END TIME WARNING: Always Compare Dreams And Prophesies Against God’s Word
Today, I want to talk about dreams, visions and prophecies. How do you know whether a dream or a vision is from God? If someone tells you, “God gave me a dream,” or “In a vision, God showed me what is going to happen next,” should you believe them? What should you do with that information and how would God want you to respond? Or what if YOU have a dream that seems prophetic? Is it really from God? How can you know? And if it’s not from God, where could it be from? Let’s look into it.
The topic of dreams from God is rampant on YouTube and Christian media. These days, everybody’s got a dream from God that they want to share. Many and maybe even perhaps most of the videos coming out today from Christians are no longer about the study of God’s Word, presenting some exegetical analysis of a particular passage to help us better understand the Word of God. Instead, Christian videos are becoming increasingly centric on the topic of dreams, visions and prophecies. You’ll see videos with tantalizing titles like:
“Prophetic Word You Must Hear: Only a few will be chosen”
“Urgent dream: God showed me what is about to happen to the United States”
Or this one I saw yesterday:
“What God just told me about coronavirus resurgence.”
Or how about this one?
“In my dream, Jesus took me on a tour of hell and guess who I saw there.”
There are a lot of videos on that topic.
These videos presenting visions, dreams and prophecies are everywhere. And each one seems to be more sensational, more shocking than the last one. Are they real or fake? Should we be listening to them? Is God really speaking to all these people through dreams because, to a fault, no one seems to question whether these reported dreams or visions are really from God. Everyone just assumes they are.
Well, the problem is this: We can’t dismiss them all as fake, because in these end times, and we are in the end times, God has promised us that He will speak through dreams and prophetic Words.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” Acts 2:17-18
Folks, we are nearing the end of this church age. The rapture is at hand and this world is barreling headlong into the tribulation at a rapid pace. So God likely IS talking to His people through dreams and visions. It’s one of the most exciting times to be alive as we see God moving. But how do we separate the wheat from the chaff? How do we tell if someone’s dream is really from God?
I want to answer that by presenting what I see as a great danger in all this and then 3 ways to keep you out of that danger so that you don’t head down the wrong road, becoming totally misled, or worse, shipwrecked in your faith.
The danger is this:
Just as God will use dreams, visions or prophesies,
So will Satan to mislead as many as possible!
One of the characteristics of the end times is a great falling away from the faith, combined with great deception. Even Jesus warned of this when He said:
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:5 KJV
The Apostle Paul spent a great deal of time warning the church about people who would come in and sound so good, so right, so anointed of God, yet in reality, whether they themselves knew it or not, they were in fact wolves.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.“ 2 Corinthians 11:13-14
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Acts 20:29
Peter also warned of this in 2 Peter 2:
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:” 2 Peter 2:1-3
Did you hear that? Peter said “many shall follow” these false prophets, which means that they will sound really convincing, as if God Himself was speaking through them. But we see the real motive: they want to “make merchandise of you.” For example, they may want to gather thousands of followers on YouTube to make themselves feel important or to collect ad revenue or to simply lead you down a wrong path.
Why is this all that dangerous? Because Peter tells us that they bring in “damnable heresies” that enslave you instead of set you free in Christ.
Let me give you an example. I’ve seen a number of videos from people claiming that Jesus appeared to them in a vision or dream and showed them what hell is like. He supposedly took them on a tour so they could warn people to repent. Many of these so-called visions end up altering the Gospel, the free gift of salvation through faith in Christ, to a works-based gospel, one in which salvation is up to you to maintain. One said that she saw a woman burning in hell and understood from Jesus that this woman was once a born again believer, but was sent to hell because she wore makeup and was guilty of pride. She would not repent of this so she was sent to hell even though she had been a Christian.
That is a damnable heresy that goes directly against the Word of God, for it says Christ’s death on the cross was not enough for this woman, but that she needed to turn from her sin of pride and walk in obedience to be saved. Salvation was up to her. While a mature Christian can spot that error right away and can quickly conclude that this dream wasn’t from God, it may not be so easy for someone new to the faith.
Along with Satan using dreams for his purposes, there’s the danger that we could become like King Saul, who drifted away from relying on God’s Word and instead sought out a witch who could tell him the future and what he should do. He replaced the Word of God with a dream, a vision, a prophecy as the main thing that he listened to. And it destroyed him, for God’s Word was no longer first in His life.
Also, in 1 Kings 22, King Ahab met his death because he listened to deceiving spirits in the mouths of his prophets. They sounded like they were speaking prophecies from God, but they weren’t. So Ahab died because he couldn’t tell the difference.
When we watch videos of dreams and visions and regard them as words from God, then we have elevated them to the same level of authority as the Bible. Or worse, pursuing videos of dreams and visions instead of spending time in God’s Word will end up replacing the Bible as the authority in your life. That’s extremely dangerous.
And still…with all that said…it is obvious that we are in the end times. God is speaking to His people through dreams and visions.
So how do we tell the difference between what is or isn’t from God and keep ourselves out of danger? Let me give you 3 tips to keep you from going off the rails in the wrong direction.
1. Learn To Hear God’s Voice
God isn’t hiding from any of His children. He plainly says,
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
God is available and wants His children to seek Him. He is a good Father. He’s not going to hide from His children. So if we seek Him, He promises that we will find Him. Jesus goes on to say:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28
Jesus said that as a normal experience, His children will hear His voice and will follow His voice. How do sheep follow a shepherd’s call and not someone else’s call? They come to recognize his voice, the sound that it makes and way the shepherd speaks to them. The sheep aren’t born this way. They learn to hear the shepherd’s voice by spending time with the shepherd. The same is true for us and God. We must learn to hear God’s voice by spending time with God.
In the Old Testament, when the prophet Samuel was a boy, for the first couple of times that God spoke to him, he didn’t realize it was God Who was speaking. Samuel kept running to Eli saying, “Why are you calling me?” Until finally, Eli realized that it was God speaking and told Samuel how to respond. Samuel had to learn to hear God’s voice.
In Samuel’s case, God spoke in an audible voice. But more often than not, God may speak to us through His Word where a verse of Scripture, perhaps one we have read many times, suddenly becomes alive in a new way and has a suddenly relevant meaning to us. And in our Spirit, we sense God speaking to us. Or God could speak through circumstances, other people, events that happen in our lives, perceived impressions in our minds, or in these end times, yes, through dreams or visions.
As we spend time with God and listen to His voice, we learn to tell the difference between God’s voice and all other voices.
There are two primary ways to spend time with God: Prayer and the Bible. Don’t let watching videos of people who say they heard from God become a substitute for actually spending time with God and learning to hear His voice. If we are spending all of our time watching videos of what people dreamed and very little time in prayer or in reading and meditating on God’s Word, then we’re not going to be very good at hearing God’s voice. We may not even hear it at all. And then we won’t know the difference.
As we pray and read God’s Word, ask God to make Himself known to you. Then listen for His response. By doing this, we can begin to sense and recognize His Presence. God is not going to hide from you. If you are saved by Christ, then you are His child. He wants to spend time with you. What good Father would not want to spend time communicating with His children. God desires you and wants you to know His voice.
Beyond prayer and the Bible, there are two pre-requisites for being able to hear God’s voice.
1. Make sure you are saved
If you died today, would God save you? If the rapture came, would your name be called or would you be left behind? If you aren’t 100% sure or if you are living in fear that He might still send you to hell, how can you possibly have an intimate relationship with God and expect to hear His voice? Settle this issue now. Being saved for eternity is as easy as ABC:
Admit to God that you have sinned.
Believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died to pay for
your sins 100% and rose from the dead.
Call upon the Name of Jesus and ask Him
to save you.
“All who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
At the end of this video, I’ll have a prayer of salvation you can pray. When you pray to place your faith in Christ for salvation, immediately God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside you and that forever changes you. It is through God’s Holy Spirit living inside you that God speaks to you and enables you to hear His voice.
When God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside you, it changes you and you are forever different than you were before. My wife came to salvation before I did. And when I was saved, she immediately noticed it. She said, “You’re different. You accepted Jesus, didn’t you?” She knew because having God’s Spirit inside me changed me.
When we admit we are sinners and place our faith in Christ for salvation, God wipes away all our sins and gives us His Holy Spirit to live inside us and transform us. It is the Holy Spirit that provides our connection to God and allows us to hear God’s voice.
After you are saved, the second pre-requisite is this:
2. Repent of sin and cleanse your life
After we are saved, sin can no longer condemn us to hell, but it does break our communion with God, our fellowship with Him. As a believer in Christ, if you harbor sin in our life, God will want to deal with that first before talking to you about other things He may be doing.
Sin is rebellion against God’s authority. It stops communication both ways. You won’t be able to hear God and God won’t listen to you, while you are allowing sin to exist in your life.
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2
God is holy and He will not share intimate conversation with you if you are allowing sin in your life. Sin stops everything. So if you want to hear God, keep very short accounts with Him regarding sin. When you do sin, and everybody still sins after they are saved, know that His forgiveness and restoration to fellowship is always available.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Folks, we are in the end times. Christ is right at the door. Trust me, you do not want to be indulging in sin when He arrives.
“And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 1 John 2:28
If this video does nothing more than cause just one person to put their faith in Christ for salvation or to turn back from sin before Jesus arrives, I’ll consider this video a major success and time well spent. One person. Just one. Maybe that’s you.
So learning to hear God’s voice comes about by making sure you are saved, repenting of sin after you are saved and simply spending time with God through prayer and His Word while listening for His voice.
The second way to keep from going in the wrong direction when you hear someone claiming to have had a dream or vision from God is this:
2. Keep God’s Word, the Bible, Always in First Place:
Always Verify Dreams and Prophesies
Against God’s Word
Watching videos of someone sharing their dream or vision from God is tantalizing. It’s like exploring some new secret never before revealed. It can be addictive, even with the best intentions.
But when video watching becoming a substitute to spending time in God’s Word or if you regard what someone says they heard from God as authoritative, it’s a problem. People can sound convincing, as if they are speaking for God. But not all are. With King Ahab, most of his prophets were not speaking from God. And it cost him his life.
All I’m saying is this: The final authority of what is true has to be the Bible, the Word of God. Every Word is 100% true and God will never contradict Himself.
“For I am the Lord, I change not;” Malachi 3:6
Compare everything you hear about a dream, vision or prophecy against the Word of God and dismiss it if anything does not align perfectly. But here’s the trick: to be able to do that, you have to first know the Word of God. You have to know what the Bible says and you can only do that by spending time reading it, memorizing it and meditating on it.
If you do, you will be able to spot a fake instantly.
In the FBI, people become experts at identifying counterfeit money by studying the real thing, real currency. They don’t need to know all the ways criminals can fool them with counterfeit cash. They just need to know what the real thing looks like, enabling them to spot a fake right away.
We don’t need to study all the false religions of the world or false teachings. We just need to know the real truth of God’s Word. The better we know it, the better we can spot a forgery. And that will keep us out of error.
Keep the Written Word of God, The Bible, As The Highest Authority, Above All Dreams, Visions and Prophecies
When we hear someone speak of a dream or vision, or perhaps when we ourselves have a dream or vision, the first question we should ask is:
“How does this measure up to the Word of God?”
God doesn’t change. He doesn’t lie. So if someone says they heard from God but the message is in any way different than what the Bible says, then that person is either lying or is deceived. Either way, the message is a lie. It is not from God.
Even messages from those who have actually heard from God are not on the same level of authority as the Bible. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt and test every message against the Bible.
In the book of Acts, the people of Berea were commended because they did not accept even the testimony of the Apostle Paul on face value but tested it against the written Word of God.
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.“ Acts 17:10-11
Paul himself said that it’s ok to listen to prophetic words, as long as we test what we hear against Scripture and prove them to be true.
“Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
To do that effectively, spend time in God’s Word. Don’t let watching videos about God or feelings replace your study of God’s Word. God Himself can speak to you far better through His Word than through someone else’s video.
Make Sure God’s Word Has Priority as the final Authority In Your Life. Pray and ask God for confirmation about any dreams, visions or prophesies you hear. Study the Scriptures for confirmation. God will protect His children from lies if they are listening and you won’t end up like King Ahab.
I also highly recommend memorizing God’s Word as part of your daily practice. There are some really good apps out there you can use on your phone to help you. The one I use is called VerseMem: Bible Memorization, but there are plenty of others. And such meditation and memorization comes with a promise:
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.“ Joshua 1:8
Finally, my last tip on how to stay out of danger is this:
3. Make Sure Everything Passes “The Jesus Filter”
From beginning to end, the Bible is about Jesus. Our salvation is all about Jesus and what Jesus did, not what we do. Creation itself is from Jesus and is for Jesus:
“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell;” Colossians 1:16-19
Everything God does is about exalting Jesus. So every vision, every dream, every prophesy should hold Jesus in the highest esteem and drive people closer to Him, exalting His Name, and exalting the perfect work that He did on the cross. If you hear someone speak as if they heard from God and Jesus is not in it, is not exalted into the highest position, is not pointing to Jesus consistent with God’s Word, perhaps a message that just generates fear, then you shouldn’t be in it either. Don’t listen to them.
For God said,
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do no be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Jesus is God. So if God goes before us and is always with us, then all dreams and visions we hear should be about exalting the center of God’s plan, namely Jesus. If you hear a dream or vision that takes away the preeminence of Jesus, that should immediately send up red flags. For example, if someone says,
“In my dream, Jesus told me to warn His people to stop drinking alcohol if they want to be saved. Those who don’t will be left behind in the rapture.”
That should be a major red flag, for is says Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough to save you, but it’s up to you save yourself by not drinking alcohol if you want to be saved. It’s designed to fill you with fear instead of drawing you near to God. Don’t give these dreams authority over you life. The Bible is your authority. And Jesus is exalted over all.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He (Jesus) quickened together with Him, having FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;” Colossians 2:13-14
Because of Jesus, ALL our sins have been nailed to the cross, past, present and future. There is nothing that needs to be added to Christ’s sacrifice. It is complete. It is finished. Therefore, Scripture says Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father. His work is done, which means there’s nothing left undone.
So if any dream, vision or prophecy you hear or experience detracts from the finished work of Christ and in any way does not place Him in the position of preeminence, then it doesn’t pass “the Jesus Filter” and should be rejected. Beware of flattering so-called prophets who do not point you to Jesus or the finished work of Christ.
So to sum up, to keep you from getting into trouble with all these videos of dreams, visions and prophecies:
- Learn to Hear God’s Voice by making sure you are saved, repenting of sin and spending time with Him, listening.
- Keep the Written Word of God, The Bible, As The Highest Authority, not letting feelings or impressive presentations that sound like they are really from God sway you.
- Make Sure Everything Passes “The Jesus Filter,” exalting the preeminence of Christ and His finished work.
Do these and you should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, for we are indeed in the last days and God is speaking through dreams and visions. Learn to tell the difference between God’s voice and all others.
Finally, I do this in all my videos, if you are not 100% sure that you are saved, that if you died today, God would welcome you into heaven, I urge you to make your commitment to Jesus secure right now. Here’s a prayer for salvation that you can pray. But keep in mind that a prayer does not save you. You are saved only when you place your trust in Jesus alone, believing in your heart that He died to pay your debt of sin to God and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life that He offers. This prayer, then, is just a way of formalizing that decision, putting a stake in the ground, saying that you are trusting in Him and never going back. If that’s what you would like to do, please pray with me:
“Lord, I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that He rose from the dead to show us the new eternal life You have for us. I believe solely in Jesus to save me, that He paid my debt of sin 100%. Please forgive my sins and save me now, Lord, according to your promises. In Jesus Name.”
If you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, know right now that you are eternally saved.