We enter into the world of John’s Gospel today. This Gospel has a stronger vertical dualism than the Synoptics, but let’s look at a few texts:
John 1:32 And John testified, ?I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
John 1:51 And he said to him, ?Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.?
John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
First, John sees the Spirit of God descend on Jesus from heaven — which could mean simply “out of the sky above and beyond” or it could refer to God’s presence.
Second, 1:51 is apocalyptic reality: heavens opened so that angels ascend and descend on the Son of Man is a breakthrough of the divine world into the earthly world. This text witnesses to the view of an alternative reality, a deeper and “beyond-er” reality that is going on and which we do not normally see. The curtain is momentarily opened to see the ultimate reality at work: a work of attention on the Son of Man. Because this connects with Jacob, we ought also to connect this text to Beth-el: the house of God (Jesus).
Third, 3:13: humans cannot break into heaven; heaven is sovereign and only those sent from the Father get to leave that heavenly room and reveal its secrets to those on earth. But there is actually more here: that “humans” or “no one” of 3:13a is probably a reference to Jesus himself: only the Son of Man who descends to earth can enter into that place of God so that he alone becomes the true revealer of God.