We received an email from an individual who asked the following:
Hey I was reading your site and I was wondering if it is possible for there to be people who can have visions or spiritual experiences that are actually from God.
This question been already been briefly addressed in our book, in the short chapter titled “Spiritual Experiences,” where we wrote, in part:
Many of today’s Christians are following after spiritual experiences, and equating those spiritual experiences with a close relationship with God. There is also a tendency to follow after people who claim to have had these spectacular spiritual experiences and are teaching others how to experience these things for themselves. Since, like with gifts, the tendency is to equate salvation, blessing, special favor, anointing, holiness, and righteousness with these experiences, the assumption is that the person or leader who has regular supernatural encounters has a close relationship with God and is, therefore, one to be followed.
Although many of the experiences [we write about] are expressly unbiblical, not all are. The difference is often the focus and desire of the heart. For example, are you focused on following after the spiritual experience of having a vision, or are you focused on the true God, His Word, and your relationship with Him? Do you seek after fighting demons (what is known as a “warrior mentality” or a “warrior identity”), or do you seek after a relationship with God and doing His Will, resting in the words of Jesus that “nothing shall harm you?” Is your identity wrapped up in the fact that demons are subject to you, or in the fact that your name is written in Heaven? Where is the focus of your heart? What is your motivation?
But since we have received this type of question many times, both from those who email us as well as from those on social media, some (not all… but some) who are obviously uncomfortable at being challenged with the assertion that not all of the spiritual experiences they are having or are seeking after are authored by God, we’ll go into a bit more detail with this blog post, and hopefully this will help clarify our position for those of you who are unsure of what we mean when we say, “stop seeking after spiritual experiences.”
Even though the individual who emailed us did not mention dreams, dreams can be related to visions under the conditions we are speaking of in this article, so we’ll address both visions and dreams in part one of this article.
In part two, we’ll more fully address the question about spiritual experiences.
And please note that when we are discussing “dreams” in this article, we are not referring to normal everyday dreams. But we are referring to those dreams that are believed by the dreamer to be unique and special, and to be some type of communication from God, a “higher power,” a “spirit,” an “angel,” or from some other supernatural messenger by whatever name or title they claim, or by whatever form they take.
Scripture shows us where people have had dreams and visions that were given to them by God, so we have never indicated that all visions and dreams are not from God. But Scripture also warns about false visions and dreams, something many vision-and-dream-seeking Christians seem unwilling to consider.
For example, read the words of God as spoken to Jeremiah, a true prophet of God:
This is what the LORD of Hosts says:
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They are filling you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the LORD.
They keep saying to those who despise Me,
‘The LORD says that you will have peace,’
and to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart,
‘No harm will come to you.’
But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD
to see and hear His word?
Who has given heed to His word
and obeyed it?
Behold, the storm of the LORD
has gone out with fury,
a whirlwind swirling down
upon the heads of the wicked.
The anger of the LORD will not turn back
until He has fully accomplished the purposes of His heart.
In the days to come
you will understand this clearly.
I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
yet they have prophesied.
But if they had stood in My council,
they would have proclaimed My words to My people
and turned them back
from their evil ways and deeds.”
“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?”
“Can a man hide in secret places where I cannot see him?” declares the LORD.
“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.
“I have heard the sayings of the prophets who prophesy lies in My name: ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these prophets who prophesy falsehood, these prophets of the delusion of their own minds? They suppose the dreams that they tell one another will make My people forget My name, just as their fathers forgot My name through the worship of Baal.
Let the prophet who has a dream retell it, but let him who has My word speak it truthfully. For what is straw compared to grain?” declares the LORD. “Is not My word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that smashes a rock?”
“Therefore behold,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words they attribute to Me.”
“Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and proclaim, ‘The LORD declares it.’ ”
“Indeed,” declares the LORD, “I am against those who prophesy false dreams and retell them to lead My people astray with their reckless lies. It was not I who sent them or commanded them, and they are of no benefit at all to these people,” declares the LORD.Jeremiah 23:16-32
If this doesn’t bring to repentance the false prophets with their lying dreams and visions, what could?
But, as we’ve observed within certain groups of people who claim Christianity, there is often a tendency for the individual to believe that since they call themselves a Christian, and since they consider themselves to be “spirit-filled” or “spirit-guided,” then they believe they can be involved in pretty much anything, and it be okay… since they are “Christian.” They believe they can’t possibly be led into delusion and into something that is wrong or false, because they believe they are “protected and covered” by God; therefore, by their faulty thinking, anything they chase after is of God. Some of them are so deluded that they even go a step further and claim (sometimes publicly, sometimes privately) that they are “taking back” the things of the occult for God… or, as they usually put it: “taking back what Satan stole.”
The illogic of this mindset, and the danger they are placing themselves under by falling prey to such unbiblical delusion, goes right past them.
Now, they probably wouldn’t necessarily be involved in anything that looks like the “dark” side of witchcraft, no… although, the deeper they get into their occult practices, the darker their activities become, and the “lighter” that dark seems to appear.
(And Christians, please don’t misunderstand us: fundamentally, there is no difference between “dark magic” and “light magic” because it’s all serving Satan.)
But the so-called “light” side seems to be rather appealing to such individuals at first, as they wield their swords or send light or spread salt or bind up the spirits of people or order “angels” about in an ungodly spiritual warfare; twist around and misapply the Word of God to suit their purposes, and chant Scripture as if it’s a spell; seek after relationships with “angels” as if they are personal spirit guides for their protection and founts of spiritual wisdom for their guidance and knowledge; seek the guidance and foreknowledge of visions and dreams, stubbornly holding to their misinterpretation and misapplication of Joel 2/Acts 2 as being their “sign of permission” to pass over Scripture in favor of their dreams and visions; and use extra-virgin olive oil that they have “blessed” … or holy water from Israel … or their mezuzah case … or some other such physical object … as if it were their protective amulet.
Such “Christians” are indistinguishable from the average, modern-day witch.
And our greater point is this: choose who you will serve!
Pick a side!
Either live for God or live for Satan, but stop using the name of God and His Holy Word to excuse and validate your occult practices.
Choose who you will serve.
Visions and Dreams
In many “charismatic-style” Christian groups (as with occult groups), dreams and visions are often seen as a “gift,” and are most often connected with prophecy, or with some type of foretelling or “second sight,” and in charismatic-type circles, they are usually shared with others under the pretense of “thus saith the Lord” or “God showed me or told me this,” or something similar.
While we are not arguing that such a “gift” can be real, we want to remind you that not everything that is real is something that comes from God.
And while such a gift can also make us “feel good,” not everything that feels good is good.
So, we have tried to warn Christians in our articles and in our book that the focus on having visions and dreams and other supernatural experiences is not of God. Those who seek after such things are very likely to receive what they desire, but it will be a deception from Satan that will eventually lead them to destruction. And as Scripture warns us many times: God does not take lightly those who falsely claim to come in His name!
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’Matthew 7:21-23
So if you have ever had any part of seeking after visions, dreams, and other types of “gifts” or supernatural experiences — as we have in the past, much to our shame — we urge you to align yourself with God’s Word and repent.
But are there any instances today in which a dream or a vision can be given from God?
Let’s get into this topic by first establishing some basics.
Question: “Are visions or dreams from God needed today?”
Consider these points:
First, we are shown in Scripture that visions and dreams from God were given to convey messages from God, and those messages were given by the Spirit of God, for His specific purpose, and for that unique, specific time.
There are two points to be brought out here, the first being that those messages from God, as well as the fulfillment of and the Spirit-led, apostolic teachings about them, are now widely available for us to read in His written Word (the Bible), thereby negating the need for God to now speak to us via visions and dreams. We’ll get into more detail about this in a moment, and although this is a principle that is spoken of all throughout the Word of God, here are four passages of Scripture where you can start your study: Romans 1:1-4, Romans 16:25-26, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, and Hebrews 1:1-2.
The second point is something we brought up in our book, in the chapter titled “Spirit Travel and Seeing in the Spirit,” and although we were talking about travel via supernatural means, the same principle applies here: over the thousands of years of history that the Bible covers, and out of the billions and billions of people living during that span of time, and out of around 3,200+ specific people mentioned by name within the Bible, there were only a handful of those individuals mentioned who were given visions and dreams by the Spirit of God.
This is in direct opposition to the current popular belief that all Christians should have visions and dreams from God, and that we should seek after them and seek their guidance. This is a false belief that is leading many to be led astray by the demonic, who are all too happy to provide visions and dreams to those who seek not after God but after experiences, and, as with many false belief systems Christians hold to, it is based upon a misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and misapplication of Scripture. In the case of visions and dreams, it is usually those passages of Scripture in Joel 2/Acts 2 that are being misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misapplied.
And to emphasize this point, nowhere does Scripture indicate that those men and women of God whose lives are chronicled in His Word sought after visions and dreams… or signs… or manifestations… or spiritual experiences… or gifts. Instead, they sought to please God, to live according to His standards, and to be obedient to His will!
This is another very important distinction between those visions and dreams that have been detailed in the Word of God, and those visions and dreams purported to be had by people in current times (and by “current,” we mean “outside of those experiences that have already been recorded in the canon of Holy Scripture”).
Furthermore, many (if not all) of the self-professed Christians we have personally observed or studied, both living and dead, who have had visions and dreams that are said to have been from God, have been involved in those activities and philosophies that are esoteric and occult to one extent or another, including those who have had a charismatic mindset, regardless of denominational affiliation. For example, perhaps their “prayer” is fashioned more after meditation (some Christians call this “contemplative prayer”); or perhaps their “spiritual warfare” is fashioned after spell-casting and curse-throwing; or perhaps they are engaged in the occult activity of “courtrooms of heaven“; or perhaps they are seeking guidance from angels; or any number of common occult activities and doctrines that do not line up with the Word of God.
This may go unnoticed by the people who are taken in by such claims of visions and dreams, perhaps because some of them have grown up in that type of sensation-seeking environment, and so do not recognize that the “church” or “Christian group” they are affiliated with is steeped in occultism and false doctrines.
Or perhaps because, even if they did not grow up within such a religious environment, they have been brainwashed and blinded by the mystical, occult narrative that is constantly being pushed in society, through mediums such as entertainment, arts, and literature, and so they do not necessarily recognize occult activities or mindsets as being something that should be avoided, because they have never been taught the truth behind what “occult” actually means.
Other times, the individuals themselves have claimed to have been delivered from the occult… yet they have not become a student of the Word of God and they have not received Biblically sound teachings, because they continue to study doctrines of demons and/or continue to affiliate themselves with those who promote and support and spread such false doctrines, and eventually, they will become infected once again with those very things God had once delivered them from.
Second, and building upon the first point, from our study on the subject, we find that in the Old Testament, visions (including dreams) were given in instances to not only express and further God’s Will (either His Will for that present time, or for a time to come in the future), but to also preserve His people, through whom Jesus Christ was to come.
In the New Testament, visions and dreams were used primarily to proclaim and make manifest the identity and the divine nature of Jesus Christ, as well as to establish and guide the early church. Revelation is also a prophetic book that not only proclaims and reveals Jesus Christ, but also speaks of God’s Will for the future.
- the Will of God has already been declared;
- God’s plan to preserve His people for the purpose of Jesus Christ has already been completed;
- the identity and the divine nature of Jesus Christ has already been proclaimed and made manifest;
- the church has already been established;
- and all the spiritual instruction we need to guide us through life, either explicitly or through principle, can now be found within His Word (the Bible), including prophecy that has already been fulfilled and prophecy which has yet to be fulfilled, which has no need of extra-biblical support.
⇒ Note: by “extra-biblical,” we do not mean, for instance, study tools — like dictionaries, concordances, etc. — to help us understand the meaning of Scripture, or perhaps even commentaries by well-seasoned sources that can sometimes offer insight (but are never to replace or to be given precedence over the actual written Word of God, of course). But by “extra-biblical,” we mean those messages that are outside of what has already been written in the canon of Holy Scripture, yet that claim to be a direct communication from God, to one extent or another, thereby placing such a message on the same level as the Holy-Spirit-inspired, written Word of God.
There is no Scripture to indicate an expectation for Christians to be led and guided by visions and dreams, and in fact, Scripture warns us repeatedly to not be taken in by false and lying dreams and visions, and by false prophets and false teachers (Ezekiel 13, Jeremiah 14:11-18, Jeremiah 23:9-40, Matthew 7:15, Romans 16:17, 2 Corinthians 11:13, Galatians 2:4, 1 Timothy 4:1-2, 2 Peter 2, 1 John 4:1, Jude 1:4, etc.).
Instead, the example we are repeatedly shown throughout Scripture is to study and heed the teachings of such Scripture, which have been given to us for spiritual instruction, and that are enough to guide us in all matters of life, whether explicitly or through principle (John 17:17, Luke 24:27, Acts 5:42, Acts 8:26-39, Acts 17:2, Acts 18:28, Acts 28:23, Romans 10, Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 2:13, Galatians 1:8, Ephesians 4:20-21, Ephesians 6:10-17, 1 Timothy 4:13, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Hebrews 4:12, 1 Peter 1:23-25, etc.).
And when people have a vision or dream or some type of “message” that they believe is from God, and then share it with others as a “Thus Saith The Lord” message, they are placing the so-called “new word of God” on the same level as the actual written Word of God that has already been given to us, and that is not Biblical!
God does not give special revelation outside of what has already been revealed to us in Scripture, and to believe differently is to place yourself in position to be deceived by charlatans and by evil, lying spirits.
Here are two articles that have already been written about this subject that we highly recommend you read: “Is God Still Giving Revelation Today?” by Cooper Abrams and “Sufficiency of Scripture” by Amy Spreeman. We urge you to read them. This is a serious issue that more Christians need to understand!
⇒ Disclaimer: we have not completely read through the fullness of the material found at all the above links, and the presence of the links on this website are not to be considered as an automatic endorsement of the directors, creators, authors, and/or contributors of all the other material found on their respective websites.
Question: “But can God give dreams and visions today?”
Answer: the question shouldn’t be so much “Can God give dreams and visions?” because God can do whatever He wills. But the question should be: “Does God give dreams and visions for today?”
Furthermore, the question should also be asked: “For what purpose would God give these visions and dreams, were He to give them today?”
As we’ve already briefly discussed, if we go by Scripture as our example (and we should!), visions or dreams from God have historically been very rare, and they have also been under very unique and special circumstances, the purposes of which we have already mentioned.
So if God were to grant visions and dreams today, would they be for the same purpose as exemplified by Scripture?
We believe the answer is “no,” based upon what we’ve already laid out:
- the Will of God has already been declared;
- God’s plan to preserve His people for the purpose of Jesus Christ has already been completed;
- the identity and the divine nature of Jesus Christ has already been proclaimed and made manifest;
- the church has already been established;
- and all the spiritual instruction we need to guide us through life can be found within His Word (the Bible), including prophecy that has already been fulfilled and prophecy which has yet to be fulfilled, which has no need of extra-biblical support.
Scripture is sufficient!
This can probably rule out the majority of so-called “dreams and visions from God” that many people claim to have today.
Now, there are some instances we can think of, where someone might receive a vision or dream from God in current times, but for the reasons laid out above, were such a vision or dream to be authored by God, it would be for individual purposes, and not as a “thus saith the Lord” type of message to be shared with anyone else at all, much less to be disseminated to the church body at large!
As with all things, however, if we are wrong even in this, we are happy to be corrected by Scripture, so if you believe we are wrong in our above assertion, please contact us with Scriptural correction so we can study the matter out for ourselves. But we ask that you please finish reading this article first, if you will. 🙂
To explain, however: what we mean by “for individual purposes” is not for so-called “personal revelation,” either for oneself or to be given to another as a “word from God,” and we’ve seen many use this type of “personal revelation” to try to side-step around what Scripture actually teaches! Or, even if the “personal revelation” initially seems to align with God’s Word, we’ve seen them eventually be used as a way to lead people into false doctrines, therefore proving the so-called “word of God” to actually not have been from God.
We’ve had personal experiences with this type of so-called “personal revelation,” and while it can be a very sneaky way for the demonic to capture our attention (particularly if such “revelation” initially seems to align with the Word of God), if we hold fast to the principles that the Word of God teaches us — if we continue to submit to God and resist the enemy (James 4:7) — we are less likely to be led astray by Satan’s attempts to capture our hearts and minds.
But by saying “for individual purposes,” we mean, for example, a vision or dream that gives warning of an immediate danger in our life. However, even in this case, we would strongly caution against automatically attributing such a vision or dream as having come from God. For example, if a dream or a vision is giving warning of an immediate danger in our life, such a dream or vision would need to be differentiated between our own subconscious warning us of a danger that we may not have been consciously aware of, and that of a danger that God is warning us.
Furthermore, the demonic can and will give such visions and dreams to us to try to eventually lead us astray, as mentioned above. One simple way they do this is because having visions or dreams that one attributes special meaning to, has a tendency to cause people to focus on those dreams and visions to guide their life, rather than the Word of God, although, this deception isn’t always clear in the beginning. So this is why we have strongly admonished people to stop chasing after dreams and visions!
Assuming such an “individual” dream or vision was of God, however, it would probably be a rare occurrence, as stated before … and there would be no need to share with others, as all too many charismatic-minded individuals are prone to do, because it would be for the individual and not for anyone else … and more importantly, it would never contradict Scripture, either in word or in spirit, in whole or in part (we’ll talk more about what we mean by this in a moment).
However, for a person to have a vision or a dream that is then disseminated to the church (or to what is considered to be a part of the church) as a “message from God,” as a “fresh new revelation from God,” as a “dire word of prophetic warning from God,” etc., goes against Scripture.
If you haven’t done so already, please read through the above links to Abrams’ and Spreeman’s articles to further understand this statement. You can also read some of the articles on this website where we detail some of the reasons why we say this, including:
- “Three Days and Nights of Darkness” and Why This Lie is Being Spread
- A Common Example of Superstition and Witchcraft in Christian Circles
- False Prophets and the Great Tsunami of September 2019
- Ephesians 3 and a Biblical View on Healing from D.I.D.
- Inner Healing and Working with Jesus
- A Current Example of Occult Infiltrators Infecting Mainstream Christianity
- Duval’s “Judgement Decree” at Montauk
In these articles, we were addressing the attitudes, actions, and words of individuals who were/are basing their theology on what they feel or think, or on what others have felt or thought, or on what they dream about or have a vision about, or on someone else’s vision or dream, or on what they otherwise “hear or see” in some way … basing their theology and their entire life around everything BUT what is written in the properly exegeted Word of God.
So even though it may be possible for us to have a dream or a vision that is from God (or that at the time seems to be from God) we still admonish Christians that we should instead seek after the Will of the Father to be done; we should seek His Word; we should seek to be submitted to His Will, etc. We can’t go wrong this way!
But we should not seek after visions or dreams.
All that God has to guide us with and instruct us with, even of those things which are yet to come, can be found in His written Word, the Bible, and His Word is sufficient!
So What Should We Do if We Think We Have a Vision or a Dream that is From God?
Aside from dreams and visions that may be of God, it cannot be ignored that those coming out of the occult (or coming out of an occult mindset) may to continue having dreams and visions or other types of supernatural experiences, perhaps because they have not been completely delivered. There can be many reasons for this, which would make for a whole other article, but deliverance is not always a “one time thing” and we’re done, although for some situations, it can be, and we are not in any way trying to diminish the power of God to deliver in such an immediate manner. However, deliverance from faulty and wrong thinking is often a process that builds upon itself, day by day, as we are discipled in the truth of God’s Word, as our faith is built in His Word, and as the Spirit of God leads us into obedience to His Word.
Additionally, often the demonic will try to entice us into going back to our old ways, and so in this case, it isn’t uncommon to continue to have dreams and visions that we may feel compelled to regard as being a message from God.
So what should we do if we have a dream or a vision, and how do we know for sure if our vision or dream has been given as a message from God?
It’s important to remember that not every dream we have is significant and not every thought that pops into our conscious or unconscious mind is a message from God. Neither is everything we see, whether with our physical eyes or with our spiritual eyes, a message from God.
Unfortunately, there are many esoteric-minded Christians who have gotten into the very delusional habit of assuming just so!
And so, the basic answer to the question “what to do if we have a vision or dream?” is answered very simply: NOTHING.
We’ll explain in a moment, but we want to again encourage you to stop looking to be led by visions and dreams (or other people’s visions and dreams), and instead start reading and studying God’s written Word, allowing His Spirit to lead you as your faith is built up in Him!
But here’s our more detailed answer, and we hope that those people who, like us, have come out of, or are in the process of coming out of, an esoteric mindset, regardless of religious or denominational affiliation, will pay special attention.
First, if we have a dream or a waking vision that we believe is from God (hence, believed to be a message from Him), the first thing we should do is not automatically assume that it was from God.
This is key.
If we allow our emotions to be the deciding factor if something is of God or not, we are very likely to be led astray by the many deceptions of the enemy. Which is one compelling reason why as Christians, we should seek Scripture, not dreams and visions.
The second is to go to the Word of God and compare the dream or vision with what God has already spoken to us through His Word. How does it compare with what God has already told us and shown us through His Word?
And remember: the demonic are very sneaky. That’s why people are deceived by them. Yet, all too many Christians seem to forget this simple point… and they become arrogant, believing themselves incapable of being deceived, which actually serves to make them more vulnerable to deception.
But it’s not only expressed words and the interpretation that is being given to those words that need to be compared with God’s Word, but the messenger and the means by which we received such a message needs to be brought under scrutiny as well!
If, for example, you are engaged in a type of meditation, regardless of whether you call it prayer or not (many occult-minded “Christians” use the term “contemplative prayer”); or if you are going through the process of visiting the so-called “courtrooms of heaven“; or if you are perhaps seeking out occult material in one way or another, even through mediums such as movies or books; and if you subsequently have a spiritual experience whereby you have a vision of some sort, it’s safe to say that such a vision (or other spiritual experience) is not of God.
Because you cannot engage in occult activities and expect that the ensuing spiritual experiences are of God. They are not. This holds true whether you call yourself a Buddhist, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Wiccan, or a Pastafarian.
If “Jesus” appears to you in a dream, in a vision, or in person, for that matter, you can automatically know it’s not of God, and that you have been visited by an antichrist (a demonic being who claims to be Jesus Christ).
Because Jesus Himself told us to not pay attention to anyone who comes in His name, claiming to be Him.
We’ve already written about this throughout several of our blog articles (see, for example, “Inner Healing and Working With Jesus“) but here are just a few verses to get you started (emphasis added):
John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.”
John 16:7-11 “But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because they do not believe in Me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world has been condemned.”
John 20:17 “Do not cling to Me,” Jesus said, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and tell My brothers, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’”
Matthew 24:4-5, 23-26 “Jesus answered, “See to it that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. … At that time, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible. See, I have told you in advance. So if they tell you, ‘There He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.”
John 19:30 “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing His head, He yielded up His spirit.”
Acts 2:32-33 “God has raised this Jesus to life, to which we are all witnesses. Exalted, then, to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”
Hebrews 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Mark 16:19 “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”
Acts 1:11 ““Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.””
Acts 3:21 “Heaven must take Him in until the time comes for the restoration of all things, which God announced long ago through His holy prophets.”
Hebrew 9:28 “… so also Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him.”
Here’s a very simple breakdown of why we share these Scriptures:
- The work of Jesus Christ is FINISHED, and He is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
- Because of this, the Holy Spirit is now at work within us.
- Scripture does not teach that Jesus Christ will appear multiple times before He returns. Instead, Scripture teaches that He came once, and He will return a second time.
- Jesus Christ Himself told us to not pay attention to anyone who comes in His name, claiming to be Him.
- Therefore, any “Christs” that may come to us, regardless of how many Scriptures are being quoted, and regardless of how good it makes us feel, are not the True Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, but are impostors!
We do realize this may be a hard pill for many to swallow. Because of our own experiences, it was a painful realization we have had for ourselves, so we understand how difficult it is to be confronted with the declaration that the “Jesus” you may have interacted with isn’t actually Jesus, but a false Christ, but for an even more persuasive argument (in our opinion), see the following paper: “An Evaluation of Muslim Dreams & Visions of Isa (Jesus).“
⇒ Reminder: we have not completely read through the fullness of the material found at the above link, and the presence of this link on this website is not to be considered as an automatic endorsement of the directors, creators, authors, and/or contributors of all the other material that can found at the above website.
And speaking of which… although we do not necessarily agree with every part of the author’s conclusion about Joel 2/Acts 2, we do not find this to be a compelling enough reason to completely discount his paper.
Whether you are a Muslim who claims Jesus visited them in a dream or in a vision, or if you are a Christian who claims Jesus visited you in a dream or in a vision, the Biblical principles clearly laid out in the article out still apply.
⇒ Additional Note: as the above-linked article points out, dreaming about Jesus is not the same as being visited by Jesus in a dream, so it’s important to make a differentiation between claims of an actual visitation by Jesus in one’s dream, and a simple dream.
Say an angel (or a “spirit”) appears to you in a vision or a dream, and warns you of a soon-coming apocalyptic event that will affect an entire nation (or the entire world), and it’s imperative that you warn others of the event, or that you immediately begin making preparations to move to the desert… or to the mountains… or to Mexico… or to Russia… or to Timbuktu… or whatever other message this spiritual being has to share with you.
What should you think?
Well, you can automatically know this is not of God, no matter how much Scripture such a spiritual being peppers his message with. In fact, even if it comes true, it still is not a message that is from God!
Because Biblical prophecy does not need extra-biblical support. Warnings of this nature have already been expressed in Scripture multiple times over, and there is nothing more of any import to add. If it were important, it would already be written about in God’s Word! Anything extra (in other words, anything outside of what has already been given in the canon of Holy Scripture) is something that is only meant to foster fear — an addictive emotion that perpetuates the individual to continue to seek after such false dreams and visions — to spread confusion, and to encourage people to look to other people or to “angels” or to “spirits” for guidance during these end times, rather than God’s Word.
It is a demonic deception, so pay it no mind.
Now, if you, seeing the nature of the world around you, decide it may be better for you to move your family to the countryside… or to the desert… or to the mountains… or to any other place… then do so, but do so not out of fear, but out of faith in God! You don’t need a vision or dream to tell you where to live. Make your decision, ask God’s blessing, and if it is a place He would not have you to go, you will know!
How will you know?
⇒ Because, if you are seeking after the Will of God to be done in your life, and seeking His Word to guide you, rather than seeking a vision or dream to tell you what the Will of God is, His Spirit will guide you! And there will be no doubt.
Examples Four, Five, and Six
⇒ What if you have a vision or dream of a different sort, such as a vision or a dream of someone who is in danger, whether a person you know or a person you do not know?
⇒ Or what if an angelic being appears to you in a dream or in a vision to warn you of something?
⇒ Or a vision or a dream that shows you the danger coming towards you, perhaps a natural event or a danger from another person?
⇒ Or a vision or dream urging you to speak about a particular something or other to someone specific?
What should you do?
First, remember that it’s very easy for those coming out of occult mindsets to continue to have visions or dreams that the demonic are using to try to compel them into taking further action! So avoid this pitfall! Remember that just because something is real, does not mean it is truth that comes from God! In the same way, the dream or vision you had may have been real, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was truth that was coming from God.
So the first thing to do is exactly what we’ve already said: don’t assume the vision or dream was of or from God.
Second, in our experiences, the best thing to do is to simply ask for God’s will to be accomplished in that situation, ask God to give you guidance and wisdom, and then leave it in God’s hands.
And that’s it!
Remember: if you are seeking after the Will of God to be done in your life, and seeking His Word to guide you, rather than seeking a vision or dream to tell you what the Will of God is, His Spirit will guide you! And there will be no doubt.
So, if there is anything more to be done or said, the Spirit of God will show you, and there will be no need for a vision or dream to tell you what to do. Seek God, not visions or dreams, and He will guide you!
In fact, we argue that in many cases (even, perhaps, in most cases), there isn’t a need for a vision or dream, anyway.
⇒ If you see a coming danger, then if you are able, take appropriate actions to avoid or lessen the impact of such a danger.
Now, there may be an unforeseen and/or immediate danger or situation that you may not see coming that the Spirit of God will make you aware of, and we’ve certainly experienced this before, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be through a vision or a dream.
I, Carolyn, in my sixty-plus years of life, can only remember this happening twice, and possibly a third time, where the Spirit of God warned me of an immediate danger in a supernatural way; and once when a friend was warned of a danger I was in, and her involvement saved my life.
I, Loren, at the time of this writing, can remember at least twice where perhaps the Spirit of God was warning me of a danger, but it’s also possible that in at least one of those cases, I was aware of the danger (and got out of harm’s way) because I sensed the evil spirits coming off of a person, and not necessarily because it was the Spirit of God Who was warning me.
But most often, we don’t have visions or dreams, but instead an instant “knowing” that we then pray about, submitting the situation to the Father and asking for His Will to be done.
On the other hand, we have also experienced such a “knowing,” as well as supernatural visions or dreams, when we were involved in the occult, as well. But the difference between the two was that a “knowing” from the demonic eventually led to unbiblical things, such as fear, pride in our own self (rather than giving glory to God for His mercy), and a continued seeking after the esoteric; but a knowing from the Spirit of God led to sincere prayer, and an humble faith and trust in God and in His Word. In other words, the effect was much different, something we will talk about in a moment.
⇒ If there are any words of encouragement that need to be spoken, why do you need a vision or a dream to tell you what should come naturally, out of a loving and compassionate Christian heart?
Therefore encourage and build one another up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
On the other hand, encouraging people in their sin is never of God, so “words of encouragement” aren’t always from God (review the example we gave from Jeremiah 23).
⇒ If there are any words of wisdom or instruction or admonition that need to be shared, why do you need a vision or a dream to tell you this? Go to God’s Word and share His Word with that person! God doesn’t need to use you like His personal diviner or as His personal prophet, so get out of that mindset.
On the other hand, sometimes in our zeal to give such “words of wisdom, instruction, or admonition” to others, we fail to tend to our own business first (see Luke 6:42), and speak hastily and foolishly out of our own pride and out of a complete misunderstanding and misjudgment of the situation or of the person themselves. This can end up doing harm to that person rather than good, grieving the Spirit of God, and opening the door for Satan to insert doubt and fear and to encourage a lack of faith in God. So sometimes it’s best to mind our own business first, to simply pray for that person, and to ask the Spirit of God to work on our own hearts. Zeal without wisdom is foolishness, and sometimes being a Godly example is more effective than telling someone else how to be Godly. (See: Proverbs 19:2, James 3:13-18, and 1 John 5:16)
Third, if it still isn’t clear whether or not the vision or dream is of God, the third thing we can do is compare the spirit of the message with what is in God’s Word. In other words, what is the intent?
For example, is the vision or dream encouraging us to go to God’s Word or to follow Jesus Christ? Or is it enticing us, even subtly, to look in another direction?
Sometimes, because the demonic are very deceptive, the intent can be difficult to recognize, so we have found it is best to place the vision or dream “on the back burner,” so to speak. In other words, don’t act upon it — don’t do anything! — but just let it be, and pray and ask the Father to reveal the truth.
Then go about your day as if the vision or dream never happened and patiently wait for Him to make it clear whether the dream or vision was of Him or not.
This does NOT mean, for instance, that you should run to your computer and start Googling images that are related to your dream or vision; this does NOT mean that you hurry to find that “prophetic dream” on YouTube that Sister So-and-So said God gave her to see how your vision or dream compares with hers; this does NOT mean you rush to make a post on your Facebook Page or tweet out a message on Twitter or make a quick video for your Instagram feed about your dream or vision; this does NOT mean copying and pasting the details of your dream or vision into every internet forum you are a member of.
It means be still and wait for God to show you the truth.
And how will you know the truth?
Because, if you are seeking after the Will of God to be done in your life, and seeking His Word to guide you, rather than seeking a vision or dream to tell you what the Will of God is, His Spirit will guide you into truth and there will be no doubt.
Fourth, is to compare the effect. For instance, does the vision or dream fill us with fear? Does the vision or dream have us scrambling to get the opinion of others as to what it might mean? Does the vision or dream have us seeking the praise or attention of others for having had a vision or dream?
Does the vision or dream lead us to the Father and to His Word, or does it ultimately turn us away?
Granted, it’s often hard to see the state of our own heart and understand our own intentions at times, because it’s so easy to lie to ourselves. For example, it’s easy to lie to ourselves and say, “I’m not sharing this dream I had because I want people to give me attention or to think I’m special in some way!” So ask the Father to reveal to you your heart and to forgive even the hidden sin within you.
It can also be difficult to assess the full effect of a false vision right away, because the demonic are deceptive, and sometimes a vision or dream that appears to be from God, is not, but we don’t realize this until much, much later, when the full fruit of our grave error has been made evident and we have been negatively affected, led astray from sound Biblical doctrine and away from God.
So, the best thing to do when you have a dream or vision is what we’ve already stated before: do nothing.
Be still and wait for the Spirit of God to reveal to you the truth; and while you are waiting, get into His Word, the Bible, and read and study what He has already said to you! And if you are seeking after the Will of God to be done in your life, and seeking His written Word to guide you, His Spirit will guide you into truth! There will be no doubt.
Is this beginning to make sense now?
While I had visions and dreams while I was involved in The Organization, after I left Satan’s Hierarchy and gave my life to Jesus Christ, I didn’t afterwards have dreams or visions that I at first thought to be from God but later realized was not. I do, however, remember once when I had a “feeling of urgency” that God wanted me to share something specific with a particular family, and I later realized it was not a prompting from the Spirit of God, but from my own self. I hadn’t considered God’s Word (the Bible), I hadn’t considered how my actions would affect the family or how it would make them feel… I was just thinking of my own sense of urgency and the pressure to share the so-called “word”.
I don’t know how it affected the family, but my actions weren’t the blessing I had expected it to be. What I had done that day was something I deeply regretted, and I deeply regret it even to this day. I learned from that experience that I couldn’t trust my “feelings”, thinking that my “feelings” were God’s direction and His guidance, and from that point on, I was more cautious when those types of “feelings” came up, and I tried to not allow myself to be guided by emotions, but to instead seek guidance through His Word.
I have had many past experiences with having “visions and dreams,” and while I won’t go into a lot of unnecessary detail, nor will I include dreams or visions that were of obvious demonic nature, I offer just three of them as examples of how even a “personal vision or dream” can lead us astray, even though it seems to be harmless or maybe even helpful.
And for those of you who don’t know much about me, let me remind you that I was born and raised in a “Christian” environment, and these dreams and visions occurred when I believed in my heart that I was seeking after God. I later came to realize that I hadn’t been seeking after the true God, and this is a journey I’ve written a lot about in my personal blog, but at the time, I thought I was — and claimed to be — a true Christian; therefore, any spiritual experience I had, I automatically assumed it was from God.
This is a faulty and dangerous mindset that is very common amongst Christians today, and is one reason why so many are heading down the path of destruction! And it is why we must be ever diligent to use the properly exegeted Word of God as our standard; not the standards of mankind.
Personal Example One
One morning, while at the church-led “discipleship” program I was attending, after an hour’s worth of “prayer” (and by “prayer,” I mean the type of so-called “prayer” that is most like meditation and visualization), I had a vision. It was as if a large transparent screen of some sort had been pulled down in front of me, and I watched as part of a tower of a chemical plant exploded, flames and smoke billowing, and a man was thrown backwards from the blast.
I didn’t know what to think, so I prayed for the man’s family (which is not a bad reaction to have) and for the man himself, but I had the feeling that the man was already dead, so I didn’t think praying for him was going to do much good. But I prayed anyway.
After I returned home later that afternoon, I had a message from my mother (does anyone remember answering machines…?), telling me that there had been an explosion that morning at the chemical plant she worked at and she was going to have to stay late. She said she was fine, but one man was killed by the explosion. The time this explosion occurred was the same exact time I had had the vision.
This vision served to keep me expecting more visions as being something that was normal and expected for every Christian, eventually leading me away from God’s Word by keeping me busy with visions and dreams and other supernatural manifestations.
It also served to validate (in my mind at the time) that the spiritual journey I was on was something that was of God, when in actuality, it was not of God, and was leading me down a path of destruction! But I didn’t realize it until many years later.
Personal Example Two
In my early twenties, my then-husband and I attended a charismatic church where I had made friends with a woman there. One evening she invited us to have dinner at her home with her husband and son.
Without getting into a lot of superfluous detail, I had a very strange open-vision type of experience whereby I saw several pieces of expensive furniture throughout her home, including a large dining table set, an arrangement of living room furniture, that included the couch, chairs, and coffee table, an entertainment cabinet with a large television set, and, if I’m remembering correctly, even a large vase full of costly artificial flowers to decorate the space.
I didn’t realize that day that I was having a vision because it was so real. I was even touching (!!) and commenting on her lovely furniture, which puzzled her at the time, of course, but I didn’t understand then why she was acting so strangely.
She was probably wondering why I was acting so strangely that day, and I wondered later, after the truth came out, if she actually had thought I was being rude, complementing and marveling over her lovely new furniture when, in reality, the furniture she actually had had in her home that day was old and worn.
But I didn’t see old and worn. I saw new and lovely furniture.
A few days later, the pastor’s wife redecorated her home and passed down her “old” furniture to my friend. When I went to visit my friend, who was anxious to show off her new furniture, I saw the same exact furniture I had seen just several days prior. At first I thought my friend was playing an elaborate prank on me, but when she showed me the spare room where they had temporarily stored her old furniture until they were able to have it hauled off, I realized I had experienced a strange vision of some type.
I can’t speak for how this affected my friend, but I thought my strange vision was some type of “prediction” that had come from God that was meant to “encourage and bless” my friend, but in reality, the vision encouraged me to believe that the charismatic mindset I was captivated by was of God, and it encouraged me to continue down the same path of being led by my experiences, rather than the Word of God.
Furthermore, at that time, I was involved in a demonic assignment that, because the pastor had unrepented sin in his life, had been sent against his church, the leadership at the church, and more specifically, the pastor and his family; although, because of dissociation, I wasn’t completely aware of having been involved in this assignment. So this vision also encouraged me to continue my involvement in that church for a period of time, until the assignment was over and we moved on to another church.
This type of church infiltration is a topic that will need to be more seriously discussed in another article, but for the sake of staying on topic, this is the shortest and most accurate description I can give at the moment.
Personal Example Three
Some time in my early-to-mid thirties, after I had stopped going to church altogether (but was still involved in those things that were not of God, although because of dissociation, I wasn’t always aware of it), I had two very vivid dreams several months apart. They were about a particular family, specifically a young woman with bright red, curly hair, her children, and her husband. In the dreams I saw several specific pictures of them, as if they had had a professional photographer take their photos.
In my dreams, the husband was in the military, and his wife (the woman I had seen in my dreams) had died, leaving the young children without either mother or father, because the father was still deployed. And also in my dreams, I was supposed to give them money.
The dreams were so vivid, and I was left with such a visceral need to urgently pray for them, that after the second dream, I felt compelled to do a little research. After just a few minutes of researching online, I came across the exact family I had dreamed about, in the same exact circumstances I had dreamed of, and I even came across the exact pictures I had seen of them in my dreams (the pictures were part of the woman’s obituary, which is how I came across them).
I immediately prayed for them again, and “heard” a “message from god” that I was supposed to give to them. I then found the bank where a charity had been set up for the family and donated a small amount of money, sending a check, along with a short note, explaining what it was that had brought me to them, and gave them the so-called “message from god” that had been given to me in my “prayer” time, a message that was meant to be encouraging… but I realize now that messages of encouragement are not always of God (please re-read the passage of Scripture in Jeremiah 23 for an example of why I say this).
As with the other instances I wrote about above, this experience served to keep me focused on the esoteric and the supernatural, and focused on receiving messages from “god” via dreams and visions, rather than seeking His Word.
The negative effect this unbiblical mindset has on Christians can not be understated!
Are visions or dreams needed today?
God’s Will has already been expressed to us through Scripture, His plan to preserve His people for the purpose of Jesus Christ has already been completed, the identity of and the Divine nature of Jesus Christ has already been proclaimed and made manifest, the church has already been established, and all the instruction we need to guide us today, whether directly or by principle, can be found within His Word (the Bible).
But is it possible to have a vision or dream from God today?
We know there are Christians who will disagree with us (and please remember to send us Scriptural correction if you do disagree, so that we can study the matter out for ourselves), but there are many instances we can think of where this might be true for individual purposes.
However, when we focus on having visions or dreams or “words from God” or other supernatural experiences, this is wrong! This is not a Biblical focus nor a Biblical attitude. It is not of God, but is leading people into being led by the demonic, rather than the Spirit of God.
And certainly, to have a vision or a dream that is then disseminated to the church as a whole (or to a smaller group within the whole), and proclaimed to be a “fresh new revelation from God” or a “message from God” (as some claim), is something that is outside of what has already been written in the canon of Holy Scripture. Yet, by claiming to be a direct communication from God — to be the very voice of God Himself!! — such a message is placed on the same level as the Holy-Spirit-inspired, written Word of God. And this is not of God! This is dangerous!
Everyone has dreams at some point or another.
This isn’t anything special.
Many people have had visions.
What is important is not visions or dreams, but what God has already shown us in His Word.
But all too often, modern-day Christians seek “personal revelation,” instead of that revelation that has already been revealed in God’s Word.
They seek a modern-day “word of god,” instead of the Word of God that has already been given.
They chase after a religion that is based upon what can be sensed and experienced with the five senses and what is often thought of as that elusive and subjective “sixth sense” (feelings, emotions, hunches, intuition…), rather than seek to walk by faith in God, faith in the Truth of His Word, and faith in the work of His Spirit within us.
They look for the complications and the excitement of the esoteric, and shun the simple gospel of Jesus Christ, foolishly mistaking themselves to have “matured past” such basic teachings.
So this is why we encourage Christians to not seek after dreams or visions, because it’s all too easy to be led astray by the demonic, who are more than willing to offer such experiences.
If there is any vision or dream from God to be had, then the Spirit of God will give it to us, if it is within His Will.
But we should not seek this experience.
We should, instead, seek God’s Word. Seek after God’s Will. Seek to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Seek to follow Jesus Christ. Seek to please God.
Why settle for anything less?
Part Two of this topic will be posted at a later date, and we will discuss if it is possible to have other types of supernatural experiences that are from God.