From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 7- The Day of Atonement, continued
THE BODY, THE FULFILLMENT OF JACOB’S LADDER
You will recall the story of Jacob’s ladder, how Jacob dreamed as he lay there at Bethel, with his head on a stone for a pillow–and saw in his dream the heavens opened, and a ladder set up on the earth, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder. Jacob awoke out of his sleep in fear and dread, and cried: “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Gen. 28:17). And so he changed the name of that place from Luz to Bethel–because Bethel signifies “House of God.” Little did he realize that in this ladder-vision he actually beheld, in type, the fullness of the Son of Man in Christ and His people.
This is brought out in the Gospel of John. You will recall how amazed Nathanael was when the Lord remarked how He had seen him under the fig-tree. Actually the Lord may have been miles away and Nathanael knew that. How could this Man, thought Nathanael, be able to manifest such Divine omnipresence as to have seen him under the fig tree, when He was perhaps miles away? And so he pronounced Him the Messiah without any further questioning. But Jesus replied: “Thou shalt see greater things than these… 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” (Jn. 1:50, 51). In other words, Jesus said: “Why that is nothing, Nathanael, comparable to what you shall yet discover about the Son of Man. That is nothing that the Son of Man should have been miles away, and yet have observed you under the fig-tree. The time is at hand when the Son of Man shall fulfill the type of Jacob’s ladder, His feet shall stand on earth, and His Head shall reach even unto Heaven; and the angels of God shall ascend and descend upon Him…”
Now there is only one way by which the angels of God could ascend and descend upon the Son of Man; and that is, if the Son inhabits Heaven and earth at the same time. And such is the case. The Son of Man is the glorious and wonderful fulfillment of Jacob’s ladder; and no wonder Jacob called the place “Bethel” for this is the House of God of which we speak, even the Body of Christ. The Head is in Heaven, but the Body is upon earth; and according to the Scriptures the Head hath sent forth the celestial hosts as ministering spirits, ministering to such as shall be heirs of salvation, ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, this “new Man” that Paul speaks about, “created in Himself…” It is Christ in the fullness of His people. GHW
Let us read this story of Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28:11-17 and then look at it a bit closer:
11He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14“Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth 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 promised you.” 16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ” Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17He 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.”
We notice in this dream that the focus is upon earthly things. The ladder is set up on the earth. God speaks of the land and Jacob’s descendants. His descendants will number like the dust of the earth and will fill the earth and the earth and all the families of the earth shall be blessed through them. The notice what Jacob says: “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Jacob acknowledges that even though God speaks from above the ladder from heaven, that the Lord is in this earthly place and this earthly place is His home. How can this be except that He dwells in His people?