Is This Prophetic Dream About Me or Someone Else? How to Know
The vast majority of dreams for most people will be subjective, meaning they will be about concerns specific to your life.
These could include sanctification issues, spiritual issues, emotional issues, or health/bodily issues. I would suggest that ninety-five percent of our dreams are subjective dreams, and often an easy way to determine this is by noticing if we are active participants in the dream.
If we are an outside observer and we're watching the dream play out like a movie, that is a clue it might possibly be an objective dream. The messages of objective dreams may involve other people and have a more literal interpretation. Extremely right-brained prophetic visionaries and intercessors are usually the types of people who receive more literal, objective dreams. The rest of us are almost always dreaming of our own personal heart issues and lives.
Clues That May Indicate Your Dream Is Objective and About Others
1. You are only an observer of the activity of the dream. If, on the other hand, you play an active role in the dream, it is likely a dream about you.
2. The dream just does not fit your life. You should always first ask God, "Lord, show me any way the events in this dream are revealing struggles that my heart is currently facing." If you have examined the dream carefully, in full reliance upon the Holy Spirit to bring the interpretation, and you cannot see how the symbols of the dream apply to you, seek the input of your spiritual counselors. They may be able to see your blind spots and recognize the message your heart is trying to give you. If your counselors agree that the dream does not apply to your inner life, you may then consider the possibility that it is a dream for or about others.
The following are some biblical dreams that demonstrate this principle: If you are an active participant in the dream, the dream is about you; if you are an observer of the action, the dream is about others.
• Genesis 15:1-21: Abraham meeting with God = dream about himself
• Genesis 20:1-18: Abimelech warned by God = dream about himself
• Genesis 28:10-22: Jacob being spoken to by God = dream about himself
• Genesis 31:10-29: An angel of God instructing Jacob = dream about himself
• Genesis 37:9-10: Sun, moon and eleven stars bowing to Joseph = dream about himself
• Genesis 40:1-23: Cupbearer and baker serving Pharaoh = dreams about themselves
• Genesis 41:1-49: Pharaoh's dreams of cows and grain = dreams about others
• Genesis 46:1-7: Israel in dialogue with God = dream about himself
• 1 Kings 3:5-28: Solomon converses with God = dream about himself
• Daniel 2:1-49: Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue hit by stone = dream about others
• Daniel 7:1-28: Daniel's dream of four beasts = dream about others
• Daniel 8:1-27: Daniel's dream of a ram and a goat = dream about others
• Daniel 10:1‚Äď12:13: Daniel's terrifying vision = dream about others
• Matthew 1:20-25: The angel of the Lord speaks to Joseph = dream about himself
• Matthew 2:3-15: Joseph warned by God to go to Egypt = dream about himself
• Matthew 2:19-21: Joseph led by God to return to Israel = dream about himself
• Matthew 2:22-23: Joseph warned by God to avoid Judea = dream about himself
Summary: The majority of dreams are about the dreamer himself or herself. You can expect the majority of your dreams to be about you.
Two important observations may be made from these biblical examples:
1. The dreams for, or about, others were prophetic in nature and were all given to kings or kings' advisors concerning the future of their kingdoms. The principle which may be drawn from this is that dreams (and indeed all revelation from the Holy Spirit) are given to us only if they apply to our own area of responsibility. We do not hear from God about people over whom we have no influence, authority, or accountability. (Photo via Piqsels)
2. Dreams about self may be for the dreamer and his descendants. Again, the revelation of the dream was not given to any random individual but to one with authority and influence. Intercessors may be given revelation of others so they can pray for them. It is also vital to understand that all kinds of dreams can contain symbolic language, literal language, or a combination of both.
When a Symbol Is Not a Symbol
A fundamental principle we must always remember about dreams is that they are not often literal; they are symbolic. They are pictures that represent something else and thus need to be interpreted. That is true with almost all dreams and with almost all symbols, except for numbers.
In the Bible, every time someone has numbers in their dreams, those figures represent the exact same number in waking life (e.g., seven cows means seven years in Pharaoh's dream)—no interpretation required.
Biblical numerology is interesting, and waking visions in Scripture often contain symbolic numbers (such as the 144,000 of John's vision in Revelation), so we know there is always a possibility that numbers in our dreams might be viewed metaphorically. However, to keep it easy as we're first starting out, we can simply go with scriptural precedent and the way God interprets dreams in the Bible: the number equals the number. If we find that a literal understanding doesn't make sense, we can always pray to receive a revelation of what the number signifies.
Numbers in dreams generally represent the identical number in waking life. However, the number will probably be linked to something that needs to be interpreted symbolically. For example, when Joseph dreamed of eleven stars, the eleven was literal but the stars were symbolic and actually represented his brothers. Joseph was dreaming about his eleven brothers (see Gen. 37:1-11).
Likewise, the cupbearer's dream of three branches stood for three days, and in the chief baker's dream, the three baskets represented three days (see Gen. 40:12, 18). In Pharaoh's dream, the seven cows were seven years (see Gen. 41:26). So expect the number you dream to mean that exact number of something in life.
How God Sees Dreams
What happens in our night visions has significance and staying power with God. In His Book, He never once says, "It's just a dream." In fact, He does the opposite.
At the end of Solomon's life, God says, "You know, it's really too bad you messed up, especially considering I came to you twice" (see 1 Kings 11:9-13). The first time the Lord visited him, when he was at Gibeon, He gave him wisdom in a dream (see 1 Kings 3:5).
The other time, Scripture says, "The LORD appeared to him a second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon" (1 Kings 9:2). So here we see God is actually holding Solomon accountable for his dreams and what happened in them. How's that for a paradigm shift? (Photo via Picryl)
A Listening Heart
The wisdom Solomon received through his dreams is the same wisdom we can receive every night through our dreams. The Hebrew word for what Solomon asked for and received is shama, which is a "hearing" heart (see 1 Kings 3:9-11). He asked for a listening heart, one that could clearly hear the Lord's direction and guidance.
Solomon wanted to go back to the way it was in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve initially lived from their hearts and spiritual communion with God. That is how they knew good from evil—because God told them (see Gen. 2:16-17). They were dependent on His voice and lived out of relationship with Him. Their sin was to choose independence and to use their own minds to discern good and evil (see Gen. 3:5).
Solomon wanted to go back to God's original intention and chose the opposite of Adam and Eve. Solomon did not want to rely on his own mind's best guess. He wanted to return to the lifestyle of Eden, not making decisions by what his physical eyes saw or his natural ears heard but instead ruling with righteous judgment (see Isa. 11:3-4).
It was the Spirit of Wisdom—the Holy Spirit—with whom Solomon connected, just like Adam and Eve had done long before. Through his dream, the spiritual portal was opened and he had the chance to access anything he wanted. What did he choose? He chose God. He chose to hear God. He asked that his heart be reconnected to God's heart so he could live out of fellowship with Him.
Solomon did not just receive a pile of detached information for his brain. That could have made him knowledgeable, but it would never make him wise. Instead, he was given the gift of being able to listen in to the spirit realm and hear the counsel of Heaven. He was given the gift of restored communion and intimate relationship with the Spirit of Wisdom Himself (see Isa. 11:2).
And just as God said, there was no king who could rival the wisdom of Solomon—until the King of kings came to Earth (see 1 Kings 4:30). Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Wisdom—and He, too, lived out of the supernatural. He did nothing on His own initiative based on what He saw in this natural world (see John 5:19,30). We know He did only what He saw His Father do, and spoke only what He heard His Father say (see John 8:26, 38).
Solomon and Jesus both relied on the spirit realm to reign in life, accessing the wisdom of Heaven through their dreams and visions. We can do that, too.
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(Used by permission via¬†Destiny Image.¬†To purchase Mark Virkler's E-book, "Hearing God through Your Dreams: Understanding the Language God Speaks at Night,"¬†click here.)
Dr. Mark Virkler
President, Christian Leadership University (CLU)
Communion With God Ministries
Mark and Patti Virkler¬†are the founders of Communion With God Ministries. They have co-authored 50+ books. Their writings are unique in that they are designed to draw the learner into revelation-based learning. Mark has received a Master of Theology from Miami Christian University and a Ph.D. from Carolina Christian University. Patti has received a Master of Ministry and Doctorate of Ministry from Vision International University. Their focus has never been on degrees, but simply growing to maturity in the Lord. Degrees are viewed as incidental accomplishments and signposts along the road of life which can sometimes open up people's hearts and minds to hear, listen, and learn what they have to share. They have two children, Charity and Joshua.
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