Moriah, Golgotha and the Garden Tomb

Appendix 7: Jacob’s Ladder

Appendix 7: Jacob’s Ladder on Mt.Moriah


Jewish tradition clearly teaches that Mount Moriah was also important in the life of Jacob, as the place where God revealed Himself in Genesis 28. 

Genesis 28:11-15: “Jacob came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 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 UPON it. And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: 

“I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants 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 families of the earth shall be blessed. 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.” 

Genesis 28:16-19: “Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, 
“Surely the LORD is IN THIS PLACE, and I did not know it.” 
And 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!” 

Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 
And he called the name of that PLACE BETHEL
 (‘the House of God).”

Genesis 28:22: “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.”

God was showing Jacob, that although he can’t make it to God by his own effort, 

power or righteousness, God would drop a Ladder down from Heaven and establish it on earth, bridging the huge gap between Heaven and earth, God and man. 

Jacob’s awareness of the special holiness of this place and its identification with the House (Temple) of God, confirm that this was none other than Mount Moriah, the future home of the Temple in Jerusalem, already sanctified by Abraham and Isaac. 

Just as in Genesis 22, the prophetic revelation Jacob receives is related to a specific PLACE: “the LORD is in THIS PLACE, How AWESOME is THIS PLACE! This (Place) is none other than the HOUSE of GOD, and this is the GATE of HEAVEN.”God will set up a LADDER at this Place (Mount Moriah) that bridges (connects) heaven and earth, opening up heaven, giving man free access. 

This leads to Jacob describing this special Place in 2 ways: 
(1) As the HOUSE of God, the Place of God’s dwelling with man on earth, and 
(2) As the GATE of Heaven, for at this Place there will be an open Door established through which man and his prayers can ascend to Heaven, and Heaven’s blessings can descend to man. This was initially fulfilled by the building of the Holy Temple here, for this was indeed ‘the House (Dwelling Place) of God’, which indeed set up a connection between heaven and earth, where sacrifices and prayers were offered up to God, and blessings received from Heaven for Israel and the nations.

However, as with Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22, the Vision and Prophecy of Jacob could only be ultimately fulfilled through the Messiah and His Sacrifice, of whom the Temple and its sacrifices were only Types and Shadows. In fact, one of the first Messianic claims of Jesus was that HE was the true fulfilment of this Vision: He was claiming: “I AM Jacob’s Ladder connecting Heaven and Earth (God and Man), I am the House (Temple) of God, I am the Gate (Door) to Heaven.”

 

John 1:51: “Jesus 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.” Jacob’s Ladder is a Type of Christ. 


Jesus was claiming that Jacob’s Ladder would be fulfilled in Himself:, He would open up the WAY for man (on earth) to come to and receive from God in Heaven. 
Notice that Jesus describes Himself in this connection as the ‘SON of MAN.’ 
For this prophecy to be fulfilled (of uniting God and man), He had to be born as a man. In the incarnation, God’s Ladder descended into place on earth, and God’s Presence and Power flowed through Him. He was the true Bethel, the living Temple of God, the focal point for the meeting of God and man. To be with Him was to be in the Presence of God! He said: "I am Bethel - the Place where God and man meet!" 

But it was only when He died for our sins and rose again, ascending into Heaven for us, on the 3rd day, that He OPENED up the LADDER to Heaven, 
so that all who believe in Him can come to God IN and THROUGH CHRIST. 
He is the WAY to Heaven (John 14:6), and the WAY that Heaven comes to us - 
the connecting link between Heaven and earth, God and man, is now establishedHe brings God (in His love, blessing, power and glory) to us, and He brings us to God. 
The God-Man, Jesus Christ, is the Ladder or Bridge (the Mediator) connecting God (Heaven) and man (earth), the only Way to God (1Timothy 2:3-6, Job 9:32,33). He OPENED up the DOOR (GATE) to Heaven through His Death and Resurrection, so that we can now come freely to God, and God’s blessings can come to us freely through Christ. He is the DOOR (John 10:7). Now Heaven is OPENED up for us, so that anyone who trusts in Jesus enters into the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Spirit of Heaven (the Holy-Spirit) enters into him. Therefore, in Christ we (believers) now become BETHEL, the House of God, the Temple of the Holy-Spirit on earth, fully connected (united) to God in Heaven, with the Holy-Spirit flowing freely to us from God through our Mediator Christ, and returning with our prayers to God through Him

This Ladder only became fully operational for man, when Christ died and rose again. Before this, when a believer died physically, his spirit-soul could not go up to Heaven, but instead he went down to Hades, albeit to Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom). This is because Heaven had not yet been opened up to man. Man didn’t have access to Heaven. Jesus had to come to earth and then return to Heaven to open up the way.

Jesus referred to this in John 3:13: “No man has ascended to Heaven, but He who came down from Heaven, that is, the Son of Man, who (spiritually) is in Heaven.” Jesus came down from Heaven to Earth, and being of Heaven, brought Heaven with Him (He was the House of God), so He connected Heaven and Earth in Himself. When He died, rose again and ascended back into Heaven, He opened up the Way for us to go to Heaven, through (union with) Him. So now (since His Resurrection) when a believer dies ‘in the Lord’, he goes up (ascends) to Heaven: “to depart is to be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:21), “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2Corinthians 5:8). “I know a man in Christ was caught up to the 3rd Heaven, caught up into Paradise” (2Corinthians 12:2-4). 

Thus Christ has fulfilled the vision of Jacob’s Ladder, but have we sufficiently accounted for Jacob’s emphasis on THIS PLACE (Mount Moriah)? He said it was the ordained PLACE for the HOUSE of GOD, and for the GATE and LADDER to HEAVEN to be established. Now surely the building of the Temple on Mt Moriah was a partial fulfilment of this prophecy, but there must also be a deeper fulfilment of these words through the Messiah. Indeed there is, according to the thesis of this book, for Christ’s Death and Resurrection on MT. MORIAH means that it was at this very PLACE on earth where Christ opened up the GATE and the LADDER (WAY) for man to go into Heaven, and for God to come down and dwell in man, so that man is the Temple of God (BETHEL). Indeed, it is significant that this New Temple was also established on Mt.Moriah, where the old Temple was, for soon after, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy-Spirit descended from Heaven to earth to fill His New Temple at this specific locality (Acts 2:1-4). What was the one Place where all the believers were gathered on this Feast Day at the 3rd hour (between 8-9am, the time of the Pentecostal Offering), where there was room for Peter to preach to a crowd of many thousands, gathered from many nations? It was the Temple, of course! Thus the Spirit came down upon believers as they gathered at the Temple on Mt.Moriah! There might be a further fulfilment of Jacob’s and Jesus’ words (Genesis 28, John 1), if there exists a literal spiritual highway connecting the mother heavenly Jerusalem above, with the earthly Jerusalem below, the daughter of Jerusalem. This may become evident when Christ returns to reign over the whole earth from this very same location in Jerusalem, in the Messianic Kingdom.

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