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Dreams and interpretation


Part 1: Dreams and guidance


"How should we view dreams from a Christian perspective? Dreams can be fascinating but are they all of significance? Do we need to look for the interpretation of our dreams? Should we give great importance to our dreams or can we discount them as meaningless? Let's get some Bible answers on these frequently asked questions about dreams!"


I received an email enquiry about the way certain Christians were handling dreams.

A visitor to my web site from Australia wrote,

"Basically the main 'school of thought' (in the church I was going to) seemed to be that ALL dreams are from God and therefore we should seek God for the interpretation to each of these dreams."


I was astonished at this approach. We have many New Testament scriptures about using discernment and yet here, according to his report, was a group of Christians who were basically saying, "Yes, we know there are scriptures on discernment as to what is and is not from God but this is for everything except dreams!"

(Content of this section: A look at scriptural support for dreams as a way God speaks to man)


Dreams are indeed one way in which God takes opportunity to speak to us by His Spirit. The Bible provides us with a very clear outline of this in the Book of Job,

In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep 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.

Job 33:15 - 18 - NKJV


A well-known example of this is found in the dreams of Joseph the husband of Mary. His dreams guided him in ensuring baby Jesus survived His early years of life.

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him."

Matthew 2:13 - NKJV

(Content of this section: An example from the author's own life of a dream he received from God)


As a young Christian a dream brought me through a personal crisis. I was on an intensive course on the basics of faith and discipleship in a group of 10 to 14 other new Christians. I was having a very tough time within the group.

It was then that I had a vivid dream and I awoke in the night completely alert to what I had dreamed. In the dream I was in a lions' den like Daniel the prophet. It was a stone room. I was up on a raised area in a group of Christians and lions were right there in the room. They kept leaping at me to take me but as they leapt I thrust out my arm in a pointing gesture towards them and rebuked them in the name of Jesus. At that each lion that leapt fell down before me unable to reach me. A strange contrary thing though was taking place the lions couldn't get to me to harm me but I kept getting beat up by the other Christians!

(Content of this section: An example of receiving interpretation of a God-given dream)


I was greatly puzzled by this. The dream had a unusual clarity about it so I prayed and I asked the Lord what it meant. Immediately a still, small voice within me said, "You're doing great in your Christian walk against evil spirits but you're letting the littlest things people say land damaging blows on you!"

Wow, did that open my eyes. After that I stopped being so sensitive to people's words and I've kept up my shield of faith against people's words ever since.

(Content of this section: An exhortation to test whether God is the origin of a dream)


However, not all dreams are of God! Like prophecy - dreams given by the Spirit are a type of prophecy - whatever we receive as apparently from God must be tested to check whether or not it is really from God.

Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said.

1 Thessalonians 5:20 - 21 - NLT


A dream may or it may not be from God. It may be prophetic or it may not. The first check is the very quality of the dream. Like speech people can talk and talk and it may not be in any way prophetic but then something is said and it has a special tone to it, a special quality to it. Your ears prick up as your brain registers something out of the ordinary is being said. The same is true of dreams. We dream and dream but only dreams of a special quality are worthy of our attention.

Dreams you register as being of a special, out of the ordinary quality are worthy of your attention but then, at that point, the spiritual checks of scripture need to come in so you can discern whether the dream originates from God or not.

(Content of this section: A look at how to test whether or not a dream is prophetic and from God)


There are two primary means of testing the prophetic. These two tests apply to dreams of a prophetic nature - those with a special, out of the ordinary quality.

1) Does the dream or prophecy enhance our understanding and appreciation what has already been given by the prophets and recorded in the Bible or at least does what has been received clearly not contradict any scriptures we have in the Bible?

2) Does it fulfill the standard for prophecy given in 1 Corinthians 14:3, namely, does it speak edification, exhortation or/and encouragement to men.


If any dream or other prophecy you receive does not pass the tests above then you need to discount it, regarding it not to have any origin in God. In other words, the dream has come from some other source or for some other course.

On my web site I have a good class on discerning the validity of a prophetic message. The class deals specifically with leading of the Holy Spirit that we appear to be getting and how to check whether we're hearing it correctly or not whether it is through dreams or through a prophetic word. It's called "Let's get Spirit-led". You'll find it under Life Lessons - Spiritual Equipping on this web site.

Preview of content in next part:

  • A call pray and seek the Lord's help against dreams that are disturbing you
  • A call to be ready to hear the prophetic word, dream or vision
  • A look at how to seek interpretation of dreams by following the example of the prophets
  • A response to a reader's request for advice on what to do about visions she has been receiving

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Use the links below to get to other pages on this site that have a similar subject to that which you've read about above.

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