God has always wanted a body. God’s whole plan is about His presence being in the earth and changing the world. He is interested in being in our lives and changing our lives. He wants to be in our families and change our families. He wants to be in our community and change the community by the influence of the community of God. God wants to be in the earth and in heaven at the same time. His headship is in heaven and His body fills the earth.
In Genesis chapter 28 we find a story of Jacob on his journey in life. Jacob was destined to become Israel. The name Israel means, Prince with God. If God is King and you are a prince hat does that make you? It makes you a son or a daughter of the King. I am using the word prince to also imply princess, as I use the word son to also imply daughter. It is a term of inheritance. In Christ there is no difference between male and female, all are sons. God always wanted to establish His sons and daughters in the earth because they fulfill His calling. They are the fullness of His inheritance. They exercise the fullness of His power. God has never wanted servants. He has never desired slaves. He has always wanted a family. The earth was destined for the family of God – for the Israel of God. He never desires a nation called Israel, but a kingdom of sons and daughters called Israel. The family of God is the expression of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, a heavenly kingdom among the kingdoms of the earth. It is an eternal kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is an internal kingdom that consumes the external realities of the kingdoms of men by an internal transformation of hearts and minds.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the testimony to the fullness that could only come in Christ. A first, second, and third generation would lead to a fourth generation that would be the shadow of what God had in mind for all nations. Jacob was destined to become Israel, but he had to find the keys to becoming before he could wear that testimony. On his journey, Jacob came to place and he decided to go to sleep. He found a stone and he set it up as a pillow for a night of sleep.
Genesis 28: 10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep.
Jacob did not have a revelation at this point of who he was. He did not have a full revelation of his purpose. He didn’t have a revelation of God’s full plan. He just had a desire in his heart for God. He went to sleep on the rock. He was no doubt tired. You must be tired to us a rock as a pillow. Is the church a place of comfort? Is it a place to go to sleep? Is it a place that gives you rest or is it a place where God rests? Jesus told Peter you are little rock, but on the huge rock I will build by church. The rock that the church is built upon is not a place of sleeping. It is a place of God’s presence and purpose.
Genesis 28:12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Jacob went to sleep on the rock and he dreamed a dream. He saw a ladder that was on the earth but extended to heaven. The bottom was on the earth and extended to heaven. He saw angels ascending on the ladder and then descending upon the ladder. Those angels were bringing things from heaven to the place where Jacob is sleeping. Jacob heard God speak.
Genesis 28:13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
God told Jacob that his descendants would be as the dust of the earth. They would be numerous. They would spread to the east, the west, the north and the south. In Jacob’s seed the families of the earth were going to be blessed. God promised to be with Him and to bring him back to the place He had promised.
Genesis 28: 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
Jacob was in awe of the place! How awesome is this place! This is the house of God! This is the gate of heaven! This is the open entrance of heaven to the earth. This the gate of heaven’s influence to the earth. This is how heaven gets into the earth. This is the place that angels go into heaven get what is needed and come back with heavenly provisions for heavenly purposes upon the earth.
Genesis 28:18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Jacob rose up and took the rock and stood it upright. He transformed it from a pillow into a pillar. He poured oil on it. He renamed the place. It was called Luz, meaning isolated or separated place. He renamed it Bethel. Bethel means, house of God. The enemy wants you to sleep in the isolated separated place. He wants you to seek for a place of your own personal comfort. He wants your personal needs to be met. He wants you to feel at rest. He wants you to go to sleep. He wants you to seek out an isolated separated place and he wants you to lay down and think about you. He wants to tuck you in and say, sweet dreams. Sleep well. Good night. See you in your dreams. Something inside of you is calling for you to wake up. The Holy Spirit within you calling for you to know who you are and to know who we are. We are sons and daughters of God. We are members of the body of Christ. We are the place where God’s presence and purpose invade the earth with His life and glory. We are the gate of heaven. We are the place of influence of heaven in the earth called the house of God. We are the church!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson