Stairway to Heaven

Yeshua bridged the space between heaven and earth. He is the ladder to heaven upon which angelic forces descend and ascend.

[Jacob] had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12) (Image © Bigstock)

Vayetze

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Vayetze (ויצא | He went out)
  • Torah: Genesis 28:10-32:2
  • Haftarah: Hosea 12:12-14:10
  • Gospel: John 1:41-51

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Genesis 28:10 | Jacob's Dream at Bethel
    • Genesis 29:1 | Jacob Meets Rachel
    • Genesis 29:15 | Jacob Marries Laban's Daughters
    • Genesis 30:25 | Jacob Prospers at Laban's Expense
    • Genesis 31:1 | Jacob Flees with Family and Flocks
    • Genesis 31:22 | Laban Overtakes Jacob
    • Genesis 31:43 | Laban and Jacob Make a Covenant
  • Prophets
    • Hos 12:2 | The Long History of Rebellion
    • Hos 13:1 | Relentless Judgment on Israel
    • Hos 14:1 | A Plea for Repentance
    • Hos 14:4 | Assurance of Forgiveness

Portion Summary

The seventh reading from the book of Genesis is named Vayetze (ויצא), which means "and he went out." The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which says, "And Jacob went out from Beersheba" (Genesis 28:10 KJV). This portion tells the story of Jacob's flight from his brother Esau, his vision at Bethel, his employment with his uncle Laban and his marriage to the two sisters, Rachel and Leah. Jacob's double marriage results in a baby-bearing contest that gives him eleven sons. At the end of the portion, Jacob leaves Laban and returns to the land of Canaan, but not before Laban tries to stop him.


[Jacob] had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12)

Yeshua told Nathaniel, “You will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). What did these cryptic words mean? As far as we know from the gospel record, Nathaniel never did receive an apocalyptic vision in which he saw angels ascending and descending upon the Master. In what sense did he see the angels ascend and descend upon the Master?

Nathaniel and the disciples saw Yeshua working in the power and authority of heaven (which in apocalyptic literature is always betokened by angels). That is to say that the angels of God ascended and descended upon Him at His behest and command.

And behold, the LORD stood above it. (Genesis 28:13)

The ladder image illustrates the Master’s words, “No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). The ancient idolater instinctively understood that a great separation exists between man and God (or “the gods,” as the case may have been in his mind). His mighty ziggurat towers, like the tower of Babel, and his lofty high places and tall altars all represented attempts to span that distance. Even the highest high place does not reach high enough. Even the tower of Babel did not reach to heaven, for Scripture says, “The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built” (Genesis 11:5).

The same might be said of all our religious impulses. The stars are always beyond our reach. God is far distant. Man’s best attempts to bridge the gap fail. The tall towers and tottering ladders we ascend are as naught. If we are to ascend to God, we must ascend upon a ladder that He Himself has extended to us from above.

God has extended the Messiah to us from above, as Yeshua says, “For I have come down from heaven” (John 6:38). The Messiah is the way of ascent, as He says, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” (John 20:17). He is a son of Jacob—an Israelite—and yet angels ascend and descend upon Him, and God is above Him:

But when He says, “All things are put in subjection [under Messiah],” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things [under] Him. When all things are [under] Him, then the Son Himself also will be [under] the One who [put] all things [under Messiah], so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:27−28)

Yeshua had bridged the space between heaven and earth. He is the ladder to heaven upon which angelic forces descend and ascend.

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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This coming year Torah Clubs are studying the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Club members will encounter Yeshua of Nazareth in his Jewish context. Discover the historical and cultural backdrops of the gospels and be amazed as the teachings of Yeshua snap into focus and clarity. Unravel his difficult words and parables; study Jewish parallels to his teachings; and ultimately know Jesus better.

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