Jesus - The Rock of Offense
There is a foundation (a rock) spoken of in Scripture - which is Christ.
I once had a Messianic Jew try to tell me that Eph. 2:20 teaches that the Church is built on the apostles and prophets, rather than Christ. Although he claimed to follow Yeshua, his Jesus was just another prophet, less than divine, and for him the New Covenant did not supersede the Covenant with Moses.
However, Paul tells the Ephesian believers that they are being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets - in the Greek genitive case (the case which shows possession). Paul is referring to the foundation which is laid by the apostles and prophets - which is Jesus Christ. He is NOT saying that the apostles and prophets themselves are the foundation.
Ephesians 2:19-20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone
See also 1 Peter 2:4-8, Psalm 118:22, Matt. 21:42, 44-45, Acts 4:11, Luke 6:47-48. All of these passages (and more) make clear that Jesus is the foundation. The chief cornerstone was the foundation stone in ancient architecture - from which all measurements began. Every other stone was laid in relationship to the cornerstone. Clearly, this position belongs to Jesus.
Moses and the other prophets foretold Christ's coming and thus played an important part in redemptive history. In that sense, they are part of the building, they were servants who were used to prepare the way, to foretell the glory which was to come - but they themselves are not the foundation.
Isa 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
Both Jesus and Paul make clear that the rejection of Christ as the Messiah (rejecting the cornerstone) is the fatal mistake that the Jews made, which caused the Kingdom of God to be taken from them and given to the Gentiles.
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 (Psalm 118:22). That is why I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you (Jews) and given to a people who will produce fruit for it (Gentiles). The person who falls over this stone (Christ) will be broken to pieces, but it will crush anyone on whom it falls.
Romans 9:30 What can we say, then? Gentiles, who were not pursuing righteousness, have attained righteousness, a righteousness that comes through faith. But Israel, who pursued righteousness based on the law, did not achieve the law. Why not? Because they did not pursue it (righteousness) on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on achievements (law keeping). They stumbled over the stone that causes people to stumble...
In Matt.16:13-18 When Jesus said, upon this rock I will build my church, what exactly did he mean?
Catholics and Protestants have argued over the meaning of this text for centuries. Catholics believe Peter to be the foundation of the Church. However, Peter himself does not agree.
1 Peter 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house...
So Peter himself tells us, that Christ (not Peter) is the foundation, the living stone. In a secondary sense, we too by faith in Christ, can become living stones, built into the spiritual house which is the Church the body of Christ.
As the first among the disciples to express faith in the Messiah (Matt. 16-18), Christ used Peter as an example. Peter became a living stone in the building, just as we all can, through faith. Thus Christ (foundational rock) renamed him Peter (small stone) as an illustration.
The Catholic position relies on a subtle misuse of language. By ignoring the Greek text it was written in, and using an Aramaic translation (we do not have), the same word (Kipha) is used for both 'Peter' and 'rock'". The ignorant are thereby tricked with linguistic subtleties. The meaning is lost and the foundation of the erroneous teaching of apostolic succession is laid by deceit.
The Greek text makes the distinction between Peter (Petros - a small stone) and faith in Christ (Petras - the large unshakable, unmovable, bedrock). If you are in doubt about the nature and importance of this distinction please read - HERE
The Bible does not leave room for any doubt about who the true foundation is. Jesus himself taught about the importance of basing our foundation in Him.
Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock...
Paul makes it absolutely clear who the foundation of the Church is, and it's not Peter who he publicly rebuked (Gal. 2:11), and it was not James the leader of the fledgling Church (Acts 15).
1 Corinthians 3:11 After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus the Messiah. Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw, the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire...
Therefore, consider carefully on what your life and Ministry are based. I have dear friends in Catholicism who believe Peter is the rock upon which to build their Church and apostolic succession from him is their claim to ecclesiastical power.
I also have dear friends within a segment of Messianic Judaism, who claim they are following Yeshua (for those of the Holy name movement), but think him somehow less than divine. Moses is given a higher place than Christ and his true significance and divinity escapes them.
They argue that Rome fooled the poor ignorant goyim into elevating Christ from prophet to divinity and favor a form of the Arian heresy. They say many verses are misinterpreted since Gentiles lack the Jewish mindset required for a proper understanding. For instance - gives eternal life (Jn 3:16), one with the Father (Jn 10:30), omnipotent (Mt 28:18), omnipresent (Mt 18:20), accepts worship due to God (Mt 14:33).
What they refuse to acknowledge, is that their own beloved Hebrew Scriptures prove the divinity of Christ over and over again. Consider how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning him, ...we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10 to the 157th power. The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 10 to the 79th power. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies by accident. He was who He said He was: the only way (John 14:6). (This information was taken from the book Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.)
Not only did Jesus fulfill the Messianic prophecies which had to take place before the second Temple was destroyed, but more will also be fulfilled upon his return. Also, it is clear from scripture, that Abraham, David, and Moses, all had a relationship with the pre-incarnate Jesus.
John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day, and he saw it and was glad. Then the Jews asked him, You are not even 50 years old, yet you have seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, Truly, I tell all of you with certainty, before there was an Abraham, I AM!
We see that Jesus claimed divinity, to be the great I AM - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
2 Sam. 22: 2-3 And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust:
David claimed a relationship with the rock of his salvation!
John 5:46-47 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?
There are many places where Moses wrote about Jesus. The first prophecy of the coming Lamb of God, was when God clothed Adam and Eve in lambskin, to cover their nakedness.
In fact, Jesus is the God of Moses, notice how Paul drives the point home by explaining how it was Christ, who was leading Moses and the Jewish nation in the desert.
1 Cor. 10: 1-4 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
This is inconceivable to the understanding of an Orthodox Jew since the Hebrew Scriptures teach that God is one. Jesus himself taught this - God is one! Yet God is one with a complex nature, manifesting himself through Christ and also the Spirit, while simultaneously dwelling in unapproachable light as the Father - who no man has seen.
Christians don't worship three Gods, as some Jews accuse us of, we worship the same God as they do, but recognize his complex nature.
John 1:18 No man hath seen God (the Father) at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
It had always been the pre-incarnate Christ, who was the visible expression of God, in the Hebrew Scriptures. He appeared to Moses (Ex. 33:20-23, Deut. 4:12), to Isaiah as the Lord of hosts (Is. 6:5) and to Joshua (Jos 5:14).
He chose to cloth himself in flesh and reveal himself as fully God and fully man - the suffering Messiah. Dying for the sins of the whole world - reconciling his creation to himself.( Jo. 1:3, Col 1:16-20).
When Philip asked Jesus show us the Father, he responded (John 14:9-11)The person who has seen me has seen the Father... Believe me, I am in the Father and the Father is in me.
A time prophecy, the seventy weeks of Daniel, gives a precise time when the Messiah would appear, the time of his crucifixion, the end of probation for the Jewish people, and when the Gospel would go to the Gentiles. Of course, like many other things in the Bible, the Rabbins choose to ignore this. The Rabbins then held a meeting and pronounced a curse upon any Jew who should attempt to ascertain the chronology of this prophetic period. Their anathema was this: May his bones and his memory rot who shall attempt to number the seventy weeks'. The Midnight Cry, August 10, 1843.
Roman Catholic futurism (the "gap theory" now accepted by most of Protestantism), is also defeated by a proper understanding of the seventy weeks. Many Christians and Jews have had the wool pulled over their eyes.
This one prophecy in Daniel 9 could shatter the errors of traditional Judaism and Roman Catholicism - no wonder it has been cursed, hidden, twisted, and manipulated. In the middle of the last week, it is Christ who confirms the Covenant, and who is cut-off, but not for himself (when he was crucified).
Rome has thrown this text into the future (with no scriptural support) and says it is fulfilled by the anti-Christ. This was done in response to the reformers charge that the Papacy is the anti-Christ system. To deflect scrutiny away from the Pope, a Spanish Jesuit named Francisco Ribera (1537-1591), proposed an alternative view.
The founder of this system [Futurist] in modern times appears to have been the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580. (Henry Alford, The New Testament for English Readers, vol. 2, part 2, p. 351 [bottom numbering].)
For 300 years, most Protestants rejected this rather inventive interpretation, but it is widely accepted now, especially among Evangelicals. An end time deception, providing a smokescreen which allows the anti-Christ system to continue - virtually unopposed.
I love the Jewish and Catholic people and so does God. However, some of the errors propagated by those systems, are grievous to the cause of Christ.
Soon the Lord will return and sweep away all the castles in the sand. The kingdoms of men, the apostate Churches, the deceitful workers - all have a divine appointment with a rock.
Daniel 2:34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands... and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
Everything not built on the rock, the true foundation, is doomed to fail. Are you ready to come to Jesus as to a living stone?
John 5:39 You examine the Scriptures carefully because you suppose that in them you have eternal life. Yet they testify about me. But you are not willing to come to me to have life.
If you haven't already, go to Jesus and receive eternal life! Allow him to transform you into a living stone, and place you in his spiritual building. Become part of the body of Christ the true Church!
There is no more Jew or Gentile, male or female, all are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). The Church is not a denomination, an institution, an organization, or any such thing those are man-made distinctions - which divide us.
It's about relationship, not religion, we are adopted into the family of God, through Christ, the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5, Eph 1:5).
The God of the Bible, the stone the builders rejected, transforms us into living stones and makes us part of a spiritual building (1 Peter 2:4 ).