That Rock Is Jesus Christ
The novel ¡§Dream of the Red Chamber¡¨, also known as ¡§Chronicles of the Stone¡¨, is a famous literary composition of the Qing dynasty. At the start, the story borrows from the Chinese mythological tale of the goddess Nu Wo who, after repairing the heavens, had one piece of stone imbued with spirituality left over, and so cast it down the Qing Geng peak. Later on, the stone acquired human form and was born into a prominent family, experiencing a multitude of relational and emotional upheavals with various women. The whole novel depicts the adventures of this obstinate stone. The main character of the story is called Jia Bao-yu. To this writer, this so-called spiritual stone is not a real precious stone, but, as his name implies, a false (Jia ¡V sounding like ¡§false¡¨) precious stone (Bao-yu ¡V meaning ¡§treasured jade¡¨). The true precious stone is another, and that is He whom the Bible calls the ¡§Rock (that) was Christ¡¨ (1 Corinthians 10:4).
On Sunday, July 2, this writer shared with you chapter 2 of the Book of Daniel, which describes King Nebuchadnezzar having a dream of an enormous statue. The statue was smashed to pieces in one strike by a rock not cut by human hands, and was swept away by the wind without leaving a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain that filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:35). This prophetic dream tells us that dynastic kingdoms and sovereign authorities on earth are constantly being replaced. History has proven that, from the Babylonian Empire, to Media-Persia, to Greece, to Rome, and all the way to the present, nations and regimes are always in flux. But in the end God will abolish all earthly kingdoms and replace it with one that will never be defeated and never superseded, and that is the Kingdom in which Christ will be Monarch on earth. This dream was a great comfort to the captured and exiled Jews of the time, for God would eventually establish another kingdom and relieve them of the pain of national destruction. By the time of Christ, those Jews who understood the prophesy of Daniel chapter 2 were probably more consumed with when the Kingdom of God would arrive, since according to historical development, it had progressed to the period of the statue¡¦s legs and feet, that is, the Roman Empire. Therefore, Jews of that era were eager for the manifestation of the Kingdom of God, such as Simeon (Luke 2:25), the prophetess Anna (Luke 2:38), the Pharisees (Luke 17:20), and Nicodemus (John 3:3). Even the apostles, just before Christ¡¦s ascension, asked Him if He would restore the kingdom to Israel at that time (Acts 1:6).
The Jews¡¦ hope that a king would be raised from the descendents of David to lead them against their enemies and restore their kingdom were based on God¡¦s covenant delivered through the prophet Jeremiah ¡V ¡§¡¦The days are coming,¡¦ declares the Lord, ¡¥when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.¡¦¡¨ (Jeremiah 23:5-6) Yet when Jesus first arrived, the Jews repeatedly refused to accept this precious stone, known as the ¡§Spiritual Rock¡¨ (1 Corinthians 10:4). Although the Lord used miracles and admonitions to inform the Jews that He was the Christ established by God and the King prophesied by the Law and all the prophets, they still refused to believe, and even rejected Him and nailed Him to the cross. Just as Peter said, ¡§As you come to him, the living Stone¡Xrejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him¡KNow to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ¡¥The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.¡¦¡¨ (1 Peter 2:4,7)
The nation of Israel that had been destroyed for 2,500 years was restored on May 14, 1948. At the conclusion of their declaration of founding of the nation there is this phrase ¡V ¡§In the Rock of Israel we trust¡¨. The writer of course hopes that the Israelites will, in the end, truly acknowledge and rely on this Rock of Salvation, that is Jesus Christ. But according to the prophesy in the Bible, when the whole household of Israel finally acknowledges that Christ is that stone not cut by human hands, that will be the time of His Second Coming.
¡§The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!¡¨ (Psalm 18:46)
By: Daniel To
Peace Evangelical Church of Richmond Vancouver
July 16, 2006