Dreams and Visions

The other night, I dreamed that I drove a toy tractor and dug a tunnel through Mount Rushmore. As I furiously labored, each of the Presidents spoke to me, offering me friendly advice and encouragement. It was so exciting until the hole I dug began to collapse. I woke up in a panic. Some would suggest that God was speaking to me. I think that the YouTube documentary I watched about Mount Rushmore before going to bed was speaking from my subconscious brain. I assure you, that was not a God-given dream; it was closer to a nightmare.


Does God speak to us through dreams and visions today? I believe He does, but with conditions. As you know, the Bible speaks of several dreamers, none more famous than Joseph of Old Testament fame. As a matter of fact, his brothers mocked him and said, “Here comes the dreamer” (Genesis 37:19). When Joseph was seventeen years old, God gave him a two-part dream that came to pass thirteen years later when an entire civilization was spared from famine. His dream was time-tested. The teenager, however, unwisely shared his dreams that fell on deaf ears. So, in the plan of God, Joseph began a whirlwind adventure that got him an all-expense paid trip to a pit, landed him in Potiphar’s house, then in jail, and finally the Egyptian palace. 


To disqualify dreams today runs contradictory to Scripture. For both the prophet Joel and Luke, the author of Acts, said, “In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams” (2:17). Guess what? We are in the last days and God is speaking selectively to godly vessels in their sleep. This, I believe. An acceleration of dreams and visions relays God’s intentions regarding end time events. God is readying His people for an “airlift” we know as the rapture of the Church. Are you ready to meet the Lord in the air?


However, like so many areas of Christian teaching and endeavor, men try to emulate what only God can do. Some years back, several nationally known ministers began offering seminars on how to interpret dreams. Thousands attended their meetings. I believe their intentions were good, but unfortunately their teaching led to sensationalism and misguided theology. Whenever we elevate anything above the written Word of God, the end results produce error. About the same time, some were offering seminars on “How to Speak in Tongues.” Oh, brother! Aren’t we a peculiar lot at times? 


God alone is the giver and interpreter of dreams. Perhaps you remember that Joseph later went to prison. While there, he met the baker and butler. You may remember that both had dreams. Each relayed his dream to Joseph. Here’s what they said, “We both had dreams…but there is no one to interpret them.’ Then Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams” (Genesis 40:8). Afterwards, the baker was hanged, and the butler was returned to his master’s house. So much for dreaming! 


Does God give dreams today? Of course! However, we cannot allow our dreams to completely guide our lives. We now look to the Scriptures as our supreme “go-to” for salvation and life direction. I seldom dream, and when I do, I wake up laughing or doing my best to erase them from my mind. Personally, I can point to only one dream that I knew was from the Lord. In my third pastorate, I was having difficulty with a board member who constantly challenged my authority. I prayed, asking the Lord to help me navigate our tense relationship. One night, in a dream, the Lord gave me a step-by-step conflict resolution strategy. I don’t remember any details, but I do know that my execution of God’s plan won me a friend. 


Yes, God-given dreams are wonderful. And yes, they are one of the several ways that God still speaks today. Will God accelerate the giving of dreams in these last days? I believe He will, but like everything else God does, legitimate dreams should be time-tested and never elevated above “that which is written.” In other words, preach the Word, not a dream!


And by the way, why did God say that “your old men will dream dreams?” I don’t know whether to laugh or be concerned as I enter my seventh decade! 

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