Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
Are Dreams And Visions For Today
by Tony Warren
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:"
ne of many queries often made by Christians concerns Joel's future prophecy of a coming time when God's Spirit would be poured out on all flesh and His people would dream dreams and see visions. Is God still bringing a divine revalations directly to His people today through their dreams and visions, and is it confirmed in the book of Joel that dreams and visions are to be a continuing part of the Spirit-filled Christian experience? Simply put, "Does God still use dreams and visions to communicate His word to His people?" Dreams and visions in the bible were used of God for the very specific reason of "divine revelation" in an time when the scriptures were not yet completed. They weren't examples to teach us that God would continue this action anymore than the phenomenon of the apostle Peter walking on water (Matthew 14:29), or raising a man from the dead (Acts 9:40), or miraculously healing (Acts 3:6), or Paul casting out demons (Acts 16:18), would continue in the church after the completed canon. These things weren't divinely inspired by God to demonstrate to His people that they would continue to do them, and neither were divine revelations by dreams or visions. They were all done as a sign, a token of His miraculous power pointing to a deeper spiritual meaning. They were not a notation of any continuing supernatural divine revalatory power of the church. When we examine the Bible carefully, we can plainly see that dreams and visions were revelatory with God speaking directly to mankind to in order to establish His holy word and record it as prophetic. So then, should we today reasonably expect God to speak His word to us this way after the fully equipped written word has been completed? I believe that the answer is no. All the signs and divine experiences that frequently occured and are recorded in scripture pointed to the kingdom and have been fulfilled in Christ. No Christian should sensibly expect them to continue in the congregation of God after the Bible was completed. Unfortunately, many modern-day professing Christians have made a mockery of this prophecy of Joel by assigning to it their own vivid imaginations, subconscious thoughts, forecastings, life choices, and even that God was pointing them to lottery numbers. The fact is, regular dreaming is common to everyone and so it should not be looked upon as a new divine Biblical directive, additional revelations from God, or system of sacred communicatory delivery. Biblical dreans and visions were miraculous occurances where God would personally interact with certain people so that these interactions were recorded to became God's written word. It was not a interaction that wasn't a canonical revelation of God's word. Frivolous personal predictions and indulgences were never their purpose. Dreams were literally night visions from God, a signification of a new divine revelation (Matthew 2:22). God would use dreams and visions to reveal His word to people. Indeed the very book of Revelation is revealed to John through miraculous visions depicting imagery, symbols and tokens representing some aspect of the kingdom of God. Likewise in Joel's writing, the first thing to understand is that this prophecy was a sign or portent pointing to Christ's coming kingdom in the New Covenant dispensation. He prophesied of a time when God would pour out His Spirit upon all of mankind so that not only Israel, but all flesh (all peoples) might find grace and come to the knowledge of salvation. And true to Joel's prophecy, men did dream dreams that were a sign of prophecy (Matthew 1:20; Isaiah 7:14), and men did see visions (Luke 24:23), which were divine revelations from God pointing to this New Covenant dispensation. For Joel's prophecy was a heralding of the coming of the Kingdom of Christ in the New Covenant/Testament with Israel. Their dreams and visions were revelatory signs vindicating that prophecy of the New Covenant with Israel confirmed in the blood (Hebrews 13:20) of Christ rather than of goats.
This New Covenant with Israel is what all the dreams and visions, signs and wonders, were all pointing to. When Joel declared that at this time God would pour out His spirit upon all flesh, it was an indication that the New Covenant would be with all flesh. The notation that their sons and daughters would have dream and see visions signifies that all flesh would become prophets of God to declare His holy word. The deeper spiritual import of dreams and visions here is to signify the prophets declarations from God. This great event Joel speaks of would be a time when there would be a great blessing poured out, and not just to the flesh of Israel (Galatians 3:8), but to all flesh. In "this Biblical context," for the young and old to have dreams and visions is synonymous with them being made prophets of God. This out-pouring of God's Spirit meant that all nations, kindreds, and tongues would become sons (children) and be prophets of God. This all pointing to the coming Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1) who would make them children, kings, priests, and prophets unto God.
- "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
1st Corinthians 12:27-28
Prophets in the sriptures are those of God's congregation who declare (testify), "thus saith the Lord." Before the Bible was completed, God primarily spoke to His people miraculously through miraculous events and by declaring His word through prophets by His Spirit with perfect communication through dreams and visions. With the close of the holy canon, God speaks to His prophets today by the Spirit of Christ and through His perfect and completed written word.
- "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
- And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
1st Corinthians 12:27-28
These prophets that God has appointed in the church are now the divinely inspired witnesses of what He has declared, just as those who came before the bodily advent of Christ were. The only difference today is that we have the full written word never to be added to, and they were receiving that divine word to be recorded. And just as there were false prophets among God's people before Christ's first advent, there are false prophets among us today. That is to say, those who profess Christ but declare God's word says something that it doesn't say (Ezekiel 22:28). True Prophets testify to what is actually in God's word, not to what they suppose or imagine that it means. The point being, the declaration that Joel made was simply declaring that one day all flesh would be blessed by the out-pouring of God's Spirit, and that prophets would come hearalding the mystery (Colossians 1:25-27) of the revelation of Christ to all flesh. Actually, look at the specific language of Joel's words. To "pour out" means God would "abundantly give of His Spirit," or literally to pour away of His Spirit abundantly upon all flesh. This great and abundant out-pouring of God's Holy Spirit occurred at Pentecost with accompanying miracles signifying that all nations would hear and be blessed. Like Israel, they too would become children of God, prophets and messengers of His holy word. This is also illustrated by the notation of Joel that the children would dream dreams and see visions. This comment denotive of their also receiving of divine revelations from God (John 14:26; 15:26) and be messengers and witnesses of His word. With the sign completed/fulfilled, their prophecy is by the word through the spirit. Not through physical miracles as signs as the people before them had been taught by the prophets before the first coming of Christ, but through the word of faith that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit provided.
- Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
- And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
1st John 2:27
God's people dreaming dreams and seeing visions at the time of the first advent were signs. With the Holy Spirit being poured out, it established all our anointing by God's Spirit to be prophets or messengers of God's word and bring His divine revelation to the world. In this Old Covenant declaration of Joel we see opened up the New Covenant revelation in Christ. Even as the old sayintg that, "The new is in the old concealed; the old is in the new revealed.” The method of revelation in the old was through the sign of dreams and visions, and these sometimes needed to be interpreted (much like the book of Revelation).
- "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
These dreams were personal ephemeral visual displays or appearances from God while they were sleeping, and when encountered during waking hours, these may be called visions. They are the imagery of the mind's eye synonymous with receiving divine revelation from God. In other words, it is to have God's Holy word delineated to you (1st Samuel 28:6) in a visual manner. In fact, many books of the word of God are unambiguously and specifically identified as being "visions." e.g., the books of Hosea, Isaiah, Habakkuk, Obadiah, Nahum, Ezekiel, and Revelation. God's prophecy of visions and dreaming dreams is equivalent to receiving divine revelation from God. The prophets of God (and even unbelievers in some instances) received God's word this way. If we understand this, we can get a better comprehension of what the prophet Joel (under divine inspiration of God) means when he says the sons and daughters of God's people would see visions and dream dreams, and that there would be an out-pouring of God's Spirit on all flesh. He is illustrating that there would be a new era of divine revelation in the dispensation of the New Covenant with Israel.
- "For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
- In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
- Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,"
This is the New Covenant dispensation wherein the Lord's Spirit would be poured out that there would be a divine revelation to the sons and daughters, to young and old, to Jew and Greek, to bond and freer. This is the revelation of the Kingdom where the servant is a freeman, and the freeman is the servant of God. Just as the signs of miracles and supernatural events that Christ and His apostles performed signified or represented some aspect of the New Covenant Revelation of Christ's Kingdom, so dreams and visions signified or represented the revelation from God. And as we saw the prophecy was fulfiulled literally accompanying this New Covenant dispensation of Christ, while representing the age of New Testament prophets. In other words, just as raising the dead signified resurrection from spiritual death to new life, and the opening of the eyes of the blind signified our spiritual eyes being opened, so he prophets dreaming dreams and having visions represented the receiving of divine revelation in the New Covenant dispensation. It's also uinteresting to note that God often uses the words dreams and visions synonymously. In the context of Scripture, dreams "are in fact" night visions. To put it another way, they are visual appearances or revelations while sleep illustrating some aspect of the word of God (Genesis 20:3; Daniel 2:28; Matthew 1:20). Often some aspect of His divine plan, purpose or future prophecy was revealed in a vision of the night (Job 33:15). Biblical visions (Genesis 15:1), as opposed to personal imaginations, are any God-inspired spiritual appearances given to God's people, whether they are awake or asleep (Job 20:8). A vision of the night is synonymous with a dream. In the daytime, people often call visions daydreams specifically because they are day visions. Like having visual thoughts in the day almost as if you were somewhere else. Another way of thinking about it is being in a trance-like state of mind. These mind visions at night when we sleep are simply called dreams, and when God is inspiring them it is a revelation to reveal his plan and purpose to His people. For example, we can see this in the dream that the Patriarch Jacob had of a ladder reaching unto heaven. This was a revelation from God in a vision of the night.
- "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
- And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
- For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
This dream was the prophecy of Christ, who was the appointed Messenger (not angel) of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1) providing the way (John 14:6; Ephesians 4:10) and means of constant communication of the Spirit of God with mankind (John 1:51). The dream of Jacob's ladder was a visual "portrait" of the coming fulfillent. It was the legitimate means by which God communicated His authoritative word directly to human beings as a revelation to us. Miracles, signs, wonders, and dreams and visions are all in the same category of supernatural events interjected into the normal course of the natural world "as a demonstrative token" of prophecy. They were representations of some aspects of Christ's coming kingdom's salvation program and were inspired delivered to His prophets via His Spirit in order to deliver specific infallible information.
- "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;"
The meaning of Joseph’s dream is revealed to be the fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 7:14), and a "sign" of the coming New Covenant Kingdom of Christ. This prophecy, dream, and fulfillment also establishing to faithful Christians the inerrancy of Scripture in the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Christ, which is a central tenet of the Christian faith. Without God being the Father, we have no Saviour that is the Son of God in the flesh. So we see that in accordance with Joel's prophecy, God's servant Joseph had dreamed a dream "revealing" the mysteries of God (Matthew 1:20-25; 2:13) concerning the Messiah. Likewise with visions, they are the revelation of God's Holy word.
- Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
- Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
- But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
In this context, this verse illustrates that where there is no revelation, declaration, or instruction from God to the prophets, the people perish. The vision here is again synonymous with the word from God. The dreams and visions of Scripture have great import to God's congregation because they represent instances in which God interacted with humans outside of the normal methodology. That is to say, supernaturally prophetically, as only He could. Even as we see in Matthew 2:12 when God came to the wise men in a dream instructing them of the evil of King Herod and warning them not to return to Him as they had been instructed. Contrary to what some Christians believe, the prophecy of Joel is not an affirmation that Christians today would continue to prophesy by God inspired dreams and visions, rather it spoke of the coming miraculous revelation of the mystery of the New Covenant Kingdom of Christ to His children. Before the Bible was completed, God often addressed and instructed His people through select prophets. Just as He also brought revelations through supernatural events, occurrences, phenomena, and miracles. But these miracles were signs and have ceased with the close of holy Canon, and likewise the divine revelation that came through dreams and visions. Before the full revelation of the word of God in Scripture form, His word was received through the means of these signs, dreams, visions, and miracles, but after the books (plural) were completed, these methods of the revelation of God's word ceased. A good example of the revelation this way, which also was literally fulfilling Joel's prophecy, can be seen in Luke chapter one.
- "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
This vision of Zacharias in the Temple of God was a revelation concerning faith and the kingdom of Christ just as Joel prophesied that men would dream. It was a sign heralding Elijah coming to prepare the way for the kingdom of Christ. Visions like this were miraculous predictions foretelling and fulfilling His Holy word. Other examples can be found in Matthew chapter two and Acts chapter nine.
- And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
- And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed,
because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
- And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
- And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless."
- "And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
- But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
- And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."
The prophecy of Joel concerning dreams and visions is literally fulfilled in the events of the New Testament coming of Christ and culminated spiritually in God pouring out of His spirit upon all flesh that the sons and daughters might also have the truth revealed through the Spirit of prophecy. This was also signified by dreams and visions. Because it all pointed to the coming of the New Covenant dispensation of the Spirit of Christ to all nations. In the Old Covenant, only a remnant of the nation of Israel experienced God's blessings of salvation through His Holy Spirit. But what the prophet Joel foresaw was the revelation of a coming time when not only upon Israel, but God's Spirit would be poured out abundantly upon all flesh (all kindreds).
- "And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
- And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
- And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight."
This is the context of this prophecy of Joel chapter 2 and it applied to Jesus bringing salvation to all nations (Romans 10:12-13) through the Mount Zion that is the kingdom of Christ, and through the spiritual Jerusalem (Galatians 2:24-26), which is the Holy City in Christ, to whom God would call a remnant regardless of their being old or young, Jew or Gentile, bond or free. This is the revelation that was kept secret from before the world began, that God's spirit was to be poured out upon all flesh--meaning not just the flesh of Israel, but upon whosoever (Romans 16:25-26) would call upon the name of the Lord. As difficult as the prophecy of coming dreams and visions may be to grasp by some Christians, there are three facts that should be readily understood.
- And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call."
This is exactly what took place at Pentecost with the vision of the great cloven "tongues" like fire setting upon each person, which signified (was a sign) that His Spirit would now go out to all tongues or languages. This truth is also confirmed in the vision that the apostle Peter had concerning God cleansing what was before unclean to Israel, which was a reference to the Gentiles. The mystery is being revealed through this vision of tongues of fire in the outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh. It refered to all languages and people receiving God's Spirit. In the New Covenant, all kindreds should receive and promulgate the word of God through this abundant dissemination of the gift of God's Spirit. What was once unclean flesh (the Gentiles) are now made clean (Ephesians 3:5-6) through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them.
- Scripture illustrates and confirms that dreams and visions were used of God as a conduit of His Spirit to speak to people concerning the declaration of His Holy word, will, and determination.
- With the Holy Canmon now being completed and closed to further addition, God through His Spirit speaks to people concerning the declaration of His Holy word, will, and determination, through the infallible word of that divinely inspired book. It should be self-evident that it is not an incomplete word, it is the completed and sealed Bible.
- If that is true, (and it is) then certainly the time of this great outpouring of God's Spirit that Joel spoke of, wherein many would dream dreams and see visions, would refer to this New Covenant dispensation, and a great outpouring of the Spirit of revelation of God's Holy will, word, and determination.
Again, this illustrating that the ceremonial distinctions of clean and unclean flesh, was actually prophecy pointing to the separation of the Israelites from the Gentiles. In this New Covenant with Israel this has come to an end, and now the Gentiles who were ceremonially unclean flesh and separated from the Jews (Acts 10:28), now are one with the Jews (Ephesians 2:13-16). In Christ Jesus they are also appointed heirs of the Kingdom. The apostle Peter has received a "vision" from God teaching him the knowledge of the great mystery in the Spirit of Christ, that the dispensation of separation of Jews and Gentiles is over. Because in this New Covenant with Israel, all who are in Holy Christ are one. This regardless of national origin or genealogy. In Christ they would also be prophets to understand dreams and visions because they are also appointed as mmessengers of God and part of Israel. We are all one flesh, one children, one body of the holy household of God.
- And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
- And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
- Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
- And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
- But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
- And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
It couldn't be clearer that the God-inspired dream of Peter was a revelation of just this mystery. It confirmed that those once separated from the commonwealth of Israel (the Gentiles) as common or unclean are now made one body with Israel in the household of God. This is what was revealed to the apostle Peter through God's vision concerning the unclean things that God has cleansed or made holy. All flesh could find grace in the Lord and become fellow citizens and fellow heirs in the Israel of God. Peter's vision was a prophetic sign "signifying" this to him, and ultimately to us. Again, a vivid confirmation of the revelation in the prophecy of Joel.
- Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
- That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
- But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
- For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
- Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
- And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
- And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
- For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
- Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
All flesh would now receive divine revelation whether they are sons or daughters, old men or young men, Jew or Greek, because there is now no distinction. It's talking about an out-pouring of the Spirit of prophecy upon all peoples in this coming Kingdom age. Joel's prophecy has come to pass in the New Covenant with Israel (Hebrews 8:8-11) and is revealed in Peter's vision of God making clean what was unclean. The prophecy of all flesh being able to dream prophetically and see visions means all who believe, without distinction of genealogy, gender, or national heritage. They would all receive the wisdom of Christ's to know God as Father and they all would be His children. In this New Covenant dispensation God pours out a blessing wherein He places His law into their minds and writes His laws on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) that they all become His messengers. We don't even have to suppose or speculate because the apostle Peter stood up and declared it plainly. In the book of Acts Peter explained the fullness of that prophecy of Joel concerning the pouring out of the Spirit and the dreaming dreams and seeing visions. Very clearly and unambiguously that chapter of Joel spoke of the revelation of the mystery of the fall of national Israel, that the kingdom of Israel (through Christ) might be extended throughout the whole world. A new dispensation that is all-inclusive, with mercy and grace toward all flesh. The signs Joel spoke about under inspiration of God were ultimately fulfilled in the finished work of Christ. The divine revelations, the supernatural miracles, the walking on water, these all ceased with the completion of the Bible. They were all signs signifying the fulfillment of the prophecy of the revelation of the New Covenant church--as was unambiguously "declared" by Peter.
- "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:"
This is the occasion when the apostle Peter addressed the crowd and explained to them that "what they were witnessing" was the fulfillment of that prophecy of Joel. It's not even debatable that this was the realization of the signs Joel spoke of. Peter stated "explicitly" that this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. What further witness do we need. This was the sign of the revelation of the coming of Christ in the New dispensation, and the New Covenant with Israel when their sins would be forgiven. Those men speaking in other tongues (languages) at this event were not drunk as some had supposed, they were filled with the Holy Spirit of God and were hearing God's word miraculously through other "known" tongues or languages that they previously had not learned. Joel's prophecy was not a notation that God's children would continue to have revelatory dreams from God, nor that they would dream of lottery numbers, or that they would have God visions or see psychic phenomena. Joel's word weren't a prediction that the moon would very literally turn into blood, or that physical wonders of blood and fire would occur, rather it prophesied of these "sign" foretelling or revealing some aspect of God's word. The revelation that the moon, being a symbol of the reflective light from the congregation (Genesis 37:9; Revelation 6:12) of the Sun (God), would have that light replaced with blood in the judgment of the blinding of Israel. When it spoke of the sons and daughters dreaming and seeing visions, that is a sign of prophecy. It spoke of Israel receiving revelation, pointing to the coming New Covenant when all flesh could become prophets or messengers (not angels) of God. Dreams and visions were always one of the primary ways in which God communicated His revelations to mankind, and this denoted that this gift was also to other flesh that would come into the commonwealth of Israel. The outpouring of the Spirit of dreams and Visions to all flesh signified the fall of the Old Covenant with Israel (Hebrews 8:10-13; Hebrews 10:15-17, 2nd Corinthians 5:16-18). This was the confirmation of the institution of the New Covenant with Israel. This is the last days heralding of the revealing of the mystery, the revelation of the salvation of the world.
- "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
- For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
- But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
- And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
- And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
- And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
- The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
- And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
- Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
- Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:"
Does God still speak to us today through miraculous dreams or visions? I believe that would be contrary to God's word and an addition to the Revelation of God (Revelation 22:18), which is strictly forbidden. God's infallible word is completed in His Scriptures and anyone who adds or takes away from it is guilty of the plagues God pours upon the faithless. The great cry of the Reformers of "Sola Scriptura" was a demonstration of our faith that God's written word alone is our ultimate authority today. The completed Bible is the only divine word that we can know is infallible and unerringly authoritative. Just as supernatural phenomenon like heavenly signs, miracles and demons being cast out were revelatory signs or tokens of some deeper Spiritual truths of God's magnificent salvation program before the Bible was completed, so dreams or visions were signs in that same category. They were tokens of God's revelation to man as by His Spirit He spoke directly to His prophets to deliver messages. Today God communicates His messages through the Holy Bible because this is His authoritative and fully complete written revelation to his people. Let's not forget that those dreams, visions, miracles and such are now "the Bible." In other words, they were recorded to be God's word.
2nd Timothy 3:16-17
God inspired this, and once completed those Scriptures fully furnish us unto all good works, not partially furnished so that it requires additional revelation through more dreams and continuing visions. At least not since it has been completed. All we need to know is in these completed Scriptures.
- "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
- That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
We have seen from Scripture that the dreams and visions were miraculous events where God communicated or messaged people directly before there was a completed Holy Canon. But just as these miraculous signs and miracles ceased, dreams and visions ceased because these things were never designed by God to continue after the Holy Bible was complete. They were all portraits, a revelation of some deeper Spiritual truths that God was teaching. To add to or take away from God's word today through either dreams, visions, prophecy, miracles, healings or any alleged revelation from God, is strictly forbidden (Revelation 22:18-19). Once God communicated His authoritative word to His prophets this way, but now through Christ, the living Word. Our personal dreams or imaginative visions are not (as many see it today) God giving us a divine message or communicating personal prophecies, guidance, financial information, powers, or suggesting trivial matters. When we evaluate the dreams of the Bible, they do not relate to anyone's own personal issues, but rather they were prophetic messages from God, His Holy word delineating His perfect plan and purposes for His people. Whenever I hear someone claim that God prophecied and has spoke to them in a dream telling them that they should say or do this or that (fill in the blank), I always reply that God has prophecied and spoken to all of us, but it is through His completely furnished and fully comprehensive written word. In fact, it would take more than our lifetime to ever learn half of what God has inspired there for our instruction. I learn something new there every day. It is there that He has revealed to us "everything that we would ever need to know" to prophecy, to find understanding, to live a Godly life, for greater knowledge, to make righteous choices, for admonition, for validation, for direction, for confirmation, and for instruction in righteousness. Through His Spirit this is now the only infallible revelation of the Holy mind of God for us today. So why would anyone pre-dispose themselves to seek extra-biblical validations? Why would God add additional revelation to the Bible when it is already complete? There are no extra-biblical revelations today, despite the proclamations from some quarters. Not by dreams, visions, miracles, or other means of prophecy. Is there anyone today who can part seas, raise the dead, wrestle with God, heal with a touch of the hand, walk on water, open the eyes of the blind. Many are the voices that make such claims, but not one of them validated by the Spirit of truth. That era of revelation of God by sight is over. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. We do not live by sight, we live by the faithfulness of Christ. We don't seek worldly or physical proofs of God's power, we already have the full Spiritual proof of it.
Do we need to reach our finger out and feel the holes in Christ's hands in order to believe that He was "actually" nailed to a cross, crucified and resurrected in the flesh, and lifted up to heaven? God forbid, because Christ has fully equipped us with all the faith and revelation necessary. There is no need for the Spirit led believer to have the dreams or to see the visions of old in order to prophecy. We can boldly say, "Thus Saith The Lord" right here, right now, every single one of us. We are the divinely inspired messengers of God, we have the faith of Christ, we have the prophecy of God, and we have the Spirit of God. An evil and adulterous generation or family seeks after signs and wonders. On the other hand, we have no need to see the signs and wonders of old, we have been endowed with the unction or anointing of God's Spirit that we disseminate His "divine revelation" today, and it is strictly through His written word. Sola Scriptura, meaning that the truth of God's word is solely revealed to us today by the written word, through the Holy Spirit of God. Our dream is walk the glorious promised land, and our vision is to see the only Jerusalem that is Holy, the Holy City from above. We don't need any man to be a miraculous prophet and teach (1st John 2:27) us, nor any prophet to dream or see visions of God to reveleal instruction. We have our instruction, and it was accomplished in the finished Living Word, where we have revelation through His completed written word.
- Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
- And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
- Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
- And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:"
In closing, let us pray that no one will seek to exalt themselves through any vain imagination that their personal dreams or visions are divinely inspired revelatory messages or a revelatory call from God. Rather dreams are our own nightly flights of fancy, subconscious processings, nightmares, urges, musings, introspections, or counseling. The truth is, if any of us chhose to neglect the whole counsel of the word, and we try hard enough, we can assign some great spiritual import or significance to any dream that we might have. But that doesn't mean that it is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. God forbid that we should be deceived to take our personal dreams as our realities through ambitiousness, vanity, zealousness, or even delusion. The success of Biblical dreams and visions rests in the success of the promulgation of the good news. Let us not make dreams a distraction from our real work as witnesses, the true prophets or messengers sent from God today. Faithful Christians should not expect miraculous dreams or visions to be a part of the Christian experience, since the Revelation is complete, the book is sealed, and the Lord's prophet has the testimony in the written word of God.
Copyright ©2019 Tony Warren
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Created 12/12/19 / Last Modified 12/15/19
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