Contributor: Wale Abiona
In many of the ways that God speaks to His people today He uses dreams and visions as the one of the acceptable media. God has communicated, and He is still communicating to His prophets and apostles in a variety of ways including dreams and visions. But dreams and visions are unique in that they can be used to communicate not only to prophets and apostles(leaders) but to all believers and non-believers. For example, Acts 9:10-12 tells us that God gave Ananias direction in a vision regarding Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul. Ananias was a Christian but not an apostle. This important truth is also supported by the fact that God communicated to Joseph, the husband of Mary, by dream (Matt. 1:20) In Acts 10:1-4 we discover that God gave a vision to a non-Christian, Cornelius.
Cornelius was not a follower of Jesus Christ. He is described as one who feared God. He was a man looking for God. So, God gave him a vision in order to help him know that He (God) was sending Peter to share the truth about Jesus Christ.
In Acts 2:17 we read the following:
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.
This passage is a quote of Joel 2:28. The quote strongly indicates that the Holy Spirit would be directly involved in dreams and visions in the last days. The passage implies that men and women will see visions and dreams because the Holy Spirit would be poured out on them.
Dreams A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep, OR A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal
Visions An experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance, or as a supernatural apparition OR The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
Visions are basically the same as dreams, except that dreams happen whilst a person is in a state of sleep and visions will happen whilst the person is fully awake.
DREAMS AND VISIONS ARE FROM GOD:
As created beings, we are created in the image of God. God had a dream of what He wanted the heavens and the earth to look like. He then proceeded to create them according to that dream. Dreams allow us to see things as they really are, not as they appear to be.
Dreams from God are usually very spiritual experiences that are not easily forgotten, they become bound up in the heart of the person receiving the dream They almost become a part of the heart and mind of the person receiving the dream.
Dreams are so important that God mentioned them in His Word, telling us who dreamed, their dreams, and it purpose.
Passage: Genesis 20:3
The dream and it purpose: “Indeed, you are a dead man, the woman you have taken is another man’s wife. God was letting Abimelech know that Sara was not available when Abraham lied to him about her being his sister. God sought to protect Abimelech.
Passage: Genesis 28:10-13
The dream and it purpose: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac.” God was seeking to encourage Jacob about the future.
Passage: Genesis 31:24
The dream and it purpose: “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.” God was warning Laban that he was to treat Jacob with respect.
Passage: Genesis 37:5
The dream and it purpose: Joseph’s dreams and the outcome is a sign that God was with him, and He is the source of the dreams.
Passage: Genesis 41:1-13
The dream and it purpose: God spoke to Pharaoh in dreams to tell of the 7 years of plenty and the 7 years of famine that were to come.
Passage: 1 Kings 3:5
The dream and it purpose: God was asking Solomon what it was that he wanted. God was testing Solomon’s heart.
Passage: Matthew 1:20
The dream and it purpose: “Take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel.” God was protecting Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
As we see from the above Scriptures, it is not unusual for God to communicate with His people (and even those who are not His people) in and through dreams. Dreams are the chosen way in which God uses to bring to people His plans, will and His purposes.
Clearly God does not need to speak to us in dreams, and can use many forms of media to do so. The most obvious form, being His Word.
However, God has chosen to reveal His will and His character to us through speaking to people in dreams.
THE PURPOSE OF DREAMS AND VISIONS:
1. To Keep us humble and from being destroyed by his own pride and sin Job 33:14-18 These verses clearly tell us that God speaks to keep a man from being destroyed by his own pride and sin. Jeremiah 17:9 - Sometimes God will use dreams to show us the content of our own hearts
2. Revealing of his prophets - Numbers 12:6 – “if there is a prophet among you, I, The Lord make Myself known to him in a vision.”
3. To restrain us from evil - Genesis 20:3-8 (prevent us from making mistakes)
4. To reveal God’s will & Answer - Genesis 28:11-22, Ezekiel 1:1
5. To encourage - Judges 7:13-15
6. To reveal the future - Genesis 37:5-10
7. To instruct - Matthew 1:20, Daniel 2:24-45 (in the things of God)
8. To warn - Matthew 2:12, Daniel 4 (us about hidden danger/Save life)
9. To Glorify God (Daniel 2:47).
DREAMS TO UNBELIEVERS:
God can and does speak to unbelievers in dreams.
Genesis 20:3-7 Warning Abimelech that Sara was not a woman that he was free to sleep with.
Genesis 41:1-7 Warning Pharaoh that 7 years of plenty were coming followed by 7 years of famine.
Daniel 2:1 Warning Nebuchadnezzar that he was to fall and lose his kingdom.
Matthew 27:19 Warning Pilate’s wife that Jesus was not to be falsely accused.
IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE OF DREAMS:
If we dream every night, then how can we tell which dreams are from God, and which dreams are from our own mind due to daily activities?
If we are conversant with the Holy Spirit and keeping the Word of God in our hearts and mind, then discerning the origins of our dreams will not be a hard thing to do. This will be based on your walk and relationship with God
If you are not sure whether your dream is the substance of your own mind or from God, upon waking, ask the Lord for his help.
If the symbols and principle in the Dream or Vision reveals more about the character and nature of God, then it is safe to receive the dream as from the Lord and seek the interpretation.
INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS:
Listening to the Holy Spirit is the most important aspect of finding the honest interpretation of any dream that we have.
Seeking the interpretation of dreams is only natural and right. This is not divination and not to be confused with such. We are not to seek dreams and interpretations as our ways of getting through life. We are to seek God and His Word.
Dream Interpretation is not listed as a spiritual gift, but clearly a dream given by the Holy Spirit will be interpreted by the Holy Spirit (Genesis 40:8, Daniel 1:17).
The dreams that Pharaoh received in Genesis Chapter 40, were given by God, and God gave Joseph the interpretation. The dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had in the Book of Daniel was given by God, and we see that God gave Daniel the interpretation.
We are to rely on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to confirm and interpret dreams and visions given to us by God.
God will not give us dreams to amuse you or to stop you from relying upon Him and His Word.
LITERALLY OR NOT?
Can all dreams be taken literally?
Again, we need to ask God for His interpretation. God may be using this dream to speak of another hidden matter.
SUMMARY God is supernatural, and all that He has to give is supernatural. He wants to display His supernatural knowledge, ability and power through His Church, so that the world will see that Jesus Christ is alive. That is why dreams and visions cut through the agendas of a man’s heart and touch the spirit of a man. Dreams and Visions is for everyone, whether believers or non-believers.
They serve as God instruction, guidance, warning and revelation of God’s plan for us. Each one of us needs a Dream from God. Our Dreams will keep us going through the storms of life
The Dreams that Joseph had, kept him while he was thrown into the pit because he believed the Dreams were from God; the Dreams kept him from sinning and from sleeping with Potiphar’s wife. The Dream of others, namely the baker and butler, were the media that God used to restore Joseph to the place of honour that God had intended for him (Genesis 41:9-15, 38, 41-44). The Dreams that Joseph had were fulfilled.
God will give Dreams to teach, warn and instruct, not to create suspicion or juicy gossip.
CONCLUSION Our destinies are tied up in our Dreams. As we look at the Biblical figures who Dreamed, they were all destined for something. Their Dreams revealed their destinies and, as they kept true to God and their Dreams, their Dreams and destinies were realised or fulfilled in their own lives.
Interpretations – if we ask, seek, knock, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7). We are to search (Proverbs 25:2).
The New Testament opens with a burst of Dreams and Visions in Matthew and closes with John the revelator’s incredible and dramatic Vision of Jesus.