God's Precious Jewels
Part 2. The Ruby
Jewels not only represent the elect of God, but they serve to remind us of the basic teachings of the Bible. This is borne out by a consideration of the first stone of the Breastplate of Judgement, which is mentioned in Exodus 28:17 under the term of Sardius. The margin renders this Ruby, which is evidently a better rendering. The original word is odem, which means blood‑red, and the letters are similar to that of Adam, which signifies "taken out of red earth." This physical make‑up is corroborated by science, which proves that the human body is composed of the elements of earth and air. Thus we observe the solemn truth of the sentence passed upon our first parent: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen.3:19).
An Amazing Symbolism. An analysis of the ruby reveals the astonishing discovery that it is red earth or clay in crystallised form. Its very colouring matter is the same as that which gives blood its hue, namely, oxide of iron. For this reason the ruby has been called "petrified blood." The test of a perfect ruby is when it compares most favourably to the fresh blood of a pigeon dropped upon a sheet of white paper.
With these facts before us, what an amazing symbolism is indicated by this precious gem! Adam was the bright jewel of all natural creation, but on account of sin, he gradually lost his glory and lustre. Then Jesus came to take the sinner's place. His blood was precious because He knew no sin, and, in virtue of His great sacrifice, He becomes the world's High Priest (Heb.5:1). In this sense, therefore, Jesus Christ is a jewel so exceedingly precious that it is destined to attract the attention of every eye. This is suggested in Rev.4:3, "And He that sat was to look upon like jasper and a sardine stone (ruby): and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald."
The preciousness of the blood of Jesus is likewise suggested by the intrinsic value of the ruby itself. For instance, a stone of sixteen grains is worth 400 guineas ($2,000*). The most brilliant diamond of like weight, would cost about, half that sum.
Reuben. There is still another important feature relative to this first jewel of the breastplate. Upon it was engraved the name of Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob. Among the Hebrews the oldest son was, in the absence of the father, the representative of the family. To him would all the household look for guidance and judgment. Thus again Jesus the Anointed is brought definitely to mind as the representative of the Heavenly Father and "the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev.3:14). To Him will all mankind look for guidance and judgment when "the government will be upon His shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6,7).
Imitation Rubies. Rubies can be so cleverly imitated by artificial methods that they bear a great similarity to real stones. The microscope, however, reveals in the manufactured article the presence of bubbles and striae. This reminds us of our Master's warning of false Christs who shall deceive many (Matt.24:5). The Lord grants His true followers the power of perception through the Holy Spirit of truth; thus they can discern the character of Him who was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners (Heb.7:26).
There are many gems upon this earth which have strange histories attached to them. It would not surprise us if these have not been overruled by the Most High to teach some great lesson. For instance, there is a valuable ruby in the crown of English royalty valued at £10,000*. In the seventeenth century some robbers, led by a, certain Colonel Blood, determined to steal it. They actually overpowered the guard of the jewel‑room in the Tower of London and seized the crown. The thieves were overtaken at Tower Hill, where a soldier wrenched the crown from the grasp of Blood. Then a strange thing happened—some stones, including the valuable ruby—fell into the mire and were lost. Not even a diligent search could discover the whereabouts of this most, precious gem. Some days later, however, it was found by an old woman who was sweeping the crossing.
This brings to mind our Ruby—the precious blood of Jesus—which we must guard with jealous care. We need to be fortified by a growing appreciation, love and esteem of truths which centre around the Ransom Sacrifice, particularly those concerning our vital union with the Lord. We are warned of the serious consequences of treading underfoot the Son of God (Heb.10:29).