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Visions or Dreams
The Bible has many accounts of those who received a heavenly dream or vision. This is an encouragement to us as we can reflect on how God speaks and the results of obedience to what is heard or seen. So what is a divine dream or a vision?
Visions and Dreams are:
1. A Powerful Demonstration in order to give us the confidence that God is directing our steps. It’s also interesting to note that visions and dreams and clearly meant to be for all people to experience as the Lord allows.
Acts 2:17 says:
“In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
2. A Confirmation of His Direction. In Acts 10, Peter recounts the vision that God gave him, not once, not twice but three times in a row. In this vision, the Spirit of God was speaking to him in the form of a picture. He saw heaven open, and a certain vessel descended, and it looked like a sheet knit together at its 4 corners with all types of animals, creeping things, and birds in it. God told him to rise, kill and eat and Peter, in response to this vision the first and second time said, ‘no’! So what was the meaning? Growing up in a Jewish family, Peter would not have considered eating anything that the law considered unclean. To confirm the importance of this vision, God revealed it to him 3 times.
This Peter is the same man who, only a few years earlier, was fishing and recognized his Lord on the shoreline while he was in his boat after Jesus’ resurrection. Peter would remember this encounter because Jesus asked him, ‘Simon, do you love me’ three times as well. By the way, this picnic style meal prepared by Jesus along the shore was also the third time that Peter saw Him after he had risen from the dead (Mark 21:14)! Without delving into the theology of the number three, it does reveals to us that our Lord is patient in teaching and revealing His plan. We can find this especially encouraging, knowing that He will confirm His plan for us, even if it takes more than one time to tell us!
3. A Preparation for Greater Things. Joseph had 2 dreams while he was a young man. He could draw courage from these when later on, he was thrown into the difficulties of life when he was sold as a slave into a country where culture, language and faith was completely different. He also found himself unfairly thrown into prison and during this dark time, God once again revealed Himself not through another dream, but to interpret dreams. Joseph was nicknamed a dreamer, and even though we see his immaturity and imperfections, God kept the dream alive by fulfilling it decades later (Genesis 37 – Genesis 45).
4. On God’s Timetable. We cannot dictate the when, where, how or why of a divinely inspired vision or dream. Just as Peter’s vision or Joseph’s dream were divinely inspired and needed God to interpret their meaning, so it is today. The fulfillment could not be as Peter or Joseph would have imagined it to be, but only as God meant for it to be.
A heavenly vision or dream will inevitably put a demand on our faith to lay down our lives for God’s greater glory. The fulfilling of a divinely inspired encounter will pull us out of our comfort zone, and will include an act of surrender and obedience.