God has always given prophetic dreams to His people and He continues to do so. Prophets who receive prophetic dreams are also usually able to interpret those dreams so that they can teach God’s people and others who might be affected by the prophecy.
This article will discuss the history of prophetic dreams as recorded in the Bible. It will also explain how prophetic dreams are helpful in modern times.
What are prophetic dreams?
Prophetic dreams are dreams that are given by God. They usually give the prophet an understanding of things that are about to come or things that are currently taking place.
For example, a prophet may receive a dream that’s focused on a political situation in another country. They may have no knowledge in the natural of any of the political players who are involved in the dream. However, through the dream, they may gain an understanding of the motives of each stakeholder and what may happen in the future, in that country.
In Numbers 12:6, God says that if there is a prophet among us, God will make himself known to them in a vision or a dream. If God makes himself known to a prophet through a prophetic dream, it has just as much weight as if God used a vision to speak to the prophet.
Prophetic dreams are different from waking visions. When the body of Christ talks about a vision, what’s being spoken of is a series of events that a prophet sees while they are awake. They’re fully conscious but they’re able to have a visual image of what lies ahead.
With a prophetic dream, the person is fully asleep. They may dream in such a way, that everything that will take place is clear to them. However, in some situations, God may use symbols within the dream and the prophet must interpret these symbols through the Holy Spirit.
Who had dreams in the Bible?
The Bible records a wide range of people as having prophetic dreams. In some cases, these dreams were focused on issues that seemed to only affect the individual or their immediate family. However, as time progressed, onlookers throughout history were able to see that a prophecy also affected the wider society and generations to come.
In Daniel 7, Daniel has a prophetic dream but his dream doesn’t just affect him. Prophets are sometimes required to share their dreams with others. This can be intimidating, especially with political figures.
However, it’s important for the prophet to pray that give God gives them the right words, attitude, approach, and context in which to present the message that He has given to them. In Daniel 4:27, Daniel is able to share God’s message with confidence because God has already prepared the heart of the king for his message.
In Matthew 2:13, God uses a prophetic dream to warn Joseph. Without this prophetic insight, Joseph might have taken his family into danger. Joseph’s obedience to God and his willingness to heed the warning he received through his prophetic dream, helped to save him and his family.
Sometimes God uses prophetic dreams to warn men and women of events that are to come in their own lives. God may use a prophetic dream to show you the person you will be in the future or the role that you might play in the lives of those in your community or nation. You may not always be told to share these dreams with other people, so always seek God before you share a prophetic dream.
In Genesis 37:5-11, God uses prophetic dreams to tell Joseph, the son of Jacob, of the role that he would play in the future. Joseph chose to share this dream with his family. However, it’s not clear whether he was advised to do so by God or even sought God regarding the action that he should take.
Does God still give prophetic dreams?
God still gives us prophetic dreams today. No matter where you live or which language you speak, God can speak to you through a prophetic dream.
Prophetic dreams are given to help strengthen the body of Christ in modern times. However, they are certainly not the only way in which God speaks to His people.
Each Christian has the opportunity every day to study God’s written word and learn His will for them through the Bible. In modern times, whatever God says through a prophetic dream can be supported by His written word.
In Hebrews 13:8, it says Jesus is the same today, as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. His power to heal, save and comfort is still alive and working, even in modern times. Miracles and prophecy are not a thing of the past because God is still the same.
However, while God can and still does give dreams, if you don’t receive dreams this does not mean you are not walking with Christ. Remember, in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, it says as a Christian, one of the most important things that you can have is love.
If you receive prophetic dreams every night and you’re able to prophesy during a worship service, it means nothing if you don’t have love. God always gives prophecy as guidance and these prophecies are to be shared in love.
For this reason, it’s important for Christians who have the gift of prophecy, to pay keen attention to what God is saying to them through a prophetic dream. Where they are guided by the Holy Spirit to share the dream with others, they should be obedient to God and do so in a spirit of love.
Types of Prophetic Messages In Dreams
Prophetic messages in dreams can be categorized in several different ways. For example, prophetic messages can be grouped according to the type of response God wants the person to have. In Matthew 1:20, God gives Joseph a prophetic dream in order to provide him with information that will help to set his mind at ease.
Prophetic dreams can also be categorized according to their urgency and their reach. For example, at times God will give a prophetic dream that applies to a situation that will take place the very next day. In some cases, the dream may apply to something that won’t occur for another few years.
In the Bible, we see where Joseph, Jacob’s son, received prophetic dreams that applied to a situation that he and the nation would experience years in the future. However, Joseph, Mary’s husband, received a dream that required him to act with more urgency.
Prophetic dreams may be categorized according to their reach or the number of people that they will impact. For example, God may give you a prophetic dream that only applies to you or only seems to apply to you.
He may also give you a dream that applies to your entire community, nation, or the people you work with every day. In Daniel 7, Daniel receives a dream that has a significant impact on the entire nation and beyond. Daniel’s dream had a profound political impact and when you receive dreams you should also be aware of the position that God has placed you in on the Earth and the role that might play.
What should you do if you experience what you believe to be a prophetic dream?
Whether you’re an investment banker, teacher, nurse, or auto mechanic, God could give you a prophetic dream. In Joel 2:28, God speaking through the prophet Joel says that He will pour out His Spirit and your sons and daughters will prophesy. In this verse, God also indicates that He will give the gift of prophecy to individuals regardless of their age.
If you are Christian parents, and your young daughter or young son wakes you up in the middle of the night and says that they’ve had a strange dream, listen carefully to it and pray carefully.
Maybe God has chosen to speak to you or even your community via this dream. As a parent, it’s important for you to pray and check the Scriptures. Lead your child and cultivate the gift God has given them with prayer.
This scripture in Joel and Acts also refers to senior citizens. In modern times, older individuals may sometimes not seem prominent in the battle against forces of evil. However, God has an important role for everyone today in His kingdom, no matter how old you might be.
If you’re an older person and you know that you received a prophetic dream from God, it’s your responsibility to share what you have received with others as appropriate. Pray that God’s will be done.
In verse 29, God through His prophet Joel, further emphasizes that He will pour out the spirit of prophecy on both women and men. This means whether you’re male or female, if you received a prophetic dream from God, you have a responsibility to share that prophecy with the person or people who it affects.
If you received a prophetic dream and you’re not certain what it’s about, you may need to pray some more about it. Ensure that you write down the dream. You may also want to seek help from another mature Christian who can pray with you about the dream.
If the dream pertains to your own life, you’ll have to take action in your life based on what God has shown you. Pray for strength and God’s guidance to do that.
If the dream concerns someone else and God has told you specifically what you should say to that person, pray that God will open their heart to what you have to say to them. It’s often easier to share a prophetic dream with someone else if they’re a relative, Christian brother, or someone else with who you already interact on a regular basis. Be sure that you only tell them what God has told you to say. Don’t add to it and don’t subtract from it.
If your prophecy concerns the nation, a group of individuals you don’t know, or other people with who you aren’t familiar, it can sometimes make you feel unsure of what you should do. There are times when the prophecy may not need to be shared directly with that group. In that case, it may be necessary for you to intercede in prayer on their behalf or seek support from an intercessory prayer group at your local church.
If God has told you that the prophecy will need to be shared with a stranger, there are several ways in which you might be told to do so. Always seek God on the method that is most effective.
For example, if a prophecy affects the nation, you may need to publish it in a national newspaper. If a prophecy affects a local politician you may be guided to write a letter, where you humbly relate the prophecy to them.
In several situations, you may find that you will need the support of others in your community in order to address the issues that God has revealed to you through prophecy. For example, some prophecies may give you insight into local legal issues or financial matters. In these cases, you may need to speak with Christian brothers and sisters who also have knowledge in these areas. They can help as you share God’s prophecy with the individuals it affects.
Focus On God
God has given spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church. If you realize that God has given you the gift of prophecy, whether through prophetic dreams or through visions, you should stay focused on God and His will. It’s always important to remember that the enemy is going around like a lion, seeking those he can devour. If your focus remains on God and on His will, you’ll be less likely to be caught up in a vain sense of importance because you can see what is happening in the future or gain insight that other people may not have. Ecclesiastes 5:7 warns that when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity but God is the One that we should fear.