Interpreting Dreams and Visions – Part 4December 1, 2004
But what everyone wants to know is how to interpret the dreams that come. Before we get to some of the other most common types of dreams in the Bible, let’s look at some of the basic principles for interpretation.
1. All Interpretation Belongs to God: In Daniel 2:27-30, we read:
Daniel 2:27-30 (NIV)
27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about,
28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:
29 “As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.
30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
From this we learn that all interpretation of dreams and mysteries of this type belongs to God. God alone can reveal what the interpretation of a dream is. This requires that we have a direct connection with God, which comes from His Holy Spirit who lives inside. I often ask people to tell me what their dream means and they answer out of their insecurity: “I don’t know”. We are all insecure when it comes to spiritual things, so let’s leave that aside. When I pin them down and say “oh yes you do”, they almost always have a fairly good idea of what the dream means if they ask God. God lives inside of his people and therefore we have the one who interprets the dream “in residence”. God is the one we go to.
But in addition to this, there are some general rules that seem to apply to the dreams we see in Scripture:
2. The Core of the Dream: If you are the main focus of the dream, the dream is probably for you. If you are not the core of the dream, even if you are involved, it is for more than just you. Pharoah’s dream about the 7 fat cows and 7 skinny cows was not about him, so it was not primarily a private dream.
3. Unusual Elements: Since a dream is our spirit’s way of translating spiritual input into a form we can remember, the most unusual elements of the dream are the most significant. Our spirit would not give us something that is too common for that would not be easy to understand.
4. Let the pictures of Scripture help: In dreams there are many pictures that are also found in Scripture. A stairway speaks of Jacob’s stairway…therefore, it means an open way to God. Birth speaks of new beginnings in the Scripture. My mother had repeated dreams of having a baby only to wake up before it was born. The day she became a Christian, she had the baby in the dream and it was her. The dream actually lead her to the pastor who lead her to Jesus.
5. Eliminate dreams of anxiety and attack: All dreams of anxiety are anxiety dreams…we are worried about something. If you are worried in the dream, you are worried in Real Life. When you wake up, ask God what is bothering you (unless it is already obvious). Attack dreams mean we’re being attacked and may need intercessory prayer from others.
6. Ask God what you should do with the Dream: Once you get an idea of what the dream signifies, ask God what to do about it. I had a dream once where my dad appeared (my dad had been dead for about 6 years by that point). In the dream, I was having so much fun with him. But then he looked at me and said: “But you know I’m not alive any more don’t you?” I woke up crying. I asked God what I should do and he showed me to go speak to one of my professors. Dr. Kincheloe helped me work through the bitterness I had about my dad’s death. I felt so free after that. My spirit knew I needed to be free, so I gave myself the key in the dream.
Keys are all over dreams. Next time, I want to talk about some of the keys.