What is the purpose of dreams and visions?

It is interesting to see how often the Lord used dreams and visions throughout the New Testament. 

  • Joseph is guided by a dream to take Mary as his wife despite
    her “unplanned” pregnancy.  A dream
    leads him to flee to Egypt when Herod tries to kill Jesus, and another lets him
    know when it is time to return.
  • Peter is on a rooftop when he sees a vision of
    all kinds of animals being let down on a sheet.  The Lord tells him to call nothing unclean.  The Lord uses this to show him that he,
    a Jew, is to go with the servants of Cornelius.  And as a result, the Gentiles are reached with the
  • Paul is guided by a dream to go to Macedonia and
    so Europe is evangelized.

We too have been guided by dreams
or visions on occasion.  For
example, one night I dreamed that we put a course that we used to run in our
home online so that it became available to a lot more people.  We have now done that and many churches
have started as a result.  Another
time I had a dream of a house being shifted on its foundations so that all the
rooms in it were skewed and out of shape. 
The Lord used that dream to cause us to re-examine some of the
foundations of the Kingdom work we were involved in.

In Acts 2, Peter, explains to the assembled
crowd what is going on when the Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost.  He tells them, “Your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams.”  Dreams and visions are to become the

All over the world, God is
using dreams and visions to speak to people.  In some contexts that are hostile to the gospel, for example
in Muslim nations, it is becoming increasingly common for people to have a
vision or dream of a man dressed in white robes coming and speaking to them.  One of the ways of reaching out to the
lost in these nations is to ask people if they have had such a dream.  This then opens the door to explain
that the person they have seen is Jesus and to explain to them how to become
His follower.

One of the most common ways the Lord speaks to me is through a fleeting picture.  Is this a vision?  I'm not sure, but the impression, which is usually a picture in my mind that may last only a second or so, will open up a concept that the Lord uses.  An example:  in a time where a group of people were waiting on the Lord, just listening to what He wanted to say to us over a period of a couple of days, I had a brief picture of a key, but there was something about its design that meant it took a group of people to use it.  From that, the Lord showed us that there were certain situations we could only unlock corporately rather than individually.

If we are open to dreams and visions, the Lord will use them to speak to us.

6 replies on “What is the purpose of dreams and visions?”

I have had many dreams and visions that the Lord has given me. So I can truly Identify with what you are saying here. I have been writing them into my blog so that I can reference/share them later.

Felicity, I also experience these visions as a brief
picture/scene that lasts only a moment, but are packed
with substance. I am often able to give a prophetic
message based in this. These most often happen while
talking to someone or praying for someone, and are
quite helpful.
Four years ago, while praying at a house church gathering,
I received a Macedonian call vision for Asia, not knowing
who it was for. Within a week, a series of events led me
to understand that it was for me, and I was soon on my way
to Asia, where I have been going ever since. Recently another
person who was there that night, a young single woman,
told us that she has been directed by the Lord to Asia,
where she’ll spend the next 1-2 years.

I had a vision while I was in prayer. In this vision I saw a very stormy sea, at night,with no moon nor stars, and in the sea,and there were people drowning. Also in the sea, were many rowboats with a captain in each and the captain, along with those in the boat were rescuing those who were in the sea. The boats would only hold so many and that is why many boats were needed. I saw that the boats all rowing to a light house. Also in the vision, I saw a very large ocean liner. It had a crew of thousands and it took every member of the crew to run the ship, no one could be spared to aid in the rescuing those who were drowning in the sea. Furthermore, the ocean liner was huge and very high so that it would be impossible for its crew to reach a hand into the water to rescue those who were drowning. I believe that the row boats are symbolic of home groups/simple churches. A rowboat can only hold so many before it begins to sink. The ocean liner is the mega church(machine) it has so much machinery needed to keep the vessel running that it can’t spare anybody. And when I saw the ocean liner steer toward somebody that was drowning in an effort to save them it ended up killing them

We have known many people here in Brazil to whom God has given dreams. Sometimes they do not understand what God is saying to them, or to someone else, in the dream so they share it with the house church for interpretation. Do you have similar experiences with dreams/visions where interpretations are given by those who do not actually dream the dream or see the vision?

These are great examples that people are giving.
Stan, I would say it is quite common to have other people interpret a dream. In fact, we had an example this weekend with a group of apostolic/prophetic women. One of the women had a dream which was very much linked with what we had been talking about. The full interpretation only came as a number of people had input.

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