The Bible gives importance to dreams and interpreting dreams. It uses dreams for various purposes. God used dreams to reveal prophecies. Like Joseph, the husband of Mary, Joseph of the Old Testament, was also a dreamer. He had the gift to interpret dreams. His dream of his brothers bowing down to him came true. His interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream saved Egypt and Jacob’s family from seven years of famine. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Prophet Daniel’s interpretation came true. Gideon got encouragement to win a war through a dream (Judg 7:5).
The Bible used dreams also to give warning from dangers. The Magi did not return to King Herod because God cautioned them to do so in a dream (Mt 2:12). God warned Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt for saving the Infant Jesus’ life (Mt 2:13). Joseph’s another dream brought the Holy Family back to Nazareth (Mt 2:19-22). These dreams differed from ordinary dreams.
DREAM VS VISION
A vision happens when one is awake and conscious. Whereas a dream occurs while one is asleep and not conscious. That means the dreamer is not free to ask clarification, like Zachariah or Mary did during their vision. Unlike Zachariah and Mary, who had a vision of angel Gabriel, Joseph had only a dream revealing the innocence of Mary and his special vocation as foster father of Jesus. There are studies that show that people always dream when they sleep. But people remember only the dream they have right before they wake up or the dream that makes them wake up.
Though visions and extraordinary dreams revealed God’s plans, the greatest revelation and God’ message came through Jesus. However, there are visions even in the New Testament period reminding people to leave the sinful ways and return to God. Let us study the Holy Bible that gives insights on the God’s mysteries. Once we are into it, we will enjoy studying it.