The LORD’s Jewels

“Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” —Malachi 3:16,17

IN THE text above, our God, speaking through the Prophet Malachi, illustrates the Christian by a precious stone, a jewel. A little study upon the matter makes us realize that this illustration, like all those our Father uses, is filled with much encouragement and many helpful lessons. It is the frequent use of the picture which causes us to suspect there are rewarding analogies to be seen by a thoughtful consideration of the subject. Another such scriptural use of the precious stone to portray a Christian is found in the twenty-first chapter of Revelation.

Verses nine through eleven tell of an angel saying, “Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” Thus by combining the two illustrations of the bride and the holy city we are shown that both picture the church in glory. The bride symbolism accentuates the tender oneness that exists between the church and her Lord. The city illustration seems to represent the feature of the church being a part of a new governmental arrangement designed for blessing the willing people of earth.

However, that which we specially desire to note in the city illustration is the use of jewels in describing its beauty. Verses nineteen through twenty-one read, “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 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. 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.” It becomes at once clear that the use of gems in the description is not by chance but instead studied, because it specifies the kind to be used in relation to each foundation and the gates. What wealth of joy and instruction for the New Creation must be contained in this highly figurative language!

Still another illustration of the church as jewels is noted in the glory robes worn by the high priest of Israel. The various pieces of the apparel worn by him were all emblematic of qualities of character of our Lord or the office to which he is exalted. And over the high priest’s heart was a breastplate of judgment suspended by gold chains attached to clasps on each shoulder. It was, basically, a fabric made of interwoven threads of purple, blue, scarlet, white, and gold. It had in it, set in gold, twelve precious jewels, in which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes.—Exod. 28:4-21

These stones symbolized the true Israel, the Lord’s little flock. And of additional interest is the probable source of the jewels in that first garment ever worn by a high priest. It would seem logical that they came from Egypt, because in the few months that intervened between leaving Egypt and the inauguration of the Law Covenant and the priesthood, surely there was no time to secure, by mining or other means, these precious stones. We recall also that when Moses was given instruction for the exodus from Egypt, “every man [was to] borrow of his neighbor [Egyptians] … jewels of silver and jewels of gold.”—Exod. 11:2

These instructions may at first seem strange until we stop to consider how the Israelites had been defrauded and unjustly treated. It seems, also, that herein is another picture for our faith. As the gold, silver, and precious things for the Tabernacle and priesthood came from literal Egypt, so the precious ones of the new creation are taken from the antitypical Egypt, the sin-sick and dying world.

Let us, therefore, look to the jewels of earth and see the analogy that the Lord intended between them and his people of this age who are to become his diadem. First let us notice some common characteristics of precious stones and see how interestingly they illustrate characteristics possessed by all the Lord’s saints. Jewels are rare, precious, pure, brilliant, and beautiful.

First, jewels are rare. In virtually every instance precious jewels are stones. But how long and painstakingly must one search before a precious stone is found? The majority of stones are common and valueless as gems. If one were to wander throughout the great Rocky Mountains, he would be impressed with high and numberless mountains of solid stone. And, too, it would be so evident that the stone revealed through upturned mountains would be slight in comparison to the vast quantity buried deep beneath the surface.

The occasional precious piece is rare indeed. And is this not an appropriate illustration of the rarity of finding a child of God among the teeming billions of men? Our present population of earth is about four thousand million, and how many of these could be termed the Lord’s jewels? Rare indeed is a saint who has seen the vision of truth and in faithful consecration is yielding himself daily to the Father’s will. To illustrate how few are the true disciples of the Master, let us suppose that each year, from Pentecost until now, an equal number made their calling and election sure. We would arrive at a small group of about seventy brethren each year being assured their heavenly crown, out of the millions of earth’s people.

Realizing how few have known the Lord during this Gospel Age should cause our deep gratitude because we have been blessed above all the children of men. Our gratefulness should prompt us to a hearty and joyful service of the Lord, the truth, and the brethren.

Then, too, jewels are precious. One could hold in his cupped hands precious gems on which the world’s value could be many millions of dollars. Some jewels, because of their history, are virtually priceless. To illustrate the world’s appraisal of gems, compare the value of the Empire State Building in New York City. This architectural masterpiece, towering over one hundred stories, required the combined skills and efforts of thousands of men.

Highly trained architects and engineers had to visualize its every feature and line, and translate these into drawings that could become guides for the skilled artisans. From many quarters were drawn the materials, finished and ready for placement. At last in 1930, this gleaming masterpiece was completed, a monument to man’s ingenuity, at a cost of about twenty-eight million dollars. Yet this same society of men demonstrate how they evaluate jewels by indicating that one handful could exceed greatly in value the Empire State Building.

Thus the Lord, in effect, says to us, “As man seeks and treasures precious stones, so precious to me as jewels are my saints.” In a sense it is God talking to us by illustration, in language we can understand.

But can we really understand him fully? We are precious to him! (Eph. 3:18) Our Father is the Holy One who inhabiteth eternity. His domain reaches in all directions to the far sweep of space and eternity. His power and wisdom can instantly create, and yet, when he speaks of his special treasure, his gaze passes by the great light hung in the heaven down into the earth. And in the dark, sin-sick world, he has seen, from Jesus’ time until now, the occasional jewel, reflecting his glory, and with tenderness he says, “My precious ones.”

It is well for us to consider the text which reads, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Ps. 116:15) The death of the saint herein noted is not that final scene when he gasps out the last remaining earthly breath. Instead, the death mentioned here refers to the baptism into death which spans the entire consecrated life of the saint. That death is the faithful walk in self-sacrifice and devotion as demonstrated by our Lord. It is the sacrificial walk of loving obedience that the Father calls precious. Elsewhere this faithful walk is termed a sweet fragrance unto God. “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.”—Eph. 5:2

The best jewels are pure. We are told that precious stones were once a part of the surrounding elements in which they are found. In ages past, earth movement, pressure, and heat began a separating work, and finally that which was once impure became crystal, free from alloy. Much of the process of nature which caused it is unknown to us. But we who are children of God in faith believe that when the earth was planned our Father designed much of the workings of creation to illustrate his greatest creation.

The Lord’s jewels are to become pure. True, none this side of the veil shall reach actual perfection, but then we are told every gem has its flaw. But the first call of the child of God is to separate himself from the contaminating elements of the world in which he is found. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you.”—II Cor. 6:17

With the Father’s help, we attempt to cleanse ourselves, and particularly our hearts. Through feeding upon the truth, we begin to see the true values of love; and as we attempt to yield ourselves in sacrifice, so prompted, our hearts tend to become crystallized in righteousness. As we grow separate from the world, it does not cause self-righteousness to blight us, because we become mindful that it is all by his grace and leading. And whatever strides we make, we still require the robe of Christ’s righteousness to cover our imperfections.

Jewels are brilliant. How often the clear sparkle of a gem set in a ring or as an ornament of adornment catches our eye, and almost without thinking our gaze follows its every movement. We are fascinated by the delightful way facets reflect in varying hue the rays of light that fall upon them. Oftentimes the large, well-cut gem seems to possess an inner light apart from that which strikes it. However, this we know is only an optical illusion, because no jewel possesses light within itself. So with the saint of God. Apart from God we are nothing, even as the brilliance of the jewel darkens and dies when taken from the light. But a life of consecration and devotion will radiate the glory of God. Jesus indicated this in his answer to Philip’s demand, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?”—John 14:8,9

Jesus could say, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” because his perfection of character, thoroughly dedicated to the will of God, reflected without shadow the clear, pure light of God’s truth and love. And in other instances Jesus was quick to point out that this radiation of glory was not his apart from the Father. When the rich young ruler, who had heard of our Lord’s beneficial ministry, saluted Jesus with the words, “Good Master,” notice his reply—“Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God.” (Matt. 19:17) He was “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of … Israel” because he walked in the way of the “Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”—Luke 2:32; Jas. 1:17

We, too, can be lights, brilliantly reflecting the glory of God by walking “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the Word of life.” (Phil. 2:15,16) The special requirements noted in the text are, (1) blameless and harmless (sincere, margin), (2) holding forth the Word of life.

To reflect the glory of our Father would necessitate one being blameless and sincere, or pure in heart desire or intent. Paul says we could give all our money for the benefit of others, and our body to be burned, but if love is not the motivating principle, it would profit us nothing. We also see that the primary way we reflect the glory of God is by witnessing about him and his plan of salvation—holding forth the Word of life. How understandable this is, because to see the Father in his glory is to see his beneficent character. And the glory of his character shines through his plan.

Always must his jewels remember that any glory that shines from them comes from a gracious Father. Our few attainments in righteousness come from tender leadings, divine love, and patience. The glorious truth we hold forth is his truth, revealed to us. “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?”—I Cor. 4:7

Jewels are beautiful. Precious stones have a beauty of form and color that delights the eye. Visualize spread out before you on a cloth of midnight blue velvet, some jewels of beauty. The clear, icy sparkle of the diamond, the warmth of glowing red of the ruby, the cool green of the emerald beside the regal purple of an amethyst. See also a sapphire reflecting the blue of heaven; a chalcedony, pale blue, translucent, and wax-like; and interspersed among them all, lustrous pearls, warm glowing spheres so strikingly different from the sharp facets of the other gems, all reflecting the light in gloriously different hues, none detracting from the other, but all enhancing the beauty of the whole.

So, too, are the Lord’s saints beautiful. “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold” (Ps. 45:13) Thus does the psalmist prophetically picture the church, also stating, “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty.” (vs. 11) The beauty of the church? Does not the Apostle Paul say God has chosen the foolish, weak, base, and despised ones? (I Cor. 1:27,28) This description, though, is as man sees them. Long ago, when selecting a king of Israel, God stated his method of choice—“For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (I Sam. 16:7) When our Father’s eye goes to and fro throughout the earth, he specially notes those hearts tender toward him. These he has drawn, and revealed to them the way, the truth, and the life—Christ Jesus. These are the pure in heart which shall see God. These are the glorious jewels which shall one day be freed from the mud of sin in which they were found and finally set in the diadem of God. They shall eternally reflect, for all to see, the glory of the Father.

Although precious stones do have the characteristics in common of rarity, preciousness, purity, brilliance, and beauty, they differ one from another. They vary in size, degree of purity, value, shape, and color. In this, too, there are valuable lessons for the New Creation.

The untrained may be inclined to place value on a gem by size alone. It is quite possible a diamond twice the size of another may be of far less value than the smaller. Degree of purity, color, style of cutting, and history, are all elements which enter into a final appraisal. It requires a highly trained expert properly to assess value by comparing one desirable characteristic against another.

How often we are prone to attempt an evaluation of one Christian compared with another! The tendency is to be unduly impressed with those who bulk large before our eyes because of natural talents. A brother or sister because of such talents may glisten much before our eyes, and yet, another, quietly faithful to every opportunity presented, and few in talents, could be, in God’s sight, a jewel of rarest value, marked out for a special place in the diadem of the Eternal One.

In the world, those who gain special notice are so often the possessors of unique and crowd-pleasing talents. Through fortunate circumstances of birth, friends, or, perchance, events, they are caught up before the public eye, and if careful, remain in this sought-after position. And yet even the world admits that among the teeming masses of the unnoticed are those equally or better talented who will pass their entire life in obscurity.

“Full many a gem of purest ray serene
    The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

But none of the heavenly jewels are unnoticed before the Lord. For him to see them does not necessitate they loom large before the brethren, nor yet perform some outstanding exploit to attract attention. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Prov. 15:3) And as he watches over the earth, beholding his jewels, that which is specially approved is the heart lovingly dedicated to the doing of his will.

An experience in the life of Elijah points up God’s awareness of those who would serve him. Elijah had faithfully performed the will of God under trying circumstances. King Ahab and his priests, together with the Israelites, had been summoned to Mount Carmel to witness the showdown between God and Baal. After Elijah’s triumphant experience, wicked Jezebel threatened him, and in a moment of fright, induced perhaps by fatigue, he fled to the desert regions, and finally to a cave. Then the Lord came to him and asked, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Elijah, in some degree confused, and not recognizing that for the moment, fear of Jezebel had overcome faith, said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: … and I, even I only, am left.” Particularly do we desire to notice this portion of our Lord’s reply: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal.” —I Kings 19:13,14,18

Where dwelt the seven thousand? One high on a mountainside, far from the busy streets of the city; another in a village of Israel; and one by the sea’s edge; one in a shepherd’s shelter on the lonely hills of Judea. But wherever the seven thousand were in that parched land, God knew and cared.

“There is an eye that never sleeps,
    Beneath the wings of night;
There is an ear that never shuts
    When sink the beams of light.

O, weary souls with cares oppressed,
    Trust in His loving might
Whose eye is over all thy ways
    Through all the weary night.”

As with jewels, so too with the Lord’s saints. First, found among the mud and debris of sin, there comes the call, “Be ye separate.” The Lord seeks us out, and through his glorious Word reveals himself. The overpowering glimpse we have of God through the divine plan of the ages intensifies the realization of our undone condition. We react to the vision of truth much as Isaiah did when he had a vision of God, as recorded in chapter six of his prophecy. “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”—Isa. 6:5

The very heart-cry of our sorry plight manifests that we desire to separate ourselves from the people of unclean lips—we desire to be pure. Then it is that the Lord shows us, through his Word, how cleansing now comes to us. By consecrating our lives to do his will we are covered by the robe of Christ’s righteousness, and stand pure before the eyes of God. And with the passing of time and the encountering of tests and obstacles, we strive to maintain this heart, pure in intention toward God and his righteousness. If it is maintained it will cause a crystallization of intention, and there will be manifested an outward cleansing.

But every gem has its flaw, and with the Christian, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his Word is not in us.” (I John 1:10) Although the first call of the Christian is to separate himself and be pure, we must be ever mindful that “we have this treasure in an earthen vessel.” (II Cor. 4:7) What comfort comes to us from these tender words: “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. … Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”—Ps. 103:10,13,14

Yes, we have our flaws—but take comfort, because God understands! But what is our attitude toward our brother and his flaws? How disappointing if all people carried a jeweler’s eyepiece to note particularly the flaw in the jewel of our adornment. Why notice the imperfection when there is so much more to see—the exquisite cutting, superb coloring, and sparkling refraction? And what do we specially look for in our brethren? Is it the one act of frailty or the character weakness that came through the fall? Why not attempt to see as God sees—look for the specific acts that flow from a consecrated heart; see the beauty of the child of God that comes from considering all his efforts to serve the Lord; and note well the many sacrifices made to glorify God and to be a blessing to others.

We might see a gem of peculiar shape, and suppose it quite common in value, only to learn that an expert had designed the cutting for a specific mounting of unusual merit. So, too, our paths may cross those of another saint whose limited sphere and peculiarity of life would cause us to conclude him little indeed among the brethren. But in the kingdom we may learn that such limited activity and most peculiar experiences were shaping him for a prominent mounting in the diadem of God.

Sometimes the value of a jewel is greatly enhanced because of history. There are precious stones whose history can be traced many centuries, the possession of which has been so much desired that wars were fought and kingdoms overthrown. So, also, some of the Lord’s jewels have had varied and unusual lives, which has enhanced their value both to the Lord and to the brethren. Notable among these was the Apostle Paul, whose faithful ministry touched continents and many countries. His unusual ministry traversed all segments of the human family—from the pathetic and poor to the potentate. His experiences ran the range of possibilities. From the prison he was taken directly to the palace where he preached. From the cruel stocks of Philippi, he went to Mars’ Hill and spoke to what was considered the most learned group of that day. He was shipwrecked, severely beaten, yet he was dearly loved by the brethren, although called a deceiver by some. He gave the final ounce of his strength before the cruel and vicious Nero. In all of this, his was a constant testimony of devotion to God, which assured him a place in the diadem of our Father.

Each saint has his own path to tread. Only our Father knows the dangers we have faced, the pitfalls averted, the heartaches sustained, the weary steps of sacrifice walked. Each saint has his own history, often known to but a few of the fellow-saints, but all known to God. God alone can evaluate. He alone can judge.

Jewels differ, too, in shape and color, and for this we are glad. God’s diversity of creation is seen among the precious stones just as among the flowers. How delighted we are with the many kinds of flowers, differing in size, shape, color, and fragrance, each exquisitely beautiful and a study in itself; yet no beauty is lost when these differing flowers are brought together. They become a symphony of color, and in their way acclaim the glory and wisdom and power of our God. So, too, this difference in color among the precious jewels enhances the beauty of the whole.

Among the Lord’s jewels this delightful difference is brought into sharp focus when we look at the disciples. How different in disposition were they, yet each one reflected the glory of God in a beautiful way. Peter causes us to think of the blood-red ruby—impulsive and warmhearted, he was always eager to show the Lord his love. He was outspoken and quick to act, and the sum total of all he did causes us to be drawn to him in love and understanding.

Timothy calls to our mind the emerald. His was a fresh young faith that did its share in blessing. In a special sense, his youthful faith became a source of comfort and encouragement to the Apostle Paul. The diamond reminds us of Paul, because he seemed to catch so much of the wisdom and plan of God and reflect it for the blessing of his brethren. And John reminds us of the pearl, whose smooth roundness and iridescent glow suggests a balanced maturity, rich in hues of love. These differences in character stemmed from their varied origins, environment, and experiences.

This, too, is illustrated in the world of jewels. We are told that jewels differ greatly in their origins. For instance, amethysts, jaspers, and opals were once a part of the common stone, flint. In the inner workings of the earth the flint became pulverized, and then there was a regathering of the silica or quartz particles. Heat and pressure completed the work of crystallization, and that which was commonplace became a jewel.

How often does the call of a saint parallel this process! Perhaps one had the disposition of stubbornness, quite set and determined in his way of life. Then one crushing blow after another separated him from the world to which he had clung so tightly. And in the heat of trial, the faith particles of life, joined by the leading of the Lord, caused him to decide positively on the side of obedience and righteousness. And thus came crystallization of intention and desire, which if maintained will permit, through experience, the grinding of character facets.

We are told also that the emerald and ruby were once clay such as is trod underfoot. In ways we cannot fully appreciate, the valuable ingredients begin separating from the contaminating elements in which they were. This separation is but the first step that leads to a final crystallization, so that that which was once common clay becomes a precious stone.

How much this reminds us of brethren whose lives prior to consecration could be illustrated by the clay! Clay differs from flint, in that it tends to mold itself according to the surroundings in which it is found. Were not some of us once just like that? There was no point or objective in our lives, and we lacked that firmness to rise above the circumstances in which we were placed; that is, until the Lord directed us to the truth. Then, by his gentle leading, and the revelation of truth, we separated ourselves from the undesirable surroundings. The Lord honored each decision to separate from the world, with grace sufficient, until finally we were found among the Lord’s jewels—by consecration committed to walk faithfully unto death.

We know that the diamond was once carbon, black and soft in comparison to its final state. In the depths of the earth, lumps of carbon are subjected to intense heat and terrific pressure, and a miracle is performed. That which was black becomes crystalline clear, and the hardest substance known to man. What a lesson! There have been some whose lives were blackened by sin to the point that men would say, “Beyond recall.” But some who have been so situated realized, with anguish, their plight, and sought the Lord. He who designed the processes of earth knows well how to make white those blackened by sin who hunger after righteousness. Through experiences, such are brought to the point of saying, “This one thing I do.”—Phil. 3:13

All jewels, however, are not formed in the earth. Prominent among the jewels mentioned in the description of the New Jerusalem were the pearls. “The twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl.” (Rev. 21:21) The pearl is formed in an oyster, a scavenger, forbidden under the Law of Moses to be eaten. We are told that a grain of sand gets into the shell of the oyster and irritatingly lodges against the soft, tender inner parts. To relieve the irritation there is sent out by the organism a dense shelly concretion, lustrous and varying in color, which we call a pearl.

So that which started with an irritation or hurt in the lowly oyster becomes a beautiful jewel. How fittingly this describes the manner in which some of the Lord’s jewels were made! Some of us had a hard shell of indifference to the Lord or his truth until we had an experience that hurt. It might have been the death of a child or someone else close to us. This lay deep in our heart, and we sought some healing balm.

The truth came to us by the Lord’s direction, and that which at first just comforted, remained to become our life. The faith that first reached out for comfort gradually grew until we were included in the company of the Lord’s jewels, by thus being formed into a spiritual pearl.

However, with most jewels much preparation is necessitated by cutting and polishing the sides or facets before the stones are ready for the setting. So, too, with the Lord’s jewels. After our crystallization that comes through our consecration to do God’s will, the character forming follows. The Master Creator knows the sort of fashioning which will bring out the full beauty of his gem. Many times the first experiences can be drastic, and it is hard to make that quick separation from the earthward tendencies which would hinder our development. Then come the day-to-day experiences, equally difficult, but wherein our shaping or change of disposition or character is much slower. As we are fixed in position by our consecration vow, our Father brings to us the grinding wheel of experiences with the compound of daily duties, and character takes shape.

Facets appear, beautifully reflecting the glory and love of God. A pressure, precisely applied, is timed to the fraction of a second, and when the wheel is lifted, humility shines forth. Then one by one come the facets—gentleness, patience, kindness, courteousness, sincerity—until the stone when turned shows a balanced cutting and polishing of all the graces of love.

Finally comes the wiping away of the last vestige of any materials used in preparation, and the stone, pure and polished, brilliantly reflects in every direction the light which shines upon it! And so it is with us as God’s workmanship. When the work of preparation is completed, his jewels shall pass through the waters of death, and shall be raised gloriously free from things of earth that hindered. Sparkling and bright, we will have been perfected and polished—made to shine, precious and pure in a light divine, gems of rarest beauty!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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