Biblical Principle #89: Gateway to Heaven

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God showed Jacob a gateway to heaven at Bethel.


As Jacob was fleeing from Esau to Mesopotamia, he slept at a certain place called Luz.

Genesis 28 reads:

10 Now Jacob went out from the Well of Oath and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. Then he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 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. 13 So behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. Do not fear, the land on which you lie I will give to you and your seed. 14 Also, your seed shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed. 15 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 spoken to you.”

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “The Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 So he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” 18 Now Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone he put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 Thus Jacob called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city was Luz previously.

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If the Lord God will be with me, and keep me in this way I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 and bring me back in safety to my father’s house, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone I set as a pillar shall be God’s house to me, and of all You give me I will surely give a tithe to You.”

Genesis 28:10-22 OSB

The main point of this dream was GOD’s awesomeness and an undeniable proof to Jacob of the reality of His promise to be with Jacob and provide to him the promises previously made to Abraham and Isaac.

And yet we must acknowledge that everything GOD does and every word recorded in Scripture has meaning and purpose. Therefore, we must admit that GOD had a reason for showing Jacob this ladder of angelic access to heaven and earth, and for preserving these events in Scripture.

Jacob said that this place, which he renamed Bethel (meaning “house of God”), was the gate of heaven.

Was Jacob’s saying accurate? Was the vision a revelation of the unseen realm? Or was the ladder a symbolic representation communicating the point that angels move between heaven and earth and GOD is over it all?

Ultimately, Scripture does not tell us directly. But this dream is important to future principles and therefore worth noting here.

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