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Dreams, Visions and Sleep Page 2

Old and New Testament Dreams

by Rev. Fredrerick L. Schnarr

Jacob and the Ladder: "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not." (Gen. 28: 12-16)

Joseph's dream of his brother's sheaves bowing down to his sheaf. (Gen. 37: 5-8)

Joseph's dream of the sun, moon, and stars bowing down to him. (Gen. 37: 9-10) The dreams of Pharaoh's butler and baker. (Gen. 40) Pharaoh's dreams of seven fat cows being eaten by seven lean cows, and seven good ears of grain being eaten by seven lean ears. (Gen. 41)

Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a great tree that was hewn down. (Dan. 4)

Joseph is told of Mary conceiving from the Holy Spirit in a dream. (Matt. 1: 20)

The Wise men are warned in a dream not to return to Herod. (Matt. 2: 12)

Many other examples could be found of the use of representative-prophetic dreams in the Word. From the Writings we can see that such dreams also contain within them a great storehouse of Divine instruction which is to serve mankind forever. Naturally the dreamers of such dreams had no idea of the Divine content of their dreams and interpretations other than the immediate natural concerns involved; such as that Nebuchadnezzar would for a time lose his kingdom, and so on. Little did he realize that through this dream the Lord not only foretold events of the Last judgment, but also revealed details concerning the vastation and judgment of every individual.

Many perversions concerning the use and interpretation of representative-prophetic dreams sprang up all over the world of the Ancient Church, and continued throughout the ages. Only in the last few centuries indeed, have many of the perversions ceased or taken new forms. It was common knowledge with the ancients that there were Divine representative-prophetic dreams, and the man who received such dreams became known as a prophet, a seer, or a dreamer of dreams. How easy it was for those in the lust of power, dominion, reputation, fame, self-glory, and other such evils to set themselves up as prophets and dreamers of Divine things as a means of seeking their evil ambitions. And as the knowledge of the Lord and heaven were lost or destroyed, who could tell when the prophet spoke from God or from self. And so in the ancient world, soothsayers, diviners, oracles, magicians, sorcerers, astrologers, priests of every god and goddess, filled the centers of learning and culture. They were respected and feared, even though many of them were caught from time to time in open lies and evil works. Even the prophets and dreamers of the Jewish Church, through whom the Lord was trying to keep alive the knowledge of Jehovah and His Divine laws, often abused and falsified their revelations from the Divine. Here indeed was a strange state, for the Writings tell us that part of their message, the prophecy or prediction, was actually from the Divine, but that the prophet would then apply it in such a way as to persuade the people to do some evil, such as to worship another god. (AC 3698) Even in the days of Moses, before the era of the great prophets, the Lord warned the people of the possibility of such a state existing with the prophets where they could speak both from the Lord and from self." If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams; for Jehovah your God trieth you." (Deut. 13:1-3)

As the state of the Church degenerated towards its last perversion and decay, the Divine warnings concerning prophets and dreamers became more and more frequent, and the message stood forth clearly. In the days of the captivity in Babylon, the Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah: "Both, prophet and priest are profane; yea, in My house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord ... I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing; they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evil-doers, that none doth return his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah . . .
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