JACOB'S LADDER
Genesis 28:10-17
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 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. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. 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 was on his way to get a wife, and get away from his brother who wanted to kill him when he had this encounter with God. This was an unusual meeting but then when can a meeting with God be termed usual. Lets examine a few of the symbols in a few paragraphs but for now i'd like to point out that Jacob's name meant {heel-catcher (i.e. supplanter)} from the Strong's Concordance. He had traded his brother Esau a bowl of food for the birth right that belonged to the firstborn (Esau).Genesis 25:29-34 Before you think too badly of Jacob, read what God said about the trade. Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. Jacob didn't initiate the trade and Esau thought no more of the birthright, and this birthright was like no other, than to trade it for a bowl of food.
  Jacob was on His way toward Haran mainly because His mother Rebekah had just helped him steal his brothers blessing also. Read Genesis chapter 27 for that story. She had her reasons for favoring Jacob. Genesis 25:22-26 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.The Lord had told Rebekah when she was pregnant that Jacob would be the child of promise.
  Here is a side track of something the Father made me aware of once. We like Rebekah have two manner of people in us, the old and the new. The old wants his way and loves all the things of the flesh. The new (which you have if you are born again, if you do not, trust Jesus and get one) loves the things of the spirit and you must help the younger overcome the older because for you to live a fullfilling life in Jesus the older MUST serve the younger. Back to the main theme.
  The Lord gave Jacob the same basic promise that He had given Abraham adding: for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. Which would no doubt prove a rock for Jacob to hang on to in the days ahead, because the Lord was going to let others treat him the same way he was treating others so that he could learn to be honorable, but that is another study. Just remember when someone is driving you nuts and you can't get any relief from God, maybe, not always, but maybe you have a lesson to learn. In my life, i have experienced this and sometimes it was how i was treating God that applied. When i changed, either they quit or what they were doing quit bothering me.
  Now lets look at some of those symbols. Jacob saw a ladder extending up to Heaven with God at the top. He also saw angels ascending and descending the ladder. He saw an open Heaven where angels were free to opperate. In Daniel there is a story of interest to this point. Daniel was fasting and the angel of the Lord was sent the first day he fasted Daniel 10:12,13. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Apparently there are places or times when angels must fight to accomplish God's will. Even when that is the case, the angels will always win if we faint not, remember that only 1/3 of the angels followed satan so God still has 2 x as many. Jacob then called that place Bethel which means the house of God.
  For one more reference that fits in well here, and might surprise you, lets turn to the gospel of John. The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. John 1:43-51
  First let me point out that Nathanael here and Andrew a few verses prior were the first apostles to recognise Jesus as the Son of God, however John had pointed Jesus out to them. The two figures that really impress me were Simeon and Anna who recognised the Son of God when He was just another 8 day old baby brought to the temple, acording to their law. They had no host of angels or star to point Him out, just the Spirit to guide them.
  The other point to make is that here Jesus is the ladder that the angels are ascending and descending upon. No doubt later they would ascend and descend upon the apostles because Jesus' death burial and resurrection and their faith in it would create an open heaven for them as well. Is there an open heaven for you?
  As i am editing this, i have noticed one more point to make that doesn't really go along with the main theme, however i will include it before i forget it. When Jesus says Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! i misunderstood the meaning of the word guile. I couldn't understand why Jesus would say that when Nathanael had just spoken so unkindly about His city. The only thing i could attribute it to was that Jesus was saying what Nathaniel would be, much like calling Peter Cephas a few verses earlier.
  One day i looked up guile in the Strong's concordance and the definition follows: craft, deceit, guile, subtilty. In the literal it is deceit instead of guile. It could have just as easily been subtilty which Nathaniel surely did not display. Often i, and many of you no doubt, have been deceived by someone that had a very smooth and agreeable way of speaking and have also ignored truth from those who didn't spare feelings. Solomon put it this way; He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. Proverbs 28:23
  I pray that those of you who have that "open
heaven" also have the wisdom that makes it profitable to the kingdom of God, and that those of you who don't think you do will spend some time at the feet of Jesus until you are sure you do.
 Until next week, the Lord bless and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace.
5/14/01
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