Next to signs and miracles, dreams and visions are among the most fascinating supernatural appearances. Throughout the ages astrologers, palm readers, soothsayers, witch doctors, druids, etc. have looked at dreams and visions for guidance about the future, interpretation of supernatural appearances, the governing of kingdoms, and the forecasting of disasters.
The word dream is mentioned more than 120 times in the Bible. One of the earliest mentions of dreams, or sleep, in scripture is found in Genesis, where God put Adam under a deep sleep, took one of his ribs, and created Eve from Adam’s own flesh and bone.
- Genesis 20:3-6 >> God came to to Abimelech in a dream
- Genesis 31: 6-10 >> God sends an angel to speak to Jacob in a dream. Jacob was quite renowned for his dreams. But, more about this later.
- Genesis 31:24 >> God spoke to Laban in a dream
- Genesis 37: 6 onward >> Jacob shares the dreams he had with his father and brothers. These dreams would, in future, not only touch and change the lives of his family, but would shape the history of God’s people when he went to Egypt.
- Genesis 40:8- 20 >> Joseph, who is now a slave in Egypt, through God’s power interprets the dreams of fellow inmates and the jail warden. This granted him favor, and he ended up working for Pharaoh as an adviser.
- Numbers 12:6 >> God spoke to Israel through a prophet whom He gave dreams and visions.
- Judges 7:13-17 >> Gideon, a general of the Israelite army, changes his battle strategy based on a message from God through a dream.
Furthermore, there are entire books in the Bible, such as Daniel, Joel, and Revelation that chronicle dreams, visions and prophesies.
In the New Testament, one of the most prominent examples of dreams that shaped destiny is found in Matthew 2:13 where Mary (to whom an angel appeared, telling her that she would bear the Messiah) and Joseph, is warned in a dream that the evil king, Herod, wants to kill Jesus and they flee to Egypt.
Dreams and visions, or other supernatural manifestations, can be birthed from three sources, namely, the Spirit of God — the Holy Spirit, the enemy (the devil and his demons imitate God’s spirit in attempts to deceive mankind) and lastly, your own soul.
To discern the source of dreams, visions, prophesies etc. one has to walk in relationship with Holy Spirit — the Spirit of Truth — who cuts through bone and marrow, that exposes darkness and brings it into the Light. I’ll elaborate some more on hearing God’s voice in a minute.
Here’s what Scripture says about dreams and visions:
Acts 2:17 says “And it shall come to pass, in the last days, says God, I will pour our my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams,”
Nowadays, God uses dreams and visions to communicate prophetically. If you study Acts and Romans, you’ll see that the Body of Christ (the Church) consists of individuals who are called to different functions, or roles. In the same way that your body consists of different parts, such as hands, feet, lips, etc. so the Church aslo consists of differnt parts doing different jobs. Each job, or function, is necessary for the body to function healthily.
Acts 8:14-17 in the Message says, ” When the apostles in Jerusalem received the report that Samaria had accepted God’s Message, they sent Peter and John down to pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Up to this point they had only been baptized in the name of the Master Jesus; the Holy Spirit hadn’t yet fallen on them. Then the apostles laid their hands on them and they did receive the Holy Spirit.”
The abovementioned scripture describes, in short, what baptsism in Holy Spirit entails. Baptsism with water, the Holy Spirit and Fire are three types of baptisms we come accross in scripture. However, I’ll not go into detail about that now.
For the moment, let’s just focus on the Gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12: 4-12.
In the Message it says, “God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere, but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere, but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit and to all kinds of people!”
Corinthians then goes on to list the kinds of gifts;
- Wise Counsel (Words of Wisdom) Conveying prophetic insight and applied understanding for God’s practicality in every-day affairs.
- Clear Understanding (Words of Knowledge) Declaring something God knows to another that is unable to be known or discovered by natural means.
- Simple Trust (Gift of Faith) the ability to believe unswervingly on an increased level,.
- Prophesy Unveiling the Lord’s hidden information and truths, regardless of the era, and foretelling them as prophesy.
- Healing the sick see Matthew 16:17&18 for more detail.
- Miraculous Acts see Matthew 16:17&18 for more detail.
- Proclamation (Prophesy) Actuating and turning the events of this world so that they line up with the embedded commands and programs of the Lord.
- Distinguishing between spirits The ability to see physically, or discern intuitively the presence of God’s invisible creatures, angels, or demons.
- Gift of Tongues (speaking in heavenly languages) Supernatural prayer in the Spirit that transforms itself into the tongues of angels and sometimes the ancient tongues of old spiritual powers.
- the Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues the interpretation of supernatural prayer languages.
There is a difference between the dreams and visions of the Old Testament, and the dreams and visions found in the New Testament. This is largely due to the fact that we, who live under the covenant of the New Testament, have been bought by Jesus Christ’s blood when He died as sacrifice for our sin on the cross. When He died, and rose again, He defeated death and sickness, and through His sacrifice, enabled Man to approach freely the Father’s throne of Grace.
Anyhow, in 1 Corinthians 14:11&12 it is made clear that “modern” prophesies should meet the following standards:
- edify (bring comfort)
1 Corinthians 14;31 to 33 further stipulate the environment for prophesy — God is not a God of confusion. If what ever is prophesied does not stand in agreement with God’s Word then scratch it. The functioning of spiritual gifts should always take place under the covering of a local church — that’s why spiritual family is so important! Furthermore, prophesy, dreams and visions etc. should always teach. In other words, it should bring a clearer understanding of God, His character, or the particular individual’s relationship with God.
Ultimately, all the gifts of the Spirit should be used to usher encounters between Man and God. For example, when a believer, walking in relationship with Holy Spirit, shares a prophetic word, or an interpretation of a dream or prays for healing etc. it’s basically just God saying: “Hey man! I love you so much that I sent my servant across your path to let you know I love you and I care about you.”
Here’s my working definition of prophesy, dreams and other spiritual gifts: it’s God’s way of caring showing that He cares enough about your problems to let someone else know to let you know that He loves you.
My friend, Pastor Jacques Oberholzer, always says Healing is God’s love language.
Anyhow, to get back to dreams and visions, here’s how “The Prophet’s Handbook” (by Paula A. Price) defines it — dreams are divine communications that are received while asleep, where as visions are open-sighted divine communications.
Dreams and Visions often contain images or symbols that carry significant meaning. However, the spirit behind everything should always be tested. When interpreting dreams and visions, don’t jump to conclusions or assume that something meas this or that because that’s what it meant previously. Walk in relationship with Holy Spirit and make sure that what you’re hearing is from Him, and is in fact what He wants to point out in the given message.
As Christians, hearing God’s voice is a daily exercise. Sometimes we get the things God wants to say wrong, however, hearing God’s voice is not some kind of trial-and-error thing. John 10:14 says that God is the Good Shepherd, and that the sheep (His children) know His voice. It’s as simple as, for instance, answering the phone and without checking the caller ID, knowing that its your best friend or mother calling by recognizing their voice. Obviously, the ability to recognize someone’s voice is directly dependent upon the amount of time you spend with them. If you want to train yourself to hear God’s voice, then you have to set apart time to talk to Him, and listen to Him.
Dreams are one of the most common ways that God speaks to me. As I mentioned before, all believers possess the ability to function in all the gifts of the Spirit, as they are given freely to all, however, some individuals might function more “strongly” or effectively in a particular gift. Speaking for myself, I know that I have a revivalist calling on my life, and often the way I minister God to people will be through the interpretation of dreams, visions or prophetic word. I often receive words of knowledge too, and I lay hands on the sick, but I don’t have particular anointing for this. I encourage you to pursue all the gifts of the Spirit, don’t be shy to prophesy because you have an anointing for healing, or hold back encouraging words on the basis of lacking the gift of faith. REMEMBER, it’s not you doing the work, but God! You are merely in the privileged position of getting to co-labor with God and be His ambassador. It’s like filling in the blank on a cheque that has already been signed by God. Above all, when ministering, do so out of LOVE!
The reason I wrote this blog in the first place is to share some of my recent dreams with you. They’ll follow shortly — check out the “dreams” tab to get there fast!
If you have any questions, or would like me to pray for you, or interpret a dream, feel free to email me — I’d love to help! >> email@example.com
May you dream with Jesus about the things He has in store for you. May you fellowship with Holy Spirit and increasingly train your ears to pick up His voice like supernatural radars. May you come to understand Father’s heart for yourself, your destiny, your time, your place. And, above all, may you become more and more aware of the reality of His love for you!
- Hearing from God – Visions and Dreams (holyspiritcomfort.com)
- diamonds in the rough (firechronicles.wordpress.com)
- Write it down! Those visions…dreams! (deborahnk.com)
- Genesis 37:19-20 You May Say That I’m A Dreamer, But I’m Not The Only One (writedownthesewords.com)
- testing the spirits – critical; Gifts of the Spirit #3 (eatinglocusts.wordpress.com)
- The Bible Evidence of the Baptism of The Holy Spirit (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- Prophecy (bcong.wordpress.com)
- Meet the Person, the Holy Spirit (mudpreacher.org)
- Your Body is theTemple of the Holy Spirit (hatchcreek.com)
- Receiving God’s Message through Dreams (disciplesministries.wordpress.com)