Read or retell the story from Genesis 28:11-22.
Picture Jacob sleeping with his head on a rock in the dark of night. He dreams of a ladder or stairway extending from the earth to heaven with the Lord standing above it and angels ascending and descending. This dream was such a comfort to Jacob, letting him know that the Lord was with him on his journey. The inner meaning of this story can bring comfort to us as well, because it describes the way the Lord and His angels support us on our life’s journey—especially when we read or hear the Lord’s Word and make it part of our lives.
Ideas for discussion
- What was Jacob using as a pillow for his head when he went to sleep? (A rock)
- “Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it” (Genesis 28:12). What did Jacob see in his dream that night? (A ladder or stairway reaching up to heaven. The Lord was at the top and there were angels going up and down.)
- How did Jacob’s dream help him realize that the Lord was watching over him? (In Genesis 28:15 the Lord said “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.”)
- The Lord communicated with Jacob in his dream. How does the Lord speak to us? (He speaks to us in His Word)
- What did Jacob promise to do if the Lord took care of him? (He promised to worship the Lord and follow Him.)
- How did the dream change Jacob’s outlook? (He had a new faith that the Lord was watching over him.) In what way are our lives changed through reading the Word?
- At one point, Jacob said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it” (Gen. 28:16). Are there times when we feel close to the Lord at times and places that surprise us?
Read more about the story of Jacob’s Dream
- “Jacob’s Dream” by Arne Bau-Madsen (for ages 4-7)
Jacob had a wonderful dream. He saw a tall, tall ladder, or perhaps rather a wide and magnificent staircase reaching all the way from earth to heaven.
- “The Stairway to Heaven” by Frederick L. Schnarr (for ages 7-14)
When we use the knowledges from the Word, our mind not only receives the loves and affections of the angels, but our good loves rise up to give happiness to the angels. This is why Jacob saw angels “ascending and descending.”
- “Jacob’s Ladder” by Brian W. Keith (for teens)
The Lord gives us the vision of a ladder with angels going up and coming down that we might be inspired in His ways and have the strength to walk in them.
- “Ascending and Descending” by Frederick M. Chapin
If we look to the Lord's Word as our guide, we can picture ourselves climbing a wonderful ladder, connecting us to the Lord's heaven.
Projects and activities for various ages
- Jacob’s Ladder Song Video (for ages 3-6)
A lively song telling of Jacob's dream of a ladder reaching to heaven with angels going up and down it.
- Stairway to Heaven Coloring Page by Nancy B. Schnarr
A lovely black and white illustration of this story that may be colored or displayed as is.
- Jacob and His Dream (ages 7-14)
Color the background scene with the ladder. Color and cut out the figures of the angels and Jacob sleeping, then attach them to the scene.
- Jacob’s Pillow (ages 7-10)
Use a small stone as "pillow" and then use it to make this project.
- Jacob’s Ladder Collage (ages 4-10)
Color the ladder and the picture of Jacob. Make your own pictures of angels. Cut these out and assemble to make a collage picturing Jacob's dream.
- On the Stairway to Heaven (ages 4-10)
Cut out the pictures of angels and let children put an angel on the stairway as they read or listen to a story.
- Angels on Jacob’s Ladder Coloring Page by Lisa S. Buss
Shows Jacob with his head pillowed on a rock, dreaming of a stairway with the Lord at the top and angels going up and down.
- Picturing Jacob’s Dream (ages 6-10)
Use wax crayons or oil pastels to draw Jacob and what he saw in his comforting dream. Then brush watery blue paint over your picture to make the night sky.
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