Why it is important not to believe every dream

Marko Joensuu         No comments
I have come to the conclusion that our dream world is one of the main entry points from where the enemy seeks to deceive us and disrupt the flow of God-given revelation in our lives. I have come to this conclusion after a number of years of operating in the gift of discerning spirits.

It is so vital to be able to discern which dreams have been given by God, which by the enemy and which are simply the product of our subconscious dealing with the issues, events and worries of your life.

I know an internationally well-known minister whose calling and ministry were wrecked, because he accepted the definition of himself given to him in a dream. It never occurred to him that this dream might have been given to him by the enemy. 

I know another minister who saw a dream about an important member of his team leaving. Presumably, this dream had been given by God, but when the team member left, this led to bitterness in his heart, which hampered his ministry for many years to come. Rather than blessing the team member and sending him on his way, which he would have done, had he subjected his dream under biblical principles of loving his neighbour, he took this probably God-given dream as justification of his own position and ministry and the act of his former friend as rejection of his own calling. 


We need to be careful with the prophets that put too much weight on an individual dream. Jeremiah 23:28 says,

“‘The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?’ says the Lord.”

On one level, God seems to make a huge contrast between a prophetic dream — chaff — and hearing from the Lord. Yet we see God using dreams powerfully everywhere in the Bible, so this can't be a blanket denial of God giving dreams. But what this verse really does is to hit at the heart of false prophecy. It seems that in Jeremiah’s times many false prophets declared their dreams without applying any discernment. If the dream seemed good enough, they would certainly declare it. They didn’t really care too much about the source of the dream, as long as it was exciting and promising enough.

If I look at the Charismatic Church today, it sounds like a marketplace where individual traders shout and proclaim about the dreams and visions they have presumably seen. No one gives much thought to discernment at all.

Forgive the marketing analogy, but it seems that many prophetic people perceive the dreams and visions they have seen as part of their brand differentiation and their bragging rights. It is the dreams and visions that they have seen that enable them to differentiate their ministry, to make it into a product and to monetise it. Hence, on the prophetic marketplace, to make money and to build your brand, it is vital to have a dream of your own. And in these times that demand continual communication to build more awareness for the brand, it is the ministers who have a continual flow of dreams and visions that are able to monetise their brand the most effectively. And applying discernment slows down this process of proclaiming dreams and becoming famous too much! So, if these dreamers dream that God will give them an international ministry and they will see a dream about it, you can be certain that they will announce it quickly!

Just because your dream has some Christian content, it doesn’t mean that it came from God. If you spend a lot of time in churches, they will probably feature in your dreams.

It seems that we haven’t moved on that much from the times of Jeremiah.

But let me illustrate why the process of discerning is so important with a dream I saw around a week ago. On surface, it seemed like a dream from God. But after the application of the process of discernment it was clear that this dream was anything but a dream from God. 

In this dream I was in a large tent half-full of people. An African pastor approached me, gave me a microphone and asked me to lead prayer.

In the dream, I took the microphone and walked to the front. I started praising God, and when I started praising God, miracles and wonders started happening all around the tent. I kept on praying and praising, and the impact was great.

I woke up. 

Now, initially this might have seemed like a God-given dream, encouraging me to step into new areas in my ministry. Let me be direct here — most Charismatic ministers would have received this dream as a mandate and an encouragement from God!

But there are three details that bothered me in the dream. As I prayed in the dream, the microphone got glued in my mouth, and I was unable to remove it. I wanted to stop praying publicly. But the microphone was glued into my mouth, and as the result everyone kept on hearing my prayer and they were impacted by it.

Many would interpret this as some sort of prophetic mandate: God will make your voice heard no matter if you want it or not! 

But there was another detail that bothered me. When I started praying, a woman fell on the ground, and as she did, the ground around her collapsed so that she dropped into a hole. All the congregation gathered around her, amazed  at what had happened.

That detail troubled me mostly because — even when in the dream — I didn’t like the atmosphere. I could see signs and wonders, but God’s presence was distinctly missing.

Finally, what troubled me most was that although I woke up immediately after seeing the dream, I didn’t sense God’s presence or peace at all. Instead, there was a sense of a spiritual vacuum around me. This troubled me most, as when God speaks like that in my dreams, it is mostly accompanied by a sense of deep peace created by His presence.

So, I pushed the dream aside in my mind and started praying, Perhaps five minutes into the prayer, I felt how something like an invisible dark cloud around me began to lift. Through the gift of discerning spirits I have learnt that this lifting of the dark cloud usually means that I have been under an attack and influence of demonic forces.

It became evident to me that rather than being a sign of God’s power, the ground falling under the woman was more like a disturbance in the dream that was perhaps not even meant to be there: the enemy was trying to give me a coherent dream, but either my subconscious or the Holy Spirit were warning me through creating an inconsistency in my dream.

When I inspect the dreams declared by many Charismatic leaders today, I can see many similar warnings signs. Something in their dream is odd, but rather than subjecting the oddity and their dream to the Word of God, they end up creating a new doctrine out of that oddity! 

Now, why would the enemy try to give me this kind of dream? In 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 Paul writes: “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness”.

You could say that therefore it is no great thing if Satan’s dreams also transform themselves into dreams of righteousness. But the enemy’s cloak of deception is never complete, simply because he can’t manufacture God’s presence. He also knows that we can discern his presence, so he seeks to remove his own presence from our awareness as much as possible, which leaves a sense of vacuum and emptiness. 

If you work with sound, you know that removing all the background noise from a recording can leave the recording sound unnatural, as we can actually hear the absence of the background noise that used to be there. And in a sense, it was the absence of the background noise in the dream that troubled me most.

The purpose behind this kind of deceptive dream is to make you begin to accept false revelation. If you become excited about what you see in a dream like this, and begin to see it prophetically, you will be vulnerable to accepting false revelation in the future. By and large, this is what I believe has happened to the contemporary prophetic movement. 

That is why it is so important to reflect on the dreams you have seen, take them to the presence of God, test them with the Word, and to reject them if they are not from God, or to seek for an interpretation prayerfully before acting on them.  Otherwise even the clearest-looking dream will in the long run lead you to confusion, as your ability to hear from the Holy Spirit has been disturbed by you accepting other voices.

11 ways to know if a dream is from God



You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at facebook.com/marko.joensuu or by visiting markojoensuu.com. 
Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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