The New Jerusalem—A Pattern for Living—The Gems as Viewed Through the Breastplate
In part three of this series, we looked at the twelve foundation stones that supported this apocalyptic holy city/temple structure that we have been studying as it concerns the application to the Christian life. The twelve disciples represented by these stones exhibited how submitted lives transformed and governed by Christ are a testimony and witness that reflect in various forms and facets of the glory and goodness of God much like gems that reflect unique color and light through their individual compositions.
In relation to this, we will take a look back at an Old Testament garment feature that was worn by the high priest of the temple services that also included twelve stones and add yet another more detailed layer of life application.
This particular item was called "The breastplate of judgment". The twelve gemstones represented the twelve tribes of Israel. These twelve were also written on the gates of the New Jerusalem with some slight differences, in that, two are omitted (Dan and Ephraim) and two re-enter the count (Levi and Joseph).
Dan and Ephraim are omitted in the Revelation list because their reflection became defiled during the division of the promised land into two kingdoms.
Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim and dwelt there. Also, he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.”
Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” And he set up one in Bethel (ruled by Ephraim), and the other he put in Dan. Now, this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.
I Kings 12:25-31
We see here that both tribes invented and supported an ulterior worship center other than God's designated one and erected calves of gold to worship. They also were not mindful of the priestly requirements that God had ordained.
We saw this golden calf scene once before in Israel's history and 3000 people died at that event. We shall have no other gods before Him.
This breastplate included the names of the twelve tribes of Israel along with a corresponding stone. which looked forward to a time when the apostles and prophets would reflect the gem-like qualities of lives lived out from the principles we will soon learn from them.
In this study, we will relate the tribal names with their meanings. Each tribe and stone will have something to say about the foundations of walking out our faith as we journey through the wilderness of this earthly life with an eye to the eternal.
The breast piece was worn on the part of the body where internal organs are located. The functions of these organs are to manage the internal workings and processes of the body. We will look at how these gems and tribes tell us about the internal workings of our Christian life and its results.
The breastplate was over the heart which also offers us the insight that God's people are placed very near and dear to His Heart. Its processes also give us an illustration of the restoration and refreshment The heart is an organ that receives oxygen-poor blood from the veins and sends out oxygen-rich blood as it passes through the heart and is sent out through the arteries to nourish the rest of the body. Just as when we reach the heart of God in worship in His presence we are cleansed, revived, and nourished and ready to share what we have received from Him with the rest of the body.
...from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
— Colossians 2:19
It is the drawing near through the cleansed blood of Christ that we are purified and revived ourselves.
Having contact with God nourishes us and knits us together.
The breast piece shows us a progression of our walk into God's presence and the results of that encounter.
The Instructions for Construction of the Breastplate
It is in Exodus chapter 28 we find the elaborate instructions for the designing of this priestly garment.
And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod (the item upon which the breastplate was placed). thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it...
There are three colors noted in this passage that is sandwiched between two materials (gold and linen)
Gold in scripture represents the genuine faith of a believer that is tried in the fire of testing, trial, tribulation, and persecution resulting in godliness.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
— I Peter 1:6-9
Classic white Linen is similarly noted for its purity. It comes from the flax plant and is known to be the world's strongest natural fiber making it also a durable fabric. It also has antibacterial properties.
White garments like gold are associated with purity, obedience, and faithfulness to God.
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
— Revelation 3:5
The Laodiceans in Revelation are interestingly counseled concerning both of these elements in the letter written to this church which brings together the relationship between the two.
Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
— Revelation 3:17-19
It is faithfulness to God through trial and tribulation that enriches and clothes us in white garments.
The three middle colors of blue, purple, and scarlet will explain how Christ our High priest fulfilled each element, which also represents our overcoming through faith in God's sacrifice. These three colors will speak of what is at the center of a godly and righteous life. As we did with the gold and linen we will look at the two outer colors first.
Blue is the color of heavenly eternal things. (This will be studied further in the Sapphire section.) This color depicts for us Jesus as the Son of God.
Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire (blue) stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.
— Exodus 24:9-11
Scarlet is strongly associated with the blood sacrifice required to cleanse and purify us from our sin. it was God's Son from heaven that accomplished this for us. This color depicts Jesus as the Son of Man.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
— Isaiah 1:18
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
— Hebrews 9:14
If we combine blue with red we have the middle color purple. The writer of Hebrews explains perfectly how we were reconnected with the eternal God through the blood of His Son and made fit for heaven. This color depicts Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lord over all of heaven and earth.
according to the law, almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us
— Hebrews 9:22-24
Eden began with heaven and earth connected until sin separated the two. We can see how godliness and purity are the results of the pure and precious blood of Christ presented on the heavenly altar.
Back to our garment...
Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
— Exodus 28
This too matches the New Jerusalem temple.
The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal
— Revelation 21:16
This is also connected with the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle which was a perfect square.
"There are only two cubes described in scripture. One is the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament Tabernacle and the other is the New Jerusalem. The perfect cube in the Holy of Holies finds its fulfillment in the City of God. A cube is the most perfect figure, being equal on all sides = finite perfection. It is the most comprehensive and holds the most. Nothing contains as much as a cube. It speaks of perfection and fullness. It was in the Holy of Holies where God was met and the High Priest was in His presence. It is God's presence that is perfect and fulfilling and nothing can contain as much as His presence does. It is in His presence that we want to be."
— J Preston Eby
Once again we see this perfect fulfillment of Christ and this structure.
Next, on the breastplate instructions, we see the list of the stones.
And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
— Exodus 28:15-21
The Order of Encampment and Dispatch
The order of the stones was taken from Numbers 2:3-33 where the tribes are listed in order of their encampment around the tabernacle which was the heart and center of worship. This was also the order in which they were dispatched in marching procession. This applied to cases of wilderness travel as well as military engagements. (Numbers 10:11-28)
The Numbers chapter ten account also gives the order of dispatch of the priesthood as it is dispersed between each of the sets of tribes. It is a valuable note that the Ark of the Covenant carried by the Levites (Moses, Aaron, and sons) were technically the first to move even before the first tribe Judah.
The Ark was a symbol of the presence of God and is noted three times in concert with this wilderness tabernacle journeying.
The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’
— Deuteronomy 1: 30-31
“Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’ Therefore understand today that the Lord your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire
— Deuteronomy 9:1-3
The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua (type of Jesus) himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said.
— Deuteronomy 31:3
The three mentions are significant because three is the number of eternal spiritual things. Our journey is a spiritual one in which human accomplishment will amount to nothing.
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of host
— zechariah 4:6
This dispatch followed an east, south, west...order which follows the pattern of the suns course in a day's rising in the east and setting in the west. All of this illustrates for us fixing our eyes on the "Son" Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
This wordplay between "sun" and "Son" actually occurs in the book of Malachi.
But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
— Malachi 4:2
In Revelation, this order is reversed to east, north, south, and west because the physical sun is no longer needed nor is the pattern. (Revelation 21:13)
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
— Revelation 22:5
The first Tribe was the tribe listed in the encampment and dispatch was the tribe of Judah which in Hebrew means "praise or thanksgiving". When Jacob was old and dying He prophesied over each son and this was the word which he had for Judah "your hand will be upon the neck of your enemy" paraphrase: Praise will be the hand upon the neck of your enemy. Praise here is seen as a weapon.
...and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read,
‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”
— Matthew 21:16
Here is the Old Testament verse He is quoting from:
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
— Psalm 8:2
The word "strength" here is translated for us in in the Matthew chapter 21 as praise. We have two lessons here. Praise strengthens us and silences our enemies.
In military order, Judah was always instructed to be dispatched first. In any of life's battles Praise should be dispatched before any other force is enacted.
Some notes about Rubies, the stone that was matched with this tribe agrees with these things:
- The rube is known as the leader of precious stones just as Judah was the first tribe dispatched in marching order during military battles. The Lord is telling us the first order of business in any spiritual or mental battle is to praise and worship. Worshipers were the first to be dispatched in the battle. It declared their faith that "the battle belongs to the Lord". Had they believed their victory depended on themselves they would have chosen their best warriors and weapons to be in the front.
* (Read the story of Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles chapter 20 for a more detailed example of this)
- Rubies are rarer than top quality diamonds. Praise also is rare especially in the midst of a battle which is why we are commanded to offer a sacrifice of praise.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
— Hebrews 13:15
- It is one of the most durable stones that exists. When we worship we become durable and impenetrable to the enemy.
It is God who avenges me, And subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me;You have delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.
— II Samuel 22:48
- The Hebrew name for the ruby means red like wine. Red in scripture generally is speaking of blood and wine is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and is associated with joy. Could the ruby stone be indicating that the first issue that needs to be dealt with is the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus in reference to our spiritual condition and battles, and when we have been cleansed by it we receive the joy of the Holy Spirit and thereby praise God?
Judah and its corresponding stones show us that praise is a sacrifice but also a very powerful weapon. It is also our first step into the presence of God.
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
— Psalm 100:1-4
Praise is a powerful weapon whereby the walls of the entire city of Jericho that had two sets of walls 6 ft thick on the outside and 12 ft thick on the inside, fell.
Scientifically speaking noise has a frequency. And certain sound frequencies can break things. I remember a long time ago there was Memorex commercial with an opera singer who hit a particularly high note that would shatter a glass. I looked this up and discovered that a certain frequency will cause the glass to vibrate and break. Is it possible to consider that their praise is what shook the walls down? Could it be that the frequency of our praise tunes us into God and invites His presence that shakes down everything that is hindering our victory?
Praise concerns our mouth and what we say. As we move along with each tribe and stone we will begin to see how this applies to various senses and how we use them.
The second Tribe we will look at is Issachar. His name means work, hire, or reward and refers to our service. Issachar's name in Hebrew begins with a "yod" and from a pictograph perspective is a represented by hand symbolizing work.
Jacob's prophecy for Issachar is "He is a strong donkey crouching between two burdens." A donkey is known as a beast of burden in Scripture. Issachar (our service) is positioned between "praise" represented by the ruby just before it, and "abiding" represented by Zebulun right after it. (abiding is the next tribe we will study). Our Christian doing should be centered in the worship of God and resting in Him. There is a balance between reverencing Him and resting in Him.
Issachar's stone was a Topaz. Topaz is so soft it can lose its polish if not carefully used. Our gifts of service can lose their luster as well if not used under the direction and counsel of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. We need to remain soft and not abrasive for our service to be effective.
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
— Philippians 2:14-15
Gems shine when the light is captured by them and reflected back out.
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart
— I Peter 1:22
A pure heart is one who is only interested in pleasing God.
...with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
— Ephesians 4:2-3
Love of God results in the love of people which results in peace and rest for all.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
— Galatians 6:9
Sometimes we can get weary when we find ourselves serving ourselves or have some other motive in our serving than to worship Him.
The first two stones parallel the two commandments Jesus said the entire Christian life hinged upon.
Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
— Matthew 22:37-40
Loving the Lord is fitting with Praise and is directed towards God. Loving our neighbor is equivalent to serving them and is a direct expression of Loving God. And loving our neighbor is the equivalent of loving Him. Jesus said that he who has done these things to the least of these has done them unto Him for good or for bad.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
— Romans 12:1
The third tribe is Zebulun and his name means dwelling, habitation, or abiding and is reflective of our thought life. It has to with where our thoughts camp and reside at or in. Jacob's blessing was "He will dwell by the seashore"
Here are some interesting facts I discovered about the benefits of living by the sea all having to do with "abiding", "resting", and "dwelling".
- The sound of the waves alters the wave patterns in the brain and causes the wave patterns to change to a slow frequency which promotes relaxation. The sound of waves is now being used and coupled with music in relaxation CDs.
- Sea air is also charged with negative ions which are thought to increase our ability to absorb oxygen and help regulate serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression and anxiety disorders. Sea air is a natural stress reducer.
- Seawater is also beneficial in that it contains magnesium which effects our nerves. Bathing in seawater is known to be relaxing and is being replicated in spas. It opens our pores and removes toxins from our body and trapped fluids that cause inflammation.
Exposure to sunlight is also associated with spending time by the sea and contains similar benefits.
- Sunshine is considered relaxing as well not to mention a mood booster. It also affects our endocrine system which is responsible for the release of endorphins. Endorphins could be considered our happy hormone that helps us to feel good, relaxed, and unstressed.
- Sunlight also contains Vitamin D which boosts our immune system keeping us healthy and happy.
When we praise Him and Serve Him by serving others we can then enter into His rest because both of these activities express our expressions of our faith in Him.
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
— Hebrews 4:10
Jesus shows us that we are incapable of loving others without Him and the key is to rest in His love then we can rest in our relationships. We cannot rest when we are trying to abide in the favor of man or in the confined places of self-sufficiency in trying to make something happen to serve our own agendas or feed our insatiable insecurities. We rest when we abide in Him worshiping Him and His greatness and serving Him and Him alone.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
— John 15:4-5
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
— Psalm 91:1
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
— Isaiah 26:3
The Hebrew word for "stayed" in the above verse comes with the concept of a "life framed, formed, and propped by His thoughts". It is a pottery term and is closely connected with our imagination.
Our wholeness and rest are hinged upon what we say (Judah/praise), what we do (Issachar/reward for work), and what we think (Zebulun/abide).
The stone for the tribe of Zebulun is a Carbuncle and the Hebrew meaning of the word means "flashing", "lightning", "gleaming", or "glitter" indicating that abiding with God will cause us to shine.
Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.
— Exodus 34:29
Moses' face was shining after abiding in the presence of God.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus
— Acts 4:13
This stone is also noted for its beauty when it's transparent. Just as we are beautiful to Him when we are transparent before Him hiding nothing. This is truly a place of rest to be our real selves with Him and not ashamed anymore. A lot of our striving is a method of hiding ourselves.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
— I John 1:7
The next tribe is Reuben and His name means "See ye a son" Jacob's prophecy over him was "my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, and excelling in power. This name This name closely connects us with a picture of Jesus the one and only begotten Son of God and concerns what we are beholding with our eyes.
In Praising Him (Judah), in offering ourselves to Him in service (Issachar), and as our thoughts abide in Him (Zebulun) we are to keep our eyes on Him. (Reuben). John the Baptist exhorts us to...
...“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
— John 1:29
...as well as the writer of Hebrews.
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:2
Following Jesus will require our natural and spiritual eyes, focus, and attention.
The emerald was the stone representing this tribe and symbolized love, rebirth, and growth. How interesting that love and rebirth is associated with the "Son of God" and our growth as we behold Him.
I can't help of thinking about the story when the Israelites were in the wilderness and as they murmured and complained the serpents would bite them but when Moses lifted up the serpent on the pole and the people were required to look at it they were healed as long as they beheld the pole which was a picture of our Lord being lifted up for our sins.
It is also noted that green is the easiest and most soothing color to the human eye. They were at one time making surgical gowns green, for this reason, Hospitals use light green rooms because they too are found to be calming to patients, and also there was a watch repair shop that in the interest of being ergonomically sound decided to use all green countertops for their workstations. If we look at creation itself, predominantly green, we can see the love of God attempting to soothe and comfort us all around.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
— Psalm 23:2
Next tribe is Simeon-Levi. These two will be interconnected because Jacob blesses them this way and Levi becomes the priesthood that is not allocated a territory of their own in the encampment. Simeon's name means hearing and Levi's name means to join or attach and has to do with how we hear in association or attachment with our obedience. Jesus told us...
"take heed how you hear.
— Luke 8:18...
Mark's version of this account connects us with the action and obedience part of how we hear,
With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you"
— Mark 4:24
Jacob's prophecy to both Simeon and Levi was "Simeon and Levi are brethren" Hearing connected with obedience are brothers that are attached and work together.
Tying this together with our other tribe names beginning with Judah, We praise (Judah) Him with what we say, we offer ourselves to Him in sacrificial service (Issachar), our thoughts abiding (Zebulun) in Him, we behold (Reuben) Him and now we listen (Simeon) to Him. with the attachment (Levi) of obedience.
The ear is an organ that receives and as we say, serve, think, and dwell in Him, we learn to hear, receive, and understand the truth. That truth becomes inscribed in our hearts and deep meaning is attached (remember Levi) to it as all the other functions line up.
"He who has an ear to hear" is mentioned 14 times in the new testament and is the implication of obedience.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
— Matthew 7:24
The Old Testament Hebrew word for "hear" is also strongly associated with assumed obedience. This is sometimes a foreign concept to the Western world where we give much mental assent to many things we hear with no intentions of doing anything with it. We are much like the Athenians in Biblical times who...
spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
— Acts 17:21
Levi also, recall, represented the priesthood. It was the priesthood that temporarily attached and connected God and His people through proper worship and sacrifice until the true mediator Jesus our ultimate and eternal High Priest (Heb. 2:17), who was entirely obedient in doing only what He heard from the Father, would come.
...as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do
— Jesus (John 14:31)
The stone representing this tribe is the sapphire and will symbol and image for us these very same concepts of hearing and obeying represented by the tribal names connected with them. The sapphire being blue was the color of heaven symbolizing our ears hearing from above not the from the transient things of the earth.
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;...
...For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
— Isaiah 55:2-3, 8-9
Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven
— Psalm 119:89
The sapphire was also used as an engagement ring in ancient times symbolizing faithfulness and loyalty. True intimacy represented by the marriage relationship as a picture of Christ and His church (Rev 21), must include a listening ear coupled with faithful and loyal obedience.
If you love Me, keep (hear and obey) My commandments
— John 14:15
The giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai was very much an engagement agreement. God was laying the terms of relationship and setting them in stone. He was inviting these people to a faithful and loyal relationship with Him. Recall that Eve was unfaithful with her ear when she listened to the serpent.
The heavenly city is presented in these very same terms of a faithful bride and her husband.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
— Revelation 21:2
It is also evident that hearing is a means of inscribing in our memory the things we hear. In fact, the literal root meaning of sapphire means to inscribe and commune. The Jewish Midrash states that it is believed that the Ten Commandments were Inscribed on stones of sapphire.
“Our eternal hopes are built upon the justice and the faithfulness of God, which is clear and cloudless as the sapphire”
— Charles Spurgeon
Ten Commandments on Sapphire Stones
In revelations borrowed from an online article written by David Asscherick titled "The Blue Stone," the author shows how the scriptures reveal this very fact beginning in Exodus chapter 24
Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity... Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written
— Exodus 24:9-10,12
The literal translation of "I will give you tablets of stone" should read "I will give you tablets of the stone" "the" implying a particular stone not random rock from the mount. Could it be the stone from the sapphire stone like the very heavens?
Ezekiel even twice envisions this as coming from the very throne of God itself in his cryptic like experience in Gods presence.
above the firmament over their heads (heaven)was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone
— Ezekiel 1:26
there in the firmament that was above the head (heaven) of the cherubim,there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne
— Ezekiel 10:1
Heaven is My throne And earth is My footstool
— Isaiah 66:1
The Blue Tassel (Tzitzit)
Collectively we can see the strong possibility that God used the sapphire stone from His very throne in heaven to communicate through hearing the will of His Kingdom obeyed in the earth. He reinforces this in a garment accessory that He commanded the Israelite men to wear in Numbers chapter 15 verse 37-38.
the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners.
The purpose of the blue thread is revealed in this portion of Scripture and makes the blue sapphire heavenly commandments connection once again.
you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them,
— Numbers 15:39
The blue thread was to remind them presently and daily of the commands God had given them on the stones of sapphire which also reminded them of their heavenly source.
The author also gives a rich example taken from the book of Revelation chapter 17 about the results of leaving the commands of God out of our Christian life referencing the woman on a beast. He speaks of the woman of harlotry as a symbol of the church and the beast as symbolic of a nation. He then makes note of the color she is arrayed in...
The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet and adorned with gold
— Revelation 17:4
In Exodus chapter 28 God gives instructions to the priesthood on how they should be dressed and notes these colors that they should be arrayed in...
upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around
— Exodus 28:33
There is one missing color referring to the woman and that is blue. Her harlotry stems from leaving out God's heavenly commands.
The Sapphire was a stone that was reserved for kings and priests in the ancient world.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
— I Peter 2:9
Next tribe is Gad and his name means to crowd upon, attack, or overcome. Jacob prophesied to him "he will be attacked by raiders but he will attack them at their heels.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
— I John 5:4
When we worship Him, Serve Him, have our thoughts resting upon Him and we are hearing from Him we are ready for battle to overcome our spiritual enemies the world (day to day life) the flesh (internal struggles) and the devil (unseen spiritual warfare)
And do not stay there yourselves, but pursue your enemies, and attack their rear guard. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand.”
— Joshua 10:19
Our enemies are not people.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
— Ephesians 6:12
The diamond is the gem given to the tribe of Gad. It is remarkable for its hardness.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
— II Corinthians 10:4
The diamond is made of graphite a very soft substance and of the most breakable. After it is transformed into a diamond it becomes one of the toughest substances.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
— I Corinthians 1:27-29
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
— Romans 12:2
It is the transforming process that turns the soft graphite into a hard diamond. There is further study on this in another part of this series "The New Jerusalem Part Three"
...ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
— I John 2:14
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
— Joshua 1:9
Diamonds are so hard that they are used as an engraving tool and are the most brilliant of precious stones.
The root meaning of the word diamond in Hebrew means to break down, or overcome.
Benefits of an overcomer:
- Eat from the tree of life (eternity) Rev. 2:7
- Will not die the second death Rev. 2:11
- Eat of the hidden manna Rev. 2:17
- Power over the nations Rev. 2:26
- Clothed in white raiment Rev. 3:5
- Will be a pillar in the temple Rev. 3:12
- Will get to sit with Him on the throne Rev. 3:21
- The Lord is an overcomer. Rev. 17:14
The next tribe is the tribe of Ephraim and his name means double fruit or abundant fruit and this name speaks of the results and benefits of overcoming. Jacobs prophecy was "In you, all Israel will bless"
Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.
— Isaiah 61:7
Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.
— Zecariah 9:12
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
— Galatians 5:22
A life fully submitted to God and overcoming by the blood of the lamb, by the word of our testimony and loving our lives not unto death will produce fruit.
The stone given to Ephraim was a Ligure or Jacinth. It's literal Hebrew meaning means to raise up, bear, offer, take symbolizing grapes bearing fruit.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
— John 15:5
But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
— Romans 6:22
The next tribe is Mannaseh whose name means "causing to forget" Jacobs prophecy was "In you shall all Israel bless saying God make you as Ephraim and Manasseh".
After we have engaged our mouth to praise (Judah), our actions to serve (Isaachar), our thoughts to abide in Him (Zebulun), fixed our eyes upon Him (Reuben), listened and obeyed Him (Simeon/Levi), and defeated our enemies (Gad), we are now in a position to bear fruit (Ephraim). After producing fruit it causes us to forget our previous pain (Mannaseh). His life, His thoughts, His ways, His attitudes, are now superimposing over the old life thoughts, ways, attitudes, and behaviors, just like recording over an old cassette tape. New habits are formed.
Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth;
— Isaiah 40:4
Premature babies' brains are smooth and develop grooves as they grow to learn and begin to make associations with various things, relationships, and experiences. This continues throughout the course of our lives. Our brains begin to make valleys or grooves and mountains formed by thought patterns. These can be for good or for bad. What God is saying is he is going to correct the places that aren't right and remap our minds.
Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
— Psalm 45:10-11
We are to forget all previous forms of influence and focus on Him and experience Him.
“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
— Isaiah 54:4
Mannaseh is represented with the Agate. The agate has clouded layers and bands found in the cavity of host rocks. It similar to a skull encasing our minds. The layers and bands are established thought patterns. The Hebrew root meaning of this word is "To carry away" or "take captive"
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
— II Corinthians 10:3-5
The way to forgetting the past is taking thoughts captive.
The next tribe name is Benjamin and his name means son of my right hand and speaks of a position of power. Jacob's prophecy was "He would devour prey and plunder"
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
— Revelation 20:6
And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
— Revelation 5:10
If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
— II Timothy 2:12
The tribe of Benjamin is set with an Amethyst and its literal meaning is to bind firmly.
No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
— Mark 3:27
In Greek, the word "amethyst" means "no intoxication" which leads an interesting connection with our responsibility to our position of being God's kings and priests.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
— Proverbs 31:4-5
The New Testament addresses this issue as well as an alternative offer of ruling influence.
do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
— Ephesians 5:18
The next tribe is the tribe of Dan. His name means to judge or vindicate. Jacobs prophecy was that he "will provide justice for His people".
He is near who justifies Me; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who is My adversary? Let him come near Me. Surely the Lord GOD will help Me; Who is he who will condemn Me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; The moth will eat them up.
— Isaiah 50:8-9
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
— I Corinthians 6:3
The stone set for Dan was a Beryl. This stone is used for lenses. Judgment is the ability to discern and see things accurately. Solomon understood this responsibility when he appealed to God for help in ruling His people.
Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours
— I Kings 3:8-10
When our hearts are set to praise Him (Judah), serve Him (Isaachar), abide in Him (Zebulun), Behold Him (Reuben), Ears tuned to hear Him (Simeon/Levi), Overcoming our fleshly lives (Gad), Bearing fruit (Mannaseh), and in position to rule and reign with Him. We can now judge for we are able to see and discern things with accuracy. (Dan)
The next tribe is the tribe of Asher and his name means happy and rich and is the result of all of the above. Jacob's blessing was "food will be rich, delicacies fit for a king"
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
— Song of Solomon 2:4
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
— Revelation 19:9
We will be satisfied
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
— Psalm 34:8
Asher's stone was an onyx. The root meaning of Onyx is a millstone or stumbling stone. Jesus was a stumbling block for some which would ultimately be the stumbling block to their own happiness.
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,”
— I Peter 2:7
...but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
— I Corinthians 1:23
And one shall say, “Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, Take the stumbling block out of the way of My people.”
— Isaiah 57:14
There are one more stone and one more tribe. Naphtali and his name means wrestling. Jacob's blessing was "a doe set free that bears fruitful fawns.
Our only wrestling is one of faith.
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
— John 6:29
The writer of Hebrews expresses this position of faith as rest and describes a type of diligence in order to enter into it.
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
— Hebrews 4:11
Sometimes we wrestle to enter rest. Jacob illustrated this idea for us when he didn't let go of the Angel of the Lord until He is blessed. This last name encourages us to never give up never quit. Endure to the end.
But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
— Matthew 24:13
And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
— Mark 13:13
Jasper is Naphtali's gem and its literal meaning is brilliant transparent light.
“The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory.
— Isaiah 60:19-20
The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
— Revelation 21:23
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
— Revelation 22:5
This study shows the progression or cycle of the Christian life. Each gem is reciprocal. The things He gives us are reflected back to Him. Christ did and was all of these things and we are to follow Him
It was God's original plan that mankind would rule with Him under the influence of a His own heavenly rule. This is expressed in the number of tribes that surrounded the Tabernacle that contained the heart of God in its most inner place.
Twelve is the number of God's
- divine administration,
- divine, authority
- and His divine appointment
...in the earth.
This can be explained even further by its multiples of three and four. The number four in the Bible categorizes the transient earthly kingdom. The number three represents the divine eternal kingdom.
In tying all of these things together the tapestry of God's plan becomes undeniably evident.
corrections, comments, further input and insight welcomed.
© 2010 Tamarajo