Dreams and Visions - January 28, 2018
Dreams are part of the normal course of our lives. Medical scientists who study the brain will tell you that everyone dreams, though not all can recall their dreams. Dreams are little more than the continued functioning of the mind during sleep; sometimes rehearsing recent thoughts and events; and sometimes creating scenarios based on fears, hopes or desires. As such, dreams are a perfectly normal function of the brain. However, not everyone experiences God-given dreams.
The Old Testament contains multiple accounts of dreams – Abimelech [Genesis 20]; Jacob [Genesis 28]; Joseph [Genesis 37 -41]; and Daniel [Daniel 2-4] to mention a few. We also see God-given dreams in the New Testament, although the reference to dreams there is limited – about 8 times. This lets us know that according to scripture, God was not using dreams to communicate like He did in the Old Testament. I’m certain that it was because the Holy Ghost had come.
God has also spoken through visions, again, mainly in the Old Testament. A vision is similar to a dream, but occurs in a state of awareness as opposed to being asleep. The Bible speaks about visions and dreams that would come in the latter days. This was spoken through Joel the Prophet who wrote, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”, and “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). God certainly did pour out His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and the door to salvation was opened to all who call on the name of the Lord.
There is a lot of debate among biblical scholars about whether God still speaks in dreams and visions today. But please understand that God is not limited in the ways in which He can and will communicate. If reaching us through a dream or a vision is what it takes, He will do just that. Much like those who were in the upper room awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, if we stay hungry, humble, and in a state of expectation, God can and will manifest Himself to us in ways that may be uncommon for others. This can include dreams and/or visions.
We must also be careful when it comes to the interpretation of dreams and visions. Keep in mind that the Bible is complete. Dreams and visions should never be given greater authority than the Word of God and cannot usurp Scripture. God’s Word is the ultimate authority for our Christian faith. If you believe you have had a dream or vision from God, prayerfully examine the Word of God and make sure it is in agreement with Scripture. Any dream or vision should always be placed against the Word to see if it matches God’s purposes and will - and if it doesn’t, forget about it. You may even need to rebuke it if you believe the source is ungodly.
God does not give a dream or vision to a person and then keep the meaning of the vision hidden. If He gives you a dream or vision, He is giving it to you for a purpose. You may not understand it readily, but it will either be revealed to you or to someone He sends to reveal it to you.
Every God-given dream or vision in scripture was eventually revealed. Once revealed, screen it by the Word.