What does Revelation 21:19 mean?
ESV: The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,
NIV: The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,
NASB: The foundation stones of the city wall were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;
CSB: The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of jewel: the first foundation is jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
NLT: 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,
KJV: 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;
NKJV: The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
Verse Commentary:
As verse 14 points out, New Jerusalem's wall has twelve foundations on which are inscribed the names of the twelve apostles. Verse 19 describes these foundations further as adorned with every kind of jewel. The foundations, therefore, are extremely beautiful. This begins the list of jewels that adorn the twelve foundations.

The first jewel is a jasper, probably a crystalline red. This jewel is also mentioned in Exodus 28:20 as one of the twelve jewels placed on the breastplate of Israel's high priest. In Revelation 4:3 jasper is mentioned in connection with the appearance of the one John saw seated upon the throne. Revelation 21:18 informs us that the wall of New Jerusalem is constructed of jasper. Sapphire, agate, and emerald are also listed in Revelation 21:19. These jewels also adorned the high priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:18, 19). Sapphire is the blue of lapis lazuli. Agate is perhaps blue quartz with stripes. Emerald is green.
Verse Context:
Revelation 21:9–27 presents a description of the New Jerusalem. Interpreters disagree about whether this is a flashback to the millennial reign of Christ, or a description of the eternal state of the city. A flashback is not unprecedented in Revelation, occurring in chapters 11, 14, 15, and 17. However, some verses here clearly refer to eternal conditions, and most scholars take this as a depiction of the eternal, final heavenly city.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter focuses on the New Jerusalem. This is not the earthly, historic Jerusalem of the tribulation (Revelation 11:2, 8). Nor is it the surviving Jerusalem of the millennium that serves as Jesus' capital (Revelation 20:9). It is the heavenly city referred to in Hebrews 12:22, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10, 16). John attempts to describe the indescribable using analogies to precious gems and metals.
Chapter Context:
Leading up to this chapter, all sin and evil have been entirely defeated. Satan is banished to hell, along with every person who rejected Christ, as seen in chapter 20. Here, John describes the nature of the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city which descends onto earth after the ultimate victory over evil. Chapter 22 is a further description of this perfect eternity, and last messages from Jesus to those who read John's words.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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