Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
We treated the topic titled "Guidance Through Prophecy" during the last digging deep. We considered, among other things, the Office of the Prophets and the Gift of Prophecy. We also learnt how God uses the office of the Prophet to bless His people and more importantly, on the need not to build our lives around prophecy or being dependent on prophecy for guidance. We are encouraged to build our lives around the word of God by putting His word first since the office of the Prophet can be misused by false prophets.
This week we will be considering, through various scriptural references, another means of guidance that God (through His magnanimous nature) has provided for us His children. Guidance Through Vision.
1. Three Kinds of Vision
"There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
• Cornelius had a spiritual experience called a Vision.
• He was a devout man but not born again. He didn't know Jesus Christ.
• The angel who appeared to him could not preach the gospel because God did not call angels to preach. He called men (you and I) to do the preaching. The angel only told him how to go about finding someone to tell him how to be saved.
• Cornelius saw an angel. Angels have the ability to take on a visible form. God gave them this ability - Hebrews 13:2
The three kinds of visions are;
a) SPIRITUAL VISION: In this case, you only see with the eyes of your spirit and not your physical eye. A good example is Paul's experience on his way to Damascus in Acts 9:8. Paul saw no man when his eyes were opened. It therefore follows that whatever he saw was not with his physical eyes.
b) TRANCE: Second type of vision is when one falls into a trance. Peter's experience in Acts 10:9-11 is a very good example. The physical senses are suspended in a trance. A person in a trance has no knowledge of his physical location even though he is not unconscious. He is however more spiritual conscious than he is physically.
c) OPEN VISION: Pastor Hagin's testimony of Jesus walking into his room in El Paso in 1959. His physical senses were intact and he was not in a trance. He saw Jesus Christ with his physical eyes.
2. Different types of Visions
Sometimes, visions can be symbolic in nature. In Acts 10:9-19, Peter's vision was symbolic in nature. He saw all manner of creeping things, both clean and unclean and had to think on the vision in order to understand it. The Spirit spoke to him as he thought upon this vision and instructed him to go with the three men. Things began to unfold to Peter after his obedience.
Philip's encounter in Acts 8:26-29 nullifies the myth that God only speaks to BIG Men of God. Such divine visitations in visions are for everyone who will desire such. Philip was not an apostle but was elected first a deacon (Acts 6:5) and then an evangelist (Acts 21:8). It's sad knowing that quite a number of people have been robbed of such spiritual blessings of supernatural manifestations because of the belief that these are only reserved for selected people.
Acts 9:10-12 chronicles the encounter of Ananias. He was also not an apostle, neither was he a deacon. he was a disciple, what we call a layman. Yet mightily used of God. We should all put ourselves in a position where God can use us as He sees fit. We don't have to wait for a vision or angelic visitation before we do something for God. He may chose to give us a vision or not. He may also allow angelic visitation or not. It is God's prerogative.
We will conclude this teaching today by reading testimonies about two different encounters from the book How To Be Led By The Holy Spirit by Kenneth E. Hagin. (Pages 117-120) . These will hopefully;
• Make us conscious (spiritually) about the ministry of Angels
• Appreciate God for being so magnanimous enough to allow us have and enjoy the privilege of having this angelic ministry
• Also appreciate the Awesomeness and thoughtfulness of our Father God.
Although God chooses to lead through visions and other supernatural manifestations, we are encouraged not to seek vision at all cost as this could get beyond the Word where the devil can deceive. It is often advisable to depend on a more direct word of guidance through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. However, if this is not available, we should not manufacture it. Visions happen, not when people were seeking them , but without anyone seeking them. If all we have is the leading through the inward witness, we should be content. But educate and train and develop your human spirit so that inward witness becomes more and more real to you. Then, if God sees it fit for supernatural visitations and manifestations, just thank God for them.Know that the angels of God are with you. Your angel is with you whether you ever see him or not.