Jacob’s Prophetic Ladder

I read this yesterday at someone else’s blog, and had to ‘borrow’ it to bring here.  It has to do with extra-Biblical (Jewish tradition) teaching, but I found it VERY fascinating!

Yaakov had a vision of a ladder that extended from the earth to Heaven. He visualized an angel climbing it  whom he recognized to be the sar (protective angel) of the Babylonian kingdom. (Our Sages depict each of the 70 nations as possessing its own sar. A nation’s downfall is preceded by the downfall of its sar, its spiritual image in Heaven.) The angel ascended seventy rungs of the ladder. Yaakov then understood that his descendants were to stay in the Babylonian exile for seventy years. After the angel had reached the seventieth rung, he fell, and Jacob understood that after seventy years of exile, the Jews would be liberated from the yoke of the Babylonians.
ImageNext, Yaakov perceived the protective angel of Media ascend the ladder. He mounted fifty-two rungs and fell. He understood as a result that the Median exile would end after 52 years.
He then saw the sar of Greece climb up 120 steps and plunge downwards, foreshadowing the length of the Greek exile.
Finally, Yaakov was shown the angel of Edom (our present exile) stepping up the ladder. He climbed higher and higher still, an apparently endless ascent into the very heavens. Jacob did not see him fall and was gripped by fear.
“Will this fourth exile be unending?” he asked Hashem.
“No” Hashem reassured him. “Even if the angel climbs as high as the stars, I Myself will take him down when the time comes!”
Yaakov heard the angels of the nations comment: “This Jacob will in the future dominate the world and subdue all the kingdoms. Let us kill him now!” But Hashem Himself appeared and stood above Jacob to protect him.
Then Yaakov was shown a new vision. In this vision, the ladder represented the ramp leading up to the altar of the future Bais Hamikdash. (The ramp was symbolized by a ladder, since the pleasant aroma of the korbanos rises to Heaven.) He perceived the kohanim, compared to angels, hurrying up and down the ramp of the mizbayach (altar), eagerly performing the avodah. Subsequently Jacob received a prophecy in which he foresaw that the Bais HaMikdash would go up in flames. He then saw the second Bais HaMikdash being built.
Yaakov was given yet another preview of the future: he had a vision of matan Torah, the pinnacle of Creation. The ladder symbolized Har Sinai, ablaze with flames that reached the heavens, and he foresaw that his descendants would stand at its foot to receive the Torah. In this vision, the angels represented Moshe and Aharon who would ascend Har Sinai, Aharon remaining on the mountain and Moshe going up to Heaven to receive the luchos (tablets) from Hashem.
Yaakov was given an additional prophecy. He was shown that the angels climbing upwards were the angels of Eretz Yisrael who had so far accompanied him on his journey. Now that he had reached the borders of the Holy Land, they returned to Heaven and new angels, destined to protect him outside Eretz Yisrael, descended. Suddenly all the angels vanished, and he beheld Hashem Himself who stood on guard above him, announcing: “I am the G-d of your father Avraham and the G-d of your father Yitzchak. The land upon which you lie will be yours and your descendants.”
He then experienced a vision in which Hashem folded the whole land and placed it beneath his head just as someone folds a paper map. His head now rested on the land in its entirety. This was a symbol that Yaakov would be given ownership of Eretz Yisrael and that his descendants would conquer it with ease.
Hashem prophesied to him: “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth. Just as earth is the foundation of the world, so will your children be the foundation of the world. The world will be blessed in the merit of your descendants. I shall guard you wherever you go, in Lavan’s house and in Sh’chem.”
Yaakov awoke and knew that his dream had been a prophetic one.
Source: “The Midrash Says” 

aNNa’S NoTe:  We only read in scripture about angels ‘going up’ and ‘down’ the ladder, nothing about the rungs having significance or the angels having significance or the meaning of any of that.  It’s AMAZING to me that Jews have beliefs about these things, and that they fit so well with Daniel’s visions of Greece, Medo-Persia, and the Roman/Revived Roman empires.  Add in the significance of the number 70 and several other things, and you have one HECK of a lesson, here!

Advertisements
Previous Post
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s