“The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.” (Revelation 21:19)
In the past century, it has been discovered that gems can be classified as either anisotropic or isotropic, and only recently have scientists discovered cross polarized light, which can be used to identify whether a gem is anisotropic or isotropic. When viewed in crossed-polarised light (similar to “pure” light), anisotropic stones produce a colourful array- reflecting all the colours of the rainbow, whereas isotropic stones lose all of their colour and appear black.
It’s interesting that, in Revelation chapter 21, there are 12 gems mentioned to be inlaid for decoration of the New Jerusalem, and ALL of these 12 gems are anisotropic gems, i.e., gems that can show colourful patterns under pure light..
Interestingly, neither diamond, rubies or garnets are mentioned, despite the fact that these group of gems are very very common! For instance, the precious stones are generally considered to be diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, with all other gemstones being semi-precious. Turns out, it’s because they are isotropic, when pure light passes trough them, there is no beauty at all…
“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” (Proverbs 8:11)
What are the odds?
Of the 28 stones that are normally regarded as gemstones, only 16 are anisotropic. Since anisotropic behaviour has only been discovered in the last century (and John wrote Revelation almost 2000 years ago), the odds of 12 stones picked randomly being in that one group, is about 1 in 1,000! In fact, this analysis assumes that all gems have the same probability of being included, but this is not the case (as some gems are considered more precious than others). Hence, the actual probability is much much lower than 1 in 1,000 for naming all the 12 gems, that are all anisotropic gems, in the book of Revelation!
Keep in mind that there are a few assumptions being made here, i.e. the stones are a literal description of heaven (which I believe are) and that the light in heaven will be like “pure” light, which emanates through the gems…
Could it be possible that God, in choosing the stones for the foundation of the new temple, deliberately avoided stones that would lose their colour and instead chose stones that disperse light to produce brilliant rainbow effects?
“…and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” (Revelation 4:3)