To Dream a Dream
There is no doubt that all of us have had at one time a vivid dream that stood out among the other dreams we have had. And we have probably wondered what it meant. Was it from God communicating to us or was it our own remembrance of our daily activities?
The Bible records for us genuine prophets that received dreams from God, and were given insight to interpret their or others dreams. I believe God can still speak to people through dreams when it is necessary, and can enable them or others to interpret these dreams or visions when necessary. However, when dealing with personal experiences - we need the biblical view and be aware of counterfeits for these experiences. For example, the whole new age movement operates from experiences like spirit guides, visitations of angels, dreams, visions and impressions. Sometimes the line can be indistinguishable.
There is a movement both in and outside of the church that teaches God speaks to us daily in our dreams. Certainly some things are conveyed with more than words and the Lord can still gives dreams and visions, but is God speaking to everyone in dreams and visions week after week as many claim. Is God speaking to unbelievers giving them insight into their lives and world events without pointing to Jesus Christ or giving them the gospel?
Dreams have always played an important part in the literature and religion of all peoples. Other religions for centuries have looked to dreams for guidance and looked for hidden meanings. They have revealed true revelation when they are from God and promoted mythologies and false beliefs when they are not.
Dreams can go hand in hand with visions – today, both of these are part of the prophetic movement that was once an iceberg that has melted over the Christian landscape.
One Christian website states- “God has chosen to communicate with mankind through dreams. He guides and counsels us through our dreams. He establishes covenants with us through our dreams. He grants us gifts in our dreams. He utilized dreams from Genesis to Revelation, and declared that He would continue to use them in the last days. When you total up all dreams and visions in the Bible, and all the stories and actions which come out of these dreams and visions, you have about one-third of the Bible, which is equal to the size of the New Testament!
This is partially true. In the Old Testament books (Genesis and Daniel) we have a number of references to them. Dreams play a smaller but important part in Biblical revelation.
There is a difference when someone tells you to ask the Holy Spirit for dreams, visions, instead of focusing on learning the word; it is a clear giveaway of what their intentions are. The Gnostic or mystic will always elevate dreams, visions, or a spiritual experience above the written word. They will not question its authenticity because their belief is that there is no deception to be aware of. As one continues to become open and seek an “experience or new revelation” in this manner, instead of the literal written Word, new revelations can come more fluently through voices, dreams, visions etc.. As they continually seek outside the Scriptures for their instruction, they eventually will deny the sufficiency of Scripture - and their spiritual health will suffer.
The main premise for dreams and visions today is that it is one of the activities of the Spirits being outpoured in the last days. Peter quotes Joel 2:28 in Acts 2: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
Many believe prophetic dreams and visions are primary signs of the last days, and that this is what we see taking place today. Is it? Notice carefully, it is not saying everyone is dreaming but specifically older men dream and the young men see visions, which can mean not only to see a God given picture or to have a revelation. The Scripture does say they will dream dreams when the spirit is poured out again, so God has not eliminated this means to speak, only diminished it until this time when the Spirit will actually be poured out.
Besides the Scripture describing a drastic change of nature in both the earth and sky that has not happened, it ends with Acts 2:21-22: “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did, and Peter then explains how they crucified Him.
When we look at Acts 2 carefully we find that this is NOT taking place today. It specifically says that it begins from Israel- with the Jewish people- and when- in the day of the Lord (the Tribulation). Where Peter ended his quote of the passage in Joel in Acts 2- Joel 2:32 continues on, saying- “For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance” It is about salvation that begins with the Jewish people from Israel. So this scripture is NOT what is taking place in our day.
To claim dreams and visions are part of the “Pouring out his Spirit” convinces people that this is now a constant occurrence that will continue for an extended period of time shows they are seeking an experience divorced from what the word actually says. It is in fact related to the immediate return of Christ and the Jewish people which is to take place at the near end of the tribulation period. It is directly connected to His coming and the salvation of Israel as a nation.
The word is Superior
What is the difference between a dream and a vision? Simply put- a dream is a story communicated in picture that takes place when you are asleep. A vision is when you are awake and see reality part and are either watching or end up participating in it as John did in the book of Revelation. Both can have similarities, though the visions oftentimes appear more symbolic.
Job 33:14-16: “For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, Then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.”
When dreams were recorded as a means of revelation to God's chosen servants, they are mostly found in early periods where there was an imperfect knowledge of Him. The revelation of God in Jobs day was not complete and this should not be used as a standard for us today, we have the Bible. This is seen with Laban, as God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad” (Gen. 31:24).
How many prophets had dreams or visions from God? Not all of them, in fact, only a few. From Adam to Noah no one did, Moses did not, Aaron did not, Joshua did not, many of the minor prophets did not; even the apostles had no dreams (but a few visions). The majority directly encountered the word for their revelation.
Num. 12:5-8: “Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said, “Hear now My words: if there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?”
The Lord was being facetious -there was no prophet among them who dreamed – He was showing the people that they needed to listen to Moses’ words as God’s chosen leader. God much rather speak to man plainly, face to face. He further warned them in Deut 13 of one who arises among the people telling them his dream and vision.
We find the WORD of the Lord came to Ezekiel, Jehu of Hanani, Jeremiah, Haggai, Isaiah, Zephaniah, Micah, Joel, Zechariah. In the New Testament - Luke 3:2-3: “the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.”
The common term in the Old Testament for the “word” is dabhar, Memra is the Aramaic term that was used by the Rabbis to mean divine wisdom –it was sometimes considered distinct from God. They considered the memra as God revealing Himself, one who communicates to man both the mind and will of God. The term “the Word” (logos in the New Testament) is used exclusively by John for the Son, and so we understand that they had an encounter with the pre-incarnate Jesus in the Old Testament.
Holman Bible Dictionary- LOGOS “In Hebrew thought, the dabar was dynamic and filled with a power that was transmitted to those who received it. The term was often used to designate God's communication to his people, as at the beginning of many of the writings of the prophets: “The word of the Lord came.” The whole of the Law, or all of Scripture, could then be referred to as God's Word”
Hosea 12:10: “I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.” God had done this in the past but when we come to the New Testament, after the death and resurrection of Jesus we operate by a new covenant and a new way.
Heb. 1:1-2: “God, who at various times and in various (Divers manners) ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things.” The Greek word –for various Polotroupos, meaning compound forms or manner.
God formerly used a variety of means to communicate with man, which would include a dream or a vision. Scripture more often tells us the word came to the prophets- in other words they had an encounter with the word, the Son of God. But in these last days his revelation is not through these means or through an ordinary man but, through the only God/man whose revelation is final and superior.
Dreams were still actively used in the beginning of the new dispensation before and during the time John the baptizer was preparing the people. Matt 1:20 To Joseph- three times an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, the first time saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.’
Matt 2:12-13 Joseph was divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
Matt 2:19-20: “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, telling him it was safe to take the young Child and His mother, back to the land of Israel.
Here we have an angel involved in his dream giving him specific instructions because it involved the Messiah.
In rare instances God will give instructions in dreams and visions. Today, a teacher, a pastor receives his message from the Word of God through study. The current trend of revelation operated by dreams, visions and prophecies entices numerous believers away from the truth in the already revealed Word of God.
It is repeatedly quoted in the New Testament “the just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:37 ).
Romans 1:17: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
Faith holds to God’s word and does not pursue extra spiritual activity to receive instruction or revelation.
The Bible teaches the mature New Testament believer is living by faith- not by sight, signs, or visions.
Dreams occur when one first enters in rem sleep, then the deepest sleep time. The average person sleeping for eight hours a night can dream up to one to two hours of that time. There is what is termed alpha level sleep, a deeper sleep is called theta, and finally deepest sleep which is called delta- in this state some people have lucid dreaming. Alpha level sleep is where one has what is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM). Once you get the brain down to the minimum possible activity . . . you're mind is free. In the dream state the mind is more impressionable to the day’s events. In sleep the mind often plays back composites of what we have said, thought or done. It replays them and puts together bits and pieces that can make sense or not make sense. Fragmentary ideas or loosely connected circumstances and thoughts of the days events occur, it can be totally subjective sorting out its meaning.
Dreams may occur from some physical disorder or from being in an uncomfortable position, such as improper ventilation, heating or cold. The mind can react to the body in heat and cold and send messages to the brain while sleeping. Anxiety and stress can produce dreams and so can a pepperoni or anchovies pizza. What am I saying? One needs to test to see if it is inspiration or indigestion.
Solomon said that dreams come “through much activity, and a fool's voice is known by his many words” (Eccl 5:3). He goes on to say in v.7: “For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.”
This is a word of caution to those who relate their dreams and visions to others believing they are all from God, it makes their words foolishness.
The visions and dreams recorded in the Bible were given to specific people for a purpose- for God’s purpose. They were all important figures in God’s plan. These people had to do with the plan God had for his people Israel. Each person in the Bible who received dreams God used in a significant manner in relation to Israel’s history.
Not everyone mentioned in the Bible who received direct revelation from God was a prophet or even a believer. The first person mentioned in Scripture who has a dream is Abimelech. In Gen 20:3: It says, “God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife.” Abimelech who is pagan and unaware of Sarah being Abrahm’s wife is warned by God not to take Sarah into his harem.
Just because one receives a dream or vision does not mean it is from God. The fact is: Satan can give dreams and visions. He did so with Jesus “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” (Luke 4:5). This was something seen-a vision by his supernatural power to tempt Jesus to sin but Jesus resisted. Too many today are sent visions by the enemy and it never enters their mind to test it because they believe that whatever is supernatural is always from God.
In the New Testament Pilate’s wife had a dream. In Matt 27:16-19 Pilate is sitting on the judgment seat deciding who would be released, Jesus or Barrabas. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” This is a dream from Satan who wants to stop the crucifixion of Jesus. While Satan tried to kill Jesus many times and in many ways, this is the one day and way he does not want him to die. He does not want Jesus to die for sin. So he sent Pilates wife a dream to have Jesus released. Pilate does everything he can to listen to her dream. But Pilate did not make this decision, the Jews made it for him. Matt 27:23: “Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” Pilate wanted to wash his hands of guilt but he could not and sentenced him to die.
Consider New age futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, who in 1966 heard an “inner voice” that came in response to a question she had asked aloud and directed to God — “What is our story? What in our age is comparable to the birth of Christ?” After asking the question she said she fell into a dreamlike state and was given an intense vision of the future.
In the vision Hubbard saw the earth from a distance. She was made to understand that the earth was a living body and that she was a cell in its body. Feeling her “oneness” with the earth, she experienced its pain and confusion. When her vision abruptly fast-forwarded into the future, she could see the earth and its people were now surrounded by a radiant light. She watched as the whole planet was “aligned” in “a magnetic field of love” and lifted up by the brilliant light. Widespread healings took place.
If one were to ask Hubbard about her vision there is no doubt she would be convinced that this was from God. Unfortunately there is little difference of what Hubbard experienced and what many Christians describe in their dreams.
Jung was preoccupied with dreams and interpreting them. Carl Jung believed that dreams were of great significance and based much of his teaching on the interpretation of his own dreams. His psychology called the unconsciousness, had archetypes lie within the collective unconscious. An archetype, according to Jung, is a universal thought form or predisposition to perceive the world in certain ways. These archetypes appear to individuals in personified or symbolized pictorial form through dreams, myths, art, and ritual. He believed that they represented the total latent potentiality of the psyche. So when people get in touch with them, they go beyond developing their individual potentialities and become incorporated into the eternal cosmic process.
Today, Jungian analysts train their students to keep dream journals and seek guidance for their lives from those dreams. There are many similarities in how they Christians interpret their dreams; many use his model instead of the Bibles on what role dreams take today. How many know that psychiatrist Carl Jung had his psychological theories come from the “demonic spirits.”
Richard Fosters Celebration of Discipline became a popular book years ago and is still being used. “Spiritual Disciplines” are mentioned, Foster encourages: “We of the New Age can risk going against the tide. Let us with abandon...see visions and dream dreams....The imagination can release a flood of creative ideas [and] be lots of fun” (Celebration of Discipline, Harper & Row, 1978, p. 170).
Certainly if these are from our imagination then they are not coming from the Lord. Besides Foster actually mentioning the new age, his methods have too many similarities to new age or Eastern techniques in meditation, the use of imagination and dreamwork. In his chapter on meditation he stresses discovering "the inner reality of the spiritual world [which] is available to all who are willing to search for it."
Psychologist Jean Houston was heavily influenced by Teilhard de Chardin’s Eastern Mysticism. Houston claims that the techniques she teaches for activating the imagination open the person to a new reality she claims that this alternate reality is more real than the “cultural trance,” known as “normal waking consciousness . . . in which we all dream the same dream, more or less, and call it: reality (source: Occult Invasion by Dave Hunt -she also led Hillary Clinton to “contact” the dead former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt).
Dr. Helen Schucman who wrote “A Course in Miracles” used by numerous Churches (recommended by Dr. Schuller) as well as non- believers writes: “Three startling months preceded the actual writing, during which time my friend suggested that I write down the highly symbolic dreams and descriptions of the strange images that were coming to me. Although I had grown more accustomed to the unexpected by that time, I was still very surprised when I wrote, 'This is a course in miracles...' That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook. … The whole process took about six years.”
We have numerous ministries and movements that promote a pursuit of dream interpretation and vision quests for direct instruction instead of teaching one to learn and live out the written word of God which Jesus said for us to continue in so that we may know Him- the truth.
Vision casting- visualization
None of the prophets used visualization or any other technique for getting a vision or revelation from God, but repeatedly state, “The Word of the Lord came unto me.” That they could not make this happen whenever they pleased and did not use any method to initiate any contact by word or vision. For example; Jeremiah 42:7 where Jeremiah goes to God for guidance. We are told, “And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah.” Daniel (Dan.10) waited 21 days until he received an answer for the vision given. They often had to wait patiently on the Lord for an answer.
Each dream or vision from God, God initiated, they were not pursued or conjured up by the recipient, be it Jacob, Joseph or John. Jeremiah or Ezekiel did not “visualize” as some teach Christians teach others to do in their seminars. None of the disciples visualized Jesus in prayer. Thomas doubted the resurrection and had to wait a week before Jesus came to him, it was not a result of anything he did but Jesus himself initiated it for his apostles.
Visualization is one of the more powerful occult techniques. Visualization is a metaphysical practice, forming a mental image in the mind by the imagination and desires of the heart to supposedly change ones reality. Oftentimes ones visions and dreams can be a result of this idea or intentional image conjured in their own mind.
David Yonggi Cho is known to have blended the spiritual practices of Buddhism and occultism with Christ’s teachings; he writes, “Through visualization and dreaming, you can incubate your future and hatch the results.” We should always try to visualize the end result as we pray.... If you have not visualized clearly in your heart exactly what you hope for, it cannot become a reality to you”
For over 25 years ago Yonggi Cho has promoted visions and dreams. In his book “The Fourth Dimension” (which was endorsed by positive thinker who makes dreams into reality Robert Schuller). He writes “We've got to learn how... to visualize and dream the answer as being completed as we go to the Lord in prayer. We should always try to visualize the end result as we pray.” “In that way, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can incubate that which we want God to do for us....”
“So men [Christians or occultists], by exploring their spiritual sphere of the fourth dimension through the development of concentrated visions and dreams in their imagination, can brood over and incubate the third dimension, influencing and changing it.” “This is what the Holy Spirit taught me.” (The Fourth Dimension, p. 39-44). Did God actually teach him something that is from the Occult metaphysical philosophies?
He even uses the Bible to endorse this saying Father Abraham! “...He could not sleep when he closed his eyes, for he saw all the stars changing into the faces of his descendants.... Those pictures came to his mind again and again... [and] became part of his fourth dimension....” “These visions and dreams carried dominion over his one- hundred-year-old body, and it was transformed as if it were like a young body” (The Fourth Dimension, p. 48).
It is the Word-Faith concept of the “force of faith” creating reality with your words, except it is in images.
In the secular world Tony Robbins is known as a motivational speaker, he attracts very important people by teaching people how to unleash the power within- it is the new age human potential movement, he calls personal growth. Robbins says “ I've learned that the resources we need to turn our dreams into reality are within us, merely waiting for the day when we decide to wake up and claim our birthright. “ In learning to meditate, one good place to begin is with our dreams, since it involves little more than paying attention to something we are already doing”
Achieving our own dreams is part of the human potential movement. How different it is for a Christian who trusts in Christ and the Holy Spirit and not in their own strength, because we as humans have limits. Robbins is noted for using a form of “Neuro-linguistic programming” that uses set of models and principles to alter the mind and neurology (neuro), language patterns (linguistic), which alters our perception changing systemic patterns (programming) in our living by creating a subjective reality that can make old problem behaviors change.
Experiences like Dreams can replace the word- they did in Jeremiahs day. Jeremiah was called to warn Israel of following false prophets, these prophets who had seen things by their dreams and visions
Jer 23:25-26: “I have heard what the prophets have said, who prophesy lies in My name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!' “How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart”
God says the prophets prophesy lies in his name, saying, I have dreamed, and goes on to say they “cause my people to forget my name by their dreams.” They made it seem as if God gave a fresh revelation to them but Jeremiah says the word of the Lord did not come to them by a dream but by their own desires. This was a period in Israel’s history where they liked their ears tickled, they wanted something new instead of trying to obey what God had already given them in the word. Not much has changed in a few thousand years. We are dealing with the same flaws in man- that desire a supernatural experience and those that prefer to hear it.
Recently I watched Kainoa Iranon, who appears to be in his twenties relate to John Keough of the Healing Rooms Hawaii, that was hosting the local TBN program here in Hawaii how he was taught to go to heaven in a class and that he went 300 times. This last time he met Aimee Simple Mcpherson who knows of him and sends angels personally to him. (Oct.25, 2006 TBN). John said he was jealous of his experience.
Jesse Duplantis only went twice. Averaged out, 300 times is quite a number of times a year, possibly every other week. If one wants to believe this lie they are welcome to it. These are the kind of visions these people get that are all into the Latter Rain movement of the spirit being outpoured. I certainly expect this mans experience to be different from others and especially the Bibles.
Jeremiah says 23:28-32: “The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My Word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” Says the LORD “Is not My Word like a fire?” Says the LORD, ‘And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” God compares the word to the dreams of the false prophets – the word he says is wheat- it is nourishing. Their dreams were chaff, useless, what is blown away by the wind; because of their listening to chaff it led the people away from hearing the true word. Dreams and visions were considered lower forms of inspiration compared to the Word. In this example chaff refers to visions and dreams that were not true revelation. Jeremiah assures them that God’s word is like a fire that will consume the false prophet’s chaff, like a hammer that smashes a rock in pieces.
How many today gather at meetings to hear another person’s vision or dream told to them instead of the words of the Scripture? Instead of expository preaching of the Word, men behind the pulpit preach their experiences. Oftentimes it is something that they have literally dreamed up for themselves.
In this time period, Israel was entertained by their false prophets, Jeremiah said to them (23:32): “Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” says the LORD, “and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,” says the LORD.”
Jer 29:8-9: the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your fortune-tellers in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you dream. (Jeremiah 29:8) For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the LORD.”
Jeremiah 14:14: “Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart”
Sometimes we can elicit our own desires from our dreams. The “dream interpretation” taught today is more about US–our wants, our desires, and our dreams to be fulfilled in our life. Fulfilling our self wants and thinking it is God’s will. The problem arises when people assumed to think every dream is God speaking to them. We enter the danger zone by our own conjured-up dreams as if they are God's will for our lives. Our dreams are not always reliable and any method of interpretation applied is very subjective. When you have a dream or vision from God it stand out from any other you have had.
“Behold, I am against the prophets,” says the LORD, “who use their tongues and say, ‘He says.’ “Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” says the LORD, “and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,” says the LORD.” Itching ears are not just a modern trend. The true prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke against the false prophets of their day who gave only positive messages to the people. The false prophet’s words came out of their own desires of their heart. The lord tells Ezekiel ‘Son of man, prophesy concerning the prophets of Israel who are prophesying, and thou hast said to those prophesying from their own heart: Hear ye the word of Lord: Thus saith the Lord God (Yahweh): Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:2-4 KJV) God says one can actually believe they are hearing from the Lord but it really is their own spirit. It is conjured up in their own minds. They are birthing” a vision by a man-made process, using their imagination to dream God’s message.
Ezekiel 13:6: “They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, ‘The Lord declares,’ when the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word. “Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The Lord declares,’ but it is not I who have spoken.”
Notice that the Lord does not deny they have seen something, what He is saying is that it did not come from Him, but from their own imagination, their own heart or spirit, or even the father of lies.
Too many people teach off the top of their head attributing whatever comes into their mind when they are both awake and asleep as Holy Spirit inspiration. They assume, “it must be from God” because they have a witness in their spirit, regardless that it disagrees with Scripture. The faith presented in the Bible is not an open system where we receive new revelation by dreams and visions. God does still speak today, but He does not impart new doctrine. As sheep we are to be trained to hear the voice of the shepherd FROM the Scripture.
The New Testament has a number of stories about dreams being given. Each time, the dream is communicating to those who are essential in God’s plan for the Messiah, the work of Israel or his Church. When we come to the New Testament the references in Matthew are confined to warnings and announcements (Mt 1:20; 4:4-5,11, 14; 27:19). For example, Joseph is given a dream so that he will remain faithful to Mary when she is found with child.
The New Testament after the book of Acts onward does not mention any revelation by dreams. Whenever a vision occurs it is related to doctrine or instruction and it is connected to an apostle. This is important to take into consideration as those today think they have accurate prophecy coming through their dreams.
After Paul encounters the Lord, (Acts 9:10-11) Jesus speaks to the disciple Ananias in Damascus to orchestrate his welcome into the church; “the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.” Notice he was not in a church meeting but alone when he received the vision.
Paul had several visions during his ministry (Acts 16:9-10, 18:9, 22:17) none of these were common everyday occurrences; there were approximately 6 separate visions altogether. Acts 16:9 a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us,” thus changing his direction for ministry.
Acts 18:9-10: “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; “for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”
Again Paul as an apostle was sent to people who never heard the gospel and was often alone on the mission field. The Lord was there to encourage him. Again this was not an everyday occurrence to all Christians but to the apostle for his missionary work.
Acts 10:3-6 Cornelius in a vision saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” “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.”
At the same time period (Acts 10) Peter is on a rooftop getting ready to eat at about midday and falls into a trance. God gives him a vision involving creatures that he was previously taught not to eat because they were unclean. Peter has a vision of a great sheet and is told to eat unclean animals forbidden in the law of Moses. Vv:13-14:”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.” Three times this is said. “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).
What we notice is a clear relationship between his condition of hunger, and the nature of the vision: God speaks “Rise Peter, kill and eat.” He is alone, and he understands later what the revelation means, they no longer are to live under Old Testament law, what was once unclean is now clean. Salvation is to be offered to the Gentiles. Again it was rare for a vision to occur. Each vision in the New Testament has a purpose, to fulfill God’s will with those who are key in his plan or reveal doctrine TO THOSE TEACHING IT and establishing the church.
In Bukhari’s Hadith (V9B87N113) Mohammed is recorded saying “A good dream is from Allah, and a bad dream is from Satan.’” Unfortunately many take this principle as the way to correctly interpret dreams, if it is good, it is from God, if negative it is not.
One Christian website posts-”There are no warnings in the Bible to beware of your own dreams, with the possible exception of Ecclesiastes 5:3,7, which is probably best understood as a reference to “daydreams” since all other references in the Bible to “dreams” are positive.
Is this true? Then why would Jeremiah state Jer 29:8: “Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.”
This hardly true- Gen. 40:8 Joseph is told the butler and the bakers dream-And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.”
For the butler it was a good interpretation for the baker it was not, Joseph answered and said, “This is the interpretation of it: The three baskets are three days, “Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head from you and hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from you” (Gen.40:17-19).
These dreams tell of life and death and were used to exalt Joseph to his place of rulership and exonerate him.
While God would give dreams to ungodly rulers it took godly men to interpret them.
Later when Joseph interprets Pharaohs dream it is to save a nation and put him in a place of rulership. Gen 41:26-28 “The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. “And the seven thin and ugly cows which came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine. “This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. Is anyone's dreams saving nations like Joseph's or saving individuals like Mary, Joseph and Jesus?
Are all dreams positive? The conviction of the sinfulness of man is related by Eliphaz in a dream (Job 4:12-21). “Now a word was secretly brought to me, and my ear received a whisper of it. In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair on my body stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence; then I heard a voice saying: 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? If He puts no trust in His servants, if He charges His angels with error, How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before a moth? They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; they perish forever, with no one regarding. Does not their own excellence go away? They die, even without wisdom.'
When King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream he sought the interpretation from his seers and astrologers. They were unable to supply the king with an answer and their lives were threatened. “Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation” (Daniel 2:16). Vv.19-20: “Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.” Daniel attributes this ability to God (vv.21-23) it was not something he possessed that could be used indiscriminately- he could not turn it on.
Dan. 1:17: “…and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” This was not a common ability for everyone. Daniel said of God “He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” V.28 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.” Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar his dream before he interpreted it (Daniel 2:26, 31-36- lets see dream interpreters do this.) This was more applicable to the Old Testament dispensation because God used this manner of communication. There was a purpose to it. This was a gift to Daniel who God gave in advance because of how Daniel would be used for his kingdom to write prophetic scripture; it involved Babylon and Israel’s future, it was to spare lives, and to show that Daniels God was the true God, not the kings. When Daniel interpreted Nebucahnezzar’s dream and got it right he did not begin a dream interpretation ministry.
Today people are being taught to interpret their dreams- but what did Joseph say? When Pharaoh summoned Joseph before him he said, “I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it. “So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:15-16).
part 2 Today's Dream Weavers