Blog » What's With All the Visions?
- Dec 18th, 2015 at 10:23 AM (CST)
A Joyous Christmastide to all!
Every so often I ponder the way the Lord works, how he communicates with humans. He had shown his will variously through the ages. It seems in the Old Testament that it was not unheard of to have God's will revealed through dreams, as we see in the life of the patriarchs. Then, when Israel was established as a nation, a system of "urim and thummim" was put in place - otherwise known as "lots" - to determine the Divine's will for a particular decision.
Recollecting my own dreams and my sinful human nature, I don't trust my dreams at all! I understand that dreams are a big deal for some Muslims, and that members of Isis rely upon them to find direction, a truly "scary" thing. Think of a bloodthirsty man figuring he's going to get his marching orders from dreams. No wonder that rational conversation hardly makes a dent in their minds to get them to turn from their murderous intent!
Recently our Sunday morning Bible study I lead embarked on coverage of Daniel, recorded in the book bearing his name. It's a marvelous boost for faith to read of the conviction of Daniel and his Jewish friends Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael (otherwise known by their offensive Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The book has a lot of dream action, then moves to visions. Why?
One of the most profound insights about dreams and visions I have been blessed to learn over the years is that they are used in particular whenever there is a critical turn in the plan of salvation. Angels and visions guide humans whenever the humans are clueless and would miss, or misinterpret, the work God is doing. I do not see visions and dreams utilized continuously in the Old Testament, and even less in the New Testament after the Gospel is revealed in fullness through the life of Christ. In fact, I see no dependence at all by the Apostles and the early church upon dreams and visions. Instead, they seem to adhere to the Lord's teaching and good works in the name of Christ.
I have a very healthy distrust of people who claim to have had visions and dreams seemingly unattached to the Gospel. I think many of them are outright liars; the temptation to notoriety is great, and claims of such things garnish attention.
Christmas stirrs with a lot of activity of agnels and visions/dreams. This would be expected; after all the Virgin conception and birth of Christ is not a typical event. It did, however, need bolstering so the skeptical humans would believe despite reservations. The same is true of the resurrection of Christ, where angelic appearances and miracles associated with it were necessary to estiablish it as fact.
When will the next barrage of divine encounters happen? It's literally anyone's guess. I would expect them at the return of the Savior. But, I also expect that to be quite evident as well. In the meantime, I am very slow in accepting claims personal divine revelation.