Bible Q&A: Did Saul’s Vision Before His Baptism Show That He Was Saved Already?

Saul of Tarsus had a prophetic vision of Ananias restoring his sight before it happened.  This vision took place before he was baptized by Ananias.  Since the saved were the ones granted prophetic powers, does this not mean that Saul was saved before he was baptized?

The Lord had told Ananias that Saul had already had a vision of “a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight” (Acts 9:12).  This information was given while the Lord was initially giving Ananias the command to go and seek out Saul.  In Luke’s timeline this would have been within the period of the three days in which Saul was fasting and without sight between his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road and when Ananias restored his sight and directed him to be baptized to wash away his sins (Acts 9:3-19; 22:6-16).

While most of the cases we read of in the New Testament in which people were given prophetic spiritual gifts consisted of Christians, there are cases in which God gave miraculous prophetic ability to non-believers.  Pilate’s wife comes to mind.  There is no indication that she was a believer and follower of Jehovah or Jesus, and yet Matthew implies strongly that she had experienced a prophetic dream about Jesus (Matt. 27:19).

Cornelius also comes to mind.  He and his household were given the miraculous spiritual gift of speaking in tongues before their baptism (Acts 10:44-48), specifically before Peter had a chance to even share more than a word or two of the gospel with them (Acts 11:15).  The reason God did this was to show the Jews that Gentiles would now be accepted into the church (Acts 11:15-18; 10:44-48).  It does not show that Cornelius and his family were saved before they were baptized, because at the time they had begun to speak in tongues they had not yet heard more than just the very beginning of the Word of God which they needed to hear to produce the faith that would also save them (Acts 11:15; cf. Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6; John 3:16).

Caiaphas likewise comes to mind.  After Lazarus’ resurrection, he told the Jewish Council that Jesus needed to die (John 11:49-50).  However, John writes, “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation…” (v. 51).  “He did not say this of his own accord, but…prophesied…” shows that he said this under inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Pet. 1:20-21).  However, he certainly was not a believer or a follower of Jesus.  Yet, he was still given miraculous prophetic ability while outside of Christ.

Therefore, from these examples we see that, while comparatively rare, it was certainly possible for God to grant a non-Christian prophetic powers.  Thus, the fact that Saul of Tarsus had a miraculous prophetic vision before his baptism does not in any way show that he had been saved before his baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16; 2:38).

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s