Acts 2:17 " 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.' "
God leads His children in diversified ways. Sometimes, God directly speaks to them or indirectly speaks through a sermon preached by His servant or makes them understand in the prayer by the Holy Spirit. At times, He teaches them to walk on the right way through the word in the Bible. Yet, He also delivers His will through visions and dreams.
In the Old Testament, God revealed Himself to His chosen people several times through dreams. Jacob confirmed God's presence in a dream. Joseph was entrusted with the revelation of life in a dream. Some claim that God called the prophet Samuel three times through night dreams.
Even today, some believers receive visions and dreams from God. Elder Zhang from a church of Henan said that we must identify the spiritual dreams from God and the dreams from men. He states that a dream from God should meet five requirements:
1. It is clear. Joseph's dreams are very clear: The sheaves of grain bound by his brothers bowed down to his sheaf in the field; the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to him.
2. It stays in your memory. He remembered his dreams clearly after waking up and described it all in detail.
3. It can be interpreted. A man who receives a spiritual dream can interpret the inside spiritual significance.
4. It follows the biblical truth. If a dream is from God, it complies with God's holiness and the biblical truth.
5. It is fulfilled at last. Many years later after his dream, Joseph's brothers bowed down to him in Egypt.
Zhang claims that it's better to keep dreams than speak it out. When a believer is awake, the Holy Spirit works in the brain and makes him or her understand God's will in the dream. If it is a spiritual dream, be careful, watch your tongue and keep it in mind rather than glorify yourself.
Why it is better to keep the dream unspoken? Preacher Chen from Henan shares his idea:
Firstly, people look at some who claim that he or she can see visions and dream once or twice marvelously. But if the claiming becomes more, people regard him as unnormal.
Secondly, God makes men understand His will through dreams for their life, so keep them in mind. It is because Joseph declared his dreams that he was sold to Egypt by his brothers who envied him.
Elder Zhang gives an example: the New Testament records that Herod wanted to kill all the boys two and under after Jesus' birth. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him to take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Joseph said no word and kept it in mind secretly and during the night, he took them to Egypt. After Herod's death, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him to return to Israel. He still said nothing and did as the angel instructed. If he declared his dreams and told what the angel said to everyone, the story in the New Testament might have been different.
Zhang continues that an aged preacher who has a zeal for preaching asked God to open the evangelizing road in daily prayer in 1979 when it was not open to preach in China.
One day, he fell asleep and dreamed that he was pushing a car fully loaded with bibles with someone running after him to catch him. He kept running by pushing the car before reaching a ditch. Seeing the chasing person drawing near, he prayed, "God, help me." There came a sound saying "I will help you." A power uplifted him and his car on a broad road.
After waking up, he pondered over this dream and thought, " Now I deliver sermons like pushing forward a car of bibles. But someone is chasing after me. Although I am already in a difficult condition and fell into a groove, God will help me when there is no way out. A broad road is coming once God helps me."
The elderly preacher kept this dream in his heart and continued to preach the Gospel with greater hope. As expected, no police came to arrest him in his next preaching. Soon, China made the law to protect religious freedom and there was no limitation for preaching.