Sapphire Flycatcher (Ficedula sapphira) ©WikiC
I am currently attending a Bible study class on Heaven. It is very interesting, and of course, when the mention of the various precious stones, with their beautiful colors came up, birds fluttered to mind. I have been accused of having a “bird brain.” [Always thinking about things in relation to birds.]
A huge question came to mind. Wonder if I could find birds whose names or colors closely reflected the names of those stones? Sounds like a simple idea. Right? Not so fast, as I am finding out.
Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculatus) by Nikhil Devasar
Here are some of the verses from Revelation Chapter 21:
“10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19 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;
20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. (KJV) [Yes, pearls are not stones]
Things go well with Gold, Jasper, Sapphire, Emerald, Topaz, Jacinth?, and Amethyst. What about chalcedony, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolyte, beryl [maybe], and chrysoprasus? Have you ever heard of them?
Ruby-topaz Hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus) ©WikiC
In the King James Study Bible for Revelation 21:9–21. “These verses describe the beauty and glory of the holy Jerusalem. It is called Christ’s bride (cf. v. 2), a reference perhaps to the church as the city’s principal inhabitant. It is an expression of the glory of God. The wall shows its security and protection. Its gates show accessibility. Saved Israel is also present. It has dimensions of approximately 1,500 miles cubed. The gold and precious stones may be earthly materials glorified (cf. 1 Cor. 15:50–54). They depict the glory, beauty, and eternal quality of the city. Jasper is green, sapphire is blue, chalcedonyis green, emerald is green, sardonyx is red and white, sardius is bloodred, chrysolyte is yellow or gold, beryl is green, topaz is greenish gold or yellow, chrysoprasus is green, jacinth is bluish purple, and amethyst is purple quartz. The effect is a magnificent city of brilliant gold adorned with gems of every color. There appears to be only one street (cf. 22:2), also made of pure, radiant gold.”
That quote is giving the possible colors for the different stone names.
Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus_amethysticollis) ©WikiC
“Precious stones are frequently alluded to in Scriptures; they were known and very highly valued in the earliest times. The Tyrians traded in precious stones supplied by Syria. Ezekiel 27:16. The merchants of Sheba and Raamah in south Arabia, and, doubtless, India and Ceylon, supplied the markets of Tyre with various precious stones. The art of engraving on precious stones was known from the very earliest times. Genesis 38:18.
The twelve stones of the breastplate were engraved, each one, with the name of one of the tribes. Exodus 28:17-21…
Precious stones are used in Scripture … to signify value, beauty durability, etc., in those objects with which they are compared. See Song of Solomon 5:14; Isaiah 54:11-12; Lam. 4:7; Rev. 4:3; Rev. 21:10; Rev 21:21. [Definition from of Precious Stones in the Smith’s Bible Dictionary]
Golden Tanager (Tangara arthus) ©WikiC
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says this of Revelation 21:19-21″
“The decorations of the foundations (with the apostles’ names inscribed on them) include 12 stones involving different colors. The color of the jasper is not indicated. The sapphire was probably blue; the chalcedony comes from Chalcedon, Turkey and is basically blue with stripes of other colors. The emerald is a bright green; the sardonyx is red and white; and the carnelian, called a “sardius” in the NASB, is usually ruby-red in color, though it sometimes has an amber or honey color. In Rev_4:3 the carnelian stone is coupled with the jasper to reflect the glory of God. The chrysolyte is a golden color, probably different from the modern chrysolyte stone which is pale green. The beryl is a sea green; the topaz is a transparent yellow-green; the chrysoprase is also green; the jacinth is violet in color; and the amethyst is purple. The stones together provide a brilliant array of beautiful colors. The gates resemble huge, single pearls, and the street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass (cf. Rev 21:18).
While the beauty of the city may have symbolic meaning, no clue is given as to the precise interpretation. Since it is reasonable to assume that the saints will dwell in the city, it is best to take the city as a literal future dwelling place of the saints and angels.”
There are some difficult words in some of those quotes, but the idea is that not everyone agrees on the color of the stones. The Bible was written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, and we are reading it in English, almost 2,000 years later. Words sometimes change meaning over time.
Pearl-spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum) Breeding Room by Lee
As you can see, it is going to take a while to figure out some of these colors to find possible matching bird colors and names. A friend mentioned that the colors were maybe the same as the ones in the rainbow. Sounds reasonable. When the Lord created the birds, He knew about the rainbow that was going to be given as a promise after the flood. He also knew the colors of the foundations of the New Jerusalem. So, why would he not use those colors in birds when He created them?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3 KJV)