The center portion of Figure 1 shows the method that God has often used to get people to see and understand His level. The center piece represents the very thing that God states he would increase in the last day. There is no doubt that man has reverted back to many of his primitive ways in the last few decades; we just hide it under cleaner language that sounds less primitive or sinful. For instance, people have put far more hope in what they can see such as politics and governments, only to realize there was little, if no hope in them. In fact many Americans have recently put far more of their hope in American patriotism, politics, and financial investments only to realize they would have been better off listening to dreams and visions God had spoken to them, and/or through other people.
Letís assume God has always wanted humanity to trust in His ways over manís ways! I believe God is starting to get our attention as He has always wanted you to put more trust in Him than man-made efforts. Godís foreknowledge of last day events gave Him the foreknowledge to warn us that He would increase the dreams and visions. He knew He needed an increase in the methods to align our plans and thoughts with His plans and thoughts.
It would benefit every person who has put their hope in the modern day materialism, governments, and finances to realize it was Jesus who thanked God that he used the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
Luke 10:21 (NIV)
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.
Romans 1:21-22 (NIV)
Dreams and visions may seem foolish to some people, but not to the very God who created them, used them, and instructed us that they were meant to keep humanity out of trouble, and eventually prevent people from going to hell. We truly have an awesome God who uses dreams and visions to align people with His plans.
Biblical example ó a summary of Acts chapters 10-11:
After Christ died and was resurrected the apostles were on fire and excited about their mission to spread the gospel. Unfortunately, during the initial phase of spreading the gospel, the apostles believed that the gospel and baptism in the Holy Spirit were only for Jewish people. This was not necessarily Godís plan, but was the plan interpreted by manís limited understanding. They held this limited understanding until the Apostle Peter had a vision while resting or sleeping on the rooftop of a friend, Simon the tanner. Peter dozes off before the meal was finished being prepared. While in a trance or sleep, he has a vision of a white sheet coming down from heaven with unclean animals on it. God told Peter in the vision to eat the unclean animals, and Peter refused. God scolded Peter in the vision and stated ďDonít call what I created unclean, eat it!Ē
At about the same time (the next day), Peter was trying to understand the meaning of the vision and the command to eat unclean things, when a non-Jewish (Gentile) man named Cornelius also had a vision where an angel told him to send for the Apostle Peter who would bless his family because Cornelius pleased God with his prayers and giving. Up to this point Cornelius and Peter did not know each other or even associate together because the Jews and Gentiles did not associate together. While Peter was wresting with the vision, the Lord said ďGo without doubting, there are three men at the door asking for you.Ē The men took Peter to Corneliusí house. Upon getting to Corneliusí house it finally registers with Peter that the unclean animals represented that the Gentiles were now being accepted into Godís plan of salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The reality that these two men had visions/dreams and followed through on them literally allowed the Gentiles to receive the gospel. Imagine if these two godly men just brushed off the visions they had. These two visions, along with most godly visions and dreams, do in fact change nations and societies.
Donít you think we should take serious our dreams and visions? (The full account is found in Acts chapters 10 and 11.)
This biblical example allows us to see a very important aspect of Godís desire for dreams. God has used dreams and visions to form Christian and religious doctrines. For instance, consider the following:
1. The Apostle Johnís visions and dreams in the book of Revelation are accepted for the most part as defining the end of times and the return of Christ.
2. The dream that Maryís husband Joseph had gave him the understanding and grace that allowed him to wed Mary, and father a son named Jesus who would save the world from their sin; the very beginning of Christianity. (Matthew 1:19-21)
3. Gentiles were accepted into Christianity based on a vision/dream that Peter had. See Acts chapters 10 and 11 describing the vision that changed who was accepted into Christianity.
God states that He speaks to His prophets who He sends to his people in visions and in dreams. See specifically in Numbers 12:6:
Then He said, Listen to my words, when a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD.
Numbers 12:6-8 (NIV)
From this passage it is clear that God has definitely spoken to people through dreams. Some people may say this method of speaking to people in dreams ended after the birth of Christ and after the New Testament has been applied. This can hardly be the case when you consider the following two facts:
1. God spoke continually and used dreams in the New Testament right up into the book of Revelation, which was estimated to be approximately 70 years after the death of Christ.
2. God spoke through Joel in the Old Testament and Peter in the New Testament and stated, ďAnd in the last days it will be, God says, that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.Ē ~ Acts 2:17 ().
As stated already but worth repeating, is the reality that scientists have proven that dreams allow people to step outside the boundaries of their fears and limitations that they operate under during the day. During our dreams we are more capable of being creative and envisioning things outside the norm. Realizing that God knows more than scientists, it is very probable that God utilizes the fact that He has a greater chance of bringing us up to His level when our minds are not limited by our fears, religious biases, and tradition.
If during dreams and visions our minds are more open to change and the possibility of Godís plans, then it stands to reason that we may hear the greatest plans during the night hours. We should all consider what we may be missing! As you will read in chapters two and three, all scriptural dreams and visions could be classified under Ö information and plans that were shared that most normal thinking people would have never believed. These biblical dreams and visions received were those that changed peopleís plans and beliefs, yet helped them and society when they were obedient to the dreams and visions. Is it possible God has the greatest chance to use people with elements of change when they step down from their daily thought patterns that normally limit Him, and themselves?