THE JEWELS OF HEAVEN based on Rev. 21:9-21
By Glenn Pease
Henry Schober of Edmonton, Canada, was cutting a loaf of bread to make a sandwich, when he his amazement he found a diamond engagement ring. It was later appraised at $700. As a result of a lot of publicity, the owner of the ring was found. It is not likely that gem favored bread will ever catch on, but the fact is, there are many gems in the Bread of life--the Word of God. Not just gems of truth, but actual literal gems. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible dealing with over 50 jewels and precious stones. It would take hours just to read all that the Bible has to say about gems. The KJV has an astonishing total of 1,704 references to gemstones and minerals under 124 Greek and Hebrew names. You could devote a life time to the study of this subject.
There are three main lists of gems in the Bible, and one of them takes us back to Eden where we thought the only clothes worn were drab animal skins. But there is a lot we do not know about what was going on in the heavenly realm at that time. It seems that the archangel Lucifer was rebelling against God in pride, and was cast out of heaven before he came to deceive Eve through the serpent. What is amazing is the beauty of this servant of God. Satan is the first being that we have any record of who was clothed with precious stones. In Ezek. 28, he is described as the model of perfection in beauty. Then in 28:13 we read, "You were in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared."
This verse makes it clear that jewelry was not man's invention at all. God was making jewelry of great beauty, with gold and precious stones, before man was ever created. He made Satan a fabulous garment of jewelry when he was created, which was long before man was created. So the study of jewelry is not only prehistoric, but preexistence of the universe. In other words, jewels existed in God's realm of existence in eternity before God created what we know as the universe. Jewels are heavenly elements that existed before the universe, and will be a part of heaven when the universe, as we know it, is no more. There are fascinating histories of great jewels, and how they have been passed down from one royal family to another for centuries. All of them will end up in the royal family of God, who will, in eternity, possess all the jewels God has ever made.
God was a jeweler before He created our world, and thus we see from the start, God is a great lover of jewels. This explains why He is so extravagant with them in the walls of the New Jerusalem. If artists and architects got together to plan the New Jerusalem, they may have thought that a crown of diamonds and rubies over each of the twelve gates would give an elaborate and luxurious look to it. Who would ever dream of twelve strings of precious stones circling the entire 5,600 miles of the city walls. I have calculated that this is equivalent to a necklace which is 67,200 miles long. You don't have to get out your Guinness Book of Records--I can assure you that this is the longest piece of jewelry ever created. It would stretch over two and one half times around the world.
So let's face this fact--God is fanatical about jewels. If you think it is a waste of time to study jewels, you are mistaken. God loves us to study them, just like anyone enjoys people who learn to love their hobby.
God made jewels play a major role in the life of His Old Testament people, in the second great list we see this. The high priest was to wear a special breast piece when he came into the presence of God. It was to be a marvelous work of art made of gold and fine linen. Then we read this in Ex. 28:17-21, "Then mount four row of precious stones on it. In the first row there shall be a ruby, a topaz and a beryl; in the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald; in the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; in the fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper. Mount them in gold filigree settings. There are to be 12 stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the 12 tribes."
God's people had to know their gems in order to obey God, and make this very unusual garment. The high priest would go into God's presence with these 12 shining jewels, and by means of them, God would reveal His will to the high priest. I visualize it as a sort of code. The high priest would ask God questions and God would light up the jewels in a pattern to give him the answer. It was like a computer that God spoke through. God used jewels as a practical tool for communication to lead His people. This was probably the most practical piece of jewelry ever created.
Jewels are universal symbols of beauty and wealth. God considers His people His jewels, and His goal is to beautify them that they might shine as jewels, and be as durable as jewels. The prophet Zechariah describes the day of God's coming to rescue His people in Zech. 9:16-17, "The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people. They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!" I don't know how beautiful the crowns of kings were in Bible times, but the crowns of royalty in modern times are awesome in their beauty. Imagine the glory of God's people, when they are finally saved from all that hinders them from being fully the reflections of God's image. They will be the crown jewels of the King of Kings.
When God wants to describe how precious His people are to Him, He uses jewel imagery. We read in Is. 62:3-4, "You will be a crown of spendor in the Lord's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God..... The Lord will take delight in you." God delights in His people, as men do in their most precious jewels, because they are beautiful and valuable. Jewels are more beautiful when they reflect light. The more light a gem will disperse, the more color it conveys to the eye, and thus the greater it's beauty. God's people are to be lights in the world conveying the beauty of God's love for a lost world. Christians who will shine as God's jewels forever, are to shine in time reflecting the light of His love in a dark world.
Ernestine Ramaboa, in May of 1967, was panning gravel in South Africa. For five years she and her husband had been working there 30 foot square diamond claim. They averaged 25 to 30 cents a day finding rice size diamonds. But this day was different--as different as rice is from eggs, for on this day she unearthed an egg size diamond. They only had $4.00 between them, so they could not afford the $19.50 air fare to the city of Moseru. So Petrus, her husband, put the egg in his pocket, and they walked for 4 days over the dirt roads. It was well worth their effort, for it was the world's 8th largest diamond. They received $302,400 for it. It was sent to New York City where it was sold for $649,000. That was quite a nest egg for an egg size jewel, but that is how precious a stone the diamond is. Many feel the jasper in the walls of the New Jerusalem is the diamond. If so, the city is primarily a city of diamonds and gold.
What is fascinating is the fact that jewels are glorified commonplace matter. They represent what God can do with just plain stuff. They are symbolic of the redemption of sinners--the lowly fallen man made into a gem of infinite worth. The diamond is merely glorified carbon. The ruby, topaz, and sapphire are glorified aluminum. The opal is glorified sand, and so on. C. J. Baldwin says, "Indeed, the jewels that glitter in the regalia of a Queen, have the same ultimate origin with the stones that lie beneath her feet in the road." Jewels are the flowers of the mineral world. They rise out of the soil of the commonplace with a superior beauty, because of the chemistry of God's creativity.
All of this is introduction to our look at the jewels of heaven. In the light of what we have seen, it ought not to be a surprise that God would lavish the Bride of His beloved Son with more jewelry than all mankind combined has ever processed. I always thought heaven was depicted with gold and jewels, because these are great values to man, but the more I study, the more I see it is full of gold and jewels, because these are of great value to God. Man came to value these things, because God valued them first, and made them scarce. The beauty of heaven is not just for us, it is for the aesthetic pleasure of God and the Lord Jesus, and as we have seen, their taste for jewels was established before man was ever created. The jewels of heaven are for God's pleasure, as much as for ours. God loves jewelry and He uses it to glorify all that He exalts and honors.
God made man in His image, and one of the ways this is manifested is in the desire of man to create the same things God loves to create. In the area of precious stones, man has come a long way. He can now make many fine and flawless jewels synthetically. Man can make a beautiful ruby made of the same material as a natural ruby, and make it flawless 500 times less expensive than mining, polishing, and cutting the natural ruby. Today, man can make many of the jewels that God has enjoyed making, even before time began. This is an area of aesthetics which God and man have in common, and will have in common for all eternity. Jewel making will likely be one of the jobs that some of the redeemed will enjoy doing forever.
Chemistry will also be an eternal subject. The jewels of heaven tell us that the same laws of chemistry that are in time will go on in eternity. Every one of these jewels is a result of a chemical formula. The more complex the formula the less hard the jewel. The reason the diamond is the hardest jewel is because it consists of just one element--carbon. The ruby and sapphire are the next hardest, with two elements--aluminum and oxygen. The beryl's with four elements are softer yet. The study of jewels tells us a lot about God, for they are a study in order.
The book of Revelation revolves around 7's, and all jewels do, as well. Everyone of them falls into one of 7 categories.
The diamond is cubic.
The emerald is hexagonal.
The ruby is trigonal.
And so on for 7 different types. 7 is God's perfect number, and He created all jewels to fall into 7 categories, which reveals His love for order, which is part of the beauty of His creation. Beauty and order will characterize the eternal environment of the New Jerusalem.
Jewels have always been a sign of favor, and therefore, it makes sense why the Bride of Christ would receive the most elaborate jewels the universe has ever seen. This royal rainbow of 12 colors encircling the Bride is a fitting symbol of the King's love for this one He has chosen to be His eternal Queen. In England, when the Queen is crowned at her coronation, the ArchBishop of Canterbury pronounces these words, "O God, the Crown of the faithful, who on the heads of Thy saints placed crowns of glory, bless and sanctify this crown, that as the same is adorned with divers precious stones, so this Thy servant wearing it, may be replenished of Thy grace, with the manifold gifts of all precious virtues, through the King Eternal, Thy Son and our Lord, amen."
If the precious stones are symbolic of the precious grace of God, that bestows on the wearer, His virtues, then the Bride of Christ is endowed with infinite grace and virtue, making her worthy to be the everlasting Queen of the new heaven and earth. When God wanted to convey to His people Israel that His love, as her husband, would never cease, He used jewelry to convey this idea of permanence. In Is. 54:11-12 God says, "I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels and all your walls of precious stones."
The Old Testament imagery of jewels makes it clear what the jewels of heaven mean. They are symbolic of the fact that the Bride of the Lamb need never fear divorce or separation. God is committed to eternal love. He will not tire of this Bride anymore than He will tire of His eternal love for precious stones. I would love to see the model that has been made of this jewel-ringed Bride. And eminent English jeweler displayed it in London. One who saw it wrote, "Though, to some minds, the Johannine description seems grotesque and incoherent, the remarkable thing was, that when the various elements of the description were gathered together into a unity, a singularly beautiful and charming model was the result,--a model which gathered round it's thousands of distinguished critics, who pronounced it about as perfect a reproduction in precious stones, pearls, gold, and crystal as it was possible for human hands to frame."
If man can make a model so beautiful, what will the reality be like, made by the Master Jeweler Himself. Some of these jewels could very well be the very ones that beautified Lucifer before he fell. The church will be victor over all the powers of Satan, and she will possess the very beauty and power that he lost.
But again, the question comes, is there any practical value in all of this? God says we are to live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth. If He has given us hundreds of words dealing with jewels, we can count on it, there is practical value in the study of jewels. Paul urges us in Phil 4:8, to think on things that are pure, lovely, and admirable. Why? Because the Christian who has a focus on the beautiful will be a better reflection of the beauty of heaven, on earth. Show me the happiest Christians, and I'll show you people who think about lovely things. So, the first practical value of jewels is their psychological effect. They are examples of order and beauty that motivate us to lives of greater order and beauty. The more you look at the things God loves and appreciates, the more you adore the God who loves such loveliness.
Horace Mann, who is known as the Father of American Public School, and who was elected to the American Hall of Fame, had a love for education, like few people in the history of our nation. He said something that illustrates why Christians should be students of all forms of beauty.
"Surely He who created the fragrance and flowers
and music of paradise;...... Surely He who created
all colors, and has mingled them together in the petals
of flowers, in the armatuare of insects, and the plumage
of birds, and has blended lily and rose in the cheek
of youth; He who has strewed the bottom of the ocean
with pearls, and sowed jasper and amethyst and
chrysolite among the rocks,--was no contemner
This revelation of the jewel bedecked Bride of Christ makes it clear God is, was, and ever will be a God of perfection, who loves the good, the true, and the beautiful. His goal is a universe where these things are permanent. This means the goal of the Christian in time is to be every striving to add to a world in chaos, order, quality, and beauty. If it disappoints me when I see Christians being sloppy, careless, and indifferent to a life of order and beauty, how much more does it disappoint God?
God's purpose in giving us this revelation of the New Jerusalem is to captivate our imagination. If your imagination is filled with the glorious destiny God has prepared for you, and you visualize yourself as a part of the Bride of the Lamb--beautified with the jewels of heaven--this will be a powerful tool in making you discontent with what is mediocre and superficial. Christians who have their imagination impacted by this revelation of God, will see themselves and other Christians as jewels and not as junk. This will affect their language, behavior, and attitudes, so that they will have a higher sense of self-esteem, and they will value others as God's jewels.
The practical value of the study of the jewels of heaven is that the more we grasp their beauty, the more we will be gems ourselves in time, adding to the beauty of the Bride of the Lamb, even before she is robed in this eternal necklace. May God help us reflect in time the beauty of the jewels of heaven.