A Daily Genesis

Genesis 28:12b-14

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:12b . . a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it.[/B]

The word for "ladder" is from [I]cullam[/I] (sool-lawm') which is actually a staircase. This is the one and only place in the entire Old Testament where that specific word is used. One of the problems with Old Testament Hebrew is that scholars are not quite sure what some of the ancient words really mean. Cullam could just as easily mean an elevator or an escalator. In Jacob's era, even ziggurats were a common staircase to heaven. (cf. Gen 11:4)

There's something very conspicuous about the staircase in Jacob's dream: there were no people on it-- only the angels of God. So what does that mean? Well . . the staircase was, after all, merely a figment, not a reality. But it has to signify something real or it would be just a big fat waste of a perfectly good vision. I would say the staircase clearly represents, at the very least, an avenue to God.

But why show Jacob a stairway to heaven if human beings weren't using it in his day? I think that the very existence of a pathway to God meant that one day not only angels, but human beings too would be using it-- because, in reality, that stairway represents Christ; Jacob's great, great, great grandson. (cf. John 1:45-51)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:13a . . And behold, Yhvh stood above it and said: I am Yhvh God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac;[/B]

On the page of Scripture, this is Jacob's very first close encounter with his father's god. Till now, Yhvh had been merely data in Jacob's head; something he picked up in home-school yeshiva.

I started out in life baptized an infant into Roman Catholicism; subsequently attending catechism and completing First Holy Communion, and Confirmation. But with all that training; God remained remote, distant, and alien. I experienced the very same disconnection that Mother Teresa experienced during her whole five decades as a missionary in India. (see Mother Teresa / Come and Be My Light. by Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC. ISBN 978-0-385-52037-9)

But then in 1968 at the age of 24; events led me to a Conservative Baptist church in Portland Oregon where I kneeled down front at the rail with the pastor and some elders, and prayed a really brief, stupid prayer that went something like this:

"Lord, I'm a sinner. I would like to take advantage of your son's death."

While saying my brief, unrehearsed prayer, I became strangely aware of a heavy chair just in front of the rail, suspended maybe about four feet up in the air, and a bit off to my left, with a lone figure sitting on it looking in my direction. I couldn't really make out the face, but the person intently observed me speak every single syllable of my stupid, naïve prayer. The apparition didn't speak a single word and vanished as quickly as it appeared. I was thoroughly unraveled by the image, and could hardly wait to get up and get out of there. Needless to say; I told no one what I saw.

Man is a very psychological creature. It's entirely possible I was just experiencing a strong mental aberration brought on by emotion or some kind of anxiety attack; who really knows for sure. But I know what I experienced; and I have always believed at that instant the Bible's God made Himself real to me in a very special way. It was the very first time in my life that God was ever so nearby, and it really shook me up; I kid you not.

Exactly why God chose to become personal with Jacob at just that moment in his life is a mystery. But the moment came not around the dinner table at home with family; but actually when Jacob stepped away from his family.

It was as if Jacob's own family-- the holiest family on earth at the time-- the keepers of the knowledge of the one true god --was actually hindering Jacob's spiritual progress; and if anything is to be learned at all from his experience, it's that his own father, the spiritual head of the house, was the one to blame for it. It certainly wasn't Rebecca; no, not when it was to her that God revealed the eldest of the two lads would serve the younger: and I really have to question why God didn't repeat His edict to Isaac.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:13b-14 . . the ground on which you are lying I will assign to you and to your offspring. Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.[/B]

Those are essentially the very same promises that God originally made to Abraham. The most important one, that of blessing to all nations, has been passed on down, not to all the descendants of Abraham, but only to special ones. Beginning with Isaac, then Jacob, then to Judah, and eventually to David, and then to Messiah.

Not all Hebrews are a blessing to all the families of the earth. Only those Hebrews who inherited the patriarchy are a blessing because it is through them that Messiah's line has existed. The other Hebrews really don't count for much in that respect except that the nation, as a whole, is credited with safe-keeping the Bible. (Rom 3:1-2)

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Updated 02-29-2016 at 10:25 PM by WebersHome

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