In the Gospel of John, the Bible explains that Jesus approached a man named Nathaniel. The Bible refers to Nathaniel as a "true Jew," which means he was one that was devout and focused on the Lord. When Nathaniel first heard about Jesus, he made the remark, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" However, when Jesus actually approached Nathaniel, there was an entirely different reaction. Nathaniel was skeptical about Jesus upon first meeting Him, but after Jesus referred to Nathaniel's private activity (likely of worship), Nathaniel changed his tone and worshiped Jesus confessing Him as Messiah. Jesus' response to Nathaniel's change of heart was along the lines of, "You haven't seen anything yet!" Jesus then told Nathaniel that, if he was impressed with Jesus' knowledge of private things, he would be even more impressed seeing heaven open up and angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of Man!
When Jesus spoke about heaven opening up and angels going up and down upon the Son of Man, He was referring to a specific portion of scripture found in Genesis 28:10-22. In Genesis 28:10-22 the Bible explains the events that took place when Jacob went to Haran to avoid the wrath of his jealous brother Esau. While Jacob was on his way to Haran, he stopped to rest at a place called Luz. While he was sleeping, the scriptures explain that Jacob had a vision. His vision was the exact same image that Jesus described to Nathaniel. Genesis 28:10-22 explains that Jacob saw s stairway that went from the ground to the top of heaven, and that God's angels were going up and down on this stairway. Consequently, many people have referred to this portion of scripture as the "stairway to heaven" scripture.
The Bible goes on to state that while Jacob was having this vision, the Lord was standing next to him and identified Himself as the God of Abraham and Isaac. Thus, the Lord took this opportunity to confirm the promises that were made to Abraham and Isaac also to Jacob. It was at this time that God confirmed that Jacob was the heir of the promises made to Abraham and Isaac. God confirmed that Jacob would inherit the land that he was in, even though he was on his way to a different land. God promised that He would bring Jacob back into Canaan, and that the land would be his indeed. God also confirmed that Jacob would be a great nation and have many descendants that would spread out all over the world. God confirmed that Jacob would bless all of the families of the world, speaking of the Messiah being the descendant of Jacob. God confirmed that, as these promises were unconditional to Jacob's father and grandfather, they were unconditional to him as well. God confirmed that He would not depart from Jacob until these promises were fulfilled - whether Jacob deserved them or not. God continued to confirm His own responsibility to bring about the fulfillment of these eternal promises.
There is one major difference however between the vision of Jacob in Genesis 28:10-22 and the reference of the vision by Jesus in the Gospel of John. The Book of Genesis refers to the method by which the angels went up and down from heaven as a "stairway." The Gospel of John states that the method by which the angels of God went up and down from heaven was the "Son of Man." Though the words are different, the meaning is the same. The Son of Man is the stairway, which means that the Son of Man is the method by which God's angels ascend and descend from heaven. Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one gets to the Father except by Him. Jacob's vision in Genesis 28:10-22 confirms this. Jesus referred to Himself as the stairway since His title as "Son of Man" is Messianic reference to His own nature and purpose. Jacob saw the work of Messiah in his vision!
It is for this reason that Jacob responded in the manner that he did. The scriptures show that as Jacob woke up, he built a landmark with the stone he used as a pillow while he had his vision. He renamed the city from Luz to Bethel. Luz means "almond tree" while Bethel means "house of God." Jacob was so inspired by his vision that he sought to rededicate the purpose of the land to be God's house. Having seen the Lord in his vision, and having seen the work of Messiah as access into heaven, Jacob felt the Lord was in the land and sought to identify the land in such a way. At that time, Jacob dedicated himself to God. He stated that he would trust in God's provision for food and clothing. He stated that God would be his protection, enabling him to return to Canaan safely. Jacob stated that he would wholly trust God, even with his finances as he vowed to give God a tenth of his portion that God provided. Jacob's awareness of God, and opportunity to see the workings of Messiah (even in a vision) caused Jacob to serve the Lord in faith! Jacob's understanding of the role of Messiah and the benefits He brings caused Jacob to serve the Lord in faith! Jacob's understanding of Messiah's ability to facilitate access to heaven and confidence in God's ability to fulfill His eternally unconditional promises caused Jacob to serve the Lord in faith!