Visions mean “waking dreams” (Numbers 24:4). God uses visions to reveal His plans to His children. “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). In the visions the Lord may reveal a message of encouragement or warning. The mercy of God is shown by the fact the He strengthens the weak and does not bring judgments upon men until He first warns them.
In the OT, the Lord revealed His will in visions to Abraham (Genesis 15:1), Abimelech (Genesis 20:1-7), Jacob (Genesis 28:10-17), Samuel (1 Samuel 3), Solomon (1 Kings 3:5), and Daniel (Daniel 2; 4). And in the NT, the Lord revealed Himself in visions to Zacharias (Luke 1:5-23), Joseph (Matthew 1:20; 2:13), Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19), Ananias (Acts 9:10), Cornelius (Acts 10:1-6), Peter (Acts 10:9-15), Paul (Acts 16:9-10), and John the Revelator.
At the end of time, the Lord promised that He will give more visions “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). This is a direct quoted from the OT reference in Joel 2:28. This would be a special pouring out of the Spirit that would results in the display of supernatural gifts as when it happened at the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4).
In the early church “the manifestation of the Spirit” was given “to every man to profit” (1 Cor. 12:7). The events of Pentecost were but a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prediction. The prophecy is to reach its full accomplishment in the manifestation of divine grace which will attend the closing work of the gospel.
It should be noted that not all super manifestations are from the Lord. So, how do we know whether a vision is from God or not. The prophet Isaiah gives us the answer “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Here, the prophet directs men to the Word of God as the basis for the truth and the guide. God has revealed Himself in His Word. Therefore, whatever is revealed in a vision that is not in harmony with the Scriptures would not be a revelation from God.
In His service,