A ministry of stones


    The expression "stone tablets" in 2 Corinthians 3:3 aptly typifies the coldness and inflexibility of those ritualistic laws, eager to punish and heap more and more damnation on the human kind. 
What a contrast with Christ’s principles, etched on the “fleshy tablets” of the heart!

    The law etched on the stone tablets is referred to by Paul as the
"ministry
of death and condemnation" in 2 Corinthians 3:7 to 9.  Verse 7 of this text says that there was a certain “glory” in that ministry, which reflected in the face of Moses, but this was only transitory.  Unhappy with the radiance which was fading, Moses put a veil over his face before the glory faded completely, so that no-one should contemplate his ultimate condition.

    Paul continues to explain, in verse 13 of the text, that those who are under this Law have, like Moses, a veil of shame over them, enabling them to deny the reality that the New Testament is replacing the Old.


    The sacrificial Law of the Old Testament was aimed basically at individual morality, but allowed justice with vengeance and punishment. The Law of Jesus in the New Testament is aimed at molding character with a view to forgiveness and full regeneration.

 

 

Stone tablets
 

    "For you are clearly a letter of Christ, the fruit of our work, recorded not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.

    Who has made us able to be servants of a New Covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    For if the operation of the law, giving death, recorded in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the eyes of the children of Israel had to be turned away from the face of Moses because of its glory, a glory which was only for a time; will not the operation of the Spirit have a much greater glory?

    For if the ministry that condemns men and produces punishment had its glory, how much greater will be the operation of the Spirit causing righteousness? For the glory of the first no longer seems to be glory, because of the greater glory of that which comes after. For if the order which was for a time had its glory, much more will the eternal order have its glory.

    And are not like Moses, who put a veil on his face to keep the israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made hard: for to this very day at the reading of the old testament the same veil is still unlifted; because only in Christ is it taken away.

    But to this day, at the reading of the law of Moses, a veil is over their heart. But when it is turned to the Lord, the veil will be taken away
" (2 Corinthians 3:3 to 16).




Punishment by stoning
 

    Stones were present in the Old Covenant, not only like "tablets of stone", but also in many  punishments by stoning (Leviticus 20:1 to 27; 24:13 to 23) and that fact confirms that the Old Testament can be called a "stone ministry".

    On one occasion, a woman caught in the act of adultery was taken to Jesus by the Pharisees with the aim of trying to trap him.  As we read in John 8:4, according to Law, the punishment for adultery was stoning to death.

   
In John 8:3 tol 6 it is written...
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"

    They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
If Jesus authorized stoning, he would be going against all the principles of his teachings. On the other hand, if he did not authorize this punishment, he would be going against the Law by failing to enforce it.

    He wisely proposed that the person without sin should cast the first stone. Since no one was able to claim in all conscience to be without sin, the woman escaped death. 

    Jesus would be the only one able to stone the woman, for
he was without sin, but He did not because his aim was to save her, not to destroy her.  Then Jesus says to her, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).


    Even Stephen, the martyr who revealed that the law of Old Testament had been brought by implacable angels commanded by Jehovah, and not by the true God (Acts 7:30, 35, 38 and 53; Galatians 3:19), was killed by stoning (Acts 7:54 to 59).


    At this time, Paul was a harsh Pharisee, disciple of Jehovah, and on that score he gave total approval to the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1).

 




The living stone and solid rock
 

    In the same way that stones tablets and punishment by stoning relate to the Old Covenant, a special rock and living stone relate to the New Covenant, for Jesus said that the wise man built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24) and that rock is Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:4 to 8).
 

 

    Jesus is the precious cornerstone rejected by the builders (Jews) but it has become the capstone.

    Jews stand beside the "Wailing Wall" build up from inert stones, waiting for the Messiah that had already come.

    They don't recognize that their faith is not established in the "solid rock", who is the Son of God Father.

    They are blind to see that the Old Testament became obsolete (Hebrews 8:13) and useless (Hebrews 7:18).

    They put their written wishes in the gaps between the stone blocks of the Wall in the hope of being forgiven by a god that can't however help them to salvation.

    "Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone", as it is written in Romans 8:31 and 32.

 

     
     

back to index