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Extracts from the Teutonic Theosopher:     by Jakob Boehme

Jakob Boehme

Table of Contents

Extracts from the Teutonic Theosopher
by Jakob Boehme

Jacob's Ladder

How Isaac and Rebecca sent away Jacob, on account of Esau, into another Country; and how the Lord appeared to him in a Vision upon the Ladder, which reached even unto Heaven; and how Esau carried himself afterwards toward his Parents. (upon the 28th Chapter of Genesis)

1. When Jacob had received the Blessing, then he must depart from his native Home, from Father and Mother, and fly from the Wrath of Esau: This is now a Figure of Christ, shewing how that after that he had assumed and anointed our Humanity, should flee with our Humanity out of his Father's Adamical House again into the first Paradisiacal House.

2. And it further denotes, that the Children of Christ (after they have received the Unction and Blessing, and the New-Birth begins to spring forth in them in the Blessing) shall and must immediately flee with their Thoughts and Mind from their Father Adam's House of the depraved Nature; and it shews that the Devil and the World soon hate them, and they must immediately give themselves to the Pilgrim's Path of Christ, and live under the World's slavish Yoke, in Misery and Oppression; in Disfavour and Disrespect; for God brings them forth with their Thoughts and Mind out of their Father's House, viz. out of the Desire in Flesh and Blood, so that they do nothing at all regard the Pleasure of the World, and flee from it, as Jacob from his Father's House.

3. And then we see how wonderfully God guides his Children, and defends them from their Enemies; that the Devil in God's Anger cannot kill them, unless it be God's Will; as he defended Jacob from the Fury of Esau, and led him away from him: And we have here an excellent Example in Jacob, in that he forsook his native Home, also his Father and Mother, for the Sake of this Blessing, and loved God more than all temporal Goods, and willingly left all to Esau; that so he might but be the Blessed of God.

4. And we see, that when he had left the Riches of the World in his Father's House, the Lord appeared to him with the eternal Goods, and shewed him a Ladder, whereupon he could ascend into God's eternal Kingdom: which Ladder was no other than Christ, whom he had put on, in the Line of the Covenant; and here now the Type was represented to him, shewing him what Person Christ should be.

5. For this Ladder (as to his Apprehension) was upon the Earth, and the Top of it reached into Heaven; and thereon the Angels of God did ascend and descend; which signifies, that God's eternal Word with the Power of Heaven, viz. with the angelical divine World's Essence, should descend or immerse it self into our Essence, departed from God, and blind as to God, and assume our Humanity, and so unite the Heaven with the World in Man; that the Humanity, through this Entrance of the Deity into the Humanity, might have a Ladder unto God.

6. And it shews that Mankind should come, through Christ's Humanity, into the Society of the Angels. And this is clearly signified here, in that the Angels of God do ascend and descend on this Ladder; also that the Heaven in Man should be again opened through this Entrance of the divine Essence into the Humanity, and that the Children of God should have the Angels for Companions in this World; which God shewed to Jacob, in that the Angels came up and down to him on this Ladder.

7. Which shall be a very great Comfort to the Children of God, who turn themselves from their Father's House, viz. from this World's Vanity, to this Jacob's Ladder; for they shall certainly know that God's Angels do come to them upon this Ladder, to which they have turned themselves, and are willingly about them to serve them.

8. For this Ladder signifies properly the Pilgrims Path of Christ through this World into God's Kingdom, in that the Kingdom of the corrupt Adamical Nature does always yet cleave to the Children of God, and hinders them in Flesh and Blood in the Spirit of this World; and therefore they must, according to the inward Man in Christ's Spirit, continually ascend up in much Crosses and Tribulation on this Ladder, and follow Christ under his Cross, and red Banner.

9. On the contrary, the World lives in the Pleasure of their Father Adam's House, in Scorn, Jeering, and Mocking, in Envy, Spite, and Malice; whatsoever they can do to cross and vex these Jacob's Children, that they rejoice and take Delight in, and laugh and leer at them; as we have an Example of it in Esau; how that he took, in Contempt, Disdain, and Spite to his Father and Mother, Ismaelitish Wives, who were of the Line of Mockery or Reviling, which were meer Bitterness of Spirit, and Grief of Heart both to Isaac and Rebecca.

10. Where we clearly see, that the Devil has his Power in the Kingdom of this World in the corrupt human Property, and does continually resist God's Children, and vexes and plagues them, and fights with them for his Kingdom, which he has lost, and doth not willingly allow it them.

11. And we see very finely, how the Lord stands above upon this Ladder of the Pilgrimage of Christ, as with Jacob, and without ceasing calls the Children of Christ, and comforts them, that they should cheerfully ascend upon it: He will not leave them, but comes to them and blesses them, so that their Seed and Fruit shall grow, increase, and be as the Dust upon the Earth; [Margin Note: Gen. xxviii. 14] that is, that they in their Toil, Labour, and Anxiety, shall spring up and flourish in the inward divine Kingdom.

12. For so much as the Children of Christ go out of this World, and forsake it in their Mind, so much they spring up in the inward Kingdom of Christ, where then God stands above upon this Ladder, and continually inspires or inspeaks his Blessing & Power into them, so that they grow as Branches of his Vine, which he hath planted again in our Humanity, in this Jacob's Blessing in Christ.

13. And we hereby clearly see, that this whole Type, from Abraham to Jacob, contains mere Figures of the Kingdom and Person of Christ and his Children; for here God renews the promised Covenant of Abraham concerning the Seed of the Woman with Jacob also; that out of his Seed, as out of the Line of the Covenant, he should come who should bless all Nations; for which reason also Jacob was led from his Father's House, God having set before him outwardly the Kingdom of Christ in the Figure, for whose Sake he caused his Wrath to cease from the Children of Unbelief, and did not destroy them, but afforded them Time to repent, and so appeased his Wrath in this Type, which pointed at the fulfilling which was to come.

14. We have here also a firm Ground and Assurance, that Christ has truly taken upon him our Adamical Soul and Humanity in the Body of Mary, and has destroyed Death, Hell, and the Anger of God in our Humanity which he assumed, and has set up this Ladder of Jacob; for God said to Jacob, Through thee and thy Seed shall all the Generations of the Earth be Blessed; [Margin Note: Gen. xxviii. 14] through thee Jacob, through thine own Seed, which is God and Man, viz. the heavenly divine Ens and Substance, and the human Ens and Substance, in the Power of the eternal Word.

15. In which Word the holy Name Jesus, viz. the highest Love of the Deity, has unfolded and manifested itself in our Humanity which he has assumed; which sole Love of God, in the Name Jesus, has overcome the Wrath of the eternal Nature in our Souls from the Father's Property in the Anger, and has changed it into the Love of the divine Joy, and has broke the still Death, which has severed us from the Life of God, and has manifested the Divine Life of the highest holy Tincture, in the eternal speaking Word of the divine Power, in Death, and has made Death to be Life, and so our Soul, in this divine Power, is together penetrated and pressed through Death and the Anger of God.

16. And it is nowise to be so taken, as some say, that the Substance wherein the Word is become Man proceeded not from Adam; but (as some erroneously say) the Virgin Mary proceeded not from Mankind; she hath outwardly only taken upon her a human Body from Anna, and is not the Seed of Joachim, but is an eternal Virgin chosen by God for this Purpose before the World was.

17. This Text teaches us otherwise, where God says, Through thee, and thy Seed, not through a strange divine Seed only, but through thee and thy Seed, with the Entrance of the divine Substance, Christ should break Death in Adam's Soul and Body, and destroy Hell in Adam's Soul and Body, which was manifested or revealed in Paradise.

18. For here laid our Sickness and Misery, which Christ took upon him as a Yoke: Christ sacrificed his Father's Wrath which was kindled in our Humanity, and awakened his highest Love in our Humanity; and his holy Blood, his holy Tincture, entered into our human Death, and tinctured our heavenly Substantiality faded in Adam; which faded in Adam when he brought Earthliness and the false Will thereinto, and raised up our faded heavenly Substance with his heavenly living Substance, so that Life sprung up through Death; and this was signified by the dry Rod of Aaron.

19. Therefore that is not the true Meaning, as some say; Christ has assumed a Soul from the Word in the eternal Virgin Mary, so that Christ, as one come from God, and his Soul in the Humanity of Christ, have one and the same Beginning.

20. They were indeed united in the Incarnation, or the becoming Man, so that they are inseparable; but the true Ens of the Soul, which the Word assumed in the Name Jesus, was of us Men from the Female Tincture, viz. from the true Adamical Soul, yet from the Property of the Light, which was severed from Adam, and put into the Woman, that this Property of the Light, might transmute or change the fiery masculine Property again into the Love and Divine Humility, and that the Masculine and Feminine Property might be quite changed into one Image again, as Adam was before his Eve, when he was neither Man nor Woman, but a Masculine Virgin.

21. Therefore Christ took his Soul from a Woman, viz. from a Virgin, and yet was a Man, so that he rightly stood in the Adamical Image, and brought the averted severed Properties of Life, in which our Will had broke itself off from God again into the Temperature and Union, viz. into that ONE.

22. For Adam turned his Will from the only Will of God, and Jesus Christ took our Soul again into the only Will of God, and turned the Will of our Soul in our Humanity, which he assumed, into the only Will of God again.

23. But that the Reader may be thoroughly and fundamentally informed, what our Soul is, and what the Word that became Man is, comparing one with the other, it is thus; our Soul, before the Beginning of the human Soul's Creature, was an Ens of the Word of God, in the Word, [John.1.] and yet it was inspired or inspoken from the speaking Word of God, into the human Image in a natural and creaturely Life, and formed in an Image of the eternal speaking Word. This creaturely Life of the Soul, turned itself in Adam away, from the divine Speaking, into an own Will and Speaking, and was in this Respect broken off from the most unsearchable Substance, and separated from God.

24. Into this Separated Word, viz. into the Soul; the only eternal divine speaking Word gave itself in again, and turned the Will of the Soul again into the eternal one, viz. into God's eternal Speaking: Therefore the Soul is indeed from the eternal Word; but Christ, viz. the highest Love of the Deity, did not take a new Soul out of the eternal Speaking; but our Soul, viz. the Word which was once spoken or formed in Adam, viz. our human Soul, into his Love-speaking in the Grace and Union of the Deity.

25. God spoke again into our poor fallen Soul in Paradise, immediately after the Fall, the Covenant and Root of his highest Love and Grace through the Word, as a Center of Grace to Conception, and to the New Regeneration.

26. And in Abraham he manifested the Covenant, which Abraham laid hold on with his Desire, and received it after a spiritual Manner, as an Ens to the Tree; but it laid without Substance in Man, only as a spiritual Form and Model, or Idea of the powerful Word.

27. Which Word in its spiritual Figure in the Virgin Mary was at the Limit, viz. at the End of the spiritual Form, where that same spiritual Form of the Word of God was comprehended in a substantial Ens, and therewith also in like Manner our human Substance, as to the Soul, was comprised in the Image of the Word, and as to the Substance of the Body, in a human Form; and was a Self-subsisting God-Man.

28. This comprised spiritual Image, which was the Seed of Faith which Abraham laid hold on in the Faith, was invested on Isaac, and from Isaac on Jacob, and to Jacob God said, Through thee and thy Seed shall all the People of the Earth be blessed; viz. through this Seed of Faith which Jacob had received from his Father Isaac in this Line of the Covenant, which Line of Faith had incorporated itself in the human Property according to the inward Ground of the second Principle, viz. in that Image of the heavenly World's Substance extinguished in Adam.

29. In which incorporated Ground the Limit of God's Covenant remained in a spiritual Form till Mary, and was propagated from Man to Man, as from Adam and Eve along to Mary; and there the Word of the divine Power was moved, and essentially assumed our human Flesh and Blood together with the Soul, and quickened the extinguished heavenly Ens in the Seed of Mary as to our Part, which Manifestation penetrated and pressed also into Mary's heavenly Substantiality, so that she became living as to that heavenly Virginity which disappeared in Eve; and in this living Virginity, viz. in Adam's heavenly Matrix, God became Man.

30. And this is the Blessing of Mary above all other Women, that she is the first from Adam, in whom the heavenly Matrix became opened, in which the dry Rod of Aaron rightly budded, viz. the Kingdom of God: She is the first in whom the hidden Virtue was manifested, for in her the Limit of the Covenant in the spiritual Image or Type was at an End, and in her it was fulfilled with [Margin Note: in or by] our Humanity.

31. Nevertheless she is truly the Daughter of Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, both as to the Humanity, and as to the Covenant of the spiritual Figure; and in her Conception, when the Inward incorporated Image or Type of the inspired or inspoken Covenant of Grace, which was laid hold on in the Faith, assumed our human Property, then was the Kingdom of Christ manifested in the Flesh.

32. Wherein afterwards the Faithful put on Christ, in the Flesh, in their Faith, yet only as to that heavenly Image extinguished in Adam, as Mary [did] where Christ embraces the poor Soul in his Arms, and encompasses them with the Power of God, and infuses, and flows in with his Love into them, which Love preserves and defends them from the Anger of God, from Sin, Death, the Devil, and Hell.

33. This is a brief Summary of the true Ground, what the Spirit of God has prefigured and typified by the Patriarchs, in that he has led them so wonderfully, and has thus alluded with the Figure of Christ, how it would come to pass afterwards.

34. For Jacob was now the Stock, out of which the great and wide Tree of Israel, should spread abroad in the dividing of its Branches as a Genealogy; therefore must he go away from his Father's House and take Wives of his Father's Genealogy, viz. of Abraham's Brother's Son, that the People Israel, viz. the Line of the Covenant, might come of one Stock.

35. Now when Jacob awaked from the Dream of the divine Vision, where the Lord appeared to him and established the Covenant, He said, Surely the Lord is in this Place and I knew it not, and was afraid and said, How holy is this Place! Here is no other than the House of God! Here is the Gate of Heaven. This is a Figure, showing how it would go with God's Children, when God is manifest in them, that they continue to be in Fear and Trembling, and suppose God is afar off, and has forsaken them.

36. For where God withdraws himself in Man, there will always Sin and the Anger of God be first manifested in that Man, so that he will acknowledge and tremble at his Sin, and enter into Repentance; then appears to him God's friendly Countenance and comforts him: For if the Soul goes forth from Sin, then God's Grace enters into it; and then it says, Surely the Lord was with me in my Anxiety, and I knew it not; now I see that the Lord is with the troubled Heart, which is troubled in a divine Zeal or Jealousy; There is the Place of God and the Gate of Heaven.

37. Further, It signifies, how the highest Love of God, in this Covenant in Christ, would be immersed into our Humanity; and how the Humanity of Christ, would be conversant in Trouble, in that he took upon him all our Trouble and Misery, and how the Humanity of Christ would be astonished before the Anger of God and Hell; as it was in the Mount of Olives, where in his Agony he sweat a bloody Sweat; and Christ in his Humanity said; Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me; where instantly the Gates of God appeared and comforted the Humanity: As here to Jacob, when he must in Trouble depart from his Father's House, in Fear and Trembling at his Brother Esau, who lay in wait to murder him, all which is a Figure concerning Christ, when God's Anger in our Humanity did lie in wait to murder him, that he would be in an Agony, Heaviness and Distress, and how he would pray to his Father, and how his Father would comfort him; all which was done before he was crucified, especially in the Mount of Olives, in which Place this Figure of Jacob was fulfilled.

38. And as Jacob took the Stone, which he laid under his Head, and set it up for a Remembrance, and poured Oil thereupon; so has Christ set up his Anguish or Agony for a Remembrance to us poor Men, and poured forth his Oil of Joy and Victory upon it in our troubled terrified Hearts; and of that same Stone has erected his Church for a continual Remembrance; of all which this Type of Jacob was a Prefiguration.

39. Which Jacob signifies in plain Words, where he says; If God will be with me and defend me in the Way which I travel, and give me Bread to eat and Clothes to put on, and bring me Home with Peace to my Father, then shall the Lord be my God, and this Stone, which I have set up for a Pillar, shall be God's House, and of all which thou givest unto me I will give the Tenth to thee; where he clearly, under this Figure, signifies the Levitical and afterwards the Evangelical Priesthood, as it would be hereafter.

Extract from Jacob Boehme's "Mysterium Magnum", or An Explanation of the first Book of Moses, called GENESIS
From: " The Works of Jacob Behmen, The Teutonic Theosopher."
Reverend William Law's Edition: Volume Three; London, 1764,
Printed for M. Richardson, in Pater-noster Row.
Chapter 56, Paragraphs 1-39.

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