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Dreams in the Bible


"For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men and sealeth their instruction..." Book of Job, 33:14-16

In the Bible there are constant references to communication between man and God, between man and the angels, and between man and his higher self through the medium of dreams. The moral standards of the individual are exactly reflected in the clarity and degree of quality of his or her dreams.

Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob (favorite) had the ability not only to remember and interpret his own dreams, but to interpret those of others. In his first two dreams the symbols were associated with his work, because he was a seventeen shepherd boy then. He dreamed that he was in the cornfields working with his brothers when suddenly his sheaf rose and stood upright, and the sheaves of his brothers gathered around and bowed before it. The brothers, recognizing the symbol this implied, resented the arrogance of the dream; and even his father rebuked him when Joseph's second dream showed the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to him: "Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down to thee to the earth?" [Gen.37:5-10] The young Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers because of their jealousy, and some time later he rose to the position of overseer in the house of Potiphar. Then, having rejected the advances of potiphar's wife, he found himself in prison. While there he correctly interpreted two precognitive dreams for two fellow prisoners. One, a butler for the Pharaoh dreamed: [ A vine was before me; and in the vine were three branches; and it was though it budded, and blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes....and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup to Pharaoh.] Joseph's interpretation went as follows: "The growing vine....the butler will live......three branches - in three days. The cup in Pharaoh's hand - he would resume his duties as butler." The Pharaoh's baker however, dreamed: [I had three white baskets on my head: and in the uppermost basket there were all manner of bake meats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.] Joseph foretold of the baker's death within three days. After this had been heard by Pharaoh, following the accurate predictions/outcomes, Joseph was summoned to deal with the recurring dream he was experiencing. (see famous dreams).

Later in the Old Testament, a similar precognitive dream guided Gideon. As the Israelites were preparing to attack the Midianites, a soldier dreamed the following: [Behold, I dreamed a dream, and lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian and came unto a tent and smote it that it fell, and overturned it that the tent lay along.] (Judges 7:13-14) The loaf of barley represents Gideon, for he was a miller by trade, and (Judges 6:11) describes how this prophetic dream was fulfilled by Gideon's defeat of the Midianites.

The Bible also tells how King Nebuchadnezzar suffered a nightmare which he conveniently forgot upon waking. Distrusting his advisers, he sent forth an edict throughout the kingdom demanding that a true seer come forward to recall and interpret his dream. Daniel and his friends prayed earnestly to God to reveal the dream of the king. That night in a vision, Daniel saw the dream: [The king had dreamed of a great image made of various metals. The feet were made of iron and clay. A non-human hand took a stone and broke the statue into small pieces which the wind carried away. The stone became a mountain filling the whole world.] Daniel presented himself before the king and warned him that the stone which filled the whole earth represented God's law, and, thus, his arrogance and paganism could cost him his kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar's defiance of these laws was the image so easily scattered by the wind. The king refused to mend the error of his ways until one day, as he was walking on the roof of his palace at Babylon, he heard a voice say: "O king Nebuchadnezzar.....the kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the fields." [Dan. 4:31] This prophecy was fulfilled when madness visited the king, and not until he had duly repented and his kingdom was restored to him.

Solomon's dreams are of another character. God invited him to select his own reward for his faithful service. Solomon, disregarding riches and power, asked only for wisdom to rule his people. As a result of the nobility of his choice, he was also awarded wealth and power.

Five dreams of guidance for the holy family are found in Matthew. The first one explains to Joseph the pregnancy of Mary: ".....the angel of the lord appeared unto him in a dream saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary for thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she will bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." [Matt. 1:20-21] Joseph was also warned that Herod planned to kill the child Jesus and was told to flee with him to Egypt. [Matt.2:13] After the death of Herod an angel appeared again in a dream and said to Joseph: "Arise, and take the young child and his mother and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. [Matt.2:20]

But, nowhere is the universality of dreams more apparent than when Pilate's wife, a foreigner in the land, was warned in a dream that her husband must prevent the persecution of Jesus. She said to Pilate: "Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him" [Matt. 27:19]
Recommendation As previously noted, most dreams are of a self realization or selfish/personal meaning. However, if you feel it is prophetic, I strongly recommend you seek the Divine through prayer and/or meditation for true interpretation of the dream! I also find that reading the Bible after such an event creates astonishing revelations.



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