There are strategic times and seasons when God encounters His church in unique ways. About 20 years ago, God released many profound encounters, strategic destinies and powerful mantles.
Many who received these mantles remained hidden. In the intervening years, there has been a deep work of maturity. Now is the time when they will begin to walk in the full authority of their mantles. Jacob’s life is a prophetic model.
In Genesis 28, Jacob had a profound dream (Gen. 28:12-17). In the dream three images were highlighted to him:
1. A stairway.
2. Angels ascending and descending.
3. The Lord (Yahweh).
Each of these images is preceded by the Hebrew word hinneh meaning “Look!” Hinneh adds dramatic gesture. It goes with a lifted arm and an open mouth: “There, a stairway! Oh, angels! and look, the Lord Himself!” (J. P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis). It makes the narrative very vivid for the reader, bringing Jacob’s dream into the present as if it was happening right now (Bruce Waltke, Genesis). God wants to reveal to us the same spiritual realities Jacob saw. Before Jacob had this dream, he was unaware of the spiritual activity all around him. Through the dream:
1. He saw a gateway (Gen. 28:17).
2. He observed the intense activity in the Spirit realm.
3. He encountered the God of covenant.
Above, Upon Or Beside
The most interesting aspect of Jacob’s dream is the location of God. Most Bible translations say God was above the stairway, but the Hebrew word can mean “above,” “upon” or “beside.” The Hebrew text makes four locations possible for God:
1. Above the stairway.
2. Upon the stairway.
3. Beside the stairway.
4. Beside Jacob.
Following the model of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11, God would be at the top. But the book of Genesis makes a clear contrast between the ways of humankind—which led to the tower of Babel—and the ways of God—demonstrated through the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the sons of covenant. Yahweh was the God of covenant. Covenant is the most serious and intimate of all relationships.
God’s presence upon or beside the stairway gives a much more intimate picture than Him above it. The context of covenant argues against God being above the stairway and for Him being upon it, beside it or even beside Jacob. Consider also:
When God spoke to Jacob in the dream, He “said” to Jacob, rather than “called” to him (Gen. 28:13). “Said” favors an intimate picture, whereas “called” depicts God distant at the top of the stairway.
When Jacob woke from the dream he strongly asserted, “The Lord is in this place” (Gen. 28:16). These words convey closeness, not distance.
In John 1:51, Jesus said He was the stairway.
What Did Jacob Experience?
When I first learned there were four possible locations for God in Jacob’s dream, I sought God for further insight. My prayer was simple: “God, please show me what Jacob saw.” God answered by giving me a vision. In the vision, I was traveling through a tunnel of blue light. I came out of the tunnel, and before me was a huge blue eye that contained infinity. I started to travel into the eye. Next, the scene changed. I was standing in a small room with two mirrors directly opposite one another. Because the mirrors reflected back to each other, you could see multitudes of mirrors in both directions. God is multidimensional and infinite. Each subsequent mirror represented another dimension of Him, and there are infinite dimensions. Even if you climb a mountain to get a better view within one dimension, you are still only seeing within one dimension.