Then Jacob woke up and thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, but I did not realize it!” He was afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! This is nothing else than the house of God! This is the gate of heaven!”
Early in the morning Jacob * took the stone he had placed near his head * and set it up as a sacred stone. Then he poured oil on top of it. Gen. 28:16-18.
While we were in Israel on a resent visit my wife’s and my dream cycles has been totally effected. We dreamt every night we were there and we have dreamt every night since we have returned home for over a week about being back in Israel. There is still an open heaven there. In the description above Jacob has traveled from Beer Sheba northward to a place outside of Shechem that would be called Bethel. This is near the place where the God of heaven and earth visited his grandfather Abraham, “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” Gen. 12:7. This is the region between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. The land between the blessing and the curse.
Now here it is close to a hundred years later and God speaks to Jacob and shows him an open heaven. Jacob calls the name of this place Bethel and said, “surely this is the house of God, this is the gate of heaven.” The place was marked by the very stone Jacob had used for a pillow and for the next four hundred years the only known reference to the “house of God” was a stone in a field and a open heaven. I’ll take a stone in a field with an open heaven over any man made structure to this day. We are always calling our churches the house of God, but alas there is no revelation and there is no open heaven. God’s presence is what defines His house and an open heaven. Think about it and I’ll get back to you.
Pastor Rusty, shepherd of the hills.