And he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:12-15
Jacob, escaping the self-inflicted anger of his twin Esau, begins the journey to his uncle Laban’s house. As the sun is setting, Jacob lays his head on a stone to sleep and has a pretty spectacular dream.
In the dream, a ladder reaches into heaven. Angels travel up and down the ladder that is bridging earth and heaven. God, standing above the ladder, speaks to Jacob, reaffirming His promise and presence.
Jacob changes the name of the place to Bethel, meaning house of God.
Despite Jacob’s actions to date, God made a covenant and God intends to keep His promise. He can always be trusted to do what He says he will do. Jacob is on his way to a new life. To find a wife. To start a family. And now He receives not condemnation, but instead, a fresh revelation from God.
In Jacob’s dream, we see another glimpse of Jesus as the access to heaven. In John 1:51 Jesus says, “…hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” On this side of the resurrection, we know it is not a ladder or a place that grants us access from earth to heaven, but the person Jesus.
Question: Have you ever paid attention to all the glimpses of Jesus God gave us, even in the early lives of those in the New Testament?