Gill’s Exposition of Revelation 21:20 to 21

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VERSES: 20 – 21

Revelation 21:20

v.20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

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 speak1)[n] Zohar in Gen. fol. 17. 2. & in Exod. fol. 65. 4. of the tabernacle above being built on twelve precious stones; and sometimes they say2)[o] Abkath Rocel, p. 150. Vid. Zohar in Exod. fol. 96. 3., 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.

Revelation 21:21

v.21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls,…. Denoting the purity and preciousness of Christ, by whom the saints enter, and of the saints who enter in thereat, as well as of the place into which they enter.

Every several gate was of one pearl; the pearl of great price, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only gate, door, and way into this happy state: this shows that this account cannot be taken literally, but mystically, for no such pearl was ever known, large enough to make a gate of.

“A pearl is a hard, white, shining body, usually roundish, found in a shell fish resembling an oyster, but is three or four times the size of the common oyster; and which ordinarily yields ten or twelve pearls, and sometimes more. Those of the largest size that have been known are that of Cleopatra, valued by Pliny at centies H S, or at 80,000 pound sterling; and that brought in 1574 to Philip the Second, of the size of a pigeon’s egg, worth 14,400 ducats; and that of the Emperor Rudolph, mentioned by Boetius, called “la peregrina”, or the incomparable, of the size of a muscade pear, and weighing 30 carats; and that mentioned by Tavernier, in the hands of the emperor of Persia in 1633, bought of an Arab for 32,000 tomans, which, at three pounds nine shillings the to man, amounts to 110,400 pounds sterling3)[p] Chambers’s Cyclopedia in the word “Pearl”..”

But what is one of these pearls to make a gate of, for a wall which was an hundred and forty four cubits high? Revelation 21:17. The Jews say4)[q] T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 100. 1. & Bava Bathra, fol. 75. 1. & Yalkut, par. 2. fol. 54. 1., that the holy blessed God will bring precious stones and “pearls” of thirty cubits by thirty, &c. and place them “in the gates of Jerusalem”, as it is said, Isaiah 54:12 which must be understood also not in a literal but mystical sense: and L’Empereur5)[r] Misn. Middot, c. 4. sect. 2. Vid. Yalkut Simconi, par. 2. fol. 54. 1. makes mention of an ancient commentary on Psalm 87:1 which says, that the holy blessed God will make a gate at the east (of the temple), and in it two doors, each of one pearl. So R. Joshua ben Levi says6)[s] Yalkut Simeoni, par. 1. fol. 7. 1., that there are in paradise two gates of agates or diamonds; some render the word rubies.

And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass; denoting the preciousness and delightfulness of the saints’ conversation one with another; and the purity and cleanness of it, there being no mire and filth of sin in these streets; and the sincerity and openness of it, each one walking in his uprightness; which will be seen and known of all, as clearly as anything can be beheld in a transparent glass. So the Jews say7)[t] Sepher. Avodah Hakkodesh, fol. 46. 1. of paradise, that the ground is paved with precious stones, the lustre of which may be compared to the light of burning torches.

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Original Source: 
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
http://sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/gill/rev021.htm
http://dailybread.com.au/7000/200/090-07-09.html

References   [ + ]

1. [n] Zohar in Gen. fol. 17. 2. & in Exod. fol. 65. 4.
2. [o] Abkath Rocel, p. 150. Vid. Zohar in Exod. fol. 96. 3.
3. [p] Chambers’s Cyclopedia in the word “Pearl”.
4. [q] T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 100. 1. & Bava Bathra, fol. 75. 1. & Yalkut, par. 2. fol. 54. 1.
5. [r] Misn. Middot, c. 4. sect. 2. Vid. Yalkut Simconi, par. 2. fol. 54. 1.
6. [s] Yalkut Simeoni, par. 1. fol. 7. 1.
7. [t] Sepher. Avodah Hakkodesh, fol. 46. 1.

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