Stairway to heaven
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.
Genesis 28:12 (NIVUK)
As a teenager, I spent many hours on my guitar learning to play the introduction to the iconic Led Zeppelin hit Stairway to Heaven. The lyrics of the song have sparked endless debates about its meaning, but most agree that it is the story of a woman who tries, and fails, to buy her way into heaven.
The original stairway to heaven is a different story altogether. Jacob is blessed by his father Isaac and sent to Haran to find a wife. It is a long journey and when night falls, he lies down to sleep and has a marvellous dream. He sees a stairway reaching from earth to heaven and God’s angels walking up and down it. At the top stands God himself, pronouncing a four-fold blessing on Jacob:
The land on which he was lying would be given to him and his descendants. Those descendants would become in number like the dust of the earth. All peoples would be blessed through him and his offspring. And God would be with him and watch over him (Genesis 28:13-15).
Jacob’s dream tells us that the creator of the universe desires to connect with the human race, and have an intimate relationship with us. From the beginning he predetermined to send his son Jesus Christ, a descendant of Jacob, to reconcile all people to himself. Jesus is, in fact, our stairway to heaven: ‘Jesus said…“Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.” ’ (John 1:50-51 NIV).
The story of the stairway to heaven speaks of God’s generous provision, his abundant love and his unlimited grace. We can’t buy our way into heaven and the life we live as a Christian does not earn us our salvation. Our Christian life is the result, the fruit of our being saved: ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…’ (Ephesians 2:10), and as we participate in Jesus’ life we share his love and grace with others, showing them that the way to heaven is through Jesus alone.
Loving Father, thank you for showing us throughout the Bible that you have always been there for us, will always take care of us and in Jesus, you will never leave us or forsake us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Peter Mill
About the writer:
Peter Mill is a Minister in Grace Communion International and the Regional Pastor for Scotland, Ireland and Northern England
Gilmerton New Church
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