Prophetic dreams are usually given to help believers endure a hard period of time. For example, Joseph waited about 20+ years before his dream came true. Ultimately, In the Bible, prophetic dreams were never given just to satisfy selfish desires, but to accomplish God’s good plan for all of humanity.
You can know if a dream is prophetic by:
- Evaluating the dream for a non-prophetic meaning.
- Focusing on God rather than the dream results.
- Receiving healing, so dreams aren’t filtered through unhealthy emotions.
- Waiting on God to see what he does.
What is the meaning of a prophetic dream?
A prophetic dream is a vision of the future that someone receives while sleeping. There are various types of prophetic dreams given by God to encourage, warn, guide, and enlighten Christians.
Here are a few prophetic dreams in the Bible:
- Joseph’s two dreams, one of grains sheaves and the other of stars bowing down to him.
- The Pharoah’s dream of the coming famine.
- The cupbearer and the bread makers dreams of their fate and freedom.
- Gideon’s victory against the Midianites.
- King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride would cause him to lose his kingdom.
How to Know if A Dream is Prophetic
#1 Evaluate Your Dreams
Not all dreams are literal or a foreshadowing of what is to come. Therefore, it is beneficial to evaluate your dream for non-prophetic meanings before moving further.
- Symbolic: Symbolic dreams have messages hidden within. For instance, dreaming of a wedding might be highlighting your union with Christ. In the Bible, Paul said: “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)
- Unresolved emotions: Your dream might be showing a situation to help you resolve emotions within your heart. For instance, dreaming of a future spouse might be due to your own fear or desire for the person. Therefore, exploring such emotions will help to release unhealthy emotions and pursue healing.
- Type of Dream: Is your dream meant to teach, encourage, or bless you? Essentially, dreams have different purposes and the type of dream should be explored to avoid falsely labeling a dream prophetic.
- A Call to Prayer: Every dream should prompt you to pray or thank God.
As you’re evaluating your dream, avoid putting God in a box. He often speaks in parables and riddles to encourage believers to seek him for the interpretation: “For God does speak—now one way, now another— though no one perceives it.” (Job 33:14) There isn’t one simple solution to interpreting dreams. You must seek God for dream interpretations or you may run the risk of operating from assumptions, pride, and other unhealthy emotions.
Essentially, stay humble and open to correction as the dream journey is never ending. And stay hopeful as you seek God for your dream meaning because: “You will seek [God] and find [him] when you seek [him] with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
#2 Unresolved Emotions
A healed and purified heart will help you hear God more clearly. Trying to interpret dreams through pride, disappointment, fear, entitlement, desperation, control, and other unhealthy emotions will equal an unhealthy interpretation.
Essentially, evaluating your emotions within a dream will help you determine if it’s prophetic. If your dream is clouded by inner emotions then you’ll know the dream is an invitation to heal. As you become more healed, you will gain deeper confidence to categorize the type of dream you’re having.
#3 Focus On God
It’s easier to know if a dream is prophetic by letting go the need to have a desired ending. If you find that you are attached to the outcome of the dream, then you maybe misunderstanding the dream.
God asks believers to: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) This verse helps Christians know that they will receive blessings when their entire focus is on God. However, many don’t realize that delighting in God causes us to drop our wants and need. Then we can selflessly pick up a desire for what God wants.
#4 Waiting On The Meaning
In the Bible, Joseph waited about 20+ years before his dream came true. At the age of 17, he dreamt that his family would bow down to him. He didn’t understand when, where, or how. Yet, he continued to live a life of honoring God. Through his obedience, he was exalted to be the right hand man to the Pharoah 20 years later.
Joseph’s story gives believers a framework for waiting on God to reveal the meaning of a prophetic dream. Essentially, it is not man’s job to make a dream come true. When God predestines a course for your life, he will do everything in his power to steer you on the path to his perfect will.
Also, prophetic dreams can be a source of hope for believers. Presumably, Joseph felt secure knowing that God had a plan for his life despite being in jail. Similarly, you can take hope in the fact that God wants to speak with you despite your current circumstances. Be encouraged because your dreams are a sign God is calling you to deeper intimacy and spiritual understanding because he loves you.