We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Jacob's Ladder?

By Jessica Hobby
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The term Jacob’s ladder has been used as a movie title, book title, an electrical device and the name of a flower; however it originates from the Bible. Jacob is the third patriarch of the Bible. He is the son of Isaac and Rebekah, Esau’s twin brother and Abraham’s grandson. While fleeing his brother’s rage, Jacob stops to have a rest and dreams of a ladder to heaven on which angels ascended and descended. This ladder is commonly referred to as Jacob’s ladder. The Bible story of Jacob’s ladder can be found in the Book of Genesis (Chapter 28, verses 11-19).

The world’s three major monotheistic religions are Christianity, Judaism and Islam. All three are considered to be Abrahamic faiths. Because Jacob is a descendant of Abraham, he plays a role in not only Christianity, but Judaism and Islam too.

In Islam, Jacob is mentioned in the Quran, but there is no mention of Jacob’s ladder. According to the Quran Jacob was a prophet that received the word of God. He is well respected in the religion with a legacy that includes bowing to the one true God and worshipping. In contrast to Islam, scriptures of both Christianity and Judaism speak of Jacob’s ladder and the different religions also provide different interpretations of Jacob’s reverie.

Commentaries made by religious authorities on the Torah, Judaism’s most sacred writings, reveal several interpretations of Jacob’s ladder. One interpretation believes that Jacob’s ladder signifies the exiles which the Jews would have to endure prior to the coming of the Messiah. Another interpretation reveals that the angels ascended and then descended because Jacob was a holy man who was always surrounded by angels. Others believe that when Jacob stopped to rest on his journey, he stopped on the holy ground of Mount Moriah, which would later be the spot where the Temple of the Mound was built in Jerusalem. This lends to the belief that Jacob’s ladder acts as a bridge between Heaven and Earth.

The Christian interpretation of Jacob’s ladder is more straightforward and is very similar to what some Jews believe. Jacob’s ladder signifies the ultimate connection between God and man and Heaven and Earth. Some believe that according to the Bible, Jesus was the ideal Jacob’s ladder because he was from the bloodline of Jacob and He came to earth and by his sacrifice allowed believers to live in heaven for eternity.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By MRasheed — On Jul 11, 2013

@alisha: I would be inclined to wariness at the idea of a connection between the Creator and the creation. The Creator is independent of His creation. What do you mean by "connection?"

@Omgee: Jesus' famously quoted response, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" was true of all the prophets. It was their job to instruct mankind in wisdom and scripture so they could profit in the next life, and it wouldn't be possible without going through one of them. The message of God is uncompromising, therefore the communication line can only possibly be one-way. We have nothing to add; our job is to obey the command and win, or reject the command and fail.

By Omgee — On Apr 09, 2013

This actually makes me think back of the words that Jesus Christ spoke.

In John14:6, Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. I think prophets used to be the spokesmen for God, but it was not a two-way communication channel.

I do believe you have a two-way communication channel in Jesus Christ. That way ascension and descent would be possible.

There is also mention of ascending and descending in John 1:51.

"And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

By burcidi — On Feb 09, 2011

I bought a Jacobs ladder toy for my little brother because I want him to stay away from plastic made toys which can be hazardous for health. It's made of pretty simple things like wood and string but is fascinating for kids. They even have make-it-yourself versions now, it might be a good project to keep the kids busy at home. We will probably try that one soon.

By SteamLouis — On Feb 08, 2011

This term is used for so many things! Not just books or movies, but there are also education programs, plants and toys named after it. It's even found in computer-lingo -- how crazy is that?

By discographer — On Feb 05, 2011

This is very interesting. I've read the Qur'an and Prophet Jacob and his sons are certainly mentioned, especially his son, Joseph, who is also a prophet. There are numerous mentions of different prophets' dreams in the Qur'an. Although this dream about the ladder is not one of them, there is for example, a detailed account of Joseph's dream in which 11 stars, moon and sun were prostrating to him. This dream was symbolic of Joseph's 11 brothers who after many years, regret their bad deeds towards Joseph and finally prostrate before him for his greatness and prophethood. We may never know for sure the meaning of Jacob's dream about the ladder but looking at this example and many others in the Qur'an, it is certainly symbolic of something. I personally think it is symbolic of Jacob's prophethood. Since a prophet is the messenger of God, he is like a ladder, a connection between the Creator and the created. What do you think?

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.