Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Cast: Jacob, The Dreamer

Jacob: Looking for a Wife

Jacob...came to a certain place, and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants...and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves”...Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven”. Gen. 28:10-17.

A modern, literal interpretation of Jacob’s dream in the city of Luz might read like this. Jacob stopped travelling because the sun had set.   Having arranged his uncomfortable bedding he lay down and fell asleep.   Half asleep, he saw a ladder, standing on the ground, with its top attached to a spacecraft.  In this state of semi-consciousness, he saw the crew of the spaceship preparing for a journey.  There were robots climbing up and down the ladder with provisions on their backs.  Then Jacob saw the commander of the spaceship standing at the top of the ladder supervising the loading procedures.  The Captain of the spaceship, using his audio amplifying apparatus, said to Jacob: “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham, your father and the God of Isaac.  

I am the national God of Israel, and here is my promise to you: the nation of Israel will become great and all the earth will be blessed because of what I will do through Israel”.  Then Jacob awoke to his full senses, with a start, and said, “Surely the Lord and his spaceship are in this place, and when I fell asleep I didn’t even realize it”.  Jacob in his state of bewilderment said, How awesome is this place This spaceship is none other than the house of God, and this UFO is the way to get to heaven”.  He called the name of that place Bethel; which means, the house of God.

We must not imagine that the ladder he saw was almost infinitely long and that it ended up in the mist of the starry heavens, like we, as children, always did.  According to Dr Strong, the word heaven in the Old Testament has two meanings.  
  • First, the which the clouds move, 
  • and second, the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve.   
With that definition in mind it is just as easy to imagine that the ladder reached only from earth to a landed spacecraft; the heaven in which the clouds move.

Jacob: On His Way Home

On his way back home, with his two wives and two concubines, Jacob spent the night alone to meet with God.  He got more than he anticipated.  A man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. Gen. 32:24.  It would be easy to dismiss this story and say that Jacob wrestled with another man if the story did not continue with more facts.  

Later, the person that had wrestled with Jacob said, you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed. Gen. 32:28.   We cannot tell ourselves that the one wrestling with him, in this case, was a man, because the word used is plural, men.  Later, in verse 30, we have these interesting words, So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, which means the “face of God”, saying, For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved. 

It seems as if in this physical encounter the Lord was quite evenly matched with Jacob.  For this God, wrestling with Jacob, said, Let me go, for the day is breaking. Jacob replied I will not let you go.  

There is no argument from Bible translators that Jacob was wrestling with the Lord.  In every case where the word, God, is used, it is capitalized.  Furthermore, Hosea, writing of this encounter, very plainly said, And in his strength he (Jacob) struggled with God. 12:3.  

Even though the Bibles we use agree on writing the word God with a capital "G" our teachers will not accept that.  In most cases, they say that, in this story, the word God means angel.

Are we willing to believe what the Bible tells us or is it just too comfortable to hide behind standard theology?

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