SPECIAL TOPIC: CORNERSTONE (BDB 819)

I. OT Usages

A. The concept of a stone as a hard durable item which made a good foundation was used to describe YHWH (cf. Job 38:6; Ps. 18:2).

B. It then developed into a Messianic title (cf. Gen. 49:24; Ps. 118:22; Isa. 28:16).

C. The term "stone" or "rock" came to represent a judgment from YHWH by the Messiah (cf. Isa. 8:14; Dan. 2:34-35,44-45).

D. This developed into a building metaphor.

1. a foundation stone, the first placed, which was secure and set the angles for the rest of the building, called "the cornerstone"

2. it could also refer to the final stone put in place, which holds the walls together (cf. Zech. 4:7; Eph. 2:20,21), called "the capstone," from the Hebrew rosh (i.e., head)

3. it could refer to the "key stone," which is in the center of the doorway arch and holds the weight of the entire wall

 

II. NT Usages

A. Jesus quoted Psalm 118 several times in reference to Himself (cf. Matt. 21:41-46; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17)

B. Paul uses Psalm 118 in connection with YHWH's rejection of faithless, rebellious Israel (cf. Rom. 9:33)

C. Paul uses the concept of a "cornerstone" in Eph. 2:20-22 in reference to Christ

D. Peter uses this concept of Jesus in 1 Pet. 2:1-10. Jesus is the cornerstone and believers are the living stones (i.e., believers as temples, cf. 1 Cor. 6:19), built on Him (i.e., Jesus is the new Temple, cf. Mark 14:58; Matt. 12:6; John 2:19-20). The Jews rejected the very foundation of their hope when they rejected Jesus as Messiah.

 

III. Theological Statements

A. YHWH allowed David/Solomon to build a temple. He told them that if they kept the covenant He would bless them and be with them (cf. 2 Samuel 7), but if they did not the temple would be in ruins (cf. 1 Kgs. 9:1-9)!

B. Rabbinical Judaism focused on form and ritual and neglected the personal aspect of faith (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-38). God seeks a daily, personal, godly relationship with those created in His image (cf. Gen. 1:26-27). Luke 20:17-18 contains frightening words of judgment, as does Matt. 5:20, directed at Judaism. 

C. Jesus used the concept of a temple to represent His physical body (cf. John 2:19-22). This continues and expands the concept of personal faith in Jesus as the Messiah is key to a relationship with YHWH (i.e., John 14:6; 1 John 5:10-12).

D. Salvation is meant to restore the damaged image of God in human beings (Gen. 1:26-27 and Genesis 3) so that fellowship with God is possible. The goal of Christianity is Christlikeness now. Believers are to become living stones (i.e., little temples built on/patterned after Christ).

E. Jesus is the foundation of our faith and the capstone of our faith (i.e., the Alpha and Omega). Yet, also the stone of stumbling and the rock of offense. To miss Him is to miss everything. There can be no middle ground here!

 

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