Jacob’s Ladder Explained—YHVH’s Plan of Salvation from Genesis to Revelation

Introduction to the Study of Genesis 28:10–22

Jacob’s vision of a ladder to heaven is one of those enigmatic Scriptural passages which has befuddled the keen intellects of many Bible scholars down through the ages. Perhaps the deeper elucidations of Jacob’s vision has escaped the reader as well. If so, you are not alone, for well-known Christian commentators such as Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke have stabbed at its meaning realizing it has something to do with the Person of Yeshua the Messiah and his heaven-ordained ministry to reconcile earth’s inhabitants to their Heavenly Father and Creator. Keil and Delitzsch don’t even connect this dream to the Person of Yeshua. Other than vague explanations as to the dream’s interpretations, these esteemed scholars have nothing more to proffer the reader. Little if anything is said of the allegorical meaning of the ladder, the dust, the stones (plural) becoming a stone (singular) or of the significance of “the place.” Even the unusually insightful biblical scholar Arthur W. Pink in his book, Gleanings In Genesis, though he draws 101 parallels between Joseph and Yeshua the Messiah, can gives us no more insights into the spiritual and prophetic implications of Jacob’s ladder than do Henry and Clarke. This is some of the best that Christianity has to offer on this subject.

Jacob's ladder 2

Now what does the best of rabbinic Judaism have to offer us by way of explanation of Jacob’s dream? It goes without saying that their interpretations will be devoid of any references to Yeshua, but can we learn anything else from them. After all, they have been studying this passage for more than 3800 years! Rashi, viewed by some as the greatest Torah expositor of the last 1000 years has little to add to our understanding as does Samson Raphael Hirsch, the great nineteenth-century Torah teacher. The Baal HaTurim in his Torah commentary adds some interesting insights relating to the subsurface or hidden meaning of some of the Hebrew words used in the text that not only confirm the simple or plain meaning of the text, but add depth to it as well on an allegorical or prophetic level. We will cite a number of other Jewish scholars who between them contribute greatly to our understanding of the text. But for all their collective wisdom, they, not surprisingly, fail to connect the meaning of the ladder to YHVH’s plan of redemption and salvation for mankind. They fail to see the big picture and master plan involving the Messiah, the Living Word of Elohim sent from heaven to redeem lost mankind.

Both the Christian scholars and the Jewish sages are blind in part since both have rejected half of the key to unlocking the full depth and panoramic understanding of this vision. The former has, to one degree or another, rejected its Jewish or Hebraic roots and the relevance of the written Torah to theological understanding and lifestyle, while the latter has rejected Yeshua, Living Word or Living Torah sent from Heaven to give us wisdom, understanding, redemption and salvation. Each side is spiritually blind in part to one-half of YHVH’s truth (Rom 11:25). Both have stumbled over the stone of stumbling and the rock of offence (Isa 8:14). The Christians have rejected much of the truth of the written Torah, while the Jews have rejected the spirit of prophecy as revealed through Yeshua, the Living Torah (Rev 19:20). To understand the heart of the Father as revealed in his written word, Yeshua said that it would take both spirit and truth (John 4:23–24). With these thoughts in mind, let us proceed to understand this vision of Jacob.

The Text 

Let’s now read the text in Genesis 28:10–22 pertaining to Jacob and his dream of the ladder to heaven. The bolded words are defined below under “Word Definitions.”

10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.

11 And he encountered/interceded/prayed at the place, and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took of the stones of the place which he arranged around his head, and lay down in the place to sleep.

12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up earthward/on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of Elohim ascending and descending on it.

13 And, behold, YHVH stood above it, and said, I am YHVH, Elohim of Abraham your father, and the Elohim of Isaac: the ground upon which you are lying, to you will I give it, and to your seed/descendants;

14 And your seed/descendants shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out powerfully to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed/descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

15 And, behold, I am with you, and will guard you in all places wherever you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not forsake you, until I have done what I have spoken about you.

16 And Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said, Surely YHVH is in this place; and I knew it not.

17 And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other but the house of Elohim, and this is the gate of heaven.

18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he placed around his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

19 And he called the name of the place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz originally.

20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, “If Elohim will be with me, and will guard me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothes to wear,

21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall YHVH be my Elohim:

22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall become a house of Elohim: and whatever you give me I shall repeatedly give a tenth/tithe to you.” (emphasis added)

Word Definitions

To properly understand this passage and to discover the deep spiritual mysteries contained therein, we must first define some of the words from a Hebraic perspective.

Verse 11, The place (Strong’s H4725) is the Hebrew word makom and in Jewish understanding is a reference to Mount Moriah, that is, the “Temple Mount” (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 144, commentary on verse 11) where Isaac was “sacrificed” and the temple was eventually built. The imminent Jewish Torah scholar, Rashi (Solomon Yitzhaki, 1040–1105) in his definitive Torah commentary also identifies the place mentioned in this verse with Mount Moriah. In The ArtScroll Bereishis, quoting Rashi, we read, “The Torah does not tell us which place. Instead it uses the definite article in the place, implying that the identity of the place was so well known that it need not be specified. This indicates that it refers to the site referred to elsewhere by the designation the place: Mount Moriah, of which it is said [in Gen 22:4 (see also Deut 16:16)]: ‘he saw the place from afar’” (p. 1219). The same commentary continues, “It cannot refer to any place other than Mount Moriah since the Torah itself refers to that holy site as makom, the place, in several places [Gen 22:4; and as Ralbag notes, the future Temple site on Mount Moria is also obliquely referred to in the Torah as the place’ Hashem [YHVH] shall select (Deut 16:16 and frequently)] Accordingly, by its reference to place here, the allusion to Moriah is clear (Mizrachi)” (Ibid.). Baal Ha Turim notes in his Torah commentary that in verse 11 the term the place appears three times “which is an allusion to the three pilgrimage [aliyot] festivals [Pesach/Passover, Shavuot/Pentecost and Sukkot/the Feast of Tabernacles] at which times Jacob’s descendants would ascend to this place [i.e., the temple in Jerusalem].”

Verse 11, Encountered, interceded, prayed (Strong’s H6293) is the Hebrew word paga. According to The ArtScroll Bereishis Commentary, the Jewish sages interprets the word paga, as used here and in Gen 23:8 and Jer 7:16 to denote prayer and intercession (p. 1219). If we realize that this place was Mount Moriah where the future temple would be built (explained below), then Jacob’s praying at this spot is symbolic and prophetic since the temple was to be known as a house of prayer (Isa 56:7; Matt 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46) and the place on earth where YHVH would hear the prayers of his people (2 Sam 7:27; 1 Kgs 8:29; 2 Chr 6:20, 29; 7:12).

Verses 11, 18, 22, Stone(s) (Strong’s H68) is the Hebrew word ehben meaning “stone through the meaning to build” (from banah [Strong’s H1129 meaning “to build, builder”]).

Examples of the usage of the word ehben elsewhere in the Tanakh (Old Testament) include the following:

The 10 Words (“Commandments”) on tablets of stone (ehben) (Deut 4:13; 5:22; Exod 24:12; 34:1,4)

Referring to the Messiah: Stone (ehben) the builders (banah) refused is become the head of the corner (Ps 118:22)

Referring to the Messiah: A stone (ehben) of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel (Isa 8:14)

Referring to the Messiah: Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone (ehben), a tried stone (ehben), a sure foundation (Isa 28:16)

A title for Elohim: the Stone (ehben) of Israel (Gen 49:24)

Verse 12, Ladder (Strong’s H5551) is the Hebrew word sulam meaning “staircase” (from salal [Strong’s H549 meaning “cast up, lift up, exalt” and according to The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) probably means “highway or literally a road that is higher than the adjacent terrain.” The TWOT notes that this word is used by the prophets in the sense of “God’s [spiritual] highway” from which Israel had departed to follow false bypaths (Isa 57:14; 62:10]).

In Jewish mystical literature, this ladder is equivalent to a tree (Heb. etz)—as in the sephirotic tree—and a tzelon Elohim; i.e., a supernatural image of Elohim (Messiah Vol 3, p. 149; by Avi Ben Mordechai).

On verse 12, Jewish sage Ya’acov Baal Ha Turim (b. ca. 1269 in his Torah commentary notes several interesting facts about the word ladder (sulam). First he notes that the word sulam is spelled defectively (with the kubutz vowel point replacing the vav after the letter samech). Therefore, sulam is spelled samech, lamed, mem or okx instead of samech, vav, lamed, mem or okux. What is the significance of this occurrence in the Torah? According to Michael Munk in his book, The Wisdom In the Hebrew Alphabet (pp. 100–103) defective spelling of words occurs occasionally in other words in the Torah such as shalom/o`uKA (peace, well being) and owr/r~ut (light). When a word is spelled defectively, it signifies that the word should be understood to take on a diminished or defective meaning as opposed to the full expression of the word at its highest spiritual level. For example, in the first chapter of Genesis prior to verse 14 (when the physical luminaries were created) the light that shown prior was a supernal or spiritual light emanating from Elohim himself, therefore the Hebrew word for light, owr/r~ut, is spelled complete with the vav (r~ut) whereas the light that shone from the physical luminaries was a physical or low level of light and therefore the word light is spelled defectively, without the vav (r~t). This occurs in the Tanakh with the word shalom/o`uKA as well. Spelled defectively (i.e., o`K{A) it refers to a physical, man-made peace, whereas spelled complete it represents the spiritual peace which comes only from Elohim. So what is the significance of the defective spelling of the word sulam (ladder) in our text? Hold this question in abeyance for the time being, for we shall answer it below.

Baal HaTurim also notes that the gematria (numerical valuation of the Hebrew letters) for sulam is the same as that for the words wealth or money and poverty as well as for the words sound or voice. Keep this in mind also. Understanding these concepts are all part of understanding what (or who) the ladder represents!

Finally, Baal HaTurim has one other observation to make about the word sulam. The letters or consonants (S-L-M; Hebrew words generally consists of only consonants) are the same as the word for idol (S-M-L, pronounced seh-mehl). By this Baal HaTurim suggested that Elohim was showing Jacob a prophecy that his descendants would eventually fall into idolatry. We shall explore some other implications of the similarity between these two words below.

Verse 12, Set up (Strong’s H5324) is the Hebrew word natsab meaning “to set up, put, place, stand firmly, fix, establish, to be planted” (Judg 9:6). Examples of usage of the word natsab elsewhere in the Tanakh include:

YHVH stands in his congregation. (Ps 82:1)

I saw YHVH standing upon the altar. (Amos 9:1)

Verse 12, Earth (Strong’s H776) is the Hebrew word eretz or artzah meaning “to be firm, the earth, a land, country, ground, world.” Eretz throughout Scripture and in modern Hebrew is a colloquial expression denoting the land of Israel.

Verse 12, Top (Strong’s H7218) is the Hebrew word rosh meaning “head, beginning, captain, chief, first, height, highest part, summit, foremost.” Examples of the usage of the word rosh as found elsewhere in the Tanakh include:

  • The stone which the builders refused is become the head of the corner [i.e., the Messiah, Ps 118:22)
  • Matthew 21:42 quotes Psalm 118:22 referring to Yeshua.

Other Hebrew-speaking Jewish authors of the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament) carry this same idea into their writings:

  • First Peter 2:7–8 speaks of the stone which the builder disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense which stumble at the Word or Torah of Elohim (i.e., Yeshua, who is the Living Torah).
  • The saints are the house [Heb. bethel] of YHVH and are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua the Messiah himself being the chief cornerstone in whom all the building fitly framed together grows into a set-apart [Heb. kadosh] temple in YHVH in whom you are also built together for a habitation of YHVH through the Spirit. (Eph 2:20–27)

Rabbinic Commentary on Verse 12,

Baal Ha Turim in his Torah commentary on this verse notes that the numerical values of the words a ladder set up or standing is equivalent to the ramp leading up to the altar of the temple and the concept of the ladder set up on the earth or earthward is an allusion to the altar which in Exodus 20:24 is described as an “altar of earth” and the expression its top or head reaching heavenward is an allusion to the fragrance of the offerings, which ascended heavenward as a sweet savor to YHVH (Exod 29:18; 29:25; etc.). We will learn below the spiritual significance of this to us.

Verse 14, Dust (Strong’s H6083) is the Hebrew word aphar meaning “pulverized earth, clay, dry, loose earth” (from H6080). On the phrase in this verse, “Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth” The ArtScroll Bereishis Commentary states: “Sforno [a notable sixteenth-century Italian Jewish philosopher and Bible exegete] connects this phrase with the following one, rendering: Only after your offspring shall have become as degraded as the dust of the earth [see Isaiah 51:23] shall they spread out powerfully to the west, east, north, and south. For, as the Sages have taught, God’s future salvation [or, the Final Redemption which is to occur prior to and during the Messianic Age (Millennial Age)] will come only after Israel has experienced much degradation. R. Bachya [a late eleventh-century Jewish philosopher and moralist] interprets similarly. God compared them to the dust of the earth rather than to the stars in heaven [as He did when He blessed Isaac in 26:4] to intimate that Israel will become like dust in ways other than abundance. Dust has the connotation of lowliness inasmuch as Israel would be downtrodden like the dust while in exile. Also, like dust, however, they would endure everything and prevail, just as the earth survives all those who tread on it. As Isaiah foretold [Isaiah 26:5]: He brings it to the dust, yet it is from the dust that Israel will be redeemed, as it is written [ibid. 52:2]: Shake yourself from the dust, arise … O Jerusalem” (p. 1231). Examples of usage in the Tanakh,

YHVH to Abram: I will make your seed as the dust of the earth … (Gen 13:16)

Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? (Num 23:10)

Now, O YHVH Elohim, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou has made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. (2 Chron 1:9, emphasis added on all)

Verse 17, Gate (of heaven) (Strong’s H8179) is the Hebrew word shah-ar meaning “opening, gate, door”; (from H8176 meaning “to split, open, act as a gate keeper”); according to The TWOT the root idea of this word is “to split open, to break through”; The TWOT states that the term gate in Scripture can sometimes be used as a metonymy where the gate represents the whole of the city (e.g., Gen 22:17; 24:60). In Genesis 28:17, it is a symbol of the means of access to heaven (Ibid.). The ArtScroll Bereishis Commentary says, “It is the gate through which prayers and sacrifices ascend to heaven [according to the Jewish sages, Rashi and Ramban]” (p. 1238).

Verse 19, Beth El (Strong’s H1008) means “house of El.” Beth El was formerly Luz (Strong’s H3869 or 3868) meaning “almond (tree), turn aside, depart.”

Jacob’s Dream Explained

Now that we have defined our terms, it is time to start putting the pieces of this allegorical and prophetic puzzle together. The Jewish sages know that this dream is prophetic when they state, “In general, the expositors [of the Torah] agree that the vision was a disclosure of the future of the Jewish nation” (The ArtScroll Bereishis Commentary,  vol. 1(b), p. 1224).

Classical Christian commentator, Adam Clarke, in his commentary on Genesis, in grasping to comprehend the meaning of the dream suppositions that the ladder “was probably a type of [Messiah], in whom both worlds meet, and in whom the divine and human nature are conjoined. The ladder was set up on the earth, was manifested in the flesh, and in him [Messiah Yeshua] dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Nothing could be a more expressive emblem of the incarnation and its effects; [Yeshua the Messiah] is the grand connecting medium between heaven and earth, between God and man. By him God comes down to man, through him man ascends to God” (Clarkes Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 176).

Indeed, both Clarke’s comments and those of the Jewish sages above are correct, but the understanding each side has to offer pertaining to interpreting this text falls short of the mark as we shall see below. Neither has tapped the richness this spiritual vein of gold has to offer. We shall see as we go on that Jacob’s vision is a huge and spectacular picture of many things pertaining to Messiah Yeshua, to the final redemption involving the reunification of Israel’s divided kingdom, of the bride of Yeshua, the one new man in Yeshua, of the prominence of the Torah in YHVH’s plan of redemption and of YHVH’s eternal kingdom of which New Jerusalem is the crowning jewel.

A Review of the Component Parts of Jacob’s Dream

The Ladder and Its Placement—A Summary of What We Have Learned So Far:

The ladder can be likened to a spiritual highway that is higher than the adjacent terrain and is in opposition to the surrounding false (pagan) bypaths.

The word sulam (ladder) is related to the Hebrew words meaning “money, wealth and poverty.”

The word sulam is related etymologically to the Hebrew word for idolatry.

In Jacob’s vision of the ladder, the Hebrew word sulam is spelled defectively (without the vav).

The ladder is set firmly or planted in the earth, or standing on the earth.

The top of the ladder (in heaven) is the Hebrew word rosh which means “head, beginning, captain, chief, first, height, highest part, summit, foremost” and is the same word used elsewhere in the Tanakh in reference to the Messiah as a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense and stone which the builders refused is become the head of the corner.

The spot where the ladder was located was Mount Moriah where Abraham sacrificed Isaac (a picture of Yeshua’s death on the cross) and where the temple would eventually be built in Jerusalem.

The ladder relates to the ramp ascending to the altar of sacrifice in the tabernacle and temple, which was the place where animal sacrifices were offered to YHVH and the sweet savor of the offerings arose to heaven.

At the spot where Jacob dreamed of the ladder and where the temple would eventually be built, Jacob prayed or interceded. This is the spot on earth where YHVH would designate his house of prayer to be built and where YHVH would hear prayers uttered from that spot or that were directed toward that spot.

The rabbinical Torah commentators “draw attention to the phrase, set earthward, i.e., ‘toward’ the ground, (rather than ‘on’ the ground) implying that the ladder originated in heaven and extended toward the earth. The connecting ladder clearly intimated that there was a means of communication upwards from the earth. But the ladder did not come there by chance. It was set, for a Higher Power had placed it facing earthward to imply that the will and power that emplaced it were not earthly but heavenly. Nevertheless, the ladder was meant to provide a means for people to raise themselves spiritually” (The ArtScroll Bereishis Commentary , pp. 1223–1224).

Should it not becoming clear about what and who Scripture is prophetically referring to through Jacob’s dream? To eliminate any question in the readers mind about this, let’s now note an amazing statement that Yeshua the Messiah made that without the context of Jacob’s dream of the ladder from earth to heaven would still be an unsolved enigma or riddle to this day. In John 1:51 he states,

Truly, truly I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angles of Elohim ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. (emphasis added)

Here Yeshua clearly states that he is the ladder, and that he is the means of ascending to the Father in heaven. As we saw at the beginning of this study, the Christian Bible commentators have understood this concept probably since the beginning. But they have been blind to the details of this vision because of their rejection of the Torah-law and the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith.

Let us precede to explore the deeper spiritual implications of Jacob’s dream and how it relates prophetically to your life and to end time events.

A Summary of What We Have Learned So Far In Light of the Testimony of Yeshua

Jacob’s Ladder and the The Body of Yeshua

  • The congregation of the saints is likened to a body (Rom 12:4,  5; 1 Cor 10:17; 12:12, 20; Eph 4:12, 16).
  • The congregation of the saints is the body of Yeshua (1 Cor 10:17).
  • That body of Messiah and each member thereof is the temple of YHVH’s Set-Apart Spirit (1 Cor 5:18; 12:12, 27; Eph 5:30).
  • Yeshua is the Head (Rosh) of that body (Col 1:18). He is the head of the body, the kahal or “church” (Eph 5:23). Messiah is the head of the kahal or “church” and he is the Savior of the body.
  • The ladder or stairway to heaven in Jacob’s dream had one end that was planted or established in the earth with its top or head (Heb. rosh) reaching to heaven (Gen 28:12). This is no less than a picture of Messiah, the YHVH-Man. Is this our speculation? No! Again, Yeshua himself said so: “Truly, truly I say to you, Here after you shall see heaven open, and the angels of Elohim ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” (John 1:51). Therefore, this ladder is the body of Messiah. It is also a picture of the cross (which suspended him between heaven and earth and the base of whose post was sunk into the earth).
  • The ladder is also a prophetic picture of the etz chaim or the tree of life. The Jewish sages say sulam/ladder ­­is also likened to a tree (Messiah Vol. 3, p. 407), and it relates to the tree of life found in Garden of Eden. Paul says, “Yeshua hanged on a tree” (Gal 3:13) and from that tree came spiritual and eternal life in Yeshua. 
  • Furthermore, please note that Jacob’s ladder ascends, not descends. Yeshua ascended to heaven. He is the way by which man spiritually ascends to the Father (John 14:6).

Yeshua Messiah Is the Gate of Heaven (Gen 28:17)

  • Yeshua called himself the “door” to the sheepfold (John 10:7, 9).
  • Yeshua is the door of salvation (John 10:9).
  • Yeshua is the door to eternal life (John 10:10).
  • Yeshua is the way, the truth, the life and no man comes to the Father but by him (John 14:6; Eph 2:18).

Yeshua Is the Stone at the Base of the Ladder (Gen 28:8)

  • Yeshua is the Chief Cornerstone (Eph 2:20).
  • Yeshua is the Head of the Corner (Matt 21:42; 1 Pet 2:7).
  • Yeshua is a Stone of Stumbling (Isa 8:14).
  • Yeshua is a Foundation Stone (Isa 8:16).
  • Yeshua is the Foundation Stone of New Jerusalem (Rev 21:14).
  • Yeshua is the Rock in the wilderness that gave water to Israel (1 Cor 10:4).
  • Yeshua is the Rock that the wise man built his house upon (Matt 7:24–27).
  • David refers to YHVH as his:
  • Rock of Salvation (Ps 62:2, 6)
  • Strong Rock (Ps 31:2)
  • Rock Fortress (Ps  18:2)
  • Rock to set my feet on (Ps 40:2)
  • Rock that is higher than me (Ps 61:2)
  • Rock of Refuge (Pss 62:7; 94:22
  • That Rock is the Foundation upon which to build one’s spiritual house. That Rock is the Torah (YHVH’s teachings, instructions and precepts in righteousness), which is the Word of YHVH (Matt 7:23–27). Yeshua is that Rock. He is that Rock of Salvation, the Chief Cornerstone (Acts 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:6, 7) and the Word of Torah of Elohim made flesh (John 1:1–5, 14) and the Written and Living Torah (See my teaching article located on our web site entitled What Was Yeshua’s (Jesus’) View of the Torah-Law ?A Study of the Sermon On the Mount where I discuss the meaning of “the rock” in light of the Torah-law Yeshua said a wise man would build his spiritual house upon).

Yeshua Was the Anointed Rock

As Jacob anointed the rock at the base of the ladder with oil (Gen 28:18), so Yeshua was the anointed spiritual Rock of Salvation.

Who was anointed in Scripture?

  • A king was anointed upon coronation.
  • The high priest was anointed (a picture of Yeshua).
  • Yeshua, the Pillar Rock of Our Salvation, was anointed with the gifts and graces of the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim.
  • Similarly, those saints as members of the body of Messiah who are grafted in to him (the spiritual olive tree of Rom 11:16–24) are part of the spiritual temple of Messiah who is the Chief Cornerstone or Foundation and WE ARE LIVING STONES AND ANOINTED by the Spirit of Elohim.

You are living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood … a chosen generation, a royal priesthood … (1 Pet 2:4–5, 9)

A building, fitly framed grows together unto a set-apart temple in YHVH in whom you are also built together for a habitation of Elohim through the Spirit. (Eph 2:21–22)

Some Key Points Revisited for More Insights

It is now time to recall some points made earlier in this work that the reader was encouraged to keep in the back of his mind until later.

The Jewish sages noted that the word sulam was spelled defectively in the Torah, as we saw and explained earlier in this work. What is the greater spiritual significance of this reality in the inspired and Elohim-breathed text of the Torah, a text about which Yeshua said every stroke and letter was important and would not pass away (Matt 5:18)? This ladder is a “defective” ladder. Since we have learned that it represents Yeshua, how could he, as YHVH incarnate (in the flesh), be “defective”? Because he came in the likeness of man who is defective because of sin. In light of this truth let us consider the following Scriptures:

Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be possessed by force. On the contrary, he emptied himself, in that he took the form of a slave by becoming like human beings are. (Phil 2:6–8, Complete Jewish Bible)

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

For what the Torah-law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, Elohim sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. (Rom 8:3)

Scripture also refers to Messiah Yeshua numerous times (85 references in the Testimony of Yeshua alone) as the “Son of Man,” a phrase he even applies to himself.

We noted above that the Hebrew word sulam has the same numerical value as the Hebrew words for money or wealth and poverty. Does this relate to the work of Yeshua on this earth? Can we not see from the above quoted scriptures that in coming from heaven to earth he emptied himself of all his glory and power to become mortal man composed of mere dust? And in his mission to save or redeem man he would lift man from sin and certain death (eternally-speaking) to a position of unparalleled wealth and glory. We read in Scripture:

But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Elohim has prepared for them that love him. (1 Cor 2:9)

Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of Elohim: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of Elohim, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he [Messiah Yeshua] shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1–2)

And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua. (Eph 2:6)

We noted earlier that the Jewish sages spoke of Jacob praying or interceding from the spot he would later name Beth-El. We also noted that the ladder in Jacob’s dream was thought to relate to the ramp which ascends to the altar of sacrifice which would be constructed later by the Israelites in the tabernacle in the wilderness and by Solomon in the temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish sages observed that the ladder represents the fragrance of the sacrifices drifting heavenward from the future altar. Can we not see the corollary between Jacob praying from that spot and our praying or petitioning our Heavenly Father in the name of Yeshua (John 14:13; 15:16, 23–24) with hearts and faces directed toward Jerusalem as Solomon talked about when dedicating the Temple (2 Chr 6 and 7)? Furthermore in Revelation 8:3–4, we read regarding the prayers of the saints at the heavenly altar of Elohim, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before Elohim out of the angel’s hand” (emphasis added).

We learned above that the Hebrew word sulam (ladder) has the same letters as the word semel (idol) and that the Jewish sages taught that this prophetically showed that Jacob’s descendants would eventually go into idolatry. What can be inferred from the similarity between the two words? We have seen above that the ladder is a picture of Yeshua and we will see below that the ladder is also a picture of a Torah scroll. Without belaboring the point, we must make mention of the fact that both Yeshua, the Living Torah or Word of Elohim made flesh (John 1:1, 14), and the actual Torah scroll which contains the written Word of Elohim are only “vehicles,” if you will, to lead men to the reality of the Father in heaven. Yehsua spent more time teaching about his Father and revealing his Father to man than almost any other subject in the Gospels (184 references). He stated that he was the way to the Father (John 14:6), and he commanded his disciples to pray to the Father (Matt 6:6). The purpose of Yeshua’s ministry was to bring or reconcile us to the Father (1 Pet 3:18). He is our advocate with the Father (1 John2:1) acting as our High Priest before the Father (Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:14; 5:5; 6:20; 8:1; 9:11; 10:21). Yet how many Christians even know about the Father, or pray to the Father? How often is this vital component of Yeshua’s ministry even mentioned in the mainstream churches? Has it not been forgotten that Yeshua is the Door into the tabernacle leading to intimate relationship with the Father? Likewise, the Jews venerate the Torah scroll almost as if it were Elohim himself instead of recognizing it simply as the words of Elohim printed on physical material. By biblical definition, an idol is anything that replaces YHVH Elohim in the hearts and minds of men. Well-meaning men often stop along the way at the “trail signs” failing to reach the objective of their devotion and worship. Whole religious institutions and traditions are constructed around these signs that point to a higher spiritual reality. The similarity between the Hebrew words sulam and semel is indeed a prophetic word of warning to the descendants of Jacob to not only avoid outright idolatry of pagan gods, but a word against misplaced or mis-focused orientation in worship as well.

We noted earlier that the Jewish sages teach that the ladder originated from heaven and went downward to the earth. Does this not cause us to recall several passages in the Testimony of Yeshua about Elohim’s love for man while man was dead and lost in his sins?

For Elohim so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [Yeshua], that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

But Elohim commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. (Rom 5:8)

For Messiah also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to Elohim, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. (1 Pet 3:18)

The Place (Gen 28:11) where Jacob laid his head as we have seen is Mount Moriah was the site of the future temple (the Temple Mount area in Jerusalem). This is the spot on earth YHVH Elohim chose to build his temple, hear men’s prayers and receive their offerings and atoning sacrifices. And this is where Yeshua, the Lamb of Elohim, was sacrificed on a tree becoming a source of redemption and life to all who would place their faith in him.

Before Jacob renamed the place Beth-El, the site was originally called luz (almond tree). It is interesting to note that there is a Jewish tradition that states that the tree of life in the Garden of Eden was an almond tree. Furthermore, the golden, seven-branched menorah built for the tabernacle was patterned after an almond tree (Exod 25:33; see Stone Edition Chumash, p. 451). Below are some Scriptures relating to the almond tree.

  • Aaron’s rod that budded (an almond tree). Aaron’s rod that budded was placed in the Ark (Num 17:8; Heb 9:4).
  • Israel is likened to an Almond tree (Jer 1:11).

Jacob renamed luz to Beth El (House of El; Gen 28:17). The temple was called “the house of El” by the Jews 72 times in Scripture. Interestingly, later there was ruling body of 72 Jewish elders (called the Great Sanhedrin) who ruled Israel from Jerusalem. This was the house of Elohim or temple to which Jacob prophetically, by faith, vowed to repeatedly pay tithes (Gen 28:22).

The Jewish sages teach that Beth El as the gate of heaven was the one place on earth suitable for prayer; i.e., the spot on earth from which man’s prayers go up to YHVH. (That is why many Jews pray toward Jerusalem—the Gate of Heaven; The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 146–7). This physical site of the akeidah (binding of Isaac to the altar) became the site of the temple’s holy of holies and mercy seat and where Messiah was crucified according to some biblical scholars. This was the spot that connected or linked the earth to heaven, and this is the place where the physical temple was eventually built by Solomon corresponding to the spiritual, heavenly temple (Rev 11:19; 15:5; 8:5). It was here that Solomon, when dedicating the temple in Jerusalem, prayed that YHVH would hear the prayers of his people uttered from this place or directed toward this place (2 Chr 6:20, 21, 24, 26, 29, 32–34, 38, 40).

The Jewish Sages Teach That Jacob’s Ladder Resembled a Giant Torah Scroll

According to the Jewish sages, Jacob’s ladder represents Torah. “The ladder alludes to Sinai, since the words Sinai and sulam both have the numerical of 130; the angels represent Moses and Aaron; and God stood atop the ladder just as He stood atop Sinai to give the Torah. Accordingly, the Torah, given at Sinai and taught by sages such as Moses and Aaron, is the bridge from heaven to earth” (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 145; emphasis added). Messianic Jewish Torah teacher Avi Ben Mordechai alludes to this same connection between Jacob’s ladder and the Torah in his book as well (Messiah Vol. 3, p. 407).

Now let us push the analogy between the ladder and Torah a little further. A ladder looks like a Torah Scroll with three columns. The Scriptures teach us that the Torah (that is, the instructions, teachings and precepts of YHVH as given to man at Mount Sinai; see my teaching article available on our web site entitled YHVH’s Instructions in Righteousness, A Messianic Believer’s Introduction to the Torah?) the pathway of righteousness leading to YHVH, to his heavenly kingdom and eternal rewards. Several Scriptures easily affirm this truth:

And [Moses] said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this Torah. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. (Deut 32:47)

Furthermore, in Matthew 19:16–21 Yeshua says that to enter into eternal life one must keep Torah and follow him! Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 say that the saints who are on earth during the last days prior to Yeshua’s return will be keeping the Torah-commands of YHVH and will have the faith or testimony of Yeshua.

As we have noted above, the Jewish sages teach that Jacob’s ladder prophetically represents the Torah as a bridge from heaven to earth (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 145). So Yeshua as pictured by Jacob’s ladder is the Living Torah, the Word of YHVH made flesh, the Way to the Father, the Way of Salvation, the Source of Eternal Life, the One who redeems man and reconciles him to the Father through His Body! His head is in heaven and his feet are planted like a tree of life on earth.

A ladder is a picture of a Torah scroll. A ladder actually resembles a Torah scroll. Both have two side posts and center horizontal crosspieces (in the case of a ladder) or horizontal writing (in the case of a scroll). As we have seen, the Torah is a source of life while a ladder is likened to a tree. Yeshua likened himself to a ladder (John 1:51), and John 1:1, 14 we read that he was the Word of Elohim made flesh; that is, he was both the Written Torah and the Living Torah. He hung on a tree and he is our Tree of Life (John 15:5). So it should now be clear from the preceding discussion these concepts can be set up like a mathematical equation: Jacob’s ladder = a tree = Torah = the Word of YHVH = Yeshua = Yeshua on the cross = Eternal Life = the way to the Father in heaven = a Torah Scroll. 

It is interesting to note that the spindles (or Torah poles) of a Torah Scroll are referred by the Jewish sages as atzei chaim, or as trees of life (The ArtScroll Kestenbaum Edition Tikkun, under “Laws and Custom,” p. 737a).

Furthermore, we see that the pages of a book are often referred to as leaves, or folios which is related to the word foliage which comes from the French word for leaves which is feuilles. In a Torah scroll, folios or pages of lambskin are sown together to make one long, continuous scroll. This should further prove the relationship in Hebraic thinking between Jacob’s ladder and the tree of life as it relates to the Torah, a Torah scroll and Yeshua the Messiah who is the Torah of Elohim made flesh.

At this point let us again recall the words of Yeshua in John 1:51,

Truly, truly, I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angles of Elohim ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

“The Stones” (Plural) Miraculously Become “The Stone” (Singular)

In verse 11 of Genesis 28, we notice that Jacob arranged the stones (plural) around himself as “pillows” are as a barrier from dangerous animals (according to some Jewish sages). Latter, when Jacob awakes from his dream the stones (plural, v. 11) are now a single stone (v. 18). What happened here? The Jewish sages offer various opinions on this subject. From The ArtScroll Bereishis we quote, “Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer adds that Jacob took these twelve stone from the altar upon which his father [Isaac] had been bound. When these stones—which indicated to him the twelve tribes would descend from him—coalesced into one stone, he perceived that all the tribes were destined to become one people [i.e., indivisible and unique] on the earth, as it is said [1 Chr 17:21] ‘And who is like your people Israel—a nation that is one on the earth’” (p. 1221).

After the Davidic kingdom of Israel was split under David’s grandson Reheboam into two kingdoms, the house of Judah (the southern kingdom comprised of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi of whom the modern-day Jews are descended; see The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, pp. 1105–1106) and the house of Ephraim (the northern kingdom comprised of the remaining 10 tribes of Israel). Eventually both houses of Israel fell into idolatry. The northern kingdom was defeated and its populace deported as slaves into Assyria. They become known as the “outcasts of Israel” (Isa 11:12) or the “lost sheep” of the house of Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24). The southern kingdom was also defeated by the Babylonians and taken as slaves to that country and become known as the “dispersed of Judah” (Isa 11:12). Both houses remain scattered and dispersed to this day with the exception of some of those of the house of Judah who have returned to the land of Israel.

The Jewish sages speak of a time coming in the future called “the final redemption” when the outcasts and exiled of Israel (both houses) will return to the land of Israel, return to Torah and will be reunited into one kingdom as they once were under King David, but this time under the rule of Messiah Ben (son of) David. We read about this in Ezekiel 37:15–28 where the Jewish sages recognize this prophetic passage of Scripture to be speaking of this final redemption when not only will the two houses of Israel reunite, but Messiah will come, the resurrection will occur and the Messianic Age (Millennium) will occur.

Below are a few quotes from rabbinical sources (with references) to validate the facts stated above:

The future King Messiah (Messiah Ben David) will not only redeem the Jews from exile, but will restore the observance of the Torah-commandments to its complete state, which will only be possible when the Israelites are living in the Land of Israel. At this same time, “there will be an ingathering of the dispersed remnant of Israel. This will make it possible for the Davidic dynasty to be reinstated and for the observance of the Torah and its mitsvot [commandments] to be restored in its totality” (I Await His Coming Every Day, p. 35, [see also p. 38 quoting Rambam] by Menachem Schneerson). According to the Rambam in his Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith the resurrection of the dead will occur just after the coming of the Messiah and that the resurrection of the dead is a key element of the Final Redemption (Ibid., p. 59). (emphasis added)

The Jewish sages recognize that the ingathering of the exiles, including the 10 tribes of the northen kingdom, will also return, be reunited with Judah and that the whole house of Israel will serve YHVH together. (Ezek 20:32–37, 40–42) (Mashiach – the Principles of Mashiach and the Messianic Era In Jewish Law and Tradition, pp. 20–22, by Jacob Immanual Schochet quoting from Sanhedrin 110b; Bamidbar Rabba 16:25; etc., emphasis added)

Pertaining to Ephraim, The ArtScroll Bereishis Commentary states, “Munk explains: ‘while it is true that the dispersion [of the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh] was caused by the unfaithfulness and sinfulness of Ephraim’s descendants (Hos. 7:8ff), Jacob’s blessing was not in vain for “they will return to God” and will have their share in the world to come (Sanhedrin 110b).’ And R. Eliezer adds: ‘Even the darkness in which the Ten Tribes were lost will one day become as radiant as the day’ (according to the version of Avos d’Rabbi Nosson 36). And in the perspective of history, did not these exiled children of the Patriarchs enlighten the nations among whom they were scattered? They did so by teaching their conquerors the fundamental ideas of the knowledge and love of God, ideals they had never forsaken. Hence they too have a messianic vocation and their Messiah the Maschiach ben Yosef, Messiah son of Joseph (Succah 52a), also called Messiah son of Ephraim (Targum Yonasan on Exodus 40:11), will play an essential role in humanity’s redemption, for he will be the precursor of the Maschiach ben David, Messiah Son of David. It is therefore not surprising to find that the prophet Jeremiah (3:12) speaks affectionately of Ephraim. In this light, Jacob’s words, his offspring will fill the nations nation,’ assume the significance of blessing.” (The ArtScroll Bereishis Commentary, vol. 1(b), commentary on Gen 48:19, pp. 2121–2122)

The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash and R. Samson Raphael Hirsch: In regards to Deut 32:26 which says, “I said, I would scatter them into the corners…”  The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash comments, “This refers to the exile of the Ten Tribes, who were scattered to an unknown place where they have never been heard from again. On the phrase of the same verse, “I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men…” the same Chumash states, “This is a reference to the exile of Judah and Benjamin, the Davidic kingdom from which today’s known Jews are descended.” It goes on to say that though nations would seek to destroy Israel entirely YHVH would never allow Israel to become extinct or disappear. Israel’s perpetual existence is a constant reminder of YHVH’s plan and eventually Israel will thrive and fulfill YHVH’s intention for it” (pp. 1105-1106). Hirsch in his commentary on the Pentateuch on the same verse translates the phrase, “I would scatter them into the corners…” as, “I would relegate them into a corner.” and then says that the Hebrew here refers to the “extreme end of a surface, the side or corner …” He, too, relates this fate to the Ten Tribes who would be scattered “to some distant corner of the world, where, left entirely to themselves, they could mature towards serious reflection and ultimate return to Me …” (p. 650).

Indeed, as the Jewish sages admit above “[The outcast of Ephraim] too have a messianic vocation and their Messiah the Maschiach ben Yosef, Messiah son of Joseph … will play an essential role in humanity’s redemption, for he will be the precursor of the Maschiach ben David, Messiah Son of David” (The ArtScroll Bereishis Commentary, vol. 1(b), pp. 2121–2122). That Messiah is none other than Yeshua the Messiah, the son of David and the son of Joseph (his earthly [non-biological father]). As the Jewish sages have stated and as Yeshua the Messiah himself stated, he came for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” and commanded his disciples to do the same (Matt. 10:6 and 15:24). He came to bring to them the message or good news of redemption, salvation and the coming kingdom of Israel (“Repent for the King of Elohim is at hand” was the summation of the message he preached–Matt. 4:17) united under himself as Messiah, the Son of David. (See my teaching articles on our web site entitled What Is the Meaning of the Gospel In Its Hebrew Roots Context?– a Surprising and Enlightening Answer and The Kingdom of Heaven & the Millennium: Are They the Same Event? When & Where Do They Occur?).

Who are the ten tribes of Israel today? The Jewish sages state above that they would have their own Redeemer called Messiah Son of Joseph (or the Suffering Servant) who would be the precursor to the Messiah Son of David (the Conquering King). I ask you in all honesty and truthless, who on planet earth fits the above description? The Buddhists, Hindus or Moslems? Or the Christians? The answer should be obvious!

The Paul the apostle very clearly states that those who come to saving faith in Yeshua, the Messiah and Redeemer of Israel are Israel and are the sons of Abraham (Rom 4:16; 9:8, 11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28, 29). Are you a disciple of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah (Christ)? If so, then you are an Israelite by biblical definition.

Did not Yeshua come to unite the Jews and Gentiles (i.e., the people of the nations) in himself? Paul teaches that Yeshua came to make one new man in himself where “Gentiles” are no longer “Gentiles” spiritually speaking, but are now Israelites through Messiah Yeshua. In Ephesians 2:11–20 we read,

11 Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Elohim in the world: 13 But now in Messiah Yeshua you who sometimes were far off are brought near by the blood of Messiah. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of two one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto Elohim in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were near. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of Elohim; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua Messiah himself being the chief corner stone.

Luke in the book of Acts talks about the work, called the final redemption in Jewish thought, that would have to occur before Messiah could return in Acts 3:21

Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Elohim has spoken by the mouth of all his set-apart prophets since the world began.

This final redemption including many things:

  • The gathering in of the Israelite exiles from the nations to which they have been scattered.
  • The redemption of the exiles from slavery to the world, flesh and the devil.
  • The exiles coming out of spiritual Babylon and returning to their Hebraic roots and heritage.
  • The exiles eturning to their covenants of promise and to the Torah.
  • The two houses of Israel mutually reconciling through the salvific and redemptive work of the Person of Yeshua the Messiah.
  • Their reuniting with Messiah into a united kingdom under King Messiah Ben David.
  •  Their ruling and reigning with King Yeshua in his millennial kingdom.

This the real gospel message that, for the most part, the Christian church fails to teach being oblivious to it. Most Christians are also oblivious to their own identity in YHVH’s glorious plan of redemption. This is the message of hope, redemption, salvation and eternal life in YHVH-Yeshua’s eventual eternal kingdom, the New Heaven and new earth in the New Jerusalem which occurs after the 1000 yearlong Millennium (See Rev. 21 and 22). (See my teaching articles on our web site entitled, The Bible: The Good News – The Story of Two Lovers & YHVH’s Set-apart Feast Days Are the Outline of that Love Story — a Plan of Redemption and What Are the Prophetic Implications of the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Movement?)

Prophetically, this is what Jacob saw when the stones become one stone. YHVH talked about his descendants being as the dust of the ground, degraded in exile, as the Jewish sages term it, and as we have seen above. But Messiah Son of Joseph (Mashiach Ben Yosef), the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, would come to redeem the exiled captives (captives to physical and spiritual Babylon, Rev 18:4) and return them to the commonwealth of Israel to which they had been aliens and strangers for so long (Eph 2:12), but now as broken off branches of the olive tree of Israel it was time to be grafted back in to their Hebrew roots (Rom 11:13–25).

As scattered captives and slaves, the children of the patriarchs would become like pulverized stones, or dust of the earth, to be trodden under the feet of the Gentiles. However, in the end days, these captives will be set free and will once again be lifted to a place of exaltation as stars in the heavens. Indeed, the Scriptures liken the 12 tribes of Israel to tiara of 12 stars in the heavens around the head of Israel, the glorious bride of YHVH-Yeshua (see Rev 12:1, cp. Gen 37:9). Elsewhere, the Bible also likens Israel to 12 stones (Josh 4:3, 8–9, 20; 1 Kgs 18:31).

For these reasons, it is probable that the stones Jacob arranged around his head were 12 in number, and became one even as the two sticks in Ezekiel’s prophecy representing the two houses of Israel became one in the hand of YHVH (Ezek 37:15–19). This will occur at the coming of the Messiah at the end of this present age and at the beginning of the Messianic Age or Millennium (Ezek 37:20–28).

The Pathway to the Kingdom of Elohim and the New Jerusalem from Heaven

Jacob’s ladder leads to heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22), which is the spiritual mother of us all (Gal 4:26). What does Scripture say about New Jerusalem?

The New Earth and New Heaven—a set-apart/kadosh city from heaven—is the tabernacle/sukkah of Elohim and is where he shall dwell with men (Rev 21:1–3).

The New Jerusalem descends from heaven from YHVH having the glory of YHVH (Rev 21:10).

New Jerusalem has twelve gates corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel or Jacob. Each gate is made of a single pearl stone (verse 2) This represents Yeshua as the Gate to the sheepfold (John 10:7). He is also the Stone of Israel, the Chief Cornerstone and the Rock of our salvation (Isa 8:14; Rom 9:33; 1 Pet 2:8; 2 Sam 22:47; Ps 89:27; Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 1:6). Only redeemed Israelites will be able to enter into the New Jerusalem, for there is no “Gentile” gate (Rev 21:12). All who have placed their trusting faith in Yeshua the Messiah are Israelites (Rom 4:16; 9:8, 11; Gal. 3:7, 9,14, 28, 29).

What is New Jerusalem? It is literally a giant, square block of stone approximately 1200 cubic miles in size (Rev 21:16) with Yeshua as the Chief Cornerstone and the twelve apostles leading the twelve tribes of Israel as the foundations and gates to the city (Eph 2:20; Rev 21:12, 14). Each gate is made of a single stone or pearl (Rev 21:21). In this giant block of stone are twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Israel. There is no Gentile gate. Those disciples of Yeshua who claim they are Gentiles will be hard pressed to find a gate bearing their name. It does not exist! His way into New Jerusalem is through the tribes, nation and covenants and Messiah of Israel. There is no other way. There is no Gentile gate! So to which tribe do you belong?

Jacob’s vision in twelve short verses is a prophetic shadow-picture of all that what we have discussed in this teaching, and as a famous person likes to say, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

The Text in Its Expanded Meaning

Now let’s read Genesis 28:10–22 with the meanings of the words and the expanded concepts in mind.

10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he encountered/interceded/prayed at the place [Mount Moriah/the Temple Mount], and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took of the stones [the Two Stone Tablets, the two houses of Israel (discussed below)] of the place [Mount Moriah/the Temple Mount] which he arranged around his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder [literally a highway to heaven, a staircase, a ramp up to the altar, a Torah scroll, or a tree] set up [set up, put, place, stand firmly, fix, establish, to be planted] on the earth [eretz/the land of Israel], and the top [rosh/head, beginning, captain, chief, first, height, highest part] of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of Elohim ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, YHVH stood above it, and said, I am YHVH, Elohim of Abraham your father, and the Elohim of Isaac: the ground upon which you are lying, to you will I give it, and to your seed/descendants [the offspring of Jacob/Israel, namely, the twelve tribes of Israel, later split into two kingdoms: the house of Judah (the southern kingdom) and the house of Israel/Ephraim (the northern kingdom)]; 14 And your seed/descendants shall be as the dust [scattered and degraded like dirt throughout the nations] of the earth, and you shall spread out powerfully to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed/descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed [speaking of redemption and salvation through Messiah son of Joseph (or Mashiach Ben Yosef), the Suffering Servant, a role Yeshua fulfilled]. 15 And, behold, I am with you, and will guard you in all places wherever you go, and will bring you again into this land [the Land of Israel, speaking prophetically of Jacob’s descendants returning to the Promised Land (even as Jacob was doing in Gen. 28 after a 20-year exile in virtual slavery and servitude to Lot) after a long dispersion/exile throughout the nations of the world]; for I will not forsake you, until I have done what I have spoken about you. 16 And Jacob awoke out of his sleep [the descendants of Jacob, the dispersed of both the houses of Judah and of Ephraim have been sleeping for thousands of years spiritually with regard to their prophetic roles and identities and with regard to the Messiah, the Torah, their relationship to the covenants of Elohim and their relationship to one another], and he said, Surely YHVH is in this place; and I knew it not. 17 And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other but the house of Elohim, and this is the gate [a picture of Messiah Yeshua, the Written and Living Torah-Word of Elohim and the Door to Salvation and the Father in Heaven] of heaven. 18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone [Yeshua, the houses of Israel united in Messiah: the Written and Living Torah’s personified (more on this below)] that he placed around his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19 And he called the name of the place Bethel [at that exact spot about 1800 years later the Temple would be standing and Messiah Yeshua would be crucified]: but the name of that city was called Luz originally. 20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, “If Elohim will be with me, and will guard me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothes to wear, 21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall YHVH be my Elohim: 22 And this stone [singular, a reference to Yeshua, and to the one new man in Yeshua where there is no longer Jew nor non-Jew (Eph. 2:11-19)], which I have set for a pillar, shall become a house of Elohim: and whatever you give me I shall repeatedly give a tenth/tithe to you. (emphasis added)

Jacob’s Dream and Psalms 118

Even a cursory reading of Psalm 118 will reveal that it is prophetically messianic in nature. Furthermore, the basic message of Jacob’s dream is encapsulated in the last eleven verses of Psalm 118. Upon studying certain passages in this psalm one will see that certain themes from Jacob’s dream are echoed. Additionally, the Gospel writers relate some of the fulfillment of these prophetic themes to the live and ministry of Yeshua the Messiah.

Verse 19, “Open to me the gates [shah-ar] of righteousness [i.e., Torah, see Ps 119:172]: I will go into them, and I will praise YHVH.”

Verse 20, This gate of YHVH is the gate of YHVH into which the righteous will enter. Yeshua said in John 10:7 and 9 that he is the Gate or Door; the gate is straight and the way narrow (Matt 7:13–14); the Way of Torah, the Word of YHVH Elohim is Light (Ps 119:105; Prov 6:23; John 1:1–5).

Verse 21, “You are become my salvation.”

Verse 22, “The stone the builders rejected became the head of the corner.”

Verse 23, “This is the YHVH’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” Marvellous! Note Jacob’s response after seeing his marvellous vision (Gen 28:16–18).

Verse 25, “Save now, I beseech you, O YHVH: O YHVH, I beseech you, send now prosperity.” The phrase, “Save now I beseech” in Hebrew is hoshana rabbah, which can also be translated to mean hosanna in the highest. This very phrase is what the crowds declared over Yeshua at his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt 21:9).

Verse 26, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of YHVH.”

Verse 27, “El is YHVH, which has shown us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” YHVH has given his people his people the light of his Written Torah-word as well as Yeshua the Messiah, the Living Torah or Word and spiritual Light of Elohim (John 1:1–14). Yeshua was the ultimate sacrifice that was bound to the altar of the cross to redeem and reconcile sinful to Elohim.

Verse 28-29, “You are my El, and I will praise you: you are my Elohim, I will exalt you. O give thanks unto YHVH; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.” This should be the heart response of the redeemed of YHVH when they realize that our Father in heaven has been actively implementing his plan of redemption for mankind from the earliest times culminating with his sending his Son and who is the strong Arm of YHVH (Isa 53:1), Yeshua, to this earth to redeem fallen and sinful man. Praise YHVH Elohim!!!


5 thoughts on “Jacob’s Ladder Explained—YHVH’s Plan of Salvation from Genesis to Revelation

  1. Thank you, Natan, for your ability to research the Word and combine that with what others have taught about the Torah. It almost leaves me breathless (and brainless!)!! After a once through read, I intend to go back over it and contemplate the parts that stood out (there were many). When I meet you in the streets of the New Jerusalem, Natan, I’ll probably remind you of your teaching here, and I can truthfully say, then, “Ah, I finally truly GET IT!”

    • I write about a lot of things that I can’t comprehend myself.The truths are divinely revealed to me, but that doesn’t mean my mind is capable of fully understanding them. Know what I mean? In some ways, we’re living and walking in a giant mysterious, unearthly, heavenly cloud. Our feet are on the ground, but we’re seated in heavenly places. We know it’s true, and by faith we go forward in it, but after that, our feeble brains kind of short circuit.

      • Thank you for that understanding. This is all so new to me, and often times I feel as if I am only getting a glimpse of what a passage means. I feel so inadequate in being able then to share it with others, but as I am applying it to my walk with Yah I find it becomes more clear. My walk with the Father had been so dry, who could have imagined that trying to understand and live the Torah would have brought such sweet joy and peace!
        Ps. 119:45. I have so much to learn!

      • I’ll be presenting my Jacob’s ladder teaching this Shabbat at our local congregation complete with digital presentation. It will be filmed and placed on our YouTube channel. Perhaps the audio-visual approach will help make it all come together even better for you. So stay tuned…

  2. Brother Natan,
    Thanks for the article. This christian girl(once gentile) prays to our Father, in Jesus name and agrees on its importance/relationship to the saints.

    I do have some questions but I think I may discover the answers to those in reading other articles you have written.

    Kiss on the cheek,

Share your thoughts...