Dreams and their interpretation

(Candace foster) #1

I am studying the book of Genesis and have reached the Joseph part. It led me to the question…what about dreams today? It seems that the interpretation of dreams and finding meaning in them has been given over to the New Age practitioners in our present times.

I have read articles on dreams from several Biblical dictionaries and reviewed examples from the Bible. Just curious as to anyone’s thoughts? Do they still play a role in believers lives? What weight should we give to our dreams or others dreams in important decisions, etc? Should we look at them as God sharing a glimpse into the future?

I have a friend who is a counselor and has been trained in dream interpretation. She has been influenced by Buddhism and New Age philosophies. While I have always thought her dream interpretations are too much “hocus pocus”, I am seeking to find an understanding of the Christian viewpoint to aid in our discussions about faith, God, etc

(Hunter Vallejos) #2

One of the great apologists of our time who has recently passed, Nabeel Qureshi, a doctor and member of the RZIM team, converted to Christianity from Islam. In his discernment, he prayed to God to show him whether Islam was true or Christianity was true.

He outlines his story in “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” which is a lovely book. I highly recommend you read it. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BB54FS5/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

During his time of intense prayer regarding conversion, God gave him 2 or 3 dreams at least, all pointing him towards Christianity. Not only that, but the dreams were interpreted by Muslims!

So yes, I believe God can speak to us through dreams. The problem is that most of the time, we just aren’t listening. Even more so, God can speak in our dreams so that even non-believers will give the correct interpretation of them!

(Ashish Paul) #3

Seeking Allah, finding Jesus is a great book highly recommended for people who wants to find the truth about Jesus from a Muslim perspective.

(C Rhodes) #4

@Candy. I need to take a morning nap because I had one of those sleepless nights, but then I saw your question.

I don’t routinely talk about my dreams because people have taught me to be cautious. But, throughout my childhood until the present, I have been a dreamer. GOD indeed speaks in the dream and often the word is prophetic.

Someone told me as a child that if I did not tell someone about the dream, it would come true. So, for many years I would go to individuals in the dream or an older relative and relay that dream. Someone should have paid attention. For a while, I thought when the dream foretelling death or sickness came true, I was at fault. I was making it happen. That’s a desperate choking despair for a little child.

As I grew older I began to see it was merely an additional way the Lord would speak to me. When I came to understand the dreams, certain symbols in dreams were dependable heralds of things to come. Full dressed weddings terrified me, they have always been heralds of death.

My father still likes to object to the telling of my dreams. I understand why; his Mother was a dreamer. But my grandmother was also a master manipulator. These days the dreams are a reliable way to see things I am overlooking in my waking world. Some are still prophetic, but it is a sure way to know how to pray and for whom to pray.

Okay, I’d better lay down because that was a very convoluted way to say, yes GOD speaks in dreams.

(Butch) #5

Yes God still speaks to us in dream. There is a good book by Jimmy Yamada. Life of a dreamer. When we have a dream write it down. Ask for the Lords discernment to interpret it. He may reveal the interpretation immediately or at a later time. I would stay away from dream bibles and new age practices. I myself have wanted to search Google and dream bibles for dreams I have had. We have to rely on the Lord for the interpretation or he will lead someone to us to interpret it.
Remember what happened to King Saul? Stay away from new age stuff.

(Anthony Costello ) #6


It seems clear from Scripture that God uses dreams to give knowledge to his people. Also, I don’t know of anywhere in Scripture where this is said to no longer continue; so therefore, it seems warranted to believe that God speaks in dreams. Many here have already cited Nabeel Qureshi’s conversion story as a credible testimony about God’s activity through dreams. And, I think that examples could be multiplied exponentially.

However, in spite of that I would still see dreams as a supplemental source of knowledge; the primary still being Scripture, and then direct counsel, preaching, or evangelism from other believers. I also would be wary of dreams telling us things about the future. It seems to me that that kind of prophetic dream was reserved for people who had a very special role to play in God’s plan of salvation (namely, the role of prophet). Also “future telling” seems far too much like “fortune telling” to me. But, I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but everything would have to be checked and re-checked against Scripture; our sure foundation.

That said, I think dreams that point us to Jesus, or that open us up to certain kinds of moral change in our lives, or that maybe even speak to us about who we need to reach out to, or evangelize to, our support financially, etc. are all the kinds of dreams we would probably be able to embrace.

in Christ,

(Butch) #7

Well said

(C Rhodes) #8

@anthony.costello. We agree that dreams are supplemental to the primary authority of Scripture. However, when you seem to recommend an order for what or whom should be believed I can’t clarify that hierarchy scripturally.

I also agree with you that there is an element that can resemble ‘fortune-telling’ or my term is sooth-saying. I find that only occurs when the prophetic gift is prostituted for personal gain and glory. But that is true regarding all spiritual gifts. Preaching, teaching, giving, any gift from GOD can be exploited.

That prophetic dreams occur is supported by scripture. As in the case of Pharoh’s dream in Genesis 41. Or, Belshazzar in Daniel 5. Neither one of these men were Prophets yet GOD spoke to each of them. There is also the earth father of Jesus, Joseph, who was warned in two dreams. See Matthew 1 and Matthew 2. Again not a declared prophet just someone GOD spoke warning too regarding dilemmas upon them and dilemmas approaching.

I can tell you personally, I saw the attack on 9/11 almost a year before it happened. Two separate dreams. In the first dream, I woke myself yelling out “call 911, call 911!” Honestly, I was so sure that disaster was approaching, I toyed with the idea of contacting the FBI. I just didn’t know how not to sound crazy.

I do not carry the designation of Prophet, nor do I want to. However, I know what GOD continues to show me. I am okay with being the instrument of prayer in those circumstances. I am even okay when other believers negate the dreams. That’s not an issue for me, my own father, a Minister, does so every chance afforded.

But I hold to the truth of the night visions in which GOD speaks. If for no other reason than Acts 2:17. “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.”

(Anthony Costello ) #9


So, I think we can probably find enough common ground on this; even if we aren’t in 100% agreement, which I don’t think is that important. What I mean is that it is not that important to have 100% agreement on everything, because Christians of good faith can have varying beliefs on many issues.

What I do affirm, therefore, and what I think you are also clearly affirming is this:

  1. I do believe that the gift of prophecy continues today. I am not a cessasionist on spiritual gifts, although I welcome people who differ on that. I know some very godly people who do think certain gifts have ceased. But, I am not one of them. I see no evidence in Scripture that certain gifts, like miracles, or prophecy, have ceased. And, it seems like there is enough evidence to suggest that they do continue today. You are one example of that evidence :smile:

  2. I imagine God can, in dreams or visions, give believers a sense of future events. What I DO NOT think is that any of these kinds of dreams or visions can be utilized in an authoritative manner; i.e. that your dreams or mine can become binding or authoritative either on us or others. Perhaps, for one’s own self, a dream could act as a conviction of sorts, but if it were to fall short of what was clearly laid out in Scripture, the information garnered from the dream would have to be viewed as either false, or subservient to the scriptural data.

That, of course, unless the information from the dream is just very clearly in line with what Scripture already says. But, I think this is also what you are saying; so, as long as we don’t treat dreams or visions in the same way we would treat the words of those that fulfilled a prophetic office(e.g. the OT prophets, or the Apostles), then I have no problem saying that God reveals some future events to his people. Why He does that today, is an interesting question though. I’d have to think about that more. I have thought that if someone saw something of the future in a dream, or even something in the present, but that otherwise would not have been known to them, that this knowledge could be used as an encouragement to other believers; or perhaps, a warning. But again, there I would want to be careful.

I will say, however, as a caveat to this second point, that growing up Cathoic, I was aware of many so-called “visionaries” who would foretell all kinds of future events. I don’t think all of them were legitimate, and my concern with ones that perhaps were more authentic, in some way, is that I saw many friends (and some family members) almost get too involved or entangled in these prophecies. This seemed to become a distraction from the central message of the Gospel, namely, Christ’s atonement for sin, and His resurrection, the establishment of His church, and His mediation at the right hand of the Father for sinners.

So, in that sense, I am also wary of becoming too engrossed with prophecy. I think it is a natural inclination for all of us to want special knowledge; and sometimes, as you have testified, God will give that knowledge. But, I think to become enamored with prophetic knowledge can be a temptation best avoided.

With regard to the actual matter of prophecy, however, I think we are broadly in agreement.

in Christ,

(C Rhodes) #10

@anthony.costello. We are absolutely in sync! I think for me it is more about directing my prayer life. So, I try to be obedient to that mandate.

What you have written reminds me of I Corinthians 13:1-3. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

I love the communication via dreams, but I am walking right along with you, wide awoke and determined to be “love in action!”

(Jules) #11

@cer7 – how did you come to that interpretation ?

I think that’s interesting because every culture has things they say about certain dreams. There is a culture (I’ll keep nameless so as to not promote the unnecessary) that views weddings as a “bad omen” onto that person who’s wedding it was.

@Candy, in any case, I think we needa ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment over those dreams that continue to linger and make us wonder. I think its easy as you had mentioned for these things to go “New Agey” and into mysticism and fortune-telling, which God says so many times in the OT that he hates.

But as others have mentioned, God does speak to some through dreams.

:v: :revolving_hearts: :pray:

(C Rhodes) #12

@tudojoia. You know I can’t honestly say where it came from, I have never been married myself. But the first time the symbolism appeared was in a dream about my brother. It took a moment to realize I was seeing my brother. In the dream, the groom began to falter as he walked towards me. I rushed to his side and held him up praying, I awoke

It was not just me, my father had a sense of approaching trouble. He tried to reach my brother but could not. He sent word that whatever my brother was doing he needed to stop immediately. I am told the message did not reach him until long after the incident had occurred.

Later my family and I discovered that my brother had hired himself out as a security in the home of a pusher who was a cousin. About three days after my Dad had attempted to reach him, an acquaintance stopped by their drug house. They would discover he came with the intent to rob them.

My brother says he had everyone lie on the floor and begin shooting them one by one. My brother began praying and asking GOD what to do.

He said he heard a voice in his mind say run. He did. With bullets flying after him. When he reached the front door, he was told to not try the door so he dived out a window. In the time it took the shooter to get through the front door. My brother hid under a car. My brother was the only one who lived that night.

That seemed to set a precedence for that symbolism for years. It still does.

Sorry, didn’t know I was going to write so much. Having trouble falling asleep, took one to many naps during the day. :blush:

(Candace foster) #13

Just curious how you saw the attacks? Was it a plane going into a building?

I am really fascinated by this thread. I suppose that it is not really something that I have thought about much.

I think the thing that I am struggling with is… ,what do you do with a dream? As you have said, it helps in your prayer life. I get that and do believe that the Spirit encourages us and speaks to us in the quiet of our soul-so through dreams or meditation on His word or withdrawing from world noises to be open to His voice. I find that often I am ‘reminded or encouraged ‘ to pray for someone as I am driving alone-no radio or other noises.

But what about a prophetic dream? I think that I am getting stuck on finding Biblical or logical reasons why God would show an individual a tragic event or disaster to come.

Just trying to sort all of this out.

Thanks for your responses. You have given me much to think about!

(C Rhodes) #14

@Candy. No, ma’am. Nothing as targeted. The first dream I was in a house I lived in my teen years. I rushed to the front door because I saw middle eastern men wearing partial masks, dressed in black trying to break in. We did not keep the doors lock in that community so I had to run to reach the lock. That stopped two of the men. But I soon realized there were four of them and two went to the back door. I did not reach the door in time. But, I still tried to stop them by pushing back against their entry. Because I could not prevail alone, I begin to cry out to the other occupants of the house. “Call 911, call 911!” That dream I saw in 2000.

In late summer 2001, I saw in a dream, an Egyptian co-worker who sat next to me in the control bay at IBM. In the dream, His family had been taken hostage by men from the middle east. I had sent my daughter/niece to his home to stay with his new wife and her mother. She was new to America and was frightened. Because he did not tell anyone he was being forced to commit a terrorist act to save his family, I also made my niece a victim.

I think I saw him specifically because he had said during a group conversation that he was going back home to find a wife from Egypt. Someone to cook and care for him. I had told him I had a novel idea. He was a big boy now, why didn’t he just cook his own food? Everyone laughed but I think maybe none of the men appreciated my comments. He was not married at the time of the attack.

However, we worked together the Sunday before the attacks. All that evening his computer kept making a ticking noise like it was building up to an explosion. Over and over during that 12-hour shift. He said he did not know why. But, given the dreams can you imagine how freaked out I was? Because of the dreams, I was in panic prayer mode! I did not share the dream with anyone at work. I mean, should you tell a possible terrorist you had dreamed he had been coerced? But, I found it hard to stay in my station and nearly ran from the building after the shift ended.:slight_smile: I was at home on a three-day off cycle when the planes hit that Tuesday. I do not believe he was a terrorist, I think I saw him because he was from the middle east.

The vagueness of the dreams is why I decided not to call the FBI. I was certain, but I was also certain I would be considered ‘teched’ in the head.