What does the Bible say about visions and dreams?

The Bible teaches that, in ancient times, God relayed His messages through the power of the Holy Spirit, to His chosen servants by visions and dreams. These messages were also given to the apostles and prophets (Amos 3:7, Eph. 3:5).

We need to make a distinction between visions that come from God and those that come from Satan and his demons. In Matthew 17:1-9, Jesus gave Peter, James and John a vision of the kingdom of God coming to the earth—this is a case of God using a vision. In I Samuel 28:3-20, a “familiar spirit” was “brought up,” disguised as the deceased prophet Samuel, to inform Saul of his impending doom—this is a case of Satan using a vision.

There are many dreams, visions or premonitions that people experience. Their sources are not as easily determined by the untrained. Therefore, we must think twice before assuming they are from God, even if they show supernatural evidence. In I John 4:1 God instructs us to “try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Almost everyone assumes that dreams and visions bear messages from God. This is a very dangerous assumption.

In situations in which visions, dreams or other such experiences result in sickness, fear, anxiety, or similar adverse effects, one should seek God’s intervention and healing. In most situations, however, dreams and visions are derived from one’s own day-to-day activities and problems.