Posted in theology

I dreamed a dream…was it from God? What does it mean?

By Elizabeth Prata

Dreamers! So many people have claimed to have had a dream… ‘O, it was so vivid … I have never dreamed like this before … it HAS to be from God … what does it MEAN?’ they say.

Have you heard a false teacher claiming a dream came to them from God? Has a friend said that? I have read that and heard people say that. With the weird dreams comes an attempt to interpret them. It’s natural to be curious about what goes on in our minds, especially when we are asleep.

Dreams and interpretation of dreams occurs often in scripture. Joseph in the Old Testament had dreams, Abimelech, Jacob dreamed of a ladder to heaven, Pharaoh, Solomon… Famously, Pharaoh’s dream was upsetting to him and he brought his dream interpreters to the throne room and asked them to interpret. They couldn’t.

Joseph told the cup bearer and the baker while he was in prison that interpretations belong to God. Joseph asserted God’s sole power to interpret dreams again when Pharaoh asked him for help, after Pharaoh’s own interpreters had failed.

Scientists aren’t even sure where dreams come from or how they are. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia article author of dreams articles, WG Clippinger, says,

The stimuli of dreams may be of two kinds. First, they may be physical and objective, or they may be due to suggestions and the association of ideas. They may be due to some physical disorder, such as imperfect digestion or circulation, improper ventilation or heating, or an uncomfortable position. Since by the very nature of the case dreams do not occur in a conscious state, the real cause cannot easily be discoverable and then only after the subject is entirely awakened through the effects of it. They may also be due to the association of ideas. Suggestion plays a large part. The vividness and recency of a conscious impression during the waking state may be thrown up from the subconscious region during the sleeping hours.

That paragraph alone gives lots of reasons why the origin of our dreams are suspect. You’re cold, uncomfortable, suggestible, digestion gone awry…

There are many people in the Bible who had legitimate dreams sent from the One True God. But that doesn’t mean that in today’s time, the dreams we have and that we’re sure came from God, actually are. They could just be that leftover pizza causing physiological disruption. You want to be careful not to attribute something to God when it’s just gas!

Did you know there is a name for pagan dream interpretation services? Those who claim ability to divine the ephemeral wisps of unconscious activity are called Oneiromancers. The practice of divining dreams is called Oneiromancy. (Oh-nigh-row-mancy). It is the practice of interpreting dreams in order to foretell the future. There were plenty of these guys roaming around Egypt when Joseph was in prison, and elsewhere too. Oneiromancy is a form of divination, and divination was forbidden by God. He said not to do it. (Leviticus 19:26). He calls it rebellion and sin. (1 Samuel 15:23).

In the Bible days people used to seek dreams on purpose. Some thought that if they slept in or on the graves of those who were dead the dead would speak to them in dreams. Really. I am not making this up. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia says-

"The other species of dreams consists of such as are induced by what is called “incubation,” i.e. by sleeping in a sacred place where the god of the place is believed to reveal his secrets to the sleeper. Herodotus (iv.172) says that the Nasamonians, an Egyp tribe, used to practise divination by sleeping in the graves of their ancestors. The dreams which then came to them were understood to be revelations of their deified ancestors". Source- The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, TW Davies.

Everything old is new again, we see people doing that today, believe it or not! It is called ‘grave sucking‘ today and false prophet Bill Johnson of Bethel started it.

Buddhists, Hindus and other religions practice oneiromancy today. In this study, the scientists concluded, “We observed that while Abrahamic monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) recognize dreams as a way to communicate with God to understand the present and predict the future, the traditional Indian religions (Buddhism and Hinduism) are more engaged in cultivating self-awareness…”

Buddhists and Hindus engage in “Yogic Sleep,” Transcendental Meditation, Lucid Dream practice and more in order to gain insight from ‘the other side’. Lest we think that stimulating a dream and subsequently interpreting it is relegated to other religions, dream interpretation services remain alive and well today in ‘Christian’ circles.

Just a quick scan on Amazon searching for “Christian Dream Interpretation” yields many results. These books in the screen shots below are written by ministers, or pastors, or people claiming connection to Christ, based on scripture they say, specifically for the Christian who may be curious about the dream they may have had and what it means. No. No. No.

Dream interpretation is sorcery, or divination. The Bible is strong on the magic arts. People who practice divination or sorcery won’t gain heaven. They will remain ‘outside’.

Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral persons, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. (Revelation 22:15).

Sisters, be careful what you do. These things are not innocent. Laying hands on a grave in order to force a dream, or buying a book from Amazon in order to interpret them, is rebellion and sin.

Yes we see dreams in the Bible as a form of communication from God to man, and yes we see the verse from Acts quoting the verse from Joel 2:28 “Your old men will have dreams, Your young men will see visions.” In the Old Testament days of the Law and in New Testament days of the church, many did dream. Those were legitimately sent by God as one way He communicated with people. But when the Bible was completed, revelatory dreams ceased, as did visions and foretelling prophecy. All we need to know is in the word of God. Dreams may revive in the Millennial kingdom, or even during the Tribulation, but they are not currently a mechanism God uses to directly communicate with us. He spoke through His son Jesus, and that word is contained in His Bible.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Watch out for charlatans who try to steal your blessing, swerve your walk, or otherwise try to convince you they have heard from God through dreams. Avoid those who try to teach you how to interpret your dreams for you. Reject that you can hear from God too in a dream and stop trying to purposely stimulate a dream (especially by laying on a grave!?), and don’t try to interpret them. As Joseph said, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God?‘ (Genesis 40:8; Genesis 41:16.)


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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