Matt 16:16-18 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Yeshua answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (Sheol) will not prevail against it.”
Gen 49:24b . . .by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel)
Yeshua and His legal father, Joseph, are called carpenters (Matt 13:55; Mark 6:3). They may well have been; the Galilee area around Nazareth certainly has plenty of trees. But the region is also rich in stones. The Greek word used in the two passages referred to is transliterated tekton. It generally refers to a skilled builder or craftsman, used for carpenters as well as for stonemasons and metalworkers. The Hebrew equivalent would be pronounced charash, and is also used for skilled laborers in wood, stone, and metal.
It is interesting that the imagery throughout the Bible makes much use of rocks and stones when it comes to building things, especially for endurance. There really is not a whole lot speaking of wood for overcoming the rock of the ages and the sands of time. Fire, especially, is an enemy of wooden structures. Rocks, gems, and precious stones can withstand the heat and other forces for a much longer period, and are often enhanced in color and purity. Rocks speak of strength, solidity, and stability. Gems and jewels express symbols of beauty, worthiness, divine qualities. YHVH God is our Rock; He is our refuge; and we are His workmanship!
Here are some verses (English numeration) from the Scriptures that suggest the probability that Jesus, while perhaps also working with wood, was primarily, perhaps, the best stonemason and gemologist who ever will be! The natural physical qualities and abundance of stones and rocks in the Land of Israel provide the template for working with us and on us spiritual stones:
- Exodus 20:25 And if you build Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.
- Exodus 31:3-4 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God — in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all workmanship — to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, incarving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.
- Deut 8:9b …a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper
- Psalms 31:2b …Be my rock of refuge, a house of defense (a fortress) to save me.
- 1 Cor 10:4 (Ex 17:6) and all drank the same spiritual drink. And that Rock was Christ (Messiah).
- Isaiah 51:1-2a Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek YHVH: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug (the quarry). Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you..
- Ezek 36:26-28 I will give you a new heart and a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers: You shall be My people, and I will be your God.
- Psalms 118:22; Matt 21:42; 1 Peter 2:7 The stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone!
- Isaiah 28:16; 1Pt 2:6 …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.
- Isaiah 8:14: 1Pt 2:8 He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both houses of Israel. . . .
- Matt 3:9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones!’
- Luke 19:40 He [Jesus] answered and said to [the Pharisees], ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out!‘
- 1 Peter 2:4-5 Coming to Him as a Living Stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer upspiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua Messiah.
- 1 Cor 3:9-15 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
- Eph 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone, in Whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Matt 16:18; John 1:42 When Peter confesses Yeshua as the Messiah, Son of God, this testimony of who Yeshua is, is the Rock upon which Yeshua builds His church, His body. What is interesting is that the new name which Jesus gave Simon was Peter, which means ‘rock, or stone‘. Upon the likes of simple, ordinary people, who are also sinners, Jesus takes us as living stones to build His body, a holy and stable spiritual House of God. It is Peter in his first epistle that uses this metaphor for born-again believers, and the foundations of the wall of the great city — the holy New Jerusalem, whose architect (designer) and builder are God (Heb 11:9-10) — are the twelve apostles. (Rev 21:14)
More than that, Yeshua is the Son, which in Hebrew is ben. This is the root word for boneh, which means Builder! The Hebrew word for house is ba’it, whose root word is baht, meaning Daughter! O for the wisdom of God and the treasure He has given us — Yeshua and the Bible! Praise the Lord for Zion, and the virgin Daughter of Zion, the dwelling place of the Father and the Son in the house of God (John 14:23): for the New Jerusalem, the Mother of all who are a new creation through Messiah Jesus! What honor and glory to become the virgin, spotless, and glorious Bride of the Son of God — co-heirs with the King of kings and Lord of lords, all living together in the Father’s house — the eternal new heavens and new Earth!
Rev 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.
Rev 21:9b-11,18-21 “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. . . .The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: . . . . The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
The Lord Jesus Christ… more than a carpenter indeed! There is NONE like Him!
This post originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, February 8, 2011, and reposted with permission.