If you live long enough, you’ll certainly realize that life isn’t exactly a cake walk. Job was so right when he said “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” Yet in the midst of problems we face in life, if we are in Christ we are never alone in our struggles. I’ve noticed that even in the darkest hours of my own life, God reveals himself to me in such an awesome way to let me know he’s still there that I can’t help but to continue on.
Jacob the patriarch faced a similar situation. Although his dark hour was brought on by his own sinfulness, God revealed himself to Jacob in a way that gave him strength to continue on his journey. When Jacob fled for his life after using his trickery to take his brother’s birthright, in the midst of the uncertainty of his future God showed up one night–
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:12-15)
Jacob had a vision of a stairway to heaven that had angels going up and down it with the Lord at the top of it. This was to let Jacob know that God was sending his angels from heaven to earth on his behalf and the angels, once their mission was accomplished, reported back to God. The Lord gave him the blessed assurance that no matter where he went or what he was going through, God would be with him and would accomplish his promises to Jacob.
In the New Testament, it is revealed to us that the stairway Jacob saw is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ–
“Jesus answered and said unto him [Nathanael], Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” (John 1:50-51)
The promise God gave to Jacob that he would be with him and keep him wherever he went is the same promise we Christians have in Christ. Nathanael was amazed that Christ saw him under the fig tree minding his own business with no one around. But Nathanael was told that was nothing compared to what he would see as a participant in Christ’s ministry. As a believer he would be a firsthand witness to how Jesus would send out angels from heaven who would then return to heaven for further instruction.
Jesus not only spoke this in the literal sense, but also in the figurative sense. It’s a promise made not only to Nathanael but to all believers. Christ sends us angels from heaven to minister to our needs (Hebrews 1:14). I know this has happened to me in my personal life. There have been several times when I was driving that careless drivers who crossed my path should have, under normal circumstances, plowed right into me but somehow they missed. I have also been persecuted by people in authority who have done their best (including lying about me) to threaten my livelihood but failed in their attempts to do so. It is in these circumstances that I have received a vision of Christ at work through his angels. And I don’t mean a type of false vision that takes our eyes off Christ to place them on someone else (like Mary).
I can also attest to the fact that God has given me literal dreams to warn me or tell me something positive about certain people who have been in my life. For instance, he has told me something like “look out for this person because they are involved in this or that sin in private. I know it doesn’t appear that way when you see them in public, but once they are in private, they are totally different. Love them and pray for them, but do not put your trust in them.” I don’t mean I’ve literally heard a voice, but I’ve gotten a check in my spirit or have been shown it in a dream without words. Could this be the reason why Paul warned Timothy to be careful who he laid hands on in the ministry (1 Timothy 5:22)?
I can testify that I am truly grateful to God for all those times he looked out for me and made me aware of it. I am a firm believer that “[t]he angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Psalm 34:7) Hallelujah! Thank you, God, for giving us visions of Christ and your angels in your own perfect time.
It’s such a comfort to know that even when Satan is lurking throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour, that God is sending out his angels throughout the earth to do his bidding and to show himself strong on behalf of true believers. What God showed to his prophets and apostles still happens today (see Ezekiel’s vision of winged creatures, Zechariah’s vision of the horses, and John’s vision of the seven seals).
Have you ever experienced such things? If you are a true believer, I know you have.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–