The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was 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, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.Revelation 21:19-20 ASV
JASPER: Usually thought to be the diamond.
SAPPHIRE: Or “lapis lazula” (ASV margin).
CHALCEDONY: A green silicate of copper found in mines near Chalcedon.
EMERALD: The same as our modern gem.
SARDONYX: An onyx in which white was broken by layers of red and brown.
SARDIUS: The name of this was derived from Sardis; it was also called a carnelian. “It was blood red, and the commonest of all stones used for gems.
CHRYSOLITE: Its Hebrew name means the Stone of Tarshish, described by Pliny as shining with a golden radiance.
BERYL: A variety of emerald, though not as green.
TOPAZ: This was a stone of a greenish gold color, highly valued by the Hebrews.
CHRYSOPRASE: The equivalent of our aquamarine, another variety of emerald.
JACINTH: The modern sapphire (ASV, margin).
AMETHYST: The same as the common amethyst today.
What can be the meaning of all these precious stones?
Certainly, one of the legitimate meanings is that of the eternal beauty and value of the church of the living God; but there is another very curious and intriguing possibility.
- The Ram — Amethyst
- The Bull — Hyacinth
- The Twins — Chrysoprase
- The Crab — Topaz
- The Lion — Beryl
- The Virgin — Chrysolite
- The Balances — Sardius
- The Scorpion — Sardonyx
- The Archer — Emerald
- The Goat — Chalcedon
- Water-carrier — Sapphire
- The Fish — Jasper
Now the original order of these, that given above, is the order in which the sun passes through the constellations indicated.
The apostle John exactly reversed that order!
He is repudiating all heathen concepts; he is expressing the thought that in the end God reverses human judgments.
This says in tones of thunder that there is absolutely nothing to astrology, a lesson that currently needs emphasis.