Have you had a vision of God? Do you want one? The old saying is, ‘you don’t get because you don’t ask!’. Actually it was Jesus himself who said this: ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). Have there been special moments when you’ve sensed God right next to you, in what you’ve seen, thought or heard? Everyone who is called has heard a call, distant or close. Some hear it in the early part of life as a child, some hear it in the crises of mid-life and others hear it in the very last parts of life. It doesn’t matter when so long as you recognise and respond to the one calling. So here are some visions others who’ve gone before have had and some thoughts to mull over!
‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days’ – Joel 2:28.29
It is something normal supernaturally for us as children of God to expect and have dreams and visons – go ahead, ask, expect, have mind, eyes and ears open ready.
‘In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”’ – Isaiah 6:1-9
Note the impact this has on the prophet Isaiah - he is broken. Sometimes a dream or vision will actually mean something for you, for others or for a nation. Are you really ready for that and for the impact it may have on you?
‘I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet … I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades”’ – Revelation 1: 1-18
The Apostle John, so intimate with Jesus during his ministry, was completely overwhelmed! You might call this the Vision of visions! Jesus Christ is, after all, the One to Whom we look – the giver of visions and Vision Himself! John knew Him, walked with Him, ate, laughed and cried with Him, but always followed Him and was envisioned by Him until He said: ‘It’s time to come home’. That is a calling to be ready for and to realise is may overwhelm you too.
‘In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin— the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the Lord was on him. I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The centre of the fire looked like glowing metal… Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome. Under the vault their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings. Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking’ – Ezekiel 1:1-28
Now Ezekiel would be an interesting person to meet for a coffee or curry! Talk about a burning vision! This man had an amazing vision of God that still has power to inspire us now. It is a lot to take on board, but is not that the nature of Godly vision that can blow the mind and the cobwebs of lethargy away?
‘Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell’ – 2 Corinthians 12:1-4
Paul is such an inspiring man. Hating Christ Jesus, hunting down his followers and being a complete pain to the early church, nothing but a vision would change his direction, purpose or mind … so he was given one that knocked proud Saul off his horse and gave him blindness to the world that was necessary for renamed Paul’s spiritual sight. Sometimes it has to be that way.
‘Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more’ – Genesis 37:5
Dreams and visions do not guarantee popularity! But they do give sight to things that many do not see, and those who don’t see may resent, deny, criticise and seek to bring you down. Hold on to what you’ve seen, heard and know to be true in God.
‘In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed … As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened… In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed’ – Daniel 7:1, 9-10, 13.14
Forget the lions for the time being (amazing though they were) and let Daniel inspire you with this vision, one of several. What an amazing vision of God and the title to go with it, The Ancient of Days. Sometimes we are tuned in to hear from God but others it seems as if we make it hard for him to get our attention – take Moses for example.
‘Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God’ – Exodus 3:1-6
The Bible records many others who heard from God in various ways – Abram with the mysterious smoking brazier and blazing torch (Genesis 15), Job being spoken to in the midst of a storm (Job 38), Jonah on the high seas, Gideon whilst sitting under an oak tree (Judges 6), Elijah hiding in a cave (2 Kings 19) to give just a few examples.
David doesn’t seem to have had visions as such but he certainly had an awesome life-shaping view of God and was most earnest about it:
‘You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me’ – Psalm 63:1-8
We must be careful and sure for what we ask – could you say: ‘Oh God give me a vision of you and help me to recall all the times you have already given me visions, dreams and messages’? Jesus’ advice for those who want to see God carries the promise and the requirement (thankfully which he is able to satisfy on our behalf): ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’ – Matthew 5:8.
We cannot say how long or short visions from God may be, nor what they might mean nor what they might cost, but a seeking heart will find and that soul will be satisfied. Let these visions of God inspire you, shape your own vision of him and help you to walk well with him until you come face to face and ‘know fully’ even as you are ‘fully known’ – 1 Corinthians 13:12
TAGS – vision, saints, love, calling, understanding, seek, prophets, prophecy