Does God Speak Through Dreams Today
I have been interested in dreams for much of my life. One incident that happened in April 1974 changed my life forever.
I had a vivid dream in which I saw a multitude of people slowly walking forward toward a billowing inferno. Fire blazed from the abyss, and I saw those at the front of the line pushed over the precipice, disappearing from sight. The crush of humanity kept pushing people over the edge and into the raging flames.
Then I clearly heard the Lord’s voice say:
“Preach the Gospel. If you do not preach, every soul that falls will be your responsibility.”
From that moment I knew I had to preach the Gospel, and shortly after that dream, doors began opening for me to preach.
That dream greatly impacted my life. So when Bryan Carraway appeared recently on This Is Your Day years ago, we had a wonderful time discussing how important dreams are and how significant they have been throughout history.
We also talked about his book, Decoding Your Spiritual Dreams: Biblical Principles for Dream Interpretation, in which he explains how to understand the meaning of various types of dreams.
Viewer response to his interview showed that people everywhere want to learn more about understanding dreams.
Old Testament Dreams
Throughout the Bible—in both the Old and New Testaments—dreams are mentioned over a hundred times, often prominently, and are usually messages from God. Here are a few of the best-known dreams in the Old Testament:
- Genesis 15:1-21: God interacted with Abraham, who while in a deep sleep was given a prophetic dream concerning God’s covenant with the patriarch and future generations of his seed.
- Genesis 20:1-18: Abimelech was warned by God in a dream to avoid taking Abraham’s wife, Sarah.
- Genesis 28:10-22: God spoke to Jacob, showing him a ladder to heaven.
- Genesis 31; 37: Joseph dreamed of his family and the future.
- Genesis 40: Joseph interpreted dreams of the pharaoh’s imprisoned butler and baker.
- Genesis 41: Joseph wisely interpreted the dreams of the pharaoh of Egypt and was quickly appointed as second in command.
- Genesis 46:1-7: Before his journey to Egypt, Jacob received encouragement and promises of safety in a dream.
- Judges 7:9-18: Prior to the surprise attack on the Midianites, Gideon overheard two enemy soldiers describing the “barley bread” dream and interpretation.
- 1 Kings 3:5-28: In a dream, God offered Solomon a choice between wealth and wisdom.
- Daniel 2: After the best-known wise men in the Chaldean kingdom were unable to successfully interpret the king’s secret dream, the Jewish captive Daniel was summoned. He said, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days” (verse 28).
- Daniel 7: The prophet Daniel received a powerful dream of four beasts, followed by a dream of a ram and goat (Daniel 8) and a vision (Daniel 10) so terrifying that, though the prophet alone saw it, the men with him began to quake and fled to hide themselves.
God spoke to His people in many ways, and dreams were just one of the avenues He used to reveal His will. And the same is true today.
Dreams in the New Testament
The New Testament does not record as many dreams as the Old Testament, but several are mentioned, including a specific promise that dreams will continue throughout the church age as a means of divine communication:
“It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18).
Here are a few New Testament passages that include dreams:
- Matthew 2:1-12: The wise men of the East were told in a dream to avoid King Herod on their journey home after seeing the infant Jesus.
- Matthew 2:13-15: Joseph was directed in a dream to flee with Mary and Jesus to safety in Egypt.
- Matthew 2:19-21: After Herod’s death, Joseph was told in a dream to return to Israel.
- Matthew 27:15-19: Pontius Pilate, the Roman judge who oversaw the trial of Jesus, was warned by his wife, who had a dream.
Acts 16:6-10: During a pivotal moment in the spread of the Gospel, the apostle Paul was instructed in a night vision (dream) to go to Macedonia.
Dreams of a spiritual nature did not just end with the New Testament saints. The promise of Acts 2:17-18 is found to be true today as we read the numerous accounts of dreams and visions that have been recorded over the last two thousand years of church history.
The Bible clearly reveals an ongoing desire for God to speak to us through dreams and visions. It has been that way since the beginning, and it will undoubtedly be that way until the end of time.
Dreams in History
It is amazing to see how dreams have been a part of our history, not only in the Old and New Testaments, but through the centuries since the Bible was written. Bryan shares the dreams of noted people like Abraham Lincoln (forewarning his assassination), Frederick Banting (his dream led to the discovery of insulin), Albert Einstein (atomic energy), Elias Howe (the modern sewing machine), and many more.
Both the Old and New Testaments proclaim that in the last days there will be an outpouring of spiritual dreams, so you need to understand how this increase will impact you and your family.
It is critical to understand our dreams so we can know ourselves, our real values, our hopes, and our fears!
God does speak through dreams. He has given them to me. Some have been life-changing.
Bryan Carraway writes in his book,
“Dreams and dream revelation should have a place of respect in every Christian’s arsenal of spiritual tools. There is no doubt they are both useful and inspirational in our lives. But a word of caution is in order. We should not seek to elevate dreams above their appointed function.”