It’s Christmastime, and I have a dream stuck in my head. It’s the one that Jacob had in Genesis 28:
And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, ‘I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac… in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to the land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep…” (vv.12-16)
While several conclusions could be formed from this passage, the one that I keep thinking about is the ladder that linked heaven and earth together. This ladder signified a connection that would be made from God to man, and it foretold Christ’s coming to earth and His sacrifice that would be the satisfactory payment to God for man’s sin. Christ is the ladder that brings man to God. And in fact, Christ alluded to this very dream in John 1:
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.’ (vv.49-51)
What was dreamt of in Genesis is assuredly proclaimed in John — Christ is truly the hope of the world! If man desires forgiveness from sin, a relationship with God, life everlasting in His presence — it is through Christ (and through Him alone) that he may freely come.
Freely, because it is solely by God’s grace that he receives life in Jesus’ name.
Unashamedly, because his sins are paid for on account of Christ’s perfect life, death, and resurrection.
Joyfully, because he is forgiven and redeemed, a child of the Most High through faith in the Savior.
Boldly, because he enters the presence of God clothed forevermore in the righteousness of His Son, the Christ.
Christ, the hope of the world. He came not as many would suspect, in political power and prestige; but was born to a lowly virgin, birthed in a stable. The shepherds were told of His incarnation, and they worshipped the King of glory as He lay in a manger, wrapped in rags. The day that He came to the earth was the beginning of true hope for mankind, the beginning of the fulfillment of Jacob’s dream.
Christ, the One who would ransom people for God. He purchased people for God with His blood, as Revelation 5: 9 and 10 say of Him: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
Christ, the One who has come and will return for His people and establish His kingdom upon the new heavens and the new earth! He is our hope this Christmas, and forevermore. As we celebrate with loved ones (or find our hearts aching in the absence of loved ones), may He be the source of our peace, and the One we eagerly await for redemption and restoration of all things. He is coming!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things news.’…And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. the one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.'” (Revelation 21:1-7)