4 Types Of Dreams And Their Meanings

Some people dismiss the idea that dreams can have significance. Others believe that there is spiritual meaning in every dream and that all should be interpreted and taken seriously.

I believe that the Biblical viewpoint lies somewhere in between these two extremes.

4 Dream Types

Identifying which type of dream we have had can help us determine whether to consider a potential meaning in the dream, and what—if anything—to do with it.

Here are four dream categories that I have personally found helpful:


1. Ordinary, Processing Dreams

Dreaming is a natural function of the brain, occurring mainly during the REM stage of sleep. [1]

I believe that it is not necessary to seek meaning in the majority of our dreams.

Last night I watched a murder-mystery on DVD before I went to bed—something I usually avoid. Not surprisingly, my dreams contained an element of danger.

I do not remember most of my ‘processing’ dreams—and those that I do recall quickly fade. However, other people I know are vivid dreamers and can recall them clearly. Sometimes people refer to unusual but meaningless dreams as ‘pizza dreams.’

The GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) principle applies to dreams. Whatever we feed our senses and minds with will invariably find expression in our sleep.

‘Much dreaming and many words are meaningless…’ (Eccl 5:7)

If you are unsure about a dream you have had, pray about it. Perhaps it may fit in one of the other dream types.


2. Prophetic Dreams

‘For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men and seals their instruction.’ Job 33:14-16 (NKJV)

From the book of Genesis all the way through the Bible, dreams are one way that God speaks to His people.

However, even those who were gifted in the area of dreams and dream interpretation (Joseph and Daniel, for example) only had a few dreams that were significant enough to be recorded in the scriptures.

Joel and Peter mentioned dreams as one manifestation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, along with prophecy and visions. (Acts 2:17)

There are many ways that God used dreams in the Bible—for example:

  • Warnings (Abimilek, Gen 20:1-8))
  • Revealing destiny and the call of God (Joseph, Gen 37:5-10)
  • Impartation of a spiritual gift or ability (Solomon, 1 Kings 3:5)
  • A strategy for provision (Jacob, Gen 31:10)
  • A sign of His Presence (Jacob’s ladder, Gen 28:12))
  • Guidance (Paul, Acts 16:9)

My husband Malcolm (aka ‘The Hunk’) and I occasionally have dreams that we believe contain prophetic insights from God. I find these dreams have a greater than usual clarity and I awake with a sense of God’s Presence.

Let’s increase our sense of expectation that God will speak to us through our dreams. [2]


3. Soul Dreams

Soul dreams reveal emotions, attitudes or beliefs that we may be trying to deny or repress.

They are a means that God can use for good—to help us bring them into the open and deal with them.

Signs you may be having a soul dream include:

  • Actual memories resurfacing in your dreams
  • Vivid emotions that you can link to an event, past present or future
  • Repeating, or recurring dreams

Soul dreams may indicate a response, such as fear or anger, to an event that is happening at present in our lives, or that we are anticipating in the future. If something from your past is surfacing in a dream, you can be assured that it is ready to be dealt with and that your loving Father is waiting to bring healing to you.

We should never dismiss soul dreams as being unimportant. They give us insight into our inner world.

If you are having soul dreams that you believe are significant, pray about them and ask God how you should respond. If needed, find a leader/mentor or wise Christian counsel to pray with you and help you process whatever is coming to the surface.


4. Spiritual Warfare Dreams

On occasion, I have experienced spiritual warfare during my sleep.

When this takes place, God allows demonic intrusion into our sleep for His purposes:

  • To set us free and bring us closer to Him,
  • To pray effectively and
  • To expose hidden strategies of the enemy.

a. Spiritual Warfare

‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ (Psalm 4:8)

Dreams can be an alert to pray during times of spiritual warfare. There have been times when I have woken my husband and we have prayed together because I have experienced a demonic confrontation in a dream. We know that our prayers have made a difference.

b. Demonic Oppression

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,’ (Psalm 91:5)

Repeated nightmares can be a sign of having an ‘open doorway’ in our lives for demonic oppression. Those who have experienced trauma, or been involved in occult (personally or generationally), for example, may be vulnerable in this area. Many years ago I had regular nightmares. Through receiving prayer ministry I was able to identify the source of these and gain freedom through prayer. [3]

It is important to remember that God is greater than any other spiritual influence and that as Christians we have power in prayer, using the Name of Jesus, to overcome any spiritual attack.

c. Discernment

Some people who have the gift of discernment may experience conflict in their dreams, or be alerted to a demonic presence or strategy through a dream. [4] The purpose of this may be for a prophetic warning as well as for prayer and intercession.

‘You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4)

We should never be afraid as the result of a dream. If you have a dream that you are concerned about—no matter what type of dream it is—share it with someone you trust and pray about it.


Notes

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream

[2] The following articles may be helpful:
What To Do When You Have A Prophetic Dream.
How Do I know A Personal Prophecy Or Dream Interpretation Is From God?

[3] Prayer Ministry is an extended session of prayer with 2 or more trained prayer ministers in a safe, supervised setting. It should be used in conjunction with pastoral care in the church and if necessary, professional counseling.

[4] See 8 Signs You May Have The Spiritual Gift Of Discernment.


Related Posts:

3 Tips About Bad Dreams, Prophetic Warnings and Nightmares
9 Bible Promises Concerning Your Sleep, Dreams and Night Hours


© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

Two Prophetic Dreams, One Message: Take Your Spiritual Gifts Off The Shelf

Yesterday I had a dream in which my husband gave me the funds to make a purchase. I knew this transaction was of tremendous importance to him. I handechain and heart pendantd the money across the counter to a merchant, who passed two large, valuable pendants to me.

I glanced down and saw that one was gold; the other was heart-shaped and silver, with filigreed gold edging. Both were intricately designed.

At that moment, I woke up. I felt I had been in a prophetic dream, and that in the dream my husband represented Jesus. There was something about the pendants that stirred up a spiritual hunger in me.

It was then that I realised it was the second spiritual dream I had received in the space of a month—both ending in a similar way.

Prophetic Dream about a Gold Necklace

In an earlier dream, I was visiting a retirement home, along with other staff members from my church. Whilst we were there, I suddenly realised that a woman called Ruth Young was living in the home.

The Hunk and I hosted Ruth and her husband over 20 years ago in New Zealand, early in our missions ministry. We saw something close to revival in the churches they ministered in. Their testimony about sacrificial love and service for Jesus caused many Christians to hunger, repent and recommit their lives to Jesus.

In the dream, I went looking for Ruth, and found her in one of the rooms. We sat at a table together and talked. As we conversed, she was showing me jewellery that she was crafting. She left and went into another room. I desperately wanted to see her again, but she had gone, leaving the gold necklace she had been showing me on the table in front of me.

At this point, I woke up. Along with a heightened sense of God’s presence, I felt deeply the unfinished business of my dream’s meeting with ‘Ruth.’

Discovering Meaning in the Dreams

Meditating upon the meaning of this earlier dream, I felt that Ruth represented the message she had carried: passion for Jesus. It seemed that the Lord was saying He wanted us to take that ‘first love’ we had known for Jesus out of retirement.

But I hadn’t considered the jewellery until the second dream yesterday. When it finally smacked me on the head last night, I went looking for a book on dream interpretation. I wanted to find out the significance of jewellery—particularly necklaces.

As I searched for an entry on the meaning of the jewellery, the following words stood out to me: ‘treasure,’ ‘desire,’ ‘precious,’ ‘God’s gifts’.

Spiritual Gifts

Could the pendants and necklace in the dream have something to do with spiritual gifts? My dawning awareness of the message the Holy Spirit was bringing through the two dreams was bringing with it a growing sense of conviction.

God in His love has lavished spiritual gifts upon us, His church (see Romans 12:6, 1 Cor 12-14, Eph 4:8, Heb 2:4).

It honours Him when we ‘wear ‘our spiritual gifts, when we treasure them and display them, when we use them to bless others. In using our spiritual gifts, people see something in our lives that can only be explained by Jesus. Spiritual gifts display the craftsmanship of the Holy Spirit.

Do we have spiritual gifts that need to be taken off the shelf?

I have a small collection of jewellery, including some special pieces given to me by those I love. However, I wear very little of it, and much of my jewellery stays in the drawer. I have a pendant given to me by a dear friend that is gathering dust on a table.

My attitude towards the spiritual gifts God has given me has been similar to the attitude that I have about jewellery.

Most of the time, I keep the gifts God has given me of prophecy, discernment, intercession and others, hidden away. I have even started to take them for granted, no longer prizing them or valuing them as I did in the early days.

I do bring spiritual gifts out at times when I believe they are useful—usually in church meetings. But I do not walk in them. Perhaps I have felt that a good Christian should not ‘show off’ spiritual gifts, especially those that are supernatural in manifestation. But it is likely that my so-called ‘humility’ has masked apathy, fear, unbelief and pride.

Here is another thought that is challenging me today:

An attitude of apathy towards our spiritual gifts also betrays a lack in our appreciation of the Giver.

In Jer 2:32, God says, ‘Does a maiden forget her jewellery, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.’

The dreams have come at a time when I am working through a process of spiritual renewal. I am challenged to review my attitude towards the gifts God has given me. Perhaps this is an area the Holy Spirit is challenging you in, too.

Jesus said, ‘Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.’ (Matt 5:15-16)

**You may have some more ideas about the topic of spiritual gifts or the interpretation of these dreams. If you do, I would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments in the boxes below—if the comments area is not visible, click on the blog post title and scroll down.


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Related posts:

4 Types of Dreams And Their Meanings

Hunger For God: 6 Ways You Can Stir It Up

What To Do When You Have a Prophetic Dream

How Do I Know A Personal Prophecy or Dream Interpretation is From God?


© Helen Calder   Enliven Blog

What To Do When You Have A Prophetic Dream

You wake up from a vivid dream that you believe had a significant or spiritual meaning. What do you do with it?

As well as a physical body, the Bible tells us that we have a soul and a spirit; we are triune beings made in the image of God (1 Thess 5:23).

Dreaming is a natural process that our bodies carry out, as we are physically refreshed during sleep. But dreaming does not only have a physical function. We are aware that during our sleep our souls (mind, will and emotions) are processing our responses to our past and present, along with our perception of the future.

We are also spiritual beings, created to commune with God. The Bible tells us that one of the many ways God speaks to people is through dreams (Job 33:14-15). These dreams are spiritual, or ‘God dreams.’ A prophetic dream, when tested over time, will prove to be significant.

How to Make The Most of your Prophetic Dream

If you believe you have had a prophetic dream, what should you do with it? Here are some ideas to start you off:

1. Pray About It

If you think your dream may have a spiritual meaning, pray about it. As the Bible says, symbolic dreams are mysteries; only God is able to reveal what they mean (Dan 2:26-28).

2. Record It

Write your dream down as soon as possible, or at least jot down some of the key points to help you remember it (Hab 2:2). Your memory of the details in your dream will naturally fade. If you dream regularly (or get great ideas in the night hours) then you might like to keep a notebook by your bed.

3. Remember It

Some other things you can do to help remember your dream are:

  • Replaying the dream in your mind will help you memorise the content of your dream
  • Share it. Find someone to tell your dream to who will be interested and draw the details out of you.

4. Reflect on its Meaning

What was it about the dream that made you think it was spiritual in nature? Some questions you can ask to get you started are:

  • What was the atmosphere in the dream?
  • Who appeared in the dream? A person who appears in the dream may also be symbolic of an attribute in you, a role that you play, a ministry you are called to, or symbolic of something else.
  • What objects, places or symbols showed up in the dream? This is where developing knowledge of the Bible and Biblical and prophetic symbols can be helpful. You can also find further helpful information about dream symbols in books from reputable Christian authors (for examples, review http://www.koorong.com.au/)
  • How did you feel during the dream?
  • What did you sense and what came to your mind when you immediately awoke from the dream?

Remember that a dream in its entirety can be a mixture of both natural and spiritual elements. There may be one factor in a dream that is a revelation from God, but the rest could be from your own inner world.

Don’t discount the value of a dream that is from your soul, not from God. It can still be valuable to show you how you are responding in your inner world to past and present circumstances in your life and it may well be worth taking the time to meditate on it.

5. Seek Help in Interpreting Your Dream

The best person to interpret your dream is you, as many of the symbols in your dreams are from your personal life. You may like to share your dream with one or more people who can help you understand its meaning. Remember that the principles for checking a prophecy also apply to dream interpretation.

Whilst some people do have specific gifts in interpreting dreams, realise that just as in all prophecy, no one person has all the answers. Never become dependent on a single person with a prophetic gift. Be wary of becoming reliant at ALL on others with prophetic gifts or upon the gifts themselves. God has given you the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth (1 John 2:26) and good leaders in the church for protection (Heb 13:17).

6. Release What You do not Understand (1 Thess 5:21-22)

It is OK to RELEASE what you don’t understand, or anything that is not encouraging. If you are disturbed by a dream, find a caring Christian friend or leader who can pray with you about it.

In the New Testament, the recipient of a dream usually knew what God was telling them. Don’t try and force meaning out of a dream that is a mystery. If you have recorded a dream that you believe is significant, it may take time for the meaning to become clear.

Finally, the Bible illustrates that God uses dreams to foretell His future plans (prophetic dreams, Gen 37:5-11), give guidance (Acts 16:9-10), impart spiritual gifts (1 Kings 3:5-16), warn (Matt 2:12) and even give successful business strategies (Gen 31:10-13) to His people.

Let’s be open to receiving a prophetic dream, for our dream world can be an opportunity to encounter Jesus and receive God’s instruction and blessing for our lives.


Would you like to develop your prophetic gift?

Enter your email address in the subscribe box at the right hand side of this page to receive:

  • regular blogs and teaching to help you grow in your gift of prophecy
  • news of resources to help develop your prophetic gift

See also:

How Do I Know a Personal Prophecy Or Dream Interpretation Is From God?

4 Types Of Dreams And Their Meanings


© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

How Do I Know a Personal Prophecy or Dream Interpretation is From God?

Has someone given you a personal prophecy, or interpreted a dream that you have had? Here are some tests that you can put a prophetic word through, to check whether or not it is from God.

In 1 Thess 5:20-21, the Bible says, ‘Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.’

A personal prophetic word, or prophetic dream, has the potential to be a great blessing to you. It can help encourage, strengthen and grow you (1 Cor 14:3), reveal to you that God has you personally on His heart, and remind you that He has a great purpose for your life. When someone shares information about you and your hopes and dreams that only God would know, it is a miracle. You encounter Jesus!

We need to remember, however, that a prophecy should be weighed up carefully (1 Cor 14:29).


7 Tests to Help Weigh Up a Prophecy or Dream Interpretation

Here are some tests that you can apply to a prophecy, or part of a prophecy, to check whether or not it is from God. Note, these principles also apply to dream interpretation when it is given to you by another person:

1. The Character Test

Does the prophetic word or interpretation reflect the character of Jesus? Does it sound like something God would say to you?

He is loving and redemptive (that means He has a good outcome for your life, He has a purpose, He wants to bring you closer to Him). This is true even when a prophecy contains a warning.

2. The Bible Test

Does the prophetic word line up with principles God has laid out in the Bible? A prophecy should never go against what the Bible says—for example a prophecy that you should leave your spouse, cause disunity in the church or commit sin would not agree with scripture!

3. The Heart Check Test

1 John 2:20 says, ‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.’

Does the prophecy or message sit well with your spirit, or does it make you feel uncomfortable and give you a warning ‘check’ in response? You don’t have to receive a prophecy if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

4. The Confirmation Test

A personal prophecy should confirm what God has already spoken to you, or be consistent with the way He has wired you. If the prophecy does not immediately bring confirmation, it may over time, so feel free to shelve it.

Do not make a sudden change of direction in response to a personal prophecy. If you feel led to make a change in response to a prophetic message brought through another person, remember that God never pressures you. The following test will be helpful:

5. The Leadership Test

Ask, would my church leadership be comfortable with this word? Submitting a prophecy, along with your response to it, to a leader in the church is a wise way to check prophetic guidance. Having another opinion from someone who is mature in their Christian walk and who also knows you can be helpful.

6. The Time Test

Hab 2:3 says, ‘For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.’

You won’t know whether some prophecies are from God until you have given them time to be fulfilled. If you are unsure about a prophetic word, it is OK to shelve a prophecy, put it aside and review it at a later date.

7. The  Prophet Test

Do you know the person prophesying, and are they known to the leaders of your church or recognised in the wider church for their gift? Don’t accept a personal prophecy from just anyone. Jesus said that some people would prophesy in His name but not actually know Him (Matt 7:22-23). He also said to watch out for false prophets (Matt 7:15-16) and that you could tell by their fruit, i.e. their character and what their lives are producing.

If the person who is giving you the prophecy is unknown to you or your church leaders, is not submitted to leadership, or whose life does not reflect the character of Christ, do not receive the prophetic word outright.

A word given by someone who has a prophetic gift but is living an ungodly lifestyle may be partly right, which can be very confusing. If this is the case, the prophecy may contain something that is ‘off.’ It is a bit like emails that come with attachments that contain a virus. The message in the email may be right and good, but when you open it, something that is bad for your computer is also downloaded with the message. So we need to take care WHO we are receiving prophetic input from.

A prophecy that is contaminated by an issue that is out of order in the person prophesying can pull you off the track God has for you unless you put it through the above checks. This is a reminder not to be impressed with an external show of natural charisma or even giftedness, but also to watch for character and integrity.

One time I was listening as a prophetic team brought a prophecy to a young woman at a training session. One of the young guys in the team seemed to have a powerful prophetic gift. However at one part of the ‘prophecy’ he came out with a message that had a suggestive innuendo about the girl’s physical appearance. Although the rest of the prophecy sounded good, I felt that it was probable he had a sin issue that was coming through in his prophecy.

Another thing to be wary of, is prophecy that is flattering or that attracts you to the person prophesying rather than drawing you closer to Jesus. When it comes to personal prophecy, it is OK to ‘eat the meat and spit out the bones.’


Related Posts:

4 Types Of Dreams And Their Meanings

Is Personal Prophecy Biblical

How To Make The Most Of Your Personal Prophecy

What To When You Have a Prophetic Dream


© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family