Some things are stranger than fiction. We will take a journey through one of those “stranger” than fiction episodes. The story begins with a man named Jacob. It began long ago and is not finished yet. Genesis 28:10-22: “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.
“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, I am the Lord God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed: “And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. “And behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places where you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of. “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 in this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. “And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took THE STONE that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. “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,
So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God. And THIS STONE, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that You shall give me I will surely give the tenth unto You.” The Scripture deals chiefly with that which took place between Jacob and the Lord, as Jacob was making a journey from Beersheba to Padan-aram. Mention of a sunset and stones (plural) for pillows seem incidental, but suddenly one of those stones is brought into great distinction. The facts which brought that special stone into such prominence may be quickly read, for the Bible account of them is very short and their true symbolic importance is generally overlooked.The veneration of sacred pillars was common in ancient Israel, but no where in Scripture has an inanimate object been given such a glorious eminence, or divinely declared purpose, as that which was bestowed on that pillow stone upon which Jacob rested his head that night. Jacob was so spiritually impressed that, to memorialize the occasion and the place, he blessed the STONE on which his head had rested, sanctified it by anointing it with oil and gave it the name “Bethel” (God’s House). Although Jacob gave the name “Bethel” to the place, or locality, where the Stone was set up, he emphatically declared: “The stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house.”