Interpreting Dreams and Visions – Part 3

November 17, 2004

You may have heard about the captain of a Destroyer class ship who was contacted by radio that he needed to turn his ship 10 degrees east. He was indignant and told the caller on the radio to mind his own business. But the caller continued, “Turn your ship ten degrees east, we’re on a collision course”. The captain said, “Turn ten degrees west if you’re so worried”. Again the caller persisted over the radio for the captain to turn. Finally, the captain shouted, “I’m a Captain in the US Navy…turn ten degrees west.” “I’m a Midshipman in the Navy…turn 10 degees East”. Now he was furious. “This is a Destroyer; turn 10 degrees west!”. The reply came quickly: “This is a Lighthouse; turn 10 degrees east”.

Warnings are not often heeded, even by those who are careful. One of the hallmarks of the human race is our tendency to learn most things by experience. From the freshman in shop class cutting off his finger in the table saw, to the cheating husband who watches as his wife and children leaving him as they drive down the road, we witness daily the hardships attached to learning things by experience. Learning by revelation is more effective, cheaper and less harmful.

God uses dreams to teach Revelation. Along with the teaching dreams, the warning dreams are the most common. Even a cursory glance at the Scriptures reveals many examples: but one will suffice for this time. In Matthew 2:12-22, God appears in dreams to the Magi and to Joseph and Mary. His purpose in giving these dreams was to warn them of Herod’s murderous plans and to help them escape. God also does this same thing for Paul on three separate occasions. Often, God has to do this in a dream because our souls are too preoccupied with the stress of the moment to realize the danger we are in. Church history is rife with examples of people who were warned in dreams to beware of impending dangers. If you read the biography of Samuel Rutherford (found at www.ccel.org) you will witness a man who learned revelation from God almost continually through dreams.

My wife woke up in a cold sweat some years ago and decided that her condition was not a sign of impending hormonal changes but a pretext to wake me up. She had experienced a dream in which one of our children was in great danger. As we prayed into it, we both had assurance that this child was in need of our care. Since he was no longer living with us, and we had no way of calling him on the telephone (not to mention that it was 3 a.m.) , we decided to do whatever God showed us. What God indicated was that we needed to send money immediately to him. We wired it to a friend who brought it over to where he was living. Later, we came to find out that the week before, several people had ripped him off for serious money and he was too embarrassed to come to us for help. He was literally starving, waiting for his next pay check. God’s warnings not only helped him physically, but also bolstered his faith as we told him about the dream.

When a warning dream comes, make sure you follow the rules of interpretation of dreams. More about those next time.

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