In the Old Testament, God often communicated through dreams and visions of the night. But dreams did not end in the Old Testament as they are still valid vehicles of divine messages. In fact, the Bible in Job 33:14-15 says that God speaks to us in dreams and visions when we fall asleep. However, not all dreams are from God because the kingdom of darkness can also communicate in dreams. So, how do we know if a dream is from God?
The best way to know if a dream is from God is to pray, read the Bible, and seek counsel from mature Christians, pastors, and other church leaders. Our desires can confuse us, making it hard to distinguish between a regular dream and one from God. As such, getting immersed in God’s word as well as seeking counsel can help clarify things.
How To Know If a Dream Is From God
Examine Your Life
If you have recently been engaging in activities displeasing to God, He may choose to speak to you in a dream to prompt you to change your ways (Job 33:17-18). God may also use dreams to warn you about a future event, show something important in your life, or convey a certain message.
God also uses dreams to direct his people. For instance, when Abimelech, king of Gerar, took Sarah, God came to him in a dream at night to warn him she was Abraham’s wife (Genesis 20:2-3). In the dream, God even advised the king to return Abraham’s wife and then asked that Abraham pray for him. In other words, dreams can be instruments of divine warning and direction.
Examining your life when experiencing bad dreams can be a way to gain insight into spiritual well-being and address any underlying issues. That way, you can discern whether the dream is indeed from God.
Consult the Bible
It’s easy to want to discern whether a dream is from God and what it means. After all, the Bible says in Acts 2:17 that in the last days, people will dream, see visions, and prophesy.
However, the Bible warns us about placing too much hope in dreams (Ecclesiastes 5:7). Instead, you should test everything said about that dream against Scripture. That’s because God-given dreams come with interpretation, which can be found in the Bible.
The Bible has revealed everything we need to know from now until eternity concerning our lives and what God might be saying. So examine the Word of God in the Old and New Testaments and ensure your dream agrees with Scripture.
If it’s a dream from God, what you saw or heard will agree with what He has already revealed in His Word. In addition, your dreams should never usurp the authority of biblical text because it’s God’s word. Let the Bible be your guidebook to understanding and interpreting the dream.
Praying is another effective way to determine if you’re having regular dreams or if it’s a message from God. Use prayer to take your request to God (Philippians 4:5-7), and He will grant wisdom to those who seek it from Him (James 1:5)
Pray that God makes the meaning of the dream clear and that you don’t lean on your understanding or interpretation (Proverbs 3:5-6). Like the Psalmist who penned Psalm 5:3, lay your request to the Lord and wait eagerly for God’s answer.
Talk To an Anointed Church Leader Or a Spiritual Advisor
It’s important to understand that not every dream comes from God. Modern scholars believe dreams are associated with thoughts and the day’s events. Sometimes, dreams are from normal brain activity and mean very little.
Ecclesiastes 5:3 also points out that some dreams might not mean much: “For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.” In addition, it’s important to remember that God speaking to people through dreams was not a usual occurrence; It was done to specific individuals to fulfill God’s purpose.
Besides, dream interpretation is a rare ability given only by God. In Daniel 2:2, we are told that King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, but none of the men considered powerful in his kingdom could interpret the dream. Only those with extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and insight can interpret dreams (Daniel 5:12). God also says in Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. To search out a matter is the glory of kings.”
So, if your dreams are from God, you’ll need help from someone gifted by His Holy Spirit to understand and interpret them. The experiences of Joseph, Daniel, Pharaoh, and many others in the Bible show we should respond to dreams with faith and that seeking divine interpretation and guidance is also okay.
Determine Whether the Dream Is Repetitive
Pharaoh’s dream was repeated two times but had the same theme. A dream that’s recurring points to God getting your attention on something. Scripture says, “As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen (Genesis 41:32).
Asking why you’re having the same dreams over and over is the first step in understanding whether the dream is from God and what he is trying to tell you.
Know the Signs Satan Might Use
Some dreams may be false messages from the devil, who loves to tempt, test, and interfere in human affairs (1 Peter 5:8). Various examples in the Bible demonstrate the existence of a spiritual realm. For example, when the King of Aram sent an army to capture Elisha, the Lord opened the eyes of Ghezia to see God’s army. His spiritual eyes were opened to see into the spiritual warfare around him.
1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” John calls on believers to be alert to the danger of spiritual deception, which is ever-present. One way to be alert is to put on the armor of God and ask Him to make it clear whether the dream is indeed from Him.
If you want to know if your dream is from God, it’s best to pray. Reading the Bible will also help you determine if the dream is from God, as it contains everything we need to know. You might also want to consult a spiritual advisor who can discern if the dream is from God and interpret or reveal its true meaning through divine inspiration. Just ensure that the message you receive aligns with Scripture.