339: Zechariah 10:4


365 Prophecies: Prophecy 339

The Messiah will be known as “The Cornerstone.”

Old Testament Prediction:

Zechariah 10:4 From him comes the cornerstone, From him the tent peg, From him the battle bow, From him every ruler together.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’S doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? ”

Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone…

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Application:

Zechariah’s prophecy speaks of the Messiah as:

The cornerstone: A foundation, the starting place
The tent peg: A Ruler (Isaiah 22:23-24)
The battle bow: A warrior (Psalms 45:5)

The principle of the Messiah being the “Chief Cornerstone” is well established in the Old Testament. Including this 339th Prophecy, there are four instances where the Messiah is called the Cornerstone: Psalms 118:22-23, Isaiah 8:14, and Isaiah 28:16.

Prophecy 148

The Messiah shall be the “Chief Cornerstone,” but be rejected by Israel.

Psalms 118:22-23 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

Prophecy 167

The Messiah shall be a stumbling stone for the religious leaders of Israel.

Isaiah 8:14 He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Prophecy 191

The Messiah will be the “Precious Cornerstone” of Israel, yet He will be rejected.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.”

Chief Cornerstone:

Peter demonstrates his great knowledge of the Scriptures, as he quotes from the Psalms and Isaiah, in making his case that Jesus is the Cornerstone predicted by the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament.

1 Peter 2:6-8 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious (Isaiah 28:16), And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” (Psalm 118:22-23) and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” (Isaiah 8:14) They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

The Book of Acts Chapter 4 records an event where Peter and the other disciples began to preach Jesus to the people in Jerusalem. Many people were responding to their message and believing in Jesus as the Messiah. The high priest and many others began to question where they received the authority to do such things.

Acts 4:6-7 …Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

Peter stood up to address these leaders of Israel and inform them that his authority came from the One that the Old Testament prophets spoke of, called “the Chief Cornerstone.”

Acts 4:10-12 let it be known to you all, 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 stands here before you whole. This is the “stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.” Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

In ancient history the cornerstone was the joining of two walls, tying them together. It was the visible corner of the foundation of a building and the starting point for all future building on the foundation. This single stone was the most costly because of its beauty and strength. It was also the largest, most solid and carefully constructed stone. To cast aside the cornerstone would be to resist any future building on that foundation. The Cornerstone was the place where the building was joined together and also the place where it rested.

Peter describes Jesus as the “precious cornerstone” that was to come—the Messiah. He is the starting place from where everything, including the heavens and the earth, begins.

The first temple

There is a Hebrew tradition that describes the time when the first temple was being built. According to the elders, as the construction of the temple prevented any tools from being used on the temple grounds, the stones had to be precut at the quarry and brought ready to assemble, to the temple site.[1]

A master blueprint was created where each stone had a number and the place where it should be laid in the temple. The cornerstone was an odd-shaped stone; and for some reason, the number of its placement was not inscribed on it. When the chief cornerstone arrived at the temple mount site, no one knew where it fit. They rejected this odd-shaped, unfamiliar stone and rolled it down the hill into the tall grass.[2]

Later when it was time to install the cornerstone, it could not be found. Someone remembered that there was an odd-shaped stone that they had rejected. The builders had to go out and find the precious stone that they had stumbled over and returned it to its rightful place as the Chief Cornerstone, the most important of all the stones of the temple.

Peter attributes this foundation stone of the temple to the purpose and nature of Jesus’ ministry here on earth. The leaders in Israel thought Him odd, and they could find no place for Jesus. They rejected, and cast Him aside. This became an amazing fulfillment of the precise set of circumstance that occurred in the building of the first temple: The Chief Cornerstone was not recognized; it was rejected and cast aside.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem is a section of the retaining wall that supported the foundation of the former Temples that were built on that site.

[3]
Close-up of the Western Wall in Jerusalem

[4]
A view of the Western Wall from a distance

This foundation wall that remains today was the place where the temple once stood, where Jesus went in and threw out the money changers. This is where Mary and Joseph came and found Jesus at twelve years of age, teaching the leaders in the Temple, and asking questions. The depiction below is a recreation of Herod’s Temple that was standing, at the time Jesus lived and carried out His ministry here on earth.

Depiction of Herod’s Temple
[5]
Blue outline showing the current Western Wall

[6]
Recreation of Herod’s Temple

This great Western Wall, when it was originally built, was made of massive stones that were cut at a quarry near the temple grounds.

So massive in weight were these stones that the wall exerts over half a million pounds per square inch. If the builders had constructed the wall on top of the soil alone, the weight of that wall that acted as the foundation for the temple would have sunk into the soil, causing the entire structure to collapse. In order to insure its stability, the Foundation Wall had to be resting on solid bedrock.

In December of 1869, two men: Wilson and Warren, dug a shaft near the southern corner of the Temple mount. They were curious just how deep the wall went underground. To their amazement, the wall went down into the soil eighty feet below the ground level of the western wall.

[7]

As Warren was in this shaft at the bottom of the massive retaining wall, some 80 feet below the surface of the soil, he was astonished to find that some of the stones had red Phoenician lettering painted upon each stone.

The writing on these massive blocks were the numbers that indicated where each stone should be placed, as it was quarried out of solid rock. Each number corresponded to a master blueprint that determined where every stone in the temple would be located.

[8]

The prophetic word that Peter is quoting from, in 1 Peter Chapter 2, was taken from Isaiah Chapter 28, written more than 700 years before Jesus was born, 600 years before the temple was ever built.

1 Peter 26-8 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

Isaiah said that when the Messiah came to Israel, He would be “A Stone of stumbling and a Rock of Offense…” In other words, the people who met Jesus would stumble over Him, even though He would later be found as the Cornerstone of everything in their lives. The Cornerstone in the Temple was the most important stone, as it held all the rest of the Temple together. Without the Cornerstone, there would be no Temple.

This is an interesting illustration as the New Testament makes a similar claim regarding the importance of Jesus to the entire body of believers who make up the building of God.

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

As I briefly described above, the cornerstone—unlike all the other stones—came from the quarry without a number, so that the builders did not know where to place it. Each Stone had to be so precisely cut, so that they would fit together perfectly without the use of any mortar; each stone interlocking with the others.

The stones that were to be used in the construction of the temple were shaped out of solid rock, quarried underground. Archeologists now believe that they have found Solomon’s Quarry near the site of the present Temple Grounds (picture below).

[9]
The first picture here shows how each stone fits together precisely.

[10]
This picture is taken from the floor of the quarry near the temple mount that shows the outline of a stone that has not yet been removed from the solid rock, which it is being cut from.

It was the “Chief Cornerstone” that held all the other stones of the Temple together, just as Isaiah had predicted; even as Peter makes reference to, in his own description of the Cornerstone.

[11]

In this amazing story regarding the construction of the temple that was in existence when Jesus arrived, we understand that He was the intended fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Jesus is the cornerstone that was not recognized when He came—stumbled over and cast aside.

Sadly, people are still stumbling over Jesus and casting Him aside today. Yet, He is the most important and crucial foundation for all of life. To miss Him is to forfeit the purpose for which we were all created and the future of all that are to come.


[1] In the building of the first Temple, God had commanded that no hammer or chisel could be used at the Temple mount. All of the stones would have to be cut from the quarry and brought to the site, where Solomon would later assemble them after David’s death.
1 Kings 6:7 And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.
[2] David recorded in Psalm 118:22-23, that while he was overseeing the cutting of the stones at the quarry for the Temple, the ‘Cornerstone” arrived without a number being inscribed on it that would tell the builders where it was to be placed in the Temple. Being odd shaped, the builders cast it aside until it’s placement could be determined. After “stumbling over the Cornerstone” several times because it was in the way, the builders rolled it over the edge of the Temple mount retaining wall, into the grass below.
Psalm 118:22-23 “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes”
[3] Used by permission: By Wayne McLean ( jgritz) (Own work) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
[4] Used by Permission: Walt McIndoo http://www.ebibleteacher.com/sites/default/files/images/1/westwall2.jpg?1310095965
[5] Photo by Rob Robinson
[6] Used by permission, http://www.ebibleteacher.com/images.html
[7] Public Domain, In December of 1869, Two men, Wilson and Warren dug a mine shaft near the southern corner of the Temple mount.
[8] Public Domain, from the Wilson and Warren Expedition.
[9] Gilabrand at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
[10] Used by permission: Hershel Shanks/Biblical Archaeology Society, Washington, DC; http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org April 4, 2013
[11] Graphic Image by Rob Robinson

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