Is a Dream Past or Future Event?

After over thirty years of being involved in dreams and visions interpretation, I have experienced that people struggle to identify two specific types of dreams which makes it quite difficult to interpret such dreams correctly.

Through the years, people have asked me many questions about these types of dreams. This can cause quite a bit of frustration. Some of the questions in this regard are the following:

  1. When do we know when a specific dream is a warning of something that is going to happen or a confirmation of something that has already happened?
  2. When do we know if a dream is about a specific situation or just a reflection of emotional emotions and fears?

In many cases, the above-mentioned types of dreams are closely connected and can even overlap or it can be characteristics of one particular event simultaneously.

I want to start this post by referring to the Dreams and Visions Symbols Dictionary (directions or movement and direction facing of symbols). These aspects of dreams and visions interpretation give us some assistant to successfully determine whether a dream or visions is about something that happened already or something that will happen in future. However, it does appears that in many cases a specific dream or vision has no symbolic elements that indicate whether the dream is about a situation in the past or the future. I have observed many such dreams in my life. After thorough investigation I have found that such dreams are sometimes about a past event and sometimes about a future event. It can be a bit complicated at times.

First, let us just remind ourselves of the meanings of directions and movement: (Below the explanation of “Direction and location, is an explanation of a very interesting aspect of dreams which makes it a lot easier to identify specific types of dreams)

Directions and location (movement or location) in dreams and visions

Directions and movement in dreams and visions are very important. Every color or direction or movement reveals more details to us. Different directions and movements change the meaning of dreams and visions. It is also important to take note in which direction a specific object is facing.

Ecclesiastes 10:2

A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.

Matthew 25:33

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Life of the Prophet

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.


In a general sense, taking a right turn or moving to the right in dreams and visions symbolizes a good decision. It speaks of a positive or a right or a good decision or movement with good consequences which leads to deliverance or victory or benefits in a specific situation.

Negative symbol (Moving from left to right)

A negative symbol moving from left to right speaks of deliverance from bondage pertaining to the relevant symbol in the dream, or vision. This speaks of God revealing that victory and deliverance are on the way, usually, as a result of repentance or prayer or authority taken in faith.

A negative symbol moving to the right can also indicate that, although negative, the experience will have good and positive results in our lives. For example, a crocodile (negative symbol of oppression) moving to the right in the dream or vision, indicates that oppression or an attack by a sly or divisive or shrewd or a dangerous person is about to come to an end. The Holy Spirit is exhorting us with these types of dreams or visions.

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Positive symbol (Moving from left to right)

A positive symbol moving from left to right confirms that blessings or victory or deliverance in a bad or undesired situation is imminent.


In a general sense, taking a left turn or moving to the left in dreams and visions symbolizes a bad decision. It speaks of a negative or a wrong or a bad decision or movement with bad consequences which leads to bondage or defeat or the losing of benefits in a specific situation.

Negative symbol (Moving from right to left)

A negative symbol moving from right to left is a warning. Because of sin or unbelief or disobedience, some kind of attack is ahead. God gives us these types of dreams to make us aware of the attacks and strategies of the enemy. Evil powers always attempt to deceive us or to move us into sin or unbelief to oppress us. This is a warning to enable us to deal with the temptation or the attack through obedience, repentance, and faith in his word. These type of dreams are there as a warning for us to counteract the approaching threat.

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Dreams Dictionary Course Manual Combo

Positive symbol (Moving from right to left)

A positive symbol moving from right to left in dreams and visions speaks of a specific blessing of God being canceled. It speaks of an action or behavior or the lack of action or behavior that led to the cancellation of a promise of blessing. It is important to note what the symbol is to understand the reason for the cancellation.

The above-mentioned symbols are a big help when it comes to the interpretation of dreams and visions. However, sometimes we have dreams or visions without any indication whether it is about past or future events. This can be very frustrating.

Emotional Issues

One factor that leads to confusion and which has a very big influence in this regard is the status of our emotional condition. Some dreams are not messages from God but the result of a restoration process that God has built into every human being. God created this mechanism to help people to emotionally deal with circumstances and occurrences in their lives. Emotional issues are not only caused by traumatic or challenging or difficult circumstances but also by obsession. God’s aim with these dreams is to restore us emotionally. This process keeps us normal and able to deal with life and its challenges. Such dreams are products from the soul (mind) as affirmed in Scripture:

Ecclesiastes 5:3

For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

In this sense, our minds and emotions cause certain dreams to surface. The meanings of these dreams are also important and it needs to be interpreted.

God does not communicate unimportant information to us. Both direct messages from him as well as messages that He created through the automatic process called “emotional restoration dreams” are designed to lead us and help us to cope with life. Emotional restoration dreams accurately expose emotional and problematic issues in your life. We need to act upon these issues and that is why we need to give attention to both types of dreams. Emotional restoration dreams are not just a way of restoring us emotionally but it is also, on purpose, telling us that we need to take action to sort out or to address certain issues in our lives. We need to interpret these type of dreams so that we can identify problem areas in our faith walk with God. After we have identified these problems we need to submit these emotional issues and emotional problems to the word of God and to the will of God. We should never ignore any dreams or visions. It is of the utmost importance that we deal with these messages according to God’s word and God’s will.

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Whenever we have a dream, we interpret it. Part of the interpretation is to determine whether the dream is a message about something that is about to happen or about a future event or about something that has just happened or an event that happened in the distant past.

A person like Paul of Tarsus probably did not struggle in this area. He had such faith in God and He just did not fear anything at all. His emotional condition could not be influenced by financial situations because he was always content amid all sorts of financial situations. Whether he had a lot of money or no money, it did not bother him at all. He knew that God has his back at all times. He did not fear death because of his faith in the miraculous power of God.

It is because of this faith and the absolute lack of fear that he could just shake off a deadly snake from his hand and just carry on with life as if nothing happened, although the deadly poisonous snake did bite him. He was like Abram who knew that he can sacrifice and kill Isaac because God has the power and the will to raise Isaac from the dead. These guys did not fear anything at all. Nothing bothered them. They just trusted God and they knew that everything is always alright at all times even though it seldom seemed like it is.

These guys were always in the rest of God. They did not experience any emotional issues or at least a lot less emotional issues than most people. They probably had no emotional garbage in their souls like bitterness or hate or fear or dissent or jealousy that caused emotional issues and emotional restoration dreams. For this reason, they could interpret their dreams a lot easier than most of us today. We need to enter the rest of God but that is only possible when we utterly trust him in all situations in life. It is only possible when we forgive and when we leave it up to God instead of seeking justice through carnal methods. It is only possible when we know the depth and the height and the width and the breadth of his love.

Emotional turmoil causes a lot of dreams and it clouds our judgment and our ability to interpret dreams and visions correctly.

I want to give you an example of such a dream: A lady recently had a dream of her husband, who is in full-time ministry, driving around in a red motor vehicle. The vehicle was in bad condition. It needed paint and it smoked a lot and the driver’s window was repaired with a piece of see-through plastic. It was clear that this person was either in a bad state financially or spiritually, because the vehicle needed serious maintenance and repairs.

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So, what does this dream mean? Is it a warning of things to come? Does it mean that the woman’s husband is experiencing troubles in his ministry and that he is struggling in a spiritual sense? Does it mean that the standard of his ministry is in a bad shape? Does it mean that this person’s ministry is actually in a good condition, spiritually, but that he is struggling financially? Does it mean that it has nothing to do with these scenarios but a warning of a situation in the future? The red color of the vehicle suggests that conflict and dissension is an underlying factor and that conflict might cause a bad situation in future or, could this dream be a reflection of the emotional condition of this woman?

In this sense, could it be that this dream has nothing to do with the husband or his ministry but a reflection of the fear in this woman’s heart about his ministry and the consequences of his actions, which is possible, if he is out of the will of God, as suspected by this woman? This woman was indeed suspicious that her husband’s ministry might not be in the will of God anymore. She was concerned that he deviated from God’s will and that he ministers in the flesh. She was also concerned that it might cause the family to lose financially as a result of this.

So, is this dream an answer from God (a message) or is this dream a reflection of her emotions (emotional restoration dream). If it is the former then God is confirming her suspicion. If it is the latter then she needs to deal with her emotions. In such a case, she needs to deal with fear in her heart. She needs to trust God and she needs to trust her husband.

As you can see it is not always easy to identify and interpret dreams. Emotional turmoil is our enemy in this regard. It could lead to more suspicion and more emotional turmoil because of the incorrect interpretation of dreams. In this case, it was determined that this woman was living in fear of financial turmoil which triggered this dream. It was, in fact, an emotional restoration dream and not a message from God.

I do realize that it is not easy to be like Paul and Abram but it is certainly possible. My suggestion in this regard is the following: Do not forget that emotional restoration dreams are a reality and it should be taken into consideration when interpreting dreams. Learn to stand on the promises and the word of God, seek such a deep love relationship with God so that you can understand the depth and the height and the width and the breadth of his love which will help you to enter into his rest. It is this “place of rest” in God that gives us the ability to understand our dreams better.

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Well trained dreams and visions interpreters will never forget the following: Most people experience a lot more emotional restoration dreams than direct messages from God. They know to start their interpretation process with this in mind. They know that they need to identify some emotional trigger that will help them interpret the dream successfully.

A relatively small number of people live well-balanced lives which cause them not to experience emotional restoration dreams. These are people who live in peace with God and other people. It is also people who are fortunate enough to live in good circumstances and who are not exposed to conflict and strive or challenging circumstances. These are people who live in faith and who trust God fearlessly.

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