VISION OF THE HANG-GLIDERS


by Michael D. O'Quinn.



I think that all prophets have to go through a time of rejection 
after accepting their personal calling as a prophet.  I don't know 
if this period is a part of a prophet's ministry, per se, (Jesus' 
ministry began at age 30) but I believe it _is_ part of our training.  
Our Lord is much acquainted with grief, and until we can enter into 
that with Him, we don't know that part of His heart.  So, although 
I've had some difficult years, some heart fruit, at least,  is now 
coming out of that.


Vision: Hang Gliding.

This is my first post to this list.  This is actually new territory 
for me.  Not the idea of prophecy or hearing from God, but for me 
it's been difficult to accept the calling God has for me.  Mostly, 
I struggle with sin and I never believed that God would want to use 
someone was wretched as myself.  

I am sharing this partially in obedience to "not hiding my light 
under a bushel" and partially in the hope that others may find it 
helpful.

During March of 1997 I was crying out to God, asking Him 
what His calling on my life was all about.  

God answered me with a vision, one that took three days 
to completely unfold.  This is the most intense vision 
I've ever received.  I was not just watching it on a 
"movie screen", I was participating in it as though it 
were actually happening.  Even now, a year later, the 
memory has not faded - it's as though I am remembering 
something that actually happened.  I could see, hear, 
touch, smell, and taste my surroundings -- I even 
developed vertigo.

This is that vision:

I am standing on the edge of a very high cliff.  It's 
the dark of the night, and I can see thousands or even 
millions  of lights spread out below me.  Some of the 
lights are small, and some are large and spread out 
across a wide area.  Some are bright, while others are 
so dim I can barely see them.  The large lights were not 
necessarily the brightest -- in fact, some of the 
smallest were also among the brightest.  Overall I could 
see no correlation between the size of a light and how 
bright it was.

I knew immediately that the lights were churches in all 
their denominations, sects, and varieties, and that I 
was seeing churches all over the world.  Some of the 
lights were connected with others, like a string of 
towns along a freeway in a nighttime satellite picture, 
while others were isolated.  Some were so close together 
that I had to shield the brighter ones in order to see 
the dimmer.  My overall impression was of a vast 
uncomprehendingly complex network.

I spent a long time -- most of the night in the vision 
-- just looking at the lights and marveling at their 
striking, almost unearthly beauty.  As I looked at this 
beautiful network of lights, I realized that something 
was going to happen soon, and that after this event the 
world below would be plunged into a darkness such as it 
had never known.

As the sky started to brighten with the dawn, I noticed 
some things nearby.

First, I realized that I was strapped into a hang 
glider.  I knew I was in that hang glider to take part 
in some sort of battle -- a rescue operation for the 
lights (churches and people) below. 

Next I noticed that there were people on either side of 
me, also strapped into hang gliders.  As I looked in the 
ever increasing light, I realized that the entire cliff 
section was lined with people who were ready -- even 
anxious -- to jump off the cliff and begin the rescue.  
There were many thousands of warriors on this cliff 
edge, all straining forward, anxious to fight that final 
battle.  As I gazed farther and farther out to my sides, 
I saw more cliff sections like the one I was on.  Each 
cliff was lined with people ready to go, just like the 
cliff I was on.  I knew that we were all waiting to 
swoop down to those lights below to carry them back up 
to this cliff and to safety.

I saw many Great Men of God there.  Some were young, 
some old, some had years of battle experience, while 
others just seemed to have an anointing which prepared 
them for the battle to follow.  I felt humbled to be in 
such company.  My initial surge of excitement over the 
glory of the coming  battle dissipated as I realized how 
many of these veterans were so much more qualified than 
I.  I began to wonder if God had made a mistake placing 
me among such pillars of the kingdom.

After a while, I noticed that the hang glider of the 
person on my right was not assembled quite correctly.  
One of the tensioning wires that held it together was 
dangerously loose.  It would probably hold in normal, 
sedate cruising, but I knew that in the stress and 
strain of battle he was going to loose a wing.  He was 
going to fall to his death, or at the very least he was 
going to be neutralized from the battle, right when he 
would be needed the most.

The person on my left was a grizzled old veteran, with 
the battle scars to prove it.  Both his own body and his 
craft showed signs of former damage, but both were 
repaired and healthy.  One wing spar was a different 
color because it had been replaced, there were many 
patches on the fabric, and the handlebar covering was 
worn through to the bare metal in places.  But the 
overall craft was sound and ready for battle.

As I looked around, I saw other details about many of 
the hang gliders.  Some were assembled incorrectly , or 
had something broken, or were not strapped on quite 
right.  A few were even being worn backward.  But no one 
seemed to notice.  I grieved when I realized how many of 
these warriors would be neutralized in the battle, and 
that some would even fall to their deaths and be lost 
entirely.

I was puzzled by this, so I asked the Lord, "What's 
going on Lord?  Why are so many of these people so ill 
prepared?  Why do they care so much about the future 
glory of the battle, and so little about themselves and 
their neighbors?"

In reply He simply said, "Turn around."  I unstrapped my 
glider, turned, and looked.

What I saw next broke my heart.

Immediately behind me was another row of people in hang 
gliders. Behind these there were even more, and behind 
those, more.  Row upon row of warriors, all waiting for 
the opportunity to move up to the cliff's edge for that 
final glorious jump.

But these warriors' crafts were even less prepared than 
the ones in the front row.  The farther back I looked, 
the more I saw hazards among the hang gliders.  Some had 
perfectly assembled and balanced frames, but no fabric 
on their wings.  Others had only half a frame, with the 
extra fabric flapping uselessly in the wind.  A few had 
no frame at all, they simply had their fabric wrapped 
around their bodies.  There were many, many variations 
on this, some obvious, like the missing frame, and some 
more subtle, like the loose tensioning wire on my 
immediate right.

A couple warriors even had no evidence of a hang glider 
at all.  Those ones were the most arrogant and boastful, 
utterly confidant that their abilities and inherent 
"goodness" would bring them great glory in the coming 
battle.

Most, however, truly meant well but were simply unaware 
that their craft was not ready.

Many of the warriors were prepared, or at least their 
hang gliders were.  But the number of those who were not 
astounded and shocked me.  Even more shocking to me was 
the utter lack of concern each man demonstrated for his 
neighbor.  Each ill prepared craft had the potential to 
neutralize two warriors in this vast army: the wearer of 
that glider, and the one who was going to have to 
abandon the harvest below to rescue him or her.

As I looked even farther back, I saw the rear edge of 
those who were in place for the battle.  There was a lot 
of turbulence there as the people in the last few rows 
were settling in.

Back further yet, almost at the limits of my vision, I 
saw the most heartbreaking sight of all.  I saw millions 
of people running and leaping forward, all anxious to 
get in line for the final battle.  They were running 
across a vast plain, but in places their progress was 
impeded by large hills and even a few small mountains.  
Most just ran around the hills and mountains.  A few 
climbed over, and just a few -- a very precious few -- 
stopped long enough to investigate the mountains 
themselves.  Of those few who stopped and looked, most 
soon gave up and rejoined the crowd rushing headlong to 
the final battle.

Of all the hills and mountains out on the plain, a 
couple had been exposed for what actually they were.  
They were not really hills at all, but vast piles of 
unassembled hang gliders covered by immense tarps.  The 
majority of the people were ignoring the very things 
they needed to survive the coming harvest, much less 
have an effective role in it.

When I realized this, I fell down sobbing in grief.  For 
someone who has rejected God to fall to their death is 
one thing, but for the vast numbers of newly converted 
who were going to lose their lives -- that crushed the 
breath right out of me.

As I lay there crying in grief and gasping for air, I 
cried out in my heart to God "Why have you given me this 
terrible, terrible burden?  Isn't it enough that you've 
had me so many years in the desert?  What can I possibly 
do?"

He answered with words from Ezekiel 38:

     "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to 
     them: `When I bring the sword against a land, and 
     the people of the land choose one of their men and 
     make him their watchman, and he sees the sword 
     coming against the land and blows the trumpet to 
     warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet 
     but does not take warning and the sword comes and 
     takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. 
      Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did 
     not take warning, his blood will be on his own 
     head.  If he had taken warning, he would have 
     saved himself.  But if the watchman sees the sword 
     coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the 
     people and the sword comes and takes the life of 
     one of them, that man will be taken away because 
     of his sin, but I will hold the watchman 
     accountable for his blood.'

     "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the 
     house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give 
     them warning from me.  When I say to the wicked, 
     `O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do 
     not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that 
     wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold 
     you accountable for his blood.  But if you do warn 
     the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does 
     not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will 
     have saved yourself.

With that promise, the constriction in my chest eased, 
my sobs slowly ebbed, and once again I could see some 
hope.

I started telling the others there on the cliff's edge, 
making them aware of the state of their crafts.  Even 
more importantly --  far far more importantly -- I 
started encouraging them to check their neighbors.  
Eventually I was exhorting all of them to pass along 
this Spirit of holiness, of critically examining oneself 
and one's craft in the Light of truth and love.

I watched as this spread out like a wave.  As each 
pastor came to understand the need for checking to make 
sure their craft was O.K. -- and why -- they passed it 
along to their neighbors.  As I watched I saw similar 
splashes in the vast army, where other watchmen had 
sounded the same cry.

The final thing I and the other watchmen did was direct 
the attention of the leaders to the hundred of thousands 
of leaders behind them and to the millions of new 
believers still running up to the battle formation.  We 
started exhorting the pastors to prepare their leaders 
and this horde for what was ahead.

Interpretation

For me personally, this vision is has brought a lot of 
clarity and definition about my role in God's Kingdom.  

Dad has spent many years teaching me who I am in 
relation to Him, that I am His son, and that he takes 
immense pleasure in me for that reason alone and not 
because I "perform" to His satisfaction.  I know the 
fact the Dad says I am a watchman does not mean He loves 
me more or less than anyone else.  In fact, although I 
can see indications of this calling as far back in my 
life as early childhood, it was not until I got my basic 
identity as Dad's son and the Son's bride settled that I 
could actually be of any use to Him in this role.

I've always had a heart for unity, particularly between 
churches that are geographically close but infinitely 
separated by the wily ploys of the devourer...
 
If nothing else, this vision helps me realize that when 
God tells me something and asks me to pass it on, there 
might actually be a possibility that maybe He really 
does want me to be obedient in following through.  (I 
think the bible refers to this as having a "mustard 
seed's" amount of faith.)

Almost as important for me in this vision is what I 
didn't see.  In the vision I didn't notice or 
particularly care about the individual weapons and tools 
which each warrior had.  I was not concerned about their 
skills at using them.  Although I could clearly see the 
personality and heart of each person when I looked at 
them, the reason for that was not that I should somehow 
"fix" who they are or teach them how to fight the 
fight.  Rather, by seeing each person's heart, I could 
more effectively communicate with them about the need 
for tending to their craft and helping others do the 
same.  

For me, knowing this sets some boundaries that I know I 
can only cross with the most extreme unction from the 
Spirit.  All my life I've struggled with the fact that I 
"see" a person's inner heart as easily as I see their 
outer characteristics, their physical body and their 
personality.  I was always a social outcast as a child, 
because I had no clue how to respond socially.  I never 
understood that others didn't see people as I did.  As 
an adult I've had to learn how to respond to the social 
cues that others seem to be able to handle naturally.  
In the process of working this out, I've learned that I 
can easily, almost naturally, manipulate people.  I've 
also learned that this is witchcraft, and is something I 
need to run from.

Working out my prophetical calling has been as much 
about learning where _not_ to go and what _not_ to do 
as it has about learning what _to_ do.

As I've prayed about this vision, I've asked God if this 
is just a personal word meant to encourage only me, or 
if there is something in this for the greater body of 
Christ.  What follows is my best attempt to date figuring out 
discern what, if anything, He may want to say to others 
than myself through this vision.

First, to the prophets, the other watchmen (and women) 
God is calling to sound this cry:

I believe that the measure of a prophet is not in how 
loudly or boldly he or she proclaims the truth, nor is 
it in how popular they manage to become.  Rather, our 
measure is in how effective we are at introducing 
change.  

Actually, our true measure is in our character and our 
heart, and in our obedience to God.  But change is 
something a bit more tangible which can only flow from 
our hearts as regulated by our character.  Having a Godly 
heart and a Godly character are inner fruit, while the 
"change" I am speaking of is the external fruit of a 
prophetical ministry.

So, if you as a prophet don't see a lot of positive 
fruit on the outside, take look at your fruit on the 
inside.  External positive fruit is not popularity.  
Rather it's the Father's purposes being accomplished.

In this vision, if I'd gone around ranting and raving at 
those pastors and cursing and condemning them to hell 
because of the imperfections, far fewer would have 
bothered to take note, except perhaps to encourage me 
most strongly to move on to "wherever God may be calling 
me."  I know this from very painful personal experience.

On the other hand, if I had been so fearful of loosing 
my popularity, I would never have been able to approach 
many of those pastors in boldness to speak the truth 
with love.  Again, been there, done that.

Believe it or not, prophets, many pastors _do_ actually 
hear God on occasion, and most pastors really _are_ at 
least a little sensitive in their spirits.  If you 
approach them with arrogance in your hearts, most 
pastors will discern that.  Or if you cower before them 
with fear in your hearts, most of them will also see 
that too.  In either case many of those pastors will not 
be able to receive what you have to say because the 
"static" so overpowers the "radio station".

Above all, remember that prophetical ministry is 
absolutely _not_ about glorifying the prophet, but 
absolutely _is_ about glorifying the bride.

Pastors and other leaders:

Please try to remember that prophets are people too.  I 
have found many times that pastors are afraid of those 
with prophetical anointing.  It seems like most people 
tend to either fear and despise prophets, or they tend 
to worship them.  I don't think that any pastor in their 
right mind would want to release either of those 
dynamics into their flocks.

But know that in the majority of cases these prophets 
are completely on their own.  Most pastors have a lesser 
or greater amount of schooling -- they almost certainly 
have some specific training to learn how to be a 
pastor.  Almost all churches and denominations have 
avenues for raising up and guiding young pastors, and 
for keeping at bay the wolves in sheep's clothing.  And 
every pastor I have ever known has _some_ sort of 
support mechanism in place once they are actually out 
pastoring in the real word.

In today's greater Christian community, how many of 
God's prophets have the same preparation?  How many are 
trained?  How many are recognized by their church's 
leadership and guided towards maturity?

Many whom God has called as prophets are a little (or 
even a lot) rough around the edges.  Please try to 
understand what we go through as we try to be obedient 
to God's call on our lives.  I have, at various times, 
thought I was: worthless; the next John the Baptist; 
certifiably crazy; the only sane person left; ready to 
be used by God when I wasn't; not ready when in fact I 
was; and just about everything in between.  But rarely 
have I been provided guidelines and encouragement from 
my _church_ leadership.  Most of the other people I've 
known who have prophetical anointing have had similar 
experiences.

If you have someone in your flock who seems to exhibit 
this kind of anointing, please don't be afraid of them.  
Whatever they may be like on the outside, every person I 
have ever met with even an ounce of prophetical 
anointing has started out with a very sensitive heart on 
the inside.  Some prophets have developed hard hearts, 
but in my experience most of the time this is a reaction 
to being simultaneously worshiped and feared by other 
people.

If someone is coming to you claiming to have a 
prophetical word from God, please try to look past their 
pride and insecurity, and at the same time don't be 
upset or overawed by the idea that God my choose to 
speak something through them some of the time.  Just 
take what they say and apply the discernment God has 
given you to the content.  

Above all, please, please try to work with them, setting 
boundaries and guiding them as necessary, but also 
encouraging them to become who God is calling them to be.

Many prophets would give their right leg simply to be 
accepted as people who happen to have a particular 
gifting or anointing.  (Of course, a lot of the pastors 
I've known would probably say the same thing about 
themselves.)

To the new believers:

Hang on!

This is going to be the ride of your life.  In fact, 
it's going to be the ride of everybody's life.  None of 
us have _ever_ done this before, at least not on this 
scale.  While many leaders are experienced at hang 
gliding (to use the metaphor from the vision), never 
before has there been an operation in God's kingdom on 
this massive a scale.

To everyone:

This interpretation -- all of it, but especially that 
which is directed to others than myself -- is composed 
primarily of my thoughts as I've tried to come to grips 
with this vision.  As such, to me the interpretation 
carries less weight than the vision  itself.  I've 
certainly sought the Lord's Heart in interpreting this, 
but in the end I must confess that any interpretation has 
been primarily my efforts at comprehension and 
understanding.

Application

Absolutely the last way I want to apply this vision is 
by rushing out on my own in an attempt to make it happen 
by "helping" God along.

At the present time God has been very clearly and 
strongly telling me to "Stop hiding my light under a 
bushel."  That's one of the reasons I'm sending this to 
the list.

This vision is not an isolated event in my life; it 
confirms many things that have happened before and 
since.  For years I've had an intense passion to see the 
Son's bride made ready for her Bridegroom.  While this 
vision has provided me a few more clues about what that 
might look like, none of the essential elements or 
underlying passions are new.

For me personally, I'm waiting, and watching in wonder 
and awe as this is starting to unfold.

Timing

Since God almost _always_ seems to miss it on this one, 
I will spare him the embarrassment of making yet another 
mistake.

*grin*

Except for instances when God has _clearly_ told me a 
specific time or date as part of a word or vision, I've 
learned to be cautions about trying to attach a sense of 
timing to what I learn in the Spirit, other than reporting a 
sense of urgency if that is there.

My sense for this vision is that it is first and 
foremost meant for the prophets, and I see it as a call 
to allow God to make us effective instruments. ones that 
He can use to bring about the change _He_ wants, _when_ 
He want's it.  That's the other reason I'm posting it.

I also see here things which are coming (the second wave 
of the harvest) and things which may be happening now 
(the first wave)...

-Michael D. O'Quinn.
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