Jacob’s Ladder YHVH’s Plan of Salvation From Genesis to Revelation—The BIG Picture!

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.

The Text 

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

 

Was Abraham saved by faith or by works or both?

Genesis 26:5, Because. Based on Paul’s teaching in Romans 4, we see that the Abrahamic Covenant is the model for salvation, which is salvation by grace through faith leading to or resulting in good works or righteousness (Eph 2:8–10).

From this verse, it might appear the Abrahamic Covenant wasn’t a faith-based covenant at all, but a works based one. In other words, Abraham had to do something to be counted righteous or to come into good standing with Elohim—a concept which is commonly referred to as “earning one’s salvation through one’s good works.”

The fact is that in the Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham only had to have faith and believe in YHVH to be justified or to be considered righteous by Elohim (Gen 15:6). It was on this basis that YHVH granted him “salvation.”

But this initial step of faith on Abraham’s part and the righteousness Elohim attributed to him was but the first step in Abraham’s faith walk. From that point, he had to walk out his faith and continue trusting YHVH (see also Gen 19:5).

The apostolic writers present the idea that one’s spiritual journey is a walk, not a one time event that occurs at the beginning of that walk. Our faith walk is more than just mental assent with a few emotions thrown in for good measure. It’s more than just following the golden rule about loving our neighbor in some nebulous sort of way. It involves faithfulness to YHVH’s instructions. James clearly states in his epistle that this is how one demonstrates the legitimacy of one’s faith when he declares that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:18, 20, 26; see vv. 12–26 for context).

Abraham demonstrated his faithfulness by his obedience to YHVH’s Torah or YHVH’s Word or voice. Furthermore, as a result of this obedience, YHVH promised to bless him beyond simply being granted initial salvation or righteousness.

This two-step approach or model still holds true in the Testimony of Yeshua. One is saved or delivered from the wages of their past sin (Rom 3:25), which is death (Rom 6:23) by their faith (initial salvation), and then one ceases from that sin by continuing in the good works of Torah obedience (Eph 2:8–10).

Moreover, Yeshua and the apostolic writers in numerous instances reveal that future rewards (both temporal and eternal rewards) come as a result of one’s good works (e.g. Matt 5:19). The ultimate reward is being granted eternal life and inclusion in the family of Elohim.

 

The Parable of the Sower in Context Explained

Matthew 13:14, Hearing you will hear. In Yeshua’s Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3–23), we are confronted with the difficult issue about who will receive the gospel message and thus enter into the kingdom of heaven and who will not. Put into modern vernacular, Yeshua is discussing who will receive YHVH’s free gift of salvation resulting in immortality and who and who will die in his sins to perish for eternity.

Yeshua’s discussion all started when his disciples asked him why he taught the people using parables. To them, it was as if he were deliberately obscuring the gospel message.

A superficial reading of his response in verse 15 to their question may imply not only a lack of impartiality but a brutal selectivity on the part of Elohim when it comes to determining who he will choose to receive the gift of salvation including the gift of immortality. If this is the conclusion one draws from Yeshua’s response, then what he said contradicts other scriptures that indicate Elohim’s unconditional love for the whole world and his desire that all be saved (John 3:16; 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 2:9).

The fact is that a thorough reading of this passage shows us another important truth, which in no way impugns the character of Elohim, but instead leaves the onus on man.

After giving this parable, Yeshua quotes Isaiah the prophet (Isa 6:9–10), where we learn that it’s up to the individual as to how far they want to go with Elohim spiritually. All humans have eyes and ears to see and hear, but merely seeing or hearing doesn’t equate with understanding or perceiving. Sadly, many people want to dabble in religion, or to have a religious experience, but they don’t want to change their lives spiritually, to give up their sin, and then to submit to the will of Elohim by adhering to his commandments as revealed in his written Word, the Bible. This is because they have willfully hardened their hearts and closed their eyes (Matt 13:15). YHVH isn’t going to cram “religion,” so to speak, down their throats. For example, in the Gospel record, we read that many people followed Yeshua out of curiosity and in hopes of being healed or getting fed physically or seeing a miracle (John 6:26; Matt 12:39), but when he demanded obedience, many turned away from following him (John 6:66). The same is true of people today. Human nature, the condition of man’s heart, remains the same down through the ages. Though Yeshua calls many to follow him, few actually do (Matt 20:16; 22:14). Of the thousands who flocked to see Yeshua during his earthly ministry, only about 120 people remained faithful to him (Acts 1:15).

Why would Yeshua (and Isaiah) express reluctance at having some people come to saving faith in Elohim? The answer lies in the Parable of the Sower itself. Yeshua explains that the good seed of the gospel message is sown on various types of ground. Only that which is sown in the fertile soil produces fruit. Though the seed germinated and began to grow in the bad ground, it eventually died because of unfavorable external factors. Yeshua in explaining this parable to his disciples says that many people receive the good seed (i.e. they hear the gospel message), and they respond favorably to it initially, but they’re not willing to go all the way, for their hearts and minds are only open superficially. Once the excitement and emotions of their spur of the moment decision dies down, they go back to their old lifestyle. Peter describes those who initially respond favorably to the gospel, but turn away in this way in 2 Peter 2:20,

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Yeshua the Messiah, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

Of those who are superficially converted but turn away, Yeshua, elsewhere likens such a person to a house that gets cleaned and swept spiritually of evil spirits, but if that person doesn’t guard his house to keep it clean, the evil spirits will come back in greater force than before to repossess the house. Yeshua exclaimed that the latter state of the man is worse than his first state (Matt 12:43–45).

It is perhaps for these reasons that, though Yeshua clearly desires all to be saved in a general sense, he only wants those who will be serious about their spiritual walk actually to be saved. This lessens the possibility of those who are less serious from making spiritual commitments, getting saved, then falling away into a worse spiritual state than before. Yeshua values quality over quantity when it comes to his disciples.

What’s more, he spoke the mysteries of the kingdom in parables, so that those who were serious would be forced to take the step of faith necessary to gain understanding. Those who are unwilling to push forward in the pursuit of truth aren’t worthy to have the mysteries of the kingdom entrusted to them. It would be like casting pearls before swine or giving that which is holy to the dogs, as Yeshua elsewhere states (Matt 7:6). Again, many are called and few are chosen.

 

The Gospel Preached Through Noah and the Flood

Genesis 6–8, Noah’s flood provides allegorical insights relating to end-times prophecy. In Matthew 24:37, Yeshua compares the end times to the days of Noah. The story of Noah has allegorical implications that give hints about end-times prophecy.

In 1 Peter 3:18–22, we learn that the story of Noah is also a picture of salvation and water baptism. Noah is a prophetic antetype of Yeshua.

To start with, Noah building the ark is a prophetic picture of the redeemed believer working out his own salvation (Phil 2:12), yet while doing so according to YHVH’s exact plans or specifications (e.g. repentance from sin, faith in Yeshua, baptism for the remission of sins, and faithful obedience to YHVH’s commandments).

Noah builds an ark of safety from Elohim’s wrath or judgments against sinful man. The ark is a metaphorical picture of the believer’s salvation, and Noah is a spiritual picture of Yeshua. The flood is also a picture of water baptism for the remission of sins, which ceremonially pictures the death of the old sinful man, and the birth of the new spiritual man (Rom 6:3–6). Water can both clean one of dirt and kill. The same water cleanses the repentant sinner but kills the unrepentant sinner. Unregenerated sinful or carnal men perished in the floodwaters in Noah’s day, while the new, redeemed man (as pictured by Noah and his family) who had found grace in the sight of Elohim (Gen 6:8) found refuge on the ark. While the flood is a judgment against sinful man who has violated the Torah-laws or divine instructions of YHVH, the ark is a picture of the grace that YHVH offers to those who will repent of their sins (i.e. Torahlessness, see 1 John 3:4) and will turn to him through Yeshua. Since Noah found grace in the eyes of YHVH because he was “perfect in his generations” (Gen 6:8, 9), he was spared from YHVH’s judgments against sin (or the wages of sin which is death, Rom 6:23). YHVH offers the same gift of grace to all men today (2 Pet 3:9).

The ark had three levels indicating the three levels of salvation rewards that YHVH offers to his saints, which is analogous to the three sections in the Tabernacle of Moses. The highest level where Noah lived is the section of the ark that was the closest to heaven, where YHVH abides, and is a picture of the kadosh hakadoshim (the holy of holies, also known as the d’veer meaning “oracle”), which was the place in the tabernacle from which Elohim spoke to the Moses and the Israelites. It is in that highest place that one hears Elohim’s instructions directly from him.

The unclean animals are a picture of lost and scattered Israelites returning to YHVH in the end times from the beast or heathen nations to where they have been scattered and where they have become like beasts of the field (Hos 2:16–19 cp. Acts 10:12, 28). In Peter’s vision of the sheet (Acts 10:12, 28), the Gentiles are likened to unclean animals that YHVH has redeemed (Acts 10:12, 28 cp. with the great and innumerable multitude of Rev 7:9, the lukewarm believers of Laodicea in Rev 3:14–21, the thief on the cross, and the foolish virgins in Yeshua’s parable in Matt 25:1–13). The clean animals may represent the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14, and who are those saints who have remained faithful in keeping YHVH’s Torah commandments, while at the same time maintaining faith in Yeshua the Messiah (Rev 12:17; 14:12).

Noah escaping the wrath of Elohim may be a antetype of the second exodus of end-times Israelites from the nations of the world. As a mixed multitude joined Israel in the exodus from Egypt, so even within Noah’s family there was a mixed multitude containing a spiritual tare; namely, Ham who later fell into sin (Gen 9:22–27) and become the father of the evil Nimrod (Gen 10). Even Yeshua had Judas, a tare, among his select group of disciples, and Yeshua teaches that the tares would coexist with the wheat up until the end times (Matt 13:24–30).

The waters that flooded the world gushed up from out of the bowels of the earth and rained down from heaven (Gen 7:11). Water can be a biblical metaphor for the spoken word (e.g. Deut 32:2; Eph 5:26); namely, it represents both the Word of Elohim from above, and the word (philosophies, thoughts, ideas, religions) of man that are counter to the Word of Elohim that have their source from below. In the last days, knowledge shall be increased, the devil shall spew out his mouth words or philosophies like a flood in an effort to spiritually drown the world and even the saints (Rev 12:15; Matt 24:14). Water can also be a judgment against men. YHVH will judge men for their words, philosophies and religions. Those who followed YHVH’s Word from heaven will be spared his wrath, while those who have subscribed to the words or philosophies of men from below will perish or be judged in a sea of men’s words that are often founded on doctrines of demons. Those who feed spiritually from the tree of knowledge (i.e. secular humanism and all the false religions and ideologies that have spawned from it) will die, while those who spiritually feed from the tree of life or the word of Noah (i.e. a prophetic picture Yeshua), the preacher of righteousness (i.e. the Torah, see Ps 119:172 and 2 Pet 2:5) will live. In the last days, the Word of YHVH will judge men, for when Yeshua returns to the earth on his white war stallion, the sword of the word of Elohim will be coming out of his mouth with which he will judge the nations (Rev 19:11–15). 

It rained 40 days. This is another picture of judgment, since biblically, forty is the number of trials, testing or spiritual refinement.

The ark came to “rest” (Heb. nuach meaning “repose, settle down, be quiet”) on the mountains Ararat (Gen 8:4). From there, Noah built an altar and begin to rule the earth. This is a prophetic picture of Yeshua, at his second advent, coming to Zion or the Temple Mount where he will have his temple and will establish his kingdom on earth, and it will be a time of peace on earth.

The word Ararat means “the curse is reversed.” The ark came to rest on Ararat during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. This is a prophetic picture of the saints coming to a place of spiritual rest at the beginning of the Millennium after the judgments of Elohim have been poured out on this earth against sin and the wicked have been destroyed.

The dove is a picture of the bride of Yeshua who follows the Spirit of Elohim. The dove coming from the top window of the ark symbolizes the bride of Yeshua coming back to earth from the first heaven to rule with Yeshua on earth. The dove left and came back on the seventh day—the Shabbat. This is a picture of the Millennium or the seventh millennia of man’s existence on earth. Several times in the story of Noah, it is mentioned about the dove finding rest or not finding rest. This is another picture of the Millennium—a time of rest for the saints or the bride of Yeshua (Heb 4:1–10).

The raven who feeds on carrion is a metaphor for the devil who feeds off of dead meat, and who is actively trying to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) like a ravenous lion (1 Pet 5:8). Satan will be active at the end of the Millennium, as well, when he will be loosed from the pit for a short season from which he will go to incite Gog and Magog to come against Yeshua and the saints in Jerusalem (Rev 20:7–10).

Noah’s altar may well be a picture of the third temple (or Ezekiel’s temple, Ezek 40–48).

According to Christian commentator Matthew Henry, Noah’s ark was an early Christian metaphor for salvation and YHVH’s delivering his people form evil and judgment against wickedness. We see this allusion in 1 Peter 3:20–22 where the flood is a picture of salvation, deliverance by baptism and the resurrection of Yeshua.

The ark was covered with pitch, which is a picture of the redeemed believer being covered by the blood of Yeshua to keep the spiritual ark of his life from sinking under the judgment of Elohim against men’s sin. This truth of this imagery is revealed the Hebrew words for pitch and atonement,which share the same root word.

The name Noah means “rest.” Yeshua bids all who are heavy laden and need rest to come to him (Matt 11:28–30).

Noah was 600 years old when he went into the ark and the flood came. YHVH’s final judgment against wicked men will be at the end of the 6000 years of men’s rebellious tenure on this earth.

Noah didn’t leave the ark and set foot on the earth until YHVH bade him to do so (Gen 8:15). Likewise, Yeshua won’t return to the earth from heaven until the Father permits it.

The Noachic Covenant that Elohim made with all humanity (Gen 9:1) is a picture of the New Covenant being ratified in the Millennium with “all Israel.” No non-Israelites (i.e. no sinners) will be permitted to live, but will be burned up in the lake of fire at the end of the Millennium (Rev 20:11–15). 

 

The blood of animals vs. the blood of Yeshua

Hebrews 9:13–14, Purifying the flesh…cleansing your conscience. The Levitical sacrificial system was never able to atone for sin in the full sense. These sacrifices were effective only temporarily in that they had to be continually repeated.

In reality, these sacrifices never mitigated YHVH’s judgment against sin. The Levitical sacrifices simply covered over sin, so that the sinner could stand before Elohim without being consumed by his righteous judgments. But only Yeshua’s death could satisfy Elohim’s judgment against sin permanently in the life of the believer. Only his atoning sacrifice can thoroughly wash away our sins, remove the death penalty, which is the wages or penalty of sin, and cleanse the sinner of the guilty conscience which resides in his personal spirit, so that one could “serve the living Elohim” with a clean slate.

Sin can contaminate the spirit of man, which houses the conscience of man (2 Cor 7:1; see notes at Col 3:10). Only the blood of Yeshua can miraculously cleanse our soul (the mind, will and emotions) and spirit of a person and bring us to perfect holiness in the fear of Elohim (ibid.) This Yeshua did in a spiritual sense in the spiritual temple in heaven, which is greater than the physical temple on earth, which was a mere copy or shadow of the one in heaven (Heb 8:3–6).

The cleansing that the Levitical sacrificial system offered was physical and external, while the one Yeshua offers through the heavenly temple gives internal cleansing.

 

Do you fully discern the Lord’s body?


 

Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made/cut a covenant with me by sacrifice. (Psalm 50:5

Psalms 50:5, Made/cut a covenant…by sacrifice. This refers to the method by which covenants were made in ancient times between two parties. This same ritual occurred when YHVH made (or cut) a covenant with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15 except that YHVH took all the responsibilities for fulfilling the covenant upon himself, for Abraham was asleep when this covenant was cut (Gen 15:9–10, 12). All Abraham had to do was to have faith in YHVH and all the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant would fall upon him (Gen 15:6). We know from Paul’s discussion in Romans chapter four that the Abrahamic Covenant is the original biblical model for how an individual can receive salvation from Elohim. We also know that when YHVH made his covenant with Abraham, the vision Abraham had while he was asleep prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s death on the cross and his initiating the new/renewed covenant as prophesied in the Tanakh (e.g. Jer 31:31–33; also see my discussion of Gen 15:12–21 at Abraham’s vision). Yeshua at his last supper and subsequent crucifixion fulfilled this ancient prophecy as well as the spiritual types and shadows discussed in Psalm 50:7 and Genesis 15:9–21. At his last supper, Yeshua made a new covenant with his disciples through his body (the bread) and blood (the wine), which redeemed believers now commemorate when they take communion. 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt 26:26–28)

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (1 Cor 11:24)

Prior to his death on the cross, Yeshua’s predictively explained the significance of his broken body and spilled blood as it relates to covenantal agreement between him and those who would place their faith in him (as Abraham did in Gen 15).

35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.…47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.…50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.…58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:35, 47, 50, 53, 58)

In the context of the Passover service when the saints through the ritual of communion annually commemorate Yeshua’s “cutting” the new covenant with his saints and then ratifying that covenant through his death, Paul has the following to say about the significance of Yeshua’s body:

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (1 Cor 11:26–29)

Those who carelessly take communion are literally disrespecting not only the high value of the covenant that was made (or cut), but the tremendous price of making a covenant with Elohim (i.e. it cost Yeshua his life, and the believer must also die to himself as he accepts, unconditionally, Yeshua as his Lord and Master). Moreover, careless partakers of communion are not only underestimating the cost of their salvation, but the value and the benefits of that salvation, which is spiritual rewards including eternal life. Elohim is not only not duty bound to give immortality to such people, but would be foolish to immortalize people who don’t sufficiently recognize and appreciate the cost and value of covenantal agreement. In doing so, he would risk having another rebellion on his hand at some point in the future.

An ancient relic of crucifixion.

So when Yeshua died on the cross, he become the sacrifice that was cut (i.e. his body was brutally mutilated prior to and during his crucifixion) to which this verse in this Psalm 50 makes allusion. 

Moreover, Abraham not only had faith in YHVH, but he had to walk out that faith the rest of his life, for faith without works is dead (Jas 2:14–26). Similarly, those who place their faith in Yeshua must also back up that faith by doing his words (John 5:24), doing good (John 5:29; 3:21), loving him and keeping his commandments (John 14:15), coming to the light of Elohim’s truth (John 3:20–21), and showing that they are overcoming the word, the flesh and the devil resulting in eternal life and great spiritual rewards in the world to come (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). 

At the same time, those who don’t place their trust in Yeshua by accepting the covenant he “cut” through his death on the cross and then by backing that faith up with good deeds, or those who have “accepted” Yeshua, but lightly esteem him, will have a terrible price to pay.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (1 Cor 11:29–30)

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28–29)

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

 

Salvation by Works or Grace?

Ephesians 2:8, 10, Saved … good works. Are we saved by faith through grace or by our good works? This verse clearly answers this question. One is saved by the free gift of YHVH’s grace through faith (in Yeshua). Salvation isn’t based on good works (Torah obedience), or else prideful man would boast about how good his is, and that YHVH must have saved him on the merits of his good works. However, once one is saved, and a result of his salvation one will produce the fruits good works, which is Torah-obedience. This is the definition of biblical righteousness (Ps 119:172) and shows us how to walk in the Spirit by loving YHVH with our all and our neighbor as ourself. When we live out this pattern, we become Elohim’s workmanship through Yeshua.