Why do dreams seem to help us know God’s will today? (Judges 7, esp. verse 15) -- 13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” 14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” 15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.
ESV - 15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, "Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.
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I would say that, although God would certainly be capable of speaking to people through dreams or visions today, there might not be as much need for Him to do so as there would have been in biblical times. Unlike ancient times, Christians have had the completed canon of Scripture for almost 2,000 years. The Bible represents God's fullest revelation to humanity of Himself and of His will. Anyone seeking guidance from God can find His counsel on almost any given topic there. Even if a specific concern or subject is not addressed, the Bible provides principles or criteria by which any course of action or set of circumstances can be evaluated to determine whether it would be in accordance with God's will. The Christian also has the ability to communicate directly with God in prayer, in order to be shown through spiritual insights or God's ordering of circumstances what His will is (although such guidance should always be compared to the Bible, to assure that it is not merely from our minds or a deception of Satan).
God does speak in dreams and visions today just as Peter said in Acts 2:16 - 17: 'No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘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."" I don't think anyone that knows the Bible would deny that we are living in 'the last days' and the Holy Spirit is being poured out wherever people are willing to accept Him. Having said that, we know Satan is a deceiver and will counterfeit every manifestation of the Holy Spirit, so we need discernment and we need to test whether a dream or vision is from the Lord. Most dreams are from our own minds as we know, but, there are dreams that our spirit recognizes as being different and significant. These are the ones we need to test. We need to pray for discernment and it is good to bring them to a godly pastor or friend for confirmation.
My personal view is that God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit desires to communicate and fellowship with people always. However, as a result of man's preponderance of activities, little time is available for rest and meditation and allied pastime. In God's omnisciency and love, He devises an auspicious occasion to bring His message to whom He wishes to communicate, when the written word would not avail. This is where DREAMS come in. All-through the checkered history of God's people down the centuries, God has been communing with man through this means. The mere fact that the devil counterfeits it does not vitiate its significance, rather is a reinforcement. A very good brother was saved from fuel fire explosion accident in Nigeria last month because he was warned through a dream of fire accident early in the morning. He heeded the warning and rearranged his schedule that day. Almost everyone that went to that point where he would have been either died or had their vehicles summarily consumed. He was saved. "In a dream...when deep sleep falls upon men...God opens the ears of men and seals instruction.." Job 33:15-16. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Let us learn to make use of spiritual codes written around us on every fiber and tissue of creation, even our dreams.
Joel 2:28, quoted by Peter in Acts 2:17 very definitely applies here. God very definitely continues to speak to us in dreams. Peter quoted this as "in the last days," and applied it to the events of that day. This was the day after the last events of the age defined by the prophecy of Passover, and the first day of the age defined by the prophecy of the Feast of Weeks (in Greek called Pentecost.) Pentecost was defined according to Paul as the down payment (earnest) of the spirit (2 Cor 1:22, 5:5). Later we will receive the fullness of God (Eph 3:19) or of Christ (Eph 4:13.) This fullness is the characterizing attribute of the age prophesied by the Feast of Tabernacles and we are now at the time of transition from the age of Pentecost into the age of Tabernacles. We should expect to see on a very large scale the same things that happened in and around Jerusalem on that day and which continued to grow over the next weeks and years. Prophetic dreams will be a major part of this, and if we take the wording of Joel literally, any who are not receiving such dreams have not received the Holy Spirit. Just as importantly, we must look at the New Covenant since this defines what happens to the believer on whom God has poured out his spirit. This is found in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and quoted in Hebrews 8. This says in part, "33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” The hallmark of the New Covenant is a direct relationship with God. This is not a relationship through a priest, pastor or denomination. You know what you believe because God told you, not your pastor, as is so common today. Isa 43:27 is one of the most direct of the many texts that tell us the priesthood teaches us to sin. Less direct texts tell us Aaron, by making the Golden Calf and acceding to the demands of the people taught them to sin, the sons of Eli and the sons of Samuel were also guilty, and examples are found throughout scripture of temple and church leadership teaching sin. Even Peter fell back into this because of the influence of the Judaisers in Jerusalem, and Paul chastised him for it (Gal 2:14). The only way we can be sure that we are receiving God's word is to have that direct relationship with God himself, because at some point, every human, including pastors, priests, bishops and popes will teach their own word as the word of God. This does not mean we reject everything they say, but we must follow the law in Deut 13 which tells us we must test every word they say, and we can only do this if we have that direct relationship with God ourselves and we are willing and able to set aside our own "idols of the heart," (Eze 14:1-11) which will color everything we hear and see if we do not make ourselves aware of them and the falsehoods they uphold in us. Finally, we should not assume that because God communicates to us in this way we must treat all dreams as prophetic, or that we must have prophetic dreams to be considered to have the spirit of God within us. God spoke to Elijah in the still small voice and that was just as valid as the dreams we see him use so often and are the clear defining characteristic of his speaking to the prophet (Num 12;6). Instead, this is a sign of his communication with someone who is greater than a prophet (Num 12:7, 8 and 1 Cor 12:27), in other words, an apostle. As this Pentecostal age comes to a close and we enter the age of Tabernacles we will see more and more of both these means of communication with/from God.
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