The Seven Steps
Stairs are so common now that many of us take them for granted. They have been around for so long we cannot think of them ever as an invention. But, stairs are one of the oldest buildings in architectural history; they have always played a central role in the history of humanity, although it is difficult to tell in which year they made their "debut," many believe that their appearance was thousands of years before Christ. Like everything else, the design of stairs seems to change with the change of architectural eras, reflecting the trends used in different ages and revealing the talent of those who designed them.
Apparently, the first stairs were created accidentally. Allegedly, the first stairs in the history were wood trunks fitted together; these kinds of stairs were used to acquire strategic positions for survival. Stairs were first used to overcome the difficulties presented by the terrain, such as valleys or mountains. The goal was to be able to overcome these challenges as soon as possible; to move up often meant moving to a place of greater security. At that time this could have meant the difference between life and death. It was very important to move quickly, hence the importance of the stairs.
So, like many other inventions, stairs first emerged as a solution to a problem, although, years later it was found in China the first granite staircase leading to the sacred mountain in Tai Shan, this indicates that one of the utilities that were given to the stairs in his story was for religious purposes. Confucius, in one of his stories, said to have gone up this ladder to the top in the year 55 BC. The ladder was used metaphorically to describe reaching the height of divinity and establishing a connection between earth and sky. Other examples of stairs built for religious purposes are a. the biblical Jacob's ladder, b. The tower of Babel, which was a helical tower, c. The pyramids of Egypt that had stairs, d. The celestial ladder of Shantung in China, and e. The stairs in India (a peculiarity of the stairs in India is that they also had scientific utility). All these stairs have something in common; they symbolize the rise of the light, the sun, and a path into the God's presence.
Some say that Lucifer's six-fold assertion of becoming like God is like a metaphorical ladder. We read this statement in Isaiah 14: 12 – 15,
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Isaiah 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Isaiah 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Isaiah 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
God tells Lucifer the reality of his existence and contrasts it with what Lucifer had purposed in his heart. Again, Lucifer's statement is six-fold, making it six steps in the metaphorical ladder. The seventh step is where Lucifer falls, being "brought down to hell."
We see a contrast with Jesus in Philippians 2: 5 - 9. Let us read the passage,
Philippians 2:5-11King James Version (KJV)
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Paul uses six statements to describe what Christ did as a man. All six statements are about Christ descending, so the seventh step is the Father exalting the Son of Man above all. What a complete contrast! The Devil ascended six steps up the ladder only to fall. Christ descended six steps down the ladder, to later be exalted. Paul exhorts us to be like Christ (Philippians 2:5). Will we?