Dream Interpretation

Christ-Centered Dreams Series | Part 2

A few weeks ago, my wife Valerie asked me to go to the store to get her the ingredients for that night’s dinner. Being the supportive husband that I am (well, at least in this case!) I agreed. Valerie knows me well enough to realize that I am quite forgetful when it comes to details so she wrote down the items she needed on a list and gave it to me. I thought to myself, “there’s no way I can mess this one up. I got this.”

After shopping I came back into the house with full confidence that I had accomplished my mission.

            Everything on the list? Check.

            Am I going to look like a hero? Double check.

As I handed Valerie the grocery bag, she gave me a look that I wasn’t expecting: bewilderment. The conversation went something like this…

“Why did you get 3 POUNDS of kosher salt?”

“This was the only one I could find…”

“Why did you get tomato sauce? I needed tomato paste.”

“Oh… I thought it was the same thing so I got the tomato sauce since it was on sale.” (As you see, my desperate attempt to win some points by saying it was on sale).

The confidence I once had has now been shattered. How could I have gotten it wrong? What was written down had been skewed by how I interpreted it. In other words, I misinterpreted what Valerie needed by my misunderstanding. I could have asked her a question about the right size (the salt) and the type (sauce vs. paste), yet my assumption led to a misinterpretation.

Interpretation the action of explaining the meaning of something – is used in all facets of life: From casual conversations among friends to corporate business deals. Therefore, interpreting something correctly is of vast importance. The same applies to dreams as well – we can interpret dreams from a biblical basis so that we can further hear what the Holy Spirit could be saying to us while we sleep.

We see the importance of a proper biblical interpretation with Peter in Acts 10: “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven” (Acts 10:9-16).

Peter, being a faithful Jewish Christ follower is being loyal to his traditions – he would never eat something unclean… even against the Lords wishes! That is because he viewed this vision in a literal sense; the Holy Spirit wanted him to grasp the vision in a symbolic sense. *{Visions are spiritual impressions or pictures while awake, while dreams occur when the person is sleeping. I will reference visions and dreams interchangeably since the interpretive rules are the same.}

Peter later understands the correct meaning after a divine appointment with a Gentile named Cornelius. “He said to them [Cornelius and guests]: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean…. “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:28; 34-35).

This vision changed everything for Peter –in fact, it changed everything for all of Christianity! As the Holy Spirit fell on Gentiles like Cornelius, Peter interpreted the vision correctly – the unclean animals (those outside the Jewish faith, the Gentiles) were considered ‘clean’ because the Gospel was not just for Jews, but for all who seek Him. Wow! Imagine if Peter wrongly applied this interpretation? Where would we be today?

As you can see, a proper biblical interpretation makes a huge difference in the lives of Christ followers. I have already discussed the biblical evidence for Spirit-led dreams (see ‘The Dreams You Dream’) and so now let’s go further in discussing the meaning behind the dreams you dream. This subject, while fascinating, is packed with an array of information, so I will touch on a few aspects of biblical interpretation so you can be equipped to understand what God is saying to you:

  1. Understanding basic symbols:

Scripture is rich with symbolism – even Jesus spoke in parables so that those who are eager are willing to dig deeper for the truths for interpretation and application (Matthew 13:13). If a symbol stands out or seems relevant to the message of the dream, it needs to be interpreted. Now, this is tricky since not all your symbols are given in the Bible, but be sure to start there first. We see basic symbols are given to help us understand our dreams (These are not exhaustive options):

  • Christ is symbolized as bread (John 6:48); a cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6); a shepherd (1 Peter 5:4); a lamb (Revelation 5:6)
  • The Holy Spirit is symbolized as a dove (Matthew 3:16); wind (John 3:8); water (Revelation 22:17)
  • Satan is symbolized as a thief (John 10:10); a dragon (Revelation 12:3); a serpent (Revelation 12:9)

It’s equally important to know that some symbols can characterize more than one person or object. For example, a lion can be symbolized as Jesus (Lion of Judah, Revelation 5:5); Satan (1 Peter 5:8); and as Christ followers (the ‘righteous are as bold as a lion’, Proverbs 28:1).

2. Understanding personal symbols:

Personal symbols are those symbols that apply to you. Many times, these symbols vary from person to person. For example, if someone loves dogs – especially if it is a personal pet of yours – then a dream with a dog in it usually can depict a positive interpretation. If someone cannot stand dogs, then most likely have a negative interpretation.

I have found that there are many personal symbols in my own dreams that seem to have a similar interpretation to others. Some of these are:

  • HousesJesus often used a house to represent the life of a person and their personality. In Matthew 7, He speaks of two individuals deciding whether to build their house on the sand or on the rock; these houses represented the persons on whether their foundation was found on Christ (the rock) or in something else (the sand). A similar interpretation applies to us today:
    • The type of house – Is this a house you currently live in? If it’s a house that you lived in before, most likely this can be the Lord bringing to your attention from the past (i.e. lived in as a kid, so God could be wanting to bring attention to something in that time period for you).
    • The condition of the housecan represent the condition of your soul. Is the house clean and in order? Does a certain part of the house need repair? This can be the Holy Spirit indicating attention to your ‘house’ since He resides there… so He knows!
    • The room of the house – I’ve had several dreams that the room of the house indicates a certain aspect of my life. Does the dream take place the living room? This is the aspect of your personality that people see. The bathroom? The Lord wants to touch on a personal aspect that people do not see. The kitchen? A place of preparation or motives of the heart. The attic? Your mind, thoughts, attitude, and process.
    • A new door in the house perhaps the Lord is opening up a new opportunity in an area that you’ve been praying about.
  • Trees – can also represent people (See Daniel 4) and it’s important to look at the type and condition of the tree.
  • People you know in your dream – this one I have to touch on since so many people think that if a person is in their dream, then the dream must be for them. Most likely… no! These people are a symbol and represent something the Lord wants you to know. How can I know the difference if a dream is for me (the dreamer) and not for the person(s) in my dream? If you are the ‘main star’ of the dream, then the dream is for you. If you are solely in the background watching events unfold and that person is the main character, then the dream is for them. Therefore, if you dream of someone you know to ask this question: When I think of this person, what is the first word that comes to mind?
  • For example, I’ve had a dream where a certain person represents comfort; they would be next to me in my dream, but not interacting (therefore, I am the star of the dream). How do I know this? When I think of this person in the natural, that’s my first thought. Another person I know in my dreams represents authority since that is how I view them.

There is SO MUCH MORE we could discuss, and I’m sure you have dreams of your own that you’d like to figure out! Well… now you can start! I’d ask that you’d look over a dream that you think might be Spirit-led and start praying through it. What are the symbols in your dream? What do the people represent in it? Then ask this one question: If I can state the point of this dream in one sentence, what would it be? I suggest this because “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33) and He will not give you a dream unless there is a point. If there is no clear point, then it is not from the Lord. I pray that these basic tools can help you further understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to you and if you haven’t had a dream yet… start asking!


    • Nathan, This why I enjoy the insight of the Holy Spirit and those who appreciate (honor, invite him to be with them, dialogue & have confidence in what he shows us & how Holy Spirit confirms through others- precision of ingredients of our actions or inactions). God bless you and Valerie with MORE! More favor, grace and Jesus lifted above all as he gave us this gift to be like him – being one. We have to gracious to those who like you illustrated, had a heart to please but a mind that counseled (edited) your wife’s list. Let us pure in our intentions and not add to people’s burdens including ours. Keep the faith and keep loving your wife and His presence forevermore- worship is romance as we embrace the Father, Jesus & Holy Spirit >>>

  1. Thanks for this post. Very insightful and helpful. It’s funny, I would, often, get a ticker-tape running with scripture on it.

    Lol…just like Joseph, I rely on the Lord to do the interpretation. We’ll swap stories one day.

  2. Very interesting 😊. I very rarely remember dreams. It’s as if I don’t dream at all. Hearing others tell about their dreams makes me wish I could remember mine.

    • Hello Karen. I’ve gone through seasons where I didn’t dream for a while. Perhaps you can pray for the Holy Spirit to break through and speak to you while you sleep? God may want to speak to you this way, you never know!

  3. I think dreams are in the same category as “God talks to me.” After my husband had his stroke, he awoke in the hospital with an amazing look of surprise on his face., He said, he saw Jesus, he saw God, he saw angels. He said the flowers were prettier than the ones I brought him. He said they sparkled. I asked him what did Jesus look like. He said, there was light all around Him but that Jesus and God were black. I asked God if this was true and He said, “Use your common sense. Jesus grew up in Egypt-Northern Africa. and the Middle East. He walked. He did not drive around in a sun shaded Cadillac. He had to have been very dark. I quit talking about it because people looked so skeptical. I have fasted and prayed for many things and God has answered me. I had asked God to let my somewhat skeptical husband to have an experience like Paul.

  4. Pastor Nathan,
    I was reading the email you sent on “Jesus will get you to the otherside” and clicked on read more but ended up in here instead, so I just started reading this. It is very insightful, thank you. It reminds me of the time I spoke to you of my daughter’s dream and some of my own.

    As a child and later as a teen I’ve had many dreams. I brushed it off as a result of an overactive imagination. Most memory of my dreams dissipated like mist before I was completely awake no matter how hard I tried to hold on to the memory. However, there were a handful of unusual dreams that I recall in such sharp detail, that I remember them even up to this day. I am still waiting on an interpretation of one of my dreams. After reading this article, I applied what you taught, and I think I have an interpretation but I’d love to hear what you think.

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