Dreams and visions...

T. J. de Ruiter, Pentecostal Pastor in The Netherlands


That the Spirit of God can inspire people with special dreams and visions we read in the Old Testament of the Bible. He inspired patriarchs, kings and  prophets of Israel often with such experiences. The prophet Ezekiel seemed to have had a special gift to be an instrument of God for he received many messages and revelations in visionary experiences. When the Holy Spirit of the Lord fell at Pentecost in Jerusalem on the apostles, Peter referred to the prophecy of Joel where he had prophesied that in later times God would pour out His Spirit and inspire believers in dreams and with prophetic inspirations (Acts 2:16,17).

God  gives  dreams and visions, but  they must  not become the  foundation of our faith

The history of Christianity tells of many believers that had mystical, visionary and prophetic experiences. Many of them heard the Lord speak and saw Him. Their faith and dedication to their calling received often a new depth and intensity and it inspired them to dedicate them to noble service in practical, helpful Christian living and preaching. I think of saints as the early Church fathers Ignatius and Augustine, later figures as Hildegard van Bingen in the 12th century, John of the Cross and Theresa of Avila, in the 16th century. However, there were also people who after such mystical experiences became more or less useless.

When the Holy Spirit of God gives dreams or visions they always contain a message. This message may be understood immediately, but sometimes to be interpretated and correctly understood they need much thought, prayer and study. Dreams or visions received from God must surely not be thought of as the product of a tired or confused mind and must not be qualified as hallucinations - as some people do. Dreams or visions of God may also be received while being in normal, clear consciousness. These visions may be experienced in a trance or in a sensation of being transported to another realm or place, as the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 8:3. When people come into a trance they usually loose contact with the normal world around them because their consciousness is taken up in that experience. The impressions they receive while being in such a mystical state of mind can usually be remembered when they return in the normal state of consciousness. That is why visions or messages can be written down afterwards as we see in the Bible and know from many interesting books.

In teaching about dreams and visions in the Church need to be made absolutely clear that they be should evaluated and checked by leaders of the Church, if they are indeed from the Holy Spirit and in harmony with Biblical teachings and revelations (1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). This is very important as the inspirations may be influenced by the human mind or a strange spirit. It also needs to be accepted and understood that dreams and visions are never meant to become the foundation of our faith. The foundation of our faith is the Bible, the Word of God. Even when people are sure that God spoke to them in the vision or in the prophecy needs the teaching or message be examined and tried by the written Word of God in the Bible. Don’t misunderstand me please, I do not mean to belittle the worth of such messages and visions as they can be a means of communication from God and contain an important message.  However they can never be in contradiction with what He has previously taught and revealed as God never contradicts Himself or turns around (Hebrews 6:18; James 1:17).

Wesley’s Living Arguments

Wesley was once warned to pay no attention to dreams and visions and to give no importance to people that seek to receive forgiveness of sins through tears and weeping . He reacted as  follows: "The question between us is this in short: You deny that God can give such experiences and saying that God does not give them, but I believe, He does.

I confirm that He does use them and have seen that He gives such experiences. I have seen - in as much as we can evaluate them - that people were changed in a moment. Their fear, dispair and disgust were changed in a spirit of joy, love and peace. Their sinful desires that reigned over them till that moment were changed into a pure desire to do the will of God. These are the facts of which I have been an eyewitness till this day.

I know some people that experienced such a dramatic change in their life during or after seeing a vision, in a dream, or as a very powerful impression in their mind of the crucified or glorifyed Christ. These are facts, let everybody  examine them as he is pleased to do. The change in their life was not the result of tears, or of fallling to the ground or through loud calling to God, but of the Spirit of God and  their dedication of their heart to Christ. You must not think that I regard these unusual experiences as the fruit of their faith. The fruit of their faith is that they have become holy, righteous and good living people, while they were until that moment in many ways bad lving people.

I can show you that some people were before such an experience as lions but now have become as lambs,some were drunkards but now live as good examples of soberness and great selfcontrol. I can introduce you to people who were before going to the harlots, but now detest even the defiled garments. Such people are my living arguments. As in former days God  gives forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit to people and their children. Yes, He gives these gifts often suddenly and often - as I have observed - through dreams and visions. If this is not true then I am a false witnness of God. But I do testify that God gives such experiences and through His grace I will keep testifying of them."

Do not deliberatedly stir up these experiences.

From time to time there are believers and movements that tried to generate or stimulate such mystical and ecstatic experiences. I want to emphasize that the Bible does not support in any way that we should deliberately try to generate or stimulate such experiences in our own strength. This is the reason why I do reject such ministries and methods that try to help or bring us into a mystical state of mind, like a spiritual trance. Self induced trance can open the door of our spirit for misleading spirits and is therefore dangerous. Many have already experienced this to their sorrow and horror. Having said this I want to point out that we want to give the Holy Spirit all the freedom to bless us with His sovereign dealings and blessings. Let us be convinced that He knows – as in the days of old – to whom He can minister in these special mystical, spiritual experiences.

In Closing

In closing I want to point out two things.

a. Such special experiences and their results as described above are given to be a blessing for the whole Church and for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. Sharing such experiences and messages with others is often not easy because there are many people that do not appreciate and understand them. However we have usually the task to share messages from God with others, (Romans 1:11; Ephesians 4:16).

<>b. In closing I give the warning that when deceased familymembers appear in a vision or a dream, it should be seriously investigated if there is perhaps a history of spiritism in the famly, for such experiences could be misleading. People who are contaminated with misleading spirits have often a hindrance to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. In case of doubt or spritual contamination, I invite you to write me with giving me as much as possible particulars. May the Lord Jesus bless you and sanctify you.

T. J. de Ruiter, Dutch Pentecostal pastor and teacher, 21 January 2011.


I invite you to e-mail me if you have any question or are in need of counselling because of having had a mystical experience.
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Site 'Inspiration & Insight' (Global Ministries), since 1997 / published 21 January 2011 / update 9 January 2012 / Pastor T. J. de Ruiter / The Netherlands