On a purely subjective level, I think dreams are one of the strangest experiences we have as humans. They often defy many of the rules that govern our everyday lives and clearly do not “make sense” in our logical world. Dreams are sometimes funny, sometimes scary, and often confusing enough to leave me bewildered.

Nevertheless, I recognize that God frequently uses dreams throughout the Bible. One way to discover the prevalence of dreams in the Bible is by using Olive Tree’s Bible Topic Threads. This resource ties together Scripture references under topics so that you can trace how these topics develop through the Bible.

Here are some of the Scripture references under the topic of dreams in Olive Tree’s Bible Topic Threads.

Dreams Can Provide Warnings

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”

Genesis 20:3

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul

Deuteronomy 13:1-3

7 And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night. 8 As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating, and awakes with his hunger not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking, and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched, so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.

Isaiah 29:7-8

32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:32

8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.

Jude 8

Dreams Can Prophesy of Future Events

5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

Genesis 37:5-8

5 And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” 8 They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”

Genesis 40:5-8

1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: 29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be.

Daniel 2:1, 28-29

Dreams Can Give Promises

And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth . . . and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Genesis 28:12-15

5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” 15 And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

1 Kings 3:5, 9, 15

Dreams Can Be a Means of Revelation

5 And the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. 6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house.

Numbers 12:5-7

6 And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets . . . 15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.”

1 Samuel 28:6,15

28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.

Joel 2:28

20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21

12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Matthew 2:12

Check Out More Bible Topic Threads

There are many more topics available in Olive Tree’s Bible Topic Threads resource, approximately 2,700 more! Enhance your understanding of these biblical topics all with the ease of a simple click or tap. Read this blog post to learn more about this resource and to see how it looks in our free app.

Do you think God still uses dreams to warn, reveal, or speak about future events? Why or why not?  Leave your response in the comments section below!


  1. Robert Erikson Reply

    in some of my dreams I sin. Does God hold that against me? Anyone have an opinion?


    • Brad Hoffman Reply

      Hi Rob. I’ve wrestled with this question too. Sins committed in dreams doesn’t fall into the categories of sin we’re used to thinking in, e.g., sins of omission/commission, violations of God’s law, word/thought/deed, etc. God doesn’t hold any sin against those who are in Christ since Christ has completely atoned for all of their sins, past, present, and future. However, I would say that sin committed in dreams can still be brought before the Lord in confession (cf. 1 John 1:9). And, once confessed, we can ask that God would renew our minds so that even our dreams would be pleasing and acceptable to Him.

    • Valencia BrowningKeen Reply

      Future events have been revealed to me for things I have prayed about earnestly and with a pure heart.

  2. Gordon Tippett Reply

    God speaks today through dreams and visions. In a dream, in 2005, God showed me a stripped down department store representing Japan’s near future economic collapse. In the same dream, and another dream, He showed me that as a result of the collapse, the youth will become Christians and the old ways in Japan will be “evicted.”
    Before I was sent to Japan in 2005, in 1993, He gave me an open vision, acting in a movie kind of vision, in which I flew across the Atlantic Ocean into the Med. Sea. He spoke Gibraltor and Maritimo to me. The parable message was, “I am taking you overseas.”
    He recommended to me in a vision to use Living Light devotional and He gave me hundreds of messages most days from the book.
    I said to Him that He had prepared the book to speak to me almost daily so lets invent another way. I will ask yes and no questions and You answer yes with a power touch and for no not do anything. We communicate regularly this way. But it is not effective because it does not cover details. I have to analyze every detail and ask if I am right or wrong.
    The belief that God does speak today is foolish. He loves and created us and died on the crossbto have a relationship with us. He partners with is to defeat satan, because Jesus has already defeated Him but webhave to do a mop up job, and to partner with us to save the world. To say He does not speak and kill that faith cuts the head, Christ, off of the Body of Christ. satan wins.

    • Gordon Tippett Reply

      I am sorry to see that I can’t edit it after I post.
      I mesnt to say that to say God does NOT speak today is foolish.

  3. A few years ago I committed a really ‘big’ sin and I felt really guilty. I prayed to God with my full heart to ask for forgiveness that night. Eventually I fell asleep and in my dream, I saw our Lord Jesus Christ. It was very blurry and I assume I was on my knees. I was like in the clouds, everything was bright. Like I said, I assume I was on my knees because I only saw his feet. But it was a peaceful atmosphere. When I finally got my mind together, he opened his arms and said,” Your sins are forgiven.”
    I still remember it now. Sometimes when I sin, the dream just pops up in my head again. It was the most sincere prayer I have ever did. It seems like I’m not that sincere now anymore and I often feel sad about it. I still pray for forgiveness but I never had a dream like that again. Does God still forgive me?
    I’m a new Christian. What do you think about that? What should I do?

    • Brad Hoffman Reply

      Hi Sylvia! I appreciate you sharing this and can see why this would stick with you! What a very special moment that shows God’s heart for you! Your comments raise a very important question on the basis of our forgiveness. Ultimately, we look to the cross to see that Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins, not just some of them. To think that he wouldn’t forgive you would mean that those sins are still punishable and not covered by the blood of Jesus. This doesn’t seem compatibility with the Bible’s teaching about the cross, the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.
      Now, I think what you’re touching on is our ongoing relationship or walk with Jesus. When we sin, even though that sin is paid for and forgiven, we should still confess it in order to maintain our relational intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are even times when we need to confess our insincerity and ask that God would change that part of our heart that is a little slower to come along than our lips. 1 John 1:9 is instructive here, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is no way we can confess all our sins, since only God knows that. But notice that John says He forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Even those unknown and unconfessed sins are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2).

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