Question: I believe I am having dreams about the future. It happens when I least expect it. I will go to bed and have a dream, and them maybe a week or just a couple of days later the thing I dreamed about happens. I keep thinking God is testing me, or may I just have a gift and I’m wondering what to do.
Your experience with your dreams is very interesting. It’s true that in the Bible dreams are a way of God speaking to people, and there are many examples of this. However, you need to keep two things in mind. One, the dreams in Scripture weren’t always for the purpose of telling the future. Sometimes God spoke to people in dreams in order to tell them what they should do. An examples would be Joseph the husband of Mary (Matthew 2:12-22). By comparison, the dream of Joel the prophet did concern future things, but this was more the exception than the rule. Primarily, God used dreams in order to instruct people.
The second thing to keep in mind is that God spoke in these dreams because He had not yet finished speaking through the prophets so they could write down His message (2 Peter 1:21). In effect, God had to “supplement” His Word through other means, such as dreams. Today, we have the finished Bible, so God’s instruction for us (His will) is available to us (2 Timothy 3:16). Also, the Bible gives us God’s plan for eternity future, something people like Joel and Joseph and others didn’t have.
That’s not to say doesn’t still speak through dreams, but our view is that the messages in our dreams are more for direction, comfort, and perhaps correction, and not for prophecy, unless that prophecy involves “forth” telling rather than “fore” telling.
You see, there are two kinds of prophecies in Scripture. The first and most common type is “forth” telling. God used the prophets to instruct His people–in short, to tell them what to do and how to correct their behavior. The other type is “fore” telling, in which God used the prophets to outline future events, often with imagery and symbols.
We believe there are many “prophets” today God is using to instruct His people (the church). Sometimes you’ll hear about someone with a “prophetic” voice. An example in our view is someone like Billy Graham or Charles Colson. Does that mean they are receiving dreams and visions? Not necessarily, but they are so close to God and His Word that they are hearing His voice through the Holy Spirit.
As for your dreams, the first thing we would urge you to do is to make sure they are in line with Scripture. God will never say anything, whether it’s to a prophet in the Old Testament, or to someone today, that violates His Word. So, if God were to speak to you in a dream, it would have to be in perfect agreement with His Word.
If you think God is giving you a prediction about the future, you really have to examine that. There are people today who claim that God is speaking to them about the future. The problem is that a true prophet in this sense is never (and we mean NEVER) wrong.
We hope this helps you put your dreams into some kind of perspective. May the Lord give you wisdom through His Word and through your sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit.