He dreamt that there before him was a ladder resting on the ground with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of Adonai were going up and down on it. Then suddenly Yahvehwas standing there next to him; and he said, “I am Yahveh, the God of Avraham your [grand]father and the God of Yitz’chak. (Genesis 28:12,13)
And Jacob’s dream sets the stage for this devotion. It was this dream which gave Jacob the courage and the hope to carry on his journey to Haran.
Jacob wasn’t the only one to dream. We read of Joel’s night activity, in Joel 2:18 – After this, I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Joel 2:28
Are we in this age, now? Has His Spirit been poured out on all humanity? More and more I am told and I read of dreams being received and of visions being encountered. As Joel shares with us, and as this is also witnessed in Acts 2, we can safely conclude we are in the “end days.”
But what do we do with the dreams we received? Not long ago, I experienced a most unusual dream. In the dream, I was flying, not in an airplane but actually flying, myself, above the earth. The emotions I was experiencing were a mix of freedom and excitement, as I soared through and above the clouds, over hills and valleys and along streams and rivers. Then, over a large expanse of water, I suddenly lost the ability to fly and I plunged into cold blackness. I was so distraught at this moment, I woke up. It took me a while to shake the feelings the dream left in me, before I could begin to understand what the dream meant.
This was just an example . I am sure there are many of us who have experienced dreams that have encouraged us, those which have frightened us and those who have given us hope. But how do we determine their meanings?
Almost every interpreter of dreams will tell us dreams are the brain’s way of dealing with the events in our lives. Scripture recognizes this reality, as we read in Ecclesiastes 5:3 – “A dream comes when there are many cares.” For example, flying represents a level of freedom not experienced during our waking hours, whereas dropping into the sea is reliving the anxiety which we have experienced and washing it from us.
As we know, from reading Scripture, dreams can be deceptive. For example, in Jeremiah 23:25, we find – “I have heard what these prophets prophesying lies in my name are saying: I’ve had a dream! I’ve had a dream!” And, then in Isaiah 29:8 we read – “It will be like a hungry man dreaming he’s eating; but when he wakes up, his stomach is empty.”
Sometimes Yahveh speaks to us with a clear message, as we notice in Matthew 1:20 – “an angel of Adonai appeared to him in a dream and said, “Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miryam home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Ruach HaKadosh.” However, most spiritual dreams are not literal; that is, they are symbolic and often cryptic in nature. For example, in our dreams we may focus on particular people from our past. Rather than bring about these individuals, these dreams are likely focused on specific types of sins, represented by these people. The dream may be telling us we need to deal with these sins, during our waking hours.
As a caution, though, we, believers, are warned by the Apostles to seek Yahveh’s Word to us from His Holy Word and sound biblical teaching, as we read in 2 Timothy 3:15 – “and recalling too how from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which can give you the wisdom that leads to deliverance through trusting in Yeshua the Messiah” – and in 2 Peter 1:20,21 – “no prophecy of Scripture is to be interpreted by an individual on his own; for never has a prophecy come as a result of human willing — on the contrary, people moved by the Ruach HaKadosh spoke a message from God.”
Having said that, is sleeping not a good time for Yahveh, through His Holy Spirit, to speak with us? For during our sleep, when we are quiet, our barriers are down and we are vulnerable, open to His teaching.
It may be a mistake to believe there are universal meanings for our unique dreams. Yes, our dreams are often unique and designed specifically for us. For example, if I have been raised in a home that loved dogs and cared for them, my dream about dogs may be about safety and divine love. In contrast, if I am afraid of dogs, for any reason, my dream may be warning me of a coming danger I may face. Again, each spiritual dream is unique and will require time to unpack its message and its meaning for us. It may also be wise to consult someone, who has a background in understanding these distinct dreams, rather than engaging our own interpretations.
May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.