INTRODUCTION: Dreams and visions are synonymous terms and are recorded throughout the Bible. They had not existed prior to the fall of man. I find no recording of Adam and Eve having dreams or visions. I must conclude then that unless our dreams and visions are from God they are the result of man’s sinfulness and stored in his consciences. Sin is an invasive enemy.
Job 4:13 called dreams and visions thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men. In Job 7:14 he says: Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions.
Most biblical recordings of dreams and visions are prophetical in nature. Non-biblical dreams and or visions usually can be defined as mere imaginations played out when we are asleep and are mainly fanciful, often terrifying usually though without basis. Some dreams are those that come during times of wakefulness – we call these, Day Dreams—again usually meaningless and harmless but very dangerous when driving down the interstate at 70 miles an hour in drive time traffic. Don’t daydream while driving ought to be on signs to prevent accidents. Don’t we “dream” or imagine we are in the presence of God when we pray? We should.
Dreaming is a very human activity, and who’s to say that some of our dreams are not prophetical in nature? Obviously many are, some of which we shall look at later in this sermon.
Who would deny God the power to plant thoughts in our sleep that we ought to remember? Sleep is a time when we are doing nothing but sleeping and at certain times when we are in deep sleep there are no distractions and dreams will be most vivid and perhaps meaningful and from God Himself. However, we should remember that while God can and no doubt does speak to people through dreams today that if He does speak to us in dreams that anything God says, whether through a dream, vision, impression, or “still small voice,” must agree completely with what He has already revealed in His Word. Dreams cannot usurp the authority of Scripture. And, I cannot believe that God would cause someone to dream or have visions while under the inducement of alcohol or drugs whether illegal, over the counter, or given by prescription.
In my not-to-exhaustive study of dreams found in the Bible I find only a few references where dreams were the results of false prophets. In fact Scripture affirms that some dreams are invasions of the devil and should be considered evil requiring our prayers to God for release from such invasions of the most private activity of human life—to sleep. To dream of wreaking vengeance on a person who has offended you is not of God – For vengeance belongs to God who alone will be righteous in doing so.
Dreams that are overtly manipulative especially when they concern people of the opposite sex are in essence, are usually not appropriate either. Dreams that depict you as a movie star, great singer of songs, or as a champion of any sport are born only in the mind of someone who needs to wake up and get real!
So, what I am saying is evaluate your dreams to see if they align with what God has recorded in His word before acting upon them. Were they Christ honoring or not. I know however, that we are not normally responsible for those dreams that come in the night hours. Still, if we remember them at all we can possibly ask God to protect us from such dreams.
DREAMS AND VISIONS IN THE BIBLE AND THEIR INTERPRETATIONS
- Genesis 37:19 (Joseph- Old Testament)
- Matthew 1:18-25 (Joseph’s dream explaining the birth of Jesus)
- Matthew 2:13-15 (Joseph’s dream fulfilling prophecy)
- Acts 2:15-17 (and Joel 2:28 are a recount of Joel’s (OT) dream of end time events)
- Acts 9:10-17 (Ac 9:12 Ananias vision of his commission to deal kindly with Paul)
- Acts 10:13-19 (Peter’s vision to proclaim the gospel to a Gentile)
- 11 Corinthians 12:2-4 (Paul’s dream or vision of being in heaven)
- Revelation 1:10-18 (John’s great vision at Patmos)
A study of biblical dreams and visions and their interpretations would be a time well spent.
III. A PERSONAL EXAMPLE OF SUCH A DREAM
I went to my bed Friday night without a sermon for Sunday morning. Usually, I begin thinking of what to preach when I get home from church on Sunday or about what came to me while teaching on Wednesday evening. In this case I retired knowing that God would give me a subject or a text that he would want me to prepare for you. I never imagined how he would do it. God is so good to us!
I awoke yesterday morning (Saturday) remembering what I had been dreaming before I awoke. Sometimes I have different dreams, snatches, snippets, bits and pieces of things rolling around in the depths of the abyss of my brain are mainly unrelated to anything I remember and are without sense or meaning detouring any possibility of full are clear explanation are not all that uncommon as well.
Usually, the remembrance of my most of my dreams flee the memory like a zephyr, a breeze soon gone.
But this time my dream, was very much vivid and were like a play in three acts with each act similar to the others, but that took place in different environments and scenarios. I awoke believing God had delivered my dreams content and I could not wait to write down the details as I remembered them.
MY FIRST DREAM EVENT, is as follows: I dreamed that I saw a flyer or poster on the window of a building. As I walked by, I observed a young man who was accompanied by a person I believed to be his mother. I noticed that he stopped and read the flyer. I don’t remember what exactly was written on the flyer but it may have had something to do with the fact that I had been working on flyers to pass out to all who would receive one.
Resuming his journey I heard him say to his mother, “What junk.” “ What kind of a fool would place such a sign in a window.” I suppose he would have said something like, “probably some religious nut, I guess.” I approached him until I was shoulder to shoulder with him and looking at him in the face I asked him, feeling no fear whatsoever, “Son, why do you suppose someone would write such a thing.”
I don’t remember his reply except to say it was not complimentary. My response was, “Well”, “It is the bigger fool that would ignore what was written on the flyer.”
I glanced back over my shoulder at his mother who stayed a few feet behind us and noticed an unmistakable but gentle smile of approval on her face as though she was pleased with our conversation.
The sign on the window was evangelical. The man was lost, cynical, and convicted by the sign, not to receive it, but to reject it coldly. The woman, his mother, had obviously been praying for someone, even if a stranger, to come along and deal with her son’s soul. He looked upon me as a fool, and I was but for Christ’s sake. I witnessed to him but he did not respond, at least not in my dream. However, I feel that I did what I could leaving him to the Holy Spirit. That’s all I remember of that encounter. I believe however that God might have said to me… “well done good and faithful servant, I will take it from here!
THE SECOND PART of my dream played out this way. I was in either a bus or train station I suspect. There were many people milling around.
I saw a man walk over to a counter having a paper cup in his hand. He stood there for a few minutes waiting for someone to fill it, I assumed he wanted some water or tea or coffee. When no one came to serve him, he crumpled his cup and dropped it into a container and with great frustration, just he walked away.
I noticed that his face was disfigured and that the left side of his face was terribly scarred, his left eye was covered by scar tissue as well, as if he had been terribly burned at some time. On the right side of his face I saw that his face was also scarred but his eye was open but without eye brow or lid – I also noticed that he could not shut it but was open continually.
I walked over to the counter and saw a coffee pot. I looked around for a container but to no avail. A waiter I assume, approached me and asked if he could help. I replied I needed a cup. He handed it to me and I filled it with the coffee. With a full cup of coffee I began to search for the man with the scarred face. I saw him sitting on the floor leaning against the wall. His clothing was rumpled, wrinkled and dirty.
I interpret my dream in this way: the man was looking for help, for someone to fill his cup, finding no one who seemed interested in his plight, he appeared as on who had no hope. Feelings of frustration and anger at his situation flooded his soul. No one came to his aid- being rejected by others he walked away feeling that no one cared, leaving him empty and friendless.
Someone gave me a cup full of coffee. I searched and searched through the crowds and finally I found him. My dream continued, I observed he was sitting on his haunches and leaning against a wall. Bending over where I could look upon his face, He looked very unhappy. I took the cup over to him and gave it to him. I remember that I rubbed his forehead gently pushing back is hair from his face. I felt deep compassion for him. I do not remember what I said or what his reply was.
I gave him the coffee and he drank it. I do not remember if he thanked me or not. That was not important.
THE THIRD PART of my dream went like this. I was driving on a road that led me to a town I had never been in. Seeing a church I noticed a man walking to his car. Parking my car I got out and approached him and introduced myself. He in turn did the same and in doing so revealed that he was the pastor of the church. We engaged in conversation for a short time. I remember thinking that here was a Christian man I had never met and yet immediately sensed a bond between us. We both rejoiced in meeting one another saying, “we may never meet in this life again but one day while sitting a Jesus’s feet see one another and again rejoice that we both were with our Master.
No matter where are in the world there are people who are serving the Lord. Upon meeting such a person an immediate bond is felt. Each with an opportunity to glorify God – and given the knowledge that we are not alone—that there are others, some we will meet in this life and some we will not meet until we meet in glory. Those we meet here that are part of God’s family we should glory in, love, be never envious, but know that we are of the same blood, saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, with the end purpose being the glorification of God. Knowing also that one day we will be in heaven enjoying the wonder of it all that Jesus loved us to the extent that he was willing to die for us, giving forgiveness of our sin.
Each part of my dream as I have related it to you, I believe is in the form goals I would like to achieve in my waking hours—taking advantage of every opportunity to witness for my Lord and being always on the alert to every opportunity to do what the Lord would do if given a similar opportunity.
THE DREAM WEAVER – a maker of dreams
In the case of biblical visions and dreams, the Dream Weaver is the Holy Spirit. Would that we, after a night of dreaming, consider understanding the source of our dreams. Perhaps the reason we cannot remember the content of all of our dreams is that it would be harmful to us if we did. On the other hand there are times such as I’ve admitted to you this morning where remembering might be helpful. Not all dreams are private. Some are, some should be some are better left to work through privately.
Unsaved people dream and it may be that God allows or gives dreams to people for their eternal benefit. Saved people dream about things they would not even think of considering being awake and somewhat in charge of their faculties. But saved or not dreams are both natural and supernatural, helpful and harmful.
As in anything of the unknown, dreams are never to be thought of as always being harbingers of coming events –most are not! But neither should they all be discounted as meaningless or unfruitful. My dream before awakening Saturday morning I prefer to think of a gift from God and needing to be shared.
Reality in regards to one’s salvation is that justification does not come by dreams, but by Scripture truth, the Grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ and his shed blood on the cross. The Lord’s Supper, though controversial, is remembering his death, burial, and resurrection of His body and also of His Imminent Return to judge, to preserve his people, and to rule righteously for a millennium. Dreams however have little to do most of the time with reality and nothing to do with one’s salvation. One cannot dream himself into heaven, neither can a person dream himself out of hell. Dreams are real but not always are they about reality. To believe the gospel with the whole heart and to confess that belief with one’s mouth must be done by a fully awakened and awareness of the mind. It is the fool who believes otherwise. Don’t go to bed tonight without trusting in the soul security found only in Jesus Christ. Hell is no dream! Sleep well!