Dreams are God’s symbolic parables of the night. He reveals ourselves to us through the symbols he directs into our dreams. It has been given to us to understand the mysteries or symbolic representation in our dreams.
"I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets." Hosea 12:10
Dream symbols are things or objects that represent something or someone else. They can also be material objects representing something subjective or abstract.
We must rely on the Holy Spirit to give us the correct interpretation for the symbols that appear in dreams.
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” Matthew 13:10-11
Each person will develop a different dream vocabulary and understanding of the symbol’s meaning. In dreams and visions, the symbols that are chosen are not usually literal or actually representing themselves, but are a shadow of, or the representation of, a person, place or thing.
Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, “Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.” So I asked, “What is it?” And he said, "It is a basket that is going forth.” He also said, “This is their resemblance throughout the earth: Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket”; then he said, “This is Wickedness!” And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth. Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. Zechariah 5:5-10
The dreamer needs to be completely honest with him/herself and think of what that particular symbol means or represents to him/her. Symbols that appear in our dreams are spiritual indicators of our current level of Godly intimacy and relationship, as well our natural state of affairs. Why did the Holy Spirit choose this particular symbol to represent that specific meaning in your dream?
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 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: Acts 2:16-17 KJV
What is the function assigned to a particular symbol in your dream?
What is the significance of the size of the dream symbol being larger or smaller than usual? Dream symbols communicate to the dreamer through the emotional feeling they provoke or ideas and activities they inspire. Some people are epic dreamers while others dream short narratives ? the length of the dream is not as important as the secrets it reveals.
To understand the symbolic language of dreams, we have to look past the surface to find the buried treasures. John 20 tells us that some believe only when they are able to clearly see, firmly touch, and feel their surroundings. Jesus said it is the person who believes without clearly seeing that is blessed.
The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
When we spend time with God asking Him to reveal to us the meanings of the dreams He has given, the process of discovery and searching out the answers enables us to retain more understanding of the symbolic vocabulary He uses.
The symbolic language of dreams requires us to be totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit for the understanding and meaning of the symbols that appear in our dreams. Some useful tools that will help you in the process of discovering symbolic meanings are the Bible, encyclopedias, Biblical Imagery Dictionaries, Christian dream books, dream symbol cards, and, of course, Internet Google searches.
Animals in Dreams
Understanding the meanings of the symbols that appear in our dreams is essential to deriving the correct interpretation. Without gathering the keys and clues the symbols give us, we will never unlock the sealed mysteries that lie within the dream. However, a proper application and understanding of the symbol and what they represent will lead us to an inner knowing that we have found the meaning of the dream. The question we must continually ask ourselves when interpreting dream symbols is, “Why did God choose this symbol and not that symbol?” Animals frequently appear in our dreams. Some animal symbols invoke warm feelings of love and tenderness while other animal symbols thrust fear and panic upon us.
Questions to ask about the animals in your dreams
People in Dreams
People that we know and love often play leading roles in our night visions. We are often surprised to see the faces of those that have gone on to their heavenly reward visit us in the night season as we rest and slumber on our beds.
People that we vaguely recognize, don’t know, fear, or admire also appear in our dreams to bring us messages or insights into ourselves. God often uses other people in our dreams to help us see a stronghold or blind spot that is in our own lives.
If we have a fear of man or suffer from peer pressure and tend to be a follower instead of a leader of the crowd, our dreams will reflect our concerns for popular public opinion.
Questions to ask yourself about the people in your dreams:
Parts of the Anatomy in Dreams
In dreams, our attention can be drawn to certain parts of the body that are being highlighted or focused upon. These body parts may be bigger than life or so small they are barely visible. By learning what the various parts of the anatomy represent symbolically and/or their functions, we will come up with the proper interpretation of our dream.
Buildings in Dreams
Buildings play a large part in placing us in the proper timeframe or contextual setting of the dream. Is the building a house, church, school, or office building that is in our present or past? Buildings can often represent the dreamer’s life that may be under construction, in disarray or in need of repair.
Questions to ask about rooms and buildings:
Objects in Dreams
Different objects will appear in different dreams but their goal is to communicate a message to the dreamer.
Food Symbols in Dreams
Everyone would like to believe that they are mature enough to eat meat at every meal. The truth is most of us would rather be fed milk because it is less expensive or costly and much easier to digest. The milk of the Word is easier to understand than the meat of the Word. We have to continually chew meat in order to properly digest the deeper meanings, understanding, and application it brings to our lives.
Growing in our understanding of the meaning of symbols God uses to communicate to us in the night seasons of our life will reveal mysteries giving us insight into the dream realm of the Spirit.