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.
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.
Let’s now read the text in Genesis 28:10–22 pertaining to Jacob and his dream of the Continue reading