Stone of Heaven

This cabinet, located at Belton House, Lincolnshire, is veneered almost entirely with lapis lazuli, an intense, blue-coloured stone. Lapis is Latin for stone, and lazuli comes from a Persian word meaning heaven. Made in Rome in the 1640s, the stone would have travelled from Sar-e-Sang mines in the Kokcha River valley of Persia, now known as Afghanistan. A cabinet completely covered in lapis lazuli is rare as it was so expensive, so it may be the only one like it in the world. It is called the 'Stone of Heaven' on account of its use in the Bible. In Exodus 24:9-11, the New International Version reads:

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.

The New King James Version rendering of Exodus 24:9-11 is

Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.

One can see why 'sapphire stone' might be a helpful description of this remarkable material, deemed a worthy footstool for the Almighty’s feet. Note that what is a rare mineral on earth is but paving material in heaven. Truly, paradise will prove to be a colourful, vibrant and outrageously glorious place, but this splendour will be nothing compared to One whose feet there deigns to rest.

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, NKJV

Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. Ezekiel 1:26, NIV