After several days with focus on the prophetic (1), I now move on to the next sign of The Holy Spirit Peter mentioned in his speach on the first pentecost: People will see visions (2).
As a young Christian the idea of seeing visions scared me. It was because I connected visions with the book of Revelation, and I thought that I would never "go in that direction".
Eventually I realized that it is not particularly dramatic. It can simply be to communicate images I see, which do not necessarily make any sense to me, but which may mean something important for the person or the people I am together with.
Jeremiah was asked a very simple question:
"What do you see?"And what he saw was far from dramatic. He saw an almond tree – in Hebrew phonetically linked to “watching” – again symbolizing that the Lord watches over His Word (3).
Acts has several narratives including visions. Peter must have had so many of them that when an angel came and led him out of the prison, Peter thought it was a vision -"Pinch my arm!" (4). When he came to the prayer-meeting where they interceded for him, the intercessors thought Rode that had seen Peter's guardian angel when Peter turned up at the house.
It was a vision that drove Saul to repentance. A vision he followed for the rest of his life:
I have not been disobedient to the heavenly visionI have quoted the following verse in many of my sermons:
In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.I do not think that the challenge was that the Lord did not send any visions or had nothing to say, but that there were few who had opened for his Spirit so that they could receive. I think that many Christians have visions, but they are not aware that it is a vision.
1 Sam 3:1
In a way they think the opposite of Peter who was so used to seeing visions that he mistook reality for a vision. It is sad to miss a vision because I think that what I see is part of reality or a product of my own imagination.
'Manna' for today:
Because I believe in The Holy Spirit I expect to have visions.
(1) If you want to read more about the profetic, the article “The prophetic voice of the Army” which I wrote for “The Officer” Jan/Feb 2004 may be of interest.
(2) Acts 2:17
(3) Jeremiah 1:11
(4) Acts 12:9