BIBLE STUDY SERIES #248, 249 and 250

18 August, 1996

BETHEL - PART IV, ANOINTED STONE

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

For the last three programmes, we have temporarily digressed from our ongoing successive studies of the Genesis, Exodus and now the Levitical accounts of the Old Testament in order to review some information taken from a 1991 series dealing with the Bethel Stone, called Jacob's Pillow. This digression was deemed topical due to the recent announcement of British Government plans to return the Coronation Stone from Westminster Abbey to Scotland from whence it was wrested 700 years ago by Edward I of England. After we have finished our examination of this matter, we plan to return to pick up our regular succession of Scripture passages.

On our last programme, we were considering the magnificent witness which was afforded to those of succeeding generations by the simple block of stone which formed the pillow upon which Jacob had rested his head, on that night when he saw the vision of the ladder stretching to heaven. This vision was shown to him as he slept, in the neighbourhood of the Canaanite city called Luz, at a spot which Jacob called Bethel, a word which means "House of God". However, we must remember that it was specifically the stone upon which his head had rested on the night of the glorious vision that Jacob termed "Bethel" or "House of God". Genesis 28:22 quotes Jacob's words: "And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house...".

On the night of this vision, Jacob had been following a route back to Haran, to obtain a wife from among the young women of his mother's family, in compliance with his parents' wishes, and it appears that in doing this, he was retracing the route by which Abraham, his grandfather had first entered the Promised Land, having come from that direction.

Thus, when Jacob encamped for the night at Bethel, he was choosing a spot which had already been hallowed as the site of an act of worship many years before, for Abraham had encamped between Bethel and Hai at the time when he was a stranger in the land. Genesis 12:8 tells us that between Bethel and Hai, Abraham had built an altar, and had there expressed his worship to God. Perhaps that act of devotion had taken place on this very spot upon which Jacob now lay. Certainly it happened very close to this location.

Geological surveys have recorded the presence of sandstones at a number of localities in Palestine, and a peculiar calcareous sandstone occurs a few miles from Bethel. This point is important because a false statement, has circulated quite widely for some time, to the effect that only limestones occur in that area of the Holy Land.

This sandstone, found not far from Bethel, is of a type which is stated to match that of the Coronation Stone now resting in Westminster Abbey, in London, England. Back in 1950, when Scottish nationalists stole the Coronation stone from the Abbey, and spirited it back to Scotland, it was broken into two segments. When the stone was being repaired, in order to supply structural strength at the point of the break, a Scottish stonemason is stated to have inserted copper pipe. Chips of the stone had, perforce, to be removed for the insertion of this pipe, and these became available for microscopic geological comparison with samples of stone from the Bethel area. We are told that they matched so well that they might reasonably have originally come from the same stone!

But now let us return to the Biblical scene. Jacob, upon rising the next morning after receiving that vision, had poured oil on the rock which had lain beneath his head. This is an outstanding event in Biblical history. It was this same rock of Bethel which evidence shows to have travelled with the Children of Israel in a later generation, throughout the Exodus from Egypt.

There might be something more to say about that anointed rock. That stone was apparently carried from place to place on the wilderness journey, and we find St. Paul, in I Corinthians 10:1-4 using it as a symbol of the presence of Jesus Christ with His people. There may even be a more complete symbolic connection in the matter than is generally realised. As the stone passed from place to place with the Israelites, it may well have been a prophetic symbol for Christ's presence with Israel historically, down through their generations; even on through the subsequent Christian dispensation.

Let us re-examine the two occasions upon which Moses struck the rock in the wilderness, for it appears that these hold immense significance for us today. The first occasion was at Horeb, by Mount Sinai, under God's command, and it related to the giving of The Law. The second was at Kadesh at the nearest gateway to the Promised Land, and it seems to be related to the entry of Israel into that place as their inheritance. The second time, Moses was simply commanded, you may remember, to speak to the rock. Thus it would bring forth water for the people. Moses struck the rock on that second occasion, which was a transgression of God's injunction as it broke the symbolism intended by the simple act of speaking to the rock.

If the transgression embodied in the act of striking the rock a second time was of sufficient importance that this sin disbarred Moses from entry to the Promised Land, then the intent of the symbol must have very great significance too.

Let us take another look at this whole matter, for we may see in the two occasions, at which the Rock brought forth water, symbols of the two occasions of especial inter-action between Christ and His people, namely, the First and Second Advents.

Let us consider the matter of the Rock acting as a source of water for God's people. You may remember that Christ, in John 4, had come to Sychar, a city of Samaria, "near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph". "Now Jacob's well was there", we are told. What more appropriate spot could Christ have chosen at which to teach a great truth concerning Himself and this matter of water, which so clearly parallels those occasions when water issued from Jacob's Pillow.

Christ was speaking to the woman at Jacob's Well; a woman who had asked Jesus if he was greater than "our father Jacob...". Jesus replied in these words: "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life".

While we will have further to say concerning the parallel themes in this sequel of the incident when Christ came and sat on Jacob's Well in Samaria and the occasion whereon Yahweh (Jehovah) stood upon the rock, which we understand to have been Jacob's Pillow Stone, or Bethel, next week, I might, in closing, briefly draw attention to the parallels. Both the Stone and Jesus Christ were anointed, hence the Greek word "christ", which we translate "anointed", is suitably applicable as a descriptive to both. The woman who came to draw water at Jacob's well in Samaria could equate to Israel, seeking water in Sinai, and the actual source of the water which flowed from the smitten rock, Jacob's Pillow, in Sinai, forms a parallel when we read that Jesus explained to the woman that He was the source of "living water." The location of Jacob's Well in Samaria was in the parcel of ground which had been assigned to Joseph's tribe when the tribes of Israel entered the Promised Land, while Joseph, in Genesis 49:24, had been designated by the aged Patriarch, Jacob, "The Shepherd, the Stone of Israel." The parallels are too numerous and too striking to have been brought about by chance. We can see here that the Sinai experience of the children of Israel was being enacted as a form of historic prophecy concerning great spiritual truths which are thus displayed for the instruction and benefit of subsequent generations of our people.

As I have stated on previous occasions, we of the British-Israel-World Federation, regard the Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples of the world today as the modern expression of the prophesied nation and company of nations which The Almighty promised would descend from the loins of those ancient Biblical patriarchs and the tribal assembly of Israel. While the majority of those who descend from the tribes of ancient Israel may not yet be aware of their heritage and responsibility, nor of the significance of this stone, called by a succession of names as Jacob's Pillow, Bethel, Lia Fail, Stone of Destiny, Stone of Scone and Coronation Stone, nevertheless, we believe that not much time will elapse before they are given a veritable trumpet call to awake to these truths, and to put on righteousness both individually and nationally. We would prayerfully advocate that due consideration be allowed to these matters before it is too late to participate within the purposes of The Almighty. May these truths form a prominent part of your meditations during the coming week, and may you find blessing in that process.

25 August, 1996

BETHEL - PART V, "DOWN THE CENTURIES"

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our ongoing series of regular Bible Studies, which we started several years ago with God's Call to Abram in Genesis 12, and to which we intend to return on our next programme, has been laid aside temporarily during the last few weeks while we take up an examination of the very topical subject of The Coronation Stone, which was removed from Scotland seven hundred years ago to Westminster Abbey in London, England. We were reviewing that set of lessons which pertained to the account of Jacob's Pillow, found in Genesis 28, and which were originally delivered towards the end of 1991.

Jacob's Stone, or rock, was indeed a symbolic "type", standing for Jesus Christ, for St. Paul definitely states this in I Corinthians 10:4, saying "that Rock was Christ".

Just as the Rock was anointed with oil by Jacob, so Jesus was "The Anointed", for the very word "Christ" means "anointed". Scripture certainly affirms that Jesus was indeed "The Anointed". We can confirm it if we look up Acts 4:26-27. After hearing the report of Peter and John upon their release by the council, the company of believers expressed their thanksgiving in a Psalm. They quoted the Psalmist where he speaks of the rulers being gathered together "against the Lord and against his Christ". In the next verse, Christ is described as "thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed".

In Acts 10:38, Peter, speaking to the household of Cornelius, said that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power...". John 12:3, speaks of an occasion wherein Jesus was physically anointed. "Then took Mary a pound of ointment, of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair...".

A passage wherein Jesus Himself makes the claim to be The Lord's anointed is found in Luke 4:18. Here, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord...". Then Jesus says "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears...".

Just as Jacob called the stone "God's House", a term which can mean God's Temple, Jesus spoke of his body as "This Temple" in John 2:19-21. You may remember the circumstance. Challenged by the Jews to produce a sign and thus to demonstrate His authority to cast out the money changers from the temple, Christ replied:

19. ...Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21. But he spake of the temple of his body.

In Matthew 26:61 and Mark 14:58, this same saying, misunderstood, was quoted by false witnesses at His trial, and by those who reviled Him as He hung on the Cross, as shown in Matthew 27:40 and Mark 15:29.

St. Paul extends that temple symbol in several passages to Israelites who submit themselves to Christ. I Cor. 10:1-5 shows us that this epistle is addressed to Israelites, and in I Corinthians 3:17, Paul writes thus: "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are". He reinforces this in I Corinthians 6:19, "What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you...".

In II Corinthians 6:16, Paul again returns to this theme, saying: "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people".

In Ephesians 2:20-22, Paul says they "are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit".

We read of a Masonic tradition that Jacob's Pillow stone had been considered and rejected by the builders of Solomon's temple. This would accord with Christ's words in Matthew 21:42, where He quoted Psalm 118:22-23, to remind those who rejected Him that: "The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner...".

Just as St. Paul told members of Christ's Israelitish church that they were parts of His temple, so the sandstone block of the Coronation Stone is composed of sand grains, answering to the promise given to Jacob that his seed would be numerous as the dust of the earth in Genesis 28:14. Curiously, even the colour of the Coronation Stone, a "purplish-red", comprises the colour combination symbolic of royalty and of blood!

The Rock, if we accept that identification with the Coronation Stone which I have suggested, was slung on a supporting pole by iron rings stapled into its extremities. Was it not also on a pole or "stake", fastened by iron spikes through His extremities, that Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree?

Stone Of Israel Painting"Stone Of Israel" Oil Painting by Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A. © 1986

Even the dimensions of the Coronation Stone's extreme measurements lead us to certain peculiarly significant numeric considerations which have been diagrammed and outlined in a small booklet which I have prepared. The thirty-first edition of The Westminster Abbey Guide, printed in 1950, gives the dimensions of the Stone thus: length 26 3/4 inches, width 16 3/4 inches and depth of 10 3/4 inches. Thus, rounded off, the areas of the surfaces of a geometric box which would contain the stone would be 448, 288 and 180 square inches. Long recognized meanings are assigned to the numbers 5 (Grace), 6 (Sin or Human Effort), 7 (God's Perfection), and 8 (Jesus Christ). We find that these numbers, when multiplied in certain simple combinations, yield the same amounts as those surface areas. With this in view, we can observe symbolic meanings which can be stated as follows: 8 x 8 x 7 = 448: Christ is God (John 10:30), 8 x 6 x 6 = 288, Christ is made Sin for us (II Corinthians 5:21), and 5 x 6 x 6 = 180, Christ's Grace covers our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5)! All surfaces of the geometric container together would total 1832 square inches, which, if divided by 12, the number of perfection in Government, yields a result which rounds to 153, the number of The Great Fish in the net, (John 21:11) an indicator of The Elect!

According to the legends which accompany the Coronation Stone, it was taken to Ireland from the eastern Mediterranean area. According to one account this was done by Jeremiah the Prophet who brought a Princess there from the Zedekiah branch of the destroyed monarchy of ancient Judah; she being the remaining seed-royal of that line. Such a charge would accord with the "building and planting" aspect of his task as prophesied in Jeremiah 1:10. Jeremiah and the "king's daughters", as we find in Jeremiah 43:5-7, were taken to Egypt after Nebuchadnezzar had taken Judah and so the account has the support of some Biblical evidence. When they arrived in Ireland, according to this account, a marriage joined this Judah monarchy to that of the chief king of Ireland, and there, at Tara, the Stone was called "Wonderful Stone", or "Lia Fail", the "Stone of Destiny", and it became the Coronation Stone of Irish Kings. Other sources, also apparently conscious of the general origin and significance of the Stone, give its passage from Egypt to Spain under one, Gathelus, son of Neulus, a Greek. Gathelus, it is said, went to Egypt at the time of the Exodus where he married Scota, the daughter of the Pharaoh, and came with her into Spain from which land a descendant called Simon Breck, brought the Stone to Ireland. A royal princess of the monarchy in Judah could well be termed a "daughter of Pharaoh" if under his protection and, although the actual time of the transfer would thus require elucidation this may hint at a basic truth connecting the legendary accounts.

Subsequently transported from Ireland to the Island of Iona off the coast of Scotland, the Stone there resided for some time before being moved to Dunstaffnage on the Scottish mainland. A descendant of the Irish monarchy, Fergus was the first King of the Scots in Scotland, and brought the Stone over to that land for his coronation. Later Kenneth MacAlpin, the last of these kings, conquered the Picts and brought the Stone to Scone in Scotland to serve its customary function, that of marking the coronations of the royal descendants of those earlier monarchs. While on Iona, by one account, Saint Columba is said to have died resting his head on this stone. He died on Sunday, 9th June, 597 A.D., the same year, as it happens, that St. Augustine arrived in the south of England to contest for the Roman brand of Christianity in Kent.

At Scone the Stone was named "The Stone of Scone." Edward I of England claimed it for England in a vain attempt to suppress the Scottish zeal for independence. It thus received another name, becoming simply "The Coronation Stone" in Westminster Abbey. It is the "Witness Stone" to God's faithfulness in bringing to pass the promises given to the Patriarch, Jacob, so many centuries ago. It would thus be most appropriately the throne to which Jesus Christ must return to fulfil the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary in the Annunciation. "He (The Lord God) shall give unto Him the throne of His father, David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever." We shall continue our regular series of studies next week.

1 September, 1996

PRIESTLY MINISTRATION

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Recently, in the news, we have been told that The British Government plans to remove The Coronation Stone, which, for some seven hundred years has been kept in Westminster Abbey, back to Scotland from whence it was taken by Edward I of England. As the subject has thus received some publicity with a consequent revival of interest, we have, for the last five broadcasts, been digressing in order to review some material from our 1991 lessons relating to The Coronation Stone, or, as it has also been called, Jacob's Pillow, The Stone of Bethel, Stone of Destiny, Lia Fail, and Stone of Scone. Attention given to this interesting topic has, however, interrupted our regular course of lessons which began several years ago, and to which we are returning with this present talk.

Our ongoing series of Bible Studies has led down the centuries from the Call of Abram to the gathering of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses has received the instructions regarding the construction of The Tabernacle, and the preparation of the service of the Priesthood within the nation. Prior to the recent digression, we had just arrived at the end of Leviticus 8, thus concluding a seven-chapter examination of various God-given instructions regarding the circumstances under which certain types of sacrificial offerings would be presented with the nature of the attendant rituals for the performance of each sacrifice, and a chapter regarding the ritual of priestly induction into office.

The three chapters, Leviticus 8-10 form a group to which one-word descriptions have been applied in The Companion Bible. We saw that to Leviticus 8 was applied the word Consecration, to 9, Ministration, and to 10, Transgression. We are now approaching the second of these three chapters, Leviticus 9, and it is from that source that the title for today's talk has been taken. We are reading the first portion of that chapter and, as is my usual custom, I shall be inserting some comments as we read. Seven days have now been accomplished in the process of consecration of Aaron and his sons, thus leading to the reference to the eighth day in the first verse.

1. And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
2. And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD.

The words "before the LORD" indicate, according to The Companion Bible, "before the door of the tent of meeting", and in the next verse we see that at this point, "Aaron is now to give the orders about the sacrifices." The first sacrifice is to cover the sins of Aaron and his sons themselves, and after that, the second sacrifice is for the sins of the children of Israel, followed by a burnt offering to indicate complete dedication, and then a peace offering to enjoy a sense of thanksgiving and fellowship with The LORD. The New Bible Commentary notes that "The whole congregation is brought together to stand before the Lord (5) so that the Lord may appear unto them and manifest His glory... as a sign of His approval and ratification of everything that has been done... ." It continues "It is to be noted, however, that the order followed here is apparently the regular, and we may say the logical, order for the offerings - sin, burnt, peace offering. Thus the three basic ideas are emphasized: first atonement for sin, then dedication and consecration of life, and finally communion with God in the eucharistic meal. The Commentary adds a further note regarding Leviticus 14:10-14 where "the order of the offerings of the cleansed leper is trespass offering (12-18), sin offering (19), burnt offering and meal offering (20). Cf. xiv. 21-32 where the same order is prescribed. This would indicate that the trespass offering, which involved restitution, if offered came first of all, preceding even the sin offering."

3. And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering;
4. Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meat offering mingled with oil: for to day the LORD will appear unto you.

Those words concerning the appearance of the LORD indicate, according to The Companion Bible note, that The LORD will "manifest Himself in a special manner."

5. And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.
6. And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.
7. And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.
8. Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
9. And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar:
10. But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses.
11. And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.

Remember that, while the hide would belong to the officiating priest if the offering was given on behalf of another, the priest could not partake of any of the offering which was being made on behalf of himself, hence even the hide, in this case, had to be burnt.

12. And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.
13. And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.
14. And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.
15. And he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.
16. And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.
17. And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
18. He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about,
19. And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver:
20. And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:
21. And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.
22. And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.

Here, the priest's portion of the offering made on behalf of the people was waved, that is, presented to The Almighty, from Whom, by the symbolic motion of waving, it was received again by the priest.

23. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.
24. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

As we are approaching the end of today's study, may I leave with you some thoughts for meditation. Why was such strict adherence to the form of ritual required? Once again, we see that there is symbolism in every detail of the Old Testament ritual which God commanded to be performed by the children of Israel so long ago, and, as St. Paul explained in I Corinthians 10:11, "Now all these things happened unto them (that is, the Israelites who passed through the Exodus experience) for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." So we, in this Christian dispensation, (and this ought to apply especially to those who are the Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred descendants of ancient Israel), are to learn from these events which Scripture records. We are to see that our relationship with The Almighty is through the Great Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on The Cross, but the Old Testament sacrificial teachings explain how our lives must relate to God through that Sacrifice. May these considerations continue to instruct us as we contemplate the Levitical details laid before our ancestors so long ago.

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