16 ¶ And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. 17 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. 18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: 22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Jacob awoke from his dream frightened. He considered that the location of his dream was the doorway to Heaven, the abode of God, itself. He then prepared a commemoration of what happened with the stone he had prepared for his pillow and poured oil over it. We will see stones set up for memorials later as well as oil poured on things and people to signify their sanctification, being set apart for God, as well.
Leviticus 8:12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
Joshua 4:3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: 5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.
A town named Bethel will form about this but first it will be called Luz
Genesis 35:6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.
Jacob makes a curious vow, which would not be acceptable for a Christian knowing what we know now and having what we have. He says that if God protects him and gives him food and clothing and brings him back to his father’s house in peace then the God of his fathers will be his God. He calls the stone he set for a pillar and a memorial God’s house and promises to render to God the tenth, the tithe of his increase, to God.
One of the things that confuses the preacher who tries to put the Christian back under the Old Testament is the Old Testament personage’s proclivity to make deals with God. God promises them something if they respond a certain way and they promise to serve God if He provides certain things for them. A preacher reflects this when he talks about doing business with God. The Old Testament saint was promised a physical, temporal blessing of bounty and success on this earth if he obeyed. The Christian is not promised wealth, land, or worldly things. He or she will have an amazing relationship with God but also tribulation and suffering with a hope and promise of eternal life when this life is over.
God’s ministry of reconciliation required the creation of maintenance of a people and a place as the seat of God’s work. But, with Christ the seat of God’s work is not in a specific location apart from the heart of every Christian. There are no sacred spaces in New Testament Christianity save for that heart of flesh in which abides the Spirit of God.
This inability to see the difference between the relationship these people had with God and our relationship with God creates a totally upside down doctrinal attitude. Paul said;
1Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
As God was drawing these men and women to Him in His ministry of reconciling mankind to Himself they needed and wanted proof, some kind of sign, prodigy, or sort of figurative contractual agreement that underscored and confirmed His word and His promises. The gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the confirmation of what God has promised us. We need no other and we do err greatly if we downplay the importance of the indwelling of the Spirit of God as the seal of our salvation, the deposit on that promise, and what secures the believer in Christ.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
When you receive Christ as your Saviour the Holy Spirit indwells you in a way that it indwells no person who has not trusted Him. The proof that you have the Spirit inside you is what comes out of you which should give most so-called Christians pause to wonder if they are truly believers in Christ or just caught up in some kind of counterfeit Christian culture.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
It is also of note in this passage to see that the skeptic who says that the ancient Jew was unaware of any concept of Heaven as put forward in the Bible is wrong. Jacob clearly had an understanding that there was a Heaven and that it was not a place on this earth.