Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Gems of Exodus and Revelation - Chrysolite

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.

Chrysolite is known among the gems by different names. According to its color, chrysolite is called peridot when of a deep olive-green, olivine when of a yellowish-green, and chrysolite when of a lighter or golden-yellow color.
The name chrysolite means gold stone. Chrysolite was the first stone in the fourth (last) row, making it a cornerstone in the (Ephod) Breastplate of Aaron, and represented the tribe of Dan. The tribe of Dan is mentioned seldom in the Bible, but there is a couple of curious UN-mentions. Although originally mentioned as the one of the largest tribes (second largest) in the second census in the Book of Numbers Chapter 26, Dan is excluded from the list of tribes in I Chronicles Chapters 1-9 and again in Revelation 7. Perhaps, it is judicial punishment because of their early and almost total fall into idolatry, as in fact it became a seat of idolatry in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Chrysolite will also decorate the 7th foundation of the New Jerusalem and represent the apostle Thomas. Although Thomas is not mentioned much in other Gospels, the book of John records some crucial accounts of the personality and character of Thomas (John 11:16, John 14:5). But more especially Thomas is remembered for his doubt when the other Apostles announced Christ's Resurrection to him: "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing down the remark of Jesus: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20:29).

As we look at Chrysolite's position in both the Ephod and the Foundation we see the numbers 1 (first in the row and cornerstone, the number "one" in Scripture as symbolic of the First Person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father) & 4 (fourth row, the number "four" representing God's creative works, particularly the earth) in the Ephod and the number 7 (the number of spiritual perfection and completeness) in the foundations of the New Jerusalem. The position of Chrysolite in the Ephod seems prophetic in its' representation of the tribe of Dan, second only to Judah in size and arguably a cornerstone of the tribes (given that position in the Ephod), who would fall to earthly (the 'fourth' row) or worldly idolatry.

Chrysolite's 7th position in the foundations and its' representation of the Apostle Thomas is encouraging. Although Thomas initially doubted the resurrection of Christ, he proclaimed "My Lord and My God" after examining Jesus in John 20:28, so that he was not denied a position (numerically speaking) of spiritual completeness, being represented by Chrysolite in the 7th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Thomas was a prisoner and captive to his own doubt and unbelief, but was set free when he met the Living Christ. What a beautiful picture (for all of us) of the grace of Jesus.

NEXT POST: Sapphire

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Peridot - Giving Plenty

Peridot is the birthstone for the month of August. Peridot is an ancient and yet currently very popular gemstone. It is so old that it can be found even in Egyptian jewelry from the early second millennium BC. The stones used in those days came from an occurrence on a little volcanic island in the Red Sea, about 70 km off the Egyptian coast, which was rediscovered only around 1900 and has been completely exploited since. Peridot, however, is also a very modern stone, for only a few years ago Peridot occurrences were discovered in the Kashmir region, and the stones from there show a unique beauty of color and transparency, so that the image of the stone, which was somewhat dulled over the ages, has received an efficient re-polishing.

Peridot is one of the few gemstones which exist only in one color and yet the gemstone is actually known under three names: Peridot, Chrysolite (and derived from the Greek word “goldstone”) and Olivin, because Peridot is the gemstone variety of the Olivin mineral. In the gemstone trade it is generally called Peridot, a name derived from the Greek “peridona”, meaning something like “giving plenty”.

When I think on Peridot I'm reminded of some things about Jesus. Peridot exists in only one color and yet is known by three names. This reminds of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) that we believers know as One God. The root of Peridot's name "giving plenty" and color of yellow/gold and green reminds me of what Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly"NASB.
"Giving plenty" makes me think of that word "abundantly". The yellow/gold of the color makes me think of blessings (like gold, or riches), and green obviously makes me think of life itself...everlasting life which He purchased for us at Calvary with His Life and that's giving plenty!

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

*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.