Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 13, 2022

“this is the gate of heaven.”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 28:10-17.

“Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran.  He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set;  and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.  He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven;  and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.  And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac;  the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.  Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south;  and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  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 promised you.”  Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”  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.”  Genesis 28:10-17.


Today’s Scripture points to Christ being the gate of heaven.  

Jacob’s dream is remarkably similar to Christ’s prophecy to Nathaniel.

“And He *said to him (Nathaniel), “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  John 1:51.

Both Jacob’s dream and Christ’s prophecy to Nathaniel gives us hope and understanding to Romans 10:5-11.

“For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.  But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows:  “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”  But what does it say?  “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.  For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”  Romans 10:5-11.

In other words, so to speak, we do not need to somehow go up to heaven to get Christ and then bring him down or resurrect him to help us.  Our works certainly cannot do it. When Paul states: “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”, he means Christ is within God’s elect.  

Christ is “the Word” as stated in John 1:1 and 14. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  John 1:1. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14.

The superiority of Christ over the Law in producing righteousness is evident by Romans 10:5-11 above and the following Scriptures. “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:17. “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4.

Christ is also “the word of faith which we are preaching” as in Hebrews 12:2.  He is the “the author and perfecter of faith”.  

Putting it all together, we do not achieve righteousness and heaven by what we do.  Rather, we achieve righteousness and heaven by what Christ did for us. Remember that the prior chapter to Romans 10 pounded the table on God’s election.   

Christ comes to all of God’s elect and gives them the gift of faith to believe in Him, which “justifying faith” (see Canons of Dordt below) Christ earned for all of God’s elect through His sacrifice on the cross.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16.

“But by His doing (God’s doing) you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

“who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:13.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby.

Article 14.  Faith is therefore to be considered as the gift of God, not on account of its being offered by God to man, to be accepted or rejected at his pleasure;  but because it is in reality conferred, breathed, and infused into him;  or even because God bestows the power or ability to believe, and then expects that man should by the exercise of his own free will, consent to the terms of that salvation, and actually believe in Christ;  but because he who works in man both to will and to do, and indeed all things in all, produces both the will to believe, and the act of believing also.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE
Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby.

Article 8. For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation:

Finally, consider how Jesus’ repeated description of Himself as “the door” is like “the gate of heaven”.

“So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. …  I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;  and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all;  and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  John 10:7 and 9 and 27-29.


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