Our golden rule: Use the Bible to interpret experience; never use experience to interpret the Bible. It’s true that God spoke through dreams to some people in the past, but even then, it was a rare occurrence. Joel did prophesy of a future time, before Jesus Christ’s return, when there would be heavenly signs and “your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28-31). The apostle Peter used this prophecy to help explain the special miracles that accompanied the giving of God’s Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:15-17).

There are 21 dreams recorded in the Bible.                        

Abimelech’s warning (Gen 20), Jacob’s ladder (Gen 28:12)                 

Jacob’s call home; Laban’s warning (Gen 31:10-13, 24)                    

Joseph’s grain, And Joseph’s stars (Gen 37:1-10)                                   

The cupbearer’s grapes (Gen 40:9-15)                                                       

The baker’s baskets (Gen 40:16-19)                                                  

Pharaoh’s cows, And Pharaoh’s grain (Gen 41)                                           

The runaway barley loaf (Judges 7:13-14)                                                

Solomon’s blank cheque (1 Kings 3:5-15)                               

Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, Nebuchadnezzar’s tree (Daniel 2&4)                             Daniel’s beasts (Daniel 7)                                                                        

16-20 Dreams surrounding Jesus’ birth (Matt 1:18-2:23)                              

21 Pilate’s wife’s nightmare (Matt 27:19).

Although the symbolic dreams from Genesis and Daniel are most memorable, the majority of these dreams are direct, explicit messages. “Go to Egypt.” “Now go back.” “No, not that way!” There’s no ambiguity in most of these. Many dreams nowadays require special training on how to interpret them. Although touted among some Christians as if they are God’s main channel of communication, there are only 7 records of dreams in the whole of the New Testament and all in Matthews. The fact that your dreams come true and are often repeated as confirmation is no foundation to believe they are safe. Granted God is reaching out to numerous unbelievers today in dreams, and thousands are getting saved as a result, especially Muslims. Dreams are an open channel, like wifi without a password. For believers communications through spiritual gifts is a more secure channel.

Don’t open the box

I have counselled hundreds of people over the years about their dreams when they wanted prayers to avert the presumed danger: “Do not open the box.” It’s like clicking an attachment in a malicious email. If you get a vivid dream, whether a terrible or terrific scenario, do not repeat it, and do not pray about it. Repeating it or praying about it shows the enemy he has found the right address. Dreams can be a way for the enemy to hack into your internal security system. The devil may actually give you dreams that come true, only so you can feel it must be God, because the outcomes are good. Treat it like Paul treated the girl with the spirit of divination at Philippi. After Pentecost there is no record of God communicating with any believer by dreams. ‘ The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice’ (John 10:2-5). When God is communicating with us we need to be fully awake and alert. It is much easier to recognise his voice while we are wide awake.

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