Revelation 21:11

Saturday, 14 August 2021

having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Revelation 21:11

The previous verse saw the great city, holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. John now says that it is “having the glory of God.” This is more than simply having a splendor fitting of God. Rather, it is referring to having the very presence of God radiating out of it in a display of His glory. That will be explicitly stated in verse 21:23 –

“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.”

This then is the fulfillment of what was only anticipated in a limited sense in the tabernacle and later in the temple –

“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:34, 35

“And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” 1 Kings 8:10, 11

The difference between the earthly sanctuaries and this is then to be stated in verse 22:4 where it says that the servants of God and of the Lamb “shall see His face.” In the earthly sanctuary, the presence of the glory of the Lord could not be beheld in its fullness by those who served Him. But in the New Jerusalem, His people shall behold Him in all of His glory.

John next continues with, “Her light.” The Greek reads, “Her light-giver.” It refers to a luminary. It is that by which the city receives its illumination, meaning the Lamb (as is seen in verse 21:23). The glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The word used to describe this light, phóstér, is found only here and in Philippians 2:15 –

“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.”

Of this light, John says it “was like a most precious stone.” In other words, just as the finest gem will radiate in the most brilliant manner, so will be the radiating of the Illuminator of God’s glory as the Lamb reveals it to His people for all eternity. Of this, John next says it is “like a jasper stone.”

The jasper (Greek: iaspis) is believed to be the same as the last stone mentioned in the breastplate of the high priest in Exodus 28:20. In the Hebrew there, the name is yashepheh. That comes from an unused root meaning “to polish.” It is believed to be jasper because of the same general sounding name – yashepheh/iaspis/jasper.

Jasper stone varies in color, and the specific color is speculated on. Throughout the ages, the identification of many of the colors and stones mentioned in the Bible has become unclear. Different terms are used today than they were in the past. Because of this, various translators will identify them differently.

What jasper is today is apparently not the same as what John is speaking of here. Rather, some commentators believe it is a blue-white diamond. Whatever the exact color and nature of it, the glory of God is being reflected in this manner.

However, the symbolism speaks out what John is trying to relay. There is the light of the glory of God emanating through the color, or from the color, that speaks of His infinite perfection, glory, and holiness. Finally, of this, John says it is “clear as crystal.”

The Greek literally says, “shining like crystal.” The word is found only here in Scripture, krustallizó. It signifies “to make (i.e. Intransitively, resemble) ice (‘crystallize’) — be clear as crystal” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

The words John uses convey the idea of absolute brilliance, splendor, and glory. It is nothing that we can as yet fully comprehend. But someday, because of Christ Jesus, we will behold what John attempts to describe for us in Revelation.

Life application: The New Jerusalem will be stunningly marvelous and more beautiful than we can now comprehend. We see a glimpse of this in Exodus 24:9, 10, were the presence of God is seen on Mount Sinai –

“Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 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.”

This was a mere foreshadowing of the glory that John beholds. Throughout the rest of the Old Testament, the glory of the Lord is revealed in various ways, but none are as spectacular as what John conveys to us. Sinful humans cannot perceive the true glory and majesty of God, nor can mere words adequately describe it. And, therefore, only comparisons can be used. However, at some wonderful point in the future, God’s full and complete glory will be displayed to His redeemed. They will walk in His light, and they will be eternally enlivened by Him.

A time is coming when these things will be fully realized. And so now, as we walk in this darkened and sin-stained world, we can carry with us the hope of this wonderful time. But this is only true if we come to God through His offer of peace and reconciliation. The Lamb that will illuminate the glory of God in New Jerusalem is the same Lamb who first came to die in order to redeem man back to God. Without coming through Christ, no man will enter into His presence. Be sure to call out to God through His Messiah. Call out to Him through JESUS.

Oh God, when the world wears me out and there is only grief in our souls at the wickedness that surrounds us, we can overcome this feeling and stand strong in the sure hope of being in the presence of Your glory – never again to feel frustration, pain, anger, or fear. Instead, we will be perfectly content with the light of Your majesty. How we long for that day! Amen.