Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Jacob's Ladder"

Gen 28:12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it

The term "Jacob's Ladder" has become a common phrase—it has been used as a movie title, a book title, a name of a flower, and even as a name of an electrical device. But from where did this phrase originate?

Genesis 28:10-12 first mentions "Jacob's Ladder" when it says: "Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway/ladder resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."

It is in this passage that God reveals Himself to Jacob and reaffirms the covenant He made with Abraham, promising Jacob (who will later be named Israel). In this vision Jacob sees something similar to a ladder or a stairway (Hebrew word: Sullam) which signifies a connection between God and man. These two passages of Scripture reflect two issues of salvation: One group tries to reach heaven based on their own actions aside from God's help, for instance, the men of Babel, who tried to reach heaven by their own actions, aside from the help of God.

Genesis 11:1-4 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." The Jews like the men of Babel tried to reach heaven by their own actions, aside from the help of God through the Mosaic, law.

But the other group has access to heaven based on the provisions of God and only the provisions of God. In this instance, it was God who provided the means necessary to link Himself to man as opposed to those who tried through self rightness.

As Christians, we see this dream of Jacob's as highly symbolic, representing the Mediator, Jesus Christ, who came to earth and became that ladder or stairway for us to reconnect the relationship with God that was severed because of sin. Romans 5:1-2 says: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we (have gained access) by faith into this grace in which we now stand."

What is interesting is this very powerful statement from our Lord Jesus. Jesus Himself said He was Mark 1:51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.” According to the Bible, Jesus was our ideal "Jacob's Ladder" who came to earth, through the provisions of God, and redeemed us so that we may reach heaven for eternity.