Dreams and Visions

By Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca) Kingston, Ontario July 2007

Speaking about the new Church of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost Simon Peter quoted from one of the Old Testament prophets. "Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17). How does this apply to us as Christians in our day?

There is much more to dreaming than what we remember when we wake up. Dreaming is a way of picturing what concerns us so we can work on it. It is a familiar fact that if we sleep on a problem, we often see the solution when we wake up in the morning. It seems we do this kind of work more or less continually while we sleep.

But we can also do this while we are awake. Day dreaming is not just passing the time with idle thoughts. When we are thinking about building a new home or doing a renovation we can picture a dozen ways of arranging the structure, and having looked at these alternatives we can decide on the best way of doing the work. We can day dream creatively to plan a celebration, or a holiday, outline an article, draw up a battle plan, make a case when we have to go to court. Inventors make their living by dreaming up new gadgets which they can patent and sell for a profit.

We do most of this kind of this kind of creative work when we are young. But the text suggests that in the power of the Spirit we can do this when we are old.

Visions refer to occasions when the LORD or an angel appears in person and gives an important message. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all given such apparitions (Genesis 12:1; 13:14; 15:1, 7; 17:1; 18:1, 22; 26:2, 24: 28:13).

In the New Testament visions were given to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, to Mary, and then on several occasions to Joseph to protect the infant Messiah (Luke 1:11, 26; Matthew 1:20; 2:13, 19). Simon Peter and Paul were also guided and encouraged by visions of the Lord (Acts 9:4; 10:13-14; 18:9; 23:11; 27:23).

Visions were usually given to adult men and women, but on the Day of Pentecost Simon Peter said that young people would also be given visions of the Lord to help them in the service of the Kingdom.


Robert Brow

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