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Interpreting Dreams

God regularly gives dreams to prophets, but interpretation is not always straightforward.


The wonderful gift of receiving dreams from God is not limited to prophets. Through His Spirit, He will communicate with all who are open to Him and who need His guidance, direction or revelation (Acts 2:17, 18). All spiritual gifts are given for important spiritual purposes, according to Godís plan.

You cannot receive a gift just because you want it. God decides who receives what. And the Ďwhyí of it is completely up to Him, too.

But if you receive a dream, you can seek Him for its meaning and expect to receive Ė depending, of course, upon when He permits you to understand. Sometimes a dream is not meant to be understood until after the event that it portrays.


God Confirms With A Sign

When Helena and I began to receive dreams in the early 1990s, because they were a new phenomenon to us, and we had not been taught about them, we didnít really understand what they meant. We realised they were from God, but we didnít comprehend why. As time went on, we realised more their importance. But, even then, their meaning was often elusive.

One of the earliest dreams to Helena was of me digging foundations in Market Square, Aylesbury, and concreting them. At that time I was still doing building work for a living. The dreamís meaning was a mystery.

I had only written one or two articles or booklets at that time. Later, things developed in a way that we didnít envisage, and many more publications were written. Helena often comprehended the significance of things before I did, and she perceived that the dream portrayed in symbol that what I was writing was a written foundation for the Church. God was behind it, inspiring the various titles and content. All this writing was of Him, not of me.

The dream was given before MM really got underway, to CONFIRM that it was OF HIM. It was a supernatural sign to accompany the physical or human act that could otherwise be ignored as of divine origin. Jesus promised that He would do this, and we read in these famous words about the way He works:

...the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs (Mark 16:20).


Flying Supernaturally!

Similarly, at the beginning of 1998, I received a startling and dramatic dream of flying like Superman. Here is the account of that dream, and one that followed it:

22nd January 1998. Malcolm. Dream of Flying
This was an incredibly vivid dream. I was flying like superman with my arms stretched out and fists clenched. I had supernatural power flowing through me and I could go anywhere, do anything!
Meaning: The anointing that came upon me to write the more than 40 articles to help members of the Worldwide Church of God. (From Jan to Mar 1998.)

27th January 1998. M. Dream of One-Page Articles
In this dream, God showed me that I was to write lots of one page articles and that these would be very helpful to Worldwiders.
The dream was fulfilled over subsequent weeks, when an 'anointing' came upon me to write many articles for WCG.

We did not know the meaning of the first dream until the second dream came. And, when what the dreams predicted took place, then we understood the matter much more fully. God verified Ďmyí writing.


Figurative Symbols

Dreams generally employ symbols Ė metaphors that represent the meaning God is conveying Ė since the meaning or implication is spiritual. The events or pictures in dreams from God are usually figurative, not literal. Their imagery is depictive or allegoric.

God will often use something in the physical with which you are very familiar, or to which you can relate, to portray the greater moral or depictive lesson. It is an illustration or analogy.

For example, Helena was given this dream:

27th January 1998. H. Dream of Small Hills Surrounded by Water
In this dream Helena saw lots of small hills projecting out of what was like a large expanse of waterlogged ground.
Meaning. The distribution of the Church into lots of small groups and how the water of God can better reach them in this environment, than if they were amalgamated as larger mountains.

The imagery was not literal, but was given to portray an ideal that God wants. It is a picture in the physical of what God would like in the spiritual for people. Then they can benefit best from what He makes available. He doesnít work through large church organisations. He works through His Spirit, which is everywhere present, so you donít have to be in a church building, or under the supervision of church leadership to hear from Him or benefit from what He is offering all who are open and spiritually receptive.

In fact, as God had us lay down in the book Godís Church Ė Whose Authority?, He has much to say against churches, against their human leadership, and about the need to come out from under such domination to be able to be led properly by Him!


Interpreting The Symbols

Some good clues as to the meaning of various dream symbols are given in the Bible:

Woman. For example, we see in Revelation 12 that a woman can depict the people of God, and the associated ideology of truth that He offers His people, personified as Wisdom in Proverbs 1.

Israel was symbolised as a woman to whom God was married (Jer 31:32). But she played the harlot (Ezek 16 Ė where Jerusalem is used as a figure for the whole nation) through her disobedience.

Fallen woman. The symbol of a prostitute portrays the opposite of an obedient person(s). It expresses Godís disgust at those who profess to be His, but who violate His precepts and do not properly return His love. For example, Revelation 17:1-18, where the city is Vatican City, responsible for killing many saints of God (17:6).

Waters. Peoples, nations (Rev 12:1, 15).

Fornication. Committing spiritual evils by having illicit spiritual union with the unconverted (Rev 12:2). In the harlotís case it is for the sake of holding power.

Sexual union (in humans) is holy, ordained by God for marriage. It depicts our intimate union with Jesus in the Spirit (Eph 5:31,32). Illicit sexual union conveys the opposite (1 Cor 10:20,21).

Wine that makes people drunk. Deception; false religion; heresy (Rev 17:2).

Wine of the anger of God (Rev 16:19; 14:10-20) depicts His punishment on those who reject His truth.

Mark. A symbol of ownership and allegiance (Rev 13:16). On the right hand: symbolises what you do in obedience to God Ė or in this case, toward man instead of toward God. In the forehead: depicts what you think or believe.

Beast. Despotic human government that uses ruthlessness and force to try to gain your Ďobedienceí. Power without the Holy Spirit, contrary to God (13:18).

Water that refreshes and washes. Biblical truth (Eph 5:26). Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11; Acts 3:19).

A man. Symbol of an unconverted person, in contrast with a woman, who depicts the converted. Or, a man can depict a church leader (usually with a bad connotation), or someone in authority.

A Tall Man. Jesus, or His angel, or someone representing Jesus with spiritual stature and authority.

Light. Truth or spiritual enlightenment from God.

Darkness or mist. Evil spirits; their influence.

Bees. Demons influencing the mind.

Snakes, vipers, asps. Satan and evil spirits.

Red. ĎFireí of trial; war, bloodshed. In eyes: anger, fury, resentment, etc.

These are just a sampling of figurative imagery that dreams can employ.

If you are uncertain about the imagery of your dream, look it up in the Bible. You may find an allusion to it there. If the symbol or metaphor is not in the Bible, then you have to rely upon Godís Spirit leading your mind into further understanding.

Of course, there are some dreams where the subject matter is not figurative, but literal, or where part of the imagery is literal and part is figurative.


Complex Imagery

Where imagery is difficult or complex, you need divine guidance to understand it. The human mind is incapable of comprehending matters that are deeply spiritual. The Holy Spirit is the Great Revelator. Jesus is ever present through His Spirit to give understanding where people are humble and submissive to Him.

Where we need to know the meaning of dreams, God Ďdropsí the interpretation into our minds. Some- times Helena will receive the meaning of dreams which God has given me and which I donít understand. Sometimes I will receive the meaning of hers. God shares His revelations, and He will guide your thoughts as you submit to Him.

If I pray for revelation on some matter, He will often give her the answer, or vice versa.

When it comes to unravelling complex imagery, you have to rely upon Him to show you, or to reveal it to someone else who is spiritually minded.

We read of how God revealed a dream to Daniel (Dan 2:19-23). Daniel was humble about it:

...this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes [those God fearing saints were about to be mercilessly exterminated] who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart (Dan 2:30).

The underlined words reveal the overriding purpose of personal dreams. God knows you inside out, but you need to know your own spiritual blindness and see as God sees. This is not entertainment. It is highly purposeful! He wants you to change to become like Him in purity, character and holiness.

The following dream is one example of complex imagery in a dream from 2002:

19th Jan 2002. M. Reinhard Bonnke and the Funeral Procession
There were a number of people going to a funeral. All the bodies Ė and there were many of them Ė were loaded onto a flat-bed cart which people were pulling. The corpses were covered with reddish- brown sheets, like the colour of burnt soil.

On other smaller trailers, small people were sitting (in sixes), totally covered (over their heads as well, so they couldn't see anything) with charcoal coloured blankets. Also, they were facing the other direction to the way the procession was going. Reinhard Bonnke was at the front, leading them. I couldn't help but think, "Why doesn't he show them what is wrong with their customs? Why does he just go along with them without correcting the error in their tribal traditions?!"

Comment: Here God is revealing that there is a need to forcefully address the matter of wrong traditions in the Church, such as Sunday worship, Easter, Christmas, hierarchic church authority, etc., which are as pagan in their origins as tribal (demonic) traditions.

It is now time to move on. The old church structures and teachings are inadequate to prepare the Bride of Christ to accept the full purity of God's teachings in His Word.

'Elijah' must do his work. He must challenge all the false prophets of Asherah and Baal and their compromised teachings promoted by Jezebel in the Church.

Meaning: [If it werenít for the Spirit giving enlightenment and interpretation, I could not have arrived at a comprehension of the dreamís meaning alone.]

Here is what the imagery of this dream portrays:

Funeral. The Church with its present teachings is heading towards death, as in Sardis. It needs new revelation of truth to revive it.

Many dead bodies. There are many dead Christians, who are not alive by the Holy Spirit.

People sitting in sixes. Six in biblical numerics denotes the evil which men subscribe to. From God's perspective, these small groups of people need to come to terms with the evil in their Christian practice. [The meaning of various numbers is explained in Godís Great Genius.]

Totally covered... they couldn't see anything. The blindness of the Church. They can't see where they are headed. They are blindly following customs that have no biblical basis.

Facing the other direction to which the procession was going. Reinhard is pointing people towards God's Kingdom of righteousness which Jesus introduced. Despite the fact that he has got some things wrong in his theology, the overall thrust of all his work is towards God. But many believers are facing the other way. They don't share his aspirations. They are selfish and self-orientated, which is backward looking.

Reinhard was at the front, leading them. God holds him responsible as their spiritual leader for not showing them the folly and unbiblical nature of their religious practices.

In understanding, always remember:

The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them... (Ps 25:14).


Dreams Can Be Traps

Godís mind is not our mind. In fact, there is such a gulf between the mind of God and the mind of man, it is vast! Yet, humans donít consider that. You donít consider what you donít know.

Godís objective is to sift the righteous from the wicked, and perfect His children in the midst of an evil world, where they are surrounded by wickedness. True believers are known by their good heart (inner motive), but false believers are alongside. However, you canít tell one from the other without Godís enlightenment. (You donít always need to, but sometimes it helps to know whom to beware.)

In working out His purpose, God is very shrewd.

With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd (Ps 18:25-26).

Why does God treat people differently? Because of what I said a moment ago. He is separating people through trial and testing. He tests them to see which way they will go (Ps 18:27).

One of the most fundamental tests concerns pride. Satan was once a beautiful being with great ability and power (he still has considerable power). But he fell through pride. If anyone is to succeed spiritually, he or she must also be tested similarly. If you are not willing to let go of pride, if you seek to be lifted up or seek self-aggrandisement, God canít use you. If you persist all your life down such a route and donít change to become like a little child in humble approach, you wonít be saved.

God will frequently use revelations or dreams to see which way you will go. (He knows already, but He still has to test you by having you go through with it, so that YOU will see yourself as you are.)

Dreams can be helpful and enlightening, or they can be harmful and destructive if you get puffed up. Many do get elevated in their own minds when God gives them dreams.

God may test the wicked like this.

For example, a man was given revelations about MM. He was shown in the dream how vital MMís work is to Godís purpose on earth at the moment. And he was also shown that he should help assist in the task.

However, instead of doing as God suggested, he thought he was something special because God had singled him out to receive this direct revelation. He got puffed up. He thought HE was the centre of what was going on, instead of God. He thought MMís work was here to glorify him in some way, to lift HIM up as some paragon of virtue or to give him the money he wanted (he lived in a poor country).

Instead of laying down his life in self sacrifice, he did the opposite. The dream was a trap. It exposed his evil motives. After that, he fell away. Many have fallen into the pit of pride. Few climb out of it!


Dreams Give Impetus

There is so little time in this preparation period now before Jesusí coming, that one reason for dreams is to give impetus and a greater sense of urgency to you, to get moving. Dreams are an end-time sign (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28). God is urging you, get ready:

19th Jan 2002. M. Going to the Train Station
People were walking along slowly down a railway track. I came up from behind and passed them, moving briskly [conveys the spiritual advancement of MM, reflecting positively on MMís literature]. I nimbly skipped from sleepers to the rails, and off the track, down a slope into a train station. The people I had passed seemed a bit surprised at the speed with which I was walking.
Meaning: We have a sense of urgency to move ahead. Itís necessary. There is so little time to get things done. But most Christians are just ambling along, not realising the urgency of the times. There is much to be done in a very short space of time! So, everyone needs to really move!

Malcolm B Heap, June 2006
 


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