Some years ago, I was traveling through the night by train from the Frankfurt, Germany region to Rossenheim in southern Bavaria. I was in one of the sleeping cars but, unable to sleep, I spent much of my time praying in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit kept speaking to me over and over, "Where are My Daniels? Where are My Esthers? Where are My Josephs, and where are My Deborahs?"
After many years of pondering on this word, I believe that the Holy Spirit is on a quest to find believers He can work with – Believers who will dream God's dreams at any cost – who have a discerning spirit to properly interpret the times, and learn to intercede out of a posture of revelation.
Daniel, Esther, Joseph, and Deborah were godly people who possessed the Spirit of Revelation and who altered destinies and changed history through the revelation that was bestowed on them. They trusted the Lord for wisdom and insight and served His purposes in their generation. Today the Spirit of God is looking for like-minded and like-hearted individuals who will be the Daniels, the Esthers, the Josephs, and the Deborahs for their day.
Like the Biblical heroes before them, these modern-day trailblazers will study to show themselves approved as workmen for God, rightly dividing the word of truth (revelation) that is given to them (see 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). And, like their Old Testament counterparts, they will learn to speak the language of that revelation in a manner that is relevant to their contemporaries.
What Language Do You Speak?
Before you can interpret your dreams and visions properly or intercede effectively from the posture of revelation, you must understand the language of that revelation.
Dream What language do you speak? Have you learned your spiritual alphabet? Your spiritual alphabet will be unique to you. God will speak revelation to you according to the language you speak.
Doctors, nurses, and other medical and health professionals have a language all their own, a technical vocabulary that untrained lay people cannot understand. Music has a written language that is incomprehensible to anyone who has never been taught to read the symbols. Pastors have their own language, too. This can cause problems when their language does not match that of their congregations!
What language do you speak? Whatever your language is, the Holy Spirit will speak to you in that language. Of course, I am not talking so much about languages like English, French, German, Russian, or Spanish, as I am the "language" with which we interpret life. Because each of us have different life experiences, the language by which we receive and impart revelation will be distinct to each of us. We each have a personal walk and, in a sense, a personal talk. Our spiritual alphabet, though similar, is unique to each individual.
Regardless of how our individual spiritual alphabets differ, our basic approach to interpretation should be the same. Proper interpretation can occur on many different levels. Here are three simple steps for interpreting your dream revelation:
1. Study the interpretation of words and symbols by researching their meanings as recorded in Scripture and other historical literature. Find out how Biblical characters and other figures from the past interpreted these words and symbols in a dream context. This is an excellent (and probably the easiest) way to begin.
2. Develop the habit of journaling. Effective interpretation is a skill that is learned over time and with experience. Your spiritual alphabet is unique to you. Journaling will help you capture your distinct pictures, grant understanding over time, and give wisdom for your journey.
3. Welcome the anointing, gifting, and presence of the Holy Spirit. He will guide you into truth, keeping things safe yet adventurous and pure yet unreligious.
In your eagerness to reach step three, don't bypass steps one and two. Always begin with the Scriptures. Let the Bible be its own best commentary. God will never contradict His Word. Let His written Word give you insight into the meaning of His visionary revelation. Study it thoroughly. Pray over it. Lay a solid foundation of the Word in your life to give the Holy Spirit something to breathe upon.
Interpreting dreams is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle with thousands of tiny pieces that must be fitted together in exactly the right order. The quickest way to complete a jigsaw puzzle is to start with the border—the framework—and the same is true with dream interpretation.
Once you have the framework in place it becomes easier to see where the rest of the pieces go. Before long, the big picture begins to take shape. At least, that's the way it usually works for me. I ask the Holy Spirit to give me a thought or a word. He sheds His light on one thing, which leads me to another, and another, and then everything just starts to click.
Interpretations Belong to God
The cardinal rule to keep in mind when properly interpreting dreams and visions is that "interpretations belong to God." He who gives you the Spirit of Revelation is also the One who gives you the capacity to interpret that revelation. Here are some Biblical examples:
From the life of Joseph:
Then they said to him, "We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it." Then Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please" (Genesis 40:8).
Imagine being in the place where you are so sure that interpretations belong to God and so absolutely confident in His anointing that, like Joseph, you could say to someone, "Tell it [your dream] to me," and know that God would give you the interpretation!
From the life of Daniel:
As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams. ... As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them 10 times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm (Daniel 1:17, 20).
Daniel was even given the ability to interpret the handwriting on the wall that King Belshazzar saw, which foretold the king's death under God's judgment (see Daniel 5:1-31).
Journal your dreams Although it may not come out in Aramaic or Hebrew or Greek or English or Spanish, God writes in signs to His people and He wants to give us the capacity to interpret the signs of the times.
We need to pray for the Lord to release in our own day godly people of wisdom who can interpret the handwriting on the wall for our generation.
From the life of Issachar:
Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command (1 Chronicles 12:32).
Two hundred chiefs "who understood the times" held an entire tribe under their command. How? People will follow a person who has revelation. People will be drawn to anyone who walks with integrity in the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
The more you learn how to listen and recognize the voice of the Spirit of God, the more He will enable you to operate on multiple levels of insight. God is the master multi-tasker and He can enable you to be a multi-tasker as well.
You can listen on more than one level. You can listen to the heart of a person, you can listen to the realm of the soul, and you can listen to the Holy Spirit. It requires a fair measure of grace and the ability to block out the noise of friction, static, and distractions, but all things are possible.
What God did before, He wants to do again! Right here, right now!
Dr. James W. Goll is the President of Encounters Network, Director of Prayer Storm, and coordinates Encounters Alliance, a coalition of leaders. He is Director of God Encounters Training – an e-school of the heart, and is a member of the Harvest International Ministries apostolic team. He has shared Jesus in more than 50 nations worldwide teaching and imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry, and life in the Spirit. James is the prolific author of numerous books and has also produced multiple study guides and hundreds of audio and video messages. James was married to Michal Ann for 32 years before her graduation to Heaven in the fall of 2008. James has four adult children who all love Jesus, and continues to make his home in Franklin, Tenn.