Interpret Dreams by the Spirit
In context to the Prophetic Listening lectures in 'The Way of the Prophet' I want to take you through some basic guidelines in simple, Spirit-led dream interpretation. It is vital as a prophet to both know and understand what the Lord is saying to us in dreams and visions. He speaks to us in dark sayings to keep His will secret and hidden from the enemy.
Not every symbol will have the same interpretation for every person. What a spouse or a father may mean in one person's dream, may represent something totally different in another. So as a prophet in addition to using these guidelines, ask the Lord for revelation to add to the dream.
While you go through the dream, write out the interpretation as a journal and allow the Holy Spirit to place additional pictures and revelations into your heart to enhance it. Dreams can tell you all about a person. It can let you know what is in their heart and what the Lord is doing in their lives.
Use the opportunity, not to just give an interpretation but also use it for ministry. This is after all what the Lord gives revelation for - for the use of ministry and encouragement. Take the interpretation the Lord gives you and then add encouragement and counseling to give the person you are interpreting for faith, hope and love. As you use the gifts within you, you will be a sharpened, valuable tool in the hand of the master and a treasure in His eyes.
The Prophetic Dream
As a prophet, any prophetic dreams you receive are tantamount to receiving a revelation through visions, prophecy, sounds, taste or touch. They are simply the medium the Lord has chosen to speak to you at that time. There are different kinds of dreams, but speaking here of prophetic dreams they are to be treated like any other revelation. The Lord may give you a word and tell you to keep it hidden, just as John was told in Revelation, so you to should keep that secret in your heart.
There will be a time when the Lord will tell you to speak it forth:
Jeremiah 23:8 The prophet that has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What [is] the chaff to the wheat? Says the LORD.
These dreams are prophetic and are to be spoken as a decree, just as Daniel in declaring to Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of his dream in which he dreamt of the statue with its head of gold, breast of silver, thighs of bronze and feet of clay and iron mixed. As Daniel both received this revelation and spoke it forth, he was speaking into existence those things that would take place in the world and the coming of the Messiah whose Kingdom would take over the earth.
Often a dream will be giving you direction of what step to take next. The Lord often spoke to people in the scriptures to tell them what to do. Joseph and Mary are another example of the Lord sending an angel in a dream to tell them when to leave Egypt and then again when Paul dreamt of the Macedonian beckoning him to come to them.
What of the warning dream? Right through the scriptures you read of where the Lord spoke warning. Genesis 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you [are] a dead man, [because] of the woman which you have taken; for she [is] a man's wife.
A warning dream is always directional. It will tell you what to look out for and what to do about it. When the Lord gives you a warning of what the enemy would like to do in your life, this is not for the reason of causing fear, but rather to use the authority and means He has given you to overcome that plan.
Before being able to interpret the dream of another, you will need to know a bit about that person. While some symbols are common amongst many people, to give an accurate interpretation you will need to know the relationship of the person with the characters in their dream. You will need to know what the places, objects and scenes meant to them personally and most importantly you need to know if they are born again by the Spirit of God if you are to interpret by the Spirit and the Word.
Keep in mind that interpretation of symbols in dreams also depends on your culture and upbringing. The Lord used a tablecloth of unclean animals to get His point across to Peter at the tanner's house. Peter was Jewish and so the symbols in his dream were very clear to him, they yelled " UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!"
So the Lord will use symbols that are common to you and your culture to speak to your spirit. Being a Christian, most symbols for Prophetic dreams will come from the Word of God, because that is one 'culture' that we all belong to as the Body of Christ Universal.
The enemy can plant dreams in your mind that are either, a direct attack or a deception. When the enemy attacks you in your sleep, find out what open doors you may have given him that day. Apply the Warfare 4 lecture. Another teaching that will help you identify curses is the "Identifying Curses" in the Way of Blessing series.
Satan has no right to attack you with no license, so if you are coming under demonic attack in your sleep stop right there and ask for revelation to reveal the open door you may have given him. Often this happens when you bring a contaminated object into your bedroom. I remember a time when someone gave my children what seemed like an innocent gift, but every night after receiving it, they kept having nightmares. After praying over the toy and dedicating it to the Lord, the nightmares stopped.
In identifying deception apply the Prophetic Purpose lecture to all revelation - even revelation given in a dream. I had a situation where my advice was asked regarding certain revelation shared in a dream. The person shared that both their spouse and a friend both dreamed a certain individual was going to have a heart attack and die. They were pushing to tell this person in question to warn them.
Now if you apply the principles in the Prophetic Purpose lecture, you need to ask yourself: Does this revelation give faith, hope or love? If you had to walk up to a person and tell them: I dreamed you are going to die. How do you think they will react? If they are like any one normal person, their first reaction will be fear! And as you have learned - fear is one of the most powerful tools the enemy uses to bring curses into our lives. Fear doesn't only kill faith, but causes the person to open their hearts and give the enemy license to bring about that exact plan he had in mind!
Check your revelation out with other prophets! Discern the spirit on it! Any dream that is filled with fear, guilt, condemnation or self-exaltation is a deception! When the Lord speaks, He gives you the means to facilitate that revelation. If the Lord should give you a warning through your dreams as He did with Joseph and Mary when Jesus was a baby, He will do so at the right time and give you what you need to speak and avoid the enemy's plan.
It is very common for members of the G.M.R.N Team to have warning dreams. Yet every time the Lord has given a dream of warning, there has not been fear associated with it, but rather a sense of direction and assurance. So be very discerning when sharing a revelation you received in a dream, checking out the spirit on it and its motivation.
5 Steps to Christian Dream Interpretation
- STEP 1 -
Next you need to identify if the dream is a healing dream, internal/prophetic or just rubbish. Once you have identified that the dream is internal or prophetic, write it down and move on to step 2.
Here are some hints on how to identify which category the dream falls into.
A prophetic dream is very clear. It is a short, clear precise dream with a single message. Often you will have a few short dreams one after the other, each having a similar message.
In a healing dream you will most likely relive past events. You may find yourself saying things in your dream you had wished you had said in that particular circumstance. Perhaps you will go back to past houses, events or time frames in your life and re experience an event, but this time with a happy ending. A dream where you always seem to be running or hiding and then finally stopping and confronting that which is chasing you is very characteristic of a healing dream.
A dream that is over complicated with many changes of scenery and events are very likely to just be your inner man 'throwing out' the junk it had accumulated for that day. You will most likely have many garbage dreams if you get more into the Word and spend time with the Lord, because your mind will be making space for the Word and will 'throw out' the garbage you have stored in there for years.
A dream where you display emotions and characteristics that are not natural to you are simply your sub-conscious 'living out' those feelings and hidden temptations that you experienced during the day. These dreams are simply purging and do not have an interpretation.
- STEP 2 -
It makes it much easier to write down the interpretation as the Lord gives you revelation. Begin by identifying firstly if the dream is Internal, Internal Prophetic or External. Write down which it is and then move on to point 3.
Here are some hints on how to make this identification. Once you have read the dream through you need to identify if it was an internal, internal prophetic or external dream. Were you the main star? If that is the case the dream is internal and the characters symbolic of something within yourself. Did you perhaps receive words of direction in your dream directed at you? Then it is likely an internal prophetic dream.
However if you were standing on the outside, looking on, the dream is likely external. The characters may still be symbolic though, so do not take the dream literally until you have identified each character and object.
An internal dream will often give you direction in your spiritual life. It functions the same way as a Word of knowledge, in that it relates to you those things of the past and present. An internal dream always speaks of your spiritual life. It will let you know of you have gotten off the path, or if you need to be placing more emphasis on something. It will give you an idea of what state your spirit is in and if there is something lacking in your life. It may also tell you when you have birthed something new or have come to a place of rest or promotion.
Prophetic dreams are directional and can also give warning and revelation from the Lord directly. In scripture the Lord often sent angels in dreams to give a message. (See Jacob - Genesis 31:11 And the angel of God spoke to me in a dream, [saying], Jacob: And I said, Here [am] I. and Joseph - Matthew 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,)
B: Internal Prophetic
A Prophetic Internal dream has a different emphasis. Joseph is a good example of this when the Lord gave him the dreams of his brother's sheaves bowing to his sheaf, indicating that his family would one day, bow before him. These dreams were internal because they concerned him personally, but yet they were also prophetic in that they were giving him a word for the future.
Another good example would be of the baker and butler whose dreams Joseph interpreted in prison. (Genesis 40:5) Both concerned them personally, but also gave a prophetic word of what was going to happen. Prophetic Internal dreams function the same as a Word of Wisdom, only the word pertains to you personally.
An external dream always concerns future events and is always prophetic. It functions like the Word of Wisdom and needs to be used discerningly. Daniel is a prime example of the external prophetic dreams he received with regards to Israel and the empires of his time. His dreams always had a future orientation.
Joseph also interpreted the external dream of the King of Egypt, which allowed him to save many lives, even the lives of his nation. Note how even external dreams were given in symbolism. Even in an external dream the characters may not be who they are in real life.
D: Double Interpretations
It is entirely possible for a dream to have an internal and external interpretation. In looking at Nebuchadnezzar once again and his dream of the large statue, we hear only the external interpretation that Daniel gave the King. Daniel told the King how an empire was going to come that would live forever (speaking of the Kingdom of God). What Daniel was too afraid to tell the King is that Nebuchadnezzar himself was going to be toppled and destroyed as the Lord revealed again later in his dream of the tree that was felled and made to be a stump in the dew for 7 years.
So while the Lord may give you an internal dream pertaining to your spiritual condition, He may also be giving you a prophetic dream relating to the future. I have often seen many people err in classing all the dreams they have as external, overlooking the internal interpretation. Perhaps this is because people do not like to have such a close look at within themselves and would rather relate the atrocities and obvious mistakes revealed in their dreams as pertaining to the church, or perhaps it is simply a sign of naiveté.
As a minister be quick to see the revelation as internal firstly, seeing if the Lord is revealing something within yourself that needs changing, before trying to apply what is so obviously a message to you - to your church to use it as a whip to get them in order. You might think this sounds harsh, but it is more common than you think for those in the prophetic ministry to use the revelation given them by God as a whip instead of a balm of healing to the flock.
As we receive revelation, whether it is through dreams, visions or prophecy, let us always bear on our tongue the words of Christ, dripping with His healing balm and light. His words and His light will indeed destroy the darkness and bring the change He desires to bring, as ministers of the Word of God we are to deliver the word in humility and power - we leave the discipline and judgement to Him alone.
- STEP 3 -
Next sense the spirit on the dream. Was there a negative or a positive spirit? Was there a spirit of peace, joy, fear, death, life, change or insecurity? Once you have identified the spirit and emphasis of the dream, this will give you a foundation on which to build the interpretation on. Write down the impressions you have received from the Spirit and then move on to step 4.
- STEP 4 -
This is where you are going to break the dream down and 'dissect' it. Once you become more accustomed to dream interpretation you will not need to break the dream down as much as you will see the interpretation without having to 'dig through' all the details. But for those who are still 'trying their hand' at dream interpretation this is a good way to go until you learn how to flow better in the Spirit.
Make a list on your page from A - F then under each letter list the corresponding Place, Scene, Character, Object, Creature and Color as they appear in the dream. Reading through the helps that I list below, systematically identify the symbol for each of these points one by one.
Make a list of the various places encountered in the dream. Often you may dream of places that are familiar to you. It could be that a time of healing is being brought to that period of your life or that the Lord is exposing something that happened during that time. Churches can speak of a place of worship. If it is an old style church, it could be speaking of the religious status quo system. A house could speak of your life, your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Places such as monuments or historical buildings may speak of things relating to the past - things gone by.
You might find yourself running through alleyways or dark streets. This often speaks of running blind and not having direction. If the feeling that comes with the place is negative and fearful, it could be that the Lord is revealing to you that the enemy is wreaking havoc in your life and sending you running all directions - none of which are of the Lord.
Of course if you find yourself in a meadow where the sun is shining and you feel peace, the Lord could be revealing to you that you have entered into a time of rest and peace with Him. This could speak of a time of freedom and escape from the pressure around you.
Each of these would have a specific meaning pertaining to you as an individual. Look to the Lord for revelation concerning what the places you dream about mean to you.
Write down the scenes in the dream. Once again you might find yourself in a scene that is familiar to you. Restaurants can speak of 'feeding'; bathrooms can speak of 'exposure' or a place of 'washing'. Then again bedrooms may speak of intimacy and privacy. You would need to identify what the scene mean to you and if you sensed a positive or negative feeling towards that scene in your dream.
C: Identifying the Characters
Take each character in the dream and identify what part of you they represent if the dream is internal. Some hints:
Often a spouse can speak of your recreated spirit in Christ. If you had a really good relationship with your earthly father, he could speak of the Lord in your dreams. If you have a bad relationship with a certain person, it is possible that they represent your 'flesh' or 'sinful nature' in your dreams.
If you often find yourself dreaming of a man or woman that you do not know, but yet seem familiar to you, they could represent your masculine and feminine nature. The masculine often represents left-brained, intellectual thinking, while the feminine representing prophetic, right-brained emphasis.
If there is a person in your life that is strong and you look up to, they could speak of the Holy Spirit and His protection. Your relationship with the person in your dream, in real life is vital in identifying what the represent. Your sub-conscious mind will use those emotions and thoughts you have to convey the appropriate message to you clearly.
Often your sub-conscious will use people that represent something in your life. Perhaps the music leader in your church could represent your musical gifts. If you as a prophet are at constant logger-heads with your pastor, he could speak of the church, status quo system in your dreams. Often your children speak of your ministry or those things you have 'birthed' in the spirit.
I know that when I dream of my eldest daughter the Lord is trying to reveal something with regards to my faith. Deborah is very strong willed and has a strong faith and so it is natural that my sub-conscious chose her for this symbol. Now my youngest daughter is very soft and so in my dreams she represents my love.
So it is vital to take a look at how you feel about the person in your dream before identifying the symbol. Once you have identified those characters you will find they are used repeatedly in your dreams as the same symbol.
Often if you keep dreaming of coffins it could mean the Lord is letting you know that something in your flesh needs to die or perhaps has already died and you need to let it go. This dream is very common amongst those in the ministry offices that are called to die to the flesh so that the Spirit can dominate. Dreaming of dead bodies is not always an attack from the enemy but a message from the Lord to just let die, that which is corrupt and rotten!
A wedding ring can speak of a covenant and a wedding dress of your union with the Lord or those things you are 'married' or 'tied' to.
It is also common to see vehicles in your dreams as your ministry - those things that 'drive' your ministry. Often you may dream that you are driving and you are encountering difficulty. The Lord could be saying that you need to give over the wheel to Him and to stop taking your ministry out of His hands.
Perhaps you will dream that a person who symbolizes the Lord is driving in which case it is a good interpretation, indicating that the Lord is in control and that you can sit back and relax for a while. Dreaming that your vehicle has broken down can speak of some kind of damage you have faced in your ministry.
There are even those dreams where you dream you get new keys and are given a new car! This speaks of promotion and the Lord could be confirming that He has given you a greater anointing to carry out the ministry he has given you.
Then there are those objects from the Word that are often displayed in our dreams. Gold objects speak of the Lord and His deity, while a clay pot may speak of us as His vessels ready for service. Wine often speaks of the anointing, as does water and oil. Arrows or weapons piercing you can speak of the work of the enemy who is known for his darts of destruction. Then again wielding a sword speaks of carrying the authority of the Lord and using it as a weapon against the enemy.
If you are not sure on the interpretation of an object take a look through the Word. It is rich with revelation and symbols. The Lord has been speaking in dark sayings and symbols to His prophets since the beginning of the world and you are certain to find the answer to your revelation right in the scriptures!
Snakes, spiders and black creatures very often speak of the work of the enemy and his attacks. Dreaming about giving birth or being pregnant can speak of something you are about to birth in the spirit or have given birth to. If you dream of babies dying it could be a warning dream that the thing the Lord has given you is dying.
A lion can speak of the strength of the Lord. A lamb, of innocence and salvation. If you dream of your pet, you would need to identify what that pet means to you. Often pets are substitutes for children in which case they would represent a positive aspect of yourself.
F: Colors and senses
Often the color red can speak of the blood of the Lord. Blue is a heavenly color, while black does not have a good connotation, being likened to the nature of the enemy. Gold often speaks of the Lord and His majesty, while silver speaks of humanity and redemption in the scriptures. White can speak of purity and green of fertility. Once again you would need to identify what they mean to you as an individual and what they represent in the Word.
- STEP 5 -
Once you have made your list and identified what each symbol represents. Put the dream aside and summarize now what you have received from the Holy Spirit. Write this final summary as a journal and so let it flow not from your intellectual thinking, but by using the internal anointing the Lord has given us for revelation.
Do not use the same formula on every dream you interpret. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and give you additional visions and revelations to back up what you feel the dream means. Here is where you are going to give the subject (or yourself) the direction and answers you are looking for. It is not good enough to just give an interpretation without following it up with the Word of God to encourage, exhort and to promote faith, hope and love.
If a warning is being indicated then give the warning and with it scripture and direction on how to be victorious in that particular situation. If the dream is internal then guide the subject through a better understanding of what is going on inside themselves and how to move on from where they are. If the dream is Internally prophetic, then prepare the subject for what lies ahead and how to prepare for the work the Lord is about to do in their lives.
If the dream is external receive revelation from the Spirit and Word on what to do with the revelation. In other words if it needs to be spoken forth as a decree, kept for a later time, to be travailed over in intercession, or to be shared with a group that you might intercede in unity.
James 5 verse 1 says that if any man lacks wisdom all he needs to do is ask of the Lord and it will be given to him. So ask and pray for wisdom. Daniel was known for the wisdom the Lord gave him with dreams and so with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we have that wisdom within us for every revelation and dream.
Receive that wisdom by faith and see the Lord open your eyes to a whole new realm of interpretation. As you allow yourself to be His vessel, He will open the way for you to use that gift and to bless the Body of Christ with it.
Here is a summary that you can use as a guideline to interpret your dreams:
1. Internal/Prophetic, Healing or Rubbish?
2. Internal, Internal Prophetic and External Dreams.
3. Sense the Spirit
4. Identifying Places, Scenes, Characters, Objects, Creatures and Colors.
5. Your summary.
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