Did you know that many inventors, Nobel Peace Prize Winners, and authors of some historic works of fiction and songs all received their inspiration from dreams? Yes, that’s right – Dreams. Many influential people in history received dreams; and therefore, some say because of those dreams, they changed history.

Go ahead, Google “Top dreams that changed history.”

However, let me be clear. I am not saying that all these dreams were God given dreams, but some perhaps were. If you missed Dreams, Part 2 – Who’s the Source. Go check it out to see how to discern which are God given.

Here is a sampling of some of the things you will find when you do a Google search:

Monster.com – The online employment site came about, when Jeff Taylor had a dream that showed him how it would all work –

Paul McCartney – It is documented that the song “Yesterday” came to him in a dream.

Jack Nicklaus – Professional Golfer was in a bad slump and had a dream that completely changed his game, others call it his “gold swing.”

Mary Shelley – The writer of “Frankenstein” had a dream that eventually developed into the classic novel.

Stephen King- The author is said to have received his material for many of his book projects from dreams.

Welcome to Dreams, Part 4 – Symbolism, of what was to be a 4 part series. However, I find I have too much information left to cover so I am extending it one more week. So, it has now become a 5 Part Series. Part 5 – Figuring it Out will be on Interpretation.

Some of the below portion on dreams and visions comes directly from my training manual, Releasing God’ Heart Through Hearing His Voice.

Releasing God's Heart cover frame

Cultures from the beginning of time have been using symbols in their language. Today, we have signs and symbols that are universal. No matter where you go or where you are, you can have an understanding of what is happening or occurring around you. We see God using symbolism throughout the Bible every time Jesus told a parable. He often hid the real messages behind symbolism.

All through the Scriptures we read of Jesus telling parable after parable. The disciples didn’t always understand what Jesus was saying. In Matthew 13:10 they finally ask,

“Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

Jesus’ response was in verse 11:

“The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”

And He again responds in verses 13-16:

“This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’”

As Jesus was telling parables, He was revealing the secrets to the kingdom, and yet they didn’t perceive it. The parables Jesus told were simply word pictures, stories of things to which the people living in those days and times could relate.

In Matthew 13, He tells the parable of the sower and the seed. The people Jesus spoke to were farmers; that is how they made a living and provided for their families. His audience easily understood and drew parallels between what Jesus was saying and their own real-life experiences. Yet, there is a deeper spiritual message in Jesus’ parables that was overlooked by both Jesus’ original audience and contemporary readers of the Word.

To understand some messages God gives us, they need to be interpreted. In order to interpret dreams, visions, and pictures, we must realize God can, and often does, use symbolism. Each time you dream, have a vision, or God gives you a picture, He can use symbols that are specific just to you. When God does this, He is creating a symbolism language with you, and He will often use the same symbols in other dreams, visions, and pictures. Over time, you will begin to accumulate a list of symbols God uses to speak to you.[1]

Just like parables had hidden spiritual messages in Jesus’s times, the same is true for us pertaining to dreams and visions. Dreams, visions, and some pictures are personalized and designed by God to speak to you! While books on dream symbols can help you, you cannot use them as a key to unlock your dreams, visions, or pictures.[2]

For example, if my husband and I both had dreams about a dog, our meanings for the “dog” symbol would be completely different. I enjoy and love dogs; he, on the other hand, does not. If I tried to interpret my dream with his meaning for a dog, I would not have a true representation of what the dream could mean. If either one of us was indifferent to dogs, then we would look to Scripture and would discover that dogs often represented things that were dirty, unclean, or demonic.

Take a minute and think about what a dog means to you.

Did you see a specific breed of dog?

If so what is that breed commonly known for?

Did you see your own dog?

If so, what does that represent to you?

Once God speaks to you using a certain symbol and you label it, He will often continue to speak to you using the same symbol to mean the same thing. For example, in my own life, when God shows me a picture of a bow and/or an arrow, I know He is showing me something about prayer, intercession, and spiritual attacks. This might not make sense to you, but it does to me.

The first time I received a picture of a bow and arrow, I was praying over a person, and the Lord showed me she was a powerful intercessory warrior. He went on to reveal that her prayers were creating barriers around individuals she would pray for so the fiery darts of the enemy couldn’t harm them. Sometimes in the spirit realm, I see arrows flying at people and I know to ask them if they have been under spiritual attack.

My suggestion is that you keep track and record symbols and their meanings for you as you label them. If you are faithful to keep track of your personal symbol language, it will be easier for you to recognize the way God speaks to you.

The dictionary states symbolism is “the practice of representing things by symbols, or of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character; the use of any of certain special figures or marks of identification to signify a religious message; symbolic meaning or character.”[3]

dreams4 apple tree

If we are unable to label a symbol or have no point of reference as to the symbol’s meaning, then the Bible should always be the first source to which we turn for determining the symbol’s meaning. Scripture is full of symbolic meanings for things such as colors, numbers, and animals.   Scripture lists several symbolic references for Jesus, the Holy Spirit, believers, and even satan.

Next week, as we conclude the dream series, I will talk about what people in our dreams can represent and how to figure out what message God is speaking to you specifically.

If you missed any of the other posts in the Dream Series you can click on the links below. I look forward to seeing you all again next week.

Dreams, Part 1 – A Basic Understanding

Dreams, Part 2 – Who’s the Source

Dreams, Part 3 – Write it Down

Next week please join me for:

Dreams, Part 5 – Figuring it Out

[1] Symbolism Reference Guide by Debbie Kitterman, page 6, 2007

[2] Symbolism Reference Guide by Debbie Kitterman, page 6, 2007

[3] Dictionary.com

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