Monday, February 15, 2010

The Gems of Exodus and Revelation - Amethyst

It's notable that the exact identity of a few stones mentioned in Exodus 28 and Revelation 21 are uncertain and differ from translation to translation. Since many of the stones are now contemporary birthstones, I will highlight them in the months in which they correspond, not necessarily in the order they are mentioned in scripture. It's also notable that the number 12 (the number of perfection in government, and completion) is a key theme throughout these particular posts.

The Gems of Exodus and Revelation - Amethyst

The breastplate of Aaron was constructed to hold four rows of three stones each (a square of 12 stones) and each stone was inscribed with the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. In the account of its' construction found in the 28th Chapter of Exodus, amethyst is placed third in the third row and represented the tribe of Benjamin. This 'third of third' placement may give insight to the one whom amethyst would represent in the 12th foundation of the New Jerusalem.

In Revelation Chapter 21 amethyst is mentioned as the last of 12 foundations on which the walls of the New Jerusalem will rest. Just as the 12 stones in the ephod represented the names of the 12 sons of Israel, the 12 foundations of the New Jerusalem will represent the 12 apostles. Starting with the first foundation and using the order written in Matthew 10:2-4 we would begin with Peter (Matthew 16:18) and match the order of names with each foundation as they stack up. Of course Judas removed himself from the original twelve. Not all transcripts agree in regard to who this 12th foundation represents. Some include Matthias (who replaced Judas among the apostles in Acts 1:20-26) in place of Paul, however, Paul is sited more often likely because he was chosen by Jesus himself as were the original twelve apostles (Acts 9:15). (Since this is my blog, I'm going with the guy Jesus chose, and the most prolific writer for His cause.) Remember that Saul (Paul) did not see, and did not eat or drink (3 things) for 3 days upon his conversion on the Damascus road. Now think about that 'third of third' placement of amethyst in the breastplate. And, in Philippians 3:4-6 Paul himself acknowledges his lineage as the tribe of Benjamin, who is represented by amethyst in the breastplate of Aaron.

Amethyst is purple, the color of royalty. It's no coincidence that the walls of the New Jerusalem, the eternal home of Jesus-the King of Kings, would rest directly on a gem of that color.
Amethyst is also the color of wine. Wine represents 'joy' in scripture. Remember the wedding party in Cana and the site of Jesus' first miracle? The hosts ran out of wine, i.e. joy. Jesus turned water into wine and restored their joy. The New Jerusalem will be a place of eternal joy.
Our God had all this figured out long before anyone started trying to analyze it. But it will be fun and exciting to explore the rest of The Gems of Exodus and Revelation. Thanks for taking the journey with me.

NEXT POST: Aquamarine and Living Water

Monday, February 1, 2010

Amethyst and The First Miracle

The following post is a re-mix from September of 2009.

Amethyst is the official birthstone for February as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. Throughout history amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming addiction. It has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and other pain. Some sources suggest it is used to stabilize mental disorders. The Greek word "amethystos" basically can be translated as "not drunken." Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. The gemstone is still a symbol in modern day circles who celebrate sobriety. Every folklore and legend about amethyst is centered around wine or the elements of wine.

Whenever I am working with amethyst at The Karat Patch in Big Spring, Texas I often think about the first miracle Jesus performed. When Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11) He didn't just perform a miracle, He gave us a picture of what we can be if we have Him as our Savior.
In the account of the miracle, there were stone jars of water used for "ceremonial washing" as guests entered the wedding party at Cana in Galilee. When the wine ran out at the party, Jesus' mother Mary called Jesus to take notice. Jesus had some folks fill the pots to the brim (which already contained 20-30 gallons of "ceremonial washing" liquid, i.e. bathwater), then had them take some of the liquid to the head-waiter who upon tasting, declared that the (now) wine was of the highest quality. One might even say that the head-waiter had discovered a treasure in these stone pots. Jesus restored joy to the wedding party by changing what was in the stone pots.

And that is what I refer to as the 'picture' of what WE are when we have Jesus Christ as our Savior. A simple stone pot (or jar of clay)...with a treasure inside (2Chronicles 4:7). Even if we have filled our lives to the brim with all manner of dirty, disgusting things, once we accept Jesus as our Savior He changes all that into something wonderful and joyful...something that anyone would want a 'taste' of. We become earthen vessels with the Grace, Hope, Salvation and person of Jesus Christ inside of us, ready to be shared with a world that has run out of joy.
It's the same with His creation too. In the beginning, He created the earth, and just under the crust of it we can find beautiful gems like amethyst...a treasure inside an earthen vessel.

NEXT POST: **The Gems of Exodus and Revelation - Amethyst

**The Gems of Exodus and Revelation are presented in twelve monthly installments and will explore the similarities between the stones in the ephod (breastplate) of Aaron and the stones of the New Jerusalem, and their relation to Jesus.