Seven Minutes with The International Director Oct/Nov 1979

When the body of missionary-explorer David Livingstone was laid in Westminster Abbey, a British journalist wrote, “Let marble crumble ~ this is Livingstone!” It is hard to conceive of living stone. In all of God’s creation, nothing appears more inanimate or lifeless than stone. It is interesting, therefore, to realize that repeatedly the Bible refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as a stone.
To God Christ Is The Smitten Stone
Moses, the servant of the Lord, confronted Pharaoh of Egypt with his Lord’s message, “Let my people go (Ex. 8:1). A short time and ten plagues later, Pharaoh reluctantly let them go. They hadn’t gone very far before the army of Egypt was in hot pursuit. Before Israel lay the formidable Red Sea, to the left and right barren and rugged wilderness, and behind the chariots of Egypt (Ex. 14:1-9). At God’s command, Moses thrust forward his rod, the Red Sea parted, and the children of Israel crossed over on dry ground.

They continued only a few days journey into the hot, barren, desolate Sinai and began to murmur. There was no water, and the people thought it better to be slaves in Egypt than to die of thirst as free men in the desert. They had only recently, and from a box seat vantage point, seen the power of God to deliver. And now, at the first sign of difficulty, they murmured instead of trusting. Once again. God told Moses to take his rod in hand,and this time he was not to part a sea but to smite a rock. As he did, water gushed out in abundance to meet ati of their needs. Commenting on this in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul identified that Rock:

And all (those who came out of Egypt) did drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:4).

The Prophet Isaiah, hundreds of years earlier, had written:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, SMITTEN OF GOD, and afflicted” (Isa. 53:4).

Christ was smitten by His Father that you and I, through trusting in Him, need never experience the smiting of a holy God.
To Israel Christ Is The Stumbling Stone
Once again, hear the words of Scripture:

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness (1 Cor. 1:23).

It was not that Israel was not expecting a Christ. They were. As a matter of fact, the coming of a Deliverer, an Anointed One, a Messiah — this was at the top of their hit parade. Messianic expectation was the focal point of Jewish theology. But, they did not comprehend that suffering must precede glory — that Christ must die before He could reign. Their chief concern was that a Deliverer appear who could and would throw off the yoke of Roman oppression. A crucified Messiah was, therefore, an inexplicable enigma. Peter put it so succinctly:

“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them (Israel) who stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed” (I Pet. 2:8).

To the Jewish mind, a Christ, yes. A crucified Christ, no. This then was their stumbling stone.
To The Church Christ Is The Foundation Stone
The epistle to the Ephesians presents the highest Church truth to be found in all the Word of God. Paul sets forth the architecture of “the Church (Eph. 2:1-10); the appointments of the Church (Jew and Gentile, Eph. 2:11-18); and the appearance of the Church (Eph. 2:19-22). And in summing up, he says:

And (you) are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).

After the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Lord’s Table, and only hours before His crucifixion, the Bible records that He and His disciples sang a hymn before going out to the Mount of Olives (Mt. 26:30). The song they sang was called the Haltel, It comprised Psalms 113-118, with particular emphasis placed on Psalm 118:22:

“The stone (Christ) which the builders (Israel) refused is become the head of the comer (foundation stone of the church).” 
To The Nations Christ Is The Smiting Stone
“The times of the Gentiles” (nations) is a biblical term denoting that period of history when Jerusalem would be under Gentile domination (Lk. 21 :24). That period began with the Babyionian captivity in 606 B.C. and will terminate when Christ returns physically to the earth to establish a thousand-year kingdom.

The dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the interpretation of that dream by Daniel depicts “the times of the Gentiles” (Dan. 2). Nebuchadnezzar saw a great image, its head was of gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its iegs of iron, and its feet of iron mixed with clay. In Daniel’s interpretation, the times of Gentile domination over Israel are detailed. The head of gold represented Babylon; the chest and arms of silver, Media-Persia; the belly and thighs of bronze, Greece; the legs and feet of part iron and clay, Rome. These were four successive Gentile world powers that dominated Israel. The fourth power, Rome, would diminish in influence but not be destroyed. In the final days of history, it would be restored to power. Many believe, and this writer concurs, that the ten common market nations and the current move toward a “United States of Europe”, which will cover the same approximate geographic area as ancient Rome, will emerge as the final stage of Nebuchadnezzar’s image and represent its ten toes. Over this restored fourth empire, the Antichrist will rule.

Whether the United States, as an “offspring” of Western Europe, will be included cannot be answered with certainty, But, it is interesting to note that (1) the devaluation of the dollar abroad, (2) the energy crisis, and (3) the perplexing move toward the metric system all have the practical effect of putting the United States on a par with Western Europe.

What will happen to the final form of Gentile power? Hear the Prophet Daniel once again:

“Thou sawest until a STONE was cut out without hands, which SMOTE the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. Then were the iron, the day, the bronze, 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” (Dan. 2:34-35).

The Stone is Christ. That it was “cut out without hands” probably refers to His virgin birth. When He smites the image on its toes, Gentile power will come to its end. The Stone becoming a “great mountain, and filleth the whole earth” depicts His worldwide kingdom. The Apostle John was describing the same scene when he wrote,

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should SMITE THE NATIONS, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:15-16).

TO GOD, CHRIST IS THE SMITTEN STONE.

TO ISRAEL, CHRIST IS THE STUMBLING STONE.

TO THE CHURCH, CHRIST IS THE FOUNDATION STONE.

TO THE NATIONS, CHRIST IS THE SMITING STONE.

“Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man {or a nation) soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

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