The longer I spoke, the stronger the vision came. I was in Jakarta, Indonesia, in July 2007, and I was preaching at three services back-to-back, beginning on a Saturday evening. While I was focused on speaking to the people who were present and sitting there in the congregation, something strange was happening.
It was as if I was someplace far away. I seemed to have tuned into something far beyond this gathering. The audience was attentive, hanging on to every word. Even as I spoke, I found myself wondering, questioning.
I kept seeing this supernatural picture, which the Bible calls a vision, superimposed on what I was viewing with my physical eyes—the people sitting there. Where was I? What was I seeing? What did it mean? How should I respond? How did it affect the people? Did it affect them at all?
Here I was, preaching on the fact that God was doing a “new thing.” I felt almost embarrassed because I had expounded on this topic so many times before. A few years earlier, there had been a season when I had not been able to preach anything else. I had preached on it so often and for so long in the past that now I felt as if I were beating a dead horse—except I couldn’t not preach it again this time. I couldn’t get away from this driving message in my heart: God is doing something new.
This time at least the scriptural focus was not Isaiah 43:18-21, as it had been in the past. It was Isaiah 42:9: “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them” (The Amplified Bible).
What in the world was God saying? Why could I not get away from this message? It was frustrating, particularly because the message was so indefinable, intangible, veiled. Furthermore, the more I preached it, the stronger the vision became that stood between the people and me. Here was this “other world” picture superimposing itself on top of the crowd in front of me, an overlay of a vision. It was worse than having a fly continuously landing on my nose and diverting my attention.
What was the vision? As I preached, I saw a mountain that was beginning to arise out of the waters of the sea. Just the tip of the mountain was out of the water. I knew that the rest of the mountain was there, still submerged, but it was no longer hidden from my awareness. It was in the process of being unveiled.
I was captivated by this picture. As I progressed through my message, I also pondered the vision’s meaning. Some Scriptures came to mind.
I realized that the mountain was speaking of a kingdom—the kingdom of God. I remembered that the mountain or kingdom the prophet Daniel spoke about to King Nebuchadnezzar had started with one stone, one person, one leader. It went on to become the one that overcame every other kingdom:
“‘You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
“‘And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure'” (Dan. 2:31-35,44-45).