In the responses from two surveys I conducted this year, I was asked to deal with the subject of visions and how to understand their meaning. The person asking the question wanted to know if visions are similar to dreams in terms of the need for interpretation, but also whether they contain a valid message from God.
This is a great question and the answer has two parts as my title suggests – how to discern a valid message in a vision, plus how to discern the reliability of the source. As you read this, you’ll notice some of what I say applies to both dreams and visions. In this blog, I’m going to…
- Give a short Biblical basis for visions.
- Discuss testing and validating the source of your visions.
- Explain three examples of my own very recent visions and tell how they related to real life events.
Defining terms: For the sake of our discussion, I’m speaking of visions in terms of images that appear in your mind either when you are in the stage between sleep and awake, or while you are fully awake.
I don’t plan to get into a serious Biblical study for the use of the word “vision”, but we do need to quickly review a few passages and concordance references that anchor our discussion. To start with… below are two examples from the Old Testament and one from the New…
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.Genesis 15:1 (KJV)
That Hebrew word “vision” as used above is in Strong’s Concordance: h4236 maḥăzeh; a vision (in the ecstatic state).
Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.Lamentations 2:9 (KJV)
This occurrence above is slightly different than the first passage, and in Strong’s Concordance it is: h2377 ḥâzôn; a sight (mentally), i.e. a dream, revelation, or oracle: vision (in ecstatic state), vision (in night), oracle, prophecy (divine communication).
While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.Acts 10:19 (KJV)
This last example in the New Testament uses the Greek word as seen in Strong’s Concordance: g3705. horama; something gazed at, i.e. a spectacle (especially supernatural): sight, vision, that which is seen, spectacle, a sight divinely granted in an ecstasy or in a sleep, a vision.
When I did this search, I found the word “vision” appeared 79 times and “visions” (plural) appeared 24 times in the King James Version. Alternate translations had somewhat different number counts for each. As you follow the above examples, you can continue this study on your own. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, if you don’t have a concordance, you can use the one at this link: blueletterbible.org.
How to Interpret Dreams Without The Restrictions Of The Analytical Mind | Personal Testimony + Practical Keys
Are you new to the idea of God speaking in dreams at night? Have you ever tried using a list of symbols to interpret your dreams but ended up with strange results? If so, you’re not alone! This is how I started out, and it’s a very similar situation that I’ve seen with some who email me. In this blog I’m going to speak from my own learning process, and I’ll add something new that I believe will help you.
Discerning & Validating Your Source
Anytime we receive dreams or visions, we need to make sure they are a valid message from God and eliminate anything that is not. This is less of a concern if you’ve gone through a process of spiritual house cleaning. In the initial stages, the dreams and visions you receive may require a process of validation. There are times when you may get something that is of the devil and intended to throw you off. In those instances, make sure your environment and mind are not polluted by demonic influences. Even if your environment is cleaned out, you can still get demonic dreams and visions that are due to spiritual warfare coming against you.
If you are of a “religion” that is not Christian and not fully based on the Bible, there is a very good chance that your dreams and visions are NOT valid messages from God. As I’ve said elsewhere, God does speak to everyone in their dreams at night, regardless of their beliefs (including atheists), but their overall reliability is usually less. If you are not a Christian, your dreams and visions (overall) will not be as reliable.
I’ve had people from “other religions” email me dreams that were (at times) total garbage and had no meaning whatsoever. Although this is not our topic today, I need to say it plainly – “lucid dreams” are primarily taught by those who practice witchcraft. Most of the time, those types of dreams have NO Biblical basis and NO valid message from God. Why?
It’s very simple – dreams that come from God DO NOT involve you trying to control them. Dreams from God happen when you are effectively “dead” – that means you are fully asleep and your mind or spirit is not controlling what takes place. If you are looking for the foundational verses on Bible-based dreams, Job 33:14-18, 23-24, is the starting point. Lucid dreams are completely different because they involve YOU controlling them by using spiritual methods that God does NOT teach.
Witchcraft and occultic teachers promote lucid dreaming and if you are involved in any of that, you need to repent of that immediately. God is 100% AGAINST these practices that originate from the kingdom of satan and unless you get rid of that demonic involvement, your dreams and visions cannot be considered reliable. Not to mention, the world is full of false religions that came from a supernatural experience that was sent by satan, not God. I’m sure some readers will not like hearing that, but it is an absolute fact and I have first hand experience that proves what I said.
Prophetic Training 101 Applies
Visions are obviously different from dreams because you are awake and therefore your imagination can interfere and cause images to appear that have no divine origin. This is again why I wrote above on validating the source. When I first began having visions, they were extremely rare and it was relatively easy to know when one came from God. But, as I began looking for God to speak to me more in this way, I had to go through a process of testing the images in my mind to see how well I could sort out which were from God and which were just from my own mind.
From my experience, visions primarily come in two ways: you can get visions when you are focusing / meditating on something deliberately, or they can just sort of “hit you” when you least expect it. I’ve had visions come to me in all these ways.
When you are trying to discern the source of your visions, I need to make the point – take my advice in the previous blog and do not get into a mind war over this. Overthinking your dreams, visions or words of knowledge, etc., will severely interfere with your ability to receive and properly handle them. Coming from me, a formerly overly–intellectual / analytical person, I had a very hard time with this. If you tend to be as I was, you will have to do the same as I did and learn to shut off the mind of the flesh.
Personal Examples / Prophetic Training
Rather than just give textbook information about visions, let me now give three examples of my own so I can show you how they related to a real life situation. This will help you to see the proof that visions can absolutely have a valid meaning and that interpretation is often required.
Example #1: One of my most recent visions came to me while I was sitting in a rocking chair on the back deck of the house and I was looking out at the trees and sky. I suddenly had an image in my mind of a cloud in the sky shaped like an eagle. A cloud can represent a message from God, especially when it has a discernible shape and an eagle often represents a prophet or a prophetic gift.
So what did my vision relate to in real life? Only a few days after my vision was an unexpected prophetic training event for those like myself on the JMMI staff. God used this sudden pop up image in my mind as His way of telling about that upcoming training event.
Example #2: As another great example that connected with real life… While I was participating in that above training class, we were given a blindfold test. Here’s how it went – one of the JMMI staff members was called up front and they were blindfolded. Next, an object was placed on the table and they were told to tell what the object was. I was participating on live video by Zoom and while this was taking place, I closed my eyes to test my ability to discern what object was placed on the table.
The first object placed on the table was an 8.5 x 11 inch notebook. With my eyes closed, I saw an image in my mind of a yellow square that looked like a sticky notepad. When I opened my eyes and looked at the video screen, the object on the table was rectangular, had a yellowish appearance and was definitely paper!
This is a perfect example of how your visions may have a symbolic or partially literal element (exactly as a dream), and just because what you see is not literal, that does not make it invalid. In this test, although the real object on the table was slightly different than what I saw in my vision, the image on the video screen was almost exactly like it.
Example #3: As I was in the final editing stages of this blog, I had a vision of being in a spaceship orbiting the earth. From my view outside the front window, the earth started out below my field of view but then the spaceship rolled over so the earth was now above me and the nose was now pointed down to earth.
After about 30 minutes or so of considering the meaning of this vision, I began to get the idea that this has to do with my need to temporarily transition from spiritual to earthly / natural things. In the last week, I have been focusing exclusively on spiritual matters, and I understood this as God’s way of showing me it’s time to get back to natural things again as a form of staying balanced.
Intriguingly, this has happened before when God wanted me to focus on science and technology research / studying after I had spent considerable time on only spiritual studies. God is big on us staying balanced and not getting too hyper-spiritual or living a life completely filled with the things of earth. This helps us both avoid falling into spiritual pride as well as living a life totally disconnected from God.
These three examples are generally what you can expect with visions. To summarize the main points here…
- Visions are a valid way to receive a message from God and the Bible is full of examples.
- Just like a dream, visions often involve symbolic images that require interpretation – you can use the same methods I describe in my blogs for dream interpreting.
- Visions can be influenced by your imagination or the mind of the flesh and therefore, you must go through a process of testing them to see if they contain a valid message from God.
- The more you pray, meditate, and do spiritual exercises to activate your spiritual senses, the more you will receive visions (and dreams) from God that can be linked to what is happening in your real / natural life.
- Article: How to Interpret Dreams Without The Restrictions Of The Analytical Mind | Personal Testimony + Practical Keys
- Article: A “Strange” Personal Testimony That Just Might Change Your World
- Online symbols reference: Joshua Media Ministries International online dream symbols
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