Some people might think God doesn’t talk to people through visions and dreams anymore—they see it as an obsolete form of communication. I believe the Creator can communicate through dreams, visions, people, angels, and any way He wants to. Today, I’m going to explore the significance of dreams, but let’s take a look at what science thinks about the subject.
Why Do We Dream, Scientifically?
According to many scientists and studies, they do not understand the true function of dreaming. They remain a mystery. However, one theory suggests that there are two types of dreams—one is linear and the other is not. The linear type will help your brain focus as it tries to make connections. These connections will help your brain stay limber. The nonlinear ones are supposed to be erratic or possibly meaningless (But I think this could be the creative function of your brain). Well, enough with that. Let’s see what we can gather from the Bible.
Significance of Dreams and Visions in the Bible
Dreams and ‘waking dreams’ are mentioned many times in the Word. God used these to communicate. I think the most famous story about dreams in the Old Testament is the story of Joseph, which you can find in Genesis 37-50.
When Joseph was a teen, he had two dreams that symbolized his family would bow down to him someday (and they did many years later). In addition to that, his father showed favoritism to him. This made his brothers very jealous; they sold him into slavery. Years later, he was called to interpret Pharaoh’s dream a few times–he eventually warned him of a coming famine. The purpose of this was to put Joseph in a place of leadership so that he could save the Israelites and the Egyptians.
So, God can use dreams as a warning sign and to prophesy. Also, it appears that you do not have to be a believer to receive prophetic dreams from God. He can also have a conversation with you—such as in the case with Solomon. The Creator asked him what he wanted, and Solomon asked for wisdom (1 Ki. 3:5-15).
The New Testament mentions dreams and visions as well. God sent Pilate’s wife a dream (Matthew 27:19). Joseph had heavenly dreams as well (Matthew 1:20)(Matthew 2:13,18). He speaks to Peter through a vision (like a waking dream) and told him that all animals are clean, meaning that he should share the message with all people (gentiles)—not just the Jews (Acts 10: 9-23). John received visions as he was writing the book of Revelations. And, of course, there is the verse…
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams Acts 2:17
We know this is still ongoing because of verses 18,19, and 20. This falls into the Spiritual Gifts mentioned in scriptures, such as 1 Corinthians 12. God literally told communities they would have people with these gifts. We must remain open and don’t doubt his power, which hinders the Spirit (Mark 6:5). It is plainly seen that God can communicate to people this way, but some Christians think this is a touchy subject.
Should Christians Interpret Their Dreams?
They could be relevant to all levels of your being and possibly other people, so there is no reason why you should not try to interpret them. I also believe that God is very intricate; he would not give us dreams for no reason.
However, the first thing you should know is you should not obsess over your dreams. Second, dreams are usually symbolic, which you can see in the Word. This makes sense because most tend to be surreal.
The third thing you should know is you need discernment. I say this because there are good and evil spirits on the earth. You need to know when God is talking to you and when an evil being might be trying to deceive you or throw misdirection your way to get you off track. They can indeed communicate with you. We see this throughout the NT and in the beginning.
You also need to recognize when your dreams are of the natural origin–meaning they represent ideas or issues that are marinating in your soul, like worries, aspirations, or your current surroundings. While in this state, your soul could also communicate problems within your physical body–just as it does when you are awake (Eccl. 5:3) (Isa. 29:8).
So, talk to God about it and see what he has to say. I’ve asked him to help me understand some dreams. He does not always reveal what’s going on right away. Sometimes, I do not receive an answer until years later. But I have noticed that God answers. He lets me know if the enemy was just sending misdirection or false prophecy.
Tips for Interpreting Your Dream…
I am leery about books concerning dream interpretation. I think the best interpretation comes from the Holy Spirit–through prayer, reflection, and Biblical meditation. Of course, God uses people as well. Some people have a gift of special knowledge that allows them to interpret dreams, but their insights should never conflict with the Word.
If you think God is trying to communicate with you through your dreams, there are some general meanings amongst Christian interpreters for certain symbols. And they are based on scriptural significance. You should write down your dreams in a journal.
Here are a few dream symbols and possible meanings:
- House – your house may represent your spiritual state. (Matthew 7:24-27, II Tim 2:20-21)
- Positive Feeling. If you discover a new room in your home– possibly a new area of ministry if you listen and act accordingly.
- Negative Feeling. If you discover a new room within your home, perhaps God wants to reveal an area of your life that is not pleasing to Him and wants to heal you.
- If you are in a house with a hole or torn roof – this could show that your spiritual shield of protection may be in danger because you are living in disobedience.
- Airport/Airplane- Possibly a new direction in life
- Birds- spirits, good or bad. Freedom in Christ. Dependence on God (Matthew 6:26)
- Nakedness might represent intimacy with God. Standing naked before God could represent surrender to God. (Gen. 3:8-11)
- Snakes or serpents usually represents the enemy; demons; (Gen. 3:1, Num. 21:4-9)
- Vehicles tend to represent the current path or direction in your life, perhaps decisions made; but they can also symbolize that you are having trouble finding the right direction.
- If the vehicle is a train or bus, this could involve the direction of a group of people. If there is a crash of some sort, you may be moving the group in the wrong direction.
Remember, these are only possibilities. You should look to God for confirmation.