LandMarks Magazine      

February 2008 Table of Contents

    February 24, 2008 - March 1, 2008

Jacob’s Dream


Key Text

“And [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”  Genesis 28:12.


Study Help:  Patriarchs and Prophets, 183–187.



“The ladder represents Jesus, the appointed medium of communication.  Had He not with His own merits bridged the gulf that sin had made, the ministering angels could have held no communion with fallen man.  Christ connects man in his weakness and helplessness with the source of infinite power.”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 184.


1.         After deceiving his brother, what step was Jacob forced to take?  Genesis 28:10, 11.

Note:  “Threatened with death by the wrath of Esau, Jacob went out from his father’s home a fugitive; but he carried with him the father’s blessing; Isaac had renewed to him the covenant promise, and had bidden him, as its inheritor, to seek a wife of his mother’s family in Mesopotamia.  Yet it was with a deeply troubled heart that Jacob set out on his lonely journey.”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 183.


2.         Describe the state of Jacob’s conscience.

Note:  “The evening of the second day found him [Jacob] far away from his father’s tents.  He felt that he was an outcast, and he knew that all this trouble had been brought upon him by his own wrong course.  The darkness of despair pressed upon his soul, and he hardly dared to pray.  But he was so utterly lonely that he felt the need of protection from God as he had never felt it before.  With weeping and deep humiliation he confessed his sin, and entreated for some evidence that he was not utterly forsaken.  Still his burdened heart found no relief.  He had lost all confidence in himself, and he feared that the God of his fathers had cast him off.”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 183.


3.         How did the Lord manifest Himself to His fugitive servant?  Genesis 28:12–15.

Note:  “But God did not forsake Jacob.  His mercy was still extended to His erring, distrustful servant.  The Lord compassionately revealed just what Jacob needed—a Saviour.  He had sinned, but his heart was filled with gratitude as he saw revealed a way by which he could be restored to the favor of God.

“Wearied with his journey, the wanderer lay down upon the ground, with a stone for his pillow.  As he slept he beheld a ladder, bright and shining, whose base rested upon the earth, while the top reached to heaven.  Upon this ladder angels were ascending and descending; above it was the Lord of glory, and from the heavens His voice was heard: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac.’  The land whereon he lay as an exile and fugitive was promised to him and to his posterity, with the assurance, ‘In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’  This promise had been given to Abraham and to Isaac, and now it was renewed to Jacob.  Then in special regard to his present loneliness and distress, the words of comfort and encouragement were spoken: ‘Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.’  [Genesis 28:13–15.]”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 183.


4.         How did Jacob react to his dream?  Genesis 28:16–22.

Note:  “Jacob awoke from his sleep in the deep stillness of night.  The shining forms of his vision had disappeared.  Only the dim outline of the lonely hills, and above them the heavens bright with stars, now met his gaze.  But he had a solemn sense that God was with him.  An unseen presence filled the solitude.  ‘Surely the Lord is in this place,’ he said, ‘and I knew it not. . . .  This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’  [Genesis 28:16, 17.]”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 187.


5.         What was revealed to Jacob through his dream?

Note:  “The Lord knew the evil influences that would surround Jacob, and the perils to which he would be exposed.  In mercy He opened up the future before the repentant fugitive, that he might understand the divine purpose with reference to himself, and be prepared to resist the temptations that would surely come to him when alone amid idolaters and scheming men.  There would be ever before him the high standard at which he must aim; and the knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its accomplishment, would constantly prompt him to faithfulness.

“In this vision the plan of redemption was presented to Jacob, not fully, but in such parts as were essential to him at that time.”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 184.


6.         How did Jesus explain the meaning of this ladder?  John 1:51.

Note:  “The mystic ladder revealed to him in his dream was the same to which Christ referred in His conversation with Nathanael.  Said He, ‘Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.’  John 1:51.  Up to the time of man’s rebellion against the government of God, there had been free communion between God and man.  But the sin of Adam and Eve separated earth from heaven, so that man could not have communion with his Maker.  Yet the world was not left in solitary hopelessness.  The ladder represents Jesus, the appointed medium of communication.  Had He not with His own merits bridged the gulf that sin had made, the ministering angels could have held no communion with fallen man.  Christ connects man in his weakness and helplessness with the source of infinite power.

“All this was revealed to Jacob in his dream.  Although his mind at once grasped a part of the revelation, its great and mysterious truths were the study of his lifetime, and unfolded to his understanding more and more.”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 184.


7.         Describe the ladder Jacob saw and its meaning.  Genesis 28:12, 13; John 1:51.  Compare Matthew 3:13–16.

Note:  “ ‘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.’  [John 1:51.]

“Here Christ virtually says, On the bank of the Jordan the heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended like a dove upon Me.  That scene was but a token that I am the Son of God.  If you believe on Me as such, your faith shall be quickened.  You shall see that the heavens are opened, and are never to be closed.  I have opened them to you.  The angels of God are ascending, bearing the prayers of the needy and distressed to the Father above, and descending, bringing blessing and hope, courage, help, and life, to the children of men.”  The Desire of Ages, 142, 143.


8.         Why could only Christ be humanity’s Saviour?  Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23.

Note:  “From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was ‘the image of God,’ the image of His greatness and majesty, ‘the outshining of his glory.’  [11 Corinthians 4:4.]  It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world.  To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God’s love—to be ‘God with us.’  [Matthew 1:23.] . . .

“Our little world is the lesson book of the universe.  God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which ‘angels desire to look,’ [1 Peter 1:12] and it will be their study throughout endless ages.  Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song.  It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love.  In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which ‘seeketh not her own’ [1 Corinthians 13:5] has its source in the heart of God. . . .

“Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side.  He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels.  But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing.”  God’s Amazing Grace, 45.


9.         Describe the animal sacrificed for purification.  Numbers 19:2.

Note:  “This heifer was to be red without spot, which was a symbol of blood.  It must be without blemish, and one that had never borne a yoke.  Here again Christ was typified.  The Son of God came voluntarily to accomplish the work of atonement.  There was no obligatory yoke upon him, for he was independent and above all law.”  Review and Herald, January 9, 1883.


10.       Where should the red heifer be offered as a sacrifice?  Numbers 19:3.  Where was Jesus offered as sacrifice for us?  Hebrews 13:11, 12.

Note:  “The sacrificial heifer was conducted without the camp and slain in the most solemn manner.  Thus Christ suffered without the gates of Jerusalem, for Calvary was outside the city walls.  This was to show that Christ did not die for the Hebrews alone, but for all mankind.  He proclaims to a fallen world that he has come to be their Redeemer, and urges them to accept the salvation which he offers.”  Review and Herald, January 9, 1883.


11.       What is our duty as Christ’s followers?  Hebrews 13:13; Matthew 28:19, 20.

Note:  “Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe, but know that My presence will be there.  Labor in faith and confidence, for the time will never come when I will forsake you.”  The Desire of Ages, 822.


Additional Reading:

“The reason why we have no more men of great breadth and extended knowledge, is because they trust to their own finite wisdom, and seek to place their own mold upon the work, in the place of having the mold of God.  They do not earnestly pray and keep the communication open between God and their souls, that they can recognize His voice.  Messengers of light will come to the help of those who feel that they are weakness itself, without the guardianship of Heaven.  The word of God must be studied more, and be brought into the life and character, fashioned after the standard of righteousness God has laid down in His word.”  Fundamentals of Christian Education, 110.

“God will hear the prayer of faith; but the sincerity of our prayers will be made manifest in our harmony with the great moral standard which will test every man’s character.  We need to open our hearts to the influence of the Spirit, and to realize its transforming power.  The reason why you do not receive more of the saving help of God is that the channel of communication between Heaven and your own souls is clogged by worldliness, love of display, and desire for supremacy.  While some are conforming more and more to the world’s customs and maxims, we should be moulding our lives after the divine model.  And our covenant-keeping God will restore unto us the joys of his salvation, and uphold us by his free Spirit.”  Gospel Workers (1892), 452.

“When we bring our lives to complete obedience to the law of God, regarding God as our supreme Guide, and clinging to Christ as our hope of righteousness, God will work in our behalf.  This is a righteousness of faith. . . .  The commandments of God diligently studied and practiced, open to us communication with heaven, and distinguish for us the true from the false.  This obedience works out for us the divine will, bringing into our lives the righteousness and perfection that was seen in the life of Christ.”  Sons and Daughters of God, 66.

“We cannot enter heaven with any deformity or imperfection of character, and we must be fitted for heaven now in this probationary life.  We want the deep movings of the Spirit of God, that we may have an individual experience, and be complete in Him who is the fullness of the Godhead.  Through the power of the righteousness of Christ, we are to depart from all iniquity.  There must be a living connection of the soul with its Redeemer.  The channel of communication must be open continually between man and his God, that the soul may grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.”  The Signs of the Times, February 15, 1892.

“Were it not for the communication between heaven and earth, there would be no light in the world.  Like Sodom and Gomorrah, all men would perish beneath the just judgments of God.  But the world is not left in darkness.  Provision has been made whereby the communication between heaven and our souls may be free and open.  It is our privilege to stand with the light of heaven upon us.  The light of the glory of God, which shines in the face of Jesus Christ, may shine upon us.”  The Watchman, March 10, 1908.


Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia.


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