Dreams and Visions of the Last Days
What Dreams May Come
Ever had a dream that left you wide awake, even sitting up in bed? One you recall weeks or months later as if the mental film has just stopped rolling? For millenia God has directed his children by means of dreams. Such dreams awaken a new watchfulness, they direct and inspire. And one day, you look back over our shoulder and see the dreamed events have in fact come to pass.
But what if you saw in a dream of future events that impact thousands or even millions of people, not just your family? Would you be brave enough to tell others what you saw? Would you believe another if they did?
In October 2001, Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints stated,
“The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein God declared:
“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…
“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” (read the whole prophecy here in Joel 2:28–32).
About those visions…
Since 2001 when President Hinckley announced this era of prophecy among the sons and daughters of God, our old men and young men — several members of the church have published visions they saw about the wrap up of the modern world still ahead. I have read several of them including “Visions of Glory” by John Pontius, “A Greater Tomorrow” by Julie Rowe and one called “Temple Dreamer” by an anonymous church member through AVOW online forum. Comparing these with recorded visions of George Washington, John Taylor, George Albert Smith, Joseph Smith and the Book of Revelations has been engaging and enlightening. While I do not “follow” these people, nor am I recommending that you go out and buy their books, I’ve found their messages worthy of consideration. They do seem to line up with revealed church doctrine and could possibly describe how things will roll in the “winding up scenes” of earth’s history ahead.
These authors give their account of the same world events but from different locations in the US. Their call to action is to wake up and follow the ordained prophets by doing all they’ve repeatedly counseled us to do. The scenes they describe are heart wrenching, but they also describe the awesome power of God which will drastically increase on earth at the same time as tribulations ramp up. Overall, they left me with Hope, tons of motivation to listen to every word of warning and preparation and to dig deeper into the word of God to discover His patterns and themes, and form my own timeline of what is yet to come. Big dividends in my book.
Reading their accounts was like seeing the movie version for the first time of a book you’ve read over and over for 30-40 years. Sure there are significant insights to be gained by looking at prophesied events from several angles. But the largest benefit to me is that they WOKE ME UP.
Of the Latter-day Saints, Apostle Orson Hyde said, “The Latter-day Saints are not in darkness; they are the children of light, although many of us will actually be asleep. We shall have to wake up and trim up our lamps, or we shall not be prepared to enter in; for we shall all slumber and sleep in that day, and some will have gone to sleep from which they will not awake until they awake in darkness without any oil in their lamps.” (Journal of Discourses, Orson Pratt 7:190.)
Visions and Dreams in the Book of Mormon
For an experiment, I’ve begun a study of the Book of Mormon looking only for the theme of visions/dreams, and that of gathering out from among the wicked (topic for next post). There are at least 5 cases of visions and dreams happening in the very first chapter. It’s unclear whether Lehi was formally ordained to the office of an apostle/prophet or not. Nephi’s account of his father’s story simply states that in the first year of Zedekiah’s reign, “there came many prophets prophecying unto the people that they must repent or Jerusalem would be destroyed.”
Lehi heard their warnings, was deeply concerned and as the account says “prayed with all his heart in behalf of his people.” To his amazement “there came a pillar of fire that dwelt upon a rock and he saw and heard much. And because of what he saw he did quake and tremble exceedingly.” This was a big deal to Lehi, the sort of spiritual intensity to which he was not accustomed.
The account continues, that Lehi returns home being overcome with what he saw and was carried away in a vision where the heavens open and he beholds God upon his throne. He tells his family about the pillar of fire, writes down what he saw in the vision and what he prophesied to his children about the destruction at hand. Only now in verse 18 of the first chapter of Nephi, does Lehi begin telling anyone outside the family what he saw, and the people aren’t happy about it.
“After the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father Lehi, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, he went forth among the people and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning things he’d both seen and heard. He testified of their wickedness and their abominations, and that what he’d seen and heard manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah.” (1 Nephi 1)
But when the Jews heard what Lehi had to say, they sought to kill him. The Lord directs Lehi in another dream to take his family and get out of Dodge. In subsequent dreams the Lord tells Lehi to send his sons back for the plates of Laban and of course the illuminating dream of the tree of life.
I find it so empowering that Nephi then reports, “And I Nephi, was desirous also that I might see and hear and know concerning these things by the power of the holy ghost which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him.” He believed the Lord was able to make all things known to him. The result? Nephi saw Lehi’s vision as well, but wait, there’s more. He also was shown the end from the beginning.
What an enlightening doctrine that the Holy Ghost can show you all things as Nephi, Lehi, and untold others have seen and that this power really is the “gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him?”
What About Agabus?
Consider Agabus, a man who saw a future event in vision and prophesied of a coming famine that would be especially hard on the members in Jerusalem (Acts 11:28.) Peter and Paul did not receive this information, or at least Agabus was the first to speak of it. At the time, Peter was at the head of the church and Paul was an apostle.
The members heeded the forewarning of Agabus by preparing and sending invaluable aid to those members in Jerusalem by the hand of Paul and Barnabus. Agabus was called “a prophet,” not because of his church calling but because he truly had the gift of prophecy – to know of things to come. He also later prophesied of Paul’s imprisonment and death. He was not rebuked but was believed and sustained by current church leaders.
“The gift of prophecy, as demonstrated by Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and others, is not limited to any special ordination in the priesthood (Talmage, Articles of Faith 12th Ed, pp. 228-29) but can be given to all as Moses understood when he cried: “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29; cf. 1 Cor. 14:1-5, 29, 31, 39). In the restored Church all are baptized, confirmed, and provided with the gift of the Holy Ghost, through which all can enjoy prophetic gifts pertinent to their stewardships.” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published by Brigham Young University Law School.)
Consider that your stewardship could be to warn… whoever God tells you to warn, just as he commanded Samuel the Lamanite to call out another race of people (who already had ordained prophets and apostles among them) to ‘course correct, or else’.
Those who heeded Samuel’s words became right before God by reporting to Nephi and his brother Lehi for help in getting it done. Another stewardship could be to “pack your tents and provisions” and head for the wilderness as Lehi and his family did. Perhaps your stewardship will include fulfilling a pre-earth covenant to assist in ushering in the Second Coming of Christ in some powerful or important way. Hey, whatever God requires through His gifts of revelation and prophecy are always good and will bless the receiver if heeded.
Paul admonished the saints in Corinth…and by extension, all of us, to “desire spiritual gifts,” but especially “that we may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14)
B.H. Roberts, church historian and member of the quorum of the Seventy (1857-1933) taught “While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is established for the instruction of men; and it is one of God’s instrumentalities for making known the truth, yet he is not limited to that institution for such purposes, neither in time nor place. God raises up wise men and prophets here and there among all the children of men, of their own tongue and nationality, speaking to them through means that they can comprehend. … All the great teachers are servants of God; among all nations and in all ages. They are inspired men, appointed to instruct God’s children according to the conditions in the midst of which he finds them.”
Knowing this, I invite all to consider our priveleges. Joseph Smith explained “We believe that we have a right to revelations, visions, and dreams from God, our heavenly Father; and light and intelligence, through the gift of the Holy Ghost, in the name of Jesus Christ, on all subjects pertaining to our spiritual welfare; if it so be that we keep his commandments, so as to render ourselves worthy in his sight.” (1839 letter from Joseph Smith to Isaac Galland, written from Liberty Jail)
I want to state here that while I do not worship any being but God the father and His Son Jesus Christ, I love His ordained apostles and prophets beyond measure, and am full in when it comes to hearing and heeding their counsel. My invitation today is to activate two lines of communication from God, both the personal and the priesthood line, and not leave all the work of our spiritual direction to ordained brethren alone. We are always invited to confirm for ourselves whatever we hear from a pulpit. (See Dallin Oaks, Two Lines of Communication, Ensign Nov. 2010.)
Shortly after our daughter Megan returned home from her 18 month church mission in Argentina, we knelt in family prayer as she asked Heavenly Father to “inspire us through our dreams.” As we’ve continued asking Him for this gift, our family has been directed on many different subjects during the night by means of dreams, an avenue of direction I did not understand I could seek.
Roughly a third of our mortal existence is spent asleep. And what if sleep is not just about mitochondrial repair? I invite you to experiment with us. Watch what happens. Write down what you see and ask God for the interpretation.
I am amazed and grateful that He wants so much to reveal Himself to
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