*DREAMS AND VISIONS*
–God used dreams and visions several times in the Bible to communicate with people. Visions seem to have been common enough that their lack was seen as a tragedy: an absence of visions was due at times to a death of prophets (1Sam3:1) and other times due to the disobedience of God’s people (1Sam.28:6).
–Vision means to see spiritual realities while awake (Acts7:55), dreams while sleeping.
–In the Old Testament the word ‘DREAM’ (‘chalom’/’chelem’, Hebrew) is used about 70 times;
–In the New Testament the word ‘DREAM’ (‘onar’, Greek) is used only 7 times: Mat1:20,2:12,13,19,22, 27:19, Acts2:17
–In the Old Testament the word ‘VISION’ (‘machazeh’/’marah’/’chazon’, Hebrew) means also ‘a mirror’ and is used over 80 times;
–In the New Testament the word ‘VISION’ (‘optasia’/’horama’, Greek) means also ‘an apparition, a sight’ is used only 15 times: Mat17:9, Lk1:22, 24:23, Acts2:17, 9:10,12, 10:3,17,19, 11:5, 12:9, 16:9,10, 18:9, 26:19, 2Cor12:1 Rev9:17.
*OLD TESTAMENT DREAMS AND VISIONS*
God used visions and dreams in the Old Testament to reveal His plan, to further His plan, and to put His people in places of influence.
-Abraham (Gen15:1): God used a vision to restate the Abrahamic Covenant, reminding Abram that he would have a son and be the father of many nations
-Pharaoh’s cup bearer and baker Gen.40
-The Midianite and Amalekite armies Jud.7:12-15
-Daniel Dan.2; 4;…and others.
*NEW TESTAMENT DREAMS AND VISIONS*
God used visions and dreams to identify Jesus and to establish His church.
-Joseph Matt.1:20; 2:13
-Pilate’s wife Matt.27:19
-Cornelius Acts10:1-6: had a vision that drew him to salvation; there are Muslims that came to faith through a vision of Jesus, but when became Christians visions stopped and they attached themselves to the Bible
-Peter Acts 10:9-15: The vision served to show that Christians are not bound by kosher law and that God had pronounced foods clean, and also Gentiles “clean” to approach God freely, until then Gentiles could come to the Temple to a special area separated from Jews. Peter did not have many visions and did not encourage us to chase visions
-Paul had several visions in his missionary career. One sent him to preach in Macedonia (Acts16:9-10). Another encouraged him to keep preaching in Corinth (Acts18:9-11). God also gave him a vision of heaven (2Cor.12:1-6). Paul did not have many visions and did not encourage us to chase visions
-John – Nearly the entire book of Revelation is a vision John had while exiled on the island of Patmos. John’s vision explains in more detail some of the events that God had shown Daniel. Nobody can claim today, ”God gave me a vision about the future to add to the Bible” or they contradict Rev22:18 where God forbids anyone to add to the words of His book. If God would give someone a vision about the future, it would only be a similar vision as the ones in the Bible but not a complementary one.
Many times today people have demonic vision of the type that the witch in 1Sam28 had, or as the girl in Acts16:16 had visions from a spirit of divination (‘python’ in Greek), sadly churches today place such people as ”visionaries” of their churches or even pastors.
–It is *INTERESTING TO OBSERVE THAT THESE WORDS, ‘DREAMS AND VISIONS’ ARE BELONGING MOSTLY TO THE OLD TESTAMENT PERIOD* (the Gospels were under the function of the law, therefore Old Testament period, until the crucifixion Col2:14, Gal3:23-26)
–in the Book of Acts we have many dreams and visions, Acts being a transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament; we don’t see many mentions of dreams or visions in the epistles of Paul, Peter, James, John, except for the Book of Revelation which is filled with revelations or visions about the future.
*TODAY’S DREAMS AND VISIONS*
With the completion of the Bible, God does not have to use dreams and visions as much as He did before. That is not to say that He cannot or does not; God can communicate with us however He chooses. But when we have a decision to make, our first stop should always be the Bible, not a dream. Why would God speak to someone in a dream or a vision if he/she refuses to hear the voice of God in the Word of God? Read Ps50:17, 2Tim3:16,17
In areas where there is little or no gospel message available, and where people do not have Bibles because of persecution, God is taking His salvation message to people directly through dreams and visions. If God desires to communicate His message to a person, He can use whatever means He finds necessary—a missionary, an angel, a vision, or a dream. Of course, God also has the ability to give visions in areas where the gospel message is already readily available. But many Christians today rely on dreams and visions and not on the Bible.
Today God speaks usually through the Bible and rarely He speaks through dreams and visions, but many Christians act as if God speaks usually through dreams and visions and rarely through the Bible. Jesus said, *”IT IS WRITTEN”* in Luke4:4,8,12 and Mat4:4,7,10, He did not say, ”I had a dream”, also Mat19:4 ”HAVE YOU NOT READ THE SCRIPTURES?” Mat22:29 ”YOU ERR BECAUSE YOU DO NOT KNOW THE SCRIPTURES”
At the same time, we must be careful when it comes to visions and the interpretation of visions. We must keep in mind that *THE BIBLE IS FINISHED*, and it tells us everything we need to know. The key truth is that if God were to give a vision, it would agree with what He has already revealed in His Word.
*VISIONS SHOULD NEVER BE GIVEN EQUAL OR GREATER AUTHORITY THAN THE WORD OF GOD.* God’s Word is our ultimate authority for Christian faith and practice. If you believe you have had a vision and feel that perhaps God gave it to you, prayerfully examine the Word of God and make sure your vision is in agreement with Scripture.
-2Tim3:16,17 shows that God has revealed His will to us primarily through His Word. It says, “All Scripture (does not say ”all dreams and visions”) is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
-Scientists say we all dream every night but not all of us remember our dreams every time; certain circumstances might help you remember dreams: tiredness, stress, alcohol, some medication, pregnancy and other conditions. Our minds and even Satan are capable of producing great deception in such a subjective area.
-Eccl5:3 ”For A DREAM COMETH THROUGH THE MULTITUDE OF BUSINESS”. Your thinking and daily activities are influencing your dreams. If you watch pornography, you will dream pornography. If you meditate all day on money, you will dream money. If you don’t live in the Word and in fellowship with Jesus under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, you will dream what you fear most: many Africans fear snakes so they dream snakes, others fear death which fear is promoted by Satan Heb.2:14-15 so they dream death.
-Eccl5:7 ”For in the MULTITUDE OF DREAMS and many words there are also DIVERS VANITIES: BUT FEAR THOU GOD”. Chasing dreams and knowledge that puffs up 1Cor8:1 are vanity: we should have reverence towards God and look not for what He can give to us (visions) but desire the Giver.
-Deut13:1-3: God warns that HE WILL TEST HIS PEOPLE: dreamers of dreams whose prophecied signs will come true but who teach wrong doctrines; our test for these dreamers should be the WORD OF GOD, not their fulfilled prophecies. Sadly today churches honor such false prophets whose signs come true but teach heresies: these churches fail God’s test.
–Heb1:1,2: ”God, who at different times and IN DIVERS MANNERS” (dreams and visions included in ‘divers manners’) ”spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, HAS IN THESE LAST DAYS SPOKEN UNTO US BY HIS SON…” If God spoke to us through Jesus whose words are recorded in the Bible, why would you go back to Old Testament manner of dreams and visions? The prophets who had dreams and visions had desired to have what we have today: THE BIBLE, they would have exchanged the dreams and visions for the full revelation of the Bible we have today, see Mat.13:17 and 1Pet.1:10,11
-Joel2:28 ”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”
This prophecy made to Israel was only partially fulfilled: ”pour out My Spirit upon all flesh” or ‘upon every person’, will happen when all Israel will turn to God and be saved see Rom11:25-26
Not every Christian in the Book of Acts had dreams and visions in a literal way, but rather in a spiritual way; here are verses that prove that every Christian can have a spiritual dream or vision through the Bible:
-Eph1:17,18 Paul prays that the Ephesians would have A SPIRIT OF REVELATION (‘apokalupsis’ or vision, Greek) in knowledge of HIM and eyes of UNDERSTANDING (‘epignosis’, Greek, means personal knowledge not just information) opened; notice ”in knowledge of Him”, not in knowledge of future events or knowledge of secret things about your neighbor through visions; the Spirit of Christ does not satisfy curiosity but glorifies Christ Jn.16:14;
-Prov29:18: ”Where there is NO VISION (revelation), the people perish: but he that KEEPS THE LAW (‘TORAH’, Hebrew), happy is he.” Torah means the 5 books of Moses see Jn8:18, also by extension all the Word of God; if there is no revelation from the Word of God people perish (‘perish’ or run wild, loose with no restraint).
-Rom16:25 REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY; the mystery is Christ, see Col1:27,Eph3:4.
-Heb12:2 fix your eyes on Jesus.