I and the Father are... Stone?

The Hebrew word for stone is eben. This Hebrew word is spelled with three letters. Aleph, Bet, Nun (אבן). This word is interesting when we examine words within the word. The letters Aleph, Bet, or אב is the word for father. The letters Bet, Nun or בן is the word for son. The word stone is a combination of the father and son. We will return this idea as we explore the stone as the Messiah.

The bible goes to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate the Messiah as the stone of Israel. This line of thinking begins in Genesis and finds its conclusion in the Brit Hadasha. (new testament).

Genesis 49:22-24 JPS
 Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a fountain; its branches run over the wall. The archers have dealt bitterly with him, and shot at him, and hated him; But his bow abode firm, and the arms of his hands were made supple, by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, from thence, from the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel.

Genesis 49 contains all the blessings given to Jacobs sons. Its commonly understood that Messiah ben (son of) Joseph typifies the life of the Messiah. In the blessing, we find the first reference to the stone of Israel. However, there are a few more references that pop out. Notice the JPS version calls Joseph the vine. Yeshua referred to himself as the true vine of Israel. Rabbi Paul talked of the Gentiles being grafted into the vine, joining Israel in covenant with YHWH. 

Moreover, there is one other gem in this blessing that is amazing. Notice this branch or this vine, gets shot with an arrow or pierced as it were? The word for "Archer" is related to those who pierce. 

Zech 12:10  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me because they have(pierced) thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born. 

Isa 53:5  But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.

Even Isaiah recognizes the wounded one. However, back to the stone of Israel. Is the stone of Genesis and Zechariah connected? Does the stone get pierced? Let's take a further look. Zech 4 refers to the stone. We find the same Hebrew word Eben several times in Zech connected to the Messiah, or the stone of Israel and the vine/branch. 

Zech 3:8-9 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 

This stone draws a comparison to the branch or shoot or vine depending on the translation. Also, note this stone is responsible for removing sin one a solitary day.  Zech paints the picture of the stone making the crooked places straight or the removing of sin. The headstone and mountain both become pictures of Messiah.

Zech 4:7  Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

Also, the echo in Isaiah:

Isa 40:4  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the rugged shall be made level, and the rough places a plain.

Both Isaiah and Zech appear to play off the picture or the stone as the Messiah. The Messiah is the only one who can make the crooked places straight. However, do we find the cornerstone in Isaiah?

Isaiah 8:14-16
And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.' 'Bind up the testimony, seal the Torah among My disciples.' 

Before the time of Zechariah, and before the time of Daniel, Isaiah picks up a theme of the psalms. This stone of Israel becomes something offensive. The stumbling block of sorts. The stone itself has functions, Israel stumbles over it, it can crush, its acts as a snare to those specifically in Jerusalem. And most importantly it is a firm foundation. 

Psalms 118:21-22
I will give thanks unto Thee, for Thou hast answered me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected is become the chief corner-stone. 

Isa 28:16  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a costly corner-stone of sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste.

Isaiah uses the thematic stone again, calling him a foundation, and connecting again to Zech cornerstone idea. Again, the headstone, the cornerstone, the stone of stumbling, is all conflated in this text. 

So far most of these ideas are aligned, However, in the Brit Hadasha, Luke quotes these verses and suggest this stone can crush.

Luke 20:17-18
But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” 

Consider Daniel chapter two. In this story, the king has a dream in which the kingdoms of this word get crushed to pieces and this stone becomes a great mountain reminiscent of Zechariah 4:7.

Dan 2:34-35
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. 
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

There is a myriad of other verse referencing to the stone in the Tanakh. (old testament). Each time, the layers of connection are overwhelming. Sufficient to say, the writers of the Brit -Hadasha drew on these passages when talking about the Messiah. Matter of fact, three of the gospel narratives specifically quote Psalms 118:22. Ironically, during the feast of Passover, the Jews of Israel sing this song. Yeshua would have heard this as he was experiencing the crucifixion.

Consider the following:

Mat 21:42
Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 

Mar 12:10-11
 Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” 

Luke 20:17-18
But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” 

The theme of the rejected stone is replete in both testaments. The theology of the Brit Hadasha continues what Yeshua taught of himself. As the Jews begin to believe in the Messiah Yeshua, They use psalms 118 as their apologetic. 

Act 4:10-12
Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Yeshua is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 

Moreover, Peter, a disciple of the Messiah, writes about the rejected stone. He references several of the same passages quoted above. His argument connects the same set of ideas.

1Peter 2:6-8
For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. Even Rabbi Paul picks up this theme in his letter to the Roman believers. 

Rom 9:30
 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 

However, let us end this study with some Irony. Remember that word, Eben? The word made of the father and son? Well Yeshua, as he testifies of himself, mentions this very idea. Ironically, The very teachers of the law respond with stones, rejecting his very identity as the stone of Israel.

John 10
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 
Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” 

The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.

 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 
The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 
If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 
If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 
but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 


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