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# 13: 5-7-10

The Cornerstone Part 2: The Stone of Stumbling


Isaiah 8:11-15, 28:14-19; Luke 6:46-49, 19:41-44; Mt 21:33-44, 23:37-24:2; Acts 2:1-4,
4:8-12; 1 Pet 2:1-8
In his general letter to the churches, Paul has shown that both Jewish and Gentile believers are equal and
united in Christ. Paul likened this to them both being members of the household of God, built on the
foundational cornerstone, Christ.
Last week, we began to trace the history of this title for Christ as the Cornerstone, which took us all the
way back to Genesis, where Jacob memorialized Gods revelations of the Christ to him with a stone pillar.
By the end of his life, we found that in the prophecy about his son Joseph, Jacob referred to the Coming
Christ as the Stone of Israel. By the Spirit, Jacob understood that the Coming Christ would be the
foundation upon which the nation of Israel would be built.
Once the LORD redeemed His nation out of Egypt, He preached the gospel to them in type, giving them
pictorial revelations of the Coming Christ. In the wilderness, the Christ was pictured as the Rock that
would be stricken, in order to avail the waters of Life Everlasting to save those who are perishing. All they
needed to do was to come to Him, and drink.
In Psalm 78, Asaph presented a testimony to the LORDs faithfulness to His nation; and Israels unbelief, in
the face of it. Because of their lack of faith, the first generation of Israel perished in the wilderness.
The second generation believed the LORD at least to enter the land, but as the nation grew, they turned away
from Him, and turned to idol-worship through the period of the judges. Each time the people repented and
turned to the LORD, He raised up a judge to deliver the people from their enemies; but afterward, the people
wandered further and further from the LORD until each man was doing what was right in his own eyes
(Judg 21:25).
Following that dark period, the LORD established His throne in David, and the nation was united as one
kingdom (2 Sam 5:3); but because of the idolatry of Davids son, Solomon, the kingdom became divided
after his rule (1 Ki 11:11-13).
Ten tribes revolted against the rule of Davids line, and established themselves to the north (1 Ki 12:19).
Judah and Benjamin remained in the south, loyal to the throne of David, which had been established by the
LORD. But both the northern tribes (Ephraim, here in Isaiah) and the kingdom of Judah eventually came
into judgment because of their faithlessness to the LORD.
The LORD gave Ephraim and Judah warnings of their coming judgment, through His prophets. In two
separate prophecies, Isaiah spoke of the coming judgment in terms which were very familiar to the people
for he spoke of the Stone of Israel. The first of these prophecies is found in Isaiah chapter 8.
Isaiah was a prophet from Jerusalem, so most of his prophecies had direct bearing on Judah; but indirectly,
the ten tribes to the north were included, as well. Isaiah prophesied during the last three decades of the ten
northern tribes. We need to have a little history lesson here in order to better understand these prophecies.
It gets a little complicated, so hang in there!

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During the time period of the two prophecies we will be looking at, Assyria was rapidly becoming a world
empire. By 738 BC, Assyria was demanding tribute from Syria and Ephraim (the ten tribes of Israel to the
north). Tribute is money that was paid from one state to a stronger state for the sake of protection, security
or just to keep the stronger state from invading you!
After four years, Syria and Ephraim organized a rebellion against Assyria, and they tried to enlist King
Ahaz of Judah. But Ahaz refused to join them, and when the kings of Syria and Ephraim then invaded
Judah, Ahaz appealed directly to guess who? The King of Assyria. Thats worldly wisdom for you.
So the Assyrians came, captured Damascus, the capital of Syria, and turned Ephraim into an Assyrian
province, which continued to be enforced through Assyrian troops. Nonetheless, the capital of Ephraim
rebelled Samaria and the Assyrian troops besieged the city until it fell to them in 722 BC. That was
when they took the ten northern tribes into captivity back in Assyria, where they became assimilated.
About 20 years later, Assyria went after Judah. By this time, the son of Ahaz, Hezekiah was on the throne,
and he decided to withhold tribute from the Assyrians. So of course the Assyrians came, and they overtook
all of the fortified cities of Judah, and began to besiege Jerusalem. Ill tell you what happened after that
once we look at the two prophecies.
The first prophecy was given shortly after Ahaz assumed the throne in Judah, which was in 735 BC. By
this time, Syria and Ephraim had just invaded Judah, and then went up to take Jerusalem.
King Ahaz and his people were fearful. The LORD had reassured Ahaz through the prophet Isaiah that
Ephraim and Syria would not prevail over Judah; the King of Assyria would disable Syria, and take
Ephraim into captivity, and the land would be laid waste (Is 7:7-9, 16, 18-25, 8:4). But Ahaz would not
believe the LORDs word through Isaiah; and so Isaiah went on to prophesy later that the Assyrians would
eventually invade Judah, as well (Is 8:6-8).
This part of the prophecy was given directly to Isaiah, for him and for those in Judah who would believe
the word of the LORD through him.
[Isaiah 8:11-15]
v. 11 This people refers back to verse 6 (singular in the Hebrew, this people). It is speaking of those in
Ephraim those who rejoice in the rulers of Syria and Ephraim (Rezin and Remaliahs son).
The LORD was instructing those in Judah not to walk in the way of Ephraim. What was the way of Ephraim?
The way of unbelief; of rebellion against the LORD God. Ephraim was walking into judgment.
v. 12 the Hebrew word for conspiracy refers to people binding together for hostile reasons. Judah was
not to be coerced into joining Ephraim and Syria in their rebellion against Assyria; that was the LORDs
judgment. Nor was Judah to fear what Ephraim and Syria could do to them. Why shouldnt they?
v. 13 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). If the people of Judah would just
reverence the LORD, and put all of their trust in Him, He would be their protection.
v. 14 The LORD is the Stone of Israel; their Rock of refuge (Ps 94:22). The LORD would protect them from
all their enemies, if they would but trust in Him. For those who would, He would be their sanctuary. But if
they would not take the Rock as their protection, He would instead be their Stone of Stumbling; an
obstacle in their wayward path.

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Notice that Isaiah says the LORD would be a stumbling stone to both of the houses of Israel, referring to
Ephraim and to Judah. Isaiah had prophesied that the King of Assyria would come like an overflowing
flood and destroy Ephraim; and the LORD would allow the King of Assyria to flow into Judah, as well they
would be up to their necks in him (Is 8:7-8)! This means that only the head, Jerusalem, would not be taken.
v. 15 Psalm 127:1 says that unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Many of
those in Ephraim and Judah would stumble and fall in the overflowing flood of Assyria. Both houses of
Israel would be broken, and Ephraim would be taken into captivity.
King Ahaz refused to believe the LORD for His words through Isaiah, and foolishly sought out the King of
Assyria to protect Judah from the perceived threat of Ephraim and Syria. Judahs subsequent submission to
Assyria seemingly brought peace to the kingdom; but in reality, Judahs free reign had come to an end.
The resultant invasion of Judah by Assyria did not happen during the rule of Ahaz, but of his son,
Hezekiah. Unlike his father, Hezekiah did what was right in the sight of the LORD (2 Ki 18:3). As the
Assyrians threat developed, Isaiah spoke the LORDs words to Hezekiah. Once again, his prophecy
concerned the Stone of Israel.
Turn to Isaiah chapter 28. This prophecy was given about 35 years after the one we looked at in chapter 8.
Because of the foolish alliance that Ahaz had made with the King of Assyria, Jerusalem had to pay tribute
to Assyria; but Hezekiah refused to pay tribute (2 Ki 18:7). Hezekiah had been reigning fourteen years
when the King of Assyria came and attacked Judah; he took all of its fortified cities.
In fear, Hezekiah offered the Assyrian king tribute, and paid him dearly (2 Ki 18:14-16); but it did not stop
the Assyrians, who turned on Jerusalem anyway. By this time, some of Hezekiahs counselors had
negotiated an alliance with Egypt for protection (2 Ki 18:19-21). Instead of trusting in the LORD, these
scornful men were putting their confidence in princes (Ps 118:9).
These were Isaiahs words of warning.
[Isaiah 28:14-19]
v. 14-15 the overflowing scourge refers to the Assyrian armies. The scornful men refers to Hezekiahs
counselors, who scorned God in favor of men; you can see how the LORD regarded their political alliances.
But it also served as a sharp warning to Hezekiah; would he follow in the footsteps of his father, and trust
in political alliances or trust in the LORD?
v. 16 Zion is a poetic name for Jerusalem. Here again is the Stone of Israel, on whom Israel is to build
by faith. Notice that the LORD says I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation. The tense of the Hebrew verb
for lay indicates an accomplished or established state of being. This stone has already been tested, and
approved; and it has already been laid.
How can the LORD have laid the Coming Christ as the foundation of Israel indicating that the redemption
of Israel was complete before Christ ever came? Because the Lamb was slain before the foundation of
the world (Rev 13:8). The work of Christ was as good as done; the Stone of Israel was always there, ready
to be built on by those who would believe in Him.
Whoever believes will not act hastily that is, he will not panic, as Hezekiah was now tempted to do. If
Hezekiah will trust all to the LORD, Jerusalem will be spared.

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v. 17a these are terms used in construction. The measuring line was a horizontal cord and what does it
represent here? Justice; right dealings with men. The plummet was a vertical cord, which represented
righteousness; right dealings with God. Justice and righteousness are Gods standards, by which He
measures men; they are His building code. All men must meet Gods perfect standards; the house the God
builds must conform to specs (specifications).
If you look at the measuring line and the plummet together, what do you see? A cross. Those who have
built by faith on the LORDs sure foundation, His Christ, are in line with the Cornerstone for they have His
justice, His righteousness. Those who have not built on Christ are outside of Gods standard of holiness,
are not up to code for His building. They must be taken away in judgment.
v. 17b-19 This is the judgment that will come upon those who have not built by faith on the LORDs
Cornerstone. The last verse was graphically fulfilled as the Assyrians repeatedly plundered the area around
Jerusalem.
Do you know what Hezekiah did? He chose to put all of his trust in the LORD; and the LORD sent an angel
into the Assyrian camp that night who slew 185,000 soldiers. Needless to say the Assyrian king left
Jerusalem unconquered and he returned home with his decimated army; and thereafter, he remained in
Nineveh until he was slain by his sons (2 Ki 19:35-36).
Because Jerusalem followed Hezekiahs lead in trusting all to the LORD, judgment was stayed on them. The
LORD smote their enemies, and the Assyrians retreated. Jerusalem had a reprieve, because of their righteous
king. But later, Judah would continue their decline into idolatry just as the northern tribes had done, and
another overflowing scourge would take Jerusalem into captivity in 586 BC the Babylonians.
The Jews were in captivity in Babylon for 70 years, until the Babylonian empire was superceded by that of
the Medes and Persians. It was Cyrus who issued the decree which allowed the Jews to go back to their
homeland. A remnant returned to the land, and they rebuilt the temple and the walls of Jerusalem, during
troublesome times (Dan 9:25). Those troublesome times continued for the next 400 years until the
Coming of Messiah the Prince (Dan 9:25) Jesus.
Early in His ministry, Jesus preached a remarkable parable concerning building. Turn to Luke chapter 6.
Jesus had just preached what is known as the sermon on the mount to the multitudes. This was the
conclusion of that message to them.
[Luke 6:46-49]
v. 46 The Greek word Lord means master. If you call Jesus Lord, it means that you are His servant.
The servant does the will of the master. What was the will of Jesus? Jesus goes on.
v. 47-48 First Jesus speaks of a man who comes to Him, hears His sayings and does them. What were the
sayings of Jesus; His message? To believe in Him the One sent by the Father to save men from sin and
death. To do what Jesus says, then, is to believe in Him.
Jesus likened such a one who believes in Him to a man building a house. He dug down deep he had to
get past all of the worldly opinions about Jesus, and get down to the truth. And once the man dug deep,
what did he come to? The rock. This is the Greek word petra - a mass of immovable rock. This is the
Rock of our salvation Christ. And thats where the man built his house he built on Jesus, the Christ of
God, by faith.

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Could anything shake that mans house? No because it was founded on the rock. Jesus continued.
v. 49 This man also heard the sayings of Jesus, but he did not do them; he did nothing. In other words, the
man did not believe into Jesus. What did Jesus liken this man to? One who built on the earth; the ground.
In Matthews account, it is called the sand. The idea is that it is unstable; undependable; insecure. Jesus
makes the point that to build on it is to be without a foundation. What happened when the storms came?
The house fell, and Jesus said, the ruin of that house was great.
Now some see this as a metaphor for every individual, in terms of what they put their faith in; only faith in
Jesus can sustain a man through the storms of life. Certainly that is true; but remember that Jesus is
speaking to a predominantly Jewish audience, and that He came to His own; to the nation of Israel.
What would a Jew, versed in the Scriptures, think of when he heard this parable? The prophecies of Isaiah
that we read? Yes. And as prophesied, both the houses of Israel had come into judgment; Ephraim, with
the Assyrians, and Judah, with the Babylonians. They had built their houses on the sand, without the Rock
for their foundation, and when the floods came, down they went.
What Jesus was doing here was issuing a warning to the nation collectively, and the house that their rulers
were building, apart from Him. Israels Messiah had come; the Rock of their salvation; and if they did not
build on Him by faith, their house would be destroyed.
Having told this parable early in His ministry, Jesus later prophesied of the fall of Jerusalem the primary
locus where the Jews had built up their religious rule. Turn to Luke chapter 19. Luke records the words of
Jesus, as He is about to make His entry into Jerusalem, presenting Himself as Israels King. This begins the
last week of Jesus life.
[Luke 19:41-44]
v. 41-42 the Greek word for known in verse 42 here means to come to know; to recognize. Jesus is
speaking of Jerusalem as the seat of rule over the nation; of the rulers there, who govern and teach the
people.
Some of the Jews, such as the Pharisees, did not recognize Jesus to be their Messiah. The Jews had taken
the ceremonial Law, which pictured their Messiah, and changed it into a religious system of works
Judaism. Because they had distorted the picture of Messiah in it, they did not recognize Jesus to be Him,
when He came the One whom the Father had sent to save them.
Other Jews, such as the Sadducees, would not come to know Jesus as their Messiah. They preferred their
own self-righteousness, to the righteousness of God by faith in Christ. They preferred to have the power,
rather than to submit to the King.
This was the day of their visitation; Messiah had come to His people, to save them, to reconcile them, so
that they could have peace with God. But they would not believe into Jesus, despite the witness of His
words and His works. Their own unbelief hid the truth from their eyes; they saw Jesus as a mere man.
In rejecting their Messiah, Jerusalem would come into judgment.

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v. 43-44 Jesus evokes a picture of a besieged city, which is overcome by its enemies. In verse 44, He uses
the term level, meaning that the city will be razed to the ground. What would happen to the people in a
city that is razed to the ground? They would all die. Jesus was prophesying of the complete destruction of
Jerusalem; all of its residents would be put to death. This would be the total destruction of the house of
Israel.
When Jesus spoke of the time of their visitation, He was referring to the act of God visiting His people in
order to help them. God sent Jesus to deliver His people; instead they delivered Jesus up to be crucified.
The nation refused the deliverance that the Lord had sent them; they refused to build on the Rock; and so
their house would be swept away by the overflowing scourge the Romans.
Now turn to Matthew chapter 21. The day Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the King, He went to the temple
and once again cleansed it. After lodging in Bethany overnight, Jesus returned to the temple grounds and
began to teach the people.
The rulers confronted Jesus as He was teaching, questioning by what authority He taught. Jesus then spoke
a series of parables directed at the rulers to show them that they would be judged for their failure to submit
to Gods authority, and believe into the One whom He had sent. Were going to look at the second of these
parables.
[Matthew 21:33-44]
v. 33a The KJV comes closer to the meaning in translating landowner as householder. The Greek
word means more literally, master of the house.
The series of phrases that Jesus used which refer to a vineyard would have immediately brought to the
mind of His Jewish listeners Isaiah chapter 5, which is known as the song of the Beloved regarding His
vineyard. In this song of Isaiah, Israel (specifically Judah there) is seen to be the vineyard of the LORD (Is
5:7). By the care of the master of the house for his vineyard, the Jewish listener would understand that the
master is the Lord, and the vineyard is Israel, in the parable of Jesus.
v. 33b In Isaiah 5, it is the master who does all the work himself in the vineyard; he personally attends to
its every need, to ensure that it brings forth good fruit. But here, the master leaves the vineyard in the care
of others vinedressers while he himself goes away into a far country. Why the difference?
Jesus was presenting this parable from the rulers perspective; this is how they view the Lords position in
heaven, and His relation to His nation Israel. They see the Lord as distant from the affairs of men on earth;
that He has left the care of Israel to others and who would they think those others were? The rulers
themselves; they see themselves as the ones who take care of the people.
v. 34-36 the servants represent the Lords prophets, who spoke the words of God to Israel, so that they
would repent and receive His righteousness by believing into the Coming Messiah. The Scriptures bear
witness to the persecution of the prophets by the nation, even putting some to death for their message.
v. 37 In this parable, the master of the house is portrayed as ineffective, even nave. Who sees the Lord
that way? The rulers; they think they are the ones with the power, and that they can have their own will
over Gods will.
v. 38-39 This part of the parable gives us some amazing insight into just what at least some of the rulers
understood.

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First of all, these rulers are portrayed by Jesus as knowing who He is; the Christ, the Son of God; the heir of
His Father, God. It is not that all of the rulers were ignorant of who Jesus is; some of them just would not
accept who Jesus is; they would not submit to Him. Instead, foolishly, they delude themselves into
thinking that if they kill Him, they can possess His inheritance here speaking of the rule over His nation,
Israel.
Jesus is prophesying of His own death at the hands of the rulers; his statement about the son being cast out
of the vineyard reflects the fact that He would be rejected by the people, as well; He came to His own, but
His own did not receive Him (Jn 1:11).
v. 40 Now it is the master of the house who will visit the vinedressers; and what will he do? The rulers
were caught up with the story, and utter the only possible conclusion to it.
v. 41 So the rulers rightly judged the case; and in so doing, they unwittingly pronounced their own
judgment. God will come, just as the owner of the vineyard came, and when He does, He will visit the
wicked rulers with His judgment.
Jesus next showed that what the rulers will do to Him, the Son of God, will actually be a fulfillment of the
Scriptures.
v. 42-44 This is from Psalm 118, which we will be looking at next week. The rulers would have been
familiar from their Scriptures with the Stone of Israel, who is the Rock of their salvation their Messiah.
Jesus was foretelling that the rulers would fulfill this Scripture about the Stone of Israel.
The rulers saw themselves as the builders of the nation. But the rulers were rejecting Jesus, and in so
doing, were rejecting their Messiah.
The marvelous thing was that it would be through the very rejection of Jesus by the builders that the Lord
would exalt Jesus as the chief cornerstone literally, the head of corner; the headstone, or capstone. This
stone was not the foundational cornerstone, but the upper cornerstone, the keystone at the summit of the
building, which completes the building.
Remember that we have seen from the passages in Isaiah that Messiah would be the foundational
cornerstone, the first stone laid; but in Psalm 118, He is the headstone; the last stone laid. How can He be
both? Because Jesus is the alpha and the omega; He is the first and the last (Rev 1:11); He is the author,
and the finisher of the faith (Heb 12:2).
The foundation stone, laid in the ground, speaks of the death of Jesus, out of which He brought Life
everlasting, which He gives to those who build on Him by faith. The headstone speaks of the glorified
Jesus, whom God has highly exalted, and given the name which is above every name (Phil 2:9). He is the
foundation of the faith (Eph 2:20), and those who believe are also complete in Him (Col 2:10).
Now, the verse from Psalm 118 pertains exclusively to Israel; the church was still a mystery. Jesus was
saying that the very stone upon which the rulers refused to build would be the finishing stone of the house
that the LORD was building. What house was Jesus referring to? He was referring to the house of the LORD,
the nation Israel. Their Messiah would be both the nations foundation stone and their headstone.

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This is borne out in verse 43. The kingdom of God speaking here of the rule on earth would be taken
away from the rulers; they would be judged, along with the nation they had built apart from their Messiah.
Instead, Jesus indicated that the rule would be given to a nation bearing the fruit of righteousness.
What nation was Jesus referring to? The regenerate nation of Israel; the remnant, that will receive Jesus as
their Messiah, in His Second Coming to the earth. The foundation stone and the headstone of the house of
Israel will at that time be laid in immediate succession, for the regenerate nation will be born in a day (Is
66:8). We will look at this more closely next week.
But what about the rulers, who refused to build on the cornerstone? Jesus indicates that in rejecting Him,
they will bring judgment on themselves.
Verse 44 combines the concepts found in two different passages in the OT. One is our passage in Isaiah 8,
concerning the stone of stumbling. This speaks of a stone on the ground; Christ as the foundation stone.
The rulers of Jesus day rejected Him as their foundation, and so they would stumble over Him, and fall,
and be broken, and be snared, and taken in judgment (Is 8:15).
But the stone that falls on someone and grinds him to powder speaks of the lofty headstone. This points to
a prophecy in Daniel chapter 2 concerning the end times, when Christ will set up His kingdom on earth,
and it will break in pieces and consume all kingdoms, and it will stand forever (Dan 2:44). We will look at
this prophecy next week, also.
The rulers were furious when they realized that Jesus had been speaking in his parable about them; but they
didnt dare try to arrest Him, because He still had the favor of the people.
Later that same day, after being confronted again and again by both the Sadducees and the Pharisees, Jesus
pronounced a series of woes on the scribes and Pharisees, those self-appointed teachers of the people, for
they had led the people astray from God. Judgment would come on both the blind leaders, and those who
blindly followed them. Jesus then expressed His lamentation over the pending judgment coming on
Jerusalem.
[Matthew 23:37-24:2]
v. 37a there are the servants in the parable of the vineyard.
v. 37b if the rulers had put their trust in the Lord, He would have protected the nation. But just as in the
days of Isaiah, they sought earthly solutions they tried to protect and preserve themselves. The result was
that the nation was taken under the repressive wings of the Roman government.
v. 38-24:2 the Greek word for desolate in verse 38 means deserted, or uninhabited. Jesus was
prophesying of the pending Roman siege of Jerusalem, when all of its inhabitants would be slaughtered.
The house that the rulers were building would be left desolate.
Jesus is further alluding here to the temple in Jerusalem, which the Jews thought of as the Lords house. Of
course, the glory of the Lord had departed from the temple in the days of Ezekiel.
Now the Lord had returned, in the person of Jesus; and for a time, the glory of the Lord was in the midst of
Israel again. But Israel was rejecting her Lord; and so Jesus would leave their house desolate. The temple,
the symbol to Israel of the Lord dwelling in their midst, would be destroyed by the Romans; literally not
one stone would be left upon another.

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Since the day when Jesus went out from the temple, Israel ceased to have the Lord dwelling in their midst
and that has been their state for the last two thousand years. But it will in addition take seven years of great
tribulation in order for Israel to have their eyes opened, at which time they will recognize Jesus as their
Messiah, and receive Him.
In verse 39, Jesus is quoting another passage in Psalm 118, for this is what the regenerate nation of Israel
will proclaim as they welcome Jesus back into Jerusalem, and the Lord returns to dwell in their midst.
Meanwhile, in the current day, the rulers and their people rejected Jesus.
Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to Israel by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through
Him in their midst Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, the rulers
and their people took by lawless hands, crucified and put Jesus to death (Acts 2:22-23).
The drink offering had been poured out on the Stone of Israel (Gen 35:14); the Rock had been stricken (Ex
17:6). But God raised Jesus up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that the Lord
of Life should be held by Death (Acts 2:24). And then out of the stricken Rock flowed rivers of Living
Water (Jn 7:38) Life Everlasting, for all who believe.
It was through the very actions of the rulers having put Jesus to death that God established Jesus as the
cornerstone of His house. In death, Jesus was laid as the cornerstone; and through His resurrection, God
began building the first of His houses the household of the faith; the household of God. Lets look at the
beginning of that house. Turn to Acts chapter 2.
[Acts 2:1-4] The sound filled the house; those in the house were filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the
baptism of the Body of Christ in the Holy Spirit, the collective anointing of Christs Body for its ministry.
Here was the beginning of that whole building, being fitted together, which was growing into a holy temple
in the Lord, a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:21-22). The Spirit of God was now in His living,
holy temple; the household of the faith, built up on the Cornerstone, Christ.
Even though the nation had rejected Jesus, Jesus continued to offer His salvation to the Jews even after His
death through the members of His Body left on earth. The Jews needed to come out of what it was that
their rulers were building, for their house was slated for destruction. Anyone who would not come out of
that house would perish with it. The appeal now was being extended to members of the nation individually,
to become part of the house that God was building on Christ, the Cornerstone.
On one occasion, Peter and John had healed a man who was lame from birth, as he asked for alms at the
gate of the temple. The crowd that gathered marveled over the miraculous healing, and Peter used the
occasion to preach the gospel to them which prompted the Sadducees to have them arrested.
The next day, Peter and John were arraigned before the Sanhedrin, and the healed man appeared with them.
The council asked by what power or by what name they had healed the man. This was Peters answer.
[Acts 4:8-12] Can you imagine the reaction of these rulers? Not long ago, they had been able to
orchestrate the death of Jesus; and now, here were His followers on the temple grounds, healing as He had
healed, and they were preaching in His name!

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10

And those words the very words of Psalm 118 that Jesus had quoted to the rulers just before His death.
Peter really drove the words home the stone which was rejected by you builders has become the chief
Cornerstone.
No doubt, the rulers already saw that the peoples response to Jesus was building momentum. Their strongarmed response to Peter and John following what was said here suggests that the rulers thought they could
suppress this following; but they were gravely mistaken, because this wasnt just a following, was it?
This was a building; a permanent structure on a Rock foundation, and it was being added to daily, by the
Lord Himself. No man can thwart the plans of the Master Builder.
Peter reflected on this further in his first retained letter in Scripture. Turn to First Peter chapter 2.
Peters letter was addressed to churches in five Roman provinces of Asia Minor. The contents of the letter
suggest that these assemblies had both Jewish and Gentile members, and that they were already
experiencing persecution for having placed their faith in Christ.
As in all assemblies, there were those who were just beginning to be enlightened to the truth, and Peter
included words of encouragement for them to continue in the way of grace, and come to the Lord, fully
placing their faith in Him, as others had.
[1 Peter 2:1-8]
v.1 Peter was encouraging those who were beginning to be enlightened in these assemblies to lay aside
anything that would hold them back from coming to the Lord.
v. 2-3 In the NT, a babe refers metaphorically to one who is unlearned and unenlightened. This would then
mean those who do not yet believe but are being drawn to the Lord.
Milk refers to the foundational truths of the gospel. Peter was writing here specifically to those who
were being enlightened to Christ, that they would grow; in some manuscripts, its grow up to salvation.
In the NT, one who is born of the Spirit is seen, not as a babe, but as full-grown; mature. There are no baby
Christians.
So these babes are just taking in the elemental teachings concerning Christ; they have just tasted of the
graciousness of God, to send Christ as their Savior; will they now swallow it, and believe to receive Life
everlasting? Will they come to Jesus?
v. 4-5 Jesus was rejected by men, and put to death, but God raised Jesus from the dead a Living Stone.
This is Gods chosen Stone; the One upon whom all of Gods plans for saving men depend. And this is our
precious Stone; the One upon whom our reconciliation with God depends. So when Jesus was raised from
the dead a Living Stone the Son of God in a body of glory He became everything a man needs, in order
to receive Life everlasting and be made one with God.
In believing, flesh men become living stones, for they partake of the Life Christ died to give them; the very
Life of Christ Himself, the Living Stone. And as the Lord is adding to the church daily those who are being
saved, believers are being built up a spiritual house collectively, the true church is the Lords holy temple,
His dwelling place, in the Spirit (Eph 2:21-22).

# 13: 5-7-10

11

But believers are not only the holy temple of the Lord; Peter sees them as the priests of that temple, as well.
As a holy priesthood, believers are mediators; they represent God before those on the outside
unregenerate men. And believers also represent those men before the Lord, in their prayers.
What would you say are the spiritual sacrifices that believers, as priests, offer up to God through Jesus
Christ? Well, Paul wrote that we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God for
that is our reasonable service, as a priest (Rom 12:1).
How do we present our bodies a living sacrifice? By giving God the say over what is done in this body.
Obeying the will of God, as revealed to us by the Spirit of Christ within us, is the spiritual sacrifice that is
acceptable to God. Obedience; nothing less.
And that is how the unseen God is seen, in His holy temple, by those on the outside. Then they in turn can
come to Him, believing, and become a living stone.
Peter then visits three passages in the OT to show how the household of the faith in Christ is a fulfillment
of the Scriptures.
v. 6 This is from our passage in Isaiah 28 (v. 16). This verse pertains to Israel; it will be fulfilled in the
regeneration of Israel, but Peter makes it clear that the true church is also the fulfillment of it.
v. 7 We have already seen that Jesus also quoted this verse to the rulers, from Psalm 118 (v. 22); and we
also saw that Peter quoted it again at his arraignment before the Sanhedrin. We recognize this is also about
Israel in the regeneration, but it has a near-fulfillment in the true church.
v. 8 Here is a verse from our passage in Isaiah 8 (v. 14). It is specific to Israel also; but anyone who does
not believe to be built on the Rock, Christ, will stumble over Him, and fall, and be broken, and be snared,
and be taken in judgment.
So God had built His first house upon the Rock - His Cornerstone, the Lord Jesus Christ. The house that
the rulers of Israel built on the shifting ground of this world was destroyed by the overflowing scourge of
the Romans, in 70 AD and the ruin of that house was great.
But the Lord is not finished with Israel; and next week, we will take a look at the restoration of Israel in the
kingdom age as the house of the LORD.
Next week: Read Rm 9:32-33; Dan 2:36-45; Psalm 118; Zech 1:16, 2:5, 2:10-11, 3:9, 4:7-9, 6:12-13, 8:3.