“So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.” Genesis 40:8
There is a lot’s of wondering when it comes to dreams. People have been always inquiring about their meaning. Dreams are some of the mysteries that haven’t been probably explained completely as spiritually and scientifically speaking. Some people among the scientists don’t even know how to explain the need of dreams for us. They might be created by our subconscious most of the time, based on what we occupy our mind with during the day or what we worry about. The Bible says something similar about dreams in the book of Ecclesiastes.
“For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words.” Ecclesiastes 5:3
This automatically should tell us that not all the dreams are to consider as something spiritual with a godly message for our life. But which ones then? And can we really discern their meaning?
The Bible states in some of it’s stories that there were godly people that had the ability to discern dreams and to know their meaning. There is a story of a young Jewish called Daniel in the time of the exile in Babylon. He and some other Jewish were really different from the rest of the people by their wisdom and abilities. And to Daniel was given by God understanding in all visions and dreams.
The story that we find in Daniel 2 says that the King was having dreams from which his spirit became troubled. Then he called all the wise men from his kingdom to test them if they could tell him the meaning of his dream, but without telling them the dream itself. He did it in this way to test them. None of them obviously could do it. Everyone lost hope as the king commanded for all the wise men to be executed, if no one told him the dream. Then Daniel came ahead and told the king the dream and its meaning. Everyone could see clearly the hand of God there, because Daniel told the king not only the interpretation, but was able to know exactly what the dream was about. Because if we want to see a real interpretation of a dream, we need the intervention of God. Only by His wisdom and knowledge secrets can be revealed to us. And this is a miracle.
“Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 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. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.”
This is what Daniel said to the king when approaching the king. Two things we can see in this verses. One is, that is the wisdom of God that can only help us to find out the meaning of what He wants to tell us and the second is that, if we have received something, the most of the times it will be to show us the thoughts and the intentions of our heart. Even the deepest ones, that we don’t know about. Mainly this is the reason why He wants to communicate with us. And He can use a situation, a vision or even a dream, but in order these ones to be godly, they need to have one thing in common – His word.
He can use a situation, a vision or even a dream, but in order these ones to be godly, they need to have one thing in common – His word.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.“ Hebrews 4:12
This is the way God has chosen to communicate to us – through His word. And anything we find that doesn’t include it or include its meaning, doesn’t come from Him. It will be always this “word” to touch us. Through reading the scripture, through a vision, a meditation or a dream. Why? Because only His word can touch us and penetrate to the deepest of our soul. That’s why also a dream coming from Him will include his word somehow or it will connect to it with it’s meaning.
This is the way how God has chosen to communicate to us – through His word. And anything we find that doesn’t include it or its meaning, doesn’t come from Him.
“So Joseph said to them, “Do not Interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.” Genesis 40:8
These were the words of Joseph when he heard about some persons having dreams that were not leaving them in peace. This should be our foundation when we want to know or interpret anything could be there, a situation, a word from the scripture, a sign or a dream. Even though we need to know that not everything we see, we hear, we feel comes from God, but even to recognize this is needed a wisdom from above, the one that only God can give us.
The interpretation belongs to God, the interpretation of His word, of anything might be there, but mainly of His word.
And in all the rest of the cases He explains everything through His word as well. Speaking about dreams, we need to know that most of them have to do with our thoughts, worries and we can not say that God is always present there. We can even say that He is present in very few of them. The same with any other message we hear, He is not always present there. The most important is that we always need to find a comparison with His word on whatever we receive – a vision, a dream or a specific feeling about something. We need to find it in His word, if not literally, at least figuratively, but we need to find it there. Obviously sometimes happens that for the reason that we probably don’t know the whole word of God, we can’t find this written confirmation at the moment, but it will be definitely there, if the message is godly. In those cases as in the rest as well we need to trust His Spirit that guides us in all truth.
But it always remains anyway that we need to look into the word. That’s why it is so important to know it and read it everyday. God wants to reveal Himself through His word and His Son. And we know that the word and the Son are the same. (Hebrews 1:1, John 1:1)
If we don’t find this, then what we probably experience is a fruit of our imagination, emotions or some other source. There are a lots of people today that want to have experiences with dreams and visions. There are people attracted by the paranormal, but here we are speaking about something way greater and this is God.
The other factor that we also need to see in order to verify if the dream is inspired by God, is to see something unusual and to perceive it in our spirit as something coming from God. The people who are already born again are capable of understanding (the most of the time at least), if something really comes from God. This doesn’t necessarily means that they will always know the meaning of it. They will have to look for more wisdom from God, or look for help from another spiritual person to help them with the meaning.
Whatever we dream however, most of the times will have to do with our environment or surroundings. I mean that details of what is surrounding us daily will be in that dream. For example – if you are a builder, you might often dream about building something, if you are a soccer player, then you might sometimes dream about something related with the soccer or something else having to do with your everyday experiences. It doesn’t necessary mean that when God wants to speak to you in a dream or night vision, He will use different scenario. We can see an example in Genesis 40 where we see the story of the butler and the baker who were in prison together with Joseph and had dreams with a meaning. Both of them had in their dream a situation related with their environment. The battler dreamed about serving the fruit of the vine to Pharaoh and the baker dreamed about bread. Both dreamed about the job they were performing every day, but nevertheless this time their dreams carried a particular message from God to each one of them.
He can use situations or even persons that you know, that represent something even figuratively, so that He can communicate something to You in that dream. He will use your surroundings, things well known to you, things familiar to you, so that He can give you a message through them. Through what they represent, but always accompanied by His word obviously. You will anyway see something unusual in all of that you dreamed of, something that makes the difference from any other dream. Something that will get you think. If the dream is from God however there will be something unusual from any other dream, something strange that will get you think, even made up by common to you events.
As we said before, there is the example of the butler and the baker from the Joseph’s story. Whilst in the prison where Joseph was also, both of them had a dream. And both of them dreamed of what they were usually doing for living. The butler dreamed that he was serving a wine for Pharaoh and the baker as well dreamed of bread. They could have had similar dreams at any other time, but those ones were particular. God wants to speak to us through the things we know, sometimes trough common to us events or things. We can see the examples Jesus was giving through parables at that time. All of them common to the people. He spoke of a sower sowing in the field, of a nature, of trees giving fruits, etc. He was doing that so that people can easily relate and imagine and so that He can reach out their hearts. The dreams could be also as a parable, as a story to us. Scientifically they are produced by our subconscious, but it also can be a way that God sometimes can communicate to us. We have to be careful though, because our subconscious can be also a devil’s playground, but if we are spiritual, we would know and discern what and who is driving our feelings and emotions.
Our subconscious can be also the devil’s playground, but if we are spiritual, we should know and discern what and who is driving our feelings and emotions.
Now we need to see in which conditions and to who are these dreams directed, even though we need also to know that to have a dream from God is not something that happens so often, and many of the dreams that most of the people are having, including Christians are due to thoughts, different worries as it is said in Ecclesiastes 5:3
“For a dream comes from much activity, and a fools voice is known by his many words.“
We have also to underline that we mustn’t be necessarily spiritual persons, so that God can communicate to us through dreams. In the scripture we see different examples of godly people and also of people not knowing God, but Him being still interested to communicate to them in a dream. We have to know that neither the baker and the butler or neither Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh to which God also sent dreams, were spiritual persons, but God still wanted to communicate to them in this way. Why? To warn them. Maybe because that was the way to get their attention.
Let’s see a verse in the book of Job 33:14-18
“For God may speak in one way or another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep comes falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction. In order to turn man from his deed, and conceal pride from man, he keeps back his soul from the Pit and his life from perishing by the sword.“
From this verse we see that God sends a dream to warn people. We see that as they are not being attentive to His word in another situation, He sends them a night vision, to let them meditate, to get their attention. That’s why we conclude that He doesn’t speak through a dream just to spiritual persons. In the scripture we find the examples of Pharaoh in Genesis 41, we find king Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon in Daniel 2 and obviously we find the baker and the butler in Genesis 40. All of these were not godly people and yet God wanted to warn them and communicate with them. Why? Because He was having a plan to accomplish. It was a plan for their own life and for His will. I met quite a few people who maybe just recently heard the gospel, not yet being born again and still they told me about dreams that were strange to them and I could see that there was something spiritual with a certain message in their dreams. We have to underline that to those people God will mostly send a message of warning, how to accept Him or to trust more in Him, rather than telling them to go and do something or some other particular message. Everything that God wants to communicate with us is for His glory. He communicates to each person according to what that person needs. I am not saying either that God will necessary send a message through dreams to most of the persons, but we need watch out anyway. As I said, the dreams can even be used by the enemy to wake up other desires or bring wrong feelings as any other message we hear throughout the day. That’s why we need to look carefully into His word and examine and discern everything.
So, from this we understand that in general the dreams are to draw our attention, to warn us. For not converted and for already converted to God persons. We only need to know that in any way the message of God comes to us – through listening a sermon, through reading His word, or through a dream for example, it has a specific meaning that leads to God and never diverges from His word. It always goes hand to hand with it. We need to be very careful when we are trying to interpret anything in our own way. And we definitely need wisdom for knowing the meaning. It is not with our wisdom, but with God’s. “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets….“ Daniel 2:28 This wisdom comes only from the guidance of His Holy Spirit.
Joseph (Mary’s husband) was also warned in a dream that Herod was going to kill all the male children in Bethlehem and for this reason he managed to run away in time. (Matthew 2:16) By this we see that a spiritually inspired, or better said godly inspired dreams are not just an Old testament event, but also something that happens in the New testament era. And even more as now the Holy Spirit is here.
“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.“ Acts 2:17
I personally have received very few dreams from God in my life and I acknowledge that. The few that I received were mostly to warn me about something. We always need to be realistic about our condition and how much and what we receive from God. And I repeat that we need as well to be very couscous about how we interpret the dreams we are having. Often it happens that beside the dream that we receive from God, confirmed by His word, we also receive other confirmations beside that, through situations or reading His word.
We need to see in which way the experience or dream we are having connects with the word of God. We will maybe not always see the word written somewhere in the dream or literally see someone reciting it, but we will see also that the meaning of what is happening is having to do with the scripture. It is very important to find that, as this beside confirming that the dream was inspired, it will help us to know the meaning as well. He left His word here with us as a way to communicate with us. It is the supreme authority.
It is good to examine everything. What will mostly help us for that is the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is said that His Spirit will guide us in the whole truth. And if we are spiritual, or better said born again, we would know when God is showing us something.