IN THE SKY
by Tony Alamo
Initial salvation is the work of God, completely apart from human effort.
The faith of Jesus is what we must choose, and we must have the discipline of His faith to receive the blessing which comes with it. Jacob chose the birthright and the blessing which came with it. He set his heart and soul on the covenant blessing of his race (the Hebrew race).1 He coveted the things of God. Coveting worldly things is a sin,2 but to covet the things of God is a blessing, not a sin.3 God loves those who covet the things of the SPIRIT. So many preachers speak of Jacob as being evil, but how could that be when God says, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Mal. 1:2-3, Rom. 9:13)? Some preaches say Jacob was selfish and grasping, and that he resorted to intrigue to accomplish his purpose. But there was something that distinguished him from the earthly and carnal minded Esau, and that was this: he loved, cherished, and claimed with all of his heart, soul, mind, and body the all-inclusive, all-embracing covenant promise.4 It doesn’t matter how much today’s defective shallow-minded preachers bad-mouth Jacob. God saw Jacob’s heart, and saw that everything Jacob preferred was Spiritual. Therefore, Jacob is the one who represents the first germ of the Spiritual nature in any person with his determination, his will, his heart’s direction, and his singleness of purpose. He was the one who first showed God the value a person can place on eternal things.
Esau was the exact opposite. He was superficial, transient, earthly-minded, and hedonistic. Esau’s highest goal was instant gratification. His mind reached only to the rising sun or to the setting sun. His deepest desire, his highest aspirations were his momentary desires, and his passions were the wants of his physical nature. He was impulsive, frank, loving, and generous, but it was all animal instinct. He was the fleshly man. His words reveal his nature: “Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” (Gen. 25:32). Jacob saw “the land that was very far off,” and he sprang up to get it. Some people who don’t know the Word well enough might say that he (Jacob) sold all that he had to gain the pearl of great price, but it was Jesus who did that, giving His life for us, the church. All Jacob sold was a bowl of lentils.5 Jacob eagerly took with both hands the prized blessing which he had heard of all his life. He knew that this blessing came with all the promises of God and all the hopes of Israel.6 God loved Jacob because of his love of the things of God. This birthright was the greatest thing in Jacob’s life. The most powerful thing in anyone’s life is to not only have a will that sees that Heavenly prize, but strives to get its hands on it forever.7
Jacob had to have this blessing at any cost. It was the same powerful will which afterward, at Peniel, held on to the angel and cried, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me” (Gen. 32:26).
To choose God, His promise, His inheritance, and His blessing, and to let Heaven and earth pass away before we ever give up the claim is the very essence of faith.8 This is why Jesus said to Martha, “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). He, in essence, said the same to the Syro-Phoenician woman: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt. 15:28).
At this time, Jacob’s faith was not yet complete. He could have trusted God to do what He had promised before Jacob’s birth.9 Jacob had to be chastened to lose his supplanting and cunning ways. However, Jacob had the desire, the single aim, the fixed will, and a heart towards God’s covenant blessing, and God had someone in Jacob that He could mold and make into a great prince.10
As for Esau, there was nothing for God to prune and purify. His roots were all in the world. He had nothing in common with the heart of God. Maybe he was handsome. He was generous, selling his birthright for a bit of soup. And he was big-hearted just like many dumb creatures that don’t know God. A noble dog, a generous horse, and a fond mother bird are also attractive, but they are only animated clay. If people do not lift their eyes higher, they are lost forever. The world is filled full of Esaus, guys who are in their own way okay, but “whose end [way] is destruction, whose god is their belly… who mind earthly things” (Phlp. 3:19).
The time finally came when Jacob had a supernatural experience with God. It came in a dark and trying hour, as many times they do. Separated from his home and his loving mother for the first time because of his mischief, Jacob laid his head on a pillow of stone, and fell asleep.11 In his dreams, the Lord met him in his first revelation of covenant power. He dreamed that a ladder appeared on the ground with its top reaching to Heaven. This was a figure or symbol of his own high purpose. He had already set his ladder no lower than the sky, and God met him at the top as the God of Abraham and Isaac. He gave him in covenant the promise he had claimed, pledging to him His constant presence until all His promised will would be finished. “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest… for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (Gen. 28:15).
When Jacob awoke, he sensed and felt the presence of God. His words had expressed the deepest reverence and the same inflexible purpose, but he was not yet sanctified, so there he had the dread of an unsanctified heart. He said, “How dreadful is this place!” This is the language of a soul that doesn’t yet know or realize his or her sonship (Gen. 28:17). But Jacob truly knew he was a servant. His choice was sealed. God was his Lord, the covenant blessing had become his own, and the angels of God, providence, henceforth encompassed his path.
For us, the vision means more than Jacob saw. That ladder is the revelation of Jesus Christ at the Heavenly way.12 Through Jesus, God becomes our covenant Father and all Heaven’s blessings become our inheritance.13 Has our faith claimed the glorious revelation? Have our feet begun to climb the blessed ascent, the ladder? Was Jacob, or are you, motivated to be consecrated unto the Lord?
More than twenty years had passed, and Jacob had very little, spiritually speaking. He was just like every person, content in the low level of Spiritual life with which he started. He allowed idolatry to be retained by his wives.14 He accumulated a fortune in herds and flocks.15 In his wealth, his heart began to rest in his prosperity. He thought he would rest, kick back and enjoy life, until God allowed some trouble to come into his life.
Quiet At Last
God allowed some new and some old troubles to arise. And as he (Jacob) was returning to his old Canaan home, the terror of his brother Esau confronted him. His brother, with an army of armed men, was on his way to meet him.16 For a quarter century, bitterness had grown, and vengeance was in store for Jacob, and there wasn’t anything his clever scheming mind could do about it. However, he tried to appease Esau with an expensive gift.17 He divided his family into two groups, because some might survive. Then, in desperation, he fell on the mercy of God.18
He was out of ideas on how to deliver himself and his family. The only thing left was for him to renounce himself, his ideas, and his schemes. If there was to be a victory, it would have to be divine. He got himself alone with God, as every Christian must do today, and he wrestled with all of his strength in prayer, as we all must do today in these days of persecution.19 And when Jacob’s strength was gone, he caved in under the hand of the Angel’s touch and found the secret of power. He now understood that he had to trade his strength, which was gone, for the strength of God, which is never ending. His prayers were not sin or of the devil. Nor was his wrestling. However, all things of God are given birth in travail. He had to learn that there was someone else he was wrestling with: “there wrestled a man with him” (Gen. 32:24). When he gave himself up to the presence of God in his submission of perfect trust in God, and was not at all in himself any longer, then and only then, came the fullness of God’s working and God’s victorious love. Everyone must learn the same lesson, the secret to receiving our deepest Godly desires. It is God’s overruling power that is His grace. The power of our mightiest accomplishments, and our prayers must be acknowledged by us as being God’s accomplishments, as well as His prayers in His faith in Himself emanating in us from Him in us.
We need to memorize this which Paul said: “I also labour, striving according to HIS WORKING, which worketh in me mightily” (Col. 1:29). By believing that God is the deliverer, Jacob became a new man from that time on: “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God… and hast prevailed” (Gen. 32:28).
Esau or trouble was not a concern any longer. From that time on it was not even mentioned; Jacob had lost all thought of fear by being in the presence of God. All thought of fear vanished. When he and we trust in God Himself, when we come to the center of all things in God, all our troubles, cares, and questions fly away!20 God is the solver of them all. Troubles drive us to God. With most people, when troubles come, they think very little of anything else, and have very little or no thought of God. The great mistake many people make is that they walk away from God, the very one who not only made us, but is the only one able to deliver us, or raise up someone who will.
It is very smart to bring all of our troubles, big or small, to Him.21 Any pain is enough reason to take it to God. He is the great center of life. But it is the Blesser and not the blessing; it is the Lord and not the deliverance. It is the Lord that opened the Red Sea and the Jordan, not Moses or Elisha or Joshua.22 It was the Lord, not Joshua or the children of Israel, who destroyed Jericho.23 The physical destruction did not do it, God did it. It was not Noah but God who destroyed the world with water,24 and soon God who shall destroy heaven and earth with fire.25 It is God who created the Heavens and the earth and all things, not Moses.26 Have faith in God and His ability! A tiny mirror will reflect the sun; small or seemingly small miracles will reflect God’s Glory.
Jacob had no more fear of Esau. Jacob and Esau met the next day with embraces of affection through the Spirit of God, who touched both of them as Jacob prayed the day before. It was God, not the generous nature of Esau, who made peace. It was prayer and the law of faith that called their hearts to love when Esau was coming to Jacob with his armed mercenaries. It had come and gone. God touched Esau’s heart because Jacob used the ladder to God’s throne.
Jacobs’s life moved on a higher plane which began the night that he reached God. Henceforth, he was God’s Israel, fit to be the head of the chosen tribes.
God was much different to Jacob after that. The Lord was no longer at the top of that ladder, which was so far away, but very near and at hand. He kept him in His arms, and kept all of Jacob's future in His presence and blessings.
Have you come to the point in your life that you are now alone with God, who will encompass your life and your lying down? Have you received the touch which withers your ego, puts an end to your youthful strength and confidence, and creates in you a weak and faltering person equipped with no power of your own but God’s? Have you seen God face-to-face? Has He brought the throne of His presence into your heart?
We never really know the full meaning of trial until we fully know the Lord. The most severe trials Jacob ever had was after his consecration that night at Peniel. Jacob received his blessing, and then God allowed the suffering to begin. His daughter Dinah was dishonored, and his sons slaughtered the Shechemites.27 This caused strife with the people of the land. God had told Jacob to go back to Canaan immediately, but he didn’t.28 So great and new trials soon began, and Jacob desperately needed God for His refuge and for the support of His divine presence. Rachel, his beloved, died while giving birth to Benjamin.29 Reuben committed adultery with one of Jacob’s wives, dishonoring his father’s name,30 and then he grieved the loss of Joseph for probably twenty-five years.31 Not one ray of light fell on Jacob’s multifaceted life of darkness. Then came the years of famine and the need to buy corn from Egypt, and the order that his son Benjamin appear before Egypt’s prime minister.32 He cried out to God in agony. “Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me” (Gen. 42:36). But Jacob had to swallow that bitter pill. Everything he counted precious he had to release into God’s hands, so he waited for the outcome.
This was enough. His cup was empty at last, when finally, it was filled with so much joy and sweetness that his (Jacob’s) faith was scarcely able to receive or believe it. To think God had so great a joy waiting for him after all those years of bitterness! Not only Benjamin was safe, but Joseph was alive. Jacob needed to have the sight of Joseph’s wagons to be convinced that it was true! “It is true!” he cried, “Joseph my son is yet alive!” (Gen. 45:28). “God is trusted.”
All the intended evil for Jacob was overpowered by God’s omnipotent wisdom. Out of the darkest of trials, Jacob saw the light of blessings and honor come to his son Joseph and joy to his own heart, as well as instruction to his evil and wayward sons, and food for the entire world of hungry people. Instead of complaining, “All these things are against me,” he could have said, as he laid his hands on the heads of Joseph’s two sons, “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads” (Gen. 48:16).
At last, Jacob had learned to be still. His hyperactive spirit had become quiet. Now he could say on his deathbed, “I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord” (Gen. 49:18). He learned to wait. His restless heart had become quiet at last. Jacob was perfected through sufferings and was able to rise up from clay to glory and immortality. Jacob glorified God’s exceeding and wonderful power and mercy, His grace. Let’s trust Him also! Ephesians 2:9 says, “In the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His power in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” If you believe that Christ has the power to save your soul, and you really want to be saved, He will. Begin your initial salvation and the removal of all your former sins by saying this prayer to God:
My Lord and my God, have mercy upon my soul, a sinner. 1 I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. 2 I believe that He died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. 3 I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit 4 and that He sits on the right hand of God at this moment, hearing my confession of sin and this prayer. 5 I open up the door of my heart and I invite You into my heart, Lord Jesus. 6 Wash all of my filthy sins away in the precious blood that You shed in my place on the cross at Calvary. 7 You will not turn me away, Lord Jesus, You will forgive my sins and save my soul. I know because Your Word, the Bible says so. 8 Your Word says that You will turn no one away, and that includes me. 9 Therefore, I know that You have heard me, and I know that You have answered me, and I know that I am saved. 10 And I thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving my soul, and I will show my thankfulness by doing as You command and sin no more. 11
You've just completed the first step in a series of five steps which are necessary to receive salvation. Your second step is to deny yourself and take up the cross daily for the purpose of mortifying yourself, that is, for putting to death your own will, your soulful self, and the world with all of its lusts. All these must be baptized into the death of Christ.
Step three is your resurrection from the satanic life of Adam unto the sinless life of Christ. Step four is your ascension into a position of authority to reign for God on earth, and the fifth step is to reign for God on earth to the end for the purpose of bringing about the kingdom of Heaven on earth. You must learn the Word of God, then submit yourself and do what the Word says, so that the Church and the world may see evidence of your submission to God's Word, His order, and His authority in and by you.
Praise the Lord. May God reward you abundantly.
Pastor Tony Alamo
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The Blessed Ladder In The Sky footnotes:
1. Psa. 51:5, Rom. 3:10-12, 23 return
2. Matt. 26:63-64, 27:54, Luke 1:30-33, John 9:35-37, Rom. 1:3-4 return
3. Acts 4:12, 20:28, Rom. 3:25, I John 1:7, Rev. 5:9 return
4. Psa. 16:9-10, Matt. 28:5-7, Mark 16:9, 12, 14, John 2:19, 21, 10:17-18, 11:25, Acts 2:24, 3:15, Rom. 8:11, I Cor. 15:3-7 return
5. Luke 22:69, Acts 2:25-36, Heb. 10:12-13 return
6. I Cor. 3:16, Rev. 3:20 return
7. Eph. 2:13-22, Heb. 9:22, 13:12, 20-21, I John 1:7, Rev. 1:5, 7:14 return
8. Matt. 26:28, Acts 2:21, 4:12, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14 return
9. Matt. 21:22, John 6:35, 37-40, Rom. 10:13 return
10. Heb. 11:6 return
11. John 5:14, 8:11, Rom. 6:4, I Cor. 15:10, Rev. 7:14, 22:14 return