The Gateway to the Eternal

In Genesis 28:10-22 we find Jacob fleeing from his brother Esau after deceiving his father Isaac and stealing Esau’s blessing as the firstborn. In Genesis 28 we see a divine exchange taking place and through this experience we get to briefly peer into what the eternal realm offers.

First the background. Jacob has been blessed by Isaac and sent away by him for two purposes. To get a wife from among his extended family and to protect him from Esau. When he travels he sleeps with his head on a rock he first night and has a prophetic encounter in a dream. It is interesting to note that at this point Jacob is not yet committed to Yahweh. He makes that clear in his stated vow.

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” Genesis 28:20–22 (NKJV)

While not yet committed to Yahweh Jacob is still walking under the blessing of the covenant that flowed through Abraham and Isaac (28:13). It is in this context that he has his dream. In the dream he sees angels ascending and descending on a ladder between heaven and earth (28:12). Jacob recognizes that this is Bethel, literally ‘house of El/God.’ If we fast forward to John we can glean further insight into Jacob’s experience.

49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:49–51 (NKJV)

Notice how Jesus uses the language of Genesis 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. Genesis 28:12 (NKJV)

As an aside, while Peter is generally credited with first recognizing who Jesus was in Matthew 16 it was actually Nathaniel who first recognized Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God right at the beginning of Jesus earthly ministry. Now, when we move past Jesus resurrection and ascension we see another point being made.

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19–22 (NKJV)

If we wonder if we access to heaven, the door is always open. Jesus is the way, Jesus is the ladder upon which angels ascend and descend, bringing help from heaven. I don’t know how everything works in the spiritual realm. I do however know enough to realize that I have access through Jesus and anytime I focus my heart in upon Him I can draw upon His grace and mercy because the door is always open.

I need it. How about you?

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I have been walking with Jesus since 1985. I am currently retired from my career in the helping professions but still focused on ministering to others. I completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in Apologetics in September 2020.

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