The Bible is full of dreams, but does God still speak through them today? Can Christians interpret them, or are they mostly meaningless?
(c) Daniel Morris http://www.danielxmorris.com
Tony Cooke predicts that within the next 15 years, Christians interpreting dreams will become as common as praying for healing.
Tony is the director of Streams Training Centre in Cheltenham. The centre runs courses on hearing God, prophetic ministry and an advanced workshop on dream interpretation.
“We spend a third of a lives asleep, our spirit doesn’t sleep so why would God stop speaking to us in the nighttime?" he asks.
But the pastor of The Bridge church says he can “sympathise” with those who are initially skeptical of dream interpretation.
“It had never come across my path as a Christian in 20 years. As soon as it was pointed out it was like ‘oh my goodness!’ You look through the Bible and there’s Joseph’s dreams way back in Genesis and his interpretation which changed the history of Israel, there’s Daniel which still has things coming out of it, and dreams the biological father of Jesus has.”
'...it was from God'
Philbe Kellett lives in Bedford and attends The Kings Arms, a church which has been very involved in prophetic ministry. Philbe says she has been encouraged to “think outside of the box in terms of the prophetic; rather than just hearing words and speaking words, receiving dreams and interpreting those.”
Philbe says she dreams regularly and believes if she remembers the dream clearly, it was from God.
“I’ve had dreams for myself, dreams that have foretold things that have happened in the church and also had dreams for other people. I started by interpreting my own dreams and as I’ve done that more people have come to me with their dreams so I interpret them for them.”
“I remember having a dream for a friend of mine and I saw her in a river holding onto this branch for dear life. It felt like this was really significant so I went to her and said I feel like you’re holding on to something and you need to let go and go with the flow of the river. It really meant something to her.”
Philbe says she can tell the difference between dreams that are fuelled by anxiety or are meaningless and those which are from God, while admitting she struggles to verbalize how she knows this.
Tony also has examples of interpreting dreams.
“I had somebody phone me up the other day and I’m not normally this directive about dream interpretation, but it was very obvious given what was going on in these two leaders lives that the dream held a huge warning about someone they were hooking up with in ministry.”
“It’s not that the other people were bad, nasty or horrible but simply they were insecure and were going to try and push the ministry they had started and God had given them onto these people and if they accepted it, it would all go pear-shaped."
“I said 'this is the interpretation of the dream and if I’m right you will have already had some warnings in the spirit about this situations'. And they had. It’s really relevant, it’s really powerful.”
Tony believes that as well as interpreting other Christian’s dreams, the gift can be used evangelistically. Furthermore, he argues that if Christians aren’t open to interpreting dreams they are “missing out”.
“I’ve tried over the years virtually every evangelism method you can think of and I’ve never had a line of people waiting to speak to us. We set up free dream interpretations and they queue up. Once you’ve started a conversation, you can engage in more directive outreach language.”
Tony believes interpreting dreams has been hijacked by New Age and occult practices and has “taken over what was the church’s inheritance”.
“We spend a third of a lives asleep, our spirit doesn’t sleep so why would God stop speaking to us in the nighttime?”
“I get hot under the collar when I find out the New Age is stealing out stuff because it’s so powerful and more and more people are coming to us and saying ‘what does this dream mean? I know it’s important but I don’t understand it.’ When they find out what it means they’re just astonished.”
Furthermore, Tony claims a huge amount of dreams non Christians dream are pointing them toward faith.
“As a very sweeping generalization, if you do secular dreams, almost all of them are pointing the dreamer to getting to know Jesus. Almost all of them. Which is why there’s increasing evidence that Muslims are coming to faith primarily through receiving dreams where Jesus appears.”
While Tony wants to encourage every Christian to be involved in this specific ministry, the path towards it that he suggests isn’t so simple...or cheap. Before you can do the course in ‘Understanding dreams and visions’ you must complete another course at the Streams Training Centre called, ‘Art of Hearing God’. Each course costs £80 and runs over weekends.
But Philbe doesn't think it's "essential to have training".
"If you look at the life of Joseph he wasn't trained when he interpreted pharoh's dreams. I haven't had any formal training...Getting really well trained could mean that miss out on the Holy Spirit showing us the meaning of dreams. At the end of the day spiritual gifts grow as we spend more time with God and get to know him better. It's all about relationship and taking risks and loving the person in front of you."
Tom McMahon from United States based ministry The Berean Call is less convinced about the phenomenon. “God would reveal the interpretation of the dream if he had sent the dream and there was some purpose in it but that doesn’t happen every night.”
“This is so subjective, a person can come up with anything they want whether they spiritualise it or not but it’s just another bogus psychologically related thing that’s come into the church” he says.
The lack of dream interpretation training and publicity among churches of all denominations in the UK suggests its an idea which has yet to grain traction. Whether people are put off by New Age connotations or find the practise too subjective, it's far from a mainstream Christian idea. But if Tony is right, that could be about to change...
June 27th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes