The Emerald (Heb. Nophech)

Exodus 28:18  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The second row commenced with the Emerald. It is doubtful if this stone be here intended. In Ezek. 28:1313Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. (Ezekiel 28:13), the margin translates it, Chrysoprase. Robertson derives it from an Arabic root, signifying, to transmit, or pervade. On this stone the name of Reuben was inscribed.
Upon the birth of her first-born, Leah exclaimed, " Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction;" and accordingly she called his name Reuben, " See a Son." This child-looked upon by Jacob as his might, the beginning of his strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power-proved unstable as water; in fact, manifested only to a greater degree, the instability of his father. But this name has been engraved upon a precious stone. A name transferred from unstable flesh, to a stone of durable luster, and well-proved strength. God has proclaimed the great fact of the gift of a Son. " Unto us a Child is born: unto us a Son is given:" a Son who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person; His first-born; His only begotten; His wisdom and power; the beginning of His strength; pre-eminent in dignity; pre-eminent in power; a tried stone.
Reuben, unstable as water, retained not the preeminence. The SON in all things has the pre-eminence, (Col. 1:1818And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18),) and we have looked upon Him; we have seen His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. God has looked on our affliction, and has bidden us see a Son: and we have obeyed His blessed command. And now, as we behold His face as in a glass, we are changed into His likeness from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. And Jesus, the great High Priest, presents us each to God in His own likeness-" not ashamed to call us brethren"-and calls on the Father to see a Son in each of us that believe on His name; and will present us in a little while, faultless in the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. " Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the Sons of God! Already are we the Sons of God, and it hath not yet been manifested what we shall be: but, when He shall be manifested, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." Wondrous glory! wondrous exaltation! and yet in no other way, could God in His wisdom declare His marvelous love to us. In no other way could He prove the infinite value of His gift of His own Son, and the unspeakable preciousness of His blood.
However poor, feeble, weak, and failing we may be here on earth, showing forth but little, alas! of the beauty and glory of Christ; manifesting but feeble traces of our likeness to Him who is the Son of God; yet in the sanctuary above, how different does the saint appear! There he is presented in the fullness of Jesus: there he shines forth in the beauty of God's Beloved: and in a little while, each believer will bear the unclouded image of Him who created him. And the Lord Himself, the first-born amongst many brethren, will call the attention of the world to the glory of His risen Church, exclaiming-" Behold, I and the children which God hath given me." The men of the true Reuben will not be few. (Deut. 33:66Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few. (Deuteronomy 33:6).)