Revelation 21:20
The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
21:9-21 God has various employments for his holy angels. Sometimes they sound the trumpet of Divine Providence, and warn a careless world; sometimes they discover things of a heavenly nature of the heirs of salvation. Those who would have clear views of heaven, must get as near to heaven as they can, on the mount of meditation and faith. The subject of the vision is the church of God in a perfect, triumphant state, shining in its lustre; glorious in relation to Christ; which shows that the happiness of heaven consists in intercourse with God, and in conformity to him. The change of emblems from a bride to a city, shows that we are only to take general ideas from this description. The wall is for security. Heaven is a safe state; those who are there, are separated and secured from all evils and enemies. This city is vast; here is room for all the people of God. The foundation of the wall; the promise and power of God, and the purchase of Christ, are the strong foundations of the safety and happiness of the church. These foundations are set forth by twelve sorts of precious stones, denoting the variety and excellence of the doctrines of the gospel, or of the graces of the Holy Spirit, or the personal excellences of the Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven has gates; there is a free admission to all that are sanctified; they shall not find themselves shut out. These gates were all of pearls. Christ is the Pearl of great price, and he is our Way to God. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. The saints in heaven tread gold under foot. The saints are there at rest, yet it is not a state of sleep and idleness; they have communion, not only with God, but with one another. All these glories but faintly represent heaven.The fifth, sardonyx - This word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The "name" is derived from "Sardis," a city in Asia Minor (notes on Revelation 3:1), and ὄνυξ onux, a nail - so named, according to Pliny, from the resemblance of its color to the flesh and the nail. It is a silicious stone or gem, nearly allied to the onyx. The color is a reddish yellow, nearly orange (Webster, Dictionary).

The sixth, sardius - This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It is also derived from "Sardis," and the name was probably given to the gem because it was found there. It is a stone of a blood-red or flesh color, and is commonly known as a "carnelian." It is the same as the sardine stone mentioned in Revelation 4:3. See the notes on that place.

The seventh, chrysolite - This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It is derived from χρυσὸς chrusos, "gold," and λίθος lithos, "stone," and means "golden stone," and was applied by the ancients to all gems of a golden or yellow color, probably designating particularly the topaz of the moderns (Robinson, Lexicon). But in Webster's Dictionary it is said that its prevalent color is green. It is sometimes transparent. This is the "modern" chrysolite. The ancients undoubtedly understood by the name a "yellow" gem.

The eighth, beryl - This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The beryl is a mineral of great hardness, and is of a green or bluish-green color. It is identical with the emerald, except in the color, the emerald having a purer and richer green color, proceeding from a trace of oxide of chrome. Prisms of beryl are sometimes found nearly two feet in diameter in the state of New Hampshire (Webster).

The ninth, a topaz - This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The topaz is a well-known mineral, said to be so called from "Topazos," a small island in the Arabian Gulf. It is generally of a yellowish color, and pellucid, but it is also found of greenish, bluish, or brownish shades.

The tenth, a chrysoprasus - This word χρυσόπρασος chrusoprasos does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It is derived from χρυσὸς chrusos, "gold," and πράσον prason, "a leek," and denotes a precious stone of greenish golden color, like a leek; that is, "apple-green passing into a grass-green" (Robinson, Lexicon). "It is a variety of quartz. It is commonly apple-green, and often extremely beautiful. It is translucent, or sometimes semi-transparent; its hardness little inferior to flint" (Webster, Dictionary).

The eleventh, a jacinth - The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It is the same word as "hyacinth" - ὑάκινθος huakinthos - and denotes properly the well-known flower of that name, usually of a deep purple or reddish blue. Here it denotes a gem of this color. It is a red variety of "zircon." See Webster's Dictionary under the word "hyacinth."

The twelfth, an amethyst - This word, also, is found only in this place in the New Testament. It denotes a gem of a deep purple or violet color. The word is derived from α a, the alpha privative ("not"), and μεθύω methuō, to be intoxicated, because this gem was supposed to be an antidote against drunkenness. It is a species of quartz, and is used in jewelry.

20. sardonyx—a gem having the redness of the cornelian, and the whiteness of the onyx.

sardius—(See on [2744]Re 4:3).

chrysolite—described by Pliny as transparent and of a golden brightness, like our topaz: different from our pale green crystallized chrysolite.

beryl—of a sea-green color.

topaz—Pliny [37.32], makes it green and transparent, like our chrysolite.

chrysoprasus—somewhat pale, and having the purple color of the amethyst [Pliny, 37, 20, 21].

jacinth—The flashing violet brightness in the amethyst is diluted in the jacinth [Pliny, 37.41].

I cannot tell what to make of these precious stones, with which they are said to be garnished, unless it be their spiritual gifts and habits of grace; the various manifestations of the Holy Spirit given to the apostles to profit the church withal, with which they adorned the doctrine of the gospel, and won upon the pagan world, making themselves admirable in the eyes of men and women. Nor were it hard to descant upon these several sorts of stones, and to show of what graces they may be types: the jasper, of steadiness and constancy; the sapphire, of heavenly mindedness (it being a stone of the colour of the heavens); the chalcedony, of zeal; the emerald of vigour and liveliness; the sardonyx, (a stone of various colours), of various gifts and graces; the sardius, of courage and fortitude, and a readiness to shed their blood for Christ; the chrysolyte, of love, or wisdom, and knowledge; the beryl, of a quickness of sight and understanding; the topaz, of searching out Divine mysteries; the chrysoprasus, of gravity and severity; the jacinth, of spiritual joy, calmness, and serenity of mind; the amethyst, of sobriety and temperence. But it seems to me too great curiosity to philosophize so far upon the nature of these stones; take them together, they probably signify all the gifts and graces of the blessed apostles, by which the religion of the gospel was first commended, and made to appear lovely to the world. The fifth, sardonyx,.... Which is partly of the sardian, and partly of the onyx stone, which resembles a man's nail, from whence it has its name; it is reddish, bordering on white; it may be thought to answer to the onyx in the breastplate, on which was written the name of Joseph.

The sixth, sardius; the same with the sardine stone, Revelation 4:3 of a blood colour, and what is commonly called a cornelian: it is found in Sardinia, from whence it has its name, and in Bohemia and Silesia, though those of Babylon are the best. This was Reuben's stone.

The seventh, chrysolite; a stone of a dusky green colour, with a cast of yellow; by its name it should have the colour of gold. Schroder says it is found in Bohemia, and that it is the same the moderns call the topaz. Some think it answers to "tarshish" in the breastplate, rendered "beryl", on which was the name of Asher.

The eighth, beryl; a stone of a pale green colour, thought to be the diamond of the ancients: it may answer to the "ligure" in the breastplate, which the Targum on Sol 5:14 calls "birla", and had the name of Dan on it.

The ninth, a topaz; a stone very hard and transparent, of a beautiful yellow, or gold colour: the topaz of Ethiopia was counted the best, Job 28:19. Some say it is so called from the island "Topazus"; on this stone Simeon's name was engraven.

The tenth, a chrysoprasus; a stone of a green colour, inclining to that of gold, from whence it has its name; for this is the agate in the breastplate, which was Napthali's stone.

The eleventh, a jacinth; or "hyacinth": a stone of a purple, or violet colour, from whence it has its name; though what the moderns so call is of a deep reddish yellow, pretty near a flame colour. Zabulon's stone was the diamond.

The twelfth, an amethyst; a stone of a violet colour, bordering on purple: it has been thought a preservative from drunkenness, from whence it seems to have its name. On this stone was written the name of Gad. Agreeably to this account of John's, the Jews speak (n) of the tabernacle above being built on twelve precious stones; and sometimes they say (o), that the holy blessed God will found Jerusalem with ten kind of precious stones, and which they mention, and several of which are the same with these.

(n) Zohar in Gen. fol. 17. 2. & in Exod. fol. 65. 4. (o) Abkath Rocel, p. 150. Vid. Zohar in Exod. fol. 96. 3.

The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. chrysolite … topaz] According to the best authorities, the ancient application of these names was the reverse of the modern. Chrysolite ought, according to the etymology, to be a “golden stone,” while the modern chrysolite is green. Perhaps the ancient chrysolite included the modern jacinth as well as the true “Oriental topaz”.

chrysoprasus] A variety of the beryl, of a more yellowish-green: probably that now called chrysolite.

jacinth] Probably our sapphire, the “sapphire” above being lapis lazuli. The modern jacinth is a crystalline stone, usually red.

amethyst] This, the emerald, sardius, and beryl are undoubtedly the stones now so called.Revelation 21:20. Σάρδιος) The most approved MSS. have here σάρδιον,[234] and the LXX. and Epiphanius. Let this be compared with the Syntagmata of Hiller, p. 86.

[234] Hence the decision of the Ed. maj. being set aside, σάρδιον is preferred in the margin of Ed. 2.—E. B. AB Memph, have σάρδιον· h Vulg. and Rec. Text, σάρδιος.—E.Verse 20. - The fifth, sardonyx. A variety of agate - a kind of onyx, valued for its use in engraving into cameos. The name onyx appears to be owing to the resemblance in colour to the fingernails. The sixth, sardius. Probably the modern carnelian (see on Revelation 4:3). The seventh, chrysolyte. A variety of the gem of which that called topaz (the ninth stone) is another kind. This species contained a considerable amount of yellow colour, whence the name "golden stone." It has been suggested that it is identical with the modern jacinth or amber. The eighth, beryl. A variety of emerald, of less decided green shade than the pure emerald. The ninth, a topaz. Not the modern topaz, but a variety of chrysolite (see the seventh stone, supra), of a yellowish-green colour, the latter predominating. The tenth, a chrysoprasus. The name "golden leek green" appears to point to a species of beryl, and the modern aquamarine. It is thus probably a variety of emerald, being of a yellowish pale green hue. The eleventh, a jacinth. "A red variety of zircon, which is found in square prisms, of a white, grey, red, reddish brown, yellow, or pale green colour" (Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible'). "The sapphire of the moderns" (King). The twelfth, an amethyst. A purple stone, possibly the common amethyst. Sardonyx (σαρδόνυξ)

The most beautiful and rarest variety of onyx. Pliny defines it as originally signifying a white mark in a sard, like the human nail (ὄνυξ) placed upon flesh, and both of them transparent. Onyx is called from the resemblance of its white and yellow veins to the shades in the human finger-nail. The early Greeks make no distinction between the onyx and the sardonyx.

Sardius

See on Revelation 4:3.

Chrysolite (χρυσόλιθος)

From χρυσός gold and λίθος stone. Lit., gold-stone. Identified by some with our topaz, by others with amber. Pliny describes it as "translucent with golden luster."

Beryl (βήρυλλος)

Pliny says that it resembled the greenness of the pure sea. It has been supposed to be of the same or similar nature with the emerald.

Topaz (τοπάζιον)

Compare Job 28:19. The name was derived from an island in the Red Sea where the gem was first discovered. The stone is our peridot. The Roman lapidaries distinguished the two varieties, the chrysopteron, our chrysolite, and the prasoides, our peridot. The former is much harder, and the yellow color predominates over the green. The modern topaz was entirely unknown to the ancients.

Chrysoprasus

Rev., chrysoprase. From χρυσός gold and πράσον a leek; the color being a translucent, golden green, like that of a leek. According to Pliny it was a variety of the beryl.

Jacinth (ὑάκινθος)

See on Revelation 9:17.

continued...

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