Angels: Visions – Time Perception Manipulation, Realness, Wide Variety of Content
The Abilities of Fallen Angels as Described in the Bible
Chapter 3 – Visions: Time Perception Manipulation, Extreme Realness, and Wide Variety of Possible Content
Visions Caused by Angels
Can Manipulate a Person’s Perception of Time
A Vision also may include elements of a fallen angel manipulating a person’s perception of time. Another angelic encounter in a passage with similar terminology to “carried me away” uses the phrase “took him up”. These may be synonymous terms. This experience caused by an angel (Satan) was likely also a Vision experience.
And the devil took him up, to a high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time Luke 4:5
(Compare And he carried me away in the spirit, to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God Rev 21:10)
The Greek word here for ‘moment’ is “stigme” (4743) which literally means a “point” of time. This word is used only once in the New Testament, but is used in the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, in Isaiah 29:5. The word that is translated as “stigme” is “petha`” (6621) in Hebrew. According to Thayer’s Lexicon, “petha” means “the opening of the eyes”, hence the meaning “a moment of time”. The amount of time referenced to here is the amount of time it takes to open your eyes. This is no more than the time it would take to blink. It takes a human about 300 to 400 milliseconds to blink; that is 3/10ths to 4/10ths of 1 second.
How could Jesus see “all the kingdoms of the world” in the time it takes to blink? Or even in one full second? It would seem that to be shown all the kingdoms of the world should take at least a couple hours, if not days, if a thorough tour was done. But even snapshot pictures in quick succession would take a couple minutes, and this without any time to really think about what one was seeing. And so the necessary amount of time to be shown all the kingdoms of the world is still incredibly more than 3/10ths of a second, or even one full second.
This passage implies that one second passed in time, but Jesus experienced subjectively a much longer period of time than one second during that one second. And so it’s possible that there can be time perception manipulation in a Vision caused (in particular) by a fallen angel. There is another example in the Bible of something similar on a greater scale, during Joshua’s Long Day.
Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. Josh 10:12-14
This passage could be interpreted as to mean that God can pause the progress of time forward, that the clock is paused, but people still can do things while forward-moving time is paused. God seemed to be able to do this to the whole world, a large scale, as the sun stood still in the sky. Because the sun stood still in the sky, if time was being manipulated here (not the earth’s rotation), then this was a case of forward-moving time being paused, and not a case of time travel. Yet while forward-moving time was paused, in that moment time in substance still seemed present, and in a way that still allowed people to interact and do things.
The angels are called “sons of God” or “gods” at times, and in this it seems they may be able to cause someone to perceive something similar on a very limited scale. The effect is that of a longer period of time being experienced during a much shorter period of time. But the only Biblical example of an angel doing this seems to be the fallen angel Satan doing this to Jesus alone, during what was very likely a Vision that Satan was causing Jesus to have. As a Vision, this was a spiritual experience that only affected the person having the Vision, and not everyone else in physical reality. The only Biblical example of a fallen angel being able to add time like this, is during a Vision the fallen angel is causing someone to have. But there is no indication or Biblical example that angels can do this on a larger scale like God Himself can do.
This makes sense as God made time (Gen 1:1), and is outside of it eternally. Only He is “the alpha and the omega the beginning and the end” (Rev 21:6, 22:13) and only God knows the end from the beginning (showing that angels cannot time travel):
Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Isa 46:9-10
Angels and Fallen angels are still only created beings who experience linear time as we do, caught in the flow of time moving forward.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Dan 10:13
Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. Rev 12:12
And so while a fallen angel may be able to cause a person to perceive extra time in a Vision, while linear time seems to be paused, there is no indication that fallen angels can do this on a larger scale like God can. He is God who made time, and angels are just created beings who exist caught in the flow of time. And as this could be confusing, I hope that it has been made clear that this does not have anything to do with the science fiction concept of time travel, which in fact the Bible indicates that fallen angels cannot do, and is not possible.
However, the Bible does seem to indicate that a longer time can be condensed into a shorter time, like time itself has a second aspect or dimension to it.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Pet 3:8-9
A thousand of our years can seem a short time to God, who is eternal. A thousand years for us doesn’t seem like a long time to Him, but rather a thousand of our years seems to Him like a day would for us. But also, just one of our days, as perceived by Him, would seem to us to stretch on and on like it was taking a thousand years, from our perspective. This may be as in a single one of our days, the Lord is so busy and with so much to do, that it would take us a thousand years to get as much done. It might take us a thousand years to get as much done as He does in a day. This may refer to what it is like, that He hears all of our prayers, and intercedes for all of us,
“Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Rom 8:34
All over the world, Jesus Christ intercedes for, and hears the prayers of millions of people, a multi-tasking of an incomprehensible sort. A solution in understanding this may be that a longer period of time can be condensed down into a shorter period. Time itself is a thing that was created by God, and may have been designed in such a way as to allow for this. But again, this is another Biblical example that a longer period of time can seem to be condensed into a shorter period of time. Time perception manipulation caused by the fallen angel Satan followed along these lines in the Vision he seemed to cause Jesus to have in Luke 4:5. And so the only sort of time manipulation that there is any Biblical precedent for is: time perception manipulation of adding time into a paused moment. Fallen angels seem to be able to do this in a limited way, and by the only example of this in the Bible, it seems they only can do this in a Vision they cause a person to experience.
A Vision Caused by an Angel Can Seem So Real As to be Indistinguishable from Reality
Peter couldn’t tell if something was real or a Vision, and so in Acts mistook reality for a Vision, because Visions can seem so indistinguishably real.
Peter followed him (an angel) out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision” Acts 10:9
There is a second witness to this by Paul. I believe in this example the Bible speaks on the difficulty of the confusion in telling one from the other, with guidance on how we should handle that difficulty.
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Corinthians 12:1-4
The word here for “caught up” is “harpazo”, and the same word is used in Acts 8:39 when “the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more”. And so being “caught up” does happen to be a term that can refer to the Holy Spirit moving someone to a new place, bodily. It is used in reference to Jesus’ ascension (Rev 12:5) and to believers being caught up into the air to be with the Lord (1 Thes 4:17). And so this word seems to reference more to people being transported by God bodily.
But on the other hand, Paul also makes it very clear that he cannot tell if the man was caught up ‘in his body’ to the third heaven, or caught up ‘out of his body’ to the third heaven. To understand what Paul means here by “out of the body”, we have to look to earlier in this same book, in 2 Cor 5:4-9, where Paul says, “We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” In this case Paul references to one whose body is dead, and so their spirit is with the Lord. Paul defines the term “out of the body” to mean one is “in spirit”.
And so in 2 Cor 12 Paul references back to 2 Cor 5, saying he did not know if the man was “out of his body” which is another way to say “in spirit”. Putting this together what Paul says is that he doesn’t know if the man was caught up to the third heaven in his body, or in his spirit.
The word “harpazo” and term “caught up” is rather synonymous with “carried away” or “taken up”, and these are terms which are both used of Visions caused by angels. And indeed, in this passage Paul is referencing to “visions and revelations of the Lord”.
In 2 Cor 5 Paul is saying that he doesn’t know if this man was caught up bodily to the third heaven, or if the man was caught up in the spirit to the third heaven in a Vision caused by a Holy angel. Many people think Paul was referring to himself in this passage, though this also may have been a story he heard in detail from whoever experience it. In any case, Paul couldn’t figure out if the experience happened bodily, or was a Vision in the spirit. The reason why Paul couldn’t figure out which was the case is because a Vision experience seems so real that it can be indistinguishable from reality.
2 Cor 12 is telling us that it can be impossible to tell by the bodily senses if something was a physical bodily experience, or if it just seemed to be and was a Vision in the spirit. However, as much as Paul admits he does not know if this man was caught up to the third heaven in his body or in his spirit, Paul also makes it very clear that God knows. This means only God has the answers, for instance in His Word, and through His Holy Spirit. We cannot tell with our bodily senses alone whether an experience was in the body, or a Vision, but God can tell. While people sometimes can’t figure out whether an experience was real or a Vision, God can reveal the truth about an experience to those who ask Him.
If a person is “carried away in the spirit” while having a vision caused by an angel, does this mean that a person’s spirit leaves their body?
No. The Bible indicates that a person who is having a Vision, taken in the spirit, actually never leaves their body. Daniel had “visions of his head upon his bed” and in the middle of the vision “was grieved in my spirit in the midst of [my] body, and the visions of my head troubled me.” (Dan 7:1,15) And so we can see that while Daniel had Visions, in his spirit, that this was all in the midst of his own body (no matter where he seemed to be, or what he saw) and that the Visions he experienced were of his head, which is part of his body. Not only that, but all of these Visions Daniel had took place while he never left his bed. Note that part of this vision included Daniel seeing the “Ancient of Days”, likely on His throne, which would be in the third heaven.
Even though a person may seem to be somewhere else, they actually are only “carried in the spirit” in the “midst of their body”. The Visions are of their head, in their spirit, which is in their body. So the Bible indicates their spirit never leaves their body, but they have the Vision experience in their spirit, and their spirit remains inside of their body.
Visions Caused by Angels Can Contain Just About Anything
Visions can include settings or landscapes of just about any place, be about anything, and can include anyone or anything as a character in the Vision, and can include perception of travel.
Daniel had a Vision that occurred where he stood by the River Chaldea. Peter had a Vision while on the housetop where he was, of the housetop, though he was in a trance. So Visions can be of places that are a person’s normal surroundings. John had a Vision where he saw heaven, as did Isaiah (Isa 6) and Daniel (Dan 7), and so a Vision could be of Heaven.
Ezekiel saw a Vision of Jerusalem, of the temple, which was a real place. Ezekiel also had a Vision of a valley full of bones, and when the bones came to life into an army, this was not of something taking place in an actual valley somewhere (Eze 37). And so Visions can be of real places or invented places. Even if the valley was a real valley somewhere, what Ezekiel saw was not actually taking place in that valley. Though, what Ezekiel saw in Jerusalem was taking place there. So Visions can be of things that are happening somewhere, or of things that are not actually happening somewhere (but are symbolic, and of truth being taught only in the case of visions from Holy angels).
Ezekiel experienced the perception of travel in a Vision (Eze 8, Eze 40), and Daniel seemed to be near a great sea in his Vision (Dan 7) and so Visions can seem to include travel or being in a different location. But Daniel makes clear he didn’t go anywhere during his Visions, but was in his bed while he had them.
Ezekiel saw people in the Vision of the valley of bones. John saw people in his Vision of Revelation, as well as strange looking locust creatures, angels, a dragon, a strange beast with seven heads and the body parts of various animals. The characters in a Vision could be in the forms of people, real or not, angels, animals that exist, and strange creatures that don’t exist. But like an artist can draw a cartoon of about anything, or any place, so can an angel cause a Vision to contain just about any landscape or characters.
What is seen in a Vision can vary wildly and be of just about anything. During a Vision a person may see angels, people, entities, living creatures, landscapes of strange places, or of familiar ones, as well as perceiving they experience travel to various places. Yet all of this is just part of the Vision caused by the angel, and the Bible teaches, like Daniel, that people don’t actually go anywhere, regardless of what they perceive during a Vision.