Could it be that that dreams and visions interpretation does not come through the “revelatory” gifts of the Holy Spirit?
The use of symbols and parables in the Bible or dreams and visions is more than just isolated attempts by God to explain something or to communicate with specific people. It is more than just a good idea to get the meaning of something over to another person by using a symbol or a parable or an illustration of some sort. The reality is that “the use of symbols” is a language.
One person can communicate with another person using symbols if both of them know the meanings of the symbols. But that is not enough, both of them need to know the specific rules and the specific principles which give structure and order to this language. Symbolism with specific rules and principles is a language. It is a proper and valid language because it has words (the symbols) and valid rules and valid principles that govern this language.
It is called the Biblical language of parables and symbols or the God-given language of symbols. The moment that we realize that Biblical symbolism is a language, we immediately understand that it has to be learned to be understood and we need to deal with it as we do with any other language.
Now, this immediately makes a symbols dictionary a reality. I mean, any language should have a dictionary and in fact, they all do. Many people would be surprised to hear that Daniel and others in the Bible did analyze all the symbols in a dream or visions and they did make use of a symbols dictionary.
So, if symbolism is a language, it implies that symbols have specific meanings and that interpretation does not come by revelation but rather by understanding. This implies that the interpretation of dreams and visions is not part of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So God introduced mankind to the divine language of symbols in the Bible. For some reason, God decided that He will speak to people through extraordinary methods. Many people would have wanted God to speak to them directly. But God decided to speak to people through prophecy, through a word of wisdom, through a word of knowledge, through the interpretation of tongues, through the interpretation of dreams and the interpretation of visions. This is the will of God. This is what he decided.
With prophecy and with a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge and with the interpretation of tongues, the revelation is flowing directly from the Holy Spirit. So the revelation or the interpretation comes through the Holy Spirit. This is because this is the “revelatory” gifts of the Holy Spirit in action. The Spirit of God reveals what God is saying to the church.
On the other hand, the interpretation of dreams and visions do not come through the Spirit of God in the same sense as the gifts. Dreams and visions are not part of the gifts of the Spirit. That is why it is not mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.
1 Corinthians 12 is all about the gifts of the Spirit and dreams and visions are not part of it. It is also clear in the Scriptures that the Old Testament people were very intensely focused on understanding the meanings of the symbols in their dreams and they did pray about it. God did reveal the meanings of symbols either directly or through his angels, and by recording this in the Bible, the Bible itself became the first dreams and visions symbols dictionary.
With the gifts of the Spirit, understanding is not the focus as it is with dreams and visions and the symbolic language associated with it. Daniel and Joseph and even Nebuchadnezzar and others wanted to understand what the symbols in their dreams and visions mean. This understanding did not come through the Holy Spirit, it came through angels telling the prophets what the different symbols represent.
With the gifts of the Spirit, it is either God speaking directly through a prophecy or by the Spirit of God revealing what God says by a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge or by the Spirit of God revealing what the message from God is after a person has spoken in tongues. So when the church members gathered together in New Testament times the gifts functioned in their midst. This still happens today. The Bible says that the gifts “manifest” amid the members in the congregation.
Dreams do not manifest in the congregation. People do sometimes see visions in the congregation but the interpretation of such a vision is done through interpretation (understanding of the symbols) and not through revelation (revelation of the spoken word of tongues). So with the speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues, there is no symbolism involved. The person who interprets tongues does not see symbols and he or she does not understand the language of tongues. The Bible is clear that only God understands the language of tongues.
People receive the meanings of the word coming through tongues by revelation through the Holy Spirit. This is the gifts of the Holy Spirit in action. So with the gifts, no symbolism is involved. With dreams and visions, it is all about symbols and the analysis of symbols and the meanings of symbols and the interpretation of symbols. It involves identifying the symbols and applying the meanings of the symbols in the proper context in a specific situation. The analysis and the application of such meanings (interpretation) is a process. It can be done quite quickly if the interpreter is well-schooled and experienced. In most cases, it takes quite a few minutes and even quite a bit longer than just a few minutes to interpret a dream or a vision.
Does this mean that the Holy Spirit is not active during dreams and visions and the interpretation thereof?
Not at all. The gifts of the Holy Spirit can and do sometimes manifest in dreams and visions and even during the interpretation process of dreams and Visions. Many people experience dreams and visions and in such dreams or visions, they supernaturally know specific information (word of knowledge). Even dream interpreters sometimes know specific information whilst interpreting a dream in a supernatural way (word of knowledge). Even some of the other gifts can manifest in a dream or a vision or during the interpretation of a dream or a vision.
This was just a short post on the “revelatory” gifts of the Holy Spirit and its characteristics which differ from the characteristics of dreams and visions and it’s interpretation. It explains why dreams and visions are not part of the “revelatory” gifts of the Holy Spirit because of it being a part of a symbolic language with proper rules and principles that govern this language. It explains why it is not part of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit and not mentioned with those gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. I hope that you have found this short post informative
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