Monday, March 15, 2010

The Gems of Exodus and Revelation - Beryl

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 - Beryl

Beryl is the mineral name of several important gemstones. All transparent varieties of Beryl may be used as gemstones, although Emerald and Aquamarine are by far the most well-known and important varieties. Pure Beryl is colorless; traces of different impurities are responsible for the color range. Each color variety has a distinct name in the gemstone trade:
  • Emerald, the green variety, is the most popular green gemstone and is one of the most valuable gems.
  • Aquamarine, the blue to blue-green variety. The previous post was devoted to this variety.
  • Morganite, the pink variety, named after the banker J.P. Morgan, who was an avid gemstone collector. Morganite may also be called "Pink Beryl". "Peach Beryl", or "Champagne Beryl", is Morganite with an orange-pink color.
  • Heliodor is the variety including all yellow, yellow-green, light-green, orange, and brown Beryl.
  • Golden Beryl, sometimes also called "Heliodorite", is a variety of Heliodor with a golden yellow color.
  • Goshenite is the colorless variety of Beryl, and is not commonly used as gemstone.
  • Red Beryl, also known as Bixbite, is very rare and deep red.
Beryl is mentioned specifically in both the breastplate of Aaron and the foundations of the New Jerusalem, and represent the tribe of Zebulun and the apostle Matthew respectively. The tribe of Zebulun was a small tribe, whose territory included Nazareth where Jesus dwelt. They also assisted in enthroning David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:33-40), whose lineage includes Jesus.

Matthew was called to follow Jesus from the greedy and publicly despised tax collection business, and he is represented by beryl in the 8th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Eight is the number of 'new beginnings' in scripture. Both apostles Luke (5:27)and Mark (2:14) call him Levi, which could mean that he was from the tribe of Levi, the people who served as the staff of the Temple: musicians, guards, custodians, or record-keepers. From the way he wrote, we can be certain Matthew was Jewish. Many tax collectors collected as much money as they could in any way that they could in order to become very rich. Tax-collectors were considered to be so dishonest that they could not testify in courts of law. Were it true that Matthew descended from the Levite servants of the Temple, then it would be something indeed that he would 'opt-out' of servanthood to became a tax collector. There's no question then that Matthew made a 'new beginning' when he chose to follow Jesus, and I believe suggests the reason he is represented so in the 8th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Interestingly, two of the principle colors of beryl are gold and green, the colors of money.
Again, with a little digging we can come to understand more about why some of these gems may have been chosen for their particular placement in ephod of the Old Covenant Church and in the foundations of the New Covenant Church.

NEXT POST: Diamonds and The Real Thing remix

Monday, March 1, 2010

Aquamarine and Living Water

Aquamarine is the birthstone for the month of March, and is one of our most popular and best-known gemstones. It is almost as popular as the classics: ruby, sapphire and emerald. In fact it is related to the emerald, both belonging to the beryl family. Most aquamarines come from Brazil. However, aquamarines are also found in other countries, for example Nigeria, Zambia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The color of aquamarine, however, is usually more even than that of the emerald. Much more often than its famous green cousin, aquamarine is almost entirely free of inclusions. The blue of aquamarine is a divine, eternal color, because it is the color of the sky. However, aquamarine blue is also the color of water with its life-giving force. And aquamarine really does seem to have captured the lucid blue of the seas. No wonder, when you consider that according to legend, it originated in the treasure chest of fabulous mermaids and has, since ancient times, been regarded as the sailors' lucky stone. Its name after all is derived from the Latin "aqua" (water) and "mare" (sea).

It is aquamarine's Latin origins to it's name that make me think often of Jesus. Much of Jesus' life and ministry took place in and around water or the sea. He called his first disciples from, and walked on the water of the Sea of Galilee. At a well in Samaria, Jesus encountered a woman who would soon understand what He meant when He spoke of 'living water' (John 4:13). Jesus' first miracle was to turn water into wine (John Chapter 2). In John 7:38, Jesus said "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." After we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior we are baptized in water.
When I see the beautiful blue color of aquamarine I think of these verses, and many others that remind me of Jesus. Aquamarine also reminds me that when we receive the living water, we become a vessel that takes that living water to others. Christian, pour some living water on someone whom you know needs it today.

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

**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