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Many of the visions mentioned in the Bible seem to be little different from dreams (Genesis 46:2; Job 33:15; Daniel 7:1-2; Acts 16:9). The main difference seems to be that a dream occurred while a person was asleep, but a vision may have occurred while a person was either asleep or awake (1 Samuel 3:3-15; Psalms 89:19; Daniel 2:19; Daniel 8:1-26; Daniel 9:20-23; Luke 1:22; Acts 9:10-17; Acts 10:3; Acts 10:9-17). Also, dreams were a common experience among people in general, whereas visions were usually given by God to selected people for specific purposes (Genesis 15:1; 2 Samuel 7:17; Nahum 1:1; Daniel 7:1; Daniel 8:1; Acts 11:4-18; Acts 18:9). In such cases people were not to boast about their visions, but give glory to God (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). (Concerning the interpretation of visions see DREAM.)

Visions were often associated with prophets. Prophets were God’s messengers to the people, and God may have given them his messages through visions (Numbers 12:6; 2 Samuel 7:17; Isaiah 1:1; Amos 3:7). To say there was ‘no vision in the land’ usually meant there were no prophets in the land; or, if there were prophets, they had no message from God. The people were going through a spiritual drought (1 Samuel 3:1; Proverbs 29:18; Lamentations 2:9; Ezekiel 7:26; Amos 8:11-12; see PROPHET).

False prophets usually claimed to have seen visions. In this way they hoped to gain acceptance among the people, and consequently receive a good income (Jeremiah 14:14; Jeremiah 23:16-17; Micah 3:5-7).

After the destruction of Jerusalem and the taking of the Jewish people into captivity in Babylon, visions had a more prominent place in the prophetic ministry (Ezekiel 1:4; Ezekiel 1:15; Ezekiel 8:1-4; Ezekiel 37:1-6; Daniel 7:1-4; Daniel 8:1). This developed further after the people returned to Jerusalem (Zechariah 1:8; Zechariah 1:18; Zechariah 2:1), and continued to develop right through into New Testament times (Revelation 1:12; Revelation 4:1).

These visions were largely concerned with the persecution that God’s people suffered because of the ungodly nations who ruled them. The message of the visions was that all nations and all events were under the control of God. When his predetermined time had come, he would intervene in the affairs of the world, overthrow evil, set up his kingdom and bring in the era of the new heavens and the new earth (Daniel 9:24-27; Zechariah 5:5-11; Zechariah 6:1-8; Revelation 18; Revelation 20; Revelation 21:1-8; Revelation 22:1-5). (For details see APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE.)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Vision'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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