Experiencing an Open Heaven
“… the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” Ezekiel 1:1
INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD THROUGH VISIONS
Before Jesus ascended to heaven after the resurrection He gave specific instructions to the disciples. The order of what took place speaks volumes to me that God will speak to us in visions.
Jesus told the disciples: “I’m going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49
STAY in Jerusalem. It was imperative the disciples obeyed God by remaining in Jerusalem to receive His promise. They did as they were told and went to the Upper Room.
On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: "Don’t leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:4-5
WAIT: After Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples walked back to Jerusalem and went to the upstairs room to wait until they received the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:9-12
They weren’t in a hurry and didn’t go about their daily routines. Instead, they tarried. Tarry means “to delay, doing; or lingering in expectation.
PRODUCTIVE: The disciples weren’t sitting idly by, but used their time wisely. Acts 1:14 states they were “constantly in prayer.” They obeyed God’s word and waited, prayed, and were expectant. It’s remarkable to me 120 believers (Acts 1:15) were willing to wait for a promise they didn’t understand.
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I’m leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. John 14:26-27
Through their obedience they received God’s gift of His presence in a remarkable way:
Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. Acts 2:1-3
Immediately after the Holy Spirit settled on the believers, the doubters started saying they were all drunk and foolish. That’s when Peter stepped up and started preaching. Peter emphasized an Old Testament promise and repeated the words of the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28).
All … will prophesy … see visions, … dream dreams
Visions are for today and we shouldn’t find it unusual that God speaks this way. God's promises are the same as those who were in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE HEARING FROM GOD THROUGH VISIONS:
The God-visions I've had I recognize a pattern. I was doing what the disciples did — waiting and praying. All of my attention and satisfaction were on God and when the vision vanished, I knew I saw a glimpse of heaven.
The majority of my dreams are like parables and need to be interpreted, whereas my visions have been straightforward. There were no hidden messages to decipher. They are similar to what Cornelius experienced in Acts 10:3-4: “About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius’.”
My eyes were closed when suddenly a vivid picture emerged and it vanished as quickly as it appeared. Behind the darkness of my eyelids, a scene played out as if my eyes were open. I was seeing with spiritual eyes, not the natural eye.
Some may experience a vision standing on a corner, but mine have been during my personal times with God. In those moments, I wasn’t thinking or studying how God uses visions. My thoughts were on God and God alone.
The images I saw contained a message with a specific purpose. The first four visions I had were warnings of rough days ahead. They weren’t the white doves I would have preferred, but when God speaks He brings comfort and peace. These visions strengthened me at the time and gave me something to hold onto during the challenging times in life.
A few of my visions displayed God in His glory. They were moments where I saw God’s splendor and majesty and they were nothing short of spectacular!
No matter what God conveyed, each vision encouraged me, brought hope, direction, and played a pivotal role in my life.
CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE FOR THE HEAVENS TO OPEN
For me, putting myself in a disposition where my heart, mind, and soul were fixated on God and His Word is what prepared my heart to see with my spiritual eyes. I was worshipping the Lord and my mind wasn’t wandering. It was simply a time devoted to God. Worship opens the windows of my heart and soul to hear God.
—true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:23-24
The Word of God:
I was reading my Bible or I had paused to absorb the meaning of God’s Word when the vision appeared. I wasn’t studying scripture on the topic of visions, but I was studying the Word of God.
Not specifically in this order, but every God-vision I’ve had I was worshipping the Lord, reading my Bible, and praying. When I’m willing to spend more of my time waiting in God’s presence, it’s when the wind of the Holy Spirit ushers in.
Visions when praying with others:
Another way God speaks through visions is when we are praying with others. There are times I pray with people and see a picture. In that moment, I speak what I see.
I’ve been encouraged many times when people pray with me, step out in faith, and share what they’re seeing with their spiritual eyes. When you pray with someone, don’t be in a hurry. Worship together, pray, wait, and expect God to reveal Himself to each of you personally. It may be a word of wisdom, a word of encouragement, or in a vision.
The importance of holiness:
“I will not look with approval on anything that is vile.” Psalm 101:3
I love movies and television, but there are times I watch something I know isn’t pleasing to God. God continues to convict me as to what I’m watching. Keeping pure and holy thoughts creates a pathway to hearing and seeing God.
The “eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light." Matthew 6:22
Take time to study scripture how and why God communicated through visions. Examine the visions you’ve had against the Word of God.
- Genesis 15:1
- Ezekiel 1:1 and Ezekiel 11:24-25 “And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God …
- Daniel 10:7
- Acts 9:10-11