The New Jerusalem and the Twelve Precious Stones (Apocalypse 21:15–21)
What do the twelve precious stones mean? They represent the twelve names of the apostles, which are linked with the twelve names of the tribes of Israel, which constituted the foundation of this nation. And the text that obviously seems to solve the riddle is Exodus 28:15–21 where it is written about the breastpiece of judgment:
“And you must make the breastpiece of judgment with the workmanship of an embroiderer. Like the workmanship of the ephʹod you will make it. Of gold, blue thread and wool dyed reddish purple and coccus scarlet material and fine twisted linen you will make it. It should be foursquare when doubled, a span of the hand being its length and a span of the hand its width. And you must fill it with a filling of stones, there being four rows of stones. A row of ruby, topaz and emerald is the first row. And the second row is turquoise, sapphire and jasper. And the third row is leshʹem stone, agate and amethyst. And the fourth row is chrysʹo·lite and onyx and jade. Sockets of gold should be in their fillings. And the stones should be according to the names of the sons of Israel, the twelve according to their names. With the engravings of a seal they should be, each one according to its name, for the twelve tribes”.
Thus the twelve precious stones of the foundation of the wall must probably allude to the “breastpiece of judgment”, which was the foundation of divine justice on earth, the name of the precious stones being different for some, because different from the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. More concretely, in Matthew 19:28, when Jesus Christ says that the 144,000 will judge the 12 earthly tribes of Israel, he is specifically addressing to the twelve apostles. This would mean that it is particularly the twelve apostles in heaven who will be responsible for the judgment, who will act as chief judges, notifying to the 144,000 in heaven, acting as gates in the wall, who is to be prevented or allow to enter into the city (Ephesians 2:20–21).
In Revelation 21:22 it is written: “And I did not see a temple in it, for Jehovah God the Almighty is its temple, also the Lamb is”. The New Jerusalem on earth will not need a visible building or an appointed place for the temple sanctuary of Jehovah and Jesus Christ (alluding to the presence of a temple in the ancient earthly Jerusalem). Jehovah and Jesus Christ, will be the temple sanctuary, Jesus Christ the Holy (see Revelation 1:12–16) and Jehovah, the Most Holy (Revelation 11:19).
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