Visions from God are only for very special events.

There are three words that are translated “visions”, in the New Testament.

1) The Greek word “horama”, which means something gazed at, a spectacle or vision, is used twelve times.

The first time is in connection with the Mount of Transfiguration when Jesus tells the three not to tell the vision to anyone.

We see it again with the conversion of the Apostle Paul.  In a vision, God instructed Ananias to go to Paul. This is a big deal because Paul had been on his way to murder every Christian he could find. (Please note: when Paul saw and spoke to the Lord at his conversion, it was not a vision but a reality.)

The next time this word is used is with the conversion of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert to Christianity. This marked the opening of the heavenly call to the gentiles.

Paul was also directed in vision to go to a particular area to preach. Remember, Paul was an Apostle of Jesus specifically sent to the gentiles. He had a special mission from God.

And the last time this is used is to tell Paul not to be afraid, but to continue to preach and not hold back.

2) The second Greek word translated “visions” is “optasia”, which means an apparition or vision. This word is found four times in the New Testament.

First time: it was the people who thought Zacharias had seen a vision in the temple—but he had not. He literally spoke to the angel Gabriel about the birth of his child, John the Baptist.

The next time was when Jesus joined Cleophas and another on the way to Emmaus. There Cleophas explained that the woman had seen a vision of angels telling them Jesus was alive. We know from the context of the resurrection morning, they actually did see the angels—they were not a vision.

The last time was in Acts when Paul tells King Agrippa that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.  Perhaps Paul is referring to the vision he was shown about the third heavens which is the ages beyond the Kingdom.

3) The third Greek word is “horasis”, which has the thought of an “inspired appearance”. This is only used three times. Once when Paul quotes Joel 2:28 and twice in the book of Revelation. Revelation, itself, was a vision given to the Apostle John.

When looking at the Joel scripture in context, we see it is a prophecy. It is still a future event. This is about the inauguration of the Kingdom we pray for. The Kingdom will be established at the end of Armageddon when God fights for Israel.

Joel 2:28,  “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”

As you can see, God uses visions rarely and only for very important situations. Visions are not a manifestation of the gifts of the holy Spirit.

If you are looking for direction from God, then you need to not just read His Word, but to study it. We are told in Proverbs 3:5 to lean not to our own understanding, but to trust in God and He will direct our paths.