Doctrine of Dreams, Visions and Trances
I. Dream in the original languages.
A. Hebrew word— MwølSj- chalom
B. Greek word o¢rasiß -horasis
II. Natural Dreams
A. Thoughts, images and sensations that occur in a person’s mind when he is a asleep.
B. Scripture: Jb 7:14; 20:8; Ps. 73:20; Ec 5:2,6;
Eccl. 5:3 ¶ As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.
Personal cares and concerns are often the cause of dreams.
III. Revelatory Dreams
A. This is when God reveal something supernaturally to someone. This communication may come directly from God, a messenger angel or it may just be seeing, hearing or both that God has given the person in his dream. It may take the form of a prophecy, which may include future history, a warning or some other form of revelation that God reveals to mankind. Dreams could bring a clear message or require an interpretation like we have in Dan. 2.
1. Abimelech (Gen. 20:3-7).
2. Joseph (Matt. 1:20-24).
B. In the OT, it may come to Israelites or non-Israelites.
1. Solomon 1 Kgs. 3:5-15
2. Abimelech Gen. 20:3; chief cup-bearer (Gen. 40:9-17); Pharaoh (Gen. 41:1-7).
C. Dreams were often connected to prophets.
1. For true prophets (Jer. 23:28).
2. For false prophets (Deut. 13:1-5;Jer. 23:25-32).
Jer. 23:32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the LORD. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the LORD.
IV. Dreams in the New Testament—
A. For obedience and guidance.
1. To Joseph Matt. 1:20; 2:13,19,22
2. To the magi not to go back to Herod Matt. 2:12
B. Warning from God—uncertain
1. Pilate’s wife—warned her husband not to have anything to do with “that innocent man.” (Matt. 27:19).
V. Visions—Visions are not much different than dreams except that the person is awake at the time. But it can also come at night, a night vision. (Is. 29:7)
A. Vision in the original languages.
2. Greek—- o¢rama horama
VI. Visions may be similar to dreams if they come at night.
A. The prophet Joel connects prophecies, dreams, and visions with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
Joel 2:28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people. ¶ Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
B. Young Samuel in 1 Sam. 3. He was lying down but it does not say he was asleep yet when the LORD called him. (1 Sam. 3:3 ff.).
1Sam. 3:1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
C. Ananias and Saul, who became Paul.
The Lord called to Ananias in a visit to go see Saul who had had a vision of Ananias come and see him. Paul was blind at the time which makes this even more interesting (Acts 9:10-12).
D. Paul (Gal. 1:15-16).
1. A vision to come over to Macedonia Acts 16:9-10
2. In Corinth, where Paul was told by the Lord to not be afraid to remain in Corinth Acts 18:9-11
3. When Paul relates to King Agrippa his conversion (Acts 26:19).
E. To Cornelius, a Gentile unbeliever but God-fearer at the time.
1. In a vision, he saw an angel of the Lord (Acts 10:2-7).
2. In the same account, Peter falls into a trance (Acts 10:10;11:5).
F. John in Revelation Rev. 9:17. Much of Revelation is a series of visions.
A. Trance in the original languages
1. Hebrew— Måd∂r radam Dan. 8:18
2. Greek e¶kstasiß ekstasis -out of one’s normal state of mind. One is awake, his mind is focused on what he sees and hears, rather than what is around him. This is a supernatural experience, similar to a vision.
1. In the temple in Jerusalem fell into a trance (Acts 22:17).
2. Of the third heaven
2Cor. 12:1 ¶ I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.
2Cor. 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.
VIII. Dreams and visions in the last days. This took place on the Day of Pentecost with the coming of the Spirit to indwell the believers. Quoted from Joel 2:28
Acts 2:17 ¶ “ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
¶ Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
IX. Dreams, Visions and trances today:
A. Question: Do revelatory dreams, vision and trance come to people today?
1. We have the entire word of God, the revelation of God.
2. With that, there is no apparent need for any new revelation.
3. Like the days of the Kings, dreams and visions would be rare at best.
4. As there are no prophets or apostles our era, so there would be no new revelation through dreams or visions.
See the doctrine of sings and wonders (2 Thess. L. 6) and studies on prophets (Intermediate Bible Training).
X. False teachers will continue to claim to have their dreams and visions and new revelation.
Col. 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,