Moving from Vision to Revelation

This article was written by Michelle Nipp and published by Faith Driven Entrepreneur


It was February 26, 2020. I was preparing to return home after four weeks in Israel with our executive team working through our strategic plan. Reports of a potentially deadly virus were rapidly increasing. News was circulating. People were speculating. I was thinking, “How bad can this really be?” But, as I entered the airport, I was met with a strange scene: people in masks, all flights from China cancelled. Who could have predicted what would follow?

Just weeks earlier, as the world welcomed the new year, every prophet, preacher, blogger, thought leader, and motivational speaker was capitalizing on “20/20 Vision.” In less than two months, that “20/20 vision” was completely obliterated. Those brilliant messages lost their luster as the world plunged into a global pandemic.

Vision: a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination, a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial; the act or power of imagination.[1] 

Vision is a remarkable thing. It is one of those defining characteristics that makes us uniquely, wondrously human. Our ability to “see” is evidence of the Imago Dei, God’s image, in us.

Entrepreneurs typically exhibit vision in spades. We don’t just see what is; we see what could be. We live and breathe by capturing and cultivating vision. Whether we’re talking start-up or strategy, we are marked by our vision.

Yet if there’s anything that 2020 taught us, it’s that vision isn’t enough.

Write down the vision and inscribe it clearly on tablets, so that one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hurries toward the goal and it will

not fail.[2] 

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained… [3] 

The word translated ‘vision’ is ון ֺחז) ָchazown). A better rendering, however, would be

“revelation.” This word is not just about the ability to envision something in a future state; it speaks of revelatory vision. It entails spiritual understanding and perception. It is a divine revelation from God.

Revelation: something revealed or disclosed, especially a striking disclosure, as of something not before realized.[4]


In theology, it designates God’s self-disclosure or manifestation of Himself. This is special revelation. From Genesis to Revelation, the claim of the Bible is that God has spoken. “And God said” is a repeated refrain that reveals how He created the universe and requires His creation Revelation is vital. A brief look at I Samuel 3:1 illustrates this: “Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions [7]

(chazown) were infrequent.” Times were hard. God rarely spoke. Eli’s sons were corrupt. Everyone did what was right in his/her own eyes. In short, the people of God didn’t lack vision; they possessed plenty of ambition and foresight for their selfish gains. What they severely lacked was revelation.

Our situation today is not much different. People do not have a vision problem. We have a revelation problem.


To illustrate this further, let’s examine two builders: Moses and David. Moses constructed the Tabernacle. David dreamed of a temple. One illustrates divine revelation, the other earthly vision.

Moses & the Tabernacle 

Yahweh called the Israelites out of Egypt, a land of temples and palaces. Like many of their ancient neighbors, the Egyptians held the view that humankind and the deities once

cohabitated the earth. At some point, the divine withdrew to the sky, and deities no longer engaged in everyday life.

Temples, therefore, played a crucial role in worship. A god did not “dwell on earth;” he resided in his temple. These temples were closed to the public, and only during a festival procession did the inaccessible and secret deity make his tangible presence known. The gods remained in their temples in seclusion, absent from the people and residing in heaven beyond human reach.

Understanding the nature of the ‘deity in absentia’ is critical to understanding Yahweh’s unique intervention in Israel’s history. Unlike the Egyptian gods, Yahweh concretely expressed the promise of His manifest presence and delineated Himself from the pantheon of other gods.

Beginning in Exodus 19, Yahweh establishes a formal relationship between Himself—the Supreme Liberator—and His people. Specifically outlined are the details for a modest, portable tent shrine, which we know as the Tabernacle.

Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it. [8]

The word for tabernacle is כּן ָשׁ ְמ) ִmishkan), and it is used almost exclusively to refer to the Tabernacle of God. It derives from כן ַשׁ) ָshakan), which means “to dwell, to inhabit.” It denotes a sense of closeness and nearness. In stark contrast to the Egyptian gods, Yahweh would not be hidden and distant. His manifest presence would reside in the midst of His people.

In Exodus 19-31, God meticulously details the plans for the Tabernacle, including the materials to use, how it should be built, its articles, and the duties of the priests who were to serve in it. The idea originates with God, and He communicates the pattern to Moses. “And God said…” appears seven times in these chapters outlining the Tabernacle’s design.

Interestingly, the Tabernacle stood as a rather remarkable humble abode compared to its ancient temple counterparts. It was not built of stone or marble but acacia wood overlaid with precious metals. The curtains were made of linen. The covering made of fabric and porpoise skins.

The Tabernacle was also relatively small compared to other structures. Around 10,900 square feet, it was approximately one-fifth the size of a football field. But it served multiple purposes. One, it was portable. God promised He would lead His people. As He led, the people could dismantle and reassemble the Tabernacle as they were guided through the wilderness.

The Tabernacle also engaged all the people. God tells Moses to call all the sons of Israel to contribute to the Tabernacle: “Let them construct a sanctuary for me….”[9] All would benefit, so all could participate. It was a picture of unity. Just as all the different elements came together to form a unified structure, God’s people came together to build His dwelling.

The idea that God should dwell on earth was profoundly unique in the ancient near east. But, from the outset, Yahweh revealed His divine plan to establish His presence in the midst of His people. It was His initiative, His purpose, and His design. He provided the plans, appointed the craftsmen, and prepared the provision. It was all God’s. And through it, He beautifully and definitively revealed Himself to His people. In this way, the Tabernacle is the visible reminder of His promise to always be with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This had profound implications for both the Israelites as they journeyed through the desert to the Promised Land and for prophetic history as it culminated in the coming of the Messiah. It was a revelation of the restored relationship between God and man.

David & the Temple 

Centuries later, David, now established as king of Israel and settled in his palace, is contemplating Yahweh’s dwelling, “Behold, I am dwelling in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is undercurtains. “The vision for a temple is born.” [10]

At first, Nathan, the prophet, encourages David’s dream. But God soon interrupts. Nathan later returns to David with a rebuke and Messianic message:

“You shall not build a house for Me to dwell in; for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from one dwelling place to another. In all places where I have walked with all Israel, have I spoken a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, [11] saying, ‘Why have you not built for Me a house of cedar?’

Following this, Yahweh (through Nathan) declares how He will build a house—an everlasting Kingdom and a throne that will last forever.

“According to all these words and according to all this revelation (chazown), so Nathan spoke to David. [12]

What is remarkable about this encounter is that David remains undeterred. Either he completely misinterprets the message or is so determined to build the temple that he proceeds uninterrupted. David begins “extensive” preparations: he drafts the plans, he appoints the stone masons and artisans, and he provides all the materials. He orders all the leaders to help Solomon. Finally, he charges Solomon to build the temple of the Lord.[13] (For an interesting comparison, note how many times the Chronicler states, “And David did/said…”) From start to finish, David is the originator and executor of the so-called divine plan—this[14]

house that “shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands.” Solomon completes the Temple and dedicates it the Lord. God, like He has before,[15]

condescends to human initiative. He concedes to the vision and fills the temple with His glory. For over 400 years, the Temple stands as the Jewish symbol of faith.

But, like all earthly visions, it doesn’t last. Solomon’s Temple is destroyed around 586 BCE by the Babylonians. Some seventy years later, the second temple is built by a band of Jewish exiles who returned to Jerusalem. In the first century, Herod the Great, visionary

extraordinaire, significantly modified the temple, expanding and enlarging the existing complex. The gleaming marble and gold monument was a sight to behold—but it would not last. The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans.

Despite God’s presence, the Temple became a real problem for the nation of Israel. Its splendor became a stumbling block. Unlike the Tabernacle, God no longer ‘dwelt among’ His people; He was relegated to a house of stone. The people traveled to God instead of with God. Worship became a destination, not a journey. Religion replaced relationship.

Most tragically, the people cared more for what the building represented—its wonder, magnificence, and wealth—more than what it contained—the Divine Presence of God. This glorified God-box ultimately separated God from His people.

God asked for a tabernacle, a place to dwell with His people. The people put God in a box, cutting Him off.

Why is this important? And what does it have to do with Entrepreneurship? 

First, typology in scripture is important. God always carefully and meticulously communicates His plans. His pictures always convey significant redemptive meaning. The Tabernacle is a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah—Emmanuel, God with us. In John, we read, “The word became flesh and made His dwelling (pitched his tent) among us.”[16] God was never content to remain separated from His creation. Redemption requires incarnation. Yeshua was God incarnate—the Divine among us.

Secondly, as Kingdom Entrepreneurs, we must be able to discern between God’s revelation and our own vision. Problem-solvers by nature, we are bent towards finding creative solutions to today’s challenges. Our challenge is not our proclivity towards vision; it’s the temptation to employ vision without revelation. If we are truly to “bring heaven to earth,” we must seek God’s solutions, not our own.

This is not to disparage vision or deny its necessity. We are created to “see!” But as we encounter a world of increasing challenges, we must “see” differently. The answer to these problems will not be found in the natural but in the supernatural.

At Israel Firstfruits, we seek to advance the Kingdom of God through the marketplace in Israel. As the world shut down in 2020, we utilized the season of forced stillness as a time to reflect, refine our mission and vision, define our purpose, and craft our strategy. Those are all good, necessary steps for properly stewarding the call God had given us. But, as a team, we all recognized that these alone are not enough.

We also implemented “Inquiry Prayer,” a time set aside each month for our team to actively seek God through prayer for His will and purpose. We may come with our list of items, but the goal of this dedicated time is to hear from God. What will He show us? How will He direct us? We bring our work before Him and let Him speak to every aspect.

This is not always easy, especially for the more goal-oriented members of the team such as myself. Like King David, I can craft and execute a plan that produces noteworthy results. Listening to the Lord, however, often means laying down those visions and letting the Lord guide, even if it is unusual and contrary to conventional wisdom. I must let God out of the box. I need His revelation more than my vision.

The results of this inquiry time are undeniable. In what was one of the most difficult and challenging years the global community had ever faced, we experienced unanticipated growth. We took unusual paths and, despite loss and pain, found ourselves in a better, healthier, and more fruitful place than we could have imagined. We “let go and let God”—and the results speak for themselves.

As the world seeks to “get back to normal,” we are challenging ourselves to not return to the status quo. Like the Tabernacle, we may not be impressive by the world’s standards on the outside. But our prayer is that what is inside is nothing less than the personified Spirit of God.

We must let God out of the box. To truly impact culture and provide redemptive solutions, we must move from vision to revelation. God must dwell in the midst of us—and not in name only. As we trust and allow Him to guide and direct us, we will witness His manifest presence and [17] 

supernatural solutions. Let us not labor in vain, but let us actively seek and obey the One and Only Kingdom Architect.