John 1:51, Jacob’s Ladder in the New Testament
And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
//Remember the dream Jacob had, of a ladder resting on earth and reaching to heaven, with angels traipsing up and down the rungs?
Here in John’s Gospel, Jesus promises that one who sees “heaven open” will see the angels ascending and descending upon Jesus, rather than a ladder. Why the rewrite?
Let’s return to Genesis and the story of Jacob. While the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament, written a century or two before Christ) portrays angels ascending and descending upon a ladder, the original Hebrew is not so clear. Some translators say the angels climbed the ladder, others say they walked up and down Jacob. John appears familiar with this latter interpretation, and compares Jesus to Jacob.
Why? My thought is this: Jacob (known also as Israel, the father of the Hebrew nation) is being supplanted. Christ has started a new nation. John sees “Israel” as no longer the Jewish nation but as a new people reborn in Christ. The first nation is forgotten; the new nation of Christians is now in the company of angels.
The River of Life
The Way It Happened
|Revelation: A love story gone awry.||The Gospel: A love story set aright.|
What really happened 2,000 years ago? How did a persecuted minority of end-time believers known as Christians, with their dreams of Armageddon and a conquering Messiah named Jesus, evolve into the largest religion in the world? Author Lee Harmon explores the period in which the New Testament was written in his books about John's Gospel and Revelation.
(Bloggers: you may be eligible for a free review copy! Just contact us.)
The God Show
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- Book review: The Pursuit of God
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- Book review: Glimpsing Heaven
- Reframing a Relevant Faith
- A Man Called Jesus, A Novel
- Book review: The River of Life
- God of Fire: The Hope Reformation
- The Weight of a Feather: and Other Stories
- Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense
- Book review: You Don’t Understand the Bible Because You Are Christian
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- Book review: The Two Faces of Christianity
- Book review: The Book of Revelation and the Coming Judgment
- Book review: True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense Of Our Complex World
- Book review: The Bible Tells Me So
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- Book review: Calvin for Armchair Theologians
- Book review: Wine and the Word
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- Book review: The Synoptic Problem
- Book review: Lost Christianities
- Come Out of Her My People
- Book review: The Bible Tells Me So
- Psalm 23:4, The Valley of Death
- Luke 10:26, Loving Both Neighbor and Enemy
- Luke 15:28, Who is the Lost Son?
- Leviticus 19:33-34, Resident Aliens
- Luke 10:28, How To Live
- Book review: Finding God In Suffering: A Journey With Job
- Luke 15:22, Another Side of the Prodigal Son
- Luke 15:18, The Non-Repentant Prodigal
- Matthew 8:10, The Two Parables of Lazarus, Part II of II
- John 11:47, The Two Parables of Lazarus, Part I of II
- Luke 2: 13-14 Angels We Have Heard On High
- Luke 5:5-7, The Fate of the Lost Sheep
- Luke 15:21-24 Who is the Prodigal Son?
- Matthew 13:45-46, The Dark Side of the Pearl
- Mark 14:62, The Son of Man
- Luke 24:44, What is the Tanakh?
- Genesis 9:25-27, The Curse of Ham
- Matthew 12:22-24, The Battle With Satan
- Matthew chapters 13, 20 and 22: Parables of the Kingdom
- Matthew 23:33, The Authoritarian God
- Luke 6:20, The First to Enjoy the Kingdom
- Matthew 5:39, Matthew’s Unique Jesus
- Galatians 4:30, Cast aside the Law
- 1 Corinthians 12:27, The Body of Christ
- Matthew 24:34, The Liberal’s Bible
- Mark 1:1 The Messianic Secret
- Mark 3:32-33, The House Church
- Acts 14:14, Paul the Apostle
- Matthew 3:2, Was Jesus a Disciple of John the Baptist?
- John 13:4-5, The Suffering Servant
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