This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.
Dreams and visions are often mentioned together as ways God speaks to people. Often they are accompanied by a voice from heaven.
In the Old Testament only a small proportion of the population were reported to have visions from God. They were all prophets. Numbers 12:6
In the New Testament prophecy became more usual as the Holy Spirit began to be given to all believers.
To jump to the story A strange vision click here.
All these prophets had visions: Samuel 1 Samuel 3 ,Nathan, Ahijah the Shilonite, Iddo 2 Chronicles 9:29, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Zechariah (not the father of John the baptiser, but an earlier prophet.)
While some visions were of good things in the future, others were warnings of disaster. Isaiah’s vision of a vineyard Isaiah 5:1-7
In the New Testament important visions were given to Saul, who became Paul, and Ananias, who healed Paul’s blindness. Acts 9:1-19
A strange vision
While I was staying at Simon the Tanner’s house in Jaffa, I made a habit of resting and praying on the roof in the afternoons. After all it was too hot to do anything at that time of day.
One afternoon I was almost asleep, when I saw a vision of a large sheet descending from heaven. It was being held by its four corners and contained all kinds of living creatures. None of them was the sort, which have cloven hooves and chew the cud. They reminded me of the sea creatures we used to throw back as useless.
Then a voice said, ‘Rise up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
There was nothing permitted for us Jews with our strict dietary rules. I realised it was the Lord, but I could not believe what he was saying.
‘Surely not, Lord.’
He told me not to call anything impure or unclean that he had made. This happened three times. The Lord likes to do things in threes. I recall how he asked me three times on the beach, ‘Do you love me?’
Then there was a knock on the door; some Gentiles were asking for me. Without the vision I’d not have had any dealings with them. My wits may not be the quickest, but even I could see what this vision had been about.
I invited them in and listened to their request. The next day we travelled to Cornelius’ house, so that I could speak about the Lord Jesus.
Then what the prophet Joel had foretold came true as the Gentile believers received the Holy Spirit just as we had and were baptised afterwards .