Recently, a keen Biblical enthusiast visited me, noticing the mention of stones several times in the Bible. From the Old Testament to the new one, he realized that stones were used in different contexts. He was confused and wanted an interpretation of this. Since I come from a family of evangelists and have been in the ministry for 15 years, I sat down with my uncle to answer the query, what does stone symbolize in the Bible?
In Matthew 21:42-43, the stone mentioned symbolizes Jesus Christ. According to the verse, Jesus Christ is said as the stone that had been rejected by the builders but had finally become the cornerstone. Jesus had yet to be received well in his ministry, especially by the people from his hometown of Nazareth. However, He still had a massive following of people interested in his word and the Kingdom of God. Jesus, therefore, warned those who had rejected him and his word that it was being consumed by those who thirsted for the kingdom of God and that anyone who tried to go against the word would be crushed.
I welcome you to this article as I delve into the topic of stones in the Bible. I will look at the different Bible verses where stones have been mentioned and discuss what the stone represents in the Bible. I will also look at the different ways the stones were used in the Bible and discuss the significance of the 12 stones in the Old Testament. Furthermore, I will discuss the symbolic meanings of stones in the Bible. Read to the end to learn more about stones and their use in the Bible.
Where are stones mentioned in the Bible?
In Joshua 4:20-24, God miraculously made the Jordan River dry up to allow the children of Israel to pass through, and Joshua asked them to pick 12 of the stones found at the river bed of Jordan. These 12 stones, representing the 12 tribes, were set up at Gilgal, and Joshua wanted the people of God to remind the generations to come of the mighty works of God of drying up the River Jordan and allowing them to pass through.
In Ezekiel 28, Lucifer gets mocked for his fall out of the Garden of Eden, where he resided among the most precious stones that God had made. The stones mentioned include diamond, beryl, Onyx, and Jasper.
In Isaiah 28:16, God says He has laid a foundation in Zion, a tested precious stone that whoever believes in would be saved. The stone being spoken about is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was sent to die for our sins.
1 Peter 2:4 mentions people coming to the stone that was rejected by men but had absolute favor in the eyes of God. Despite not believing in Jesus Christ in the first place, some people are finally seen accepting his word and following the commandments of God.
Ezekiel 36:26 talks about the promise of God to change the hearts of His people from being stones to being fleshy and ready to receive His word. The hearts of stone do not receive the word of God positively, but the fleshy ones are receptive to the word.
In 1 Peter 2:8, Jesus is said to be a stumbling stone. People who disobey the word of God are said to stumble whenever they experience his mighty presence. The only way to avoid stumbling is by listening to his word and following the commandments successfully.
In Exodus 34:1, God commands Moses to cut himself two stones from a tablet, upon which He writes the Ten Commandments for the Israelites to follow. Moses had broken the first stone tablet before making the second one.
In Mark 16:3, the three women who used to anoint Jesus were standing outside the tomb on the third day after the death of Jesus, wondering who would roll the stone away to allow them in. They could not move the heavy stone away from the temple to anoint the body of Jesus Christ.
In Joshua 8:32, Joshua is recorded copying the laws of Moses on some stones in the presence of Israelites.
In 2 Chronicles 9:9, the queen of Sheba visited King Solomon with gifts of gold, spices, and precious stones.
In Genesis 31:45-52, Jacob takes a stone and sets it as a pillar. He then asks his kinsmen to gather more stones, and they make a heap and share a meal.
2 Kings 19 talks about the pagan gods made of wood and stones, being destroyed in the fire since they were the works of men.
In Joshua 8:31, an altar of uncut stones where no man had wielded an iron tool is set up, and a burnt offering is offered to God on the altar.
In Mark 15:46, Joseph of Arimathea helps lay the body of Jesus in the tomb by rolling away the stone that had covered the place.
Genesis 49:24 refers to Jacob as the great Stone of Israel.
In 1 Chronicle 22:2, King David orders stone cutters to prepare dressed stones to build God’s house.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 talks about the punishment meted out on rebellious children of Israel according to the laws of Moses that entailed stoning them to death.
In 1 Chronicle 20:2, King David kills one of his enemy kings and notices a precious stone lodged in his crown.
In 1 Samuel 17:40, David picks five smooth stones and approaches the Philistine army led by Goliath.
In John 8, the Pharisees visit Jesus with an adulterous woman and challenge him to tell them whether the woman should be stoned to death as written in the laws of Moses. Jesus tells them that whoever has not sinned should be the first to cast the stone on the woman.
In Mark 5:5, Jesus Christ interacts with a demon-possessed man who is said to have been cutting himself with stones day and night.
In Matthew 4, Jesus fasts in the wilderness, where Satan first tempts him to turn stones into bread.
What does stone represent in the Bible?
The stone has been used to represent several entities in the Bible. The stone that David used in 1 Samuel 17:40 represents God’s divine power. David only had to throw it once at Goliath to kill him, showing that God’s power is sacred and can never fail.
In Genesis 49:24, the stone represents Jacob, the Great Stone of Israel. This is assumed to mean that God had chosen him as the foundation of His great nation of Israel.
The stone mentioned in 1 Peter 2:7 represents Jesus Christ, who was rejected by His people but found favor in the eyes of God. He is the only way to the Kingdom of God.
In Isaiah 28:16, the stone represents Jesus Christ, who is mentioned as the foundation set for Zion, the kingdom of God. He is said as a precious stone showing how much value he bears in the Kingdom of God.
Ezekiel 36:26 mentions stones that represent the hearts of people who have not been receiving the word of God well. God promises to change them to be receptive to His word.
How were stones used in the Bible?
Stones as a memorial monument
The stones in Joshua 4:20-24 were used to set up a memorial monument for the children of Israel. Having experienced the miracle of God drying up the river Jordan, Joshua commanded 12 people from each tribe of Israel to pick 12 stones from the riverbed, which they used to set up the monument in honor of God’s great doing.
Stones as material for writing
In Exodus 34:1, Moses is told God tells Moses to stones and make a tablet upon which the commandments were written. This reveals that stones were also used as writing materials in ancient Israel, where vital information would be written for remembrance.
Stones as coverings for the tomb
In Mark 16:3, three women are recorded to be outside the tomb of Jesus helpless because it was covered with a huge stone. Stones were, therefore, also used to cover tombs in ancient Israel.
Stones as gifts
In 2 Chronicles 9:9, precious stones have been used as gifts. The Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon and brought him gifts of spices, gold, and precious stones. In 1 Chronicles 29, King David offers gifts of precious stones like Onyx to God as an offering for his son Solomon who was about to take over as the king of Israel.
Stones as pillars
In Genesis 31:45-52, Jacob decided to honor his kinship with Laban, so he used stones to set up a pillar of remembrance at Gilgal, where they shared a meal. In Exodus 24:4, Moses sets up a pillar of 12 stones in honor of the 12 tribes of Israel after writing down the commandments of God.
Stones as idols
In 2 Kings 19:18, the stones have been used to make idols for the pagan Gods they worship while infuriating God.
Stones as altars for worshipping God
In Joshua 8:31, stones are used to make altars to offer God sacrifices. In this specific verse, the altar is made up of uncut stones. In 1 Kings 18:32-39, Elijah sets up an altar of stone to offer a sacrifice to God after challenging the prophets of Baal to a duel.
Stones as building materials for the house of God
In 1 Chronicle 22:2, stones are used in making the house of God. In this verse, King David orders stone cutters to carve out unique stones to make the temple of God.
Stones as weapons of delivering justice
In Deuteronomy 21:18-21, stones are used to mete out punishment on children who were rebellious to their parents. The parents would report them to the council of elders and surrender them there, where if found guilty, they would be stoned to death. In John 8, the Pharisees visit Jesus with an adulterous woman; they are ready to stone to death as the Law of Moses dictated. In Acts 7:54-60, Stephen is also stoned to death by people who considered His gospel untrue.
In 1 Samuel 17:40, stones are used as weapons. King David picks five stones and heads out to meet Goliath, a giant Philistine who used to torment the Israelites with the stones being his armory.
Stones as decorations to denote royalty
In 1 Chronicles 20:2, a precious stone is used on a king’s crown that David kills. The precious stone has been used as a decoration of royalty and shows the status of a King. In Revelations 21:19, precious stones have been used to decorate the walls of the New Jerusalem, where God is expected to take His people in the end.
What is the biblical significance of the 12 stones in the Old Testament?
The 12 stones in the Old Testament are mentioned in Joshua 4:20-24. The 12 stones were picked from the River Jordan just after the Israelites had crossed it by the power of God. Joshua commanded 12 men to pick the 12 stones since they represented the 12 tribes of Israel that are denoted by the names of the sons of Jacob.
These twelve stones were set up as a monument of remembrance of the miraculous river crossing for the generations that were to follow. By seeing the monument, they would honor the God of Israel for His marvelous deeds to His children of Israel.
11 symbolic meanings of stones in the Bible
Stones as a symbol of the 12 tribes of Israel
The 12 stones in Joshua 4:20-24 symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel. The stones were picked by 12 Israelite men, one from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The stones were picked from the river Jordan’s river bed that the power of God had dried to honor this miracle for generations to come; the 12 stones symbolizing the 12 children of Jacob were erected.
The stone is a symbol of Peter the Disciple
The stone in Matthew 16:18 symbolizes the disciple, Simon Peter, with whom Jesus Christ had chosen to lead the church after his departure. Having observed the character of Peter on several occasions, he knew that Simon was the exemplary disciple to guide the others. He calls him the stone on which the church’s foundation would be built.
Stones as a symbol of the splendor of the Garden of Eden
The stones in Ezekiel 28 symbolize the precious outlook of the Garden of Eden. In the verse, we learn that Lucifer was a one-time angel of God who dwelt in the Garden of Eden. At the time, the Garden had loads of precious stones like Jasper and beryl, denoting how magnificent the Garden of Eden had been designed.
Stone as a symbol of Jesus Christ
The Stone in Isaiah 28:16 symbolizes our Lord Jesus Christ. He is mentioned as being the precious stone that has been laid as the foundation of Zion. Some scholars have translated this to mean that Jesus Christ forms the foundation of the kingdom of God and was anointed to lead the people of God into His kingdom.
Stone as a symbol of a rejected Jesus Christ
The stone that was rejected in 1 Peter 2:4 also symbolizes Jesus Christ. The verse mentions Jesus as having been rejected by the builders but still found favor in the eyes of God and other men who followed him and his teachings.
Stone is a symbol of stubborn hearts
The stone in Ezekiel 36:26 symbolizes the tough hearts of people towards the reception of the word of God. This was mentioned during a prophecy on how people would be receptive to Jesus and the word of God. God said he would turn those stones into fleshy hearts ready to receive His word well.
Stumbling stone as a symbol of Jesus Christ
In 1 Peter 2:8, a stumbling stone symbolizes our Lord Jesus Christ. In the verse, people are said to be stumbling on the stone because they disobeyed the word of God. As they experience Jesus Christ with their rebelliousness, they end up failing. For one not to stumble, they are advised to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Stone as a symbol of a covenant
The stone in Genesis 31:45-52 has been used to symbolize a covenant. The stone was placed there as a pillar by Jacob to symbolize his friendship with his uncle Laban, who had given him his two daughters as wives. He, therefore, put the stone there to celebrate the covenant between the two of them.
Stone as a symbol of Jacob
In Genesis 49:24, the stone has been used to symbolize Jacob, who is considered the cornerstone of Israel. In the verse, God refers to Jacob as the great stone of Israel, showing that he was the chosen patriarch to form the great nation of Israel. His 12 sons form the 12 tribes of Israel.
Stone as a symbol of justice
The stone in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 symbolizes justice according to the Law of Moses. During those days, their parents would bring rebellious children to the elders if they became too disobedient to handle. They would then be taken to the city and stoned to death. The stones served as weapons of dishing out justice according to the law. In John 8, the stone also symbolizes a tool of justice. The Pharisees wanted to stone an adulterous woman and had come to Jesus to question him about the laws of Moses.
Stone as a symbol of the power of God
The stone in 1 Samuel 17:40 symbolizes the power of the almighty God. An anointed David only needed a piece of a stone on a sling to floor down Goliath, the Philistine giant causing the Israelites sleepless nights in battles. The stone hit him squarely on the head and cracked his skull. This was purely a symbol of the power of God since David alone would not have managed the flooring of Goliath in a battle.
What are the precious stones mentioned in the Bible and their meanings
The precious stone is mentioned in Ezekiel 28 when the stones found in the Garden of Eden are listed. In Exodus 28:17-20, it is mentioned as the last stone on the High priest’s breastplate, the 12 foundation stones to be used in the building of the New Jerusalem. It is assumed to be one of the stones that adorned Lucifer while still an angel in the Garden. Some scholars have translated the Hebrew word for Jasper to mean “to polish.” The precious stone might contain yellow, brown, red, or green and opaque colors.
This precious stone is also mentioned in Ezekiel 28 as one of the stones under the guard of Lucifer in the Garden of Eden. Considered the hardest mineral, the diamond’s Hebrew name has been translated to mean something sharp or something that can prick.
The Emerald has been mentioned as one of the stones on the high priest’s breastplate in Exodus 28:17-20 that will be used when making the New Jerusalem. It is described as a yellow quartz stone. Although the Emerald is said to have contradictory meanings, it is assumed to mean something that glitters.
The coral is also a precious stone mentioned two times in the Bible. It is noted in Job 28:18 and Ezekiel 28. The coral is believed to be made of coral polyps and can appear in beautiful colors like orange or red. The coral is said to mean something ‘strong and valuable.’
These gemstones have also been mentioned among the High priest’s breastplate stones. They are also a part of the precious stones mentioned in Ezekiel 28, as those adorned Lucifer in the Garden of Eden. The beryl has also been referred to as the chrysolite by some versions of the Bible and is said to be a pale green-colored gemstone. The beryl has been translated from Hebrew to mean radiance and beauty.
The stone is also mentioned among the 12 precious stones on the High Priests breastplate in Exodus 28:17-20 and is said to be a yellow-red gemstone. According to some people, the Jacinth has been mentioned as opal in some versions of the Bible, which translates to love and passion.
The Onyx is also part of the precious stones written on the breastplate of the High Priest Exodus 28:17-20. It is further mentioned as the fifth stone in the Garden of Eden that adorned Lucifer. The stone has been translated to mean claw.
As mentioned in Exodus 28:17-20, the stone is also part of the 12 chosen to decorate the New Jerusalem. It is also mentioned as a foundation stone for the destroyed city in Isaiah 54:11. It is brilliantly blue and one of the hardest minerals mentioned in the Bible. Some scholars have translated the stone to mean ‘power bearer’ since it is assumed that it bears lots of power to do good and evil.
The Topaz is mentioned in Ezekiel 28 as the second stone that decorated Lucifer in the Garden. The Topaz is described as a pale green precious stone expected to create the 9th foundation of the New Jerusalem according to Revelation 21:19-20. Unfortunately, the Topaz has not been given a specific meaning by Biblical scholars; Rather, it has only been given the quality of being crystal clear.
The ruby is mentioned in Isaiah 54:12 as a precious stone for making high towers. They are quoted as the first gemstones used to adorn Lucifer, as in Ezekiel 28. The ruby is said to be a reddish stone and has been given the meaning ‘light bearer’ due to the belief that rubies produce light by themselves.
Sapphire is mentioned in Ezekiel 28 as the seventh stone used to decorate Lucifer. The stone is said to be blue. Some scholars have assumed the stone to mean truth and honesty.
Turquoise is assumed to be the first gemstone of the second row mentioned on the High Priests breastplate in Exodus 28:17-20. The bluish stone is mentioned as the eighth used in the adornment of Lucifer. Some people have translated the stone to mean peace while believing that it is a bringer of peace.
Chrysolite is the seventh precious stone mentioned as Lucifer’s decoration in Ezekiel 28. The beautiful and rare chrysolite is said to be yellow colored, with some people referring to it as the gold stone. Some people have given the chrysolite the meaning of faith.
These are some of the precious stones mentioned in the Bible. Their meanings are not universal but have been coined by specific people with specific opinions about the stone.
What is the spiritual meaning of stones in the Bible
Some stones mentioned in the Bible have been given spiritual meanings according to how people associate with them. The following are some of the stones and their assumed spiritual meanings.
The diamond is assumed to mean strength, courage, and fearlessness spiritually. Diamond is the hardest mineral to exist on earth and takes a lot of effort to be dismantled. The gem has therefore been given the spiritual meaning of toughness that most people associate it with. Its precious nature has also given some people the spiritual meaning of good luck. They believe that possessing the stone shows that one is full of luck and might find themselves experiencing lots of wins.
Topaz has been suggested to mean goodwill and healing spiritually. Some people believe that wearing a topaz can bring you friendship, especially from influential people, and you can also experience recovering from some illnesses.
Coral has been said to mean safety, healing, and wisdom spiritually. This precious stone is believed to be a bringer of protection whenever traveling, a healer of some diseases, and a wisdom giver when needed.
Emerald has been spiritually assumed to mean healing, wealth, and the future. The precious stone was believed to bring healing of some diseases and make one wealthy while securing the future of those possessing it.
Some people have assumed that Jasper spiritually means protection and blessings. They believe that the stone can protect one from evil and bring blessings, especially the blessings of rain.
Some believe Jacinth to mean protection and favor spiritually. They have credited the stone with protection from injuries and favor in places they visit occasionally.
The Onyx has been spiritually translated to mean love and passion by some people. They believe the stone can create an ambiance of love between two people.
What is the biblical meaning of dreaming about stones?
Dreaming about stones could mean that God is welcoming you to serve Him. Stones were traditionally used to make altars where the offering was made to God, as in Exodus 20:25. This was one way in which people used to offer their service to God. Dreaming about stones could mean God is signaling you to serve Him actively. This could be through evangelism, praising and worshipping in church, and charity works. If you dream about stones, pray, and God might guide you to the service He wants you to offer him.
Dreaming about stones could also mean facing challenges in your life. Like the stone blocking the three women at the tomb’s entrance in Mark 16, you could face challenges preventing you from achieving the best. These challenges could be about health, finances, and unemployment. You could also face spiritual challenges that you have yet to notice. Pray about this dream that God gives you the solution to your problem or reveals to you the issue if it is spiritual.
Dreaming about stones could mean that you are about to experience a breakthrough in one of your most significant issues. Just as David used a stone to kill Goliath 1 Samuel 17:50, you might also be about to get one of your biggest problems sorted out. When you dream about stones, pray to God to reveal the dream, as it could mean He has sorted out one of your problems.
Dreaming about stones could also mean receiving divine protection from God. Jerusalem used stones to make strong walls protecting people from enemy attacks. Dreaming of one could therefore mean that God is shielding you from your enemies, as in Psalms 91. The attacks could be physical or spiritual, and you should pray that God uses the stone in your dream to symbolize His divine protection from your enemies.
Dreaming about stones could also signify that you need to rest. After Jacob had acquired the blessings of Esau through treachery, he fled from his home city, and when he reached Luz, he gathered several stones, as in Genesis 28, laid his head to rest, and experienced a moment of peace. You might have been doing lots of activities in your life to the point where you need some peace and rest. A dream about stones could lead you to that.
Dreaming about stones could also mean that you are about to be made a crucial pillar by God. Stones were also used in making pillars, as in Genesis 28:18. Dreaming about stones could signal that God is about to make you a great pillar somewhere. It could be at your job, home, or whatever place God might have chosen for you when you dream about stones.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.