II. A STONE AS A FOUNDATION, A TESTED STONE,
AND A PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE
Isaiah 28:16 says, "Therefore thus says / The Lord Jehovah: / Behold, I lay a stone in Zion as a foundation, / A tested stone, / A precious cornerstone as a foundation firmly established; / He who believes will not hasten away." Christ, who is our glory and our beauty, is also a stone in many aspects. He is a stone laid by God in Zion.
This stone is a foundation firmly established for God’s building in Israel. We can enjoy Christ as such a firmly established foundation today. With the worldly people who do not believe in Christ, everything is fading. This is because they do not have Christ as a stone, a foundation, on which to stand. As Christians, we have Christ as a crown upon our heads and as a rock under our feet. This rock is firmly established for God’s building among His people.
Christ is a tested stone which has been tried and which is trustworthy. Christ as a stone was tested during the thirty-three and a half years of His human life. From the time that He became a man, He was tested every day of His earthly life, and He had no failure. He is perfect, complete, solid, and strong. He is fully qualified to be our foundation because He has been tested.
According to Isaiah 28:16, he who believes in this tried and trustworthy stone "will not hasten away." The King James Version renders this portion as "shall not make haste." Darby says in a note that this can be translated as "shall not hasten with fear." This can also mean "will not hurry in panic." Christ is a trustworthy stone, and we believe in Him. Whatever happens to us, we do not need to be in haste or in panic. We can be at peace. The worldly people, even including Christians who do not trust the Lord so much, are always in haste, in panic, whenever something happens to them. In their haste they do not know what they should do.
I would like to share a little more about my experience of the Lord as the tested stone when the invading Japanese army arrested me about fifty years ago. Two men from the Japanese military police came to the meeting hall to see me early on Monday morning. I had been there only a few minutes. They came to know that I always went to the hall to do my work from eight to noon. I welcomed them to my study room, which was upstairs in the meeting hall. I was not hastening away in panic, in fear. Instead, I was steady. They told me that they wanted me to come to their headquarters. I agreed to go with them and presented them a small pocket version of the entire Bible. That Bible became a help to me when they interrogated me later. When I went with them, I asked a brother in the hall to please tell my wife that I was going to the military police headquarters. I was imprisoned by them for thirty days. They examined me twice a day, and each session lasted about three hours. I was always under their threatening.
One day one of them asked me why we called our conferences "revival conferences." I replied that we did this because our church does everything according to the Bible. He asked me this because they suspected that I was doing a work for the Nationalist government to revive the Chinese people. In China at that time, those in Christianity used a word meaning endeavoring; only we used the word revival. After I told him that we do everything according to the Bible, he asked me if the matter of revival was in the Bible. When I said "yes," he took the small Bible I had given them as a gift, threw it to me, and said, "Show me where it is." Under the Lord’s sovereignty, I opened the Bible to the very page of Habakkuk 3:2, where Habakkuk prays, "O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years."
(Life-Study of Isaiah, Chapter 43, by Witness Lee)