This is what God gave me today in His word:
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:49-51)
And indeed, Nathaniel did see that; if Jesus says you’ll see something, you will see it. Yet, when? When did he see angels ascending and descending on “the son of man” (i.e. Jesus)? Well, before we talk about that, let’s look at what it is Jesus is referring to in the Old Testament, when he talks about Heaven being opened, and angels ascending and descending on Himself.
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it[c] stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. (Genesis 28:10-13a)
God was standing on top of the ladder, and man was on the bottom of it. Between the two was a gap, a gap that no human could hope to ever get past. Yet, then came a “ladder”, called, “the son of man”. Jesus is telling Nathaniel here that He will become the ladder in Jacob’s dream. So then, with that understanding, we ask again, when did this happen? It happened with the ladder, bridging the gap between Heaven and Earth, was created: at the cross, when Jesus died. (And yes, Nathaniel was witness to Jesus’ death).
I wonder, what other passages refer to Jesus? Does Moses, when he stretched out his hands, and the water parted for the Israelites; there-by saving them from their foe? Is it pointing forward to Jesus, when in the beginning, God brought the World up from deep water, and made it flourish with life, through the “word”? Everywhere we see Jesus pointed forward to, in the Old Testament! Merely look at Jonah, who was tossed over a ship in order to save the sailors on-board. Or look at Joseph, who was sold into slavery, “for the salvation of many lives.”
Jesus, in calling Himself the Jacob’s ladder, has, in essence, given us the power to see Him in every passage we come across in the Old Testament! If you don’t believe me, simply look at Paul, and how he does this very thing:
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:7-8)
Note where Paul quotes the Old Testament here. The passage he’s changing, while quoting, is Psalm 68:18. This is what that passage actually says:
When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious–that you, O LORD God, might dwell there. (Psalm 68:18)
Paul changes the verse in order for it to picture Christ. Now, this doesn’t mean we should go and proceed to Spiritualize away every single passage in the Old Testament. Every passage in the Old Testament does indeed point forward to Christ (my family and I are finding this out, as we’re going through the entire Old Testament together in a Bible study), but that doesn’t mean that’s the Old Testament’s only purpose. It also provides real, historical facts about what happened. However, in those facts, we can see God’s hints towards the Gospel.
You are Loved!
P.S. If you want to read more about this concept, read this post too: https://goldenbible.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/transquotation/