Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Freud is quoted as saying, "Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious." Apparently I have a much lower opinion of them, because my dreams are usually related to what I had as a bed-time snack. The kind of dreams that occurred in the Bible may still occur, but I can't say I have experienced any. Perhaps at sixty-seven, I am not old enough (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17). If they do occur today, I find it strange that the only New Testament reference to visions and/or dreams is the one found in Acts 2:17. One would think that with all the modern day folks proclaiming visions and dreams, they would be mentioned more that once.

Some might consider Stephen's experience as a vision, but the Word does not call it that (Acts 7:56). Paul speaks of a young man being "caught up to the third heaven," and he is not sure himself if it was physical or as a possible vision (2 Cor. 12:2-4). Most believe he was speaking of himself because of the "thorn" was given to Paul (2 Cor. 12:5-10). The only other possibility of someone experiencing a vision would be John in the Book of Revelation. He describes his experience as being "in the Spirit on the Lord's day" which few would question as him having supernaturally seen something (Rev. 1:10). While these three examples are usually accepted as visions, the text does not call them that. Visions and dreams are not mentioned among the gifts of the Spirit, but this might be explained by reasoning that visions and dreams are not under the control of the person having them, while the gifts are (1 Cor.12:23-32).

If one considers that the Old and New Testament visions and dreams occurred before the Bible was completed, he could make the same argument that is used to explain the cessation of some of the New Testament gifts. Non-charismatic Christians usually refer to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, as "proof" that the Charismatics are in error, but there are two good arguments against that position. The phrase "that which is perfect" could be the individual following death (1 Jn. 3:2), or the Second Coming of Christ, and not the Bible itself. And the second argument widely used to support the charismatic experiences is that God does not change (Heb. 13:8). Non-charismatic Christians would respond that the Bible is perfect, and that an understanding of dispensationalism shows that while God does not change, what He is doing has changed considerably over the time since creation.

Instead of God giving me visions or dreams that serve as prophecy, He has given me hope. I have His Word which promises that I will one day be with Him and even be like Him (1 Jn. 3:2). Should He decide to give me visions or dreams, great, but for now I will glory in His gift of salvation and His promise of an eternity spent learning the vast amount of things I certainly do not know now.

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