A Theological Look at Spiritual Dreams
By Bryan Carraway
Dreams are one of the
most overlooked forms of communication used by God. The Word of
God consistently reveals God as speaking to people through this
universally experienced and mysterious phenomenon. The Lord uses
dreams for a variety of purposes:
- to warn global leaders of future events. (Gen. 41:1-8)
- to provide revelation to His prophets Num. (12:6)
- to warn us against certain decisions. (Matt. 27:17-19)
- to reveal His divine destiny for our lives. (Gen. 37:5-8)
- to answer our recent petitions and prayers. (I Kings 3:5-15)
Acts 2:17 confirms that God continues to use dreams as a means
of communication in the New Testament age. Since this is the case
the question must be asked, "Are all dreams from God?"
Are we to wake up every morning looking for some hidden, spiritual
message in our dreams? The answer is no.
Dreaming is a natural physiological function that is common to
every human being and is necessary for maintaining adequate mental
and emotional health. If one is deprived of REM sleep (the sleep
cycle at which dreaming occurs) for a substantial length of time
the person can incur serious medical and mental complications.
So while most of our dreams are just the result of natural human
functioning, every Christian needs to be aware that sometimes
God uses this natural function in a supernatural way.
When to know a dream is from God, i.e. a "spiritual dream,"
and when it's just a natural dream can sometimes be hard to discern.
No doubt it's a very subjective experience but most of us have
had the feeling that some dreams are not like the rest. The images
linger, the emotions are strongly affected, and we get this feeling
that what we just experienced is a message from above; a message
that needs explanation. When we do receive a spiritual dream they
are usually one of three types.
1. Warning Dream - This type is meant to warn us about
some future attack from the enemy or some difficult time ahead.
This could be a warning about a friend, spouse, or child. These
are given so that we might pray and intercede for the individual.
Often times the calamity is not decreed from above and through
prayer the hardship can be avoided. Example from Scripture: Abimelech
warned not to sleep with Abraham's wife. (Gen. 20:3-7)
2. Confirmation Dream - This dream simply confirms that
what you believe to be true about a person or situation is in
fact true. This type of dream is used to give you the emotional
impetus to act on what you already know to be true but have thus
far been unresponsive towards. Example from Scripture: Pilate's
wife's dream confirming that her husband should release Jesus
from custody. (Matt. 27:17-19)
3. Prophetic Dream - A dream which reveals the future
concerning yourself, another individual, a nation, etc. Example
from Scripture: As a 17 year old, Joseph dreamt about his future
place of honor and high governmental service. (Gen. 37: 5-8)
Spiritual dreams are God's sole prerogative, so we must always
be ready. When they do come we need to quickly record them and
then begin to pray for the interpretation. Spiritual dreams when
heeded, keep us in the will of God and remind us that we do indeed
serve a God who knows us intimately and who takes the time to
speak to His children individually for our own safety and care.
for Successfully Interpreting Spiritual Dreams
Common Symbols in Spiritual Dreams
Discipleship Resources on the Spiritual Life Channel
CBN Teaching Sheets
Bryan Carraway holds a master's degree in Practical Theology
from Regent University. Over the last ten years he has served
churches in Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia. He ministers in churches
today via his teaching/preaching ministry with his message of
sanctification and the fuller life in Christ.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.