Thursday, February 5, 2009
Thinking about stones Part 1
Stones in the scriptures have numerous symbolic lessons to teach us.
Stones are closely associated with covenant making. The 10 commandments were written on tablets of stone, and Christ, our covenant head, is called the Stone of Israel; and yet he continues to be a stone of stumbling to many Jews. We know the importance of cornerstones in Temples and we can remember that Joseph Smith taught us that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. Satan tempted Jesus by challenging him to turn stones into bread. The stone seen by Daniel cut out 'not by human hands' is the one which will finally destroy the wicked kingdoms of the world. Lehi built an altar of stones to give thanks for deliverance. David gathered five smooth stones before his battle with Goliath.
Stones were also used as an educational tool. The Lord instructed Joshua to have a representative from each of the twelve tribes take a stone from a riverbed (where a miracle had just taken place) and to pile them together so that "When your children ask their fathers in time to come saying, 'What mean ye by these stones?...' these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.
It is interesting that the sentence, 'What mean ye by these stones?' can also be translated from the Hebrew as, 'What do these stones mean to you?' This last question offered the father an opportunity to bear a personal witness of the Lord's involvement in his own life and to teach his child to seek and expect similar experiences.