“It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.
[Joel 2:28 ;NASB]
This morning, after reviewing a dream I had over a year ago, I felt it would be good to write a bit about the validity, or not, of dreams and visions. I think the body of Christ is having dreams and visions, and according to Joel 2:28, I believe having them is completely scriptural. God apparently spoke to Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus, exclusively in dreams. In the Book of Acts, Peter the apostle had a vision before he preached to the household of the Gentile, Cornelius. God has a long history of speaking to His people through dreams and visions, and that includes us.
However, many of the teachings I’ve heard concerning this particular verse have been extremely short-sighted and one-dimensional. Before teaching the scriptures, it might be beneficial to learn how to read them…. Notice this verse does not say old men will not see visions, nor does it say young men will not dream dreams, but that’s often the way it’s taught, as if one is disqualified by age to have one or the other! Believe me, you don’t have to be gumming steaks to have God-given dreams!
Notice also that this verse is addressed to ‘all mankind’, not just the Jews of Joel’s day. And so, this passage obviously applies to today’s believers, old and young alike, men and women, Jews and Gentiles, who as Spirit-filled believers are fully eligible to receive them. That said, I would like to interject some healthy caution.
First, not all dreams and visions are from God, and all must be tested against the known Word of God, just like prophecy. Many actually are the products of bad pizza, etc., and some are definitely from Satan himself (I’m not kidding about the pizza!). Apparently, we are more mentally and spiritually vulnerable when we sleep, and this is known in the heavenlies. How many of us have had those dreams we can’t quite awake from, and are tormented as we struggle to regain our consciousness? Those are not from God, but the name of “Jesus”, mumbled out loud or uttered in our sleep, will always prove ultimately sufficient for release. We may have to say it more than once, but the name of Jesus is always sufficient if uttered by one of His own.
Secondly however, many dreams and visions are from the Holy Spirit, as our minds lie open to Him in sleep, or in some instances, while we pray. It is critical that we allow for these possibilities, or we may miss His gentle ministry. Most of the time, in my limited experience, dreams are not necessarily immediately revealed, and if I feel they are important, I write them down somewhere and expectantly ask God for the interpretation. If God gives us the dream, it is up to God to provide the interpretation.
I admit that I am cautiously skeptical of those in the Body of Christ who proclaim they are “gifted” to interpret the dreams of others, and although I don’t totally discount them, it is always healthy to await divine confirmation before signing off on the deed.
The visions I’ve had, which I would describe as divinely inspired daydreams, are most often given to me for more immediate events. I’ve prayed for people who were bound up by infirmity, and I’ve been given visions of the demons clutching them. Be open to Holy Spirit inspired visions. They may be very gentle, and just seem like human imagination, but don’t discount them as products of your wandering mind. And if you have no name given to what is shown, address the demon by how it looked in your mind. (All you have to lose is your pride).
For instance, as a new Christian, I once was plagued for months by an overwhelming terror that would attack me at night. I lay awake in bed praying against it in vain until one night, for some reason, I asked God what this particular fear looked like. Immediately I pictured in my mind a very tall, shaggy figure in brown fur, very similar to the publicized drawings of the Abominable Snowman. Sounds crazy I know, but out loud, and with vigor and in Jesus name, I commanded the “brown and shaggy fear” to get out. It felt a bit odd praying that way, but I have to say, the fear immediately left, and has never been back.
A pastor’s wife I once knew, had had chronic spinal issues for over thirty years. No amount of healing prayer had ever succeeded in setting her free. One night, while a group of us were praying for her, including her husband, I vividly saw in my mind a four inch thick, gray snake, like a python, wrapped around her spine, from her waist up to her head, with the snake’s head by her right shoulder. I didn’t ask to be shown the vision, and I had already seen it before I realized it might be a vision from God. It just quietly popped into my mind while I prayed. I told her pastor husband what I had seen, but apparently the information fell on deaf ears, and to my knowledge, she was never set free. As confirmation, it should be noted that I was not the only one who pictured a snake with regard to her suffering. Two words of advice from Derek Prince come to mind with regard to issues that seem resistant to prayer:
* “It is important to have the right enemies.”, and
* “You will never be delivered from your friends.”
I realize that many reading this may think it’s a bit outside the lines, but as a wise
man once said, “All you know is all you know, but all you know is not all there is.”
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