The word receives rather frequent use in the Scriptures; occurring eighty-six times in the Old Testament (in the singular form sixty-four times; the plural form, twenty-two) and fifteen times in the New Testament. Over one-third of its occurrences in the Old Testament are contained within the, being used twenty-two times. This consideration coupled with a general knowledge of the nature of the Book of Daniel may furnish insight into the peculiar and suggestive connotations of the word.
The use of “vision” in the Old Testament seems consistent with the manifest nature of God. Throughout the Scriptures, God is declared as revealing Himself and making His ways known through chosen men. The patriarchs commonly reported that God chose to make His messages known through a vision. “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision...” (
The theory of Malebranche (1638-1715) that sense perceptions are not really organic, but are made possible by the connection of the soul with God, and of God with the soul, may be more than suggestive even when vision is limited to the sense of sight or ocular perception. “We have cognizance of things, as well as objective realities, as subjective thoughts and feelings, through the idea which resides in our souls; but this idea is in God, so that we perceive everything in God as the primal cause of all existence and things.”
The simplest factor in visual space is extension. Every visual sensation comes to consciousness as an extended sensation. It is also to be noted that “perception” is an event in the person, primarily controlled by the excitation of sensory receptors, yet also influenced by other factors of a kind that can be shown to have originated in the life history of the person.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The character of the revelation through vision has a double aspect in the Biblical narrative. In one aspect it proposes a revelation for immediate direction, as in the ease of Abram (
From the nature of the vision as an instrument of divine communication, the seeing of visions is naturally associated with revivals of religion (
One may see visions without being visionary in the bad sense of that word. The outstanding characters to whom visions were vouchsafed in the history of Israel--Abraham, Moses, Jacob, David, Isaiah, Jesus and Paul--were all men of action as well as sentiment, and it is manifest from any fair reading of their lives that their work was helped and not hindered by this aspect of their fellowship with God. For always the vision emphasizes the play of a spiritual world; the response of a man’s spirit to the appeal of that world; and the ordering of both worlds by an "intelligent and compelling Power able to communicate Himself to man and apparently supremely interested in the welfare of man.