The Bible tells us that the Church was not only God’s Will, God’s Eternal Purpose, but God’s Hidden Mystery. This mystery was hidden from previous generations. The O.T. prophets and saints did not see the Church and often did not understand their own utterances or prophecies about it. The time came when what was a mystery, veiled, hidden, or a secret would be made known.
This unveiling of the mystery was done in the New Testament and the apostle Paul was given a special assignment to tell the secret (Ephesians 3:1-11). He is the only New Testament writer who is said to be given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of satan, sent to buffet him due to the abundance of revelation (which in large part was the unveiling of the mystery). When it was uncovered, the Church can be seen to have been in the Scriptures all along but shadowed. It was shadowed (not totally light, not totally dark) until the time when God would send Jesus to build His church, unveil the hidden mystery, and complete the revelation (Colossians 1:25).
There are many examples of these pictures of the Church shadowed in an Old Testament picture (Tabernacle of Moses; Tabernacle of David; Temple of Solomon) that we can see something God intended for the Church in the New Testament. A great example is in Genesis 28:12-22 in the story of Jacob’s Ladder.
JACOB’S LADDER/HOUSE OF GOD Genesis 28:12-22.
As you read the passage you can see that Jacob lies down and rests on a stone (rock) pillar that he later pours oil upon the top of. Jacob has a dream; sees a ladder from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending. He sees the Lord standing above it and reiterating the covenant that he is a part of. Jacob calls it “Bethel,” the house of God – the gate of heaven. Pours oil on this stone; vows a vow; and voluntarily gives a tenth of his income.
What can we see shadowed about the Church in this picture? There’s a connection in the realm of the Spirit with the Church built on a rock on Earth, with heaven and the Lord standing above it as its Head. Like at Jacob’s Ladder and Bethel Rock, the Church is:
– a place where dreams begin and rest is found (v 12)
– a place where heaven becomes real (v 12)
– a place where all families of the earth can be blessed (vv 10,14)
– a place where the voice of God is heard (v 13)
– a place where God reveals Himself (vv 13-17)
– a place where the whole church is covered by the anointing oil of the Holy Ghost (v 18)
– a place where major decisions are made (v 20)
– a place where tithes are given freely (v.22) and it activates the angels of God in the Spirit realm. The church is to live at the end of Jacob’s ladder connected to heaven’s supply.