By this point in the series, I hope I have already answered many of your dream questions. But here are a few more you might have. Do you have additional questions? Please post them as a comment, and I will do my best to answer them for you. (Questions only, please. I will not have time to try to interpret specific dreams for you.)
1. Can a dream have multiple applications or meanings? Yes. Sometimes a dream seems to apply to an immediate situation to a degree, but it also has the feel of being part of a larger picture. Record in your dream journal how it fits what you are currently dealing with, but be open to a bigger picture interpretation coming somewhere down the road.
In the Bible, some of the Old Testament prophecies were partially fulfilled on a small level, but they also had more progressive fulfillments on a larger scale. For instance, prophecies were given to David that were partially meant for, and fulfilled in, his son Solomon, but their completed fulfillment was to be found later in Jesus, the Son of David.
2. Can there be more than one message showing up in the same dream? The norm is to have a dream centralize on one theme. But I occasionally experience a dream that addresses more than one topic. This kind of dream is harder to understand, because the symbols are more disconnected from each other, and the dream therefore seems to be quite fragmented. I would liken it to having two or three jigsaw puzzles jumbled together in one box. Constructing the puzzles all at the same time and figuring out how to divide them up correctly is challenging, but not impossible — especially as we depend upon the Lord to help us with the interpretation.
3. Do symbols always mean the same thing, or can the meanings change? The more universal, common-to-man symbols found in dream books can and do have varying meanings, depending on the context of the dream, and whether the current dream is of a positive or negative nature. You could have an owl showing up as a symbol of wisdom in one dream, and in another showing up as a predator, depending on what is happening in the dream.
However, when God clues me in to a personal, unique dream symbol, it tends to stay consistent in meaning across my dream life. That is a rule of thumb, not a law set in concrete. And again, it would depend on the context and tone of the dream.
4. Are the scenes in a dream always chronological? They often are, but they don’t have to be. Some dreams (and visions as well) are like a collage. They depict more than one thing at a time about your life, not necessarily in timeline order.
For instance, in a dream about what callings you are meant to fulfill, God may show you several phases of what He will have you doing, but they may look like they are happening all at the same time, or as if they will follow a pattern of first, second, then third. In reality, they may not happen all at the same time, even though it looks that way in the dream. And what appears to come first in the dream could actually happen in real life as the second or third phase.
Or, you may have an “inset” dream or vision — a story within the main story. One of the reasons that the Book of Revelation is hard to correctly interpret is because it flows along chronologically most of the time, but then there are moments when we are taken aside into an inset story within the timeline of events. An inset within a dream may also be a “zoom-in” on one particular detail of the big-picture story.
5. Are dreams always 100% accurate? Sometimes they will be, and sometimes not. Some dreams are straight-up from God, and therefore completely accurate. Some are a mixture of what is going on in our own thoughts and desires, and God interjecting His revelation into those thoughts. It is not always easy to sort the two out. Add into that equation that we do not always fully interpret the symbols correctly, and we’ve got room for error. Listening for God to speak to you through avenues besides dreams will help ensure accurate hearing over time. The Lord is faithful to get His message through to us, if we wait upon Him.
Next time, we will conclude this series with some links to helpful dream resource materials.
Growing in the Prophetic (CD set or mp3),
by Lee Ann Rubsam