Some people might think God doesn’t really 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 (waking dreams), symbols, people, angels, and any way He wants to. Today, I’m going to explore the significance of dreams, but let us first 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. Dreams actually remain a mystery… However, one theory suggests that there are two types of dreams—one is linear, and one is not. The linear type of dream will help your brain focus as it tries to make connections. These connections will help your brain stay limber. The nonlinear dreams 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 Bible. God used these methods 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 that his family would bow down to him some day (and they did many years later). Since his brothers were very jealous of him, 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 Christian to receive dreams from God. He can also have a conversation with you—such as the case with Solomon. God asked him what he wanted, and Solomon asked for wisdom. (1 Ki. 3:5-15)
The New Testament speaks about dreams and visions as well. God speaks to Peter through a vision (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)
God also spoke to John with visions as he was writing the book of Revelations. And, of course, there is the popular 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
So it is plainly seen that God can communicate to His people through dreams, but some Christians think this is a touchy subject.
Should Christians Interpret Their Dreams?
Dreams could be relevant to all levels of your being, so there is no reason why you should not try to interpret them. Also, I 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. God may not talk to you through a dream. I feel like the Holy Spirit speaks to me through my dreams every now and then. He usually talks to me when I pray, study the Bible, worship, etc. Second, dreams are usually symbolic, which you can see in the Bible. This makes sense because most dreams tend to be surreal.
The third thing you should know is you really 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.
And, 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 dreaming, 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, and ask him to tell you what your dreams mean—he may answer. Personally, I have asked God about some of the dreams I’ve had, and He does not always reveal the meaning to me right away. Actually, sometimes I do not receive an answer until years later. But, I have noticed that God is always on time, especially when I am going to make a life altering decision.
Additional Ways of Interpreting Your Dream…
I am usually pretty leery about books on dream interpretation. I think the best dream interpretation is one from the Holy Spirit–through prayer, and meditation of the Bible. But God uses people as well–of course. Some people may even have a gift of Christian dream interpretation, but their insights should never conflict with the Bible.
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 could also write down your dreams in a journal.
Here are a few Christian dream symbols you might find helpful, and a few 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 sin, or in disobedience.
- Airport/Airplane- Possibly a new direction in life
- Birds- Spirits. Could be Good or Bad
- 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.