November 09, 2018

In the Beginning

Genesis 2:4-14; Exodus 28:9-14

The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.

—  Genesis 2:12

In Genesis 2 we find a little detail that there was onyx in the land of Havilah. Where else does the Bible mention onyx, and what is its significance?

Onyx is a very hard rock that shows beautiful bands in it when polished. It was often used to make jewelry and carvings. Onyx is mentioned about a dozen times in Scripture. Several of those references are in the descriptions of Aaron’s priestly garments: “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel.”

These references give us an opportunity to make an interesting connection. These passages mentioning onyx point out what and who is significant. First, a tribute is made to the Creator: along with gold, the onyx found in Havilah is considered good—and, indeed, onyx has been valued as a precious stone throughout history. Second, the people whom God has chosen are precious and unforgettable: God wants their names carved into this gem.

In the description of the Holy City in Revelation 21, onyx is one of the stones in the city’s foundation, a gleaming echo of God’s good creation. And along with the other gemstones representing “the sons of Israel”—that is, all of God’s people today—we can see how precious God’s people are to him in eternity. Through Christ, our Savior, that includes us too!

Father, thank you that the details in Scripture reveal wonderful insights about you and your care for us. Thank you for reminding us that all you have made is good and precious—including us! Amen.

About the author — Julia Prins Vanderveen

Julia Prins Vanderveen works and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, Trevor, and their three sons. Julia has served as a copastor with Trevor at a church in Vancouver. She is a campus pastor and a humanities teacher at the Vancouver Christian School.

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