Crystallized Carbon

"Immediatly I became in the Spirit; and behold, a
throne was set in heaven, and one sitting upon the throne; and he that sat was
like in appearance to a jasper and a sardine stone;..."


"A throne, then, is set in heaven, and One sits upon the throne;
with a certain necessary mystery as to Him, for here is One dwelling in the
light unapproachable, who in His innermost glory no man hath seen or can see.
Yet there are images which convey to us what we may realize as to Him; and to
us it is perfectly natural that these images should speak of Him as redemption
has declared Him. This is what seems to be the thought of the jasper and the
sardine stone. Gems, as we have seen in the high priest's breastplate long
since, are pictures to us of God in His various attributes, so far as He can be
displayed to us; and the names written upon these stones, the names of His
people, show in what connection He has manifested Himself. The jewels are the
lights of Him who is the Father of lights, in the perfect ray of light itself
too bright for us, but tempered in a way which brings out glories that would
otherwise be hidden; the many-hued manifestation of the light--the light spread
before us in its component rays. As it is to man the revelation is, so that
this may be perfect as possible, it is in man that the revelation is, and
Christ is therefore the blessed revealer. It is of this revelation of God in
Christ, as it would seem, that the jasper and the sardine speak; for the jasper
does not seem to be what we ordinarily call this. Its light is not as it is
spoken of here (chap. 21:11), "clear as crystal," which scarcely suits its
banded appearance. Ebrard has therefore suggested the diamond, which seems to
have escaped notice and yet it gives us, as it were, the very heart of the
matter. The diamond, as is well known, is crystalized carbon, which we find, in
the pure form, as graphite, the black lead of our pencils.

exists in these opposite conditions. In one form the symbol of divine glory, it
might in the other be naturally the symbol of sin and evil. These two things,
moreover, God's grace has shown us to be in strange and intimate connection
with one another; for how could God's grace display itself other than in
connection with sin and evil? And it is striking to find here also that carbon
is an element characteristic of all organic products, so that organic chemistry
has been called "the chemistry of the carbon compounds." It is thus in
beautiful connection with living forms as we see them around us, even as God
has brought for us life out of death, and wrought in the transformation of our
ruined humanity that which is the brightest display of divine glory. Christ is
Man, the highest possible type of manhood; and while in Him the thought of evil
is absolutely excluded, yet is He "the Seed of the woman;" and God has in this
done what was possible to Him alone, and brought "a clean thing out of an

But more than this, for here is one who has emptied Himself of
that which was properly His, "the form of God," to assume the form of a
servant, and to be made in the likeness of men. He too has been in the darkness
of death, and come up out of it to be thus the glorious Light of redeemed men
forever--the display also of God, in the love which brought Him down, and which
has prepared for Him also a body, the sign of that pepetual service to us which
He has taken up. Of the depths to which He has descended the sardine stone
reminds us by the ruddy hue; and thus, in the combination of the jasper, or
diamond, and the sardine stone, we have, indeed, God manifest as nowhere else
we could find Him: for if this seem for a moment to be Christ rather than God,
or, let us say, the Father, yet, as we know, it is not Christ's own love simply
that has been displayed to us, but the Father's love who sent Him, "Who spared
not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." This, one might even say,
the jasper and the sardine stone must needs be intended to convey to us; for
what other manifestation have we of God than that which we have seen in Christ?
He is "the Image of the invisible God," who is at the same time "the First-born
of all creation," the One in whom appears the true creation of God, never more
to be marred by sin or failure, but abiding in Him who is the centre and glory
of it, who is "all and in all."