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Genesis 28:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I am the Lord God of Abraham - Here God confirms to him the blessing of Abraham, for which Isaac had prayed, Genesis 28:3, Genesis 28:4.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 1-22

- Jacob‘s Journey to Haran

3. קהל qâhāl “congregation.”

9. מחלת māchălat Machalath, “sickness, or a harp.”

19. לוּז lûz Luz, “almond.”

The blessing of his sons was the last passage in the active life of Isaac, after which he retires from the scene. Jacob now becomes the leading figure in the sacred history. His spiritual character has yet come out to view. But even now we can discern the general distinction in the lives of the three patriarchs. Abraham‘s is a life of authority and decision; Isaac‘s, of submission and acquiescence; and Jacob‘s, of trial and struggle.

Genesis 28:1-5

Isaac has now become alive to the real destiny of Jacob. He therefore calls for him to bless him, and give him a command. The command is to take a wife, not from Kenaan, but from the kindred of his parents. The blessing comes from “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1). It is that belonging to the chosen seed, “the blessing of Abraham.” It embraces a numerous offspring, the land of promise, and all else that is included in the blessing of Abraham. “A congregation of peoples.” This is the word “congregation” (קהל qâhāl ) which is afterward applied to the assembled people of God, and to which the Greek ἐκκλησία ekklēsia “ecclesia,” corresponds. Jacob complies with his mother‘s advice and his father‘s command, and, at the same time, reaps the bitter fruit of his fraud against his brother in the hardship and treachery of an exile of twenty years. The aged Isaac is not without his share in the unpleasant consequences of endeavoring to go against the will of God.

Genesis 28:6-9

Esau is induced, by the charge of his parents to Jacob, the compliance of the latter with their wishes, and by their obvious dislike to the daughters of Kenaan, to take Mahalath, a daughter of Ishmael, in addition to his former wives. “Went unto Ishmael;” that is, to the family or tribe of Ishmael, as Ishmael himself was now thirteen years dead. Esau‘s hunting and roving career had brought him into contact with this family, and we shall presently find him settled in a neighboring territory.

Genesis 28:10-22

Jacob‘s dream and vow. Setting out on the way to Haran, he was overtaken by night, and slept in the field. He was far from any dwelling, or he did not wish to enter the house of a stranger. He dreams. A ladder or stair is seen reaching from earth to heaven, on which angels ascend and descend. This is a medium of communication between heaven and earth, by which messengers pass to and fro on errands of mercy. Heaven and earth have been separated by sin. But this ladder has re-established the contact. It is therefore a beautiful emblem of what mediates and reconciles John 1:51. It here serves to bring Jacob into communication with God, and teaches him the emphatic lesson that he is accepted through a mediator. “The Lord stood above it,” and Jacob, the object of his mercy, beneath. First. He reveals himself to the sleeper as “the Lord” Genesis 2:4, “the God of Abraham thy father, and of Isaac.” It is remarkable that Abraham is styled his father, that is, his actual grandfather, and covenant father. Second. He renews the promise of the land, of the seed, and of the blessing in that seed for the whole race of man. Westward, eastward, northward, and southward are they to break forth. This expression points to the world-wide universality of the kingdom of the seed of Abraham, when it shall become the fifth monarchy, that shall subdue all that went before, and endure forever. This transcends the destiny of the natural seed of Abraham. Third. He then promises to Jacob personally to be with him, protect him, and bring him back in safety. This is the third announcement of the seed that blesses to the third in the line of descent Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis 22:18; Genesis 26:4.

Genesis 28:16-19

Jacob awakes, and exclaims, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” He knew his omnipresence; but he did not expect a special manifestation of the Lord in this place, far from the sanctuaries of his father. He is filled with solemn awe, when he finds himself in the house of God and at the gate of heaven. The pillar is the monument of the event. The pouring of oil upon it is an act of consecration to God who has there appeared to him Numbers 7:1. He calls the name of the place Bethel, “the house of God.” This is not the first time it received the name. Abraham also worshipped God here, and met with the name already existing (see on Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3; Genesis 25:30.)

Genesis 28:20-22

Jacob‘s vow. A vow is a solemn engagement to perform a certain duty, the obligation of which is felt at the time to be especially binding. It partakes, therefore, of the nature of a promise or a covenant. It involves in its obligation, however, only one party, and is the spontaneous act of that party. Here, then, Jacob appears to take a step in advance of his predecessors. Hitherto, God had taken the initiative in every promise, and the everlasting covenant rests solely on his eternal purpose. Abraham had responded to the call of God, believed in the Lord, walked before him, entered into communion with him, made intercession with him, and given up his only son to him at his demand. In all this there is an acceptance on the part of the creature of the supremacy of the merciful Creator. But now the spirit of adoption prompts Jacob to a spontaneous movement toward God. This is no ordinary vow, referring to some special or occasional resolve.

It is the grand and solemn expression of the soul‘s free, full, and perpetual acceptance of the Lord to be its own God. This is the most frank and open utterance of newborn spiritual liberty from the heart of man that has yet appeared in the divine record. “If God will be with me.” This is not the condition on which Jacob will accept God in a mercenary spirit. It is merely the echo and the thankful acknowledgment of the divine assurance, “I am with thee,” which was given immediately before. It is the response of the son to the assurance of the father: “Wilt thou indeed be with me? Thou shalt be my God.” “This stone shall be God‘s house,” a monument of the presence of God among his people, and a symbol of the indwelling of his Spirit in their hearts. As it comes in here it signalizes the grateful and loving welcome and entertainment which God receives from his saints. “A tenth will I surely give unto thee.” The honored guest is treated as one of the family. Ten is the whole: a tenth is a share of the whole. The Lord of all receives one share as an acknowledgment of his sovereign right to all. Here it is represented as the full share given to the king who condescends to dwell with his subjects. Thus, Jacob opens his heart, his home, and his treasure to God. These are the simple elements of a theocracy, a national establishment of the true religion. The spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind, has begun to reign in Jacob. As the Father is prominently manifested in regenerate Abraham, and the Son in Isaac, so also the Spirit in Jacob.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Jacob's conduct hitherto, as recorded, was not that of one who simply feared and trusted in God. But now in trouble, obliged to flee, he looked only to God to make him to dwell in safety, and he could lie down and sleep in the open air with his head upon a stone. Any true believer would be willing to take up with Jacob's pillow, provided he might have Jacob's vision. God's time to visit his people with his comforts, is, when they are most destitute of other comforts, and other comforters. Jacob saw a ladder which reached from earth to heaven, the angels going up and coming down, and God himself at the head of it. This represents, 1. The providence of God, by which there is a constant intercourse kept up between heaven and earth. This let Jacob know that he had both a good guide and a good guard. 2. The mediation of Christ. He is this ladder; the foot on earth in his human nature, the top in heaven in his Divine nature. Christ is the Way; all God's favours come to us, and all our services go to him, by Christ, Joh 1:51. By this way, sinners draw near to the throne of grace with acceptance. By faith we perceive this way, and in prayer we approach by it. In answer to prayer we receive all needful blessings of providence and grace. We have no way of getting to heaven but by Christ. And when the soul, by faith, can see these things, then every place will become pleasant, and every prospect joyful. He will never leave us, until his last promise is accomplished in our everlasting happiness. God now spake comfortably to Jacob. He spake from the head of the ladder. All the glad tidings we receive from heaven come through Jesus Christ. The Messiah should come from Jacob. Christ is the great blessing of the world. All that are blessed, are blessed in him, and none of any family are shut out from blessedness in him, but those that shut out themselves. Jacob had to fear danger from his brother Esau; but God promises to keep him. He had a long journey before him; to an unknown country; but, Behold, I am with thee, and God promises to bring him back again to this land. He seemed to be forsaken of all his friends; but God gives him this assurance, I will not leave thee. Whom God loves, he never leaves.
Ellen G. White
Education, 52

In his childhood, Joseph had been taught the love and fear of God. Often in his father's tent, under the Syrian stars, he had been told the story of the night vision at Bethel, of the ladder from heaven to earth, and the descending and ascending angels, and of Him who from the throne above revealed Himself to Jacob. He had been told the story of the conflict beside the Jabbok, when, renouncing cherished sins, Jacob stood conqueror, and received the title of a prince with God. Ed 52.1

A shepherd boy, tending his father's flocks, Joseph's pure and simple life had favored the development of both physical and mental power. By communion with God through nature and the study of the great truths handed down as a sacred trust from father to son, he had gained strength of mind and firmness of principle. Ed 52.2

In the crisis of his life, when making that terrible journey from his childhood home in Canaan to the bondage which awaited him in Egypt, looking for the last time on the hills that hid the tents of his kindred, Joseph remembered his father's God. He remembered the lessons of his childhood, and his soul thrilled with the resolve to prove himself true—ever to act as became a subject of the King of heaven. Ed 52.3

In the bitter life of a stranger and a slave, amidst the sights and sounds of vice and the allurements of heathen worship, a worship surrounded with all the attractions of wealth and culture and the pomp of royalty, Joseph was steadfast. He had learned the lesson of obedience to duty. Faithfulness in every station, from the most lowly to the most exalted, trained every power for highest service. Ed 52.4

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 617

“He had power over the Angel, and prevailed.” Hosea 12:4. Through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart of Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner's plea. As an evidence of his triumph and an encouragement to others to imitate his example, his name was changed from one which was a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. And the fact that Jacob had prevailed with God was an assurance that he would prevail with men. He no longer feared to encounter his brother's anger, for the Lord was his defense. GC 617.1

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Ellen G. White
Education, 243

Well would it be for young and old to study and ponder and often repeat those words of Holy Writ that show how the place marked by God's special presence should be regarded. Ed 243.1

“Put off thy shoes from off thy feet,” He commanded Moses at the burning bush; “for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5. Ed 243.2

Jacob, after beholding the vision of the angels, exclaimed, “The Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.... This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:16, 17. Ed 243.3

“The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20. Ed 243.4

Reverence should be shown also for the name of God. Never should that name be spoken lightly or thoughtlessly. Even in prayer its frequent or needless repetition should be avoided. “Holy and reverend is His name.” Psalm 111:9. Angels, as they speak it, veil their faces. With what reverence should we, who are fallen and sinful, take it upon our lips! Ed 243.7

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 179

“The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” [Habakkuk 2:20.] GW 179.1

Prosy, sermonizing prayers are uncalled for and out of place in public. A short prayer, offered in fervor and faith, will soften the hearts of the hearers; but during long prayers they wait impatiently, as if wishing that every word might end it. Had the minister making such a prayer wrestled with God in his chamber until he felt that his faith could grasp the promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you,” he would in his public prayer have come to the point at once, asking with earnestness and faith for grace for himself and his hearers. GW 179.2

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 436-7

Again, consider the judgment that fell upon Uzzah. As in David's reign the ark was being carried to Jerusalem, Uzzah put forth his hand to keep it steady. For presuming to touch the symbol of God's presence, he was smitten with instant death. MH 436.1

At the burning bush, when Moses, not recognizing God's presence, turned aside to behold the wonderful sight, the command was given: MH 436.2

“Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.... And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:5, 6. MH 436.3

“And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. MH 436.4

“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, MH 436.5

“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, 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. MH 436.6

“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:10-17. MH 436.7

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Ellen G. White
My Life Today, 20

The patriarchs were men of prayer, and God did great things for them. When Jacob left his father's house for a strange land, he prayed in humble contrition, and in the night season the Lord answered him through vision.... The Lord comforted the lonely wanderer with precious promises; and protecting angels were represented as stationed on each side of his path.... ML 20.2

Joseph prayed, and he was preserved from sin amid influences that were calculated to lead him away from God. When tempted to leave the path of purity and uprightness, he rejected the suggestion with, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” ML 20.3

Moses, who was much in prayer, was known as the meekest man on the face of the earth.... While he was leading the children of Israel through the wilderness, again and again it seemed that they must be exterminated on account of their murmuring and rebellion. But Moses went to the true Source of power; he laid the case before the Lord.... And the Lord said, “I have pardoned according to thy word.” ... ML 20.4

Daniel was a man of prayer, and God gave him wisdom and firmness to resist every influence that conspired to draw him into the snare of intemperance. Even in his youth he was a moral giant in the strength of the Mighty One.... ML 20.5

In the prison at Philippi, while suffering from the cruel stripes they had received, their feet fast in the stocks, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praise to God; and angels were sent from heaven to deliver them. The earth shook under the tread of these heavenly messengers, and the prison doors flew open, setting the prisoners free. ML 20.6

Prayer takes hold upon Omnipotence, and gains us the victory. ML 20.7

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 193

Jacob would have left his crafty kinsman long before but for the fear of encountering Esau. Now he felt that he was in danger from the sons of Laban, who, looking upon his wealth as their own, might endeavor to secure it by violence. He was in great perplexity and distress, not knowing which way to turn. But mindful of the gracious Bethel promise, he carried his case to God, and sought direction from Him. In a dream his prayer was answered: “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” PP 193.1

Laban's absence afforded opportunity for departure. The flocks and herds were speedily gathered and sent forward, and with his wives, children, and servants, Jacob crossed the Euphrates, urging his way toward Gilead, on the borders of Canaan. After three days Laban learned of their flight, and set forth in pursuit, overtaking the company on the seventh day of their journey. He was hot with anger, and bent on forcing them to return, which he doubted not he could do, since his band was much the stronger. The fugitives were indeed in great peril. PP 193.2

That he did not carry out his hostile purpose was due to the fact that God Himself had interposed for the protection of His servant. “It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt,” said Laban, “but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad;” that is, he should not force him to return, or urge him by flattering inducements. PP 193.3

Laban had withheld the marriage dowry of his daughters and had ever treated Jacob with craft and harshness; but with characteristic dissimulation he now reproached him for his secret departure, which had given the father no opportunity to make a parting feast or even to bid farewell to his daughters and their children. PP 193.4

In reply Jacob plainly set forth Laban's selfish and grasping policy, and appealed to him as a witness to his own faithfulness and honesty. “Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me,” said Jacob, “surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction, and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.” PP 193.5

Laban could not deny the facts brought forward, and he now proposed to enter into a covenant of peace. Jacob consented to the proposal, and a pile of stones was erected as a token of the compact. To this pillar Laban gave the name Mizpah, “watchtower,” saying, “The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” PP 193.6

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 205

Jacob felt that there was cause for deep humiliation. Cruelty and falsehood were manifest in the character of his sons. There were false gods in the camp, and idolatry had to some extent gained a foothold even in his household. Should the Lord deal with them according to their deserts, would He not leave them to the vengeance of the surrounding nations? PP 205.1

While Jacob was thus bowed down with trouble, the Lord directed him to journey southward to Bethel. The thought of this place reminded the patriarch not only of his vision of the angels and of God's promises of mercy, but also of the vow which he had made there, that the Lord should be his God. He determined that before going to this sacred spot his household should be freed from the defilement of idolatry. He therefore gave direction to all in the encampment, “Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.” PP 205.2

With deep emotion Jacob repeated the story of his first visit to Bethel, when he left his father's tent a lonely wanderer, fleeing for his life, and how the Lord had appeared to him in the night vision. As he reviewed the wonderful dealings of God with him, his own heart was softened, his children also were touched by a subduing power; he had taken the most effectual way to prepare them to join in the worship of God when they should arrive at Bethel. “And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.” PP 205.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 213-4

Meanwhile, Joseph with his captors was on the way to Egypt. As the caravan journeyed southward toward the borders of Canaan, the boy could discern in the distance the hills among which lay his father's tents. Bitterly he wept at thought of that loving father in his loneliness and affliction. Again the scene at Dothan came up before him. He saw his angry brothers and felt their fierce glances bent upon him. The stinging, insulting words that had met his agonized entreaties were ringing in his ears. With a trembling heart he looked forward to the future. What a change in situation—from the tenderly cherished son to the despised and helpless slave! Alone and friendless, what would be his lot in the strange land to which he was going? For a time Joseph gave himself up to uncontrolled grief and terror. PP 213.1

But, in the providence of God, even this experience was to be a blessing to him. He had learned in a few hours that which years might not otherwise have taught him. His father, strong and tender as his love had been, had done him wrong by his partiality and indulgence. This unwise preference had angered his brothers and provoked them to the cruel deed that had separated him from his home. Its effects were manifest also in his own character. Faults had been encouraged that were now to be corrected. He was becoming self-sufficient and exacting. Accustomed to the tenderness of his father's care, he felt that he was unprepared to cope with the difficulties before him, in the bitter, uncared-for life of a stranger and a slave. PP 213.2

Then his thoughts turned to his father's God. In his childhood he had been taught to love and fear Him. Often in his father's tent he had listened to the story of the vision that Jacob saw as he fled from his home an exile and a fugitive. He had been told of the Lord's promises to Jacob, and how they had been fulfilled—how, in the hour of need, the angels of God had come to instruct, comfort, and protect him. And he had learned of the love of God in providing for men a Redeemer. Now all these precious lessons came vividly before him. Joseph believed that the God of his fathers would be his God. He then and there gave himself fully to the Lord, and he prayed that the Keeper of Israel would be with him in the land of his exile. PP 213.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 252

Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces. God is greatly to be reverenced; all who truly realize His presence will bow in humility before Him, and, like Jacob beholding the vision of God, they will cry out, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” PP 252.1

As Moses waited in reverent awe before God the words continued: “I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.... Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” PP 252.2

Amazed and terrified at the command, Moses drew back, saying, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” The reply was, “Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” PP 252.3

Moses thought of the difficulties to be encountered, of the blindness, ignorance, and unbelief of his people, many of whom were almost destitute of a knowledge of God. “Behold,” he said, “when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them?” The answer was— PP 252.4

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 49

Well would it be for old and young to ponder those words of Scripture that show how the place marked by God's special presence should be regarded. “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet,” He commanded Moses at the burning bush, “for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5. Jacob, after beholding the vision of the angel, exclaimed, “The Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.... This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:16, 17. PK 49.1

In that which was said during the dedicatory services, Solomon had sought to remove from the minds of those present the superstitions in regard to the Creator, that had beclouded the minds of the heathen. The God of heaven is not, like the gods of the heathen, confined to temples made with hands; yet He would meet with His people by His Spirit when they should assemble at the house dedicated to His worship. PK 49.2

Centuries later Paul taught the same truth in the words: “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; ... that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:24-28. PK 49.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 279-80

The Saviour of the world had no controversy with Satan, who was expelled from heaven because he was no longer worthy of a place there. He who could influence the angels of God against their Supreme Ruler, and against His Son, their loved commander, and enlist their sympathy for himself, was capable of any deception. Four thousand years he had been warring against the government of God, and had lost none of his skill or power to tempt and deceive. 1SM 279.1

Because man fallen could not overcome Satan with his human strength, Christ came from the royal courts of heaven to help him with His human and divine strength combined. Christ knew that Adam in Eden, with his superior advantages, might have withstood the temptations of Satan, and conquered him. He also knew that it was not possible for man, out of Eden, separated from the light and love of God since the Fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength. In order to bring hope to man, and save him from complete ruin, He humbled Himself to take man's nature, that, with His divine power combined with the human, He might reach man where he is. He obtains for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam that strength which it is impossible for them to gain for themselves, that in His name they may overcome the temptations of Satan. 1SM 279.2

The exalted Son of God in assuming humanity draws Himself nearer to man by standing as the sinner's substitute. He identifies Himself with the sufferings and afflictions of men. He was tempted in all points as man is tempted, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted. Christ overcame on the sinner's behalf. 1SM 279.3

Jacob, in the night vision, saw earth connected with heaven by a ladder reaching to the throne of God. He saw the angels of God, clothed with garments of heavenly brightness, passing down from heaven and up to heaven upon this shining ladder. The bottom of this ladder rested upon the earth, while the top of it reached to the highest heavens, and rested upon the throne of Jehovah. The brightness from the throne of God beamed down upon this ladder, and reflected a light of inexpressible glory upon the earth. 1SM 279.4

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 177

In the early days of the third angel's message those who established our institutions, and those who labored in them, were actuated by high motives of unselfishness. For their arduous labors they received no more than a mere pittance—barely enough for a meager support. But their hearts were baptized with the ministry of love. The reward of whole-souled liberality was apparent in their close fellowship with the Spirit of the Master Worker. They practiced the closest economy, in order that as many other laborers as possible might be planting the standard of truth in new places. 2SM 177.1

But in time a change came. The spirit of sacrifice was not so manifest. In some of our institutions the wages of a few workers were increased beyond reason. Those who received these wages claimed that they deserved a greater sum than others, because of their superior talents. But who gave them their talents, their ability? With the increase of wages came a steady increase of covetousness, which is idolatry, and a steady decline of spirituality. Gross evils crept in, and God was dishonored. The minds of many who witnessed this grasping after higher and still higher wages, were leavened with doubt and unbelief. Strange principles, like evil leaven, permeated nearly the entire body of believers. Many ceased to deny self, and not a few withheld their tithes and offerings. 2SM 177.2

God in His providence called for a reform in His sacred work, which should begin at the heart, and work outwardly. Some who blindly continued to place a high estimate upon their services, were removed. Others received the message given to them, turned to God with full purpose of heart, and learned to abhor their covetous spirit. So far as possible, they endeavored to set a right example before the people by voluntarily reducing their wages. They realized that nothing less than complete transformation in mind and heart would save them from being swept off their feet by some masterly temptation. 2SM 177.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 222

I have heard those who have been in the faith for years, say that they used to be able to endure trial and difficulty, but since the infirmities of age began to press upon them, they had been greatly distressed when brought under discipline. What does this mean? Does it mean that Jesus has ceased to be your Saviour? Does it mean that when you are old and gray-headed, you are privileged to display unholy passion? Think of this. You should use your reasoning powers in this matter, as you do in temporal things. You should deny self, and make your service to God the first business of your life. You must not permit anything to disturb your peace. There is no need of it; there must be a constant growth, a constant progress in the divine life. 2SM 222.1

Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw, whose base rests upon the earth, and whose topmost round reaches into the highest heaven; and round after round, you must mount this ladder until you reach the everlasting kingdom. There is no excuse for becoming more like Satan, more like human nature. God has set before us the height of the Christian's privilege, and it is “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).—The Review and Herald, October 1, 1889. 2SM 222.2

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Ellen G. White
Sons and Daughters of God, 127

That night Jacob, the petted son of his mother, experienced the new birth and became a child of God. In his discouraged state the light that came to him was regarded as most precious, and the hard stone on which his head rested the most desirable on which his head had ever rested.73Manuscript 85, 1908. SD 127.2

What a happy man he was! He knew that he had had a communication from God. And any one of us who has received light from the throne of God, can but have a heart filled with praise, and thanksgiving, and honor to the Lord God of heaven.74Manuscript 86, 1894. SD 127.3

Jacob, in the great crisis of his life, turned aside to pray. He was filled with one overmastering purpose,—to seek for transformation of character. But while he was pleading with God, an enemy, as he supposed, placed his hand upon him, and all night he wrestled for his life. But the purpose of his soul was not changed by peril of life itself. When his strength was nearly spent, the Angel put forth His divine power, and at His touch, Jacob knew Him with whom he had been contending. Wounded and helpless, he fell upon the Saviour's breast, pleading for a blessing. He would not be turned aside, nor cease his intercession, and Christ granted the petition of this helpless, penitent soul, according to His promise, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me....” Jacob pleaded with determined spirit, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” This spirit of persistence was inspired by Him who wrestled with the patriarch. It was He who gave him the victory, and He changed his name from Jacob to Israel, saying, “As a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” That for which Jacob had vainly wrestled in his own strength, was won through self-surrender and steadfast faith.75Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 144. SD 127.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 323

Jacob was afflicted because he had made a mistake in his life. He was cast down to the very depths. Alone, weary, dispirited, tortured by the recollections of his past errors, and overwhelmed with apprehensions for the future, he laid him down to rest, his head pillowed upon a stone. Had Jacob's conscience been clear, his heart would have been strong in God. But he knew his present perplexities, his fears and trials, were in consequence of his sins. This reflection is what embittered his life. Jacob was repentant, yet he did not feel easy under the wrong he had done. Through tribulation and through physical and mental suffering he could only have hope to find his way again to the favor of God. TDG 323.2

He lay down in sadness, with a heavy heart, repenting and yet fearing. He expected that new trials would meet him on the morrow as he pursued his weary way. TDG 323.3

There was no friend nigh to speak a comforting word to Jacob, no one to tell him he had in his sincere repentance done what he could. But God's eye was upon His servant. He sent His angels to reveal to him a ladder of brightness reaching from the earth to the highest heavens, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon this glorious ladder, which showed Jacob the connection and intercourse constantly going on between the two worlds. When Jacob awoke his difficulties had not vanished entirely, but he had such confidence in God that he was comforted. In humble gratitude of heart he adores his Saviour and especially honors even his stony pillow. TDG 323.4

Oh, the wonderful condescension of God! He is ever ready to meet us, even in our infirmities, and to encourage us by His presence, when we have done all on our part to make an entire surrender to Him. Heaven is open to man. God will be entreated to do these things for us. The future may seem dark before you, but God lives.... TDG 323.5

Break down every barrier and let the Saviour into your heart. Let self die. Surrender your will and die to self now, just now, and leave God to make your way for you.—Letter 29, November 10, 1879, to Edson White. TDG 323.6

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 86

We are living in the perils of the last days. All heaven is interested in the characters you are forming. Every provision has been made for you, that you should be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Man is not left alone to conquer the powers of evil by his own feeble efforts. Help is at hand, and will be given every soul who really desires it. Angels of God, that ascend and descend the ladder that Jacob saw in vision, will help every soul who wills to climb even to the highest heaven. They are guarding the people of God, and watching how every step is taken. Those who climb the shining way will be rewarded; they will enter into the joy of their Lord. FE 86.1

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 270-1

Children are in need of having a steady, firm, living principle of righteousness exercised over them and practiced before them. Be sure you let the true light shine before your pupils. The light of heaven is wanted. Never let the world have the impression that your spirit and taste and longings are of no higher and purer order than that of worldlings. If you in your actions leave this impression upon them, you let a false, deceptive light lead them to ruin. The trumpet must give a certain sound. There is a broad, clear, and deep line drawn by the eternal God between the righteous and unrighteous, the godly and the ungodly; between those who are obedient to God's commandments and those who are disobedient. FE 270.1

The ladder which Jacob saw in the night vision, the base of it resting upon the earth and the topmost round reaching unto the highest heavens; God himself above the ladder, and His glory shining upon every round; angels ascending and descending upon this ladder of shining brightness, is a symbol of constant communication kept up between this world and heavenly places. God accomplishes His will through the instrumentality of heavenly angels in continual intercourse with humanity. This ladder reveals a direct and important channel of communication with the inhabitants of this earth. The ladder represented to Jacob the world's Redeemer, who links earth and heaven together. Everyone who has seen the evidence and light of truth and accepts the truth, professing his faith in Jesus Christ, is a missionary in the highest sense of the word. He is the receiver of heavenly treasures, and it is his duty to impart them, to diffuse that which he has received. FE 270.2

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Ellen G. White
Messages to Young People, 95

I wish I could portray the beauty of the Christian life. Beginning in the morning of life, controlled by the laws of nature and of God, the Christian moves steadily onward and upward, daily drawing nearer his heavenly home, where await for him a crown of life, and a new name, “which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Constantly he grows in happiness, in holiness, in usefulness. The progress of each year exceeds that of the past year. MYP 95.1

God has given the youth a ladder to climb, a ladder that reaches from earth to heaven. Above this ladder is God, and on every round fall the bright beams of His glory. He is watching those who are climbing, ready, when the grasp relaxes and the steps falter, to send help. Yes, tell it in words full of cheer, that no one who perseveringly climbs the ladder will fail of gaining an entrance into the heavenly city. MYP 95.2

Satan presents many temptations to the youth. He is playing the game of life for their souls, and he leaves no means untried to allure and ruin them. But God does not leave them to fight unaided against the tempter. They have an all-powerful Helper. MYP 95.3

Stronger far than their foe is He who in this world and in human nature met and conquered Satan, resisting every temptation that comes to the youth today. He is their Elder Brother. He feels for them a deep and tender interest. He keeps over them a constant watchcare, and He rejoices when they try to please Him. As they pray, He mingles with their prayers the incense of His righteousness, and offers them to God as a fragrant sacrifice. In His strength the youth can endure hardness as good soldiers of the cross. Strengthened with His might, they are enabled to reach the high ideals before them. The sacrifice made on Calvary is the pledge of their victory. MYP 95.4

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 96

Every soul has a heaven to win, and a hell to shun. And the angelic agencies are all ready to come to the help of the tried and tempted soul. He, the Son of the infinite God, endured the test and trial in our behalf. The cross of Calvary stands vividly before every soul. When the cases of all are judged, and they [the lost] are delivered to suffer for their contempt for God and their disregard of His honor in their disobedience, not one will have an excuse, not one will need to have perished. It was left to their own choice who should be their prince, Christ or Satan. All the help Christ received, every man may receive in the great trial. The cross stands as a pledge that not one need be lost, that abundant help is provided for every soul. We can conquer the satanic agencies, or we can join ourselves with the powers that seek to counterwork the work of God in our world.…  1SM 96.1

We have an Advocate pleading in our behalf. The Holy Ghost is continually engaged in beholding our course of action. We need now keen perception, that by our own practical godliness the truth may be made to appear truth as it is in Jesus. The angelic agencies are messengers from heaven, actually ascending and descending, keeping earth in constant connection with the heaven above. These angel messengers are observing all our course of action. They are ready to help all in their weakness, guarding all from moral and physical danger according to the providence of God. And whenever souls yield to the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God under these angel ministrations, there is joy in heaven; the Lord Himself rejoices with singing. 1SM 96.2

Men take altogether too much glory to themselves. It is the work of heavenly agencies cooperating with human agencies according to God's plan that brings the result in the conversion and sanctification of the human character. We cannot see and could not endure the glory of angelic ministrations if their glory was not veiled in condescension to the weakness of our human nature. The blaze of the heavenly glory, as seen in the angels of light, would extinguish earthly mortals. Angels are working upon human minds just as these minds are given to their charge; they bring precious remembrances fresh before the mind as they did to the women about the sepulcher. 1SM 96.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW), 1095

Esau represents those who have not tasted of the privileges which are theirs, purchased for them at infinite cost, but have sold their birthright for some gratification of appetite, or for the love of gain (Letter 4, 1898). 1BC 1095.1

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 256.2

Planted firmly upon the earth, and reaching heavenward to the throne of God, is a ladder of shining brightness. God is above the ladder, and His light is shining along its whole length. This ladder is Christ. Every round that you climb, you are coming step after step into fellowship with the sufferings of Christ, and are becoming fashioned after His divine similitude. The angels of God are constantly ascending and descending this glorious ladder. They will not let you fall, if you keep your eye fixed upon the glory of God which is at the top of the ladder.... UL 256.2

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