Do Not Ignore Dreams: God May Be Giving You A Warning
Cynthia J. Jimenez-Ramos, D.Min.
“For God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it. In a dream, a vision in the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber on their beds, He uncovers their ears at that time and terrifies them with warnings…” (Job 33:14-16)
The subject of dreams stirs up controversy in many Christian denominations. Does God speak through dreams? Does God still speak through dreams? Is having dreams from God covered under the doctrine of Cessationism? These questions will be answered differently by different people. Those who adhere to Cessationism will say that supernatural guidance ceased with the completion of the Canon of Scripture. Those who adhere to the doctrine of Continuationism will assert that the same Holy Spirit that spoke to the prophets and the apostles is still working in our midst, talking to us, and guiding us in supernatural ways.
Something that some Continuationists get wrong is that they think that each and every dream is something that came from God. And this is not true. Our minds can play all kind of tricks to us, especially our subconscious mind during our sleep. I have seen many claiming that God spoke to them through dreams to later find out that God never spoke. Then, how do we know when a dream is from God? The answer to that question is in the Bible and the first thing we must acknowledge is that a dream from God is a message from God, it is a direct form of communication that God employs to give us a message. The verse from Job above equates a dream with God speaking. This will give us the guidelines to evaluate whether a message is from God or not. Let us examine the Bible:
1. God’s dreams come to pass. Deuteronomy 18: 21-22 says:
“You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously.”
The measure to know whether God spoke or not is simple: completion. When a message comes from God it will come true, it will be fulfilled. I have an example of this in my life. A few years ago I was in the process of getting to know someone. This person presented to me as a very devout, godly, God-fearing Christian. A few weeks after meeting this person and seeing this person cry and lift up hands in worship and prayer at Church I had a rather disturbing dream.
It was a simple dream: I was seeing the person standing at a considerable distance by himself. At first it was nothing special, but suddenly I start seeing big, black rats coming out of his clothes, from under his pants and shirt…it was like he had all those rats hiding underneath his clothes. Not to say I woke up totally disgusted and wondering why I had such a strange dream. I did not think it was from God…actually, I even thought it was a trick from the devil! How could I have such a dream when this person was such an amazing Christian?
God knows best, and he can see what we can’t with our natural eyes. After some time I discovered that this person had a terrible double life, a life that was very far from the God this person claimed to serve and love with his whole heart. That dream came to pass. I eventually got to know what was inside, what was hidden, and there is no better symbol than rats to illustrate all the things I discovered. And this, leads me to the second way to know whether a dream comes from God or not.
2. God’s dreams tend to be extremely symbolic. Joseph’s story is the best example for this.
Then Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the field. Suddenly my sheaf stood up, and your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” “Are you really going to reign over us?” his brothers asked him. “Are you really going to rule us?” So they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream and told it to his brothers. “Look,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun, moon, and 11 stars were bowing down to me.” He told his father and brothers, but his father rebuked him. “What kind of dream is this that you have had?” he said. “Are your mother and brothers and I going to come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
God’s dreams usually require interpretation. In Joseph’s dreams, God used sheaves of grain and celestial bodies to exemplify what was going to happen. Understanding these dreams require open hearts and minds that are connected with God. This is why, later on we see God giving Pharaoh symbolic dreams and the only one who could understand those dreams was Joseph (see Genesis 40).
In my dream, I saw black rats coming out a friend’s clothes. A quick search over the internet will tell us that rats are known for spreading disease, are famous for destroying everything they find, like to surround themselves with their own feces, surround themselves with dirt, eat whatever they can find no matter how rotten it is, and are extremely secretive. Associating a person with all of these things could not be more symbolic.
Not only these facts about the animal are symbolic, searching the term “rat” on a dictionary gives a lot of valuable information as well. According to The Free Dictionary, a rat is: a despicable person, one who betrays those around him, a person who deserts his friends in times of trouble, a deceiver, a treacherous person, a person who breaks promises, an untrustworthy person. God was indeed warning me through the symbol of the rat what was really behind the facade. And this leads me to the next point.
“For God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it. In a dream, a vision in the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber on their beds, He uncovers their ears at that time and terrifies them with warnings…”
God’s dreams are not always pleasant. As the loving Father He is, God will tell His children when they are approaching impeding danger. For example, God sent an angel to warn Joseph about Herod’s intention of killing Jesus. Matthew 2:13 says:
“After they were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him.”
Prophet Daniel and his dream of the four beasts recorded in Daniel 7 is another clear example of how God warns his people about what is to come…and these warnings are not pleasant. Daniel 7:15 records the prophet’s reaction to God’s dream, he said:
“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was deeply distressed within me, and the visions in my mind terrified me.”
This is how I felt when I had the dream I am talking about in this article. I was deeply distressed and disgusted by the vision of dozens of rats jumping out of my friend’s clothes. But because I bought the lie that God’s dreams are always pleasant and make you feel good, I ignored it. And I deeply regret ignoring such an important and evident message I was receiving from above. Measuring the message by how good it makes you feel is a dangerous trap that Satan has set for us in these last days. Let us be aware, God warns, and sometimes these warnings are terrifying.
To be continued…