Visions From the Gods

According to the Greek myth, the Trojan War began with a vision from the gods. One day, Paris was tested by Zeus and three goddesses: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris was to choose which of the three was the most beautiful of the goddesses. To entice his vote, each goddess offered a blessing to Paris. Hera promised power, Athena wisdom, and Aphrodite promised Paris the love of the world’s most beautiful woman. Paris chose Aphrodite. All well and good, until you learn that the world’s most beautiful woman is Helen, the wife of King Menelaus. But such a trifle as marriage would not stop Paris from taking Helen as his own. After all, he had a vision! It was the will of the gods! Who cares if it infuriates a potential ally and turns him into a violent enemy? Paris brings Helen back to Troy and Menelaus proceeds to organize a war, leading his Spartans against Troy.

Now, can you imagine what it would be like in our day if visions from the gods held such sway over us that we would be willing to go to war to see them fulfilled? Well, apparently, we are not as far removed from such motivations in our day as we’d like to think. Only, now, such visions are not driving the characters of Greek myth, but evangelical Trump supporters who seek to overturn voter fraud.

This past weekend, a pro-Trump rally was held in Washington, DC called the “Jericho March.” One of the organizers claimed that God had nudged him one night and told him, “It’s not over” (speaking of the election). Then, God gave him a vision of the Jericho March: a political rally for President Trump in which the attendants would march around governmental buildings in Washington, DC seven times, blowing a Shofar, to tear down the walls of…er…injustice and voter fraud…or something like that. Well, this guy had the vision, then another woman he met had the same vision, and that led to this wild, and frankly, eerie rally mixing politics and faith in very disturbing ways. 

If you want a much better analysis of all that went on, check out Rod Dreher’s piece here. I’ve seen only parts. If I am following this correctly, based on the nature of these visions, it is God’s will for Trump to be president. If he is not president, it can only be due to some voter fraud or corruption in the system. How do we know? Because, God has told us so. One speaker I saw (I didn’t catch his name) said something to the effect of: “We don’t listen to our minds, that is where fear comes from. We must listen to our hearts. For, what matters is the truth!” Truth, in other words, doesn’t come from facts outside of ourselves, but from our gut feelings, our intuitions, our emotions. All, of course, guided by internal words and visions from God. Who cares what the facts say? Who cares if a persistent push against a result we may not like could escalate the hatred in our country? Who cares if things get violent and out of control? We have a vision from God! As Eric Metaxas said at the rally, “When God gives you a vision, you don’t need to know anything else.”

I am quite concerned about all of this for many reasons. But before I move on, I do want to point out that I am not making a claim about whether or not there was voter fraud. There very well could have been. But what I am suggesting is that the burden of proof is on the facts of the case, not “God-given” visions, dreams, and intuitions. 

Leaving the claims of voter fraud aside, my main concern here is these so-called visions and dreams from God. God’s people have always been seduced by “enthusiasm.” Literally, God-within-ism. This is the temptation to pursue God’s voice apart from His Word. The sinful nature is never satisfied with what God has to say. It either demands more from God or seeks to change His Word. So, it asks God to show up apart from His Law and His Promises. It listens for Him where He is silent. The trouble is the devil is all to happy to fill void and offer up what we want to hear. He is all too ready to speak in ways that have the appearance of godliness (lots of good, strong evangelical language and Bible verses) but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5). That is, they tout the Bible and show-off their allegiance, but they don’t actually trust the Word to give them what they want. So, they use the Word of God for their own ends and seek a god apart from or alongside of the One who has come in the flesh. 

Those, then, who have visions and dreams seem to have mastered this enthusiastic practice! God has decided to speak to them and give them visions in their sleep. They’ve had an experience that demands your attention, and since it is from God, your allegiance. Never mind that they promote a message that demonizes your political opponents, promotes pride, is unappeasable, and slanderous (2 Timothy 3:3). They’ve heard from God! Or, at least, the god within. And, this god cannot be challenged.

I need to tell you: You are not bound by anyone’s visions or encounters with God. That is not Jesus for you. It would do us well to memorize and meditate on Hebrews 1:1-2 where the author says in no uncertain terms: “Long ago, at many times and in various ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom he created the world.” In other words, you don’t need prophets or visions. You have Jesus!

You are not bound to nor cursed by Paris’ vision of the gods. Nor are you bound to anyone’s personal divine encounters. Well, except for those from the guys who spent three years at Jesus’ physical feet and then touched the holes in His physical, resurrected hands. In their scriptures, you have what the prophets of old longed for, Jesus Christ, the Son of God! You simply need His Scriptures preached to you. For, there His Word to you is clear: “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be a slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45) He gave His life as a ransom for you! It is this word that produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), that teaches you to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44), that delivers to you all you need to hear from Christ Jesus.