Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Clearer Understanding of Jacob's Ladder

I recently preached through Genesis 28 and interpreted the meaning of Jacob's ladder as: 

The ladder is a visual picture of the words of the dream.  The dream is about the Abrahamic covenant by which God is reversing the curse of sin, reconciling humanity to himself.  The Lord is standing at the top of the ladder, above it as the Sovereign One who is over his creation yet guides and directs everything for his own purposes, even Jacob's life.  The angels are the messengers or mediators of the covenant.  Jesus tells us that he is the fulfillment of this ladder as the greater mediator of the covenant (Jn 1:51).  Jesus is the ‘new bethel,’ the house of God, as he now mediates the presence of God.  There is one way by which humanity is reconciled to God, the mediator Jesus Christ ((Jn 14:6).  
At the time, I was not as clear as I wanted to be.  Then this morning, a couple of weeks later, I picked up a book off my nightstand as I was straightening it up.  I had put it there to read as I was preaching through Genesis to help me understand the theology of Genesis better.  Apparently, I have not been keeping up with it!  The book it Dominion and Dynasty by Stephen Dempster, "a theology of the  Hebrew Bible."  I looked at where I had left off reading and it was bookmarked at the section where he discusses Jacob.  This is what he had to say about the ladder.:
The vision is interpreted by the words.  The ramp connecting earth and heaven geographically links the unity of heaven and earth with the sleeping Jacob.  Geography and genealogy coalesce on a rock in a field.  God will build his tower through a seed found in this land,.  Or, in the language of the text, the blessing (read the blessing) will come through Jacob and his seed (pgs. 86-87).

At the time, I understood that the ladder was a reversal of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11) and that the words in the context must interpret the dream vision.  But what became much more clear is that Jacob's seed, Jesus Christ (Gal 3:16) will be the mediator of the blessing.  The connection between heaven and earth is made possible not by human mens but God's own means, Jesus Christ.  It became crystal clear that the vision of the ladder advances the mission of God in the book of Genesis!    

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