This past sabbath, yesterday, I had the good fortune to meet a young man from Israel. He was visiting Toronto, and spending some time with family. He lives in the city of Nazareth, and showed me beautiful pictures of his city. Before meeting him, when I would think about the city were Jesus grew up I would still picture donkey carts and dirt roads, knowing but forgetting that these places still exist and have modernized with the times. He showed me a picture of a mountain where Jesus fled to when the people of the city tried to capture Him.
To live in such a biblically significant place, at least in my head, sounds like an amazing thing. He even shared that he worked on a tour where people would come to see the city and he would dress up in clothing from Jesus' day and show people around.
We had an interesting chat about life, school, religion, and stereotypes. In the news, which he doesn't really watch, you don't hear much about the Arab Christians of which he was a part. He also explained to me that where He lives isn't the war torn images that you might see on tv, and that He's far from where things are the worst. He, a younger man than I, had recently finished school and was looking to study again. Trained in computer sciences, he had decide that he wanted to get into something new.
We shared travel history, and our experiences in different cultures. What we liked and didn't like; we'd both been to several countries in Europe and both had travel stories of long layovers and missed flights.
It was nice to meet someone with a different perspective, than mine. A luxury so readily accessible but often overlooked and taken for granted. Toronto one of the the most diverse cities in the world, and still I hadn't really thought about what the world looks like currently from another point of view. At least not for a while, and not like this, it's was nice to meet someone who could share that perspective with me.
Today we read Revelation chapter 4 where John describes his vision of God seated on the throne, as well as the angels, and the sea of glass. He describes God in verse 2-3 like this "(2)...and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. (3) And He who sat there was like a jasper and a Sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald."
God, usually depicted as a bearded man dressed in a white robe, is described here as an amazing array of spectacular colours. Jasper, Sardius, emerald, are just a few precious stones that have been used to describe God's likeness. If you haven't googled it by now, take a moment to look up [Jasper rock], a beautiful deep red stone. Or sardius also a red stone with a slight translucency, also a wonderful saturated red colour.
After finishing Revelation chapter 4, we read Ezekiel chapter 1 in which he goes into more details in regards to the angels and the throne of God, and God's appearance. In chapter 1 verse 26-28 says "And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. (27) Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the colour of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. (28) Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking." Here Ezekiel describes God in the likeness of amber, an orange-red stone, and His throne like sapphire, an amazing blue stone. It simply blew my mind at just how amazing it must have been for these prophets to see the glory of the Lord, the brilliance of His brightness and the overwhelming magnificence of realizing that this vision is of the creator of the universe.