QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
Regarding Spiritual Experiences
♦ Do anointed Christians get visions today?
On February 25, 2012, we received the following comment:
“What do you think about the visions, has anointed Christians the opportunity to get visions today? Acts 2:17? The scripture states:
“‘And in the last days,’ God says, ‘I shall pour out some of my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.’” – Acts 2:17
To the author of this inquiry, we want to thank you for submitting this question as we feel this is a subject that may benefit many, especially those who are hesitant about accepting their sonship. Many such persons believe that anointing grants a person some special abilities, perhaps including visions. We hope by way of our response to assist those brothers as well as provide a satisfactory answer to your question. We will start by discussing what anointing is.
Anointing, also called being ‘baptized in holy spirit’ (Acts 1:4), also called being ‘sealed with a token of the spirit’ (2 Corinthians 1:22), is simply a realization and an awareness that you are a unique son of the Father of All – not a slave, not a servant, not a friend, not a subject. Jesus came to reveal the Father to mankind. The spirit of truth came to reveal the son. (John 16:12-13) By accepting this realization, this gift, Jesus lives through us as we manifest the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), in the same way as the Father lived through Jesus. In the fullest of our expression, we can be the exact representation of the Christ!
(John 14:12) Indeed, ambassadors in his stead.
Though a simple concept, it has been associated with such grandiosity that many humble and unassuming brothers and sisters have shied away from accepting this freely given gift. They may read the account in Acts and conclude that unless they have these manifestations of the spirit, they cannot be “anointed.” Let us now dispel this notion.
The mere realization, or revelation, that you are a son of God is a powerful and liberating idea. It means that “you are enough,” for a human cannot gain a higher station than a son of God. It reminds us of Jesus admonition to his followers:
“You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when situated upon a mountain. People light a lamp to set it, not under a measuring basket, but upon the lampstand, and it shines upon all those in the house. Likewise let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.” – Matthew 5:14-16
By the time of Jesus arrival, mankind had lived “under a measuring basket,” heads hung low believing themselves to be sinners worthy of death, prostrating and sacrificing until their lights burned out. Jesus reminded them of their true worth and that all it takes is to remove the measuring basket. And by his life and death, he demonstrated how to remove it, and then beckoned “follow me.”
As a free gift, it is not necessary to specifically pray for it. However, prayer does serve an unparalleled purpose. Prayer determines the capacity of receptivity by the individual praying believer. Prayer often digs out larger and deeper channels wherein the divine spirit of truth may flow to the hearts and souls of those who remember to maintain unbroken communion with their Father. But there is a danger, though slight.
There exists a vast gulf between the human mind and the divine mind, between man and God. The human is so largely electrically and chemically controlled, so highly animal-like in our common behavior, so emotional in our ordinary reactions, that it is exceedingly difficult for the spirit to communicate directly with the human mind.
And, unfortunately, when a spiritually growing human does find it possible to receive a communication or spiritual revelation, the person is often so blinded by the experience that it precipitates a convulsion of fanaticism or initiates some other intellectual upheaval which results disastrously. The individual may feel he is especially chosen and, as a result, many a new religion and strange "ism" has arisen from the misunderstood communications of the spirit.
If, when such an experience occurs, the mature spiritual individual understands that the message he or she receives is a normal process for a spirit-oriented soul, they can much better manage the experience. If it involves visions, likely the vision is for themselves alone and provides an insight into how to better imitate the Christ.
Rather than starting a new religion, spiritual insight can be utilized to uplift the existing house of believers. There are enough sects of Christianity, but not enough spirit oriented Christians.
So then, while such spiritual experiences as referred to in Acts 2:17 may occur, it is not necessary in order for a person to be spirit-born. And if we are blessed with such a divine communication, let us use that insight, not for self-aggrandizement, but to uplift ourselves and our brothers as sons of God and as ambassadors of Christ.
♦ An unusual spiritual experience
On March 23, 2012, we received an unusual comment:
The author described what appears to be a personal spiritual experience and wanted to know if others have experienced the same or a similar thing. We elect not to describe the experience for the sake of privacy and to avoid undue influence upon others. But we do feel we can sufficiently respond to his or her inquiry and at the same time make a point that may be of benefit to the entire Body.
In our Questions and Response for February 25, 2012, we posted a response to an inquiry about whether anointed Christians have visions today. We explained that it is certainly possible. The spirit of truth does indeed seek to communicate with us, and in spite of the vast difference between the spiritual mind and the human mind, on occasions it meets with a measure of success – even if the communication is a bit jumbled in the translation.
We should also keep in mind that God is not partial. (Acts 10:34) He spoke with men and women of earlier times as reflected in the Hebrew scriptures, so why would he keep silent in our generation? If God is not partial to man, neither is he partial to a generation.
We should note, in terms of why there appears to be more communication in earlier times, that the people of those days who are said to have had those types of visitations were very personally conscious of God. We suspect that, on occasion, the messages were likewise somewhat jumbled, as evidenced by the sometimes misunderstanding about the loving nature of the Father. (See our article “Revealing the Awe Inspiriting Father of All”). Nevertheless, the hearer or viewer managed to translate something of value out of the experience.
Today, we have a different atmosphere. People who do not understand the unity of true science and true religion, and persons with an overly sensitive fear of the spirit world (notwithstanding that the Father and the Christ are spirits) ridicule authentic spiritual experiences. So persons having such experiences dismiss them, ignore them, falsely define them and, in effect, shut the door to them. It is no surprise, therefore, that there would be fewer reported incidents of genuine spirit communications.
We are inclined to believe the author of this inquiry is somewhat wary of sharing his or her experience openly, but feels a measure of confidence here because it can be addressed in anonymity. And we are respecting that anonymity by refraining from expressing the nature of the experience. But we want the author to know that whether others have had your experience is not a determination of its value or validity. If the spirit is trying to communicate with you, it is likely for you and you alone. So, how are you to interpret it?
We learned some time ago that the spirit works by stimulating what is already present in your own mind. He is called the “helper” not the “originator.”
“But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.” – John 14:26
So if you have a limited mental storehouse of spiritual information, the communication will likewise be limited. For example, if one does not know all the alphabets, there would be many words that could not be spoken to you or understood by you. It is the same with the spirit. When a communication is attempted, the receiver may only get one or two of the ideas and not the complete message because the receiver has not developed a sufficient spiritual vocabulary. When trying to translate the message, it appears cryptic and makes little sense. Thus, any attempt to understand it will be flawed or, at the very least, thwarted. This is one reason why we advocate regular and persistent study and prayer.
“How I do love your law! All day long it is my concern. Wiser than my enemies your commandment makes me, Because to time indefinite it is mine. More insight than all my teachers I have come to have, because your reminders are a concern to me. With more understanding than older men I behave, because I have observed your own orders.” – Psalms 119:97-100
If you are privileged with a spirit communication, keep in mind that it is based on the information you have already taken in and is therefore likely to be for your own edification. As such, there is no need for outside verification, confirmation, or validation. It is of no consequence whether others have shared the experience.
It is your own sublime adventure to understand its meaning by combining the spiritual images you receive with your own pre-existing spiritual words. No one can translate it for. The Apostle Paul explains this process for us:
“For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man that is in him? So, too, no one has come to know the things of God, except the spirit of God. Now we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God. These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by [the] spirit, as we combine spiritual [matters] with spiritual [words].”– 1 Corinthians 2:11-13
Paul also explains to us the problem with attempting an interpretation of a spirit revelation without understanding how it works:
“But a physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know [them], because they are examined spiritually. However, the spiritual man examines indeed all things, but he himself is not examined by any man. For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ.”– 1 Corinthians 2:14-16
And, to bring the matter full circle, we gain the mind of Christ by means of the spirit of truth:
“However, when that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things coming. That one will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and will declare it to you.” – John 16:13-14
Having explained how spirit revelation and communication works, we caution you to be aware that we can sometimes deceive ourselves into believing that ideas that originate in our own minds are actually spirit communications. In spite of our scientific advancements, there is so much about the human mind and its workings that remain a mystery. All the more reason to apply any such insights to our own lives rather than ‘shouting them from the rooftops.’ And if they are indeed spirit leadings, they will ALWAYS manifest itself in the glory of the Father and the Christ. That is the ONLY work undertaken by the spirit of truth.
To the author of the inquiry, we urge you to examine your experience for a personal message that would lead you to a closer and deeper fellowship with the Christ. Your description contains some imagery. Ask yourself what that imagery means to you and your pursuit of the Kingdom and spiritual things. If you cannot make that connection, you may wish to set the matter aside until your spiritual vocabulary is sufficient enough to comprehend the message. Otherwise, you may find yourself heading in a dark and unprofitable direction.
We hope we have provided you with enough information to help you resolve this matter between you, the Father and the Christ. And may the Father’s peace remain with you always.
♦ I have never experienced anything supernatural. Maybe the gospels are all that is left of God’s spirit on earth.
On May 17, 2014, we received the following comment:
“Thank you very much for your responses to this and my former inquiries. I never experienced anything supernatural, not demonic, not from father. So I'm much less euphoric when other's speak about fear of "demonic books" or something (at least demonic in their opinion). I think it's just fascinating when you write about being taught directly from the spirit of truth, I pray for it and believe in Jesus with my whole heart, but as I said - I never experienced anything which I could call divine or divine guidance. Maybe the gospel is all that is left on earth from God's spirit. Or maybe you are right. Maybe one day I will get more answers to my prayers. I don't know where my experiences and my knowledge will lead me (and of course, how many years I will live from now), but it's kind of exciting to read your encouraging thoughts. May the Father be with you”
To the author, thank you for your email. We wanted to tell you not to worry about supernatural experiences. Those are rare and only occur with express permission and for specific universal purposes. Our celestial family knows our frailties and will do nothing that could possibly disturb or frighten us, or that could be misconstrued. What might help you is to review information on how the Spirit of Truth works, such as these articles:
The Bestowal of the Spirit of Truth
The Reality of the Spirit of Truth
Expanding Your Spiritual Vision
and some of the Questions and Responses under “Anointed”
You are not correct in thinking that the Bible is all that is left of God’s spirit on earth. Dear brother, our planet is teeming with spirit and celestial life, in addition to the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth that continues to this day. The ‘age of miracles’ is not over. It is the ‘age of faith’ that is lacking. Once faith is restored, more and more people will experience and acknowledge spirit guidance, spirit direction and spirit influences. And ALL of these encounters will be positive and in complete harmony with the will of Christ Jesus and our Universal Heavenly Father.
Think of it this way. If we do not believe in the existence of angels or angelic beings, we have closed the door to their activity in our lives and surroundings. Should an angel provide assistance to a non-believer, that non-believer will likely ignore it, mislabel it, and possibly blaspheme it. So we see the wisdom in our celestial family remaining close at the ready just in case the human develops enough faith to receive their ministry. We have a slogan in this regard: “Give an angel a job!” What we mean is, open your heart to the possibility that God is concerned about 21st century mankind, and you in particular. Let our heavenly host know that you believe in their existence and welcome their intervention. And when your belief in them becomes real, then you can expect the unexpected.
At the same time, we want you to know that our celestial family is concerned about our eternal future – our heavenly career. It is not their place or responsibility to make sure that this preliminary earthly life – the prelude to the real life (1 Timothy 6:19) – is worry free. The trials and tribulations that we must undergo as mortals refine us and hopefully produce qualities in us that will lead to success in our ultimate destiny in heaven. However, when it comes to knowledge, guidance, and support, they are solid gold if you in all sincerity, open the door and believe in their existence. It is like the apostle Paul’s words to the Hebrews:
“Moreover, without faith it is impossible to please God well, for whoever approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.”– Hebrews 11:5
From this, we learn that earthly things must be seen in order to be loved; whereas heavenly things must be loved in order to be seen. Contemplate these thoughts, and continue in your quest for knowledge, wisdom, understanding and above all, truth. And as you pursue this endeavor, the spirit’s guidance will become manifest.