Since Harry Winston gave the 45.52-carat gem to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958, more than 100 million people have visited to see the rare Hope Diamond. The diamond most likely came from a 112-3/16 carat diamond sold to King Louis XIV in France in 1668 and was later recut and reset in 1673. In 1792, during the French Revolution, the crown jewels were looted and the French blue diamond disappeared until it surfaced in London in 1812—exactly twenty years later, when the statute of limitations for the theft expired in France.
As we draw to a close our study on home this month, we read about the apostle John’s vision of heaven, which includes the splendor of fine gems and precious gold. If the Hope Diamond is a rare and precious stone, its beauty pales in comparison to the bejeweled foundations, pearly gates, and gilded streets of the new Jerusalem. These may be descriptions of a splendor beyond John’s comprehension, but they seek to express the incomparable glory of the holy city.
John pays as much attention to what is absent from our future home as to what is present. Absent is the brokenness of the former world order, which had been haunted by death and suffering, pain and tears. Absent is the daily cycle of sunrise and sunset and the yearly cycle of the solstices. There is no more sun—because the glory of God illuminates a perpetual, eternal day. Absent is the temple where the people of God have congregated to experience God’s presence and offer sacrifice and worship. God is the temple. The Lamb is our final home.
“When we come to [Revelation 21 and 22],” writes one theologian, “we find not ransomed souls making their way to a disembodied heaven but rather the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth, uniting the two in a lasting embrace.”