A guide to interpreting some of the most common objects and symbols in dreams
To decipher the meaning of objects and symbols in the Bible, a principle of biblical interpretation called the “law of first mention” can be used. It states that the first mention of an object, number, color or symbol in the Bible sets up a pattern of interpretation for it that holds true throughout the rest of Scripture. Listed below are the verses where the symbolic words first appear. The meaning or meanings provided for each symbol are based on the law of first mention. Please understand—these may not be the only meanings.
First reference: Gen. 4:7: God told Cain, “Sin lies at the door.”
Meaning: If the door is locked, it indicates a closed opportunity or a hindrance to your progress. An opened door is an open opportunity, or the opening you should travel (see Rev. 3:8; 4:1).
First reference: Ex. 25:31: Flowers are mentioned when describing the gold menorah and its beaten-gold flower design.
Meaning: Flowers indicate a fresh beginning, a passing of the old, and initiation of the new with a season of refreshing and rest. Flowers that have not bloomed indicate the early or infant stages of the new beginning.
First reference: Gen. 24:53: Rebekah was given jewelry of silver and gold from Abraham’s servant.
Meaning: To dream or see precious stones or precious metals is a good sign that there is coming a great blessing in some form, including but not limited to financial blessing or rewards for your faithfulness.
First reference: Ex. 3:1: Moses was in “the desert” watching sheep.
Meaning: Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years because of unbelief (Deut. 2:7), and Christ was tempted of the devil in the wilderness for 40 days (Matt. 4:1-2). Evil spirits walk through “dry places” (Luke 11:24). A desert can refer to a trial or temptation that will be encountered. It can also mean isolation and a period of loneliness and standing alone in your faith.
First reference: 1 Kings 19:11: An earthquake shook the mountain.
Meaning: An earthquake is a shaking that usually causes disruption and damage. In a spiritual dream, an earthquake can refer to a sudden and unexpected shaking that will occur.
First reference: Gen. 7:20: The flood waters prevailed above the mountains.
Meaning: Sitting or living on a mountain can allude to a great victory or accomplishment. Attempting to climb a mountain can allude to a situation that will take time and effort. Mountains can be difficulties that need to be removed by faith (Matt. 17:20).
First reference: Gen. 14:17-18: Abraham met the king-priest Melchizedek in the Valley of Shaveh.
Meaning: Valleys can indicate a time of conflict, struggle and some form of clash.
First reference: Gen. 19:28: Smoke “like the smoke of a furnace” went up when the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were burning.
Meaning: Smoke is the result of a fire. Smoke is never a positive imagery because it represents the remains of something that has burned. Smoke can create discomfort and block what you are attempting to see. Where there is smoke there is a fire, and this can refer to a situation that creates stress and confusion.
First reference: Gen. 19:24: God rained down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah.
Meaning: A fire can refer to a trial, negative words being spoken, or a purging of someone or some situation that is going to occur.
First reference: Gen. 13:9: Abraham told Lot to chose between the left and right side of the land before them.
Meaning: The left hand refers to a time of trial or seasons where it may appear that God is not working for us.
First reference: Gen. 13:9: Abraham told Lot to choose the land between the right and left hand.
Meaning: The right hand is symbolic of having favor, receiving authority and position.
First reference: Gen. 32:25: The angel tohed Jacob, and his hip socket was out of joint permanently.
Meaning: When experiencing a limp, it means something that will affect your spiritual walk.
2 Sam.15:30: David left Jerusalem in his bare feet, running from those out to overthrow him.
Meaning: Dreaming of being barefoot can represent not being prepared for a situation.
Perry Stone is the best-selling author of numerous books, including Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree and his most recent, How to Interpret Dreams and Visions, from which this article is adapted