November 19, 2009

The Gate of Heaven

Genesis 28:10-22

“This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
Genesis 28:17


Throughout the ages people have worked hard to build mountain-like temples, believing that at such heights heaven and earth meet and people can visit with their gods. God offered his opinion of such plans by stopping the work at Babel (Genesis 11).

Years later Jacob slept in what he thought was an ordinary place, with a stone for a pillow. Dreaming of a ladder connecting earth to heaven, he saw heavenly messengers descending and ascending. Heaven and earth were connected!

Heaven can come down to earth, but earth cannot ascend to heaven, unless heaven itself makes it possible by providing a door. That night Jacob learned that God himself opened such a door. Because he had slept at heaven’s gate, Jacob called it Bethel, which means “house of God.” At that gate God promised to be close to Jacob and his descendants.

Jesus Christ said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). Jesus is heaven’s only gate. Through him alone we can enter the house of God. People try to get close to God by themselves, as they did at Babel. But all the sweat and tears they invest by their own efforts lead to dead ends.

We don’t have to worry about getting near to God. Through Jesus, God has come to us. Believe it.

Thank you, Lord, for removing the burden of getting close to you. Keep me near you, especially when I’m tempted to enter another gate. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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