Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Gems of Exodus and Revelation - Sapphire

Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. Sapphire was the second stone in the second row of the Breastplate of Aaron mentioned in Exodus Chapter 28 and represented the Tribe of Simeon, and will decorate the second foundation of the New Jerusalem mentioned in Revelation 21 and represent the Apostle Andrew.

In Scripture the number two is the number of, and represents, division or double-portion. In the context of this paragraph it represents division. Chapter 34 of Genesis tells the story of the defilement of Dinah, sister of Simeon and Levi (brothers, and sons of Jacob) and their reaction to the incident which ended in the killing of all the males in the city of Shechem. This mass killing came after Simeon and Levi's father Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) had tried to seek justice by requiring the males of Shechem to be circumcised, to which they agreed, only to be killed three days later at the hands and swords of Simeon, Levi, and other sons of Jacob. They also plundered the entire city of anything of value. Upon hearing the news of the killings, Jacob became ashamed, fearful for his life and left that land. This abbreviated history is important to understand when you come to Genesis Chapter 49 when Jacob (now named Israel) calls his sons together to tell them what will happen in days to come. Israel said, "Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; And their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, And scatter them in Israel"ASV (referring to their killing spree in Shechem). Sapphire's 'second in the second row' (2 of 2) representation for the Tribe of Simeon certainly testifies to Simeon's separation or division from the counsel of his father, although not disinherited entirely. The Tribe of Levi was set apart (divided from the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 10:8-9) by God Himself, to forever be servants of the Temple and have no inheritance with their brethren. The brothers were divided from both their father and from each other. So the significance of Sapphire's representing Simeon seems to have more to do with it's placement (2 of 2, divided from his father Israel and divided from his brother Levi) than any property of the gem itself.

In the context of this paragraph the number 2 will represent double (increased) portion. Sapphire will also represent the Apostle Andrew in the second foundation of the New Jerusalem mentioned in Revelation 21. The blue color of Sapphire can remind us of Andrew (and his brother Peter) in that these first two disciples of Jesus were called from being fishermen of the sea to become "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:18). The first thing Andrew did after meeting Jesus was run and find his brother Simon Peter and bring him to Jesus. It was Andrew who brought the boy with five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus, which Jesus miraculously multiplies into enough food to feed everyone (John 6:8-9). Andrew is most often seen physically bringing people to Jesus. Because of these acts, the numbers of believers was increased as Jesus was glorified.

I believe the thing to remember about this post is that Jesus is the author of forgiveness and redemption. In the case of Simeon, Jesus purposed that Simeon would see repercussions of his own actions, yet in forgiveness, not be disinherited completely. Levi was set apart by God Himself to forever serve others and participate in their own redemption, putting sword to sacrifices instead of men.

In the case of Andrew, many came to know the greatest Love ever to be shown to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ. The blue color of sapphire (representing the Apostle Andrew in the 2nd foundation of the New Jerusalem), is linked to emotions such as sympathy and harmony, friendship and loyalty, emotions with features described as permanent, reliable, composed, and yielding mutual understanding and unshakeable trust. These are qualities that will forever represent the apostle Andrew and his relationship to Jesus Christ, The King of the New Jerusalem.

NEXT POST: Opal - Making All Things New

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sapphire - Color and Emotions

Sapphire is the official birthstone for the month of September as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. Sapphire is the non-red variety of corundum (the red variety of corundum is ruby). At 9.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphire is the second hardest natural mineral.

Blue is by far the most popular color for sapphires, but they can be almost any color, including yellow, green, white, colorless, pink, orange, brown, and purple. Padparadscha is the name for a rare orange-pink variety of sapphire and has a higher value than blue sapphires. The wonderful Kashmir sapphires, which were found in 1880 after an avalanche had come down in a height of 5000 m, and which were intensively mined then for eight years, have for all times set the standard for our ideas of the color of a top quality sapphire.

Blue is also the favorite color of about 50 per cent of the population, men and women alike. This color, which is strongly associated with sapphire, is also linked to emotions such as sympathy and harmony, friendship and loyalty. These emotions belong to features which are permanent and reliable – emotions where overwhelming and fiery passion is not the main element, but rather composure, mutual understanding and unshakeable trust. Sapphire blue has thus become a color related to anything permanent and reliable, and this is one of the reasons why women in many countries settle on Sapphire for their engagement rings. Sapphire symbolizes loyalty and faithfulness, while at the same time expressing love and yearning.
Sympathy, harmony, friendship, loyalty, faithfulness, competence, love. Do these words remind you of anything, or perhaps anyone? They sure remind me of Jesus. Jesus is most certainly sympathetic, and brings harmony to even a raging sea with just the sound of His voice (Mark 4:37-39). He wants to be our friend, and is loyal and faithful to that end, even unto His own suffering, and why? Because He loves us (John 3:16). And His love is both permanent and reliable.

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

*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.