How Should We Interpret Dreams?

How should we interpret dreams that appear to be supernatural? Does God give dreams to people that communicate something to them? Could our dreams just be coming from our lifestyle?

Okay. From Marvin, “Over the past year or so, I’ve been experiencing very weird dreams. I’ve seen angelic figures and demonic ones as well. I can hardly understand it. Lately, I’ve seen very large snakes in my dreams too. What’s your say on these? Should I be worried? Am I getting some sort of message from the supernatural world? What exactly is this and what should I do besides pray?” Now, this one almost seems like maybe we should just deal with Marvin as to where he’s at spiritually. And I wouldn’t argue with that, but because the subject is dreams, and I know that in the church realm, dreams come up. People talk about dreams and people have dreams. I’ve been asked or I’ve heard somebody say that they had a certain dream. There are people in our church that will talk about dreams. And so let’s just think scripturally. Does God ever give a dream? It’s from Him – not satanic, it’s God giving the dream because God means to communicate something to an individual. Does that ever happen? Old Testament? Old Testament and New Testament? Okay. So all through the Bible, we can find examples of God giving dreams. It’s a God-given dream that communicates some kind of prophecy, some kind of warning, some kind of message. Give me some examples. Good – by good, I don’t mean that when interpreted it actually sounded like great news, but they’re good in the sense that they’re God-given. Give me some examples. Old and New. (unintelligible) Pharaoh. Joseph interpreted for him. Yes, you had the cows, you had the corn stalks or wheat stalks, seven years, seven years. There’s two Joseph’s actually in the Bible that were pretty prominent with dreams. You had Joseph in the Old Testament and Joseph the husband of Mary in the New Testament. Very often, the Joseph in the New Testament was receiving dreams concerning what he should do as far as escaping Herod by going down to Egypt, when to come back, even taking Mary for his wife. God was very consistently speaking to Joseph the husband of Mary by way of dreams. Can anybody think of any other place in the Old Testament where dreams are fairly significant? (unintelligible) Jacob’s ladder actually is a dream. And it says so specifically. Somebody said Daniel. Daniel was interpreting. He interpreted two dreams for Nebuchadnezzar. Can you think of any other dreams? You were talking about Jacob. Whoever mentioned Jacob, I don’t know if that was exactly talking about Jacob’s ladder. You know he had another dream. He had a dream about you remember when he made the deal with Laban that he would only take the striped and the spotted and the mottled sheep and goats? And God actually gave him a dream. And maybe that’s how he knew that he should choose those. But you remember what he did. He took those sticks and he put stripes in them and he kind of held them up. But other dreams – can you think of others? What’s that? (unintelligible) God said don’t say anything to him good or bad. Don’t do any harm to him. Abimelech – do you remember the guy Abimelech? He was like a Philistine king and he had taken Sarah. And he had a dream that said you’re a dead man. And he said, “Lord, I did this in the innocence of my heart.” And he had another dream and God came to him and said, “I know you did.” Anyway, okay, good dreams. Yes, there are God-given dreams. There are good dreams. Can you think of anywhere else in the New Testament specifically, maybe not where you have specific examples of dreams, but where dreams themselves are talked about in a good way? (unintelligible) Pentecost. Basically, the fulfillment of Joel 2. Who is going to dream dreams? (from the room) young men? The who? Doesn’t it say the old men? James: The old men shall dream dreams.

Tim: Yeah, the old men are going to dream dreams. So, that’s good. The Spirit moves – good dreams. How about examples of bad dreams? And by bad dreams, I mean people that refer to their dreams as having come from God, but the reality is they don’t come from God, and the only reason they’re saying that they had dreams from God is so they can set forth their lies. (unintelligible) (from the room) When Job’s first friend is talking to him… (unintelligible)

Tim: (incomplete thought) I think that that is not necessarily a dream. I think that may be something demonic. (unintelligible) Yeah, I’m not sure that’s a dream. (unintelligible) Jude. (from the room) These people were false prophets. It gives a long description, but it says they’re relying on their dreams.

Tim: They’re relying on their dreams. Right. Can you think of some place that talks about them relying on their visions? (from the room) Like when that man went to go confront King Jeroboam. (unintelligible) He preached against it and God said go back the way you came. The old prophet said an angel told me that you can come back with me.

Tim: Well, I don’t think that’s a good example because he just basically made it up (incomplete thought). But I mean in the New Testament, is there some place you can think of where it talks about relying on visions? Being associated with false religion. (from the room): Revelation, right?

Tim: I’m thinking specifically of Colossians. (unintelligible) But okay, let’s look at something here. Deuteronomy 13. Let’s all go here. Fifth book in the Bible. Deuteronomy 13:1, “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder…” So, here’s the thing. God Himself is actually saying, when He says dreamer of dreams, you know what’s interesting about this? Is He’s not saying somebody that simply claims to have had a dream. He’s actually saying a dreamer of dreams. My point here is this, you can actually have a dream and be able to do some supernatural things and it not be from God. “He does a sign or a wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says ‘let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul.” So you see that reality. Go to Jeremiah 23. Jeremiah deals with this fairly extensively. Jeremiah 23. Go down to verse 25. I like this because notice the direct comparison between dreams and the Word of God. Really today, that’s what we’re dealing with. People can talk about their dreams, but it’s the Word of God that is firm. And in fact, it’s the Word of God whereby those dreams need to be tested and the fruit of the individual claiming to have the dream is to be tested. If you go to 23:25, “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name saying ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed.'” These guys are just liars. “How long shall there be lies in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy lies and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make My people forget My name by their dreams that they tell one another even as their fathers forgot My name for Baal?” “Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream. But let him who has My Word, speak My Word faithfully.” Isn’t that interesting? There’s the comparison. “What has straw in common with wheat?” It’s like the difference between the dreamer and the man that has His Word. Verse 29, “Is not My Word like fire declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Go down to v. 32, “Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead My people astray by their lies and their recklessness that I did not send them or charge them so they do not profit this people at all declares the Lord.” Now, Kevin referenced the text in Jude, so I think maybe we’ll finish on this one here in Jude, because I want to make some points. Jude. Right before Revelation. In verse 5, “I want to remind you although you once fully knew it, that Jesus who saved a people out of the land of Egypt afterward destroyed those who did not believe. The angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, He has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.” So he’s talking about judgment here and those who have come under His judgment. “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desires serve as an example…” An example to who? To us. “By undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” Look, sexual immorality – this is an example to us of what God will do to us if we are involved in sexual immorality. “Yet in like manner (notice this)… in like manner…” These people are like Sodom and Gomorrah. “In like manner, these people also relying on their dreams, they defile the flesh, reject authority, blaspheme the glorious ones.” And I got to thinking about this that Marvin – he’s experiencing dreams. I think what I would ask a young man like this is Jude is making a connection between the people who rely on their dreams and he’s talking about Sodom and Gomorrah who’s an example. And then he says “in like manner, these people also relying on their dreams…” It’s like he’s weaving this together. A despising of authority and sexual immorality and relying on dreams and defiling the flesh. He’s weaving this together – these people. And he says in v. 10, “They blaspheme all they do not understand. They’re destroyed by all that they like unreasoning animals understand instinctively. Woe to them.” I can tell you this. When you find Joseph having dreams, what does Scripture say about Joseph’s character? What sort of man was he? What does Scripture say about Daniel? What kind of man was he? What does Scripture say about the New Testament Joseph? The husband of Mary. What kind of man was he? You know, I think you want to tie these together. I would ask Marvin about the connection with sexual immorality. I would ask him about his purity. See, he’s wanting to talk about dreams. “Should I be afraid?” I would say this, if there’s sexual immorality in your life, it’s because of that the wrath of God is coming and that’s what you ought to be afraid of. Having a dream of snakes? Dreams – should we put stock in dreams? Should we guide our lives by dreams? I think you want to be very careful of dreams. Could God speak to a person through them? There’s biblical examples, but I’ll tell you this, just as much as there’s biblical examples of God-given dreams directing righteous men, there’s also a lot of warnings concerning rotten people and false prophets and evil people that have dreams, rely on dreams, want to talk about their dreams. Dreams – where can they come from? I mean, some people will tell you if they eat right before they go to bed, they have all sorts of horrible dreams or crazy dreams. That could be one thing. There could be natural causes as to why you dream. We’re dreaming all the time, but why sometimes we remember more dreams, maybe it’s got to do with whether we’re in deep sleep or not so deep sleep. Could some dreams come from satanic causes? Undoubtedly. Could you have dreams about snakes? If you sat and watched a movie like one of these cannibal movies or zombie movies or something, would you think it might affect your dreams? You know, just an illicit lifestyle could affect your dreams. What you read or think about or watch right before you go to bed may have a tremendous effect. I think the thing to ask with regards to these things is looking at the lifestyle. I think the question is concerning a young man and his life. Whether you’re saved or not is the real issue. Not: should I be afraid because I have a dream about snakes? Well, the truth is I should be afraid if I’m lost. I should fear Him who can throw body and soul into hell. That’s what I should fear. I mean, if I’m a Christian, and I have some crazy dream about snakes and it’s a nightmare, I’m safe. If I’m lost and I have dreams about angels – when I was lost, I had a dream about Mary. Very comforting. I have a feeling that had devilishness about it. It gave me such thoughts of Mary that I never had – I was a nominal Catholic my whole life, but it gave me such thoughts about Mary that were warm. I felt something from that. But you know, you can have all sorts of nice feeling dreams and be lost and go to hell. You could have dreams about snakes and horrible things and go to Heaven. The nature of the dream isn’t the thing. It’s the character of the man that’s the issue. Anything else? Anything anybody want to say about dreams? I would just say this, look, if you have somebody in the church that tells you that they had a premonition or an impression or a vision or a dream, I would just say this, be extremely careful that you not let somebody else’s dream – here’s one of the problems that I have. If God wants to communicate to me to take my son down to Egypt, I don’t think He’s going to give you a dream about me taking my son down to Egypt. He’s going to give me a dream warning me that Herod wants to kill my child and so I should take him down to Egypt. I get very suspicious when you get third person people telling me they had a dream that I’m supposed to marry so-and-so. I would be extremely suspect of that kind of thing. Don’t put weight in it. You will go wrong. What you want to put weight in is in the Word of God. You go to Proverbs 31. Study it out. Look at the character of a woman. Use that as your reference point. Just be very careful because there are people who even in good churches, people who will say: I had this dream. It was about you. It’s almost like there’s some meaning here. There’s something you’re supposed to know that’s going to affect decisions you make in your life. (incomplete thought) Your antennas ought to go up and red flags ought to be waving all over when people tell you that. What time do we have? Okay, we’ve got time for one more. Anybody want to say anything about dreams? (from the room) (unintelligible) Matthew 24:24 – it says, “For there shall arise false christs and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders, so much that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

Tim: Right. If possible, they would deceive the very elect. But it’s not possible for the elect to be deceived. At least, not deceived damnably.