“Visions are Visual Experiences of any Kind”
Visions are visual experiences of any kind. In the Bible,
visions usually refer to times when God revealed things to the prophets. In
early parts of the Old Testament, there are examples of extraordinary
People in the Old Testament believed these visions gave prophets
For instance, Samuel was a “seer” or a person who had
visions and he was able to “see” where Saul’s lost donkeys were (1
Samuel 9:19-20). In the same way, the prophet Elisha was able to follow
Gehazi’s wrongful actions “in spirit” and confront him when he returned
(2 Kings 5:26).
The ability to see things in this way was only
given to the prophets.
Visions also allowed the prophets to see future events.
Sometimes God communicated these visions through dreams. Both types of visions
are examples of God’s divine revelation. There are different types of visions
about the future.
At one end of the spectrum is the ecstatic vision of Ezekiel. He
experienced a psychic trance that could transport him to other places
(Ezekiel 8:3 and 40:2).
Daniel’s vision (Daniel 8) and Jeremiah’s experience
(Jeremiah 13:4-7) were probably like Ezekiel’s vision. At the other end
of the spectrum is what has been called symbolical perception. In these types
of experiences, a prophet sees an ordinary object that is part of the natural
world, but sees it in a more important light.
For instance, the basket of summer fruit that God “caused”
Amos “to see” (Amos 8:1-2) seems to fall into this type of
vision, and so probably do Jeremiah’s visions of the almond branch and the
tilting pot (Jeremiah 1:11-13).
Another type of vision includes the heavenly visions that Isaiah
received (1 Kings 22:19)
19 Then Micaiah continued, “Listen to
what the Lord says! I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the armies of
heaven around him, on his right and on his left.
20 And the Lord said, ‘Who can entice
Ahab to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead so that he can be killed
there?’ There were many suggestions,
21 until finally a spirit approached the Lord and said,
‘I can do it!’
22 ‘How will you do this?’ the
Visions the apostle John saw when he wrote the book
This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him
concerning the events that will happen soon. An angel was sent to God’s servant
John so that John could share the revelation with God’s other servants.
John faithfully reported the word of God and the testimony of
Jesus Christ—everything he saw.
God blesses the one who reads this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all
who listen to it and obey what it says. For the time is near when these things
In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne,
and the train of his robe filled the Temple.
Hovering around him were mighty seraphim, each with six wings.
With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and
with the remaining two they flew.
In a great chorus they sang, “Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory!”
The glorious singing shook the Temple to its foundations, and the
entire sanctuary was filled with smoke.
Actually, prophecy could come either by a visual or an audio
experience. Usually, a verbal message was communicated during the vision, so
that seeing and hearing took place at the same time. This happened with
Isaiah’s vision when he both “saw the Lord” and heard his voice.
However, prophets could also just hear a divine revelation from
God. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether to call these experiences
“visions” because this word is apparently used simply as a technical
term for a verbal message from God. When God called Samuel, it is called a
1 Samuel 3:15-18 Samuel stayed in bed until morning, then
got up and opened the doors of the Tabernacle as usual. He was afraid to tell
Eli what the Lord had said to him.
16 But Eli called out to him, “Samuel, my son.”
“Here I am,” Samuel replied.
17 “What did the Lord say to you? Tell
me everything. And may God punish you if you hide anything from me!”
18 So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything
back. “It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he
Several of the prophetic books have the word
“vision” in their headings
Isaiah 1:1 These visions concerning Judah and Jerusalem
came to Isaiah son of Amoz during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and
Hezekiah—all kings of Judah.
Obadiah 1:1 This is the vision that the Sovereign Lord
revealed to Obadiah concerning the land of Edom.
Nahum 1:1 This message concerning Nineveh came as a vision
to Nahum, who lived in Elkosh. Nathan’s prophecy of God’s covenant with David
is described as a vision
2 Samuel 7:17
1 Chronicles 17:15 So Nathan went back to David and told
him everything the Lord had said.
Psalm 89:19 You once spoke in a vision to your prophet and
said, “I have given help to a warrior. I have selected him
from the common people to be king.
In Daniel 9:24-25 “to seal both vision
and prophet” means to authenticate the prophecy of Jeremiah referred to
in verse 2.
Daniel 9:24-25 A period of seventy sets of seven has been
decreed for your people and your holy city to put down rebellion, to bring an
end to sin, to atone for guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to
confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
25 Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus
sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild
Jerusalem until the Anointed One comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets
and strong defenses, despite the perilous times.
In the famous proverb traditionally translated as “Where there
is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18), the term
“vision” refers to prophetic revelation, which was the divine gift of
prophecy that was intended to be a guiding influence in the life of Israel’s
(Proverbs 29:18) When people do not accept divine
guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.