for those who lived out the history of the Bible, dreams gave insight and showed things that were to come. Joel 2:28 (KJV, Tyndale 1987) stated, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” Peter used this passage on the day of Pentecost, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” (Acts 2:17). i will give you a couple of examples of dreams and visions from the scriptures and even share a recent dream that I had and am waiting for an interpretation.
perhaps the most famous person we study for dreams is Joseph, with six dreams mentioned in total. “Six dreams, conveyed in three pairs, propel the story of Joseph [and his] rise from being the favored—and thus despised—son of Jacob to being the “discerning and wise” man appointed to manage Egypt during its 14 years of feast and famine (Gen 41:33). Joseph has two dreams (Gen 37), two of his fellow prisoners in Egypt each have a dream (Gen 40), and Pharaoh has a pair of dreams (Gen 41). The first pair sets the narrative in motion and points ahead to its destination, while the second and third pairs are catalysts for Joseph’s ascension.” (Wendy Widder, What are the 6 Dreams in the Story of Joseph? Logos blog, Theology, https://blog.logos.com/what-are-the-6-dreams-in-the-story-of-joseph/, July 22, 2020) each of these dreams conveyed a story of what was to come. the first two dreams did not need an interpreter, in my opinion, due to the specific number of sheaves and stars. as the other dreams slowly happened, the resulting circumstances elevated Joseph to a position where we can see his first two dreams become a reality.
the Book of Daniel also tells of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 2. not only did Daniel have to interpret this dream, but he also had to repeat what the dream was in the first place. how would anyone be able to tell you what you have dreamed about and what it all meant? Joseph and Daniel relied on God and gave credit to the Lord. if we fail to give thanksgiving to the Lord for what he accomplishes in our life, we may take the credit for God’s achievement (Josh Herring, paraphrase, FPC, firstpent.org, Nov 14, 2021). Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was of the image made from various materials, but Daniel also had a prophetic dream about four great beasts and kingdoms that would one day come into power (Daniel 7). he also referenced a vision in chapter 8 and an angelic visitation with visions of things to come in the last days.
Peter, who we had mentioned earlier, had a vision of his own. the accounts of Acts 10 show us how the Lord prepared Peter to share the gospel with the gentiles or non-Jewish people. Jesus first offered salvation to the Jews as the heirs of Abraham. in Acts 13:46, it says, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” this type of thinking was challenging to comprehend for early Jewish Christians who had also lived under the law. they did not associate with Gentiles, possibly due to them not following cleansing rituals. when Peter’s vision was over, and he made the trip to Cornelius’ house, the events had convinced him that salvation was available to the Gentiles also because God had called them “cleansed”. it is interesting that God showed Peter this vision and spoke three times before it was over. i compare this to John 21 when Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him, Peter affirms, and Jesus says, “Feed my lambs/sheep.” it appears as though Peter may have had to hear it a few times before it clicked. i can relate!
i have recently had a dream that I believe was from the Lord. i woke up after and recorded it to research the words/language and ask trusted sources for a possible interpretation. my dream is as follows: i was at church, making my way through a large crowd to find a seat. when i arrived at a row of chairs and turned to go in, everything became as it was in slow motion, and there were maybe five people scattered throughout the sanctuary. i looked around and asked, “what is going on, Lord?” a bright light shined from the front of the auditorium near the ceiling. from a quick look at an aerial photo, this would be the South or Southwest, and it looked like the sun was peeking through the corner of the roof into the building. i heard a voice say, “when the sun sets on my target factory.” this statement made absolutely no sense, so i asked to ensure that i had understood the spoken words, there was no response. i woke up, asked God for the meaning of this dream, and wrote it down so i would not forget.
this example is not my first dream from the Lord. i have had three or four in my almost 27 years of living for God. each time i pass it along to find a possible understanding or a revelation that would help someone out. one time, i had two dreams on the same night. i relayed those dreams to my Pastor for interpretation, and he said he would reference a book on types of dreams and symbolism and try to decipher meaning. if anything of note comes back from my current sources, i will let readers know in the comments.
am i comparing myself to Joseph or Daniel? not at all. my intention for this paper is to ignite something within the dreamers. God has poured out His Spirit; where are the dreamers? where are the sons and daughters with a prophetic word for this generation? in this day, we need people with a vision for where there is no vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). so dream, and do not be afraid to seek out an interpretation. your dream may unlock a mystery or a revelation into a need for this time.