March 15, 2008 on 6:20 pm | In REVELATION FOR BEGINNERS | Comments Off on DREAMS AND VISIONS–1:2

Psychics, mediums, and channelers claim to be able to speak with the dead. A prophet claims to communicate with the living God. Just how does that happen? Revelation 1:2 speaks of “all things that he (John) saw.” How did he “see” these things—was he, as we sometimes say, “just seeing things”? Was he hallucinating? Was he taken bodily to heaven? Did God give him a Power Point presentation? In Old Testament times a prophet was sometimes called a “seer,” 1 Samuel 9:9–(“Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he spoke thus: “Come, let us go to the seer”; for he who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.”). In other words, he was one who could “see” things and events others could not.

In Numbers 12:6 God says, “If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision, I speak to him in a dream.” So what is the difference between a vision and a dream? As we know from experience, dreams typically happen while we are asleep, whereas a vision can happen any time, day or night. It usually happens while the prophet is awake. Daniel 10:17 also adds something Daniel experienced while in vision: “My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. 17For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.” Apparently there is a supernatural aspect to the visionary experience—he could be alive and yet not be breathing. This is not the result of too much pickles and ice cream for supper, but rather it is a direct revelation from God to the mind of the prophet accompanied by supernatural phenomena. But the vision apparently seems real to the prophet—perhaps it is somewhat akin to “virtual reality” experiences, i.e. information and pictures are transmitted to the mind which the mind interprets as something actually being experienced. The prophet may not know whether it is actually happening or he/she is just “seeing” it. The apostle Paul one time tried to describe what it was like in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4: “1It is £doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—4how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” Apparently he couldn’t tell whether it was an actual experience or only something he was seeing on the video screen of his mind.

It may be somewhat like when you are dreaming—it seems real, you even experience emotions (like fear, joy), and may even attempt to move physically or try to speak (you have no doubt heard of someone talking in his sleep, or sleep walking), all in response to what the mind is projecting on its internal video screen.

So the prophet John didn’t just sit down and decide to write a best-seller. He saw in visions many symbolic representations of the future given to him by God which he then wrote down and tried to describe as best he could. He also provided a different picture of Jesus than we have previously seen. And due to the heavenly origin of the visions, we need to pay attention. They are not given for entertainment or to provide fodder for the latest Hollywood blockbuster. They are serious information for serious times.

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