Written by Bro Christopher Tharalla
Printed in April, 2010.
Written earlier: The Whisper (Listen to God’s voice)
(All Bible references are taken from the King James Version unless specified)
Other versions quoted are:
God’s Word (GW)
Good News Bible (GNB)
English Standard Version (ESV)
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
II. Explanations for Dreams
III. Purpose of Dreams
IV. Reception & Interpretations of Dreams
V. Examples of Dreams
VI. Questions & Answers
I remember an incident that took place when I was a kid, just old-enough to run around. As it turned dark one evening and having made sure that no one was around, I ran and jumped into a huge, deep well that was located some 50 ft from our house. A miracle happened just the moment I splashed into the water, if not I would not have been alive to write this book that you are holding in your hands. What happened was, the moment my body touched the water; I woke up from my sleep and felt greatly relieved that it was only a dream. At one point of time or the other, everyone experiences something like this. The conclusion that invariably emerges out of such experiences of ‘finding relief’ by discarding something as ‘only a dream’ reinforces the popular notion that, "dreams are only just dreams with no real significance". This is because dreams are looked upon as some activity that we normally do without giving much thought to it and eventually tend to forget them.
But what actually are dreams? Bible (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, as commonly said), God’s Word, has all the answers about dreams. In this book, I wish to briefly present some of the truths pertaining to the significance of dreams in our lives as far as Scriptures are concerned. This is no dream. It’s real. I am not talking about daydreaming which is nothing but ‘wish craft’. So please keep-on reading until you finish.
I am thankful to my friend, Bro. Thomas George, for refining the language in this book to its present form.
A saying goes like this: “All men of action are dreamers.”
II. Explanation for Dreams
What actually are dreams?
The meaning of the word Dreams as given by Webster’s A-L Dictionary is given thus:
1. The thought or series of thoughts of a person in sleep. We apply dream, in the singular, to a series of thoughts, which occupy the mind of a sleeping person, in which he imagines he has a view of real things or transactions. A dream is a series of thoughts not under the command of reason, and hence wild and irregular.
2. In scripture, dreams were sometimes impressions on the minds of sleeping persons, made by divine agency. God came to Abimelech in a dream. Joseph was warned by God in a dream. Gen 20. Mat 2.
3. A vain fancy; a wild conceit; an unfounded suspicion.
We understand from the above definitions that dreams are what are viewed by a sleeping person, not being under the command of reason and hence open for the divine agency to step-into and show things to the person involved, which otherwise would not be feasible, as that person may, through an act of will, not be voluntarily open to receive anything from God.
Also, we see from the above definition that, God spoke through a dream for the first time to King Abimelech (Genesis 20) as per the Scriptures, has spoken a number of times to different people, including Joseph (Mathew 2) and continues to speak to people even today.
The third part of the above definition says dreams are ‘vain fancy’, meaning, useless and uncontrolled imaginations. This implies that some dreams have no real significance and hence should be ignored.
Let me produce an extract from Dell’s Purse Book 2151, published by Dell Publishing Co. Inc. New York, titled Dreams.
“For according to extensive scientific research-at the University of Chicago, Harward University, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Walter Reed Institute of Reach and countless other institutions-this fact has been proven conclusively; everybody dreams, every night. How was this fact proven? By monitoring the nightly sleep of thousands of volunteers; by measuring their heart action, brain waves, eye and body movements, respiration and finally, when indicated by these physical responses, awakening them throughout the night to ask “Were you dreaming?” In each case the volunteer answered, "Yes"-even those volunteers who, prior to the experiments, had insisted that they never dreamed. Moreover, these scientific studies found that people don’t have just one dream a night, but as many as nine and never less than three; that we begin dreaming an hour or so after we fall asleep; that we dream about 20% of the time while sleeping, taking about 90 minutes for a “break” between each dream; that a dream lasts 10 – 30 minutes, with each dream lasting longer as the night goes on.”We understand from the above information obtained from the practical experiments done that dreams are an integral part of our night-life, something we cannot avoid.
One more extract from the same book about why one dreams.
“In an attempt to discover why we dream-what useful function, if any, dreaming serves; Doctors in various hospitals across the country conducted the following experiment: For 4-5 consecutive nights, they prevented groups of volunteer sleepers from dreaming (with the help of scientific equipment that revealed when a dream was beginning, thus allowing the doctors to awaken the sleeper and prevent the dream). Then, daily following each night of dreamless sleep, the volunteers were interviewed and studied. (At no time were the volunteers allowed to suspect the purpose of the experiment. They didn’t realize they were being deprived of dreams-only that they were being awakened at intervals throughout each night.) In every case, the results were the same: as the experiment progressed (with the volunteers receiving the same over-all amount of sleep they received on normal nights), they became increasingly tense and anxious, showed undue hostility and resentment, suffered occasional lapses of memory, experienced slight lack of muscular coordination, found it difficult to concentrate. In other words, deprived of dreaming, the volunteers’ mental and physical health suffered; they did not function normally-indeed, their behavior became neurotic or worse!
To check the findings of the first experiment, the doctors then conducted a second experiment: They allowed the same volunteers to sleep, this time awakening them during non-dreaming periods. And the result? No change in the volunteers’ behavior. Permitted to dream, awakened only during non-dreaming periods, they behaved normally. And so, the evidence was conclusive: it was the loss of dreams and not being awakened from sleep that caused the volunteers to deteriorate mentally and physically. Which is one way of saying (and show dramatically) that we dream because we have to; because dreaming is an emotional safety-valve-nature’s way of allowing us to “let off steam” harmlessly.”
We understand from the above information that the dreams are natural and practically for our good, like an emotional safety-valve. Hence, we are bound to look into its significance in a serious way.
By the way, a saying goes like this: “When you cease to dream, you cease to live”.
III. Purpose of Dreams
Now, Biblically speaking, what is the significance of dreams?
God, in His divine wisdom uses man’s God-given ability to dream as one of the ways of communicating with him. Job 33:15 (GNB) says: “At night when people are asleep, God speaks in dreams and visions.” In one’s life, a large percentage of time every day is spent in sleeping when compared to the rest of one’s regular physical activities. But the Lord has wonderfully planned something very good for us during our sleeping time, apart from just taking rest; He uses it to communicate with us.
Now, is it concerning unimportant things that the Lord speaks to us through dreams?
Consider, Matthew 2:13 which says: “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” We know God’s great plan of salvation was wrapped-up around the life of baby Jesus. So the protection of baby Jesus was so very important and obviously the instruction that was required to be given to Joseph to flee to Egypt was very vital; but the mode of communication chosen by God to get the message across was through a dream.
We find similar important messages communicated through dreams. Matthew 2:12 says: “And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.”, referring to the instruction given by the angel to the wise men of the east, here too, we see an important message being communicated through a dream! The point I am trying to underscore is that dreams are not an ignorable mode of communication neither its message something casual that we can just brush-aside. Dreams are an equally important mode for God in communicating with his people and is no way any less compared to other modes of communication that God uses.
Please read below the Wesley commentary on Acts 2:17 which says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”
The times of the Messiah are frequently called the last days, the Gospel being the last dispensation of Divine grace. I will pour out of my Spirit - Not on the day of Pentecost only, upon all flesh - On persons of every age, sex, and rank. And your young men shall see visions - In young men the outward senses, are most vigorous, and the bodily strength is entire, whereby they are best qualified to sustain the shock which usually attends the visions of God. In old men the internal senses are most vigorous, suited to divine dreams. Not that the old are wholly excluded from the former, nor the young from the latter.
Also note that ‘just because somebody dreams, it does not mean that he is old or just because somebody sees visions, it does not mean he is young’There are various messages communicated by God to man through dreams as recorded in the Scriptures. Consider some of the messages given below:
A. Message giving Direction:
Matthew 2:19-20 says: “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.”
Here, a clear-cut direction was given to Joseph as to what move they were to make next through a dream. God directs us according to His will which is the best for us. We see in Scriptures, wherever the will of the Lord was honored, there wasn’t any lack of God’s protection, provision, guidance, honor, grace and mercy. On the other hand, Proverbs 18:3 (GNB) says: “Sin and shame go together. ..” Hence, it is left for one to choose, either shame or honor.
B. Message about Provision:
1 Kings 3:5 says: “In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, ask what I shall give thee.”
Almighty God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and offered to grant him whatever he chose. The King chose wisdom to rule people with justice. The Lord was pleased with the king for not selfishly asking for wealth or long life for himself. The Lord gave him wisdom in addition to other blessings that he did not even ask for. Wonderful transactions took place through a dream.
Psalms 84:11 says: ". . . . no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." God always wants to bless His children. Mathew23:23-24 (GNB) says: “How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You give to God one tenth even of the seasoning herbs, such as mint, dill, and cumin, but you neglect to obey the really important teachings of the Law, such as justice and mercy and honesty. These you should practice, without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain a fly out of your drink, but swallow a camel!” Both flies and camels were considered to be unclean according to the Law of Moses. This obviously means that some people block God’s blessings in their lives by making a mockery of obedience to God’s Word by willfully neglecting important commands (like justice, mercy, honesty) while putting on a big show of being obedient in smaller things (like giving tithes of their salt and pepper). The Lord calls such people ‘Blind guides’, a title one should not earn.
C. Message of Encouragement:
Judges 7:13-15 (GW) says: “When Gideon got there, he heard a man telling his friend a dream. The man said, “I had a strange dream. There was a loaf of barley bread rolling around in the camp of Midian. When it got to the command post, the loaf of bread hit that tent so hard that the tent collapsed, turned upside down, and fell flat.” His friend replied, “That can only be the sword of Gideon, son of Joash, from Israel. God is going to hand Midian and the whole camp over to him.” When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped the LORD. Then he went back to the camp of Israel and said, “Attack! The LORD will hand Midian’s camp over to you.”
The safety and security of the entire Israelite community depended upon their leader Gideon. But Gideon, who was expected to lead the battle, himself turned fearful (Judges 7:10-11); even though he has commanded all fearful soldiers to leave the camp implying that God cannot use fearful people (Judges 7:3). The urgent need for Gideon was encouragement and that was achieved through a dream that an enemy soldier got and was explaining his dream to his friend that Gideon over-heard. Gideon got the needed encouragement that led to the victory of the Israelites over the mighty Midianites. Gideon was encouraged and honored, something the Lord wants to do in the lives of all His children.
Encouragement is something everyone needs at one point of time or the other in their lives. A story goes like this. In an exhibition of the weapons the devil uses like hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit, lust, pride etc – the most worn-out weapon on display was discouragement. Upon being asked by a visitor as to why only the weapon of discouragement was being so frequently used while the rest were hardly used, the demon in-charge replied, “To put down a person the weapon of discouragement is all that you need.” So do not be surprised when the devil frequently attacks you with discouragement. A saying goes like this, “If the devil can’t make you puffed-up with pride, he will try to dampen your spirit by discouragement.” Hence, we need to be very careful on how we think because Proverbs 4:23 (GNB) says: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Discouraging thoughts will pull you down.
When does God honor His children? Scripture is very clear that whoever exalts themselves will be abased and whoever humbles themselves by being obedient to God’s Word will be exalted. In spite of this clarity in the Scriptures, we find many professing believers exalting themselves in terms of their wealth, influence, capabilities, back-ground and so on, not realizing that in doing so they are actually abasing themselves in the process.
D. Message of Rebuke:
Genesis (GNB) 20:3-6 says, ‘One night God appeared to him in a dream and said, “You are going to die, because you have taken this woman; she is already married”’. But Abimelech had not come near her, and he said, “Lord, I am innocent! Would you destroy me and my people? Abraham himself said that she was his sister and she said the same thing. I did this with a clear conscience, and I have done no wrong.” God replied in the dream, “Yes, I know that you did it with a clear conscience; so I kept you from sinning against me and did not let you touch her.’
King Abimelech was rebuked by the Lord in his dream for taking Abraham’s wife into his palace. Abraham was too scared to stand up in this situation as Sarah’s husband. But the Lord had come to his rescue and had put everyone in their proper place. Such complex confusion was clearly and firmly solved through a dream.
Sin hinders us from communicating with God. Some could even be unaware of certain active sins in their lives only because they have not been confronted of that sin by anyone. Lamentations 2:14 (GNB) says, “Your prophets had nothing to tell you but lies; their preaching deceived you by never exposing your sin. They made you think you did not need to repent.” In other words, the true prophets will show people their sins so that they can obtain forgiveness through confession to God. Also, Micah 3:8 (GNB) says: “But as for me, the LORD fills me with his spirit and power, and gives me a sense of justice and the courage to tell the people of Israel what their sins are.” Of course, courage is required to show people their mistakes and the Lord has promised to give all that one needs to do so. Once the Lord sees your willingness to come out of every sin, He will surely send His servants with the messages of conviction and repentance. Now, how would we respond if our sins are shown to us?
E. Message of Understanding:
Mathew 27:19 says : “When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.”
Governor Pilate’s wife had a dream conveying one strong and clear message that Jesus was an innocent man, an understanding that her husband was struggling to find out through the power of reasoning, something she just got through a dream, obviously without any struggle while, probably, not even bothering to find out who Jesus was.
Pro 20:24 (ESV) says: "A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?"We don’t have to understand everything that happens in our life as the Lord is in control of our lives. When the Lord has promised that even the very hair of our head would not fall- unless He permits, then how much more eager would He be to approve for our own good of everything that happens in our life, for He is really concerned of His children. Psalms 111:10 says, good understanding will be given to all those who are obedient to Him. Then, why is it that some people fail to understand the basics truths from the Bible? It is because these people have not bothered to be obedient to the truth they have already understood from the Word.
F. Message of Prediction:
Daniel 2:28 (GNB) says: “But there is a God in heaven, who reveals mysteries. He has informed Your Majesty what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you the dream, the vision you had while you were asleep.”
The ability to predict the future lies with God alone. In Isaiah 43:9, the Lord says (GNB): “Summon the nations to come to the trial. Which of their gods can predict the future? Which of them foretold what is happening now? Let these gods bring in their witnesses to prove that they are right, to testify to the truth of their words.” Again in Isaiah 43:12 He says (GNB): “I predicted what would happen, and then I came to your aid. No foreign god has ever done this; you are my witnesses.” Hence, it is crystal clear that God alone can look into the future and predict accurately.
In this context, we should realize that it is left for the Lord to reveal what He wants and not reveal that which He doesn’t want to. What He reveals is for our good and what He does not reveal is also for our own good. Therefore, we should leave it to the Lord as to what He reveals to us through our dreams. One will not receive any personal revelation from God, until and unless, basics of the written Word (Bible) is followed (See Mathew 19:20-21).
Let me say this again that, it is clear from Scriptures that dreams are, in no way, an inferior mode of communication that the Lord uses to speak to us.
Note this saying: “Dreams come in a size too big so that we may grow into them.”
IV. Reception & Interpretations of Dreams
Reception of Dreams:
In his book, Exploring the World of Dreams, a very comprehensive book on dreams, the author, Benny
Thomas, suggests that we write down our dream upon waking-up in the morning with details of all that we have seen, like the places/locations, people involved, objects, activities, etc., before we could even possibly forget them as we tend to forget these details with the passing of time. Daniel did that. Daniel 7:1 says (GNB): "In the first year that Belshazzar was king of Babylonia, I had a dream and saw a vision in the night. I wrote the dream down, and this is the record."
The dreams that have been written down should be dated. Later, at our leisure we can wait upon the Lord for its interpretation and note down the interpretation too. The record of such dreams should be preserved as it is a very helpful check-list for us to see if we are following the instructions that we got through the dream.
Please note that neither fear nor confusion will ever result from a dream given by God. Peace must prevail. We know that we have an enemy called the devil who counterfeits the works of God. The purpose of his dreams is to create fear, confusion, disturb ones sleep, give evil thoughts or ideas etc. Such attacks of the evil should be countered, without yielding to his evil tricks, we should rebuke him in the name of Jesus. In fact, we have God’s promise for sound sleep in Proverbs 3:24 which says (GNB): "You will not be afraid when you go to bed, and you will sleep soundly through the night."
At times, God in His great wisdom allows the devil to attack us through his dreams so as to wake us up to pray or for any other purpose that the Lord has planned for us to do.
We should express our willingness to listen to God through dreams by asking the Lord in prayer before sleeping every day to speak to us. Also, upon waking-up in the morning, pray and ask the Lord if He has spoken through a dream during the night and help to recollect. This is required as one tends to forget.
Interpretation of Dreams:
Genesis 40:8 (ESV) says: ‘They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”’ Hence, only God should help us and He will do so as far as the interpretation of dreams are concerned.
Consider Genesis 37:9 (ESV) which says: 'Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me"'. It is clear from the meaning of the dream that sun stands for Joseph’s father, moon for his mother and the eleven stars for his brothers; and not to be taken literally. It is obvious that the dreams are a language of symbols, representing something meaningful and the combination of all these makes up the message. What are symbols? A person seen with attributes like strong, ugly, evil, etc.; appearances of faces seen like angry, anxious, cool, etc.,; actions of people seen like sleeping, playing, cleaning, etc.,; places seen like dirty, dangerous, pleasant etc., comes handy to interpret as they are symbolic of the meaning of the message. All this may look confusing now but as we study some examples our understanding will be enriched.
Consider this example. I once read about a person who saw his pastor in a dream. Everything was normal about the pastor’s appearance except that his ears were very large. Upon waiting on the Lord for the interpretation, he understood God telling him that his pastor was very well tuned to listen to God’s voice.
Usually the very person who has dreamt will find it easier to understand its meaning as he can relate the dream to his own circumstances.
Genesis 41:25 (CEV) says: “Joseph replied: Your Majesty, both of your dreams mean the same thing, and in them God has shown what he is going to do.” The conclusion of this is that two different dreams could have the same meaning.
Also, consider Genesis 41:32 (GNB) that says: "The repetition of your dream means that the matter is fixed by God and that he will surely make it happen in the near future." We understand that the same message if conveyed twice implies that the second message is a confirmation by the Lord of the first message and so its fulfillment is a certainty fixed by God.
Please note that every dream need not require an interpretation as some of the dreams could carry a straight forward message like what we see in Mathew 2.
A saying goes like this: “We need men who can dream of things that never were”.
V. Examples of Dreams
In order to familiarize you with the ability to interpret dreams, I have given below some of my dreams with the interpretations that I received.
A. Message giving Direction:
a. I had a dream in which I and one brother in the Lord were traveling by district bus in the middle of the night to come to city. Both of us were awake and looking out of the window watching when we would arrive in city. I then suggested the brother to sleep and I offered to be awake and alert him when we have to get down, instead of both of us being awake.
Interpretation: That morning while I waited on the Lord for the meaning of the dream, it was clear to me that the Lord was telling me to devote the entire day to help that brother in the arrangements (since that very same day the brother was celebrating his first child’s first birthday) which I did as doing for the Lord.
Later, after the function was over, that brother thanked me for my role. Then I disclosed to him that it was the Lord who specifically spoke through a dream instructing me to take an active part in that celebration.
One should be willing to be used of God and then He would disclose His will. Having a global out-look towards the body of Christ in general is a requisite that? enables one to be used at the right time and at the right place, according to His plan. 1 Corinthians 12:11 (CEV) says: “But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.” And 1 Corinthians 12:27 says: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Hence, we should recognize, respect and regard every member of the body of Christ.
b. I once dreamt that I was looking at a brother while wearing a very huge size eye-glasses.
Interpretation: I understood that it meant that I could very clearly take a look at him, his life and his problem, with the needed insight given by the Lord, hence, I could help him effectively with whatever problem he was in.
Actually this particular person I dreamt of had backslid very badly even though being in active ministry earlier. I visited him a few times and tried talking to him about his problem but he wasn’t humble enough to open-up and to top it all, began insisting that all was well with him. This resulted in his problem being left unattended and the end-result was very unpleasant, which could very well have been avoided if there was a proper openness in him. Later, through other sources I came to know about his strained relationship with his wife which finally led into a break-up of their marriage. Obviously, the Lord wanted to help him by giving me an insight and a burden to work on him but his pride blocked God’s help in his life.
Being open to correction while keeping in touch with God’s appointed servant is of great importance, as the Lord uses him to speak to you with the right word at the right time. Detaching one’s self deliberately either due to pride or an ego problem, tends to brand such a person as a rebel in the sight of God and this definitely leads that person to a gradual spiritual decay. The consequence of this can be horrible, something which one could easily avoid by humbly accepting rebukes and yielding to God instead of aggressively trying to have one's own way.
In spite of the Lord’s rebuke, if one continues to rebel without repenting, it can be said that time should not be wasted on such people, based on Acts 13:46 (GNB) which says: ‘But Paul and Barnabas spoke out even more boldly: “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. But since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we will leave you and go to the Gentiles.”’ There are many in this world that are sincerely willing to follow the Lord and looking for genuine guidance. Attention should be given to such people.
B. Message about Provision:
a. I noted in this dream that I was walking near my house and when I was called, I went; only to see some people watch a huge building come crashing down. Next to it was another building, under construction, which was also about to crash. Realizing that the second building was about to crash, I started to run into that building in order to alert the people inside to come out, just then I woke up.
Interpretation: The Scriptural passage that came to my mind was ‘the foolish man builds his house on the sand and the wise man on the rock.’ What was expected of me through this dream was to pray (as alerting people to escape from getting killed has to do with deliverance from eternal destruction). I was led into praying for the salvation of some specific people, which I did. Also, I was led into praying for the spiritual lives of some specific people as the ‘falling-off’ of the building implied that their spiritual lives were at stake. I prayed until I felt a clear assurance that the Lord has answered the prayers. Thus, the Lord provided me with the burden to pray for the specific needs of some people.
There is a category of believers who are so busy thinking about, talking about and enjoying the blessings that the Lord out of His grace and mercy bestows upon them, that they feel that this is what the whole life is all about, to ‘enjoy & die’. But in all this the Lord keeps a watch to see whether they would care to do those things that the Lord has planned for them and thus glorify God. The least one can do is to pray for the unsaved. Remember, somebody prayed for us which in turn led us into a personal encounter with the Lord and now we need to pay back for what we received by praying for others salvation.
b. In this dream, I saw a brother and his family sleeping in a room and the environment was such that a fan was very much needed. There was a ceiling fan in that room but its blades were not fixed to it, instead they were kept on the floor. Obviously, the operation of the fan without its blades was of no use at all.
(Actually this brother who has been in full time ministry for quite some time has been thinking of getting into some business to support himself and his family. One night he gave me the prayer request to pray about this plan and I did pray. The same night I got this dream.)
Interpretation: The message I got out of this dream was that, this brother getting into business would be like a fan sans its blades, which means, it was of no use at all. That is what I communicated to him. Hence,
the Lord provided me with an answer to that brother’s prayer request.
Some people take-off in different directions to satisfy themselves without bothering to consult the Lord if it is His will and upon not being able to achieve their goal that they have set for themselves, end up declaring that ‘the grapes are sour’. Transparency on the part of professing believers is an important quality that is most often over-looked. By this I mean that, if one is pursuing something on his own without consulting the Lord, he should not claim that what he is going after as ‘God’s will’, thus, trying to give a spiritual dimension to what he is doing. 1 Corinthians 3:19 says: ". . . He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." Hence, one is expected to consult the Lord with all honesty, (with no reservations in mind) before every move and thus avoid every unnecessary self-inflicted heart-break.
C. Message of Encouragement:
a. In this dream I was looking down at my feet while walking on a big ground. All around me people were playing and making a lot of noise, but I was unaffected as I was feeling the presence of God even more as I kept on walking.
Interpretation: I understood the Lord telling me, ‘watch your steps and walk with me. Be unaffected by all the distractions around you. People around may say all kinds of things but be unaffected by any of these things. You just keep doing what I am leading you to do and keep following me’.
Dreams was one of the reasons that had Joseph get into trouble with his brothers and he eventually ended-up being sold off as a commodity. In spite of all that he went through in his life because of dreams, he never gave-up on dreams, the channel of God’s communication. (See Genesis 40:8). A saying goes like this, “God’s unique guidance for you makes you lonely with people but closer to God.” Many times we have to decide whether we will please God or people. People-pleasers will not last long in their walk with God. And another one goes like this: “It is human to stand with the crowd; it is divine to stand alone.” God will surely stand by and encourage anybody who is willing to stand up for Him in any given situation.
b. In this dream I saw a brother sleeping in a boat just big enough for him to stretch and lay down. This boat actually took part in a boat racing competition all by itself but that brother in the boat was unaware of what was going around as he was fast-sleep. I also noted that the boat passed safely through many dangerous stretches and came first in the competition.
Interpretation: The message for that brother was to just trust in God and be relaxed in Him without fretting or worrying about anything and to watch God’s power at work in his life in a spectacular way, by keeping him safe through the dangers of life so that his spiritual race could be won.
Ephesians 3:20 says: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” This means our Lord is able to do much more than what we can imagine, implying that there is no limit for Him. But according to Proverbs 28:13: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” This is clear that the door that opens for God’s blessings into our life is through the confession of our sins to God and obtaining forgiveness because those who conceal their sins cannot prosper, especially spiritually. This is why Paul’s teaching was comprehensive in its content so that all kinds of sins and attitudes were covered as per Acts 20:20 (CEV) which says: “When I preached in public or taught in your homes, I didn’t hold back from telling anything that would help you.” Those who are exposed to only some truths of the Word all the time cannot really have an integrated spiritual growth.
Acts 20:32, says: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Hence, we see that the Word of God can build us up so as to obtain every blessing the Lord has planned for us. This implies that we need the whole Word of God. In fact, the Psalmist confesses that he has been so crushed by his problems but was able to over-come by deriving joy from the Word of God as per Psalms 119:92 (GNB) that says: “If your law had not been the source of my joy, I would have died from my sufferings.”Indeed, the Word of God builds us up to with-stand and over-come all kinds of problems and onslaughts of the evil one. Indeed, the Word of God always encourages.
D. Message of Rebuke:
a. In this dream that I noted wherein I was playing badminton with a well known player but it was partially dark as it was late evening and getting darker. I tried to put-on lights but there was no power supply due to which I could not play well.
I felt honored to play with a well-known player but the absence of power depraved me from playing well.
Interpretation: The power of prayer is less in my life. Therefore, I was admonished to pray more and more. Also, as per the second part of the dream, a good prayer life is a must to receive any honor.
In Jeremiah 31:3 the Lord says: “. . . Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” When we look back into our lives and see all the good things that have happened to us including the things which are still happening, not only reminds us of His tender mercies but also draws us to Himself. When by His mercies He also shows us our spiritual slackness, how much more important it is for us, in turn, to be open for correction. Hence, we need to respond to His rebukes by obeying Him. Pro 3:11-12 (GNB) says: “My child, when the LORD corrects you, pay close attention and take it as a warning. The LORD corrects those he loves, as parents correct a child of whom they are proud.”
b. Once I got this dream wherein during a meeting in which a well known preacher was preaching, everyone else was sitting and listening, but I was lying down on the bed and listening.
Interpretation: Arise, shine; as per Isaiah 60:1 . . . the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee, was the word I received. That meant to ‘be active spiritually’ - was the admonishment that I received.
A saying goes like this: “All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.” Likewise, all believers desire to grow spiritually but very few really pay attention to the factors involving the actual spiritual growth. What actually does spiritual growth mean? It’s renouncing the negative qualities that are in us that the Bible does not endorse and inculcating those positive qualities that the Bible commands us to have. This ‘subtraction & addition’ is what one needs to be concentrating on by investing time and working it out; instead, many invest their time and energies by discussing about the spiritual lives of others. Concentrating on our own spiritual lives is so important so that a real spiritual growth takes place.
E. Message of Understanding:
a. I once dreamt a dream that went on for some time. In that I saw myself and a friend walking past a house near our house. Much to our surprise we noticed the owner of that house driving his car away from his house and then stopping the car, taking it in reverse and hitting the compound wall of his house with the back of his car. He kept on doing this, each time hitting the compound wall of his house. I expressed surprise at his behavior. My friend said, “Brother, no use trying to stop him, he is drunk”. After a while, due to his repeated hitting, the compound wall collapsed. That day, in the middle of the night, there was a commotion in that particular house and I ventured out to see what had happened. Few people who had gathered there explained to me that the house had been broken-into by thieves by making a big hole in the wall of the house and every valuable thing in the house had been stolen. That was the end of the dream.
Interpretation: Doesn’t this dream dramatically demonstrate the Scriptural truth about how the Lord protects His children from the evil one. But some people, under the intoxication of some worldly influence, break God’s protection and thus, make themselves vulnerable for the evil one to come and steal what is precious from their lives.
God protects His children by putting a hedge around them. We find that in Job 1:10 which says: “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? . .
. ..” He will not remove it as He has put it with a purpose. Devil can’t remove it, as it is incapable to do so. It is we ourselves who can break the hedge by our rebellion against God’s Word and make ourselves vulnerable to the attacks of the devil as in Ecclesiastes 10:8 which says: “ . . . whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.” . Given a chance, the devil will steal that which is precious to us, that is, sanity of our very mind. (See Mark 5:15), at the loss of which, one will not be able to make any more wise decisions.
b. In another dream, this is what I saw. In front of me was a neat clean green lawn, uniformly illuminated in a park. It was very pleasant. I was walking on the lawns. Then, I heard the cries of a boy for help nearby and upon gazing in that direction, I saw a tiger was about to pounce upon this boy.
Interpretation: Walking on pleasant or serene environment means I am enjoying walking with my Lord. But the evil one is attacking helpless people all around.
As per Deuteronomy 29:9, that says: “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.” and James 2:10 (GW) that says: “If someone obeys all of God’s laws except one, that person is guilty of breaking all of them.”, every command in the Bible is equally important. A saying goes like this: “Selective obedience is not obedience at all, it is merely convenience.”Hence, God’s presence will be there only when the above condition is fulfilled.
Next, we just can’t watch the evil-one snatch people and allow them to perish. In fact, we can go and rescue the people being attacked by the devil by involving ourselves in the vision that God has given us, by grabbing every opportunity that comes our way to do so. The understanding I have got through this dream made me more motivated.
F. Message of Prediction:
a. Once I noted in this dream that I saw one brother being made a cabinet minister in the Central Government without any problem or opposition.
Interpretation: Message pertaining to that brother, ‘God will promote that brother to be used at the national level in his ministry’.
The Lord always wants to bless us. But He would test us before blessing us as per Deuteronomy 8:16 (GNB) that says: "In the desert . . . He sent hardships on you to test you, so that in the end he could bless you with good things.”The verse in the Bible from Psalms 118:8 says: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” We should put no confidence in any man for any kind of promotion, instead, as 1 Peter 5:6 (ESV) says: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” So, let us remain faithful in the situation that we are in and God will lift us up at His time.
b. Once in my dream I saw number of huge Church buildings in a particular part of a city where churches were most unlikely to exist due to its opposition to the gospel. In front of each church was a board and one of the names of God were written on those boards, viz., Jehovah-nissi, Jehovah-jireh.
Interpretation: The Lord would perform spectacular and hard-to-imagine miracles in unexpected or difficult places so that God’s name would be glorified. Hence, we should believe and expect Him do wonderful things.
Referring to a faithless man, James 1:7 says: “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” Hence, without faith we cannot see the marvelous works of the Lord. Listen to the Lord as the Lord alone knows what word to give you according to the time and situation which in turn would cause our faith level to rise thus helping us obtain all that the Lord has planned for us. Hence, it is important to listen to the Lord through dreams as well.
The purpose of receiving interpretations for dreams is to work on it. A saying goes like this: “You can make the dream come true if you wake-up and work.”
VI. Questions & Answers
1. Are all dreams from God?
Ans: All dreams do not carry messages from God. Jeremiah 23:28 (GNB) says: “The prophet who has had a dream should say it is only a dream, but the prophet who has heard my message should proclaim that message faithfully. . . .” The point is one should be able to distinguish what is from God and what is not. This calls for dependence on the Holy Spirit for proper discernment.
Ecclesiastes 5:3 (GNB) says: “The more you worry, the more likely you are to have bad dreams. . .” Hence, being at peace with ourselves is very much required for our own good as it avoids all confusion. Never blame others for your peacelessness as Isaiah 26:3 says: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace..."
2. Can we depend on dreams alone for guidance?
Ans: It is dangerous to depend on dreams alone for guidance. What I mean is that any message that is received should have the endorsement and confirmation from Scriptures. If this caution is not followed, one is liable to be deceived by the evil one. And remember no guidance from God will ever contradict Scriptures.
In fact, 2 Timothy 3:16 (GNB) says: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living,. .” Therefore, life that is based on the Word of God will never be shaken, never be shaken by any dream.
3. What is it that we are supposed to do upon learning that we have received a message from the Lord though a dream?
Ans: The Lord conveys a message for us with a definite purpose of either encouraging us or admonishing us or by giving us an instruction to be followed or to help us understand His word more clearly or it could be anything with a specific purpose for that matter. Whatever the message is, we are expected to work on it and show our obedience to the Lord. If we are slack in obeying the Lord, then do not be surprised if we stop getting further messages from the Lord, a situation we should do our best to avoid.
4. Can we sharpen our sensitivity to receive messages from the Lord through dreams? If so, how?
Ans: Definitely we have an active role to play in having our senses tuned in to receive messages from the Lord through dreams. First of all, we should believe that dreams are one God-established mode of communication with man. Secondly, our willingness to listen to Him through dreams should be expressed to the Lord through our prayers. Hence, before closing your eyes in sleep make sure you ask the Lord to speak to you through the dreams. Thirdly, upon waking-up, ask the Lord to help you recollect any dream you possibly must have dreamt. Then, make a note of the dream on a paper including the date and do not forget to wait upon the Lord for its interpretation at your leisure. All this efforts will come to nothing if the message that is got through the dream is not followed.
I have been practicing this method for nearly a decade and I cherish this very much as I am blessed by these messages from God.
5. What if a particular dream is very confusing and /or scary?
Ans: The Scripture is very clear that our God is never a God of confusion and hence, such kind of confusing and terrorizing dreams should be discarded and the devil behind those dreams rebuked.
Once I dreamt that in our house there was a huge snake and suddenly upon it being removed, many small black snakes came out from underneath that big snake and went in different directions in our house. The problem that I was facing was to search for those small snakes and kill them before they grow big and attack. I was searching for those missing small snakes all night in my dream.
The interpretation that I got upon waiting on the Lord was that this dream was just an attack of the evil one. Hence, one is expected to ignore such dreams. Similar is the case with the dream I wrote in the Introduction to this book about jumping into a well.
6. Is there any example from Scripture wherein someone prayed asking God to communicate with him in a dream and God answered him?
Ans: No, because it is left for the Lord to choose the mode of communication. He could communicate either through an audible voice through a prophecy or through the Word of God or through a preacher’s message or through just a thought from Him or through any other mode He chooses. But the fact as per John 10:15-16 is that, “The Lord’s sheep will listen to His voice.” Our part is to ask the Lord to let us know His will. So, one cannot dictate terms to God by saying, “Lord, speak to me through dreams ONLY.” Though it is purely Gods choice whether to speak to you or not, but there is nothing wrong in letting the Lord know your willingness to hear Him through dreams. I am sure God will be happy and not be angry about it. Any father will be happy to hear his child expressing willingness to hear him.
That is why, before we sleep, if we ask the Lord to speak to us through a dream, it would be like showing Him that we love Him and are ready to listen to Him, even when asleep. Apart from making God happy we also would not miss out on any messages that the Lord might give; even if it is just a few through dreams, as they are from the Lord.
7. How many times in the life of a person in the Scriptures has God spoken through a dream?
Ans: It could be countless or just once, as not everything that has happened has been written in the Bible. John 20:31 says: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” So, all that is written in the Bible is enough for a person to read and be saved.
Let us assume that God has spoken to a believer through dreams 5 times, through an inner voice 20 times, through preachers 30 times, through the reading of the Word 40 times and through other means 5 times (total 100 times) in a span of 3 months. My very purpose of writing this book is that, one should not miss out on those 5 messages that have come from the Lord through dreams.
An anonymous saying goes like this: “No dreamer is ever too small; no dream ever too big.”
The more one is tuned to listen to God, the more one understands the will of the Lord and thus one should take care to always be in the will of God. This is the only hope of safety for every believer. Note what it says in Isaiah 54:16-17 (GNB) (“I create the blacksmith, who builds a fire and forges weapons. I also create the soldier, who uses the weapons to kill. But no weapon will be able to hurt you; you will have an answer for all who accuse you. I will defend my servants and give them victory.” The LORD has spoken.), it can be said that, no one, not even the devil, can mess-up God’s plan for our lives, only we can mess it up ourselves. Hence, it is very important that we do not ignore whatever the Lord wants to talk to us, even through the dreams.
The best way to protect ourselves from the snares of the evil one is by following Colossians 3:1-3 (GNB) that says: "You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." This is so because your dreams depend on what you set your hearts on, if on heavenly things, then you can expect heavenly dreams; if on earthly things, then you can expect earthly dreams. The choice is yours.
Let me produce an extract from the book, How Christ came to Church, written by Adoniram Judson Gordon (1836-1895), referred to as Boston-Pastor.
It was Saturday night, when wearied from the work of preparing Sunday’s sermon, that I fell asleep and the dream came. I was in the pulpit before a full congregation, just ready to begin my sermon, when a stranger entered and passed slowly up the left aisle of the church looking first to the one side and then the other as though silently asking with his eyes that someone would give him a seat. He had proceeded nearly half-way up the aisle when a gentleman stepped out and offered him a place in his pew, which was quietly accepted. Excepting the face and features of the stranger everything in the scene is distinctly remembered—the number of the pew, the Christian man who offered its hospitality, the exact seat which was occupied. Only the countenance of the visitor could never be recalled. That his face wore a peculiarly serious look, as one who had known some great sorrow, is clearly impressed on my mind. His bearing too was exceeding humble, his dress poor and plain, and from the beginning to the end of the service he gave the most respectful attention to the preacher.
Immediately as I began my sermon my attention became riveted on this hearer. If I would avert my eyes rom him for a moment they would instinctively return to him, so that he held my attention rather than I held his till the discourse was ended. To myself I said constantly, “Who can that stranger be?” and then I mentally resolved to find out by going to him and making his acquaintance as soon as the service should be over. But after the benediction had been given the departing congregation filed into the aisles and before I could reach him the visitor had left the house. The gentleman with whom he had sat remained behind however; and approaching him with great eagerness I asked: “Can you tell me who that stranger was who sat in your pew this morning?” In the most Matter-of-course way he replied: “Why, do you not know that man? It was Jesus of Nazareth.” With a sense of the keenest disappointment I said: “My dear sir, why did you let him go without introducing me to him? I was so desirous to speak with him” And with same nonchalant air the gentleman replied: “Oh, do not be troubled. He has been here today, and no doubt he will come again.”
And now came an indescribable rush of emotion. As when a strong current is suddenly checked, the stream rolls back upon itself and is choked in its own foam, so the intense curiosity which had been going out toward the mysterious hearer new returned upon the preacher: and the Lord himself “whose I am and whom I serve” had been listening to me to-day. What
was I saying? Was I preaching on some popular theme in order to catch the ear of the public? Well, thank God it was of himself I was speaking. However imperfectly done, it was Christ and him crucified whom I was holding up this morning. But in what spirit did I preach? Was it “Christ crucified preached in a crucified style?” or did the preacher magnify himself while exalting Christ? So anxious and painful did these questionings become that I was about to ask the brother with whom he had sat if the Lord had said anything to him concerning the sermon, but a sense of propriety and self-respect at once checked the suggestion.
Then immediately other questions began with equal vehemence to crowd into the mind. “What did he think of our sanctuary, its gothic arches, its stained windows, its costly and powerful organ? How was he impressed with the music and the order of the worship?” It did not seem at that moment as though I could ever again care of have the smallest curiosity as to what men might say of preaching, worship, or church, if I could only know that he had not been displeased, that he would not withhold his feet from coming again because he had been grieved at what he might have seen or heard. . . . . .
One thought, however, lingered in my mind with something of comfort and more of awe. “He has been here to-day, and no doubt he will come again”; and mentally repeating these words as one regretfully meditating on a vanished vision. “I awoke, and it was a dream.” No, it was not a dream. It was a vision of the deepest reality, a miniature of an actual ministry, verifying the statement often repeated that sometimes we are most awake toward God when we are asleep toward the world. . . . . Let us judge ourselves, that we be not judged. Let us try our ways and turn again unto the Lord. Let us dare cease measuring ourselves by ourselves, and comparing ourselves among ourselves, and set up God’s own standard of measurement and comparison.
“And the Lord said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, A plumb line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb line in the midst of my people.”
God is applying his standard to the work which (Amos 7: 8) men have built, and its unhallowed and irregular construction is sadly evident. Who among us with the clearness of a divinely given vision, the courage of a divinely wrought conviction, will dare pull down what is not plumb and level by his standards, and rebuild according to the divine pattern? Blessed temple of God, indeed, to which the Master can come and find no need of the scourge of small cords. Blessed church of which he can say: “Thou hast kept my word, And hast not denied my name.
. . .
I have loved thee.
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
. . .
I also will keep thee
From the hour of temptation.” (Rev. 3: 8-10).
What if Christ comes to your Church, your house, or your private room? What if Christ comes to your work place, your place of entertainment or any other place you frequent? May be He would need a scourge of small cords. Before that happens, better use the plumb line, the Word of God, to straighten your lives.
(John 2:15 says: “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables ;”).
Mathew 1:24 says: “Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream;
. . .” (Eugene H. Peterson translation). Can the same be said about you the way this verse says about Joseph?
Finally, a saying goes like this: "Build a dream and the dream will build you."