Visions and Dreams
Taken from "Fundamentals of the Faith,
Studies in Basic Bible Doctrine" Part Two,
by Diane S. Dew
"Now it came to pass ... that the heavens were
opened and I saw visions of God" Ezekiel 1:1.
I. A vision may be either true or false.
A. False prophets receive visions by the deceit of their
own hearts. Jer 23:25-28; 29:8; Ezek 13:7-9; Zech 10:2.
B. But it must also be recognized that God has spoken
and revealed Himself to man through dreams and
visions. Num 12:6; Jer 23:28
C. The authenticity and source of a dream or vision may
be determined when we recognize who it is that
receives the glory for it. Deut 13:1-5; Dan 2:19-23
(Daniel blessed God).
II. God does not give visions just for the sake of giving
There are specific purposes for which God speaks to man in
A. Assurance, encouragement, and comfort. Gen 15:1;
Gen 28:12-17; 46:2; Acts 18:9-11
B. Direction, instruction, and guidance. Gen 46:2;
Job 33:15-18; Matt 1:20,24; 2:12-13, 19;
Acts 9:10-12, etc.
C. Exhortation and correction. Gen 20:3,6; 31:24;
D. Foreshadowing of the future. Gen 28:12;
Dan 2:28-29; Matt 1:20,24; Luke 1:11,22
E. Revelation of the plan and purposes of God.
Gen 37:5-9; Dan 7:1-2,7,13,15-16; 8:1-2,15-16
III. How are visions received?
A. A vision can be revealed to one person, while all
others present may see nothing. Daniel 10:7
B. Scripture mentions several times in which a
vision was received while the person was in
prayer. Luke 1:8-23; Acts 10:10-11; 11:5; 22:17;
C. Many times God will speak to man in a vision in
his sleep. Genesis 20:3; 28:11-12, 16; 31:24;
Genesis 41:1-7,11; 46:2; I Kings 3:5;
2 Chron 1:7; Job 33:15-16; Daniel 2:28; 7:1-2,7;
Daniel 13:4,5,10,13; Zech 1:8; Matthew 1:20, 24
D. Visions have been received by a person while "under
the power" of the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel Chapters 1-3;
Ezekiel 43:3; Daniel 5:6,9; 7:15,28; 8:27;
Daniel 10:8-9,15-17; Luke 1:12.
E. But Ezekiel and Daniel both individually received
visions while just sitting by a river. Ezekiel 1:1;
Ezekiel 43:3; Daniel 10:4-8. Ezekiel also received
a vision when he was just sitting in his house with
the Elders. Ezekiel 8:1-3; And another time while he
was in the plain. Ezekiel 3:22-23, etc.
F. The human reaction to supernatural visions is often
one of great fear, and the experience itself may
completely drain one of physical strength.
Ezekiel 3:23; 43:3; Daniel 5:6,9; 7:15,28; 8:27;
Daniel 10:8-9,15-17; Luke 1:12.
IV. Dreams or visions that are symbolic require an interpretation.
Genesis 41:12-13; Daniel 2:16,19; 7:15-16; 8:15-16; Acts 10:17.
A. An interpretation may be given in sleep, even as
visions are often received. Daniel 2:19.
B. The interpretation of a vision or dream cannot be
sought of those involved in witchcraft or divination.
Genesis 41:8,24; Daniel 2:1-2,10-11,27-28; 4:7; 5:7-8.
C. Nor can it be figured out with one's natural understanding.
Genesis 41:16; Daniel 2:30.
D. It is purely a gift from God. Genesis 41:15-16;
Daniel 1:17; 2:1-2,10-11,20-23,27-28
V. In these latter days, with the outpouring of the Spirit
God in our midst, God is fulfilling the prophecy of Joel
with an increasing number of visions and dreams occurring
among His people. Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17.