Gems in New Jerusalem

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This article in our series will discuss the gems God will personally use to construct the walls of New Jerusalem and their relationship to the twelve apostles. This gleaming city, "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2, HBFV), will be created and brought (from heaven!) to a new earth only after ALL evil has been purged from the entire universe (see Revelation 20).

Each of the twelve gems in the High Priest's breastplate had engraved on it, and represented, one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Exodus 28:21, 39:14). In the New Jerusalem, each of the tribes will also have their names inscribed, for all eternity, on one of the city's twelve gates which are each made from a SINGLE pearl (Revelation 21:12 - 13, 21).

God's hand will also engrave, on each of the gems he uses to build the city's foundations, the name of an apostle as an everlasting memorial.

9. And one of the seven angels that had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me (the apostle John), saying, "Come here, and I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." 10. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God . . .

14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and written on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9 - 10, 14, HBFV)

In the Bible, the number twelve symbolizes the Eternal's power and his establishing of a perfect governing structure.

Based on the findings in this series, the gems that will be used for the foundations of New Jerusalem's wall (in order) are jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth and amethyst. Does Scripture tell us, however, WHICH apostle's name will go on each of the precious stones?

Who is the BRIDE of Christ?
Timeline of the Bible's last events!
What do numbers symbolize in the Bible?

Matching names to stones

In our article on the High Priest's breastplate, we noted that evidence exists that the gems embedded within it were engraved in the birth order of Jacob's (Israel's) twelve sons. Scripture does not directly state, however, in what sequence the apostle's names will be placed on the foundation stones. One good possibility would be in the order in which they were personally called by Jesus to follow him. This can be thought of as the order in which they were offered a "new birth" by God - to become a true Christian and bear record of all that Jesus said and did.

Gemstones God uses to create a New Jerusalem

The Bible clearly records the order of the first seven disciples called by Christ who became apostles. They were, in order, John and Andrew (called together - John 1:35 - 39), then Peter (verses 40 to 42), Philip (verses 43 to 44), Nathanael (Bartholomew - verse 45), James (the brother of John, also referred to as James the Greater - Matthew 4:21 - 22) and Matthew (Matthew 9:9). See our article on the first seven disciples for more information.

The five remaining disciples, who were likely called close together in time sequence, are Thomas, James (the son of Alphaeus, also referred to as James the Less), Judas (brother of James the Less, also called Lebbeus or Thaddeus), Simon the Canaanite (Zealot) and Judas Iscariot. Since James the Less, Judas (brother of James) and Simon the Canaanite were brothers, their calling may have occurred very close to one another. Because of his suicide after betraying Jesus, Judas was eventually replaced in his position as one of the apostles by Matthias (Acts 1:15 - 26).

In the three gospel lists of all the apostles (Matthew 10:2 - 4, Mark 3:16 - 19, Luke 6:14 - 16) Thomas is consistently listed before James the Less, who himself is consistently listed before his brothers Judas and Simon. Our below matching of apostles to gems in the soon created Jerusalem from heaven, therefore, lists (after Matthew) the apostle named Thomas followed by James the Less.

Foundation GemsName of Apostle
JasperJohn or Andrew
SapphireJohn or Andrew
(John's brother)
(the Less)
ChrysopraseJudas or
Simon the Canaanite
JacinthJudas or
Simon the Canaanite

Additional Study Materials
Who sits on God's LEFT hand?
What do we know about the twelve apostles?
On what seven hills is modern Jerusalem built?

Gemstones in the Bible
Series Introduction

Precious Stones in the Breastplate
Gems in New Jerusalem

Primary Sources

1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
Curious Lore of Precious Stones, 1913 edition
Diamonds, Pearls and Precious Stones, 1913 edition
Gemstones in the Breastplate, 2008 edition
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
United States Geological Survey - - Wikipedia

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