What is the biblical difference between vision and prophecy?
A vision is a supernatural revelation of God given to a person in the form of a dream or trance-like state usually for the purpose of revealing the glory of God or the meaning of past or future events. Example of visions in the Bible include Abraham’s vision in Genesis 15, the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel in Daniel 2 & 7, the visions of Isaiah in Isaiah 6, and the visions of Ezekiel throughout his book.
On the other hand, prophecy is any supernatural revelation of God regardless of form. We could say all visions are prophecy, but not all prophecy comes in the form of visions. In fact, most prophets do not receive visions. Instead, most prophets report receiving “a word from the Lord.” Consider these examples:
In all these examples, a prophet expresses the will of God based on having received a “word from the Lord.” We do not know how they prophet received this word, but in the absence of any explanation, we assume it was through ordinary means and not by way of a vision. Other times a prophet will state he received the word of the Lord by way of a vision specifically:
Ezekiel received most (some say all) his prophecies as visions, which makes Ezekiel unique among the major OT prophets.