In the modern age a cornerstone is more symbolic than structural. They are often engraved with the date the building was built or finished, sometimes adorned with a plaque of the company or builder’s name, or the building name. Often they are hollow, wherein articles and documents are placed that are of the current time period and relating to current history. It may include books, newspapers, photographs, and items that hopefully will be salvaged and viewed at the time of the buildings renovation or destruction. Usually the stone is placed in a more visible spot, like the entrance or foyer, not actually at a corner.
Long ago when some civilizations erected buildings and monuments they were laid out with astronomical precision. Walls were aligned with the moon or stars during a certain season or time when year after year their paths never changed, and therefore neither did the measurements. Centuries later ruins left still align with those heavenly bodies at the same time of year.
A cornerstone was the “seed” from which the entire structure grew. The sides of the cornerstone were chiseled and milled (by hand) to perfectly align to the guiding star(s). From that first stone, the walls began to grow, following a rope or string stretched from the cornerstone, until the next corner spot was reached, where the same angle was used to create that corner.
The cornerstone created the alignment for two walls at a 90 degree angle; using exact length measurements and matching corner angles, the other two walls were added, and the construction was “square” to the world — well, aligned with the stars might be more applicable. However, often true north (or south or east or west) was determined the same way, and buildings were built along those lines, which were again determined by astronomical bodies.
The same techniques are still used today, with the help of technology, like laser levels, laser “chalk lines”, and even GPS to determine exact coordinates and lines, even height. Alignment with the stars no longer figures in; even so, the accomplishments of early builders is not diminished.
16So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” — Isaiah 28
9Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. –Ephesians 2
11Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” –Acts 4
4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
8and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. –I Peter 2
Do not reject the Cornerstone, who is Jesus Christ.
Believe in Him and the Foundation He has laid for you, now and in Eternity.