2009-07-22 - Summer Questions
2009 #3 ~ Dreams and Visions
Genesis 37:19, "And they said to one another, 'Here comes this dreamer!'"
A little background before I give the question. It came in from a woman who sometimes has dreams/visions. They tend to be true, but of fairly ordinary things. She has been having them since childhood. I am not trying to hide her identity, as much as I might, as she told me that family and friends all know about this "gift" that she has. She is not claiming to have been told the time and date of the Lord's return, but she gets dreams that seem to be very accurate. I would love to ask her several questions. For example, "Have any of your dreams not come true?" "Do you find that you are reading events in light of your dreams, or is there an undeniable link between the two, and is that link the same at all times?" But we have what we have from her, and after a longer explanation, she asks this question about someone who has asked her to consider the significance of her dreams/visions...
Today's Question: "she said to me some time ago, "I think you should pray about these dreams and visions you have." "God has a reason why you can see and know these things, but you never talk bluntly about it - pray and ask God to explain to you what you should do with this. I have been doing so for about a week now, and will continue.. my question is, however.. may I pursue this, or what should I do?"
I have left nothing out there. The ... in the quote are in the question. So you are not missing anything from what she wrote, except some background and specifics that were given earlier. The quick answer is that we should pray about everything. So yes, certainly, pray about this aspect of your life, that many do not seem to have. God uses dreams in Scripture. God showed Abimelech that Sarah was Abraham's wife, Genesis 20:3. There are numerous other examples of dreams given by God in Scripture. Joseph, the Cupbearer and baker, is a well-known dream in Genesis 40. Daniel narrates Nebuchadnezzar's dreams in Daniel 2 & 4. Dreams are not always from God, and some claim in Scripture to have dreams when they have not, Jer. 23:25, 29:8, Deut 13:1-5. I don't get any sense that you are claiming to have dreams that you don't have. If you made bold claims, I might wonder.
Christians have one infallible place for authority, and that is the 66 books that make up the Bible. The Bible is the foundation of what the Christian believes. No dreams or visions should ever transgress God's Word, and if they do, they should be rejected. The Bible alone is our standard for faith and practice. We bring everything to the Word of God, as our final authority. A message or revelation that comes through a dream or vision can say no more than what Scripture already says. God's revelation is closed in Jesus Christ, who has given us His Word by His Spirit. The ordinary way that God communicates to us is by the Scripture. It does not mean that He cannot use other means, but it is rare that He does. Consider Eutychus, Acts 20:10, who is raised from the dead. There is no account there that the people tried to learn from him what he saw after he had died. Paul continued to preach the Word of God to them. It is interesting, in this passage, that we see that the Word of God takes priority even from someone who has come back from the dead. It is always to God's Word that we turn for our authority.
In Isaiah 2:1, we are told that Isaiah "saw" the word that came to him. Clearly visions and dreams are seen in the Bible. I don't want you to be overly excited or worried about them. God works as He pleases. Job seems to have an immediate experience from God while he lived, Job 19:26, "Yet from my flesh I shall see God." But dreams and visions are not God's common ways of working today, so be careful with this. The Apostle John "sees" the truth in Revelation 19:10 and falls down to worship. To have a vision or dream is to give a new or different, understanding of something, usually in advance. They are not in themselves good or evil, but rather extraordinary. Even though one that you relate concerns a death, death is fairly ordinary. It is the final way of all the living until Christ returns. Again, as you are not claiming any new doctrines or insights from your dreams/visions, that turn the foundations of the faith upside down, or clearly stand out as error, I would suggest that you thank the Lord for them, and take it all in stride.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Editor's Note: The questions in this series are stated in the exact form sent by the readers - unedited, unproofed, in order to remain true to the reader's original wording.