Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Jacob and the Stairway to Heaven
En route to Paddan-Aram to procure a wife (Genesis 28:1), Jacob took a respite in the Canaanite city of Luz. While sleeping, he dreamt of “ a ladder...with its top reaching to heaven; and...the angels of God...ascending and descending on it (Genesis 28:12, NASB).” In the scene’s voice over, God announces that Jacob is seeing the same deity that had appeared to his fathers and that the covenant would be fulfilled through Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). The terms “Jacob’s ladder” and “stairway to heaven” emerged from this text.
Among Jacob’s responses to the encounter was renaming the city, Bethel (Genesis 28:19).Yes, you read that correctly. He renamed a city. Bethel means “house of God”. Jacob would later return to Bethel at God’s request (Genesis 35:1). The name would stick as Jacob’s descendants would later possess the city. After Israel conquered the Promised Land, Bethel was allotted to the tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 16:1).
Do you have any places that are special to you that you associate with God’s presence? If you had to pick a place to be called the “house of God” where would it be?
Jesus would later use the imagery from this passage to describe his own mission. He assured the new convert Nathanael, “you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man (John 1:51, NASB).”
Jesus is Jacob’s ladder, the stairway to heaven. He is the connector between God and humanity.
Have you made your connection?