by J. L. Kammrath
Google “Jesus sightings” and the list may surprise you. Which ones are merely sensational and which ones are legitimate? Is our best protection from being fooled by imaginary connection to the Lord or even worse, from being led astray by the enemy, to avoid all of it? Should we plant ourselves in the safety of declaring that all visions stopped with the death of the apostles or the advent of the Gutenberg Bible? Do reliable sources of Jesus visions exist today that 1) line up with biblical accounts and 2) draw us into a deeper experienced relationship with our Lord?
Immanuel Prayer proponents like co-founders Dr. Jim Wilder and Dr. Karl Lehman, as well as practitioners like Margaret Web and Jessie Handy say yes! Let’s examine the Scripture evidence right after Jesus’ ascension.
Stephen: In Acts 7:55-56, Stephen is being stoned by Jewish leaders. He sees Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand—Stephen, a non-apostle believer, sees a living Jesus.
Ananias: It’s easy to miss Jesus’ appearance in Acts 9:10 because most of it recounts the Lord’s words to Ananias regarding Paul. But notice that “The Lord spoke to him in a vision” (see also v17). There are many biblical references to believers hearing the Lord’s voice, but the Greek horama which means “a vivid apparition, not a dream” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)[i] is used for Ananias’ experience with the Lord. Ananias is seeing a living Jesus in a vision. (Horama is used again in v12 of a detailed vision of Ananias coming to place his hands on Paul.)
Paul: In Paul’s first encounter with Jesus, Paul sees him as a bright flashing light, Acts 9:3-6 and Acts 26:12-19.
: Not long after the Damascus trip, Paul returns to Jerusalem. There, in Acts 22:17-18, he tells of his vision of Jesus while in a trance. Trance is ekstasei in Greek. Strong’s Dictionary defines trance as “a displacement of the mind, amazement.”[ii] The Greek words horama and ekstasei share the sense of seeing within the mind’s eye.
: While in Corinth on a mission trip, Paul sees the Lord in a vision telling him to preach on without fear for “I am with you,” Acts 18:9-10. Again, there’s that Greek horama for a vision of the Lord.
: After his mission trips, Paul was brought before the Jerusalem Jewish High Council. That night “the Lord appeared to Paul” (Acts 23:11). The Greek kyrios ephistemi autos is literally “the Lord stood at his side” (NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon).[iii]
: While we don’t know which of his visions Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, Paul writes, “He was seen of me also.” The Greek for “seen” is optanomai, the very same Greek word used in the previous verses of Peter, the twelve, the 500, James, and all the apostles! Paul justifies himself as equal to these people in seeing the living Jesus.
John: John’s vision of Jesus in Revelation 1:12-16 gives a physical description of the Lord that has similarities to Daniel’s vision in Daniel 10:5-6. Here, John describes the Lord’s appearance as “like the Son of Man.”
Other disciples: Jesus tells his disciples in John 14:19-21, “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.” The Greek for “see me” is theoreo. Strong’s Dictionary defines this as “behold, look on, perceive.”[iv]
: In Acts 2:15-18 which records Peter’s first sermon, Peter says that Joel’s prophecy about people seeing visions has begun now because Jesus is alive again. As Kingdom believers, this applies to us as well!
Evidence of Deeper Experienced Relationship
Today’s disciples: Jesus in John 14:21 tells us, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
: Christians declare this truth, but we often don’t expect to experience this truth. Yet, as Immanuel Prayer is being used world-wide today with individuals and groups, people are sharing visions of the Living Lord! This is the second part of evidence: reliable sources of Jesus-visions that draw people into a deeper experienced relationship with our Lord.
: It would be self-defeating for the enemy to use something that leads people to a closer connection to the Lord. And deluding oneself with imaginary encounters does not translate to the now hundreds of people, even people who did not previously know the Lord, who are drawn closer to the Lord through Immanuel Prayer. *see testimonies below
: Finally, Alive & Well has plenty of video recordings of Immanuel Prayer sessions. Watch for yourself what happens when individuals seek the Lord…and find Him!
*Some reliable sources of these encounters are:
-Non-Christians becoming Christians because of Immanuel Prayer visions mentioned on Dr. Lehman’s website: http://www.immanuelapproach.com/2012/08/09/emotional-healing-for-non-christians/
-Jessie Handy’s article speaking to the biblical underpinnings of Immanuel Prayer in : https://alivewell.org/2017/02/22/where-can-i-find-immanuel-prayer-in-the-bible-part-1/. Additionally, see the article about trafficked girls in India giving their hearts to Jesus https://alivewell.org/2016/09/15/a-bright-hope-for-human-trafficking/