Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

New Jerusalem Described

"And the building of its wall was jasper, and the city is pure gold -- like to pure glass; and the foundations of the wall of the city with every precious stone have been adorned; the first foundation jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each several one of the gates was of one pearl; and the broad-place of the city is pure gold -- as transparent glass." (Revelation 21:18-21 - Young's Literal Translation)

In an earlier post, I mentioned that the names used for gems and stones in ancient times do not correspond with the names we now use. We cannot be certain that what we call a type of stone now was what they called it in New Testament times. So we cannot be dogmatic about many aspects of John's description when he compares it to a type of gem.

The walls of the city are made of jasper, most likely, some type of quartz. The city is made of gold like clear glass. This expression has caused a great deal of speculation. Gold is not clear. Either the gold of this city is some new thing, or else John when he says that it is like clear glass, he is speaking of its quality not its appearance. He might be saying that the gold is free of imperfections like a window that is perfectly clear.

John tells us that each of the foundations was decorated with a different type of stone. As we have mentioned, jasper is likely some type of quartz. It might be blue, green or rosy. Sapphire was used of several types of blue stones but not what we call sapphire. Chalcedony may be some kind of quartz but we cannot be sure. Emerald refereed to our emerald and other green stones. Sardonyx is likely onyx which is layers of different colors. Sardius refers to a stone red in color. Chrysolyte refereed to yellow topaz. Beryl is a stone of sea-green color.

Topaz refereed to yellow-green stone. Chrysoprasus was greenish-yellow possibly a hornstone which is a type of quartz. Jacinth may be our modern blue sapphire although this is not certain. Amethyst is a purple quartz.

Each of the gates of the city is carved from single pearls. Some commentaries see a symbolic meaning here. A pearl is created when a grain of sand is taken by an oyster and made into a thing of beauty. Jesus takes people who are dirty with sin and clothes them in His righteousness making them pure before God.

The street of the city is paved in pure gold. Again, the phrase, "as it were transparent glass" may be taken in reference to either the appearance or the purity of the gold.


Blogger bngrt2 said...

I was appoached by a JW and we discussed the dimensions of the New Jeruslem. In his bible he showed me either a pen drawing or a cubicle drawing he made and he insisted it was 345 miles square. I told him it was either 1378 or 1500 miles square depending on the KJV or the NIV. I said its pretty simple math but 345 miles is way off. How did the JW come to this number?

12:18 AM  

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