Understanding Dreams and Their Meaning
I am going to share with you how to hear God through dreams and how to understand your dreams.
Dreams are the brain’s way of processing data and events. We know that God needs no rest and is as active when we sleep as when we are awake. Therefore, we may suppose that divine influences may fashion our dreams as well as direct our waking thoughts.
You can see in both the Bible and history that from the times of the Old Testament, cultures were obsessed with connecting with their gods through dreams. The interpretation of dreams was a significant form of divination in the ancient world.
As believers, we need to be very careful that our obsession with dreams does not lead us into deception. Deception is very prevalent among people who are obsessed with dreams.
Interesting Statistics About Dreams
- We forget up to 95% of all our dreams shortly after waking up.
- We have between 4-6 dreams every night, which is 1,460 dreams a year.
- A typical dream lasts between 5 to 20 minutes.
- Blind people can dream.
- Animals dream too.
- There are many common dream experiences, many of which I believe to be demonic, including: being chased, attacked, feeling frozen and unable to move, arriving late, flying, being naked in public or falling in a dream.
Biblical Facts About Dreams:
- 120 references to dreams in the Old Testament: 52 come from Genesis and 29 from the Book of Daniel.
- There are 21 recorded dreams in the Bible – 10 in the book of Genesis, 6 dreamers were Kings, 1 was a woman, 2 were named Joseph and 6 were in the Gospel of Matthew.
- During the approximate 1,000-year gap between Joseph and Daniel, only two dreams were recorded in the Bible, being Gideon’s and Solomon’s dream. The fact there is such a large gap shows that the divinely significant dreams do not come as frequently as some portray them to.
- God still talks to people through dreams today.
Seven Common Categories Of Dreams:
- Dreams to reach your destiny. They are prophetic and revelation dreams, calling dreams, courage dreams, direction dreams, invention and word of knowledge dreams.
- Dreams to change your path. These are correction, warning and self-conditioning dreams.
- Dreams for healing and transformation.
- Dreams from the enemy.
- Dreams that are caused to be dreamt.
- Dreams to train you in spiritual obedience, i.e., spiritual warfare and intercession dreams.
- Dreams caused by changes in our body.
There Are Three Types Of Dreams:
- Message dream – where God clearly speaks to you in the dream. (Interpretation is not needed). We see this in the dream God gave to Joseph to take Mary as his wife. There is no analogy there. It is very clear and God speaks directly.
- Simple symbolic dream – where God uses symbols well known to you. (You get interpretation right away). Joseph’s dream of the stars, sun and moon bowing to him is an example of this type of dream. This is how the Lord talks to you in a way that you understand.
- Complicated symbolic dream – where God uses symbols that others can understand. (You need help with the interpretation).
Now let us compare the Old and New Testament regarding dreams.
Old Testament Dreams:
Dreams were focused mostly on the prophetic, visitations of God, warnings, and encouragements in the Old Testament.
- Abimelech was warned concerning Sarah (Genesis 20:3).
- Jacob saw the ladder to Heaven (Genesis 28:12).
- Jacob dreams about going home (Genesis 31:10-13).
- Laban’s warning (Genesis 31:24).
- Joseph saw grain and stars in (Genesis 37:5-10).
- Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker had dreams (Genesis 40).
- Pharaoh dreamt of cows and grain (Genesis 41).
- The Midianites had a dream about barley (Judges 7:13).
- Solomon’s blank check from God (1 Kings 3:3-15).
- Nebuchadnezzar’s statue and tree (Daniel 2, 4).
- Daniel dreamt of four beasts (Daniel 7).
New Testament Dreams:
In the New Testament, dreams were mostly directions and warnings.
- Joseph was given a dream not to divorce Mary (Matthew 1:20-21).
- Wise men were warned not to return to Herod (Matthew 2).
- Joseph was warned to run to Egypt with his family (Matthew 2:13).
- Joseph was instructed to return to Israel but not Judea (Matthew 2).
- Pilate’s wife warned her husband Jesus was innocent due to her dream (Matthew 27:19).
Ten Things You Should Know About Dreams:
- Dreams can come from three main sources: the devil, the soul – our will, mind and emotions – and the Lord.
- Dreams can also come from much activity, (Ecclesiastes 5:3). This activity can result in our souls being burdened, overwhelmed or on the contrary, peaceful which will produce similar results.
- Dreams can come through incubation. This is where due to the value of dreams, an individual attempts to induce a dream by spending a night in a temple or holy place. In the Bible we see the activities of King Saul, Solomon, Ahaz and Hezekiah which may be similar attempts to incubate a dream, (1 Samuel 28:6, 15; 1 Kings 3:4-15, 2 Chronicles 1:3-12, 2 Kings 16:15 and 2 Kings 19:1,14ff). Incubation is not solely about where you sleep at night. If you watch too many movies, you can start to dream that kind of stuff that you fill your mind with. Samson fell asleep on the lap of Delilah and had the world’s most expensive haircut. Jacob fell asleep on the rock and had a vision of God. The question is when you are sleeping, are you sleeping on the lap of Delilah or the Rock of Ages? During the day what are you doing? How are you incubating – preparing your mind and soul? Before you sleep, are you spending time in the Word and prayer?
- False prophets deceived people from devotion to God through dreams, (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, Zechariah 10:2 and Jude 8). This shows we have to be discerning towards dreams. Demonic dreams can also come through somebody else who is connected to the demonic or a familiar spirit. The emphasis of the warning God gave the children of Israel was to avoid falling prey and becoming too desperate to hear God through dreams because then, false prophets can entrap you to the kingdom of darkness and bring distraction or destruction upon your life. It is so important for us to have our own relationship with the Spirit of God. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. When you learn to hear His voice and differentiate His voice it will be easier for you to not be deceived.
- The Lord God does indeed speak through dreams, as He declared to Israel in Numbers 12:6. Dreams are also one of the ways the Holy Spirit communicates with believer’s today, (Acts 2:16-17). I believe there is not so much emphasis on dreams in the New Testament because now, we have the Holy Spirit who can guide and lead us. Although our basis is the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and the community of believers, but the Lord still communicates to His people through dreams, visions and prophecy. One way to differentiate between a dream and a vision is dreams are often seen in first person perspective as if it is real time but visions are often seen whereby you would see yourself in third person view.
- Through dreams God can bypass our walls of self-defence, (Job 33:14-18). This is to turn men from their evil deeds, turn your life back from the pit, warnings, protection, deposit instruction and directions in your soul and protect you from pride.
- Having dreams that come true does not mean that you are a Christian. (Matthew 27:19). Even if you get a dream from God, it doesn’t mean you are walking with God, in the same way that Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh got prophetic dreams from God but were not walking with Him. Equally, if you get attacked by demons in a dream, that does not mean you are on the same side as the devil.
- Jesus can visit people in dreams. I have heard testimonies, particularly from former Muslims who saw Jesus Christ appear to them in dreams, and tell them where they could go to be prayed for and find a church community.
- God can minister to you in a dream. God can use a minister you know to deliver you in a dream. God can warn you in a dream. We saw this in the case of Job 33:17. God can reveal your calling in a dream. God confirmed the calling of Gideon and Joseph in their dreams. You can also experience spiritual warfare in dreams. The difference between spiritual warfare and demonic attacks – spiritual warfare in dreams is not a consistent thing. It brings awareness that you are in a spiritual warfare and need to pray, fast more and increase your devotion. When a person has a demonic attack, there is a sense of fatigue, exhaustion and giving up.
- The devil can attack you in your dreams. Nightmares, sleep paralysis, horror dreams, snakes, spiders and sexual dreams (Matthew 13:25). Attacks don’t mean possession any more than a dream from God doesn’t equal salvation. However, a consistent recurring tormenting dream could be a sign that you have a demon. You cannot get a demon in a dream but you can have a demon torment you in a dream if you have one. You can get demons through generational curses, getting involved in the occult or through abuse.
Steps To Take If You’ve Been Attacked In Dreams:
Take time before you go to sleep, even if it’s 20-30 minutes to saturate yourself in the Word of God and prayer.
Go to sleep on the Rock of Ages, not the lap of Delilah.
Pray over your house and bed. You can even anoint them with oil to sanctify them. A lot of times, there are demons connected to people’s houses or belongings that cause people to have nightmares and the moment they sanctify and dedicate everything to the Lord, they no longer experience those torments.
When you wake up, I would encourage you to uproot everything by repentance if sin during the day has created nightmares during the night. Then actively renounce and resist the dream. Remove it from your mind and continue to live for the glory of God.
How To Understand Your Dreams
I believe God wants to speak to us through His Word and by the Holy Spirit.
I do not see as huge an emphasis on God speaking to us through dreams in the Scripture as it is given in Christian circles today. However, I am a fervent believer that God communicates to people through dreams. For people who don’t have their Bible open, don’t live in the Word of God or prayer, and just want to sleep their way to revelation, I really encourage you to change that approach.
Six Instructions To Help You Understand Your Dreams.
1. The same God who gave you the dream will give you the interpretation, (Daniel 2:25-28).
Joseph and Daniel are the main two dreamers in the Bible. Both Joseph and Daniel received and interpreted a lot of dreams. When each man stood before the King, they answered that it is God who gives the interpretation.
2. Write down your dream and your initial interpretation, (Habakkuk 2:1-2).
3. Pay attention to symbols, numbers, colors, and objects, if you saw people and what you felt. Then ask God what they mean, (James 1:5).
4. Allow the Holy Spirit to assign meaning to those symbols and parables in your dreams. So many people are too dependent on everyone else that they depend very little on the Holy Spirit.
5. If you can’t figure out interpretation, ask someone for help and if they don’t know, move on. Don’t get stuck on a dream you don’t understand.
6. Pray about what this dream is trying to tell you to do.
I believe that God gives us daily manna but the Bible does not state that daily manna means dreams. Daily manna is God’s Word.
God wants you to live in His Word, not in your bed. When God does speak to you through dreams, He will bring direction and action – something you need to do.
Sometimes, God can speak in a dream to someone to give directions for a country or company but He does not usually do this through random people. If you receive a dream about a country or your own country, it is often for you to intercede and pray with for country, not for you to share with the masses.
To summarise everything, the Lord speaks through dreams. We have to be careful that we walk in discernment concerning dreams. If you become obsessed with dreams, you can lose your discernment and end up in the shady waters of deception. You should be obsessed with the Holy Bible. God can minister, bring healing and deliverance to you in dreams. You can be demonically attacked and you can know if you have a demon by what happens in your dreams.
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I pray this was a blessing. Please share this blog and let me know what you think!