The Stone of Stumbling
“Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word…,” 1 Peter 2:6-8.
Correctly Applying Bible Prophecy
The most important thing in understanding Bible prophecy is to know who the prophecy is for and what it involves. For instance, someone sent me an e-mail message the other day that was saying that the end of God’s mercy was drawing near. The scripture quoted to substantiate their conviction is found in Genesis 6:3: “And Yahweh said, My spirit shall not always strive with man (adam), for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” They only remember the first part, “And Yahweh said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man.”
This scripture was spoken to Noah’s generation and was fulfilled one hundred and twenty years later when the flood came and Yahweh temporarily stopped striving with that generation. See First Peter 3:18-21.
How long will the mercy of Yahweh endure? Psalm 136:1 says, “His mercy endures forever,” and the Psalmist then reaffirms the statement twenty-five times in the remaining twenty-five verses of that chapter.
It is obvious that Yahweh was not referring to the length of the life of man when he made the statement, “Yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Arphaxad, the first child to be born after the flood, and one hundred and twenty-two years after Yahweh said, “his years shall be one hundred and twenty years,” lived four hundred and thirty-eight years. He died when Abraham was eighty-eight years old. Shem was born twenty years after this statement was made and lived six hundred years. Isaac was fifty years old when Shem died. Abraham lived one hundred and forty-seven year and his father lived two hundred and five years.
The Mystery Revealed
There are many biblical prophecies misappropriated, because we neglect to investigate their timing and application. Such is the case with the prophecy in Daniel 2:29-45: “As for thee, O king, your thoughts came into your mind upon your bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that reveals secrets makes known to you what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that you might know the thoughts of your heart.
“You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
“You saw till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his 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 to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
“This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You art this head of gold.
“And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
“And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron break in pieces and subdue all things: and as iron that break all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
“And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou saw the iron mixed with miry clay.
“And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
“And whereas thou saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
“Forasmuch as thou saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
According to the calculations of learned scholars, this prophecy was given 603 years before Christ. It was given to the king of Babylon. He had overrun Jerusalem and had taken Yahweh’s people captive four years earlier. There is much that can be written about this prophecy and the four kingdoms, but I will not deal with them here. I am more interested in the little Stone that fell upon the feet of the statue that represented these kingdoms and defeated them.
I assume that we agree that the victor here refers to none other than our Savior, and we rejoice in that unity. But I fear there may be some disunity in the calculation of the time element of this prophecy. It seems to have produced a variation of opinions throughout the centuries.
I have a book that was written for a leading denomination that has many drawings and charts dealing with the book of Daniel. It includes a drawing of a statue that represents the artist’s vision of the statue that appeared in King Nebuchadnezzar’s night vision.
The statue he drew is that of a macho man that represents the time periods of the four kingdoms. His head of gold represents the Babylonian dispensation (606 BC-535). His arms and breast of silver represent the Medo-Persian rule (536-330). His brass belly and thighs represent the Grecian kingdom (329-40). And the legs and feet represent Rome’s dominion.
The statue is well drawn until it comes to its toes. There, the figure becomes rather deformed. The artist, believing that Rome is still ruling the earth, extends the toes to represent the centuries between the ending of the Grecian kingdom and the ending of the rule of Rome, which he depicts as coming some time in the future when Yasha returns to earth as reigning King and Lord. Thus the toes of the statue are much longer than the statue is tall. In fact, the toes must still be growing with no known point of stopping until the Little Stone finally, at some point in the future, is cut out of the mountain and crushes them. This indicates that this artist and writer did not see our Savior ascending to the throne in his first visit to the earth.
Many Christians are very content to accept this theory, for their leadership has propagated the theory that the first time Yasha came, he came as a bleeding lamb. He does not ascend to his throne until his second appearing, which is yet in the future. At that time he is to “become” the ruling monarch which will fulfill the Christians’ hope of his reign on earth. I do not know how this fits into theology since most of Christianity believes the world will immediately end at the moment of his appearing.
This statement should set off an alarm inside our head by producing the question, “If Yasha (Jesus) is not now the King that fulfilled the promise to David at that time of His first appearing, who has ruled over the earth since His crucifixion?” The question is seldom asked in this manner, because most Christians assume the Kingdom of Yahweh is future tense without questioning the present tense of it. But, can we find support for the theory that the beginning of our Savior’s reign is still in the future? If we can, how do we prove it is biblically supported?
When in doubt, consulting the scriptures is a good policy. What do the scriptures say about the reign of Christ?
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
“Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that Yahweh had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in hades (sheol), nor did his flesh see corruption.
“This Yasha, Yahweh has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of Yahweh and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: Yahweh said to my Lord (Yasha), Sit at My right hand till I make Your enemies Your footstool.
” Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that Yahweh has made this Yasha whom you crucified, both Lord (King) and Christ.” Acts 2:29-36 (NKJ).
Sometimes we trust our leaders so completely that we fail to look closely to notice things like, “Yahweh has made this Yasha whom you crucified, both King and Christ.” Please notice he did not say, “Yahweh “will make” this Yasha whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
The artist that I mentioned before evidently failed to notice that the scripture did not say, “At the end of the reign of the four kingdoms shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.” He said, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom.”
The Little Stone was very small when it was cut out of the mountain; in fact, it was just large enough for Christ to build a church on. Some may object because it was a stone that was cut out of the mountain, but the Church was built upon a Rock. Christ our King and Priest was also called a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense. We will all surely agree, the Rock that the Church was built upon was, in reality, Yahweh who took up his habitation in the flesh and produced a new creation. That new creation is destined to inherit the earth. Yet it is also said, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”
The majority of Israelites rejected their Messiah at his appearing, as they continue to do until this day. The miracles were there and the scriptural support was able to back up his claim. He predicted that the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of the Mosaic priesthood order would be in the same generation in which he lived in the flesh, and it was. His bloodline was established and accepted; his tomb was empty.
Why was Yasha rejected? Pomp, flair, earthly prestige—could these insignificant things be that which prompted the rejection of our King? Yes, they could and they were. Israel wanted the manifestation of a monarchal man-god. They demanded the appearance of a human man-god.
Christianity today is expecting, actually demanding, a man-god rulership to be set up on earth. Because they do not have eyes to see the glory of a unified body of the new covenant people; they do not see Christ in us as the only potential of the fulfillment of that glory in which we hope (Colossians 1:27).
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh (the Lord); I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh (the Lord): for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest,” Hebrews 8:10-11.
Hey, notice, this covenant does not have any ifs and buts. It does not have any mights. I call it the “I will and they shall” covenant. This covenant is completely dependent on Christ. It is not dependent on any other person or element, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die,” John 12:32-33. We know that the “if” was taken out when he breathed his last breath on the cross.
Our Savior that came in such low estate, being born in a manger and buried in a borrowed tomb, did not go away to adorn himself in pomp and earthly splendor to reappear with gold bars on his shoulders and gems in his golden crown. He sacrificed his humanity and became a Life-giving Spirit.
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the ‘last’ Adam was made a quickening (Life-giving) spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual,” 1 Corinthians 15:45-46. “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly,” 1 Corinthians 15:49.
Yahweh’s Kingdom is Within You!
The mystery of the ages that did not penetrate the minds of the people in that age was that there was not to be a natural kingdom, and there would never to be an earthly man-god king that will rule over the earth in pomp and earthy splendor. It still does not penetrate too many minds in this day. As long as the people are carnal in their nature, there will be rebellion and every evil work. This Kingdom will not be fully established in righteousness until the governing force (Christ) is resurrected in the minds and hearts of its subjects; otherwise peace will never reign.
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of Yahweh should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of Yahweh cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of Yahweh is within you,” Luke 17:20-21.
If Yasha should come back in his flesh body as he was when he walked the shores of Galilee the people would be very unhappy. They would refuse to conform to his way of life.
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of Yahweh which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of Yahweh Even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom Yahweh would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Yasha,” Colossians 1:25-28.
Presenting every man perfect in Christ, is not a present tense statement, but it is the hope and reality of the consummation of all things. We cannot possibly confess that all humanity is now mature in Christ, and to proclaim this to be the case is to drown the hope in many confused believers of ever finding release from the sin and condemnation that imprisons them. Neither Paul nor Christ taught such a contradiction of truth.
It takes little time to think this thing out concerning an earthly kingdom. But after we have, we should rejoice, for we know “it is the Spirit that quickens (makes alive); the flesh profits nothing: the words that I (the Life’s source) speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life,” John 6:63.
Now that we know that the flesh man, earthly creature, is of no benefit, we are ready to consider the depths of Paul’s statement.
“For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were ‘all’ dead (that is, no one had life previous to the crucifixion of Christ): And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of Yahweh, who has reconciled us to himself by Yasha Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that Yahweh was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the ‘word’ of reconciliation,” 2 Corinthians 5:14-19.
“For the love of Christ constrains us;” I like this phrase. Love arrested me, it imprisoned me, and presses me in on every side. It forces me against my lower nature and causes me to love my enemy. It constrains me by joining me to the Body. Oh my, oh my, what wisdom.
Christ spoke a revelation to my heart, and I thought, How wonderful and how great this Word! I wish I could be as loving and lovely as my heavenly Savior. And lo, a strange thing began to happen; I felt a change taking place in my heart. I was surprised when I realized that I did not still hate prostitutes; I was shocked to find that I had forgiven my enemies.
I testified about it several times but soon adapted to my unusual experience and busied myself trying to satisfy an intense hunger for more truth. I marveled at the change that was going on in my nature. My young son was gravely ill, and was undergoing emergency surgery.
I was standing by the nurse’s station alone, waiting for word when the head nurse appeared. She thought I was in the chapel and did not notice that I was there. She addressed another nurse, saying, “There is a young mother in the chapel alone and her little boy is in surgery. Call the Chaplain and ask him to go there to be with her. The doctors doubt that they can pull the boy through.”
I knew she was talking about my son and me. I turned and went back to the chapel. My flesh strove to reach the panic button, but the love of Christ constrained me. A strange but wonderful calmness swept over me. Suddenly I felt my heart place my darling son in His arms.
The nurses knew I had overheard the head nurse’s request and no doubt had informed the Chaplain that I knew. When he entered the small chapel, he extended his hand, introduced himself, and asked me if I was okay. I assured him I was. I said I did not know if Yahweh planned to take my son or leave him with me. I was astonished at the peace and calmness I was experiencing. I had no tears.
Other times when my son was ill, I felt faith and assurance that he would be fine. This time, if I felt faith, it certainly was manifesting itself differently. I was not familiar with this kind of reaction. But as I look back now I realize that “the love of Christ was constraining me.” Yahweh spared my son once again.
Do we brag when we talk of Love’s constraining power within? You bet. We certainly do. And we do it intentionally and without apologizing to anyone, because it does not come from the human side of our nature. We cannot take credit for the change.
The flesh dares you to confess that the Christ within has power. With some folks, this is like waving a red flag in the face of an angry fighting bull. But Christ does have power. If we have believed the Word, the Word will demonstrate power within our temples. Will it have power over sin? Yes, I have seen him tame the wild man (in the flesh) on many occasions.
In Romans 8:1, Paul said, “…the law (principle, constraining power) of the Spirit of life in Christ Yasha has made me free from the law of sin and death.” This is not talking about freedom from condemnation of the corrupt life lived under the dominion of the flesh. This is talking about a heart-cleansing power, which is the consequence of the abiding presence of the Spirit of truth and righteousness that controls the Christian’s mind.
If we do not witness the restraining power of the Spirit of love and strongly feel a desire for righteousness within, which strengthens us against sin’s temptations, we have not experienced Christ, and we are blind victims of religion. We have been duped by the flesh and settled for the counterfeit. We need to continue seeking until we receive the creative Word of truth.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature,” Colossians 1:12-15.
According to the Strong’s concordance, the word translated comes from a Greek word (#2476) methistemi meaning to stand, and (#3326) joined, hence, stand joined.
The Word Manifest in Man!
It seems that if the Son has a kingdom in the earth, he must be considered the ruling Monarch. And since it cannot be denied that he is the Stone that was taken out of the mountain (law, Sinai) without hands, that is, by the efforts of man, and since that kingdom is an everlasting kingdom that is to fill the whole earth, why is the Christian’s faith going in reverse, looking for the end of the world? We must confess that the manifestation of Christ in the earth today does not look too much like what we would like to see. But it is good that he is in the earth operating in the highest degree of the present human capacity.
The rich man said, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why call thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, Yahweh: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments,” Matthew 19:16-17.
“He that loves me not keeps not my sayings: and the ‘word’ which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me,” John 14:24.
Christ was pretty point blank in his statement that we are not to glorify his flesh. Yet, they missed his point. But John heard his message.
“In the beginning was the ‘word,’ and the ‘word’ was with Yahweh, and the ‘word’ was Yasha (the Creator, the deity, the thing that performs). The same was in the beginning with Yahweh. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him (Word, Truth) was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not,” John 1:1-5.
“That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world,” John 1:9.
It would be wonderful if we could really perceive the truth that Paul sought to reveal when he said—“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to Yahweh, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. ‘For he must reign’ (present tense), till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he has put all things under his feet. But when he says, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
“And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that Yahweh may be all in all,” 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.