I have been very blessed over the years to have the privilege of taking people to Israel on Biblical study tours. When we tour the Western Wall Tunnel of the Temple Mount, we view some very magnificent stones dating back to the time of Herod the Great! When I see these magnificent, precision cut stones at the base of the Temple Mount, they cause me to reflect on one of the names of the Messiah. In the Hebrew Scriptures, He is referred to as “The Stone.”
Descending the staircase to begin the walking tour of the Western Wall Tunnel, one’s eyes are awestruck by very enormous stones at the foundation of the wall. One stone in particular, the largest stone of the whole Temple Mount, greets you as you enter. The enormity of this stone causes one to stand, gaze and reflect. This stone is 44.6 feet long, 11.5 to 15 feet wide and 11.5 feet high! The weight of this enormous stone is about 628 tons! These magnificently carved foundation stones are the only stones remaining after Titus’ Roman army destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. They are still supporting the Temple Mount to this day! Incredible!
With the impression of an enormous stone in our mind, the Prophet Isaiah writes, “Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 28:16
This Scripture is referred to in 1 Peter 2:6. The Messiah is the foundation stone. This foundation will endure for eternity. He is the foundation for Zion upon which to build its spiritual house. In the book of Luke, Messiah Jesus referred to Himself as the Rock.
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will spew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” Luke 6:47, 48.
When we place our trust in Messiah the Stone, our salvation is secure for eternity. Our eternity is established upon the sure foundation of the Messiah!
Messiah: The Head Stone of the Corner
Now that you have an image in your mind of what the great foundation of the Temple Mount must have looked like, the Bible speaks about another very important magnificent stone in Psalm 118.
“I will praise thee: for thou bast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD bath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:21-24
This Psalm may have been written during the time when the second Temple was being built. The architects had a dilemma. The stones of the new Temple were being fitted together. A precious stone was rescued from the rock pile left from the destruction of Solomon’s Temple. The architects thought that this stone would not be a perfect fit to make the precise right angles to bind the two walls. This beautiful gold Jerusalem stone was pulled out and cast aside. The priests who were more mindful of the intricacies and traditions of the Temple overruled the builders, though. They believed this was the right place for this special stone. No other stone could fashion the walls together, but this stone. It has become “The Head Stone of the Corner”
When the Passover Seder meal is celebrated, the Hallel Psalms (Psalms of Praise) are recited. The Cup of Redemption is sipped, and the focus of the reading becomes Messianic. Psalm 118:22 stands out in shining light,
“The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner”
Oh, if the Jewish worshipper could only see that this is the Messiah who was slain like the Passover lamb, whose blood became the propitiation for our sins. The previous verse, Psalm 118:21, really casts God’s glorious brilliance on verse 22.
“I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.”
The Hebrew word for “salvation” in this passage is “Yeshua.” This prophetic word means “deliverance” or “salvation.” This was Jesus’ Hebrew name! The believer in Yeshua can shout with praise from the heart, him and become his Jesus!
The Apostle Peter fits Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 28:16 as a corner stone bringing these two majestic prophecies together.
“Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion, a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.” 1 Peter 2:6, 7
Jesus’ Application to Psalm 118:22
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore I say unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall it will grind him to powder” Matthew 21: 42-44
Jesus intimates that this passage of Psalm 118 is fulfilled in Himself. He is the embodiment of the kingdom of God. Jesus knew the kingdom of Heaven that He represented would be rejected.
He is the “Stone which the builders rejected.” To the body of Christ, the church, He is the Foundation Stone, the Head of the Corner. One day in the future, He will be Israel’s reigning Messiah, the Foundation Stone and the Glory and Splendor of the Millennial Kingdom.
“Therefore I say unto you, the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” Matthew 21:43
Next, Jesus’ piercing eyes looked directly into the future like a laser beam. He warned that the destruction of the Temple and the toppling of the city of Jerusalem by the Romans was imminent. The Jewish spiritual heart, the holy Temple, would be brought to the ground and taken from the Jewish people.
“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall it will grind him to powder.” The first portion of this verse Jesus applies the prophecy of Isaiah 8:14 to Himself. He would be a “Stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” In the second portion of this verse, Jesus is the stone that will grind the Gentile world powers to dust.
Messiah: The Stone cut without hands
“Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold…” Daniel 2:45
The Prophet Daniel introduces to us the Redeemer of Israel. This great prophecy reveals that ‘Messiah the Stone” is from the kindom of Heaven and will come as “A thief in the night” and destroy the kingdoms of the world, or the kingdoms of man. Jesus, the “Headstone of the Corner” will return and establish “The kingdom of Heaven” on earth in Jerusalem, Zechariah 14, Revelation 19:11-16. The word “mountain” in Daniel 2:45 symbolizes government or kingdom in prophecy, cf. Isaiah 2:2. The great prophecy describing the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6, says, “The government shall be upon His shoulder” Daniel also emphasizes in verse 44, that Messiah’s kingdom shall stand forever.
Messiah is referred to in the Jewish Bible as the “Stone.” The uses of stone in reference to the Messiah are descriptions of different aspects of Him and His ministry – fulfilled in Jesus. Receive Him as your foundation stone. Then you will have a foundation for now and eternity that can never be moved.
The above article, “Messiah as the Stone” was written by Jeff Berg. The article was excerpted from Israel’s Messenger magazine. Winter 2010.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”