Participants: Pastor Stephen Bohr
Series Code: CGC
Program Code: CGC000036
01:13 Shall we bow our heads for prayer?
01:15 Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the privilege of being
01:19 here today to study Your Holy Word; to study about
01:25 the ladder and the tower.
01:27 We ask that Your Holy Spirit will teach us the lessons
01:31 which will help us in our personal walk with Jesus.
01:34 And we thank You for hearing our prayer, for we ask it in
01:38 Jesus' name, Amen.
01:41 I'd like to invite you to open your Bibles with me to the book
01:45 of Genesis, chapter 28, and we will begin reading at verse 10.
01:53 However, before we start reading, I need to give you
01:57 a little bit of background; the background to
02:01 this particular passage.
02:02 We probably all know the story of Jacob, and how Jacob lied
02:09 to his father, deceived his father, stole the birthright
02:15 from his brother, and as a result of this he had to
02:20 flee from his home.
02:22 The Bible tells us that as he was fleeing from home, he felt a
02:29 deep burden of guilt, because of the sin that he had committed.
02:35 And after traveling for many, many hours, Jacob arrived
02:42 in a place which later would be called Bethel,
02:46 which means the house of God.
02:49 And this is where I want to pick up our reading in Genesis 28:10.
03:42 And then it continues saying:
03:59 Very interesting dream that God gave to Jacob.
04:04 This has become known as the story of Jacob's ladder,
04:09 which is certainly a misnomer, because this is not Jacob's
04:15 ladder, this is the Lord's ladder.
04:18 It's kind of like saying Noah's flood.
04:20 You know, it wasn't Noah's flood, it was the Lord's flood.
04:25 And so, really, this is the Lord's ladder.
04:28 Now the question is, what does this dream symbolize?
04:35 You see, every story in Genesis is not only a story
04:41 but a prophecy. And so this story must have some prophetic
04:46 significance. And the question is, what is
04:50 its prophetic significance?
04:52 You notice you have a ladder.
04:54 The top of the ladder reaches unto the highest heaven.
04:58 The bottom of the ladder is firmly rooted on earth.
05:03 And between the two points there are angels ascending
05:09 and descending upon the ladder.
05:12 What could be meant by this dream?
05:15 Well, the fact is that we don't have to guess.
05:18 Turn in your Bibles with me to the gospel of John 1:51,
05:24 the gospel of John 1:51.
05:30 Here Jesus is speaking to Nathaniel, who would become
05:34 one of the disciples of Jesus.
05:37 And notice what he says:
05:59 Isn't that an interesting verse?
06:03 You will see the angels of God ascending and descending
06:08 upon the Son of man.
06:10 Now if they're ascending and descending upon the Son of man,
06:13 what must the ladder of Genesis 28 represent?
06:17 It must represent Jesus, because in Genesis 28 the angels are
06:24 ascending and descending upon the ladder.
06:27 In John 1 it says that they're ascending and descending
06:31 upon the Son of man; upon Jesus.
06:34 In other words, Jesus is that ladder.
06:38 Now if I were to ask you how many key
06:43 parts does a ladder have?
06:45 Probably many of you would answer three:
06:50 the bottom, the top, and the middle.
06:53 But really a ladder has only two key parts: the bottom,
06:59 and the top, and, of course, the middle is automatic
07:03 if you have the bottom and the top.
07:05 Now why would Jesus be compared with a ladder?
07:10 Well, let's talk a little bit about this.
07:14 What would the top of the ladder represent
07:17 if the ladder represents Jesus?
07:20 Well, turn with me in your Bibles to John 1:1, 3.
07:25 We almost don't even have to look up those verses.
07:29 It says there in John 1:1, 3:
07:40 And then verse 3 says that He made all things...
07:50 Notice that these verses describe Jesus before
07:54 He came to this world.
07:56 Jesus, according to John 1, before He became man, was God.
08:04 He was the Creator.
08:06 Now I also want you to notice Matthew 1:23, Matthew 1:23.
08:16 This is speaking about the birth of Christ.
08:19 And the angel speaks these words which are very
08:24 well known, incidentally, by us.
08:45 These two verses clearly teach that Jesus is God.
08:51 That is the top of the ladder.
08:54 It represents the deity of Jesus, the divinity of Christ.
08:59 He is one with God.
09:01 In the beginning He was with the Father;
09:04 equal with the Father.
09:05 In fact, Jesus said, I and the Father are One;
09:10 that is in unity, in character, and in purpose.
09:14 So the top of the ladder represents the deity,
09:18 or the divinity of Jesus Christ.
09:21 But now we must ask, what does the bottom represent?
09:26 Now the top reached all the way to heaven where the Father
09:30 was standing at the top of the ladder.
09:33 What would the bottom represent if it's rooted
09:37 firmly upon the earth?
09:39 It must represent the humanity of Jesus, the manhood of Christ.
09:46 Notice what we find in John 1: 14, also a verse which is very,
09:52 very well known. We probably could recite it from memory.
09:56 It says there in John 1:14:
10:01 That is the Word who was God.
10:15 Now you notice that Word, who was God, in eternity,
10:19 who created this world; John tells us that He became flesh.
10:26 In other words, He became a human being.
10:28 He was rooted on this earth with a nature which is common
10:33 to ours. Notice also what we find in Matthew 1:1,
10:39 on the humanity of Christ, the bottom of the ladder;
10:42 His manhood, if we could speak in those terms.
10:46 It says there in Matthew 1:1, the beginning of the genealogy
10:50 of Christ. It says:
11:00 So we notice here that Jesus has two characteristics
11:06 when it comes to His self identity, and that is that Jesus
11:11 in eternity was God, and He came to earth and He became man
11:17 without ceasing to be God.
11:19 The top of the ladder is His deity, and the bottom
11:23 of the ladder represents his humanity.
11:26 His divinity unites Him with His Father,
11:29 His humanity unites Him with us.
11:32 Thus heaven and earth are united through the God man.
11:38 You know, there are texts in scripture that indicate
11:42 that Jesus is both God and man besides the ones
11:45 that we just read.
11:46 For example, in Revelation 22:16 Jesus says that He has sent
11:53 His angel to testify unto them the things
11:57 which were written to the churches.
11:59 And then He goes on to say that He is the root
12:05 and the offspring of David.
12:08 Now I've mentioned this in a previous lecture,
12:11 but this is an extremely interesting verse,
12:13 because it says that Jesus is the root of David,
12:16 and He is also the offspring of David.
12:19 Now how is it possible to be the root of David,
12:22 and the offspring of David?
12:24 The fact is that Jesus is David's father,
12:29 and He is also David's son.
12:31 He is David's father, because when He created Adam,
12:35 and David descended from Adam, David was created by Christ.
12:40 But Jesus is the son of David as a man, because He comes from
12:46 the lineage of David.
12:48 Notice also John 8:58, John 8: 58.
12:55 You know Jesus said something very revolutionary to the Jews
12:59 who were listening to Him.
13:00 You know, we just read in Matthew 1 that Jesus was the son
13:05 of Abraham, and the son of David.
13:07 So, in other words, Jesus was the son of Abraham.
13:10 But in John 8:58 Jesus said something revolutionary,
13:15 and it made the Jews very angry.
13:17 They picked up stones to throw them at Him
13:19 after He said these words. He said:
13:30 Now notice, He doesn't say, before Abraham was I was,
13:33 He says, before Abraham was I Am.
13:36 In other words, I never had a beginning.
13:39 So once again we find that Jesus is the seed of Abraham,
13:43 He's the son of Abraham, but He says that before
13:47 Abraham was, I Am.
13:49 That means that Jesus is both God and man.
13:53 The top of the ladder is His deity, and the bottom of
13:57 the ladder is His humanity, and those two characteristics
14:01 unite God with man.
14:04 Notice also in the book of Philippians 2.
14:08 Here the apostle Paul is going to weigh in on this
14:11 particular subject, the book of Philippians 2, and I would like
14:16 to begin reading at verse 5. It says here:
14:35 A better translation would be: He did not consider equality
14:39 with God as something to be hung onto,
14:41 as something to be grasped. And so it says:
14:49 A better translation would be that He emptied Himself,...
15:11 Notice that He was in the form of God, but He took the form
15:15 of a servant, and became a man and suffered death on a cross.
15:21 Clearly the apostle Paul, in this passage, indicates that
15:25 Jesus is both God and man in one person.
15:30 He has two natures in one person.
15:33 But now we need to ask the question,
15:36 How far down did Jesus come?
15:41 This is a big point of debate in Christendom today,
15:47 and more specifically within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
15:51 For decades we have had this discussion.
15:53 How far down did Jesus come?
15:57 Did Jesus take the nature of Adam before Adam sinned?
16:03 Did Jesus take the nature of the unfallen Adam, as a human being?
16:09 Or did Jesus take our sinful nature?
16:15 You know, I'm not sure that on this earth this issue
16:18 will ever be resolved.
16:19 I've resolved that in my own mind, and I'm going to share
16:23 with you some evidence to the effect that Jesus Christ
16:27 came all the way down to where we are.
16:33 Not to where Adam was before he sinned, but to where we are;
16:39 needy sinners. Go with me to the book of Hebrews 2:14-17,
16:48 Hebrews 2:14-17. Here the apostle is very, very clear
16:55 on this point, I believe.
16:57 Once again, Hebrews 2 and beginning with verse 14.
17:41 Did Jesus take the nature of an angel?
17:45 No, He took upon Himself the seed of Abraham.
17:50 Now notice verse 17; very important.
17:52 Wherefore in some things it behooved Him to be made like
17:58 unto His brethren.
17:59 Let's try it again.
18:04 Wherefore in most things it...
18:08 Okay, you're protesting.
18:10 You won't even let me continue reading. It says there:
18:32 He was made in all things like unto His brethren.
18:35 Now I need to explain something to you about the word brethren
18:39 in the New Testament as it applies
18:42 to the followers of Christ.
18:43 The word brethren in the New Testament is a technical term
18:48 which means those who have been converted,
18:53 and belong to Jesus Christ.
18:56 They've been engrafted into the family of God by conversion.
19:00 You remember once Jesus said, Who is my brother?
19:04 Who is my sister?
19:06 Who is my mother?
19:08 He says, He who does the will of God, that is my brother,
19:14 and my sister, and my father, and my mother.
19:17 The word brethren does not mean unregenerate sinners.
19:21 The word brethren refers to those who have gone through
19:24 the experience of conversion.
19:27 Their human nature has been regenerated.
19:29 They have been born again, in other words.
19:33 This is very, very important.
19:34 So Jesus was made like unto His converted brethren,
19:38 His born again brethren.
19:40 In other words, Jesus, when He was born,
19:42 He never had to be born again, because He was born again.
19:51 Are you catching my point?
19:54 Now let's go to Hebrews 4:14, 15, Hebrews 4:14, 15.
20:03 Remember that Jesus had to come all the way down.
20:06 Hebrews 4:14, 15.
20:09 These are marvelous verses.
20:11 They fill us with hope. It says there:
20:22 Whose infirmities?
20:35 What does that verse say?
20:38 Is the verse clear?
20:41 It is crystal clear. It says:
20:55 Now some people say, Well, Pastor, if He was tempted in all
20:59 points like we are, but He never sinned,
21:03 how can He understand us?
21:05 I like to use this illustration.
21:08 If you were sinking in quick sand, and you were all the way
21:14 up to your neck, and your head was about to go under,
21:18 what would you rather have?
21:21 Would you rather have someone in the quicksand sympathizing
21:26 with you, or would you rather have someone on solid ground
21:30 who can pull you out?
21:32 I think I don't even have to answer my own question,
21:37 because the answer is obvious.
21:39 If Jesus had jumped into the quicksand along with us,
21:44 and He had become a sinner, He took a sinful nature,
21:49 but He didn't sin, but if He had become a sinner, He would have
21:52 needed a what? He would have needed a Savior.
21:55 He would have needed a Redeemer.
21:57 But we're being told here that He was tempted in all things,
22:01 yet without sin. He took our nature, and for 33 years
22:07 He lived a perfect, sinless life; never acted out one sin.
22:15 That's amazing!
22:17 Now, if Jesus did not come with our nature, we have serious
22:24 theological problems.
22:28 I don't want you to assume that I'm being sacrilegious here,
22:30 but I want to give you an illustration, because I want
22:32 you to understand what I'm saying.
22:34 Let's imagine that Superman really existed.
22:38 Now I know that Superman doesn't exist.
22:41 Let's suppose that Superman really did exist.
22:43 And Superman comes to that door and he says
22:48 to those gathered here today, he says, Folks, come outside
22:54 with me. And so we all step out the door; we go outside.
22:57 And then Superman flies off into the air and he says,
23:02 Follow me! What would you say?
23:10 Superman, you're crazy!
23:13 You see, you have powers that I don't have.
23:17 You have a different nature than I have.
23:20 You see, if Jesus had a human nature different than we do,
23:28 on what basis could God ask us to follow His example?
23:32 If Jesus was superior to us, if Jesus had advantages over us,
23:38 on what basis could He tell us to follow His example?
23:43 On what basis could we even follow His example?
23:47 Are you understanding what I am saying?
23:49 And so Jesus came all the way down.
23:53 Now, if you look at the genealogy of Christ,
23:57 in Matthew 1, you'll discover some very interesting things.
24:02 He had quite the list of ancestors.
24:05 Let me just mention some of them to you.
24:09 You have Abraham the liar, more than once.
24:14 You have Jacob the supplanter.
24:18 You have David the murderer, and the adulterer.
24:24 You have Rahab the harlot.
24:27 You have Ruth, who was not even an Israelite.
24:31 She was a Moabite.
24:32 And you have Amon who was so idolatrous, and so wicked,
24:39 that he filled the streets of Jerusalem with the innocent
24:43 blood of his own people.
24:45 That was the ancestry of Christ, because Jesus descended from
24:53 Abraham, and He descended from David.
24:56 Now you might say, Well, God spared Him that inheritance.
25:01 Listen folks, A. T. Jones, a very famous preacher back in
25:07 the 1888 Minneapolis Conference, wrote a book titled,
25:12 The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection.
25:15 And he used this argument: He said, if Jesus did not come
25:20 to this world with our sinful nature...
25:24 By the way, the sinful nature never sinned.
25:27 Are you understanding what I'm saying?
25:29 If Jesus did not come to this world with our sinful nature,
25:32 then Mary, His mother, must have been
25:37 immaculately conceived.
25:39 Have you ever heard the doctrine of the immaculate conception?
25:44 You know, many people assume that the doctrine of the
25:47 immaculate conception means that the Catholic Church teaches
25:50 that Jesus was born immaculate.
25:52 That's not the doctrine.
25:54 The doctrine of the immaculate conception is that Mary was born
25:59 without sinful human nature, because how could she give birth
26:06 to Jesus with a perfect and sinless nature,
26:10 if Jesus inherited a sinful nature from her?
26:15 And so they spare Mary from having a sinful nature,
26:19 and therefore they say Jesus could be born without
26:22 a sinful nature. This creates huge problems, because if you
26:27 believe that Mary was born without the sinful nature,
26:31 you would have to assume that her mother also was born without
26:35 a sinful nature. And her mother must have been born without
26:39 a sinful nature, and so on.
26:40 The fact is that Jesus descended from Mary, who was from the
26:45 line that is mentioned in Matthew 1, the line of Abraham,
26:49 and Jacob, and David, and all of these individuals
26:53 that are mentioned in the genealogy of Christ.
26:56 He truly inherited the sinful human nature.
27:02 You're probably saying, this probably is a unique
27:06 Adventist view. I want to read a statement from,
27:09 perhaps arguably, the greatest theologian
27:13 of the twentieth century.
27:15 You've probably never heard of him.
27:17 His name is Karl Barth.
27:19 He wrote in his Church Dogmatics, Volume 1,
27:24 part 2, page 153, the following words:
27:48 Do you notice this?
27:51 By the way, he was a reformed theologian.
27:55 He continues saying:
28:27 So Karl Barth himself, and I have other statements from other
28:31 non-Adventist theologians, who teach the same truth that Jesus
28:36 assumed our sinful nature, and He did not allow that sinful
28:42 nature to manifest itself in acts of sin.
28:46 In other words, Jesus had a sinful nature, but He developed
28:52 a holy character.
28:54 Jesus had, in other words, sinful flesh.
28:58 He did not have holy flesh.
29:01 He had sinful flesh, like we have sinful flesh.
29:05 And yet Jesus never allowed the sinful flesh to manifest
29:10 itself in acts of sin.
29:12 The instant the temptation came to Christ, Jesus resisted it.
29:19 He never for a momentary instant had an inclination,
29:24 or a tendency to commit sin, because the moment the
29:27 temptation arrived, even before He would have a tendency or an
29:31 inclination to commit the sin, He would say, It is written!
29:35 Are you understanding what I'm saying?
29:38 He had no inclination, He never played with temptation and said,
29:42 Should I, or shouldn't I?
29:44 Never did Jesus have that feeling.
29:47 He never had a tendency, or an inclination to commit
29:50 an act of sin, even though He had our nature.
29:53 Now is that comforting truth for us?
29:56 Is that encouraging truth for us?
29:58 I'll tell you, that is very encouraging to me,
30:01 because I need to know that there is power to overcome.
30:05 There is power to conquer.
30:07 Notice Romans 8:3, 4, Romans 8: 3, 4.
30:17 Here we find very clearly this same idea
30:20 expressed by the apostle Paul. It says there:
30:30 In other words, the law can't save us.
30:40 In the likeness of what?
30:43 In other words, He came in the likeness of our flesh,
30:46 the likeness of our flesh.
30:48 His flesh was like our flesh, sinful flesh. And so it says:
31:02 How did Jesus condemn sin? in sinful flesh,
31:08 according to this.
31:16 The apostle Paul is saying that we can follow
31:19 the example of Jesus.
31:20 We can walk not according to the flesh,
31:22 but according to the Spirit.
31:24 I would like to read several statements also from
31:29 the Spirit of Prophecy.
31:31 The first of these is in The Desire of Ages, pages 311, 312.
31:37 Very meaningful statements.
31:39 And she's speaking in the context of the Lord's ladder.
31:45 I almost said Jacob's ladder.
31:46 The Lord's ladder.
31:47 See, we are climbing Jacob's ladder.
31:49 We're not climbing Jacob's ladder. Be real!
31:51 We're climbing the Lord's ladder. Notice:
32:19 How far did the ladder come down?
32:22 All the way down. She continues saying:
32:30 Where does Christ reach? Adam before he fell? No.
32:37 He reaches us where we are.
32:53 Imagine that: living in sinful flesh,
32:56 and yet living a sinless life.
33:05 That's the top of the ladder.
33:21 Well, after all, you do know that text of the apostle Paul
33:25 where he says, I can do most things through Christ
33:28 who strengthens me.
33:29 I can do some things through Christ who strengthens me.
33:35 Is that what the text says?
33:36 The text says, I can do all things except overcome sin,
33:40 through Christ who strengthens me.
33:41 The last I knew, all means all.
33:45 If I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,
33:50 it means that I can also overcome sin through the
33:54 power of Jesus, like Jesus overcame sin through
33:57 the power of the Spirit that dwelt in His life.
34:01 Allow me to read just a few more statements here.
34:04 This one is from Signs of the Times, October 17, 1900.
34:09 She says:
34:19 In other words, Adam had no indwelling sin.
34:21 That's not what led him to yield.
34:40 Now here comes the contrast.
34:51 See the contrast between Adam and Jesus?
35:14 In another statement that we find in The Desire of Ages,
35:17 page 49, Ellen White says this:
35:34 Did you catch that?
35:36 It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for Jesus
35:40 to take the human nature of Adam before his sins, she's saying.
35:49 Notice the word "but" again.
36:06 That's Matthew, chapter 1.
36:28 Allow me to read just a few more.
36:31 The Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald, February 24, 1874.
36:37 Ellen White says:
36:50 Did you catch that?
36:52 Taking the place of whom? fallen Adam.
36:56 General Conference Bulletin, April 23, 1901, she says this:
37:13 Perhaps one more; Youth's Instructor, December 20, 1900.
37:18 By the way, do you notice that most of these statements are
37:20 from the early 1900's, right after the Congress of
37:24 Minneapolis in 1888. She says this:
37:37 Did you catch that?
37:40 I'm going to read that again.
37:58 Folks there is no excuse for sin.
38:02 We can't say, the devil made me do it.
38:05 The world made me do it.
38:07 The flesh made me do it.
38:09 After all I have sinful flesh.
38:10 Do you know what you're really saying when you say that you
38:13 can't overcome sin?
38:14 You're not saying that the flesh is weak, what you're saying is
38:17 that God is not powerful enough.
38:20 Are you understanding what I'm saying?
38:23 When you say, I can't overcome.
38:24 It's impossible to overcome sin, because I have a
38:27 sinful human nature.
38:28 You're saying that even God cannot give you power
38:31 to overcome that sinful nature.
38:33 You're limiting the power of God by saying
38:36 that it's not possible.
38:37 Now, so we have this ladder.
38:43 By the way, do you know what's interesting?
38:45 This ladder is not, first of all, set up on earth,
38:49 and then it reaches the top.
38:51 You know, that's the way we set up ladders?
38:52 You know, you take it out from the garage, and then you take it
38:55 and you put it on the ground, and you put it up to the roof?
38:59 No, with God's ladder it's different.
39:01 See with God's ladder, the ladder is let down
39:05 from heaven to earth.
39:06 It's up there first and then it comes down to earth,
39:10 and it bridges heaven and earth.
39:12 It reminds me of what happened several years ago in Texas.
39:15 You might remember this story; a little girl
39:17 who fell into a cistern.
39:18 Remember that? She was deep down in this narrow cistern.
39:23 And when the fire department came they were trying to figure
39:26 out how they could get her out.
39:28 She was too little, she was injured,
39:30 she couldn't take the rope.
39:31 They couldn't say, Take the rope and we'll pull you out.
39:34 So what happened is that one of the fire fighters actually
39:38 got in that real narrow cistern, and he was let down on the rope,
39:43 all the way to the level where she was.
39:46 He took her in his arms and lifted her up.
39:51 You see, the idea of this ladder is not that the ladder is set up
39:56 on earth, and we climb up to heaven, the idea is that the
40:00 ladder is let down from heaven to earth,
40:02 and then we can climb up.
40:04 The honor and the glory belongs to Him.
40:07 Now Jesus is the ladder that bridges heaven and earth.
40:11 You see, as God He unites us with God.
40:14 As man, He is united with us.
40:18 He is the God man.
40:21 Do you know that we're closer to God now
40:24 than if we'd never sinned?
40:25 Because if we'd sinned, Jesus would only be God,
40:28 but as a result of sin, now God is one of us
40:33 through Jesus Christ.
40:35 He's closer to us than if we had never sinned.
40:38 The ladder is Jesus.
40:40 The ladder, in fact, represents the intercessions
40:43 of Jesus for us.
40:45 Notice what we find in 1 Timothy 2:5, 1 Timothy 2:5. It says:
41:01 Who is the only mediator between heaven and earth?
41:03 The only mediator, the only one who can represent us
41:07 before the Father is Jesus, because He's one of us.
41:11 And He can represent us to His Father,
41:13 because He's one with His Father as well.
41:15 In other words, Jesus is the bridge
41:18 between heaven and earth.
41:19 You know what saddens me?
41:22 What saddens me is that there's a church in this world
41:25 that teaches that you need priests, human priests,
41:29 to unite you with heaven.
41:31 They say that, you know, you come to the priest,
41:35 and the priest, he represents you before God.
41:38 He presents your sins before God, and he forgives you.
41:41 There are two problems with that idea.
41:44 Problem number one is that according to Hebrews 7:25, 26,
41:50 if you'd go with me there, Hebrews 7:25, 26.
41:54 The only priest that can represent us is a priest
41:58 who is perfectly undefiled by sin.
42:01 It says there in Hebrews 7: 25, 26;
42:13 Did you notice that? We come unto God by whom?
42:15 We come unto God by Him.
42:23 See, He represents us before God.
42:25 And who is the only one who can do that? Notice verse 26:
42:38 In order to be a priest he has to be what?
42:41 He has to be perfect.
42:43 I don't know a single human priest who is perfect.
42:48 And so human priests cannot bridge the gap
42:52 between us and God.
42:53 But there's another reason why human priests can't do it,
42:56 and that is because in order for the ladder to bridge the heaven
43:01 and the earth, the person who bridges it must be God,
43:04 and must be man.
43:06 And I don't know the first priest on earth who is God.
43:09 They are men, but they are not God.
43:12 They have the bottom of the ladder, but they have no
43:15 way of getting to the top, because the mediator
43:18 has to be man and he has to be God, and he has to be perfect.
43:22 And so a human priesthood representing us before God
43:26 is simply false theology, and dangerous theology,
43:30 because it gives us the impression that our hope
43:33 rests upon the arm of man.
43:36 Do you know what the ladder represents is the
43:41 intercession of Jesus for us.
43:42 You know, if we do sin 1 John 2:1 says, These things I write
43:50 to you so that you sin not, but if anyone sins we have what?
43:55 We have an advocate with the Father,
43:57 Jesus Christ the righteous.
44:00 So, in other words, Jesus represents us before the Father.
44:03 And let me say this, folks, in order for Jesus to bridge
44:07 the gap between us and heaven, we must be truly repentant,
44:13 and we must confess our sins without excuse.
44:18 We must be sorry for sin.
44:21 You know, Proverbs 28:13 says that we must not only confess
44:27 our sin, but we must forsake our sins
44:30 through the power of Jesus.
44:32 But the good news is that if we blow it, if we sin, Jesus Christ
44:36 represents us before the Father when there is true repentance,
44:40 and when there is confession of sin.
44:42 You know, once we've knelt at the foot of our bed at night,
44:45 and we do an inventory of our lives, we say,
44:47 Oh, I blew it here, and I did this wrong today,
44:50 and I just lost my temper.
44:51 You know, when we think about what we did throughout the day,
44:55 we can kneel and we pray, Jesus, you know, I'm really sorry
44:59 about all of these things that I did.
45:00 And we're supposed to confess our sins specifically,
45:03 not just a general, please forgive me my sins,
45:06 but we're supposed to think on our sins individually.
45:09 And that those sins led Jesus to the cross,
45:12 and when we do them we feel sorrow for sin because
45:15 we recognize what sin did to Jesus.
45:18 We say, Oh, Jesus, please forgive me for what I've done.
45:22 And then Jesus is the ladder that bridges us with heaven.
45:26 Isn't that good news?
45:28 So He not only gives us power, but He also gives us
45:33 forgiveness, because we are on a road that leads us to growth.
45:40 Now, upon the ladder there were angels ascending and descending.
45:47 You know, we don't give enough of a role to angels.
45:51 Angels ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
45:56 What could that possibly mean?
45:58 Well, let me talk to you a moment about the
46:01 veil of the temple.
46:02 Go with me to Exodus 26:31, Exodus 26:31.
46:10 I want you to notice that between the holy and
46:12 the most holy place, right in front of the alter of incense,
46:17 or the golden altar, there was a veil.
46:20 And I want you to notice the interesting characteristic about
46:24 that veil. Exodus 26:31. It says here:
46:42 And there were cherubim's ascending and descending
46:46 upon the veil. The book of Hebrews says that the veil
46:50 represents the flesh of Jesus Christ.
46:53 And, by the way, when incense was offered on that altar,
46:59 the incense would ascend where the curtain was, and it would go
47:05 into the presence of God.
47:06 Do you know what that represents?
47:09 It represents the fact that when we pray our prayers are borne
47:15 by the angels to the courts of heaven.
47:17 And when God answers our prayers, He sends His angels
47:26 to this earth to fulfill that which we are requesting in
47:31 harmony with His will.
47:32 You know we have biblical examples of this.
47:35 For example, in Daniel 9:22, 23, we find Daniel praying for light
47:44 about the prophecy of the 2300 days.
47:47 And while he's praying, suddenly appears before him the angel
47:54 Gabriel, and Gabriel actually says, Before you even
47:58 finished your prayer, I was on my way with the Lord's answer.
48:03 So, in other words, the angels are ministering spirits
48:07 between heaven and earth.
48:09 They are the emissaries of Jesus.
48:12 They take our prayers to heaven, they bring God's answers back.
48:15 This church that I was mentioning a little while ago,
48:19 they teach that individuals who died and went to heaven
48:23 are our intercessors.
48:26 And, of course, the greatest intercessor, in their mind,
48:29 is Mary. So if Mary and all of these heroes, so to speak,
48:36 are our intercessors between heaven and earth,
48:39 that means that the angels must fold their wings,
48:41 and fold their hands, and they're left unemployed.
48:46 But really the connection between heaven and earth
48:50 is close indeed. This world is filled with emissaries of God.
48:56 It's filled with angels just waiting to do the biddings
49:01 of God when we ask.
49:03 Matthew 4:11 describes Jesus in the wilderness.
49:12 And when Jesus was in the wilderness we are told
49:15 that angels from heaven came down and ministered unto Christ.
49:22 So the angels even ministered unto Jesus while Jesus was here.
49:29 And when Jesus goes back to heaven He's still the commander
49:32 of the angels. The angels still fulfill His biddings.
49:37 In that sense the angels ascend and descend on the Son of man,
49:42 because they are the instruments of Jesus to fulfill His will
49:46 throughout the universe.
49:48 Do you know, there's another story in the book of Genesis.
49:54 It's in Genesis 11, the story of the tower.
49:58 Have you ever read that story?
50:02 You know, that's just the opposite of
50:04 what we studied tonight.
50:05 In our study we've noticed that the ladder, which bridges heaven
50:10 and earth, is let down from heaven and set up on earth
50:14 so that we can go up.
50:16 But in Genesis 11 the builders of the tower, this is after
50:21 the flood, they want to save themselves from another flood.
50:26 And so they build the tower from the bottom up.
50:30 You see, salvation comes from up down, not from down up.
50:35 We do not save ourselves by our works.
50:39 We do not save ourselves by our towers.
50:42 We do not save ourselves by what we do.
50:45 They said, Let us make a name for ourselves,
50:50 and so they tried to ascend to the highest heavens
50:54 on their tower to save themselves from another flood.
50:57 And God said, You're going about it the wrong way.
51:00 You can never reach up to heaven.
51:02 Heaven reaches unto you.
51:05 Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve sinned.
51:10 We don't find Adam saying, Oh Lord, please forgive me.
51:15 We don't see that.
51:16 God comes down to the garden and He says, Adam, where are you?
51:24 Adam isn't seeking after God.
51:26 God is seeking Adam.
51:28 In Romans 3:11, it says there is no one who seeketh after God.
51:34 In other words, God comes down and seeks us, in Jesus,
51:39 the ladder, so that we can then climb up.
51:42 We don't build our ladder so that we can get up there.
51:45 Are you understanding what I'm saying?
51:47 Babel represents the human attempt to save itself,
51:52 whereas the ladder represents God saving us.
51:56 Now somebody might be saying, Well, Pastor Bohr,
51:58 but what about that text that says, You shall seek me,
52:01 and you shall find me, when you seek me with all your heart?
52:04 See man does seek after God, but do you know what?
52:08 God implants in our hearts the desire to seek Him.
52:11 Do you know, we don't even repent.
52:14 God gives us repentance, according to scripture.
52:19 And when He plants the Spirit of repentance in our hearts,
52:23 we repent. God gives us a spirit of confession.
52:26 In other words, all salvation originates with God, whether
52:30 it be repentance, whether it be confession,
52:33 no matter what it is, whether it's a seeking God, it's because
52:36 God has planted it first in the human heart.
52:38 And that's what the ladder is trying to teach.
52:42 God has let down the ladder to save us.
52:47 Now we are climbing the Lord's ladder.
52:52 We're not there yet, but we're climbing the ladder.
52:55 Do you know what climbing the ladder represents?
52:59 It represents the fact that every day we are growing
53:03 in our Christian experience.
53:05 We are gaining victories in our Christian life.
53:09 And do you know how we do it?
53:11 Go with me to the book of Hebrews 12, Hebrews 12.
53:16 Now if you're on a ladder is it very safe to look down?
53:21 Where do you usually look when you're climbing a ladder?
53:26 I'll tell you what, I look up.
53:29 Notice Hebrews 12:1.
53:32 Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great
53:38 a cloud of witnesses,...
53:51 How can we run with patience the race that is set before us?
53:54 How can we lay aside, according to this, every weight,
53:57 and the sin which besets us so easily?
54:00 How can we do it? Verse 2.
54:21 The word consider means to concentrate upon.
54:35 How is it that we're not weary or faint?
54:38 By keeping our eyes where? on Jesus.
54:44 When I was going to school before I got married,
54:48 before I met my wife in Columbia, we went to visit this
54:51 great big rock that sticks out of the ground.
54:54 The name of the rock is El Penol.
54:56 Huge, I mean it's, Oh, several hundred feet tall.
55:01 And when we went to that place with the school,
55:05 we went on an outing, they had a ladder made out of wood
55:11 that went like a maze up one side of that rock.
55:17 And the interesting thing is it was a hanging ladder.
55:21 It had ropes on the side, and many of the boards of the ladder
55:26 were missing. It was actually not a ladder, it was a walkway
55:30 that would go up, you know, up and up and up.
55:33 You didn't have steps.
55:34 You had to grab onto the ropes, and you had to step over the
55:38 boards that were missing.
55:40 And I'll tell you, when I got up there that wind started whipping
55:44 back and forth, and you know, I peeked one time through one of
55:48 those boards, and it was a long ways down there.
55:51 But they had told us before we got on that ladder,
55:56 or that walkway up to the top of the rock,
55:59 and I've been to the top.
56:00 Now, also, they have a cement stairs that go all the way to
56:05 the top, Praise the Lord.
56:06 It's a lot easier now, although it takes a lot of stamina
56:09 stamina to get out there.
56:10 But, anyway, they said two things to us
56:14 when we were about to go up: 1. Hang on for dear life.
56:20 2. Don't look down.
56:24 And I must admit I did disobey once, because I looked down,
56:29 and I was sorry I did.
56:31 Do you know, that's the way that we can overcome sin.
56:35 1. Don't look down.
56:43 Look unto Jesus. Keep your eyes on the ladder.
56:47 From bottom to top as we ascend, let's keep our eyes
56:52 on the holy city, on Jesus, the author and finisher
56:57 of our faith. If we did that, and watch less television,
57:00 listen to less worldly music, and were less concerned
57:02 about our own riches, and our own money, we would have victory
57:05 in our Christian life.
57:06 But we have a tendency to look down instead of looking up.
57:10 And folks, for everything in the world,
57:15 let's hang on to Jesus, the author
57:21 and finisher of our faith.