REVIEW: "The Stone and the Glory of Israel”
Title: The Stone and the Glory of Israel: An Invitation for the Jewish People to Meet their Messiah
Author: Greg Harris
Publisher: Kress Biblical Publishing
Year: 15 February 2016
Available: $14.99 on Amazon
Length: 224 pages
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
The Stone and the Glory of Israel is written by a Dr. Gregory Harris, former Professor of Bible Exposition and head of the Bible Exposition department at The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, California. In this brief (yet no less worthy) volume, Dr. Harris takes it upon himself to trace the many prophecies which speak to the promised Messiah, beginning in the Torah, continuing on through the Prophets, and forging ahead into the New Testament Gospels and Epistles.
While containing a vast multitude of verses and references retrieved from every corner of the Bible, The Stone is primarily founded upon this particular passage, which the interested observer can find in Psalm 118:22-26a:
“The Stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O LORD, do save, we beseech Thee; O LORD, we beseech Thee, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.”
The overarching intent for this work is simple enough: the promised Seed of Abraham, the righteous Branch of David, the Stone of Israel — spoken of throughout the OT Scriptures — is, beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt, the very One proclaimed by the Twelve Apostles: even the crucified Christ, upon whom rests the entirety of the NT writings.
At the conclusion of Chapter One: The Stone, Dr. Harris clearly states this aim with the following words:
“So, come, let us find these 'Stone Prophecies' that God [has] put in His Word. Beginning with the double blessing portion to Joseph in Genesis 49 and continuing from there, let us see what these mean, and why God calls us to read and receive these promises—and His Shepherd, the Stone of Israel, sent from the Mighty One of Jacob to the twelve tribes in the last days, who will also rule over the entire world.”
With this one focus at the forefront of all his thought, Dr. Harris does just that: using Genesis 49 as the bedrock for all subsequent passages, he fashions a glorious tapestry, weaving together and presenting innumerable selections of Scripture, many of which are often completely passed over or disregarded as unnoteworthy in the daily reading of many professing Christians — all speaking with respect to the Stone (Isa. 8:11-15; Dan. 2:31-35; Zech. 3:8-9) or the Rock (Ps. 18:1-2; Isa. 44:8); and consequently, how the Christ of the New Testament perfectly fulfilled all that was written beforehand.
In the course of this journey, Dr. Harris faithfully expounds upon the full purpose of God’s divine revelation concerning His promised Seed, leaving no stone unturned, and paving the way for the reader to uncover the magnificent plan ordained by the Father for His chosen nation of Israel.
Under close examination, the premise — and the promise of that premise — holds up quite capably, and inevitable detractors will be hard-pressed to form any rational (not to mention coherent) response. Fellow students of the Word will be forced to concur likewise on this point.
Moreover, it ought to be made abundantly clear that one of this book’s strengths (specifically its clear argumentation) is manifested primarily through its careful and logical presentation of the Scriptures. Indeed, although Dr. Harris has wrought his own defences admirably, his success chiefly derives itself from allowing the all-inspired Word of God to speak on its own behalf. At the end of the day, Scripture truly is sufficient and wholly adequate for every task set before it!
Not only is the prose intelligible for the common man, but The Stone and the Glory of Israel is systematic, well-reasoned, and theologically sound. It serves not only as a remarkable and worthwhile invitation to God’s chosen people to encounter their long-awaited Messiah, but is also profitable for all persons seeking to grow in the knowledge of God’s ultimate sovereignty and supremacy over the devices of fallen men.
By that same token, the following point must be stressed: the implications of the Stone-motif go beyond merely academic circles and stretch deep into everyday life. What benefit, one might ask — beyond basic knowledge or awareness — does such a work have for ordinary folk? Well, for one, it further confirms and substantiates the real necessity of the New Testament to be viewed for what it is: a direct (and very deliberate) extension of God’s revelation to mankind, begun in the OT Scriptures and continued on through the Gospels and Epistles.
And two, the person of the Messiah as He relates to the Stone of Israel cannot be separated from the person and work of Christ upon the Cross. They are two sides to the same coin, and both cannot exist without the other. Jesus Christ is the singular thread that holds both halves together in perfect consonance and harmony.
In short, The Stone is the perfect starting point for those persons seeking to properly evangelize to the Jewish nation, by providing the definitive case that the Christ of the NT writings is the perfect fulfillment of all the OT prophecies.
Therefore, to the Jew and Gentile alike, we have this to say: the promised Seed of Abraham, the Stone of Israel, and the sure Rock of David was born of a virgin two-thousand years ago. He lived a sinless life all His days on this earth, doing that of which no man is capable, and was offered up by His own people as a sacrifice for the sins of men. Hanging from a tree, this Jesus of Nazareth was condemned by the just Judge of the universe in place of the wicked, and slaughtered upon the slopes of Calvary.
But in accordance with what was prophesied in ages past, the Christ they once crucified rose in power and dominion from the tomb in which He was laid. Having conquered death forever, He is now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, clothed in glory and majesty from on high. And there is salvation in no one else but Jesus Christ; for there is no name under Heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
So, to you, Dear Reader, I give an unreserved admonition: read now this pithy publication, and you will find yourself both heartened and illumined!