Daily Reading: (Acts 2:17):
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
So when will visions and dreams really start happening for God’s people? “In the last days.” According to this text, the last days will be “a time when I will pour my Spirit out on all people.” Acts 2:17 is the beginning of Peter preaching a Holy-Spirit-filled message where He quotes from the prophet Joel in Joel 2:28-32 to say what was prophesied about the Holy Spirit, just happened, we just received the Holy Spirit. In our day and age, we are going to be given God-given visions and dreams. Are you ready for God to communicate to you through dreams and visions?
In the Greek text, this passage was written in, it reads like this: “And it shall be in the last days God says that I will pour forth of my Spirit on all mankind. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men (which simply can mean youth) shall see visions and your old men (elderly men or women) shall dream dreams.”
What you might be asking is why are the young given visions and the old given dreams? The use of the phrases “sons and daughters” and “young and old men” is a Hebrew parallelism. It is a poetic device that is used to emphasize that people from every demographic: young and old, male and female now have access to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide you in a variety of ways, that’s all that it means. The true message of Acts 2:16,17 is that with the coming of the Holy Spirit, all who follow Jesus have the ability to hear from God.
Then another question, I had and maybe you had too is what is the difference between a vision and a dream, and then how do I know that it is from God and not the breakfast burrito that I had before I went to bed?
Visions is the Greek word (horasis): the act of seeing, it can be an appearance divinely granted in an ecstasy moment (think about John in Revelation seeing things unfold in the end. Now, dreams is the Greek word (enypnion) a vision which presents itself in a dream. So, really the only difference between a dream and a vision is that in order to have a dream you have to be asleep.
The main point that I want you to get from this verse is that the Holy Spirit doesn’t discriminate based on age. Your young men will see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” Neither will be left out. Both will be blessed in this way. When the Spirit comes, he draws us together in ministry. Paul would write to his young protégé Timothy – “let no man despise thy youth” (1 Timothy 4:12). And for those that think they are too old to be used by God. Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for God to fulfill His promise in their life, Abraham was 100 Sarah 90 when their promised child Isaac was born. Isaac means laughter because Sarah laughed at the thought in her old age, how would she be able to have a child?
What is the purpose of dreams and visions? The Book of Acts, as you read it in its entirety- it is the church age and each dream and vision in the book of Acts is about the spread of the Kingdom of God until “all people” are reached. They are all dreams and visions given for missionary strategy and missionary motivation. Ananias (Acts 9) has a vision to go commission Paul for his great missionary work. Peter (Acts 10) has a vision to carry the Gospel and the Spirit to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house. Paul (Acts 16) has a vision of Europeans saying, “Come over into Macedonia and help us.” (Acts 18:9; 26:19).