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.

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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."


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  2. Thank u for writting this - I'm in a bible study group studying the book of Revelation. As I was searching for the picture of the various gems then I saw your blog. If u don't mind, I'm sharing the 3rd table with other group members. Your interpretation of the symbolism is awesome. Thanks for posting it.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the blog. Feel free to share with anyone and everyone.

  3. Hi I am really interested in this. I was wondering why diamond does appear on the breastplate but does not appear in the New Jerusalem. Most of the stones in the NJ are silicates and none of them are Carbon based. Carbon is the basis for all life on earth but it seems that in the NJ God's people have transcended Carbon signified by all of the stones mentioned none of which contain carbon. If you want to discuss this more please email me joshuad31 (at) yahoo.com

  4. Joshua,
    You make an interesting point. It could be that God is directing our attention to a higher plane than our current existence. Some have said that the Jasper is meant to be the Diamond. In Revelation 21:11 it states - "It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal." The thought is that clear Jasper could actually be the Diamond. Also Jasper is impure Silicon Dioxide. Pure Silicon Dioxide would be clear. Silicon is the next higher element above Carbon in the same column of the Periodic Table. This means that Carbon and Silicon have similar bonding characteristics due to the number of electrons in the other shell. Many a Sci-Fi movie has made aliens that are Silicon based instead of Carbon based. Possibly using pure Jasper (Silicon Dioxide) in the foundation is to show us that the New Jerusalem is of a higher order of existence than our current, impure world.

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  6. Hi I am really enjoying your fellowship re these stones. I was just wondering how you matched the symbolism with the stones in the last table. I am not disputing but just seeking more fellowship so I can be more clear. The Bible is such a wonderful book and there is so much more that needs to be revealed to us

    1. Rick,
      Thanks for the comment. I wrote that blog entry almost 5 years ago. Looking back, I can not find specific references but I can say that I researched a number of different references for each stone as I was writing about the individual stones. This research led me to come to my own conclusions on the symbolism of the different stones. So basically, the thoughts are mine and do not represent any other specific source.

      If you look for the meaning of each stone, you will find that there are quite a few ideas about what they mean, just as there are different ideas about what each stone is (Jasper could really be Diamond and Sardius could be Ruby for example) or what son of Jacob or Apostle they might represent.

      I guess we will find out in heaven when we see them first hand.