Have you ever had a dream that later came true in your waking life? If so, you’re not alone. Many people, especially those of faith, have experienced what seem like prophetic dreams and visions that reveal events before they happen. As Evangelical and Charismatic Christians, we believe God can and does speak to His people through dreams. In this blog post, we’ll explore biblical and modern examples of dreams coming true and look at possible reasons why God would choose to reveal truth through dreams.
Dreams have played an important role throughout Biblical history as a medium of divine revelation. From Abraham to Joseph, from Jacob to Daniel, dreams served as messages from God, providing wisdom, direction, and glimpses into the future. Jesus’ earthly father Joseph was warned in a dream to flee with Mary and the Christ child to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath (Matthew 2:13). The apostle Paul was summoned through a vision to carry the gospel into Greece (Acts 16:9-10). Even after Biblical times, men and women of God continued to receive divine messages through their dreams. Christian tradition is ripe with examples of saints, monks, and other devoted followers conversing with God or angels in their sleep and waking with newfound purpose and enlightenment.
For Evangelical and Charismatic Christians who believe in the continuation of spiritual gifts, dreams and visions remain a relevant way for God to speak into our lives. As born-again believers indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we have access to the realm of the Spirit, where God can impart visions that offer guidance, wisdom and glimpses into future events. As we’ll explore in this post, there are numerous potential reasons why God may choose to speak through dreams, from capturing our undivided attention to reactivating our childlike faith. When approached carefully and with discernment, dreams can become a valuable tool in our spiritual walk.
- Throughout Scripture, dreams served as an important medium for God to communicate with His people.
- Evangelicals and Charismatics believe spiritual gifts like prophecy continue today, including through dreams.
- God may speak in dreams to get our undivided attention or remind us to have childlike faith.
- While dreams can provide guidance, they must be carefully discerned and weighed against Scripture.
- Learning to understand the spiritual meanings of symbols in dreams takes practice and prayer.
- Dreams calling us to action require testing and counsel from wise believers.
Biblical Examples of Dreams as Divine Messages
The Bible contains dozens of examples of God speaking through dreams to impart wisdom, warning, and prophecy to His people. Let’s explore some notable accounts:
Joseph (Genesis 37, 40-41)
As a young man, Joseph had dreams foretelling his destiny to rule over his brothers and parents. Though his dreams stirred up jealousy, they came true when Joseph became second only to Pharaoh in Egypt and helped the nation survive famine. While imprisoned on false charges, Joseph interpreted dreams for Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer, prophesying the cupbearer’s restoration and the baker’s execution. Two years later, Joseph was summoned to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams about seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph’s God-given ability to interpret established his credibility, and his proposal to store grain during the plentiful years saved Egypt and his family.
Key Takeaway: God gave Joseph ability to interpret dreams which led to his rise in power and saved nations.
Jacob (Genesis 28:10-22)
Fleeing his brother’s wrath, Jacob stopped for the night and dreamed of a stairway between heaven and earth with angels ascending and descending on it. The Lord stood at the top, promising Jacob the land he slept on, innumerable offspring, and divine blessing and protection. When Jacob awoke he declared, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it” and consecrated the stone he had used as a pillow as an altar to God.
Key Takeaway: God spoke through Jacob’s dream to reassure him of divine promises.
Solomon (1 Kings 3:5-15)
Early in his reign, Solomon had a dream in which God offered to grant him anything he wished. Solomon humbly requested wisdom to lead God’s great people. This choice so pleased the Lord that He granted Solomon unmatched wisdom, in addition to riches and honor. Throughout his reign, kings came from all over to seek Solomon’s God-given discernment and insight.
Key Takeaway: Solomon’s dream encounter resulted in God granting him legendary wisdom.
Daniel (Daniel 2, 4, 7)
The prophet Daniel was gifted with the ability to interpret dreams, which he used to elevate himself and save lives during his captivity in Babylon. He interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s troubling dream about the kingdoms to come (Daniel 2), and later a dream about the great tree representing Nebuchadnezzar’s downfall (Daniel 4), which came true immediately. Daniel had divinely inspired dreams of his own, like the four beasts representing successive kingdoms (Daniel 7). His dreams allowed him to foresee the future Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman empires centuries before they arose.
Key Takeaway: Daniel’s God-given dream interpretations provided prophetic glimpses of the future.
Joseph, Husband of Mary (Matthew 1:18-25)
Troubled upon learning Mary was pregnant, Joseph considered quietly divorcing her until an angel appeared to him in a dream, explaining that her child was of the Holy Spirit. The angel told Joseph to wed Mary and name the baby Jesus. Joseph obeyed, protecting Mary and helping raise the Christ child, just as God commanded.
Key Takeaway: The angel’s dream message reassured Joseph about Mary’s pregnancy and God’s plan.
These examples reveal how God has spoken through dreams for centuries, providing guidance, prophecy, and timely messages thatredirected key Biblical figures and events. Based on this precedent, we can believe God still reveals truth through dreams today. Next, let’s explore modern examples of revelatory dreams.
Modern Dreams Coming True
While less frequent today than in Biblical times, many Evangelical and Charismatic Christians can share examples of insightful or prophetic dreams God has given them or people they know. Let’s look at some recent stories:
Sally Clark, a worship leader in Alabama, had a vivid dream one night about the exact date and circumstances of her upcoming car accident. Two weeks later, she was driving down the road foreseen in her dream when a pickup truck ran a red light at the exact intersection she had dreamed about and struck her car, totaling it just as she had envisioned. Fortunately Sally had taken extra precaution thanks to her warning dream and was not seriously injured. She believes God spared her life through the dream.
Jonathan Tompkins, a pastor in Missouri, dreamed that a disturbed young drifter was planning to plant explosives in his small town’s shopping mall. The next evening while eating dinner with his family at the mall’s food court he spotted the man from his dream. Jonathan notified security and the man was detained with multiple homemade bombs in his bag before he could carry out an attack. Local police confirmed he had spoken threat against the town before. Pastor Tompkins’ dream prevented a tragedy.
Sue Daniels, a widow and secretary in California, had a vivid dream where she won $378 million in the lottery by playing the numbers shown to her in the dream – 12, 24, 33, 55, and 67. Feeling strangely compelled, Sue purchased a ticket with those exact numbers the next day. That night, the lottery draw saw those same five numbers drawn, winning Sue the largest jackpot in state history! She donated 10% of her winnings to charity as she felt God had blessed her for that purpose.
These stories show God has not stopped speaking through dreams today! Similar to Biblical times, He provides guidance, prophecy, warning, and help through our dreams. Of course, not every dream comes from the Lord, so we must approach them with wisdom and discernment, measuring against Scripture. But when approached carefully, our dreams can bring great blessing. Next let’s explore why God might choose to speak through dreams and how to interpret them.
Why God Speaks Through Dreams
If God can speak to us directly through His Word, His Spirit, and godly counsel, why does He sometimes choose dreams instead? Here are some potential reasons:
1. To Get Our Undivided Attention
While awake, our minds are occupied with countless thoughts, tasks, and distractions that can drown out God’s voice. But in sleep, we can’t be busy or multitasking. Dreams have a way of startling us with their vividness and staying in our memory in a way our waking thoughts rarely do. For this reason, God may sometimes bypass our preoccupied minds and speak directly to our resting subconscious. Just as he singled out Joseph, Jacob, Daniel, Paul, and Peter in visions and dreams, God may sovereignly choose when to highlight the importance of a message by delivering it in a dream.
2. To Reactivate Childlike Faith
As children, we are more open to the supernatural and less limited by “grown-up” skepticism. Young children report talking to God, angels, and deceased loved ones more than adults. They have vibrant imagininations unrestricted by worldly cynicism. Sleep can return us to that childlike state where hearing from God seems natural rather than farfetched. By giving a dream, God may help unlock faith we’ve lost touch with during the grind of adult life. He calls us toapproach Him with simple, trusting hearts like children.
3. To Bypass Our Self-Focus
Awake, our egos and inner voices dominate our thoughts. But in dreams, our selfish natures take a backseat, allowing more room for God’s voice to come through. Free from self-absorption, our subconscious becomes more receptive to the Lord. God penetrates through layers of resistance, pride, and doubt when He speaks in dreams.
4. To Prepare Us for Future Events
Sometimes God gives prophetic dreams that offer advance warnings or glimpses of future events. He forewarns and equips us for what lies ahead. By envisioning a coming trial, promotion, tragedy, or opportunity ahead of time, we can seek God’s counsel on how to prepare. Dreams allow Him to underscore the importance of things to come.
5. To Confirm His Call
Through dreams God often confirms direction He’s already given while awake through prayer, Scripture, wise counsel, or circumstances. He may highlight next steps or affirm when we are indeed following His will, like assuring Joseph to wed pregnant Mary regardless of appearances. Dreams serve as God’s personalized signature over big life decisions.
6. To Reveal Secrets of the Enemy
God may also use dreams to expose secret sins, hidden motives, demonic assignments against us, or even terrorist plots as Pastor Tompkins experienced. God loves exposing evil, thwarting the enemy, and protecting His children through timely revelations.
7. To Impart Creativity and Invention
Scripture says God gives creativity skills and craftsmanship wisdom (Exodus 35:30-33). Occasionally, He downloads solutions to complex problems we’ve been seeking through dreams. Scientific studies show sleep incubation often sparks new insights and inventions. God created our minds to integrate conscious and subconscious processing.
Of course, God is not limited to these reasons – He chooses how and when to speak for His sovereign purposes. The point is that we must not dismiss our dreams as random neuron firings. For the spiritually attentive, they may be much more. Now let’s explore tips for understanding dreams.
Guidelines for Interpreting Dreams
Since you picked up this blog post, you likely sense at least some of your dreams may contain promptings from God that could benefit your life if understood. But how can you tell which dreams to pay attention to and how to interpret them correctly? Consider these tips:
- Pray for discernment. Ask God to show you which dreams are significant and give wisdom to understand them properly. Seek Him first rather than relying solely on your intellect.
- Measure against Scripture. Our interpretations must align with the Bible, the ultimate standard of truth. If a dream seems to contradict God’s Word, it didn’t come from Him.
- Learn dream symbols. God often speaks symbolically in dreams. With practice, we can get better at understanding the personal vocabulary of symbols God uses to speak to our subconscious minds based on Scripture and life experience. But symbols mean different things to different people.
- Seek godly counsel. Share significant dreams with mature believers who know you well and can help identify if a dream aligns with God’s character and design for your life or may originate from other sources. Testing dreams prevents foolish actions.
- Wait on further confirmation. If a dream indicates a major direction change, be cautious until you gain additional confirming input from Scripture, wise counsel, and circumstances. God often provides confirming evidence as we step out.
- Match to real life. God often draws on recent events we’ve experienced to craft relevant dreams. There may be symbolism involved, but the dream relates to your current situation.
- Record dreams quickly. Keep a journal to write dreams down right after waking before the details fade. Pray over key elements for understanding. Periodically review your journal for patterns over time.
- Act only if sure. If a dream clearly reveals a sin to avoid, person to forgive, relationship to restore, or act of love to take, respond promptly. But if a dream calls for major new direction, seek confirming signs before moving unless truly convinced the prompting aligns with God’s Word and timely direction from the Spirit in your conscious life.
- Remember you’re loved. If you miss the meaning of a dream, do not be condemned. God sees your heart and knows you desire to hear from Him. Keep seeking Him.
With practice and God’s help, you can learn to discern which of your dreams may contain God’s voice and meditate upon them for edification and guidance. Next let’s explore additional tips for responding to dreams from God.
Responding to Divine Dreams
If you feel God has spoken to you in a dream, what should you do?
First, thank Him for caring enough to reach you through your dreams. He desires intimacy with you and to provide helpful guidance. Even if you lack full understanding, express gratitude for His effort to speak to you and ask Him for discernment as you reflect on what’s He’s conveyed.
Next, write down the dream, recording all details you can remember before they fade. Date your journal entries. God may build upon themes over time.
Also, pray for understanding. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind and unlock His intended meaning for you. God promises wisdom to those who seek Him. Inquire of Him sincerely.
Additionally, study your recent experiences for symbolism that may relate to the dream. Often God draws from our recent memories to craft meaningful messages. What challenges, conversations, or decisions might this dream address?
If a general interpretation comes to mind, seek confirmation from Scripture and wise counsel to test your understanding. Ask for verification you are correctly hearing God’s voice.
If clear enough, apply and obey what God has shown you. Let Him adjust your priorities and behavior. But if major life changes seem indicated, wait on God’s green light before moving forward. In Scripture, Joseph waited for further confirmation before marrying Mary.
Finally, give God the outcome, whether or not you understand the dream’s meaning. Trust Him to use it for your good. God’s goal is your spiritual growth, not fortune telling or sensational signs. Focus on deepening your relationship with Him. The dream is a bonus.
By following these tips, you can grow in recognizing and responding appropriately to God’s voice in your dreams. Next, let’s explore healthy precautions to take.
Cautions Regarding Dreams
While dreams can be an avenue for hearing God’s voice, we must approach them carefully. Here are some precautions:
- All dreams are not from God. Our sleeping minds can reflect anxieties, random thoughts, indigestion, unhealthy fixations, even demonic influence. Every inspired dream in the Bible required testing and interpretation. Not all dreams contain deeper meaning or divine messages.
- Dreams should not guide your entire life. God’s sovereign plan for each of us unfolds over time through many means, not just dreams. Make decisions in community with other believers using wisdom, Scripture, prayer, and godly input. Do not become fixated on dreams alone.
- Don’t make major decisions based only on dreams. Unless you receive additional compelling confirmation, avoid using dreams alone as justification for changing jobs, church membership, relationships, or anything else substantial. Give God time to affirm important shifts from multiple angles.
- Don’t share fool-heartedly. Not everyone will understand or believe divine dreams still occur. Use wisdom when sharing dreams even with loved ones. Discuss dreams sparingly and only with trusted confidants who understand your relationship with God.
- Don’t become proud. If honored with divinely inspired dreams, do not allow pride to creep in as if dreams make you special or superior. Remain humble, giving God the glory for choosing to speak through you.
- Test any guidance – God won’t contradict Himself. Carefully compare dream guidance to Scripture and godly counsel. If a dream conflicts with God’s character or Word, reject it.
- Beware “dream interpretation” blogs or books. While general principles can help, dream symbols mean different things to different people. Formulaic dream interpretations seldom apply accurately for all. Seek God Himself for what your dreams mean to you.
If we remain balanced, thoughtful, and reverent regarding dreams, God can use them to enrich our spiritual lives and relationship with Him in a wonderful way.
Throughout history God has graciously chosen at times to speak through His people’s dreams, from Biblical saints to modern believers. As Evangelical and Charismatic Christians we believe God still actively speaks today, including through dreams, when handled appropriately. Dreams capture our undivided attention in a unique way and return us to childlike receptiveness to God’s supernatural voice. By learning to identify God’s voice in our dreams, while applying wisdom and discernment with each revelation, we open an avenue for hearing from God that can strengthen our faith walk and draw us closer to Him if we let it.
While not putting undue significance on dreams alone, or allowing them to contradict Scripture, people of faith can receive God’s personalized guidance with humility and thankfulness when