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What are prophetic dreams?

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Question: "What are prophetic dreams? Does God give prophetic dreams to people today?"

Prophetic dreams occur many times in the Bible and are experienced by all sorts of people, including prophets (Daniel 7:1), ungodly kings (Daniel 2), and average men (Genesis 31:24). Sometimes the dreams required interpretation, as with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. Other times, no interpretation was necessary as God spoke clearly to the dreamer, as in the story of Abimelech and Abraham’s wife (Genesis 20:1–6). The definition of a prophetic dream might be something like this: a supernatural night vision that contains foresight. Daniel was careful to give praise to God, who alone gives the wisdom to interpret such dreams (Daniel 2:20–23).

It would be impossible to say, definitively, whether or not God gives prophetic dreams to people today. There are many reports of prophetic dreams, especially in areas where access to the Bible and the gospel are limited. God may sometimes use dreams to guide people to places where they can hear the gospel and be saved. A wide variety of spiritual or prophetic dreams are reported by a wide variety of Christians in many countries. But none of these are verifiable to the degree that we can say “yes, God definitely gives prophetic dreams today.”

If you think you have had a prophetic dream or have heard a firsthand story from another person who has had a prophetic dream, the first question to ask is “is this dream from God?” Compare the content of the dream and its message to the Scriptures; if anything seems to contradict God’s words or His nature, it is wise to disregard the dream—even if it comes true. God will never go against His Word. The Bible is our standard for truth and the revelation that God has given. We can always ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) when examining a dream.

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What are prophetic dreams? Does God give prophetic dreams to people today?

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