Should Christians Learn to Interpret Dreams?

This advert for a Christian event at Lancaster a few years ago really troubles me. Although it rightly asks if the interpreting of dreams is scriptural (the organisers would clearly say it is) and a proof text is offered from the book of Numbers, my concern is unabated. I’ve put off blogging about it because I realise the church hosting it are sincere. But their sincerity is no match for my sense of alarm.

‘Expect a whole area of revelation to open up to you…’. What is this? Has God not revealed what we need in scripture? Are there things we need to know here on earth that He has not already told us? How fortunate we are that Liz Evans and Team are able to share with us the secrets of such knowledge.

‘Develop a prophetic vocabulary’. To make wannabe prophets sound more authentic? I wonder if Amos or Isaiah needed coaching for this. If a revelation truly comes from God, will He not supply the wording along with the message?

‘A practical introduction to get you started’. Excellent. Like all good training courses, it facilitates the delegates to develop their own expertise in the field. What they experience on the day is only the beginning. Three years after this training session and the folk who attended it must be very well practised interpreters of dreams indeed.

‘…God speaks to you in the night through pictures and visions.’ Oh no! Has God been speaking to me each night but I’ve been too busy sleeping to listen? Of course I don’t expect him to operate 9-5, but I wonder why God, whose messages are always very important, would speak to us when we’re least able to hear.

I certainly acknowledge that God has spoken to people in the Bible through dreams. I think of the Josephs, for example, both Old and New Testament. Yet these men required no schooling in interpretation- they were neither of them prophets. God spoke plainly. And if God, in His wisdom, chooses to speak to you and I through dreams and visions, He will do so plainly. If, having had a dream, you wonder if it was a message from God- it wasn’t. If it were, it would have been obvious.

I looked up Liz Evans. Her church’s website says ‘Liz Evans established the Bath School of Prophecy ten years ago to equip, mentor and lead the church in Prophetic gifts.’ As an ex-Pentecostal who does not even now rule out spiritual gifts, I dare not say that this woman and her team are doing evil, lest I blaspheme Him who is our Comforter. But I will warn all readers thus:

  1. Your dreams are manufactured by your imagination. Assuming your thoughts and words are God’s is dangerous and bordering on great evil. If God does choose to speak that way, He shall make it perfectly plain.
  2. People claiming to be prophetic and having the right vocabulary are the most likely to deceive.
  3. Your being informed that God sends you special messages every night that you must ponder and interpret is massaging your pride. Be warned. If you spent half that time reading the Bible, you would indeed hear God speak.
  4. Lying spirits operate who deliver genuine messages. Now hear Micaiah, a real prophet:

1 Kings 22: 19 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ 23 Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.”

Says Jeremiah 27:9, Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers.