These are notes on the sermon, The Year of Hazon Vision, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 3 January 2021, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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This year, the Lord will do a new and unprecedented thing. We will see many changes and transitions happening this year, and they’re going to be for the good of God’s people.
Last year, the theme of the year was “Time and Space,” and we saw the Lord transcend time and space in many ways for us. In this new year, God is not replacing last year’s theme but adding on to it. In 2021, we will still see Him transcend time and space for us.
Why is having a theme for the year important?
Because even though God is outside of time, He works with time.
There are 2 words for “time” in the Greek:
God works with days, weeks, months, and years.
The Bible tells us to learn to be wise so that we can redeem the time (Eph. 5:15–16). God can even restore the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25 KJV).
Today’s sermon is a continuation of last week’s sermon, How to See Many Beautiful Days. Pastor Prince shares that God gave him the theme of this year when he was studying the passage that inspired last week’s sermon.
Recap of last week’s message:
“So it was that he (Simon Peter) stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.”
— Acts 9:43 NKJV
“Joppa” — “Joppa” means “Beautiful.” This verse is a picture of how the Lord wants His people to live out many beautiful days in 2021.
In this verse, there are two people called Simon (Simon Peter and Simon the tanner). The name “Simon” means “hearing,” so the two Simons represent a double hearing. We can see a parallel of this “double hearing” in Deuteronomy 28:1 KJV, which tells us that the blessing of the Lord comes on those who “hearken diligently.” Both words “hearken” and “diligently” are the same Hebrew word “shama,” which means “listen” (referring to a “double hearing” of God’s Word). The secret to enjoying many beautiful days is found in hearing and hearing the Word of God.
The Bible is filled with stories that speak about the times we are in. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament have stories that God wants us to study because He has hidden present-day truths in them. Often, we are able to understand what the stories stand for when we study the names of the people or places in them.
Pastor Prince shares many examples of the types and symbols found in Old and New Testament stories that speak about the times we live in. One example is the story from Acts 9 that inspired last week’s sermon, where Peter went to a place called Joppa (“Beautiful”) to raise a disciple named Tabitha from the dead and then spent many more days in Joppa. This is a picture of how the Lord’s resurrection life can come into a dead situation and how we can enjoy many beautiful days.
In today’s sermon, we will be uncovering present-day truths from the story in the next chapter, Acts 10.
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment”
— Acts 10:1 NKJV
“Caesarea” — “Caesarea” means “severance.”
“Cornelius, a centurion” — Centurions are usually seen in a positive light in the New Testament. There was a centurion at the foot of the cross who looked at Jesus and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:54). There was another centurion whom Jesus praised for having greater faith than anyone in Israel (Matt. 8:5–13). In this story, Cornelius the centurion is also portrayed in a positive light.
Whenever the name of a person or place is stated in the Bible, there’s a hidden meaning the Lord wants us to discover.
“Cornelius” — The name “Cornelius” means “that which pertains to the horn or the crown.” The etymology of his name is not Greek but Latin. The portion of Cornelius’ name that means “crown” (‘cornu’) is the same Latin word from which we get the name “Coronavirus.”
We have called this virus the “Coronavirus” because it has crown-like protrusions or horn-like spikes on it.
In the Hebrew, a horn stands for kingly authority.
“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.”
—1 Samuel 2:10 NKJV
“horn” — While not every Latin word corresponds to the Hebrew translation, the word “horn” does. In Latin, it is “cornu” and in the Hebrew, it is “ceren.” So in English, if your name is “Karen,” your name means kingly authority.
The story of Cornelius in Acts 10 is referring to the times we are in—when we're faced with this Coronavirus pandemic.
While it is the Lord’s desire for us to live many beautiful days, not every single day of our lives will be beautiful. The Bible tells us to “withstand in the evil day” (Eph. 6:13), which means that this evil day exists. However, it is one single day compared to many beautiful days (1 Pet. 3:10).
“If they obey (‘shama’ — listen) and serve Him,
They shall spend their days in prosperity,
And their years in pleasures.”
— Job 36:11 NKJV
“days in prosperity . . . years in pleasures” — Notice how “days” and “years” are plural. This passage of Scripture was spoken by Elihu to Job, and Elihu is a picture of Christ. The Lord wants us to enjoy many days in prosperity and years in pleasures.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
— Psalm 23:6 NKJV
“goodness and mercy shall follow me” — The word “follow” in the Hebrew is “radaph,” which means “hunt down.” Surely goodness and mercy will hunt you down all the days of your life!
“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.”
— 1 Samuel 3:1 ESV
“the word of the Lord was rare in those days” — It is very sad to live in a time when the word of the Lord is rare because His word brings all His blessings from heaven to earth.
“there was no frequent vision” — Before God does something new and good in your life, He will give you a vision. Without vision, people perish (Prov. 29:18 KJV). The word “vision” in the Hebrew is “hazon,” and it refers to a prophetic vision from God Himself that will surely come to pass. It can be a vision for your family, career, ministry, church, or health in this year. If it’s from God, it will come to pass.
“At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!””
— 1 Samuel 3:2–4 ESV
“Where there is no vision (‘hazon’), the people perish . . . ”
— Proverbs 29:18 KJV
“Where there is no prophetic vision . . . ”
— Proverbs 29:18 ESV
It is not for the lack of money or the lack of connections that people perish. People perish for the lack of prophetic vision from the Lord.
To have hope is to have a positive expectation of good in the future, and we cannot have that without having a vision from the Lord.
What is in your vision right now? What are you seeing—darkness or light? God wants to restore your vision this coming year so that you see light, not darkness.
The devil has robbed God's people of positive visions, of seeing good and beautiful days ahead. Before the devil can rob you of God’s blessings, he robs you of your God-given vision.
God wants to restore the visions in your heart the enemy has stolen!
When God gives a word, He usually gives it in the form of a vision. For example, He did this with Abraham.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
— Genesis 15:1 NKJV
“the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision” — Here, God appeared to Abraham as a shield. The word “vision” here has the root word “hazon” (a prophetic vision from God). This is the kind of vision that touches your heart and makes faith spring forth and fear flee.
When God gave Abraham that vision, Abraham was at a point in his life where he was discouraged. He responded to the Lord:
“But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?””
— Genesis 15:2 NKJV
"Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless" — Maybe today, you are also asking the Lord, “Lord, what will you give me, seeing I just received a bad report? What job can I have, seeing I have been retrenched? What kind of future can I have, seeing I have this condition?”
This is the kind of vision the Lord wants you to have for your life:
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
— Psalm 1:3 KJV
It’s so important to build faith images like this for your spirit.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
— Luke 6:45 NKJV
“out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” — When it comes to faith, there is usually a lot of focus on speaking forth what you want to see. But this verse shows us that it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. We are not meant to speak empty words that don’t come from the heart. We have to change the image in our hearts before we speak.
God wants to flood your heart with light this year and restore the vision you have lost.
VIDEO: The video of the theme of the year is screened.
Hazon vision refers to the prophetic vision from the Lord.
This year, God will give you prophetic visions—positive pictures of your future—and they will come to pass.
Usually, what’s missing in the process of faith is having prophetic vision from the Lord. Many people focus on saying the right things, but what precedes speaking is what is in the heart because “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). When you have the Lord’s hazon vision in your heart and then speak it forth—that’s when the miracle or blessing manifests.
Your heart is affected by your vision. What vision are you keeping in your heart?
Abraham had a nephew called Lot, and Lot caused a lot of trouble for Abraham. Lot’s name means “veil” (something that prevents someone from seeing clearly) and it is only when Lot left Abraham that Abraham began to see what God wanted him to.
“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.”
— Genesis 13:14–15 NKJV
“all the land which you see I give to you” — God’s principle is this: See it first and you will have it.
The devil wants to trouble your heart with negative images that cause you to be pessimistic in your outlook. He knows that negative images will affect your heart, and once your heart is affected, your whole life is affected. That is why Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts—because out of the heart springs the issues/forces of life.
Back to Cornelius’ story, which speaks to the times we’re living in:
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!””
— Acts 10:1–3 NKJV
“he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God” — Some people think if an angel were to visit you, you wouldn’t need a vision. But the Lord gave Cornelius a vision of an angel, showing how visions are an important way through which God speaks to us.
“Cornelius!” — The first word out of the angel's mouth is Cornelius’ name, which means “that which pertains to the horn or the crown.” This tells us that this passage has to do with the times we are living in (the Coronavirus pandemic).
This also shows us that under the new covenant, God still gives His people visions.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.”
— Acts 2:17 NKJV
Visions and dreams are similar because they come to us in the form of pictures. These pictures affect our hearts and affect our faith.
It is important that we guard our hearts because out of the treasure of our hearts, we will bring forth good things (Luke 6:45).
Cornelius’ story gives us a picture of what God wants to do in our lives during this Coronavirus pandemic.
“the ninth hour” — Cornelius received the vision from the Lord at the ninth hour, which is 3PM. Back then, people measured their time based on the 12 hours in a working day.
Our Gregorian calendar also deals with the number 12 (there are 12 months in a year). We can take this mention of the ninth hour to be referring to the months of September or October.
Now, there were actually 2 visions that took place in this story. One is the vision God gave Cornelius at 3PM, and the other one is the vision God gave the apostle Peter the very next day.
This mirrors how Israel celebrated their new year in September 2020, while we are celebrating our new year now in January 2021.
Pastor Prince shares how today, he is teaching Cornelius’ story from a different angle than usual (this time in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic). The way this story is usually told focuses on how God reached out to the Gentiles for the first time through Peter, at a time when the Jewish believers felt like salvation was only for them. God's heart is for the whole world to be saved, which is why Jesus said, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16) and He also told His disciples to “go into all the world” to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15).
“About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”
— Acts 10:3–6 NKJV
“And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’”
— Acts 11:13–14 NKJV
“who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” — Salvation comes with words.
So Cornelius sent men to Joppa to find Peter.
Notice that Peter was in Joppa (meaning “Beautiful”)—a picture of how as the Coronavirus is ravaging the land, God's people are living in beautiful days.
Peter’s vision the next day
“The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.”
— Acts 10:9 NKJV
“the sixth hour” — The sixth hour is midday, 12PM. It is a time of great brightness. Midday is also the time that Jesus appeared to Saul when he was persecuting Christians, and the Lord’s brightness was so great that it blinded Saul, who only regained his sight when he met Ananias (whose name means “the grace of God”).
In this story, Peter is a picture of believers. We are entering the brightest time even as the world seems to be covered in darkness (Isa. 60:2).
“Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.”
— Acts 10:10–11 NKJV
“heaven opened” — Heaven is now open over us. There was a time the heavens were like brass and people’s prayers could not reach God (Deut. 28:23 KJV), but because of the cross, the heavens are open to us today.
“In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.””
— Acts 10:12–14 NKJV
“Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”” — When Peter said this, he was taking the vision literally, referring to eating only kosher meat/food. But the animals in the vision were symbolic of people.
“And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.”
— Acts 10:15–16 NKJV
“This was done three times” — For Peter, “three times” is very meaningful. Peter denied Jesus three times, and Jesus restored him to ministry with three questions (John 21). When the Lord repeated the vision three times, He was gently reminding Peter, “Don’t be rebellious but remember My love and grace for you.”
This vision Peter received from the Lord is also the vision the Lord wants us to have this year. The message is: Don't call anyone common or unclean.
In Christendom today, we have labeled and pigeonholed people into different groups based on their sin. This is wrong because all sinners need Jesus the same way. We are fighting for legislation, but just like the law, legislation cannot change a man’s heart. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can change hearts. We are meant to preach the gospel to everyone.
Christ died for all sinners. You cannot be saved if you're not a sinner. Only sinners qualify for the Savior.
The story of Cornelius settles the question: “What if there’s someone living on a remote island with no way of hearing about Jesus?”
If anyone’s heart is crying out for the true God, the Lord will send a messenger. He will send His word of salvation to that person.
“Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.”
— Acts 10:17 NKJV
The vision God gave Peter was in parabolic form—it had nothing to do with animals; it had to do with people. God was telling Peter (and by extension, us) that everyone needs Jesus. Regardless of how immoral people are on the outside, regardless of the different degrees of sin we think they have, they are all now in a place of favor because of the cross. God has called us to deliver the word of reconciliation to them (2 Cor. 5:20 NIV).
The Lord’s heart of love for people is so much greater than we realize. He looked at people and saw them as sheep without the love and care of a shepherd and His heart went out to them (Matt 9:36 NIV).
When the Lord gave Peter the parabolic vision (of all the animals being clean and how Peter should eat of them), the Lord was actually saying: “Find your fulfillment, your enjoyment, your emotional nourishment, and your inner satisfaction in relationships. And don't just fellowship among people who are believers but also reach out to those who are not. What I've cleansed, don't call unclean. They're set apart in a favorable light. Just like I was merciful to you, I’ll be merciful to them.”
This beautiful story ends with many salvations (it was the beginning of many Gentiles being saved). Today, many of us are part of the Gentile church that started with Cornelius. If God had confined the gospel to Israel, we would all be done for. But because He did not, multitudes were saved.
What does this mean for us today?
Peter not wanting to draw near to the Gentiles is a form of social distancing. Pastor Prince shares that this story could possibly imply that the Lord is going to cause something to happen this year that will allow a greater release or relaxation of social distancing measures. This could happen around the middle of the year (since Peter received this vision at midday). However, Pastor Prince clarifies that until that happens, we should listen to the authorities and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The Lord wants us to have good relationships. He doesn’t want us to distance ourselves from our loved ones; He doesn’t want us to live at odds with each other or to harbor unforgiveness in our hearts.
Forgiveness is beneficial and health-giving for you. It is known that people who hold grudges develop all kinds of diseases in their lives.
When you bring the cross into the picture and see how Jesus paid your $1,000,000,000,000 debt of sin, it becomes easy to forgive someone’s $10,000 debt of sin against you.
“While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
— Acts 10:19–20 NKJV
“While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him” — Listen to the Spirit speaking to you this year.
“And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.”
— Acts 10:24 NKJV
“called together his relatives and close friends” — While we are still having church online, contact your close friends and relatives, and invite them to listen to the preached Word of God that they might also receive hazon vision from God.
“As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together.”
— Acts 10:25–27 NKJV
“many who had come together” — Peter found that many had come together to hear the word of salvation, and this has continued until today.
“Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.” Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”
— Acts 10:28–34 NKJV
After this, Peter began to preach about Jesus. And the culmination of his message was this:
“To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.”
— Acts 10:43–44 NKJV
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word” — When Peter was speaking about the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit fell on them. God did a new, unprecedented thing! Salvation had never happened this way before. No prayer was offered and yet the Holy Spirit fell on them and baptized them.
When the Jewish people were first saved on the day of Pentecost, Peter talked about the baptism of the Spirit before they received it. But this time, God was moving in a new way and among a new group of people (the Gentiles).
God is doing a new thing and making a change in your life as well. You can receive new healing, new breakthroughs, and all-new blessings because God is doing a new thing in your life.
God first told Abraham, “All . . . which you see I give to you” (Gen. 13:15). But later on, there came a time when Abraham was very discouraged and the only vision he had in his heart was that he was childless (Gen. 15:2).
So this is what God did: He brought Abraham out under the night sky and told him to number the stars, then told him, “So shall your descendants be” (Gen. 15:5). Abraham numbered the stars until he lost count, until his heart was filled with this new vision from the Lord.
Before God changed Abraham’s outward circumstances, He had to change the inner vision Abraham had in his heart. And after that, Isaac the miracle child was born.
Before God changes your situation, He gives you a vision.
We are meant to walk by faith, not by (physical) sight. To walk by faith, we need to see with spiritual eyes the vision that the Lord has for us.
There was once that the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by an enemy army, and Elisha prayed that the Lord would open his servant’s eyes to see that their enemies were actually surrounded by heaven’s armies—multitudes of horses and chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:15–17). Elisha told his servant, “There are more with us than with them.”
There is so much more working for us than against us.
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Pastor Prince encourages all of us to pray this prayer over ourselves every day. It is found in Ephesians 1:
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.”
— Ephesians 1:16–19 ESV
“give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened” — We all have the Holy Spirit residing in us already, but He does not manifest as the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to everyone. That is why we pray for it. The Spirit of wisdom and revelation operates by having the eyes of our hearts enlightened. Our hearts have eyes that the Lord wants to open. The way He gives us wisdom is by opening the eyes of our hearts.
God doesn’t want the eyes of your heart to see only what’s negative. He wants to flood your heart with light because what’s in your heart will be reproduced in your life.
There are people who received this Spirit of wisdom in the Old Testament. An example is Bezalel, the craftsman who built the furniture in the tabernacle (Exod. 31:3).
When you are filled with the Spirit of wisdom, you will find yourself having the answers you need. In any situation, you’ll be able to say, “I see it. I know how to deal with this. I know what to do now.”
The Lord will cause us to see it in our hearts first. This is how the Spirit operates.
Pray Ephesians 1:16–19 over yourself and your children every day. As you do and the Lord opens the eyes of your heart, floods your heart with light, you will “know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.”
When the Lord opens your eyes and you receive His hazon vision, you’ll be able to see answers for your situation that even experts can’t see.
May this be your reality this year!
Pastor Prince prays for people with:
Every healing can stand the test of medical science. Please go back to your doctor to verify your healing. Only stop taking your medicine when your healing has been confirmed by medical reports. Then write in to share your testimony!
“Thank You, Lord, for this year: 2021. I thank You, Father God, that this year is like a clean sheet of paper with nothing written on it. We pray, Father God, that You are writing a beautiful love story of Your love and blessings for us on this sheet of paper. Let your blessings manifest in our lives in such a way that we become a point of reference for the people around us—that our relatives and friends will come to know Jesus Christ because of what they see in our lives.
Father, I pray in Jesus’ name that You will cause this year to be the best year for our health. While observing good diets and exercise is good for us in the natural, health is from You. So we ask of You: “Make this year the healthiest year of my life. In the name of the Lord Jesus, Amen.”
I see some of you exercising and having new vision to do new things. These are not resolutions but new visions from the Lord. Act on them, because before God does something, He uses your vision on the inside to get you ready for it.
This coming week, the Lord bless you and your families. The Lord make His face shine on you and be favorable to you. The Lord grant you and your loved ones His shalom peace, well-being, and health in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
God bless you.”
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2021
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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