Most of us have read, or at least heard, the story of Jacob’s Pillow, also known as Jacob’s Pillar, but have you actually thought about why this rock was mentioned in the Bible? What is its importance? Jacob kind of made a big deal about it, and even anointed it with oil. He then named the place where it was sitting, and where he used it as his pillow, and called it Bethel, which means House of God, in the Hebrew.
Why would he go to such great lengths for this simple rock on which he laid his head one night? Well, believe it or not, this is not the only place this rock is mentioned in the Bible. In fact, we see it recurring throughout the Bible, all the way to Revelation. Let’s investigate this stone and its significance.
(Gen 28:10) And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
(Gen 28:11) 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.
(Gen 28:12) 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.
(Gen 28:13) And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, 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;
(Gen 28:14) And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
(Gen 28:15) 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.
(Gen 28:16) And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.
(Gen 28:17) 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.
(Gen 28:18) 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.
(Gen 28:19) And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
(Gen 28:20) 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,
(Gen 28:21) So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
(Gen 28:22) 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.
We read in the preceding verses that Jacob spent the night near Haran and found a nice spot to get some sleep. While he was asleep, God gave Jacob a vision in a dream, we call this vision Jacob’s Ladder, but we aren’t too concerned with his dream for the sake of this discussion, except make note of what God said in verse 28:15. What we are most focused on is what happened when Jacob woke up the next morning.
Jacob, the next morning, awoke and stood the stone upright, and anointed it with oil and called the location where he found this rock Bethel, House of God. Why was it the House of God, well, of course his dream tells us that it is the gateway to Heaven and we find out later on that this is God’s favorite place on earth. But there is much more to the story.
After he anoints this stone and honors it to the extent that he did, Jacob then, remembering what God told him in his dream that He would never leave Jacob (and consequently his future generations) and would stay with him and bring him (by way of his future generations) into this land, the Promised Land, Jacobs vows that if God would keep His promise for this land and for His protection, then He would be Jacob’s Lord and Jacob would honor Him. Jacob then tells God that this stone he found and anointed and named Bethel, would itself be God’s House. Basically this means God would dwell there. Keep in mind God said He would stay with Jacob (meaning also his future generations) and not leave him.
Let us now follow this stone through the Bible.
(Exo 17:1) And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
(Exo 17:2) Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?
(Exo 17:3) And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
(Exo 17:4) And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
(Exo 17:5) And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
(Exo 17:6) Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
It may not be immediately clear what this passage above has to do with our topic, but it will soon begin to become more clear.
First of all, we see the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt during the Exodus, following which they all wandered the desert for 40 years on probation (40 means probation in biblical numeric). These people are the descendants of the very same Jacob (later renamed Israel by God) we were just talking about. Now if you know anything about the desert, you know that water is scarce. So, inevitably, the people begin to murmur and complain that they are thirsty and hungry and tired and sore, and so on. So they begin to get an attitude with Moses and asked them where the water was. No one can live without water and they are beginning to think they were better off as slaves in Egypt.
God then gives Moses instructions on what he is to do to water these Israelites to quench their thirst. So God tells Moses to strike the rock in Horeb. Now this isn’t just any rock, as God doesn’t say “a rock.” God tells Moses to strike a particular rock, and water will gush out of it for the people to drink and to renew their lives. Moses does as he is told and the people are refreshed and rejuvenated with life. What rock was this? Well we will continue, and see if we are not told at a later time.
(1Co 10:1) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
(1Co 10:2) And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
(1Co 10:3) And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
(1Co 10:4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Now here in 1 Corinthians, Paul is telling us a little more about this trip the Israelites took in their exodus from Egypt through the desert wilderness. We read in verse 10:4 about when the Israelites drank the water from this rock, but it gives us a bit more detail. This verse tells us they drank this spiritual drink from the rock, but wait… Is water spiritual? Or physical? Well Ordinarily, water is a physical substance, but as with anything in the Bible, there is also a spiritual lesson we are to learn. Sure they drank actual water from this rock, but of what importance is it to us? We see here that Paul calls it spiritual drink. Well what does water represent spiritually? We’ll find out soon enough.
Take a look though. It also tells us that they drank from a spiritual rock. Well ok this is beginning to take on another dimension. But, what is most important here is that it tells us that this rock followed them. Followed them?! How can a rock follow them? Well the Israelites took many things with them out of Egypt. They had their possessions, and they had many things they took from the Egyptians when they left too. This Rock was Jesus Christ in that it would represent Christ following His people (In fact, it still remains with His people through the kingline of Judah to this day.). Remember back when God said He would stay with Jacob and bring them into the Promised Land? And Jacob made a vow to God that he would honor God if God kept His promise to stay with him (them) and bring them into the Promised Land? Well now we are starting to see that God did just that and kept His promise as He always does. This verse tells us openly that this Rock was in fact God, in the form of the Son.
So now the following verses seem to have much more significance to us.
(Eph 2:20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
(Eph 2:21) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
(Eph 2:22) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Jesus Christ is the Chief Corner Stone of all truth and all life.
(Mat 21:42) Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
This Chief Corner Stone was rejected and continues to be rejected even in building His own church today. As Jesus tells us in Revelation 2 and 3, 5 out of the 7 churches are not righteous in His eyes.
(Zec 3:9) For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Joshua here represents Jesus (Joshua is the English form directly from Yeshua), as the Hebrew name for Joshua is Yeshua, which is the Hebrew name for Jesus. The Greek form of the name Yeshua is Iesous, which then is translated into English with a hard I sound, which is the J in the name Jesus. This Stone, Jesus, has 7 eyes who are the 7000 predestinated elect in the world today. One Day (very soon, after antichrist arrives) Jesus will return to restore the iniquity, or sin, that is in the Holy Land, and that is rampant all over the world. The 7 eyes are deeply incorporated in His plan to restore order as we approach the Great Day of the Lord.
(Mat 7:24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
(Mat 7:25) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
(Mat 7:26) And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
(Mat 7:27) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Jesus is the Rock upon which we build our house. Our house is our temple which the Holy Spirit inhabits and its Christian foundation must be strong or else this house will easily collapse under the pressure of satan’s flood of lies and deception. If we build our house on sand, you can easily see what will happen in your mind, as you know how the sand on a beach can quickly erode in the surf.
(Rom 9:31) But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
(Rom 9:32) Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
(Rom 9:33) As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
The same Stone of Christ on Whom we build the church, is the same Stumblingstone that will cause many to fall short because they do not understand His teachings. Jesus always has a deeper message than what can be seen on the surface that you must pray and study in order to truly be blessed by the Holy Spirit to understand. This is why Jesus taught with parables. Many see only what is on the surface in the teachings of the Bible and this causes them to stumble. Not only that, but so many follow after what is traditionally taught instead of reading the Bible for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you will lose salvation by stumbling due to lack of understanding: this is why there is a Millennium period that starts at Jesus’ return. However, don’t you want to please Jesus by understanding the letter He wrote to us, the Bible? He wasn’t just blowing hot air. Those who understand the Bible and its prophecy will remain faithful all the way to His return. Those who don’t will be deceived by antichrist. It’s that simple.
Salvation comes through grace alone, but whether you study or not determines if you show yourself approved and overcome at the return of Jesus, or whether you must wait until the end of the Millennium to pass the final test and overcome. Don’t let Jesus become a Stumbling Stone to you.
(1Pe 2:6) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
(1Pe 2:7) Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
(1Pe 2:8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
And, well, you get the point. Let’s get back to the main subject here, Jacob’s Pillar.
Well let’s look at the clues from Exodus that foreshadow this bombshell. When Jacob anointed this Rock, this was to symbolize the anointing that Jesus Christ Himself had. He first stood the Rock up as a pillar as this position would symbolize the upright, righteous, nature of Jesus Christ. When God said He would stay with Israel, He meant literally as well as spiritually. The Son has always been a part of God from the very beginning. Even though the Israelites had not yet heard of Christ, He was well alive and going strong and there are even many other places where He turns up in the Old Testament. This Rock was to remind Israel that He was with them.
Now, this spiritual water came right out of the Rock and renewed all of their lives. We will continue and investigate what it is that this water is to represent.
(Joh 7:37) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
(Joh 7:38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
These rivers of flowing water that flow from the belly of Jesus in the Water of Life. This Water of Life is the source of eternal life which comes only through Jesus Christ.
(Rev 22:1) And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Another instance showing the origin of the Water of Life.
(Rev 21:6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
And yet another…
(Joh 4:7) There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
(Joh 4:8) (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
(Joh 4:9) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
(Joh 4:10) Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
(Joh 4:11) The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
(Joh 4:12) Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
(Joh 4:13) Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
(Joh 4:14) But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The flesh body cannot be maintained forever, even by drinking physical water. It only lasts so long and then you get thirsty once again.
(Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
However, once we have drunk from the Water of Life from Jesus, we will never thirst and we may drink from this water as often as we like. This Water of Life brings eternal life to our souls.
(Joh 19:32) Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
(Joh 19:33) But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
(Joh 19:34) But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Now medically, this water coming out with the blood proves He was dead. However, a deeper lesson teaches us that this Water of Life, at the death of Jesus, begins flowing at this very point from the belly of Jesus. From this point forward, salvation is now open to all who will truly accept Him, to all true Christians. Before the crucifixion, Jesus’ primary target for spreading the Gospel was the Israelites, but after the crucifixion gentiles could also freely be grafted onto the Tree of Life mentioned in Romans 11, if they will drink of His Water of Life.
And now back to the wandering Israelites…
(Num 20:7) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
(Num 20:8) Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
(Num 20:9) And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.
(Num 20:10) And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
(Num 20:11) And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
(Num 20:12) And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
God again told Moses to draw water from out of this Rock, but this second time, God tells Moses not to strike the Rock, but to speak to the Rock. So far, we know that this Rock is Jesus Christ spiritually, but we have not discussed the significance of striking the Rock or speaking to it. When Jesus died on the cross and water mingled with blood came from His belly, this corresponds to the first time Moses drew water from the Rock. Moses smote the Rock, and this smiting represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, after which time the Water of Life would flow from His belly. The second time, Moses is not told to strike the Rock, but to speak to it and this is to signify that we may partake of the Water of Life simply by praying to God. However, Moses didn’t follow God’s instruction, and he struck the Rock instead because he didn’t trust God and believe that it would be enough simply to speak to the Rock, therefore effectively recrucifying Christ, crucifying Him afresh. Jesus Christ died once and He did so once and for all times. This one act was enough to erase the sins of all those who will just accept Him and believe on Him upon repentance. For Moses to strike the Rock once again was an open shame to Jesus Christ Himself, so as a result, God would not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land with his people. Moses shamed Jesus Christ. How do we know?
(Heb 6:1) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
(Heb 6:2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
(Heb 6:3) And this will we do, if God permit.
(Heb 6:4) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
(Heb 6:5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
(Heb 6:6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
To question whether your sins can be forgiven through Jesus Christ is to shame Him because He died once and for all sins. This one act was enough to cleanse the sins of anyone that would have faith in Him. If a person doesn’t trust his sins can be forgiven, then He is saying that what Jesus did on the cross was not good enough, so maybe He should have been crucified again. They would spiritually crucify Him once again. Can you see how much of an insult that is to Jesus Christ? He loves us and wants us to be free of the burden of sin, but that that to work for you, you must have faith that His one crucifixion was enough. Once someone has had a taste of the Holy Spirit, they have seen enough to accept Him, so it is pointless to ramble on to that person about something they know and have experienced for themselves.
Therefore, if someone keeps preaching salvation to those who have already accepted Jesus Christ, they are also crucifying Jesus afresh themselves. Once you receive Jesus Christ, you are to move on to deeper things than. Once you have the milk of the Word, you must then move onto the meat of the Word. A baby doesn’t stay on the bottle forever. As long as a person is on the milk, the superficial teachings, they are still a child in Christ. As they move onto the deeper, more complex lessons, they mature in God’s Word and become an adult. Eventually they may even be an elder spiritually.
This is a very important lesson to learn from something that seems so mundane as a simple rock laying in a field that someone used thousands of years ago for a pillow. Keep searching for the deeper truth in all things. Every single verse in this Bible has a deeper message, below what is superficial, that God wants you to investigate and learn in order to mature in His Word. Keep searching my friends!