Jason Silver | Pastor & Author
Despite it becoming more acceptable in some gatherings today, the Bible doesn’t tell us anywhere to PRACTICE or to ACTIVATE “seeking” visions, dreams, visitations, or mystical experiences. I am well aware that some of my friends are in circles that believe these things. I love you all, but unfortunately, this is one area where I have to completely disagree.
I also take issue with the use of the word “mystical” to be honest, it holds too much New Age imagery and connotation. A better and more biblical word would be “spiritual”.
So here’s the deal: Neither Jesus nor the Apostles taught an outright practice of pursuing these things. We are only told to pursue love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that of prophesying, as it edifies the Church.
To be clear Acts 2:17 referring to the prophesy in Joel does say that “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
It says that they will “see” and “have”. It does not say that they will, “SEEK to see and have”… there’s a big difference.
In other words the dreams and visions will be a result of God’s sovereign pouring out, and our seeking Him first, not an experience.
Other than Peter’s trance to go to the Gentiles (which he did not seek) and John’s revelation on Patmos, (which he did not seek, but was told to write some things down, yet not all) the only other person we see having a spiritual experience like this in the New Testament is Paul.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 | “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.”
So how did Paul approach his experience?
One: He wouldn’t even admit that it was him who went to the 3rd heaven. Even though the text heavily implies and most scholars believe he spoke in the third person. Two: Whether in spirit or body, he did not know. And Third: He said he dared not repeat what he heard and saw. And whether it was him or not, he most certainly never encouraged a practice of others seeking the same experience, and then teaching seminars and writing books on it.
Yet we have many today “teaching” the HOW TO’s of having visitations, visions, and mystical experiences as a practice. I’m sorry, but nowhere in the New Testament are we told to teach on obtaining these things. Because there lies in these teachings great opportunity for error, if not simply the teachings themselves.
And in all of this, many times people under this type of teaching, end up developing little to no interest in hearing the straightforward Word taught, which we ARE told IS to be practiced in the Church. Yet it doesn’t hold the same appeal to those seeking mystical experiences.
That being said, I’m not trying to be some “the gifts have ceased internet heresy hunter”. In fact I believe greatly in the power of the Holy Spirit and that his gifts and enduement with power “from on high” are FOR TODAY and should be pursued.
But dreams, visitations, and spiritual experiences are sovereign works of God in the midst of our seeking Him. You will not find a teaching to pursue them, nor to teach others to anywhere in the New Testament.
Copyright 2015 | Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner