Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


By Jeannette Haley

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:19a

What does it mean that people perish if there is no vision? The Hebrew word for “vision” in this Scripture is “chazown” which means “a sight” (mentally) i.e. a dream, revelation or oracle. The idea here is that if the people have no heavenly vision, or revelation by the Spirit or word from the Lord, they will perish, or be destroyed for “lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6.) We know that much of Israel and Judah, throughout their long history, rejected the word of the Lord given through the prophets of God and instead pursued the gods, idols and evil practices of the pagan nations around them which resulted in God’s judgments upon them. Even though they still maintain that Abraham is their “father,” nevertheless most disregard or ignore the fact that “he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” Hebrews 11:10. How did Abraham have such knowledge if it was not given to him as a direction revelation (vision) from God? I need to emphatically state for the purpose of this article that the entire Bible is the Word of God and is heavenly visions and is revelations. Yet, the prevailing attitude of the liberal, post-modern organized church system is that the Bible is just one big, big book of ancient history, stories for children, out-of-date dos and don’ts, and is basically out of touch and irrelevant for today’s technologically-entrapped world. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. We are living on the edge of the abyss of destruction for “lack of knowledge” of God and His Word. There are exceptions, of course, but the spiritual pallor of most professing Christians in these times is as ghostly as that of a starving skeleton. We are like the Israelites to whom God said, “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” Jeremiah 2:11-13.

With few exceptions, the people of today are no different even though, unlike Israel of old, we have, in our hands the visions, the revelations and the oracles of God in a book called the Holy Bible! Yet, the people still languish for a miracle, or dreams, or visions, or revelations from heaven. “O come to us, and do something wonderful to get us all excited and worked up and happy so we feel alive! We’re tired of this ‘same ole same ole manna’ that we’ve been fed for years. We’re thirsty and dry. Where are the visions, dreams and revelations? The windows are barred and the gates are shut to the move of the Holy Spirit. He was resisted, vexed and grieved away years ago, so bring us a new vision, and a new revelation, and a new word to follow.” And, thus the church has been prepped and prepared by the denizens of demons that have filtered in as “angels of light” and “ministers of righteousness” to usher in a New Age and the spirit of antichrist. 

In addition, the real visions, revelations and word of God, along with the foundation-laying and doctrinal teaching of the great hymns of the church, many of which were wrought from the sacrifices, suffering and tears of saints through the ages, have been replaced by hip hop, flippant and vain repetitious “self-sentiments.” Not to say that there aren’t some anointed and beautiful, worthy pieces of music these days that truly glorify God, but they are becoming rarer as time goes on. Hear the Word of the Lord: “Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” Psalm 29:1, 2. Jesus said, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” John 4:23, 24.

Someone might say, “Oh, but sister, you just don’t understand the hearts of the people. They want to know God and they want to hear what the Lord is saying to us today about the times we live in.” The truth is, there is only one source of prophecy concerning the end times that we can 100% rely on and that is what God has revealed to us in His Word. Because we are living in the latter days surrounded by a plethora of false prophets, ear-tickling teachers, and ravening wolves, (most of whom claim to have “visions and/or dreams from God”) it’s absolutely essential that God’s people daily read, understand, meditate upon, and pray over the Word of God. Failure to do so will result in a “spiritual anemia” and ignorance that causes a person to wilt into a state of apathy that can easily be manipulated into gross error, especially by those who claim to have unbiblical “visions” and “revelations.” 

People, this is very dangerous because it’s super easy to become literally “addicted” to a favorite “prophet, seer, prognosticator, or visionary “expert,” all of which we can listen to with the click of a few buttons. For example, the true prophets of God in the Old Testament were unlike the new type of “prophets” that claim to hear from God on a continual, or daily basis and write or speak lengthy and wordy discourses that either fill page after page of rhetoric, or at least an hour of audio explanation on line or via some other media. Please take note, this is NOT the way God communicates to us, but (and some of you are not going to like what I have to say) demons do. Familiar spirits especially love to talk and ramble on and on and on. Their aim is to deceive, confuse and establish falsehoods in a person’s mind in order to receive the attention they crave. A careful study of Scripture reveals that the prophets of God only heard from God on rare occasions, and sometimes they went for many years in between visions, revelations or oracles from God. Furthermore, any prophecies that come to individual believers today for the Body of Christ are not to be in any way compared to, put on a par with, or exalted to the status of the prophecies in the written Word of God. In other words, the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the church today are for specific persons for a specific reason.

Jeremiah 14:14 warns of the danger of listening to the false imaginations of the heart, whether your own or that of others. “Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” And, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD” Jeremiah 23:16. God forbid that we should fall into the sin of divination! 

For we who are Christians, discernment is absolutely essential in order to guard our hearts, minds and souls. If you don’t have an ounce of discernment (that you know of) then pray and ask God for the gift of discernment! If you know people with discernment, spend time with them if possible and let them teach you how to discern spirits. Discerning of spirits is not an option if we are going to safeguard ourselves from demonic oppression or deception! We are commanded to test the spirits, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” 1 John 4:1.

Finally, let us beware of where our imaginations are taking us. We all have an imagination, for God has given us the ability to use our imaginations for creativity and other useful purposes. However, when we rely on the imaginations of our own hearts as being reality, or truth, then we have flung a door wide open for delusion, deception, divination, demons and destruction. Once we let our imagination begin to define our reality, we will find ourselves at odds with the clear teachings of Scripture which results in a divided heart (see Psalm 86:11; James 1:8; 4:8). This conflict can only be resolved by making a choice to either reject all such imaginations as reliable guides, or choose to love the truth; that is to say, Jesus who is “the way, the truth and the life.” The bottom line is, our vision should always begin and end with the Lord Jesus Christ!

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Words: Dallan Forgail (8th Century)

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The Goal of Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to make disciples in compliance with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).

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