Precious Cornerstone

Here we see that the Lord had warned Israel by three prophets that they would reject the Messiah when He came. David, Isaiah, and Zechariah, all describe the Messiah as refused by the nation of 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.

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.

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

With such great notice from God, well in advance of His appearance, we would expect that the nation of Israel would be ready when the Messiah arrived. This is particularly important in the case of Jesus, as He presented so many extraordinary Messianic fulfillments of their scriptures.

The problem for the leaders of Israel was that Jesus was not the Messiah they were anticipating. A poor carpenter from a despised city like Nazareth; a mother who was scandalized during her pregnancy, and no formal Rabbinical education—all contributed to their rejection of Jesus. The Chief Priests and the Pharisees, had misunderstood Moses description of the “Prophet” like him, as a Deliverer who would accomplish what Moses did for the Israelites who were under the bondage of Egypt. These men expected the Messiah to overthrow the Romans and return their nation to them once again. They were not prepared for a humble, silent, Savior who allowed Himself to be Scourged, and Crucified.

Peter writes that the Messiah whom Isaiah had described, was just such a man. He portrays Jesus as not only; the Stone which the builders rejected, that David described; the Stumbling Stone of Isaiah, 8; and the Cornerstone of Zechariah 10, but also a Precious Cornerstone that Isaiah later described in chapter 28.[1]

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.”

Peter Believed That Jesus Arrival, Fulfilled the Words of these Prophets: He quotes all four of the prophecies above, that describe the Messiah.

Acts 4:10-12 (Peter Speaking:) “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 Psalms 118:22-23.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

1 Peter 2:3-8 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious Isaiah 28:16, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 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 Psalms 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.

Chosen and Precious

We have previously looked at Jesus as: The Cornerstone. Here, Isaiah refers to the Messiah by a similar description: Precious Cornerstone.

Could anyone imagine that the brash and often harsh, Peter, would ever use the word “Precious?” It appears that Peter did so in chapter 3 of his epistle, because he believed that Jesus was the Cornerstone whom Isaiah and David described—a Messiah, who would be stumbled over, rejected, and cast aside by Israel.

1 Peter 2:4-6 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 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.”

In the building of the first Temple at Jerusalem, great care was given to ensure that the structure was built by the precise instructions that God had given to Moses. David earnestly desired that he might be permitted to build God a house to dwell in. The Lord refused David’s desire, stating that he had been a man of war and could not complete this task. Although God would not allow David to build the Temple, He was permitted to assemble the materials for its future construction.

1 Chronicles 22:1-2 Then David said, “This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”2 So David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel; and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God.

David’s reign was from 1010-970 B.C. During the later years of his life, he began to assemble the components for the Temple and gave his son Solomon explicit instructions on how it should be built.

1 Chronicles 22:5-10 Now David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it.” So David made abundant preparations before his death. 6 Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. 7 And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; 8 but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ ”

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.

David recorded, in Psalms 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 inscribed upon it that would tell the builders where it was to be placed. Being odd shaped, the builders cast it aside until its placement could be determined. After stumbling over the Cornerstone several times, the builders rolled this large stone over the edge of the Temple Mount retaining wall into the grass below.

1 Peter 2:3-8 “…The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense…”

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

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”

Solomon assembled the stones, which his father David had cut, on the Temple Mount beginning in the fourth year of his reign as king. This was 966 B.C.

1 Kings 6:1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.

David ends his reign as king in 970 B.C. Four years later, Solomon begins construction on the first Temple in 966 B.C. Just 11 years later, Solomon finishes the construction of the Temple. It is clear that David wrote Psalm 118 near the end of his reign as king, while the stones were being cut and brought to the Temple Mount site. He records the near loss of the Cornerstone in verses 22-23 as a prophetic prequel to the time when Jesus would arrive in Israel as the Chief Cornerstone of Israel and also be stumbled over, and cast aside by the builders of Israel.

Peter writes later in his epistle, chapter 2:3-8, that He believed Jesus is the Cornerstone whom Isaiah and David described. He attributed both Psalm 118:2-3 and Isaiah 8:14 as direct references to this prophecy from Isaiah 28:16. Peter believed that Jesus is the precious cornerstone whom Isaiah was speaking of. By Peter’s testimony, we have scriptural confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah who fulfilled this prophecy, found in Isaiah 28:16.

In the chapter: A Tabernacle, a Sanctuary, the individual parts of the Tabernacle explain what the future work of the Messiah will be about. Hebrews Chapter 9 takes us step by step through the various parts of the Tabernacle and describes what each room and the articles within the Tabernacle, represent, in the work and ministry of Jesus Christ. See this incredible chapter to understand why Peter stated that Jesus is a Precious Cornerstone.


[1] 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.
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.
Zechariah 10:4 From him comes the cornerstone, From him the tent peg, From him the battle bow, From him every ruler together.