Many people today are claiming to have visions and dreams, but how can we know if they’re from God. What are the dangers of trying to interpret these dreams and visions?
Most of us have probably heard about someone who had a dream or a “vision,” and considered it a direct message from God, and well it could be, but the danger in trying to interpret dreams is that dreams are so random and come in so many shapes and sizes that we can’t always assume that it’s a message from God. For one thing, there is another god in this world, and he’s a deceiver, always wanting to have us go ways that are contrary to the Word of God. The Apostle Paul understood that the enemy would try to subvert the gospel and wrote that, “even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2nd Cor 4:3-4). It is possible that some have even seen angels, and what appears to them to be an “angel of light,” but we’ve must be very cautious about these experiences. The Apostle Paul said that, “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2nd Cor 11:4), so we must test all things according to the standard of the Word of God. A dream might be from God, and even a message from God, but God speaks most clearly and precisely in His Word, and not in dreams or visions. The Bible is the gold standard for all things.
The Bible speaks about a time when “it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,” (Joel 2:28a), but what is that which was said to “come to pass afterward?” It was the restoration of the nation of Israel to their land, and that has not yet happened since it cannot be said of Israel today, that they “shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else” (see Joel 2:27). Certainly God has not yet poured out His Spirit upon all flesh. Just look at the evening news and you’ll see that, but that day is coming, but it will only be after Christ’s return, when Israel is restored, and the nation finally comes to know God as a whole. After that, Joel prophecies of Israel, “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28), but it is only after a time when God “will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” (Joel 2:30-31). Several of God’s people had dreams and visions, and even a few people who were not believers, like the Pharaoh and King Nebuchadnezzar, but even in these cases, it was not Joseph or Daniel that interpreted the dreams, but God Who interpreted the meanings and Who then He told Joseph and Daniel the meanings. As much as I have looked in the Bible, there is no one who that I could find that has a gift of interpretation without God giving them the interpretation. Even Daniel acknowledged that only God “gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness” (Dan2:21-22), including what we dream about in the darkness of night. It’s always wise to seek godly counsel or talk to other believers if you’ve had a dream or think you’ve had a vision from God. God is God, and He can use any means He desires to use, but we must make sure it’s not interpreted as something contrary to the will and to the Word of God…and this is not the normative way that God speaks to His people today (Heb 1:1-2)
May God help us all. Amen.