“He is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” Happy Easter to you!
May we rise up with him and celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
He is everlasting life, and to know him is life eternal!
Song of Solomon 5:14 “His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.” Although sapphires are technically all transparent gems of the mineral corundum and come in all colors of the rainbow (except reds, which are called rubies), the best known and traditionally accepted color of sapphires is blue—with the intense, deep blues and the cornflower blue of sapphires from Kashmir, India, being traditionally considered the premier colors. In our culture, diamonds are the most highly prized gem stone, but in the Bible, sapphires are spoken of more often than any of the other precious gems, including diamonds, rubies (second most), and emeralds. Sapphire—the sparkle that dances across water and the deep blue depths of the ocean…the transparent splendor of heaven’s eyes as we look up to God. Blue, blue, blue. Blue was the most oft used color by the Lord for his people. Indeed, blue has been nicknamed “the heavenly color.” In all the tapestries for the temple, blue, purple, and scarlet were to be used, but blue was always mentioned first (Exodus 26:1, etc.). Additionally, the robe of the high priest’s ephod was to be all blue (Exodus 28:31); the ephod and breastplate were to be connected by loops of blue (Exodus 28:28), as were the tabernacle curtains (Exodus 36:11); blue lace was used to adorn the high priest’s mitre (Ex. 28:37), and a fringe of blue was to border the hem of all the robes of the children of Israel throughout all generations, “that ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God” (Numbers 15: 38-40). Blue was definitely the “color” of God…the color to make us think of God. The children of Israel were to cover the ark of the covenant with a blue cloth when they traveled (Numbers 4:6). The table of shewbread was also to be spread with a blue cloth (Numbers 4:7). In fact, the altar (Numbers 4:11) and all the instruments for ministering in the tabernacle were to be covered with blue cloths for travel (Numbers 4:12). Even foreign powers recognized the preeminence of blue: The king of Persia dressed Mordecai in “royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold” (Esther 8:15), and in Ezekiel 23:6 we read of the Assyrian captains and rulers being “clothed with blue.”
Blue, heavenly blue, sapphire blue. In visions of God we read: “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness” (Exodus 24:10). God exalted in heaven rests upon a foundation of transparent sapphire. In Ezekiel 1:26 we read, “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.” God’s throne itself has the appearance of being one gigantic, dazzling sapphire! “His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.” What is the significance of being “overlaid with sapphires?” Sapphires are made by intense heat and pressure. They come from the depths of the earth’s fire… “the place of sapphires” (Job 28:5-6)…from the belly of the earth’s molten fires to the belly of our Savior’s molten love. Because sapphires are second only to diamonds in hardness, sapphire dust was used to polish gems. In Lamentations 4:7, Jeremiah laments the destruction of the children of Israel who were so beautiful—“their polishing was of sapphire.” Fired in the depths of His passion, and sapphire polished…this is the love of Christ for us. It is the picture of Christ’s sacrificial death as a man being beautified by the clarity of heaven itself. It is the spiritual portrayal of all Christ’s feelings of love for us ornamented by the exquisite beauty of heaven. We see the “belly” of Jesus, —the most tender and most vulnerable part—laid bare before us. We remember Jesus—as Son of man in his sacrificial death, and as the Son of God overlaid with his heavenly grandeur—reaching out to us in transcendent grace. Even as the foundation of God’s throne is sapphire, so the foundation of our relationship with Christ is his “ivory” death sealed with the “sapphire” splendor of God’s complete, transparent approval. May we remember him—and long to know him again—ever continuing to seek the One we’ve found!