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Sardis - The First Stone in Aaron's Breastplate

Updated on September 11, 2013
Marilynn Dawson profile image

Born-again Christian single mother of two grown kids. PC Tech, and Author of 18+ books in the non-fiction, personal/spiritual growth genres

An example of Sardis
An example of Sardis
High Priestly Garments with Breastplate present
High Priestly Garments with Breastplate present

Sardius, also known as Carrnelian, a varient of Chalcedony

The first Stone in Aaron's Breastplate, and generally considered by some to be the sixth stone of New Jerusalem's 12 Foundations, is Sardius, also known as Carrnelian, a varient of Chalcedony. Depending on who you read, this is referred to by even more names: Sardion, Sardonyx, Sardius, Sardius, Carrnelian, and even Chalcedony itself, of whom the Sardius mentioned in Exodus is the red-brown variety, not the orangish variety. The Hebrew word for this stone is generally understood to be Odem. Apparently discovered first in Sardius, in Lydia, the Egyptians were the likely manner in which the Hebrews obtained it when they fled Egypt.

This stone is most commonly ascribed to Rueben of the 12 Tribes of Israel although some attribute it to Judah. Of the 12 Apostles, Philip is generally assigned to this stone, although some scholars place Bartholemew with this stone. We must remember that these associations of the Apostles are not "set in stone", nor actually listed in such association in Scripture! The 12 Tribes stone assignments are even more widely varied, some based on modern assumptions of birth order, some on ancient historical assumptions of birth order, and still others based on Camp order rather than birth order. For the purposes of this study, We will go with Rueben and Philip, as those are referenced most often after enough digging among the scholars is accomplished to achieve any kind of consensus.

Another example of Sardis, with other stones this time.
Another example of Sardis, with other stones this time.

Make-up and Characteristics

Now let's examine the make-up and characteristics of this stone. First, as mentioned above, we know that it is reddish in nature. Some have referred to this stone as Ruby due to it's colour, although that would not be accurate considering both the Greek and Hebrew references to this stone refer to either Sardius, Carrnelian, or Chalcedony. The Ruby is a varient of the mineral Corundum, not Chalcedony. See notes in the sidebar here for clarification offered via Wikipedia-linked resources.

It is interesting to note, that while the names are interchangable, Sard is actually harder and darker than Carnelian. Considering most researched sources mention Sard or Sardius as opposed to Carnelian, we will go with the fact that this stone is dark red in colour, marked with iron oxide impurities and of a hard, tough nature.

According to various sources, this stone was referred to in ancient times as one that purifies. It is described by some sources as "the blood red" stone. Red of course has been attributed to the concept of passion down through the centuries. When you combine that with the generally understood meaning of Rueben's name: "Behold, a Son", the potential meaning for this stone becomes much deeper.

Looking for Something with this Stone?

Rueben and Philip - Associations with the Stone

We see in the meaning of Rueben's name, a prophetic call out to the Son of Man who would later come, the One of which we write as Jesus Christ, or as John observes, our Heavenly Bridegroom. We observe then, that this stone present in both Aaron's Breastplate and the 12 Foundation Stones of the New Jerusalem, has us looking straight into the Sonship of Christ and the cleansing Blood shed for the remission of sins. It is imperative then, for the man or woman of God who claims to be a member of the Church, the Bride of Christ, to ensure that he or she has passed under the Blood of Christ and received forgiveness for their sin. Failure to repent of one's sin and accept the cleansing flow of the Blood of Christ results in disqualification from their place in the Bride of Christ.

Secondly, when considering the tattered nature of Christ's Robe of Righteousness on the body of the Bride, we must acknowledge that since passing through that Crimson Flood, we have from time to time, wifully engaged in sin again! The only way to remove sin's stain from our robes, is to repent and seek forgiveness again. But here is where two other natures of Sardis come into play. Being human, our sinful nature is hard, and can be very tough to deal with. We can't cleanse ourselves of our sin. We can't get rid of it on our own. Only Christ is strong enough to overcome our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We don't gain much insight from the meaning of Philip's name as to why he has typically been associated with this stone. However, he asks Christ a question that gets a similar response to Rueben's name. Philip asks Christ to "Show us the Father" in John 14:8 Christ's response is "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father" in verse 9.

Indeed, as Rueben's name proclaims, "Behold, a Son!"

Today we focused on the First Row.

Hebrew
Greek
Septuagint
King James
Breastplate Stone
Foundation Stone
Color
Tribe
Apostle
Odem
sardius/Carnelian
Sardius
Sardius
Ruby
Sard
Red
Reuben
Philip

© 2013 Marilynn Dawson

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