Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Building On Christ - The Rock

The first time we see Christ symbolized as a rock in the Old Testament is the incident of Jacob's ladder.  In Genesis 28:11 Jacob takes one of the stones where he camped and used it for a pillow.  He then has the dream which is referred to as Jacob's ladder.  This became Jacob's temple experience where he became familiar with the three degrees of glory:

Paul ascended into the third heavens, and he could understand the three principal rounds of Jacob's ladder-the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial glories or kingdoms, where Paul saw and heard things which were not lawful for him to utter.  
            (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts, 5:, p.402)

 In the morning he anointed the stone making it the anointed one or the Messiah/Christ.  He also renamed the place Bethel or House of God because of the experience that he had there with God, who was in his Celestial realm at the top of the ladder.

Isaiah also refers to Christ as the cornerstone and foundation stone of Zion when he is giving a double meaning to the building of Zion and the temple in the same reference.

Isa  28:16-17
 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.
 17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
All of the other stones of the temple and Zion will be aligned with this cornerstone according to divine judgment (the line) and righteousness (the plummet).  In the end, all that is not aligned with the temple and Zion will be swept away as was Jericho which was a type of the earth becoming the Celestial Kingdom.

In Deuteronomy 32:1-4, 15-18, 30-40, 45-47, Moses teaches Isreal that they must be mindful of the Rock of their salvation who is Jesus Christ.

In the New Testament the Savior makes a direct reference to himself as being the rock/stone of Jacob's ladder:

John  1:51
 51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Peter uses the imagery of Psalms 118:22 and Isaiah 28:16 to help his people to understand their role with the priesthood and as the people of God in the building of Zion.

1 Pet  2:3-10
 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord [is] gracious.
 4  To whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious,
 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
 6 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.
 7 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,
 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
 9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
 10 Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Paul the apostle also uses the imagery of Isaiah 28:16 to help give a vision to this people as to how they and the whole Church is built upon Christ; the whole Church becoming a holy temple to God.

Eph  2:19-22
 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];
 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The ultimate lesson from these types and this imagery is that we build Zion, and we build on Christ, through the making and keeping of temple covenants.  Thus, as I Isaiah taught, the whole earth will become the holy mountain filled with the knowledge of the Lord.

Isa  11:9
 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.


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