Friday, February 18, 2011

Sharing Vision

This is a comment on a comment on a previous post, but it is an important topic, so I will post it separately.

Being shown images by the Holy Spirit is as important as hearing words. It is just another way of communicating.

God does not speak in images just to suit the learning style of the seer. He communicates this way for the benefit of all his people, so the images are not the property of the seer to be kept for himself.

If a Christian has been given words or shown images by the Holy Spirit, then the vision should be recorded as accurately as possible. This is what the biblical prophets did. Daniel and John described what they saw (sometimes not very well, because human language was not up to it).

The Christian should pray about whether and when to share the vision. Often the Lord does not give permission to share until some time after the vision is received. Receiving a vision does not constitute permission to share.

Once permission to share has been given, the vision should be described as accurately possible. In my view, it is best to describe what you saw “I saw…..” Any contextual information or interpretation should presented separately. “I believe this means…..” This approach has several benefits.

  1. It allows other Christians to test your seeing (eg Maybe you ate too much curry with your fries last night).
  2. It encourages readers to think about the nature of what you seen,
    • an exact description of what will happen (1 Kings 22:17),
    • symbolic of real entity like Daniel’s beast, or
    • a symbolic presentation of a spiritual truth like Amos’s lion hiding in the thicket (Amos 3:5). I note that seer’s often confuse these three different types of seeing when interpreting what they have seen.
    People can then apply what you have seen to their situation, which may be different from yours.
  3. Readers are free to decide about the timing of the fulfilment, because that is not usually contained in the vision.
  4. Readers can test the interpretation of the vision. Sometimes another people can provide a better interpretation of a dream and vision. Daniel understood the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar's dream better than he did. Some seers are not gifted at interpretations of visions.
I understand that in these experiences distinguishing what the Sprit is showing from what the person already know is difficult, but it is also really important. Just as it can be difficult to distinguish the voice of the Spirit from the words that pop out of your own mind. However, learning to distinguish the two is critical for sharpening the prophetic gifting. Unfortunately many prophetic people do not bother trying.

If in a particular situation, the Christian has struggled to distinguish the two, there is nothing wrong with saying that to the readers. It does not diminish a gifting to be humble. The Holy Spirit is capable of highlighting what he wants people to see or hear (that should not be taken as an excuse for prophetic laziness).

The safest way to keep the description accurate is to write it down as soon as it is received. If too much time passes by, the memory dims and extraneous stuff can creep into the description of the vision.


Ron McK said...

The Commando Army is a really good example of describing a vision badly. I received this vision in 1977. The text at the link is what I wrote down at the time. You will see that is not clear description of what I actually saw. A little bit of description is all mixed up with my interpretation of what it meant. I still believe my interpretation was correct, but because it is all mixed up the vision, and because I did not fully describe what I saw, much of the impact was lost and the message totally misunderstood. The vision was all about commando units and getting prepared for something that happen. My presentation caused readers to assume that it was all about an economic crisis and started looking for it, while doing nothing to prepare.

If I had described accurately what I had seen, the importance of the commando army would have come through much clearly, because that is the way that the Holy Spirit structured the vision. I can still remember the sense of hopelessness, before it appeared. If I had kept the interpretation separate, it would have supported understanding of the vision, rather than distorting it.

Christian said...


I think that your vision of the Commando army is still relevant today as much as or more than it was in 1977. I feel that it is a message that is meant for a lifestyle change with a purpose for every generation that reaches maturity. And with the concept for 500+ generations to come there is just as much of a need for the command doers who are willing to head the voice of God and set an example to their descendant generations and the lost around them.

I think that the concept of a commando wielding freewill in one hand and the love of the LORD in the other, is a greater calling of responsibility for us than for our following generations on account of we have a greater number of people and descendants to effect than our children will.

But I would agree with you that the Holy Spirit does illuminate the parts that he believes are relevant to his plan and I believe that there is much to be gleaned and learnt from the commando army teaching that I hope will not be lost on Christians in the future generations or the current ones.