In Genesis 28:12-17 Jacob is dreaming of a ladder reaching from Heaven to earth with angels ascending and descending on it. Before his dream, Jacob had to flee his home because he had taken his brother Esau’s birthrights. Jacob took advantage of his father Isaac’s blindness and age, and deceived him into giving the blessings to himself. When Isaac had spoken this blessing, it was passed on to Jacob and it could not be taken away. All that was suppose to be given to Esau, the bulk of Isaac’s estate, was now given to Jacob. Esau wanted to kill Jacob as soon as their father died, so Jacob ran.
Now Jacob is out in the wilderness, headed to Haran- which means parched, or dry. He is tired, probably exhausted, from running in fear of his brother. The sun is setting and Jacob laid down using a rock for a pillow. Being between a rock and a hard place, you have nowhere else to look but to the Lord. Jacob had gotten himself in trouble and this is where he indeed, seen the Lord. Falling asleep, God came to him in a dream.
Genesis 28:12-15 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
John 1:51 And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jesus Christ is the ladder, the way to get to heaven. He is the way to get to God the Father. There is no other way.
John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
There is a great canyon, or gulf, between the Lord and us. This gulf is called sin. Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
Lots of people are climbing other ladders, the ladder of success, the ladder of religion, the ladder of righteousness, but these ladders are leaning on the wrong wall and go to the wrong places. The only ladder that gets to God is Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is One God, and One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. He is our way to the promised land. He came down from Heaven, made and provided the path through the Cross on Calvary so we can now ascend up. Jesus is our stairway to Heaven.
As Jacob seen the angels ascending and descending, God spoke and gave him promises. He personally reveals Himself through His Word- just like He did to Abraham and Isaac. This voice was the voice of revelation. All that He promised Jacob, we possess, if we have accepted Christ as our Savoir. We have the promise of His presence as stated in verse 15. God told Jacob He would keep him in all places, wherever he goes. To keep is translated as to protect, or guard. We have the Lord’s protection at all times, wherever we go. God says He will bring us back to the place intended for us in the first place, the land promised to us, which is with Him in Heaven forever. We also have the promise that our children will be blessed, and the promise that He will never leave us.
Just as Jacob had blessings here on earth and promises of blessings yet to come, so do we. We are not alone in our walk with God. We have angels helping us along the way and we also have His Holy Spirit teaching and guiding us. (John 14:26) Jesus Christ Himself is within us. The Lord’s ministering angels are helping us along the way with our walk toward heaven. Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation? There is constant communication between heaven and earth of these promises, just as Jacob saw the angels go up and down the ladder. The angels are always bringing tidbits of heaven down and helping us on our walk up.
Through this ladder, heaven and earth are joined together. Through Jesus Christ, we have been reconciled back to the Father. All of God’s graces are given to us by Him, and we can ascend to Heaven by Him. Because of this ladder, we are not earth bound forever. We are not even earth bound now. We have access to heavenly places here while we are on earth. The purpose of a ladder is to get somewhere that we could not otherwise get.
Psalm 91:11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. God’s angels are with us 24 hours a day protecting us no matter where we are. They help us with each step toward the top of the ladder- the head of the ladder, which is Jesus Christ. This ladder reaches from heaven to earth. Sending His angels show God’s concern for His people. He wants us protected, guided, and safe. We are His children. The Lord can do this Himself, but He has appointed His subjects to help. Just as a king has his knights, lords and squires to protect and serve his kingdom, God sends His angels to help do His work.
Hell was not intended for us. Jesus said it was prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41) We are given a way of escape, a ladder to climb up- a very long, sturdy, strong ladder. Angels help us every step, holding us up, guarding us, keeping us from falling, lest we dash our foot against a stone (Psalm 91:11-12). They catch us when we fall.
If we are willing to let all of Gods heavenly influence- Himself, His Holy Spirit, Jesus, His angels- take care of us and lead us, we will make it to the top of the ladder. If we are not willing to accept help and push God away, we can fall.
Jacob was born into a Godly family, but he didn’t know the Lord. He knew about God, but was not saved. Just being brought up in a Christian home does not save you. Even though God was with Jacob all the days of his life, Jacob didn’t realize that God was there. It is like having company over and ignoring the special guest. It is sad not to acknowledge the Lord is in your presence. It is also sad to not recognize when He has let you go.
Jacob was sleeping, just as those who fall asleep on the pew while in church. But now he is awakened from his sleep, his eyes are wide open to the fact that he had just been with the Lord. God had ripped the veil from Jacob’s face and he now realizes that God was with him the whole time. God had been with him from the beginning, during all his sins, deceiving, running, and troubles. Genesis 28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.
God’s voice opened his eyes, went into his ears, and penetrated his heart. His life was changed forever. This is when Jacob received salvation. He wasn’t saved because of a dream, but by hearing God’s Word. His faith kicked in (faith comes by hearing the Word of God) and he received and accepted the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ Himself.
Genesis 28:17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. Jacob realized that the gate of Heaven is where man meets God. We can come to the door of Heaven as a sinner, but when we pass through that door, we become saints and can walk into the House of God. We come to Jesus as a sinner, He washes us clean. We are now free to climb the ladder up to the House of the Lord. All during our travels, we have God’s ministering angels, His Holy Spirit, His Word guiding us. We have constant communication going to and from Heaven.
The place where Jacob had been was called “Luz” which means separation. He renamed it “Bethel” which means House of God. He had been separated from God before, but now he can go to the House of the Lord because of Jesus Christ, the ladder. God is standing above the ladder.
You can always be in the House of God. You have the promise of “Bethel”. You can always meet God right here. Acknowledge His presence, don’t ignore your special guest. You yourself are a temple of God when you have invited Jesus into your heart. He resides within you. Don’t ignore Him, think about and communicate with Jesus always, and let Him know He is welcome. Thank God for Jesus Christ, our access to Him daily.