I was just reading about Jacob's Dream at Bethel and I had a question:

Why would angels be ascending and descending a stairway (or a ladder, in other versions of the Christian Bible) from Earth to Heaven if they possess of wings?

Jacob's Dream at Bethel

10Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 13He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Genesis 28:10-13 | New International Version (NIV)

There seems to be no denying that in the Christian Bible, angels have wings.

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    Actually there's plenty of denying that the Bible describes angels as having wings as the comments on that question's selected answer and the second answer say. – curiousdannii Aug 5 '18 at 9:50
  • @curiousdannii well, every time I have seen a painting of an angel, they have always had wings. Is it wrong to believe that the apparent angels in the answer in the link (namely, cherubim and seraphim) are in fact angels? In my opinion, it would make sense for angels and wings to go together, naturally. – user477343 Aug 5 '18 at 9:53
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    The vast majority of stories with angels in the Bible just describe them as looking like men. They are frequently mistaken for humans after all. There's nothing inherently natural with angels having wings, you're just getting that idea from art. – curiousdannii Aug 5 '18 at 9:58
  • @curiousdannii So why has it been depicted that way in art? I guess that is perhaps my question then, as the angels depicted in the Bible might not necessarily have wings after all, pursuant to what you say. (If my experience were broader, I would not have posted this question.) – user477343 Aug 5 '18 at 10:00

There are definitely two types of angels mentioned in the Bible that have wings - cherubim and seraphim:

“The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be” (Exodus 25:20).

“And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks” (Ezekiel 10:5).

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew” (Isaiah 6:1-2).

Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are spirit beings, and since angels are not bound by the laws of the physical universe, it is unclear as to why the angels would require wings. Often, angels take the appearance of men (wingless).

In Genesis 28:10-12 Jacob sees something similar to a ladder or a stairway (Hebrew word: sullam) which signifies a connection between God and man. In this instance, it was God who provided the means necessary to link Himself to man as opposed to the men of Babel in Genesis 11 who tried to reach heaven by their own actions, aside from the help of God. Remember, this was a dream Jacob had. It was not a physical or real ladder/stairway, but a vision used to convey a message to Jacob.

  • (+1) Ahh, so instead of something dreamt unnecessarily, it was actually a figure of symbolism that I did not consider? (Also, thank you for showing me the verses.) – user477343 Aug 5 '18 at 11:18
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    Oh, the vision was very necessary because it shows how God makes the link between Him and sinful humanity. It points to the coming of the Christ, the Messiah, the means whereby Jacob and his descendants would be blessed. – Lesley Aug 5 '18 at 17:03
  • Well, then, congratulations! Your answer was highly sufficient — it was well-written; well-researched; it was well-conducted overall. =) – user477343 Aug 5 '18 at 22:00

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