Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jacob's Ladder? What's That?

This quaint quilt was the first quilt I made using a "real pattern". And this quilt book (copy thereof) was the first quilt book I ever purchased. This was in the 1970s and I had made some scrap quilts but I wanted to sew a "real quilt". The pattern in 101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby McKim was not the pattern of today with complete cutting and sewing instructions. No, it was a simple line drawing. I traced the pattern pieces onto cardboard template. I was faithful to her suggestions of color for I wanted this quilt to appear as she might have made it in the 1930s. Compared to some of today's quilts this one is pretty simple. But I love it for its simplicity. (Don't forget, you can click on photos for a larger view.)

This pattern is called "Jacob's Ladder". You might be interested to know that many of the quilts sewn by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were made up of blocks with Biblical sounding names. For the most part their homes were Christian homes and their choice of patterns reflected that fact. In this book alone I find Cross and Crown, Dove in the Window, Grandmother's Cross, Greek Cross, Jacob's Ladder, King's Crown, and Palm Leaf. I've also seen patterns called Job's Tears, Job's Troubles, Joseph's Coat, Caesar's Crown, King Solomon's Temple, Armegeddon, Balm of Gilead, Crosses and Losses, Rose of Sharon, Tree of Life, and Tree Everlasting. The list goes on.

So what is so Biblical about Jacob's Ladder, you might ask. Oh, I'm glad you asked!

In the book of Genesis Jacob spends a night outdoors while traveling from Beersheba towards Haran. (He's going there to find a wife.) His campsite must have been a bit primitive for he used a stone as a pillow. Eww, that must have been comfy! During the night in the dream he saw a ladder extending from earth to heaven. On the ladder angels were ascending and descending (traveling up and traveling down) between heaven and earth. At the top of the ladder, the LORD spoke to him. (Genesis 28:13-15) Specifically in verse 14 the Lord says this..."in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

Now you might think this was an ordinary and not a significant dream. So he had a dream! So he dreamt about angels! So the Lord speaks to him in his dream! Soooo???? Aha! I thought you'd never ask!

Let's look at John 1:51 where Jesus speaks to the brand-new disciple, Nathanael, who is astounded that Jesus knows him when he himself has never met Jesus. Jesus tells him, "Truly, truly (which means, Listen up, I'm telling you something true and I'm telling you something important), I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Jesus is saying that He is the ladder, so to speak. It is because of Him and through Him and for Him that the angels serve mankind. He, Himself, is the ladder, the only access, the one through whom we have access to heaven and to the Father. He is the mediator, the intercessor, the path, the way. He says it Himself in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

You might ask, "How can that be?" Aha! You ask very good questions!

John the disciple tells us this in 1 John 2:1-2, "....we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins...."

Stop! Don't ask! I'm one step ahead of you. The word propitiation means "satisfaction". Jesus' death on the cross satisfied the law's demand that death is ours due to sin. Do you remember in Genesis 3 where Adam deliberately disobeyed God's single command to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? God had told him that when he ate, he would surely die. And he did. Spiritual separation from the Source of Life, God Himself, occurred when Adam turned his back and deliberately followed Satan rather than God. Spiritual death occurred. And physical death came upon him. Oh, he continued to be physically alive, but death was his, and after he had lived his allotted time, he died.

You and I are subject to death as well. Why? Because when Adam died, we died. Death became ours. As Adam's children we are born in his condition of sin. You sin. I sin. We are all subject to the penalty for sin which is death. EXCEPT! Except that Jesus took our collective sin upon Himself at the cross. He died our death. He "satisfied" the demand of the law. And in return! Oh, this is the good and gracious part! In return he gave us His righteousness. To all who trust in Him. To all who are His. In John 5:24, Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him (that's God the Father) who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."

There is only one mediator (one ladder) between sinful man and the Creator God. And that is Jesus Christ who took upon himself our death and offers us His righteousness so that when we stand before God on judgment day, we are counted as being clean. Jesus is the ladder in Jacob's dream. He is our access to heaven.

Oh! By the way! If you are a quilter you can go to www.mckimstudios.com to read more about Ruby Short McKim and find reprints of her quilt patterns. As I say, her's are very simple instructions and you may have to adjust quilt sizes for today's queen beds. And I'll bet you can adjust the patterns to today's new cutting techniques.

Bless you!


McVal said...

Beautiful quilt! I started a Star of David quilt many years ago, but never finished. Maybe I'll dig it out one of these days. I had promised it to my parents.

cinnamongirl93 said...

Great quilt. I used to teach a class on this pattern at my local quilt shop. I have made a few and always enjoyed stitching the pattern.

Diane said...

Amen, sister! I'm thinking I need to make more of my gift quilts from Biblically named blocks - and include the story and a gospel presentation on the label!

Ms. McKim's book was one of my first quilt books as well, though I'm not sure if it is still on the shelf...a few years ago I went through and sorted, taking a whole stack of quilt books to Half Price books. Every so often find myself looking for a particular pattern or block, only to find I've sold the book. Sigh.

Laurie M. said...

Beautiful quilt - beautiful news of a Savior. Thank you for preaching the gospel to me today.

Cornfield Quilter said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! I love getting feedback and visiting with other quilters here in blogland! I love the bible block quilts we are giving to our new babies and so do their parents. What a fun way to start teaching the little ones about Jesus. It is never too early to learn! Hugs

Doina said...

I like your quilt!