“Jews Were a Stiffnecked People”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

The stumblings and fall of the Jewish people in general are clarified. Some of the Jews “despised the words of plainness” and even killed their source of those plain truths, the prophets. Consequently, they became spiritually blinded. Elder Neal A. Maxwell observed that the Jews were “‘looking beyond the mark’ (Jacob 4:14)—the mark of Christ, who is at the center of it all.” 11 So “the mark” was the Messiah, and many of them are still looking beyond him. They continue to stumble and fall because they “reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation.” The apostle Paul said Christ became their stumbling block rather than their foundation stone (1 Corinthians 1:22–23). The stone, or the rock, is “the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build.” Helaman later testified, “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; … which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12). Christ, the Redeemer, becomes for the Jews, and for all people, either a stone of building or a stone of stumbling, either a rock of salvation or a rock of offense (Isaiah 8:14 [2 Nephi 18:14]; 1 Peter 2:8). He is the “head of [our] corner,” our “chief corner stone … in whom all [our] building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:20–21).

The imagery of the cornerstone was so pervasive and of such significance in Israelite-Jewish culture that it forms the core of the great Hallel (Psalms 113–18), sung by Jews at Passover (Psalm 118:22; Mark 14:26). Jesus used it in his teachings (Matthew 21:42–44), and Peter referenced it as well (Acts 4:10–12).

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1