A Short Study of Genesis 28:12

“Behold, a ladder set up on the Earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”
(Genesis 28:12)

The ladder Jacob saw in his dream was our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:51). When the Lord God revealed His Son to Jacob, He revealed Him as a ladder. What an instructive and helpful representation that is of our Saviour. The Lord Jesus Christ is made of God unto us a ladder!

Here is a Ladder reaching from earth to heaven. Jacob saw the foot of it upon the earth, “and the top of it reached to heaven!” This represents the two natures of our Redeemer. He is both God and man in one glorious Person, as fully God as though He were not man and as fully man as though He were not God. Though He stood upon the earth as a man, He never ceased to be God. He never left the bosom of the Father (John 1:18; John 3:13).

As a man, He was set up on the earth (Galatians 4:4-5). As God, He was always in heaven, the eternally begotten Son of the Father, infinite, eternal, incomprehensible, and unchangeable (John 1:14; 3:13; 1:18). The union of these two natures, God and man, in one Person is the mystery of all mysteries (1st Timothy 3:16). That the glory of Christ’s Godhead did not destroy the weakness of His manhood, nor the weakness of His manhood destroy the glory of His Godhead is incomprehensibly mysterious. If Christ would redeem us, He had to have a body in which to bear our sins to suffer and die as our Substitute. He had to have a body and nature like ours. A man He must be who would redeem man, because it was man who sinned. Because man sinned, man must suffer for sin. For this reason, God the Holy Spirit prepared a body for God the Son in the womb of the virgin (Hebrews 10:5).

It was our Saviour’s Godhood which gave infinite merit, virtue, and efficacy to the sufferings of His manhood. Someone said, “Christ is both God and man, because God could not suffer and man could not satisfy; but the God-man both suffered the wrath of God and satisfied the justice of God when He bled and died as the sinners’ Substitute upon the cursed tree.” Moreover, it was Christ’s Godhood which supported and sustained His manhood in all His sufferings. Manhood could never have born the agony of Gethsemane and the torments of Calvary had it not been that the man who suffered is also the eternal God.

Our Mediator must be both God and man so that He might bring God and man together. He must be God that He might deal with God, which man, as man, is not fit to do. He must be man that He might deal with man, which God in His holiness could not do without consuming the sinful creature. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” This is the meaning of our Saviour’s incarnation. Immanuel is God with us, God in our nature. Were He not both God and man, He could not be Jesus our Saviour (Matthew 1:21-23).

The angels of God went up and down on the ladder which Jacob saw. Even so, we are able to ascend to God in heaven only by the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6); and it is by and through Christ that God comes down to us. God almighty meets with, deals with, and blesses sinners only in Christ. The LORD God stood above the ladder and made all His promises of grace to Jacob. So all the promises of God’s grace come to sinners through Christ. All spiritual blessings, all the promises of eternal life, all the glory of heaven is in Christ. All things come to chosen sinners through Christ, the Mediator, our Ladder (Ephesians 1:3-14).

D. Fortner

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