Written about 2000 Updated 9/2013
“He is a great man of vision! – What a visionary!”
How often have you heard of people in the world making a statement like this about a worldly leader?
“You must dream big!” “You must achieve your dreams”. These are like countless statements you hear in children’s movies and in the government schools.
“I have a vision!” This might be the claim of a worldly social activist.
“I have a vision of greatness for this corporation,” a powerful CEO might tell the stockholders.
Perhaps you’ve heard a politician tell of his “vision for peace and prosperity” if only we’ll vote for him.
Or even Christian leaders might be heard to talk about, “my vision for this ministry”.
And I’ve heard many Christians talk just like the world in referring to the “dream” of a great ministry or telling Christian kids to pursue their dreams.
As often happens, fads and trends and phrases that become common in worldly society soon become common among those who profess to follow the Lord Jesus… even if they are totally unbiblical.
And this is such a case. The uses of the terms “vision” and “dreams” as I have illustrated above, are unbiblical concepts. Such uses are found nowhere in scripture in a way endorsed by God’s Word.
As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
`And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.
In each of these verses, and many others, the Bible’s use of the terms “visions” and “dreams” are referring to miraculous revelations of God.
The way worldly people use these terms in our day is such that they are referring to what they have developed in their own imaginations. When they say “my vision” they mean “my agenda”. When they say “my dream” they mean “my desire… my goal… my wish”.
But for followers of Jesus this should be our attitude:
“In this manner, therefore, pray: our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Now if a clergyman tells you about his “vision” for his church, ask him if he means that God spoke to him in a dream or if God gave him a miraculous vision. If so, let us compare this vision or dream with God’s Word. If the person says that it was not miraculous revelation of God, then why use these terms in unbiblical ways?
Some leaders might quote Proverbs 29:18.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.
It is very common for Christians to quote this verse to give the idea that our fellow Christians need a “vision”, meaning some inspiring view to ignite them to participate and take action.
And yet, I believe this scripture is really saying that we, as the people of God, need the word of God to properly live and think and act.
Perhaps the person will say that what he meant was that God has “called” him to do this or that. Or that God gave him wisdom to pursue this action or that. If that is the case, then I recommend that he just say that! Those are Biblical concepts. Of course they too must be evaluated in the light of the Bible.
As to visions and dreams conjured up in the human imagination, see what the Bible says:
5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
21 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
6 And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
51 He has shown strength with His arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
This custom of using “vision” and “dream” in these unbiblical ways are new in the last half of this century. Christians did not use these terms in these ways in the previous centuries. The rise of these deceptions coincides with other false gospels and occult techniques such as visualization, guided imagery, New Age emphasis on “dreams”, positive thinking, reprogramming the subconscious and many other trends. (see Lucifer, the Garden of Eden, & the Tower of Babel)
If God has given you wisdom for action or called you to do something then obey him. And give the glory to God. And I recommend you describe it in Biblical terms, not last days deception terms.