Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Jacob's dream is the most crucial point in the whole book of Genesis (28:10-22). Not even 1:26 is as crucial as Jacob's dream in chapter twenty-eight. One of the most striking aspects of this dream is the stone. After traveling on a long journey, Jacob, being tired and lonesome, took a stone, made it his pillow, and slept in the open air. This might have been the first time in history that a man used a stone for a pillow. Have you ever laid your head upon a stone for rest? I have never done this. Firstly, Jacob made that stone a pillow; secondly, he set it up for a pillar (28:18). A pillow is for resting and a pillar is for building. Do you realize that one day your pillow will become a pillar? Later we shall see what this pillow is. In 28:22 Jacob said, "This stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house." In addition to the stone, the pillar, and the house, there was the oil poured upon the top of the stone (28:18). How could Jacob, a lonesome wanderer, have had oil with him? I do not know. Nevertheless, early in the morning, he poured oil upon the stone. Hence, in this dream there are four basic elements: the stone, the pillar, the house, and the oil. These four items are the basic factors with which the Bible is composed.
As we have mentioned several times, God's intention is to make man His corporate expression. In the book of Genesis we cannot see that God obtained such an expression. In 1:26, a declaration of God's purpose in making man, we are told that man was made in the image of God. But here we do not see that God gained His expression. God did not have His expression with Adam, Abel, Enosh, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, or Isaac. As we come to Jacob, we see that he was a supplanter, a heel-holder, a very crafty young man. Under the light of the whole Bible, we know that this young supplanter was chosen by God and was predestinated to have the birthright. Before the foundation of the world, in eternity past, God predestinated him to have the birthright. As we have pointed out, the birthright includes three things: expressing God as priests, representing Him as kings, and inheriting God's inheritance as heirs. This birthright is absolutely for the corporate expression of God on earth. The events in Genesis 28 occurred approximately twenty-two centuries after the creation of man. God called Abraham approximately two thousand years after the creation of Adam, and the period of time from Abraham until Jacob was about two hundred years. During this long period of time, God did not obtain what He desired.
While Jacob, the young supplanter who had gotten into trouble due to his supplanting, was on his lonesome journey, he had a dream. What Jacob saw was a dream; it was not yet a fact, because Jacob was still a supplanter. Deep within, he was probably still holding on to Esau's heel. How could such a supplanter be the house of God? It was impossible. Hence, at that time, Jacob's dream was only a dream. For example, although it is impossible for us to land on the moon right now, we may dream that we have landed on the moon. This may be a dream, but it is not a fact. We need to have dreams in our spiritual life. I have had a number of dreams in the past and I would like to have another one today. If you have had no dreams since you were saved, your situation must be most pitiful. How many dreams have you had since you were saved? Every spiritual vision is a dream.
What is the significance of a dream? The principle of a dream is that in it something impossible happens to you. Our being saved was a dream, the initial dream in our spiritual life. Although getting saved was an impossibility, we have been saved. Coming into the church life was also a spiritual dream. Everyone who has come into the church life has had a dream in which something impossible took place. I like these heavenly dreams.
As we have seen in Jacob's heavenly dream four things were revealed: the stone, the pillar, the house, and the oil. These four things are rarely found before Genesis 28. For instance, apart from the onyx stone in 2:12 no stone is mentioned in the foregoing twenty-seven and a half chapters. However, we do find mention of the bricks used for building the devilish city and demonic tower of Babel (11:3). When we were studying chapter eleven, we pointed out that bricks signify human work, the issue of human effort with clay. Every religion is represented by bricks, for every religion is a human effort with clay. Mankind is clay, and religion works upon mankind to produce bricks. No pillar is mentioned before Genesis twenty-eight. When the Bible speaks of the city and tower of Babel, no pillars are mentioned. Do not think that the Bible is common. It is not common; rather, it is unique. In the temple constructed by Solomon there were two great pillars (1 Kings 7:21). In Galatians 2:9 we are told that Peter, James, and John were pillars of the church. Moreover, in Revelation 3:12 we see that the overcomers will be built as pillars into the temple of God. Like the pillar, neither the house nor the oil is mentioned prior to chapter twenty-eight. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all lived in tents. But after having his dream at Bethel, Jacob did not speak of a tent; he spoke of God's house.
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