By Lisa Grace
Visions are one of the primary means of communication from God. The Bible makes it clear that in the later days, it is a form of communication God will use. (And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions Joel 2:28 KJV and Acts 2:17).
What is a vision and how is it different than a dream?
Visions are mentioned in 73 Bible verses in the KJV. Visions have a clarity and can be had while in an "awake" state, or while in a dream state. You feel you are really there. It is literal, not allegorical. Events that will happen. Dreams are full of symbolism, while visions are the future reality.
Visions as a direct form of communication have less room for being interpreted incorrectly. Dreams require in interpreter. While visions maybe of such a far off future that it seems incomprehensible and almost impossible to understand. For instance, if one of the Biblical prophets saw a helicopter flying in the sky. or an airplane dropping bombs, how exactly would he describe it? Or a TV show, or a cell phone? A bullet train, or Siri?
Seeing into the future hundreds/thousands of years makes explaining an event almost impossible, even if you clearly "see" it. We all need references we understand, or there is no way to explain what was seen.
In some ways visions can be less readily understood than symbolic dreams. Yet at times God will choose to communicate in this way.
Why were visions given?
If we examine the events in which the visions occurred, we can see they were given for very few purposes. One is to strengthen the faith of the receiver. In these cases, they are told not to share the vision. Another reason seems to be that of a warning. The visions are meant as a way of communicating where to go, what not to do, or who to trust.
The last reason is for the viewer to record what he has seen for future generations, and the viewer is told that while he must write down what he saw, it won't be understood until a much later date.
It's important to remember that visions are not for our own edification, but for God's purpose. Prophecy, visions, and dreams are the primary means God chooses to communicate His will to us.
How do we know a vision is sent from God?
Is it serving as a warning, and is it in compliance with the rest of Scripture? If it contradicts the Scriptures, it's safe to say—it's not from God. Any vision would be in support of what is already known in the Scriptures. If you've received a vision, God would clearly send to you the knowledge of what you are to do with the information.
Lisa Grace is the author of the popular Angel Series which is in development for a major movie. You can reach Lisa at: firstname.lastname@example.org