Jeremiah 1:11-12 New Living Translation (NLT)
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?” And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.” 12 And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching,[a] and I will certainly carry out all my plans.”
Why this verse for this story? Because it’s a pun…a play on words. God gave it to Jeremiah so prepare yourself now. The Hebrew word for “almond” or “almond tree” is shaqed, while that for “watching” is shaqad. God is playing with words and images in order to help Jeremiah remember. And he obviously did since he wrote about it. I will do the same.
I imagine someone may want to ask me why I’m sharing these stories…Especially like the one I’m about to tell. If it were easy I would have done it a long time ago but it’s really not easy at all. I’m reminded of another verse, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen” (John 21:25 NKJV). So He’s still doing amazing things and people are still wanting to write books about them. So, this will be another one of mine. But, like the last one, I better give some scripture references for what I am about to share.
I had been a Christian for many years before ever hearing anything about open eye visions or simply “open vision.” My experience with visions had always been with eyes closed while in prayer. When I heard “open vision” I did not know what they were talking about. But during the Vineyard movement in the mid-90’s prophets were showing up who were seeing these open eye visions and pointing out scripture verses to verify the experiences. I went to hear the prophet Larry Randolph speak at Atlanta vineyard one night. As he walked by me the Holy Spirit came on me so mightily I was nearly incapacitated. I felt like a bowl of jello…I could not sit up in my chair! I wondered what had happened to me but the next morning I saw my first open eye vision. I then understood the gift had been imparted to me as Larry walked by under the anointing (Romans 1:11 NKJV). But that’s not the story I want to tell today. That was just me sharing how I received the gift I was beginning to gain understanding about. Please know this, these experiences DO take place in your Bible and I will point a few instances out for you. People have typically overlooked these instances as they read because they are unfamiliar with it. I had done the same thing.
The first story I’m thinking of is John the Baptist standing in the Jordan river baptizing people when suddenly he saw Jesus walking up…He said, “Behold the lamb of God!” (John 1:29)…His seeing Jesus as the lamb that takes away the sin of the world would take more than a blog to explain fully so let’s just focus on the “open vision” he has for now. He saw Jesus as a Lamb. Also, when Jesus was baptized the scripture says the heavens were opened and John saw the Holy Spirit descend upon, and remain on, Jesus “LIKE” a dove (John 1:32). A dove did not fly down, land on Jesus and remain. John saw it in the spirit realm as a dove. The prophet Elisha had a servant who was frightened of the enemy until Elisha prayed for him, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). This young man was not blind. God opened his spiritual eyes for a moment. And again, in Numbers 22:31 we read of God opening Balaam’s eyes to see what was in the spirit realm in front of him, “Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face” (Numbers 22:31). Here God opened Balaam’s spiritual eyes as well. I’m sure someone will find these references arguable as support for the story I will be telling. That’s fine…This blog is not for them.
Given these examples, I will share an open vision I always remember fondly. The year was 2000 and I was in a Vineyard church in Kennesaw, Ga. A young lady in our church was standing in the back of the sanctuary after the service and when I looked at her I saw a open vision of a cantaloupe just over her head… Don’t laugh just yet…When I immediately asked the Holy Spirit why He showed me this He said,”I need you to go tell her she can’t elope.” Ahhhhh, I see…the ol’ play on words. He had done this before and knew I thoroughly enjoyed it…So I went to see if she would. I was close friends with her parents and had some credibility with the family from previous interactions. When I told her what I had seen and what The Holy Spirit said it was for, I instantly saw her eyes light up with excitement. She began to explain how she and her boyfriend were indeed planning to elope to save her dad the expense of a wedding! They both accepted that word as being from God and cancelled their plans to elope. They ended up having the wedding in her dad’s backyard. He had turned his backyard in to a beautiful garden of blooming plants and rock walkways etc. Our pastor did the wedding and it did not cost her dad a thing…It was perfect. Yea God!
She came to me some time later to tell me that even before the Lord gave me that word picture she had been eating cantaloupe for breakfast. She was suddenly aware the Lord had been watching her eat breakfast. If the hairs of our head are numbered then certainly He is intimately aware of everything about us, even what we eat for breakfast. The more aware we become of this intimate God of ours the more our sense of wonder increases.
Often the best way to test if something is from God or not is to test the fruit. What was the fruit of this experience? A young couple was able to get married in a way their family members could participate in and remember for a lifetime. What has God been doing in their lives since? They have been happily married over 15 years and God has blessed them with 3 amazing sons…so far!
How would I sum up this story? To explain how the gift of prophecy, including open visions, should be handled in the church 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” I’m holding fast to this one. I hope you agree with me there…Blessings, Bill Hopper