How can I believe dreams bring a reliable message from God when I have sexual dreams and terrifying dreams and nonsense dreams and "pizza dreams"? Well, that is a very good question. Let's see if we can't find an answer.
Biblical Evidence Reveals God Gives the Dream
The Bible says dreams contain reliable messages which are to be acted on:"I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my affections also instruct me in the night seasons" (Ps. 16:7). Over 50 dreams are discussed in Scripture, and when people awoke, they acted on these dreams. About one-third of the Bible records these stories, so that is hundreds of chapters in support of dreams. We explore these in depth in two of our books, Hearing God Through Your Dreams and Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook. Please review them both for a complete discussion concerning this.
For an examination of four potential foundations of a sexual dream, you may review this blog. We also discuss this more in the Nightmares session of our DVD series (viewer discretion advised). And if we question whether God can speak through sexual symbolism, we need look no further than the book of Song of Solomon.
Terrifying dreams may come from God as illustrated in this verse: "As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram, and terror and a great darkness fell on him. Then He said to Abram ..." (Gen. 15:12-13).
False dreams come from others, evil people who are seeking to turn the hearts of God's people away from God. Each of the following warnings illustrates this. You will see that every warning is about others' dreams—not your own dreams—and in each case they are seeking to turn people from the living God (Jer. 14:14; 23:16,25-27,32; Ezek.12:24; 13:1,7; Deut. 13:1-5; Jer. 27:9-11; Zech. 10:2).
Charity Kayembe: The Right Question
We know that in order to get the right answers, we must ask the right questions. During the Q&A portion of my dream workshops, I am often asked: Are all dreams from God? I explain the Scriptures covered above but then clarify and offer an even better question we could be asking. The real concern on most people's hearts is: Are all my dreams from God? And that is much easier to answer.
Holy days bring holy nights. That means if you are saved and Spirit-filled, if you've been through deliverance and built up your walls of protection, if you are in the Word and filling your mind and heart with truth, and if you are living as holy as you know how to live—then yes, all of your dreams can come from God.
How do I know? Because all mine do.
I've been interpreting my dreams for over 30 years, and as I share in our book, I don't believe I've ever had a dream that wasn't from God. And if that is my experience, then it is definitely available as a potential and possibility for every other follower of Jesus as well. We know the character of God; He is a good, good Father. Does He stop guarding us when we're most vulnerable? Can He not be trusted to protect us while we're asleep?
What I've found is that the biggest reason people don't believe that God is the giver of their dreams is because they simply don't understand the symbolic picture language He speaks at night. They get confused by their scary or sexual dream and mistakenly assume if dreams are valid, these dreams must be revealing they are being attacked by Satan at best, or they are a lustful, carnal Christian at worst. If we can just dismiss these confusing dreams as "pizza dreams" and not from God, then we don't need to pay attention to them. The enemy makes us feel ashamed of the dreams, so ignoring them becomes the easiest course of action.
Satan's Sneaky Strategy
Most everyone believes God can speak through dreams, but they think it happens once in a lifetime or once every few years—and it's clear and literal, and they wake up with an immediate and perfect understanding of the dream's message. That's how they know they've heard from God.
I believe one of the most successful strategies Satan has used against the church in recent years is to deceive them into believing one simple lie. By and large, most Christians in our Western culture believe the lie that most of their dreams don't come from God. Sure, they concede He might use dreams occasionally, but we need to sift through our dreams, categorize them and disregard most of them because they don't make sense to us, so they must not be from heaven.
This may appear to be a minor misunderstanding, but it is, in fact, huge. God declared in His Word that He speaks oftentimes through dreams. He speaks over and over again while we're sleeping, but nobody even notices or pays attention:
"For God speaks once, yes twice, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumber on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, that He might turn aside man from his purpose, and conceal pride from man. He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword. ... Behold, God works all these things, twice, three times with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living" (Job 33:14-18, 29-30).
Satan doesn't need to intercept the messages God is sending to us through our dreams; he just needs to convince us to ignore them. If the enemy can trick us into believing that the silly dreams and scary dreams and strange dreams aren't from God, then he has successfully stolen the vast majority of revelation God is downloading to us nightly. Even though God is speaking through our dreams and we are receiving and remembering those dreams—if we don't believe they are valuable—we will continue to discount, dishonor and entirely dismiss that revelation as not being worthy of our time or consideration.
So again, it doesn't matter if unbelievers' dreams are from God. In fact, we know scripturally that many of them are! People who did not worship Yahweh—for example, Abimelech, Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Pilate's wife—all received legitimate and accurate revelation from heaven through their dreams. So if those who don't follow God are able to hear from Him while they sleep, why wouldn't we, as the church, expect to hear from our heavenly Father nightly ourselves?
Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries and Christian Leadership University, where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 40 languages, and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.
Charity Virkler Kayembe has a doctorate in biblical studies, is passionate about the sacred supernatural and writes about the unfolding adventure that is walking by the Spirit on her blog at glorywaves.org. She has been featured on Sid Roth's It's Supernatural!, Cornerstone TV, Charisma magazine and The Elijah List. Charity is the co-author of four books, including Hearing God Through Your Dreams, Unleashing Healing Power Through Spirit-Born Emotions and Everyday Angels.
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