Can satan give us dreams and visions?
Dreams and visions and the interpretation of dreams and visions belong to God. No, the devil and his demons cannot give us dreams or visions.
People who teach that satan can mislead us through dreams and visions often misunderstand the following Scripture:
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
People who believe that satan can give us dreams and visions do not know how to explain certain strange “phenomena” that they observe about this subject. This inability causes them to believe that dreams and visions can be created by evil forces. They also do not know how to deal with reports from people who claim that they had experienced dreams or visions from satan. When these people give details of the dreams or the visions they had, it indeed appears that the dreams did indeed originate from satan or from demons.
The truth is that satan cannot give us dreams directly. He hasn’t got that power or ability. He can cause us to dream which is a natural result of fear and guilt that he causes in our lives.
People who live in faith, righteousness, and obedience never experience dreams that were indirectly caused by evil forces. Because they do not fear anything they never have nightmares or negative dreams caused by emotional imbalances in their souls.
Some people are tempted into sin, disobedience, and doubt in the love, favor, and the word of God. People who doubt God’s word and his love often live in fear. The more fear and the more sin in our lives, which causes feelings of guilt, regret, and condemnation, the higher the possibility that we will experience emotional turmoil in our lives. The more oppressed we are by satan, the more feelings of fear, guilt, and condemnation will build up in our souls.
This will be dealt with by the natural emotional restoration process that God gave us which is called “emotional restoration dreams.” We need emotional restoration dreams in order for our emotional condition to be normalized or to be reset. This is the natural and automatic God-given mechanism that we all have to assist us in coping with the emotional stress that we are almost daily exposed to.
It is this mechanism that sometimes causes nightmares. We will experience nightmares and we will experience fear in these dreams. Even when we wake up after such a dream we will still experience fear. Some people think that such dreams come from satan. This is in fact not true. These types of dreams originated in our souls because of fear, guilt, and condemnation.
After a robbery incident a person I know frequently had dreams of robbers breaking into his house. He frequently had dreams of criminals attacking and hurting him. It was only after he learned to trust and rest in God’s love and in His ability and His will to protect him, that this person managed to get rid of fear and also the nightmares.
This is why some people, after watching a movie about the abduction of children will have nightmares that night of their children being abducted or harmed in a similar way. It was not a dream from satan. It was a dream caused by fear. People who really trust in the unfailing love and protection of God watch the same movie without getting nightmares.
Now it is a well-known fact that people who get involved in the occult and in satanism do experience things that normal people (Christians and even normal unsaved people) do not experience. These people have opened a lot of doors to the devil and to demonic activities in their lives. They are seriously exposed to things that we as Christians and even normal unsaved people are not exposed to.
The bottom line is, nowhere in the Bible does it say that satan can give people dreams and visions. Nowhere in the Bible do we see even one reference or one incident of a person who experienced a dream or a vision given by satan.
When we read 2 Corinthians 11:14 carefully we see that Satan can transform himself into an angel of light. What it means is that he can make himself appear like an angel of light. He might even be able to appear like Jesus Christ. This verse has, in fact, nothing to do with dreams and nothing to do with visions.
I am convinced that satan can appear to people pretending to be an angel of light to deceive them. He can also appear to people as the devil himself to scare them. Can he appear to a Spirit-filled Christian? He did in the life of Smith Wigglesworth. Smith and his wife were disturbed in their sleep one night when the devil suddenly stood at the foot end of their bed. Smith looked at him once and simply said the following words: “Oh! It’s only you“, and went back to sleep immediately.
There is a possibility that he did not really appear to Smith Wigglesworth and his wife that night. It could have been God who exposed the presence of the devil in the room to Smith for some reason, even if it was only to test or to build his faith.
Through the years God has opened the spiritual eyes of many ministers by exposing the works of the devil to them. A person I know of once ministered unto a lady who was extremely depressed. When prayer and counseling did not help this sister, this person’s eyes were opened and he saw a goat standing a few feet away. The moment he saw the goat, who was actually a demon, the demon realized that he was exposed and he fled the room immediately when this person took control of the situation. This sister was immediately delivered from the spirit of depression.
If you experience fear, in a dream, can it be from God? I once heard the testimony of a lady who was trapped in bad and evil activities. She once had a dream of a very ugly and devilish monster lurking and hiding in the dark in her garden. In the dream, she was terrified. At one stage she was peeping through her bedroom window when she saw this huge evil creature chewing a screaming woman in its huge mouth. She could hear the woman’s bones crack while being chewed to death. She heard the last faint little scream from this woman just before this creature finally swallowed her. At exactly this point she knew that she was, in fact, that woman. She was terrified during and after the dream.
Now many people would say that this dream came from satan. It actually turned out that this dream was from God. It was his final warning to this woman that if she did not repent immediately from the evil and devilish activities she was involved in, the demon in the dream, was going to cause her to be lost and condemned forever. It was His last warning and fortunately, this woman did repent soon after this dream.
Now it is possible that Spirit-filled people of God who saw satan appear to them might actually have seen satan being exposed to them by God. I do admit that it is possible for satan and demons to appear to Christians. I will not deny that.
Does satan appear to unbelievers? I do not think so. Usually, he does not want unbelievers to know that he exists but I assume that it is possible. Does he appear to satanists and people who are busy with all sorts of witchcraft and occultism? Yes, I do think so. As I said, people in this category are exposed to a lot of things because of the sin and the devilish activities that they embarked upon.
The mere fact that satan can appear to people does not mean that he can give people dreams and visions. The creation of dreams and visions is a divine ability. Only God can “manufacture” a dream or a vision in such a way that our physical brain and our physical senses can observe or experience it. The following quotations will give us a little more insight into what goes on in our brains when we dream:
The limbic system
The limbic system is a relatively primitive part of the brain where memories and emotions are processed. It is made up of the amygdala, hippocampus, and cingulate gyrus:
The amygdala – acts as a link between a stimulus and
how you react to that stimulus. It takes information from your senses and reacts in the appropriate way, i.e. if something smells bad, we feel disgust.
The hippocampus – the memory teacher. The hippocampus is responsible for memory consolidation. For example, the first time we touch something hot, it learns the experience and replays it repeatedly to another part of the brain called the cerebral cortex. This creates a long-term memory.
The cingulate gyrus – this structure is partly responsible for your physical reactions to situations. It controls skeletal muscle movement and also recognizing which part of the body has been stimulated through touch.
During REM sleep, this part of the brain is highly active. When we see what this part of the brain does, it is easy to relate it to dream production…
So, while you may think your brain ‘switches off’ when you go asleep, it is actually highly active for part of the night. It is almost as active during REM sleep as when you are awake! During this time, it is thought that your brain also works hard to clean itself up…
Scientists have identified a specific pattern of activity at the back of the brain which could then predict whether a person was having a dream. Their findings confirm that dreaming can occur both during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep.
Researchers have traditionally associated dreaming with the high-frequency brain activity they observed during REM sleep, and which appeared similar to the kind of brain activity seen when people were awake. In contrast, low-frequency brain activity during NREM sleep was interpreted as an absence of dreams.
Only God can manipulate the very complex processes in our brains to give us dreams. In plain terms, God bypasses the normal processes deep inside our brains. He interferes with those processes by divinely inserting a God-created “video” into our brains and then He hits the “play” button. At that moment we “see” and “hear” a message from heaven. The same with a vision.
It is very important to understand that satan cannot do this. He always had only one weapon and only one power and that is his mouth. He uses that mouth to do two things; to lie and to tempt. He sits on people’s shoulders and makes deceiving suggestions. He tries you to believe his lies and he tries to get you to do bad things. That is all he can do. He has no other power, authority, or ability. He uses the only ability he has to cause you to sin, to doubt, to feel condemned, and to fear. This may lead to nightmares and bad dreams but it does not come from him. He only indirectly causes these dreams because you allowed him to instill fear and condemnation in your life.
On the other hand, it is quite easy for satan to appear to a person. He merely has to walk over from the spiritual realm into the natural realm. Although I said that it is quite easy I do need to mention that satan is tremendously restricted in what he can do when it comes to the natural realm. God has spiritual laws in place which govern both realms and evil forces cannot bypass those laws. They always need legal grounds to do so. For this reason,, it is not just a matter of randomly appearing to a person. The bottom line is however that satan can appear to people. When he does appear to people he does the two things that he is very good at; he lies and he tempts. Inserting a dream into a human brain or creating a vision is something else. That requires divine abilities. Only God is the Dream-giver and the Vision-giver. Remember that satan could do a lot of things in the Old Testament that he just could not do anymore after Jesus Christ defeated him on the cross of Cavalry. He was stripped of all his power and authority and he was nullified.
Through the years people noticed “astonishing” things and acts performed by evil spirits when in fact those acts are actually quite commonplace. What is so profound or so amazing when magicians cause people or objects to float in the air when in fact demons are holding up those people or objects in the air? What is so profound or so amazing when magicians achieve this through soul power? There is nothing miraculous about these things! What is so profound or so amazing to see that demons can “read” minds when in fact everything we think in the natural realm is audibly heard by all spiritual creatures in the spiritual realm? They do not read our minds! They hear us think! In the spiritual realm, this is natural. There is nothing miraculous about that! It is commonplace and simple!
Causing a person to dream or creating a vision is quite a different story. Only God can do that. People who claim that they experienced a vision from Jesus Christ or a vision of an angel appearing to them when details in that vision contradict Scripture, have actually been misled. It was not a vision and it was not Jesus Christ or angels. It was satan appearing to them as an angel.
It is common knowledge that Jesus Christ and his angels have appeared to people many times through the ages. They still do appear to people even today. Ask Muslims. They can tell you a lot about Christ or angels appearing to them. This happens a lot more lately than in the past. Christ and his angels will probably appear to people until the end of the age. The devil and his demons can do the same but as I said, this has nothing to do with dreams and visions.
We never have to fear that we might be misled by satan, in a dream or a vision, pretending that the dream or the vision is from God. This will never happen. But he can deceive us when he appears to us. The Bible says that he “is transformed into an angel of light.” He can appear to people without them knowing that he is not Jesus Christ or an angel of light. Without them knowing that this person in front of them is the devil himself! There is no atmosphere of evil. No bells of warnings going off. Absolutely nothing to warn you except one thing only: Lies and deceit!
What we do need to do is the following: Whenever Jesus Christ or an angel appears to you, always check if what they tell you conforms with the Scripture. Always ask them to give you a Scripture reference to confirm that the statements they make are true and legitimate. If we follow this rule we cannot be deceived. Jesus Christ appeared to Kenneth Hagin nine times in his life and each time Kenneth did exactly this. Every time this happened, without any exception, Jesus did give Kenneth the Scripture references that he required.
We in fact never have to fear that we will be deceived when we have dreams or visions or when angels appear to us as long as we check all information with the Scripture.
This brings me to a Scripture that some people sometimes use to support their belief that the devil can, in fact, cause us to dream:
12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.
13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,
14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.
15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:
16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying…
I agree with Roger Barrier’s explanation of this Scripture. According to him Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends, experienced a situation where he was awakening from deep sleep into a full-blown satanic attack. I also had similar experiences in my life. I can remember on one occasion I woke up from a nightmare and then experienced an evil presence in the room. On another occasion, I woke up from a deep dreamless sleep and then experienced the presence of an evil spirit next to my bed. In fact, I was woken up from my sleep by this spirit. On both occasions, I was caught off guard and for a few seconds terrified, confused, and paralyzed. I could not act for a few seconds. I could not call on the Name of Jesus and I could not rebuke the evil spirits in my room. At least not until I recovered. Why and how does this happen?
Consciousness occurs when we are awake; we are in a sub-conscious state when we are asleep. When we go to sleep our conscious mind makes a “hand-off” to our subconscious. When we sleep our brains also produce chemicals to paralyze our bodies. Otherwise, we would act out our dreams. Sleepwalkers have a deficiency of these chemicals, some more than others.
In the situations that I mentioned above I was in a “paralyzed” state and thus couldn’t move or speak until the transition of control was returned to my conscious mind. I was hindered from calling out the Name of Jesus until the transition was complete and then I was back in control of my voice and able to call out for Jesus.
Eliphaz’s experience with the evil spirit occurred in that transition moment from “paralyzed” subconscious sleep to wakeful consciousness. It might have been preceded by a nightmare or a dream that made him restless but his experience was an outright demonic attack.
There is no doubt that Eliphaz awakened terrified and afraid in the midst of a full-blown satanic attack. I do not believe that satan can enter, influence, or control our subconscious minds. His attacks are limited to the times when we are fully awake and can defend ourselves.
It is possible for satan to grab a “foothold” in our lives. Paul tells us that this may occur if we continue to sin again and again in the same area. Control of that particular area is up for grabs and if satan gains control we must repent of that sin and take authority of our lives again. When the sin is forgiven satan no longer has a foothold (James 4:7).
Sometimes satan uses these footholds to get to us. As I mentioned already, it is these footholds (sin, doubt, guilt, condemnation) that cause nightmares. He indirectly causes us to dream and he is sometimes ready to follow such a dream up with a full-blown demonic attack just when we are at our weakest, those few seconds whilst we are waking up. He does this to create fear in our lives and to influence us when God instills faith in our lives.
It was during these few seconds that Eliphaz was influenced by the evil spirit that passed before his eyes. He could see this evil spirit and he could hear this spirit. I did not mention how the evil spirit in my room woke me up that night that I mentioned above. Although it was quiet in my room, in the spirit world this demon was screaming at me at the top of his voice whilst stamping his feet quite hard on the floor to attract my attention. My wife who was sleeping next to me was unaware of this. She did not hear a sound. I did.
Eliphaz was actually experiencing a demonic attack just like I did. This was not a dream or a vision that he experienced but a visitation from an evil spirit in person.
There is another aspect of dreams and visions that I mentioned in the post, “Former Satanists Cause Vulnerabilities In Church“. In this post, I mentioned that there are people in the church who outright lie about many things in their lives. They do it on purpose to hurt the body of Christ. They tell lies about dreams and visions, doctrines, and all sorts of spiritual experiences in their lives. Some people are being deceived and they deceive other people without even knowing it. This is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about people who purposely infiltrate the church to teach erroneous doctrines of devils. We read about them in the Bible:
For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.
1 Timothy 4:1-2
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron…
Unfortunately, this warning is still applicable. Many people deceive many people in the church and elsewhere, on a daily basis, and it will never stop.
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.”
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
The unfortunate reality:
People do interpret their dreams, visions, and experiences incorrectly.
People just lie outright about their experiences. Some never saw a vision in their lives yet they zealously testify of what God showed them in a particular vision.
People add to and subtract details about their visions or dreams they had.
People have false experiences, especially satanists because of living in a world filled with all sorts of evil deceptions.
Some people think satan or demons are infiltrating their minds during nightmares, but there is no passage in the Bible to substantiate this. There are no biblical incidents of demonic forces communicating with people during dreams or nightmares. Nightmares are nothing more than the brain’s way of contending with our fears and concerns as it continues to function during sleep cycles.
If a Christian experiences continual, frequent nightmares that are interrupting sleep and causing an emotional disturbance on a regular basis they need to deal with their fears. They need to allow God to build up their faith so that they can rest in his love. Prayer is our most potent weapon against any kind of emotional or spiritual distress. Praying for fifteen or twenty minutes prior to sleep is the most effective way to calm the mind and heart and prepare for restful sleep. God grants wisdom to those who seek it from Him (James 1:5), and He has also promised His peace to all who seek it. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The authenticity of dream dictionaries created by Psychologists
Dream dictionaries created by psychologists are as unreliable as those created by pagan “religionists” and fortune tellers. When it comes to the natural characteristics of objects like plants and animals these dictionaries may be partially correct. The fact that God did not stick to natural traits and characteristics causes these dictionaries to be full of error. These people and even psychologists were not appointed by the Dream Giver to interpret dreams and visions. That honor belongs to the Holy Spirit. Yes, the five-fold ministry and other Christians, like Daniel, may be instrumental in teaching and assisting people to interpret dreams and visions correctly but still, the Holy Spirit plays a major part in the interpretation of dreams and visions. This aspect of man belongs to the church of God. It is part of the work of the ministry. Psychologists have no right to enter this aspect of humanity. This is what Dr. Henry W. Wright, a medical doctor, has to say about this:
I think, and I say this very carefully, God is ticked off at the psychologists being the pastors of America (or any country). If there are any psychologists reading this, I love you man, I love you woman. But I do think you have taken some things away from the pastors that are rightfully theirs to deal with. Under Old-Testament law, if anyone had leprosy, to be considered cured, to whom did they go show themselves? The priest. In the New-Testament, it goes a little further. James say:
Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sin, they shall be forgiven him. (James 4:14-15)
– Dr. Henry W. Wright
What Dr. Wright means is that healing belongs to the church and that includes mental healing. God gave specific instructions on how a person needs to be healed and where such a person should go to receive healing. A psychologist is simply not able to heal emotionally sick or mentally sick people. The methods that they use, from prescription drugs, which they prescribe through a psychiatrist or a medical doctor, to counseling which includes the interpretation of dreams, are just not effective. In fact, it is actually dangerous! Not only do prescription drugs cause sickness and diseases, it actually kills people. Even the counseling and dreams interpretation that they carry out are far from trustworthy and effective.
Even Christian medical doctors believe that true healing is a ministry of the church. This is what Dr. MK Strydom has to say about this:
According to the Word, God is not interested in disease management, He is interested in disease eradication and disease prevention. Where health-care is concerned today, there is really no such thing – they should be calling it disease management. Disease management means, for example, prescribing drugs for a diabetic or a person with high blood pressure for the rest of his or her life. The person is artificially maintained and manipulated by these drugs but the underlying problem that initially caused the disease is not dealt with. I am not saying that it is wrong to take medical drugs, it is sometimes very necessary. For example, if I have a patient come in with a blood pressure of 200/110, I have got to give the person medication to get that blood pressure down before he has a stroke and dies. It is an emergency, there is no time to sit down and deal with the issues in his life that lead to perpetual thoughts of fear, anxiety, stress and worry about the future (which is the cause of high blood pressure).
Similarly, if I have a patient that I diagnose with hyperthyroidism, I’ve got to put him on medication as this condition is potentially life-threatening. But is that the ultimate solution? It is in science. However, that is not scriptural. We think that disease management is a cure – no, if you were cured you wouldn’t need disease management. Disease management is another form of bondage. Disease management means you’re not free – you are not healed of your disease. But the Bible says that he whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8 v 36).
I personally will only prescribe medication in the short term to save a person’s life or to get the person into a place of safety so that he or she has time to go and deal with the root of the problem that is causing the disease. Prescribing drugs as a single act is ﬁne but the problem comes in when a person stays on those drugs permanently without the underlying problem behind the disease being dealt with. To those of you who are on chronic medication, I would like to inform you that God does not want you artificially maintained and chemically manipulated by medical drugs for the rest of your life. He wants to heal you and set you free of that disease permanently. But you also have a responsibility before God to get sin out of your life and to line yourself up with his Word and his conditions for healing.
– Dr. MK Strydom
Again, this is what the Bible commands us to do when we are sick:
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing Psalm. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Even for mental healing, we need to follow God’s instructions. Psychologists just do not have the knowledge or the divine understanding of the fundamentals and principles that dreams, visions, and the interpretations of dreams and visions entail. They need the Holy Spirit and they need to know the true and authentic Biblical language of symbols. Then they need to be called by God. That makes them a minister of God. That makes them part of the five-fold ministry. That makes them Christian believers and thus part of the church of God.
Dreams and visions are dealing with the spiritual aspect of the human being. It is not only a psychological aspect. to heal a human being, God, or a minister of God need to address problems within the complex make-up of a human being on a spiritual level. Psychologist deal with man on a psychological level which is completely situated in the soul dimension of man. This is trying to deal with the soul of man by bypassing the spiritual. It simply does not work that way. Applying intellectual knowledge to a spiritual problem is like gluing the broken pieces of a vase together with mud. The absence of the Holy Spirit is devastating in dealing with the emotional, psychological, and physical issues and problems of all human beings.
It is very important to emphasize this once again, “Dreams, visions, and the interpretation of dreams and visions belong to God and the church.” It is a spiritual thing. Anybody receiving a dream or a vision needs to go to God or to the church (a Christian who is trained in interpreting dreams and visions) to find the correct interpretation of their dreams and visions. Even natural dreams are in fact spiritual. This has nothing to do with pagan “religionists”, fortune tellers, and even psychologists.
Under normal circumstances, a natural dream in itself is enough to restore one’s emotional condition to face the challenges that life brings our way. It releases anxiety and emotional tensions in our souls which built up during the day. Disappointments, anger, frustration, undesired occurrences, conflict, anxiety, and fear all take their toll on the human soul. Emotional restoration dreams are basically an “offloading” process while we are sleeping. This process restores us emotionally.
In more serious cases we need to interpret reoccurring dreams to identify certain problem areas. Sometimes reoccurring dreams indicate that we either did not understand the dream or vision the first time or we did not apply the purpose of the dream and vision in our lives the first time. In such cases, the offloading or the releasing of tension could not restore us completely. Sometimes certain dreams and visions will reoccur until we understand it or until we take the necessary action. We do not need psychologists or anyone else to deal with emotional issues. If we understand the language of symbols we can help ourselves.
We need to learn the Biblical language of dreams and visions exactly the same way we learn any other language. When we have learned this Biblical language, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we know how to interpret dreams and visions.
As soon as we identified problem areas in our faith walk we need to submit these problems or issues to God. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to assist us in dealing with these problems. In very serious cases we need to follow the instructions given to us in James 5:12-15. That is when we need a minister of God to pray for us and with us. In more serious cases, we may need a minister of God to counsel us. It is important that you go to the right minister. Only a Holy Spirit-led, Spirit-filled man or woman of God can counsel you effectively and successfully. Other counselors will counsel you intellectually. This method of counseling is not effective enough. “Professional” counselors counsel people based on their experience or what they have learned in a college or a university. Although there is some value in this type of counseling, it is very limited. True and effective counseling is done by a Spirit-filled worker of God. If he or she also knows how to interpret dreams and visions, this type of counseling will be very effective. This kind of counseling leads to deliverance and restoration.
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