Engaging the Realms of Revelation:
Jack Deere, the senior pastor of Wellspring Church in Texas, has written several books on the Holy Spirit and hearing God’s voice. He said, “Unlike me, the people of the Bible heard God speak in a variety of ways. He spoke through an audible voice, through dreams, visions, circumstances, inner impressions, prophets, angels, and other ways, as well as through Scripture. But after God wrote the Bible, He apparently went mute…It is hard to read a book everyday that tells how God supernaturally intervenes in the lives of His children, and yet see no practical relevance for these supernatural phenomena in our present experience.”[i] It was this holy hunger and frustration that drove him to seek God, and discover that God does still speak today.
There are many people who struggle with doubts of, “How do we know that God still speaks to people today, and that He’s still involved in people’s lives?” Take a look at history: From the beginning of creation, up until the time of Christ less than two thousand years ago, God has been working miracles and revealing Himself to people. The idea that one day God suddenly stopped being involved in the affairs of man doesn’t make sense. He is a real, living God who longs to reveal Himself to His people. If God ever revealed Himself in a supernatural way to His people in the past, He is still doing that today.
Sometimes when people want to engage the prophetic realm, they desire to see the spectacular and the sensational. The Lord however will often speak to us through the still, small voice. As we consider the many different ways that God can reveal Himself to us, we need to make sure that we don’t attempt to dictate to the Lord how He should speak to us. It’s okay to desire to have an encounter with God that’s real, but let Him do it the way He wants.
We can encounter God in different ways:
1. Revelation of the Word:
One of the primary ways that the Holy Spirit speaks to us is through the Scriptures. Many times as we read through the Bible, we realize these are not just words the Lord spoke to a certain people group thousands of years ago, but that God is speaking these words directly to us today. This is why it’s important to read our Bibles every day, so we can hear heavenly wisdom and direction for our lives. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
2. Hearing God’s Voice:
Psalm 29:4 says, “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” Most of the times when the Lord speaks, we hear the still, small voice inside of us. Sometimes God will speak in an audible voice, but this is rare. The Lord will also speak to us through human messengers via the gift of prophecy. Jesus gave a very clear promise when He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27).
3. Feeling God’s Presence:
This often happens when you are spending time in worship or prayer, when you feel the manifested presence of the Lord. Although it is true that God is omnipresent, there are also times where the Lord physically manifests His presence to us. Jesus Himself said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21). That word manifest comes from a Greek word, emphanizo, which means to manifest, exhibit to view to show one’s self, come to view, appear, be manifest to indicate, disclose, declare, make known.[ii] In other words, we will actually be able to sense, feel, and experience the Lord’s presence. The disciple James said that when we draw near to the Lord, He draws near to us (James 4:8).
4. Dreams and Visions:
When Peter quoted Joel on the Day of Pentecost, he said, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16-17). The Lord wants to communicate His will to His people through dreams and visions. When interpreting dreams and visions, we need to realize that not all dreams are from the Lord. When you wake up from a dream and you are unsure of whether or not it was from God, pray and ask the Lord if the dream was from Him. Because prophetic dreams are often symbolic, you also need to ask the Lord to give you the interpretation and meaning. A vision is similar to a dream, only you are awake when you have a vision.
One of the first prophetic dreams I had was during a season when the Lord was encouraging me to find some intercessors, prayer warriors who would personally pray for me and for my ministry. In this dream, I was working at a job as a waiter in a restaurant. The restaurant was full of people, and I was completely overwhelmed by the busyness of what I was doing. In the midst of this scene, I saw a couple sitting at a table – a couple I had briefly met only once in our church offices. When I woke up from the dream, I felt the Lord was telling me to approach this couple and ask if they would become my personal intercessors. I didn’t even know if they had the gift of intercession. However, being obedient to the Lord, I e-mailed the couple (who lived inCaliforniaat the time) and shared my dream with them. I asked if they would consider praying for me. As it turned out, they were indeed intercessors, and the Lord spoke to them about covering me in prayer. I would have never thought of asking them if the Lord hadn’t spoken to me in that prophetic dream.
5. Encountering Angels:
There are many stories recorded in the Scriptures of people who had encounters with angels. These heavenly beings would appear to people, bring messages from the Lord, or deliver them from danger. Although we may not always see them, or even necessarily recognize them as angels, they are always ministering to and for us. Psalm 91:11-12 tells us, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
6. Encountering the Lord:
Many believers in the early church had actual encounters with Jesus Christ Himself after His resurrection. Not only did He appear to the eleven disciples, He appeared to over 500 different people on one occasion. John had a powerful encounter with Jesus in Revelation chapter one. The Apostle Paul encountered Jesus on theDamascusroad. Stephen had a powerful encounter when he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Throughout history, there have been countless stories of people who have testified to having had a living encounter with the resurrected Jesus Himself.
When we experienced a move of God in our youth group at Bible Fellowship, we taught our students about hearing God’s voice and stepping out into the prophetic realm. We mobilized teams and sent them out into the mall to minister salvation and healing to people. One of my favorite stories is of a young girl in our youth group named Sharon. At our Wednesday youth meeting, I told our team to pray and ask the Lord for a dream or a vision of someone that He wanted them to minister to. We called this going on a treasure hunt. That Friday,Sharon sat on her bed asking God if there was someone He wanted her to pray for. As she prayed, He gave her a vision of an older gentleman sitting on a bench. She kept that in mind throughout the day, and went on to meet our ministry team at the church. When we got to the mall, we sent the students out two by two, just like Jesus had sent out His disciples. Sharon and her partner went around praying for several people, excited to be used by the Lord to impact people who they had never even met.
Towards the end of the night, Sharon saw an older man sitting on a bench and she was reminded of her vision immediately. At first she felt a little intimidated but eventually mustered up the courage to go ask him if she could pray for him. As she prayed, God gave her the words of encouragement he needed to hear. She prayed for him and invited him to our church. After that, she asked him if he knew about a loving and saving God. He started laughing and told her that he was a pastor. She felt embarrassed at that point, but he went on to say that he was so encouraged and felt like God had spoken to him through her. She was so blessed and felt better knowing that she had impacted this pastor’s life even though she was younger than him. It was a big encouragement for her.
What God did for Sharon, He will do for you. He is no respecter of persons. My prayer is that your heart has been stirred up to go deeper in the prophetic realms of revelation, where our loving Heavenly Father longs to reveal Himself to you. There’s so much more to the Christian life that is available to us, and it’s time to start contending for more of the supernatural in our lives. Step out in faith, and God will use you.
Pastor Chris Jordan