Open Vision vs Trance ~ Reflections from Acts

I’m really enjoying my adventures with God reading the book of Acts afresh. I highly recommend it. Today I was reading the story of Cornelius and his conversion via visionary experiences. The vision Cornelius had was different to Peter’s and so I want to spend some time explaining the difference between an open vision and a trance. In this story, Cornelius has an open vision (Acts 10:3-6) and Peter has a trance (Acts 10:9-16). ⠀

More teaching on visionary experiences is needed in the Body of Christ. Many are afraid of them because they don’t want to fall into error or the New Age. I assure you these experiences are biblical and have occurred more than once across the scriptures. ⠀

Let’s begin with the open vision. It occurs with our natural eyes and can be fully panoramic or just occupy an area of our vision. The Greek word for vision from Cornelius’ story is horama. It means “that which is seen”. It can also be called a “waking vision”. This is like having a dream with your waking eyes. It is pretty spectacular. These types of visions occur a number of times in scripture.⠀

Peter has a trance. This is clearly articulated in this passage. The Greek word is ekstasis. This definitely describes an ecstatic state where we are caught up in a “displacement of the mind” or “bewilderment”. It always implies awe and wonder. A trance actually catches you up into another realm. This is likely what happened to the apostle John when he spoke of being “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” in Revelation 1:10. There are seven times the term ekstasis occurs in the New Testament.⠀

I have had a trance experience at least once in my life. I was definitely “caught up” and felt I was in another place. It was definitely an ecstatic experience. I would encourage you to delve deeper into visionary experiences and find the biblical precedence for them in the Word of God. There is always more for those who ask, seek and knock…⠀

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