have the right to alter or to institute a new form of government. In a representative government such as ours, this means the right to elect new representatives.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

And this right can not be taken lightly. The decision to change must be made only after patient pursuit of all possible solutions to the problems at hand. But once all efforts are exhausted it is their (and our) right, indeed their (our) duty, to look to move to independence from such tyranny.

--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

So having patiently tried all means to make such change as to allow the United States to continue under the rule of the British Empire, the only possible solution was the succession from that government in the pursuit of LIBERTY and the establishment of a new government.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

So the Congress let the evidence of British Tyranny be clearly stated to the world. King George had:
  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Are we seeing some of these same injustices today?

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

With these offenses, the King and his country were no longer fit to rule the Colonies.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

With repeated warnings, the Continental Congress informed the British of their injustices and of the consequences of continued oppression. Separation was inevitable.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

By signing this Declaration of Independence, the Colonies broke away from all allegiance to the British Crown, totally dissolving all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain. They declared themselves FREE and INDEPENDENT.

All thirteen colonies, a total of 56 representatives, signed the declaration, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. John Hancock, as president of the Second Continental Congress and one of the representatives for Massachusetts, signed his name largely and clearly so that King George could read it without his spectacles.

True Liberty is to Live As We Should, Not as We Please
Liberty = Freedom + Responsibility

All of this struggle began years earlier. Originating in the 1750s and 1760s, the notion of "taxation without representation" was one of the primary grievances of the British colonists and was one of the major reasons for the American Revolution. Many colonists believed the lack of direct representation was an illegal denial of their rights as Englishmen, and therefore laws taxing the colonists or laws applying only to the colonies, were unconstitutional.

One of the early actions against the British was the Boston Tea Party. It was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. The Tea Party Colonists objected to the Tea Act for a variety of reasons, primarily because they believed that it violated their right to be taxed without representation in the Parliament. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists, the Sons of Liberty, boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor.

The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution. Parliament responded in 1774 in part by closing Boston Harbor until the British East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea. Colonists in turn responded with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress. The crisis continued to escalate, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.

Other memorable actions strengthening the American resolve were the Gadsden flag and Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!" speech. "Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!" is a quotation attributed to Patrick Henry from a speech, given on March 23, 1775, to the Virginia Convention. Reportedly, those in attendance, upon hearing Henry's speech, shouted, "give me liberty or give me death!"

In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published his famous woodcut of a snake cut into eight sections. It represented the colonies, with New England joined together as the head and South Carolina as the tail. The other colonies were listed in between, in their order along the coast. Under the snake was the message "Join, or Die". This was the first political cartoon published in an American newspaper. This was followed by the Gadsden flag which has a yellow field with a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake are the words "DONT TREAD ON ME". The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was first used by the Continental Marines in the fall of 1775. The symbol of the rattlesnake became one of the images of the resolve of the colonists.

The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring document. Jefferson concisely expressed the convictions of the American people. The philosophy was not new; the idea of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize it in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King justifying before the world the breaking of ties with the mother country.

The American colonists revolted for Liberty over a list of grievances, chief among them the lack of representation in the British legislature and the accompanying tyrannical rule, and the rest is history.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NKJV) - Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.