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Related Question Postings:

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/30584/19810

Analyzing ( Jeremiah 29:8 ) rejection of other prophets prophecy by keeping Jeremiah 28 & Jeremiah 29 in context

I came across the following webpage about different types of Dreams and Visions

https://africa.thegospelcoalition.org/article/are-dreams-and-visions-messages-from-god-africa-study-bible/

In the aforementioned webpage, I wanted to quote the following paragraph:

Subconscious Processing

First, some dreams are a result of what has been on a person’s mind or stored in the subconscious. These can be memories, past events, repressed desires, and unfulfilled hopes. Isaiah says, “A hungry person dreams of eating but wakes up still hungry” (Isaiah 29:8). And Solomon writes, “Too much activity gives you restless dreams” (Ecclesiastes 5:3).

Isaiah 29:6-10

New American Standard Bible 1995

6 From the Lord of hosts you will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, With whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire. 7 And the multitude of all the nations who wage war against [a]Ariel, Even all who wage war against her and her stronghold, and who distress her, Will be like a dream, a vision of the night. 8 It will be as when a hungry man dreams— And behold, he is eating; But when he awakens, his [b]hunger is not satisfied, Or as when a thirsty man dreams— And behold, he is drinking, But when he awakens, behold, he is faint And his [c]thirst is not quenched. Thus the multitude of all the nations will be Who wage war against Mount Zion.

9 Be delayed and wait, Blind yourselves and be blind; They become drunk, but not with wine, They stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, the seers.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-4

New American Standard Bible 1995

5 [a]Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2 [b]Do not be hasty [c]in word or [d]impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3 For the dream comes through much [e]effort and the voice of a fool through many words.

4 When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow!

The https://africa.thegospelcoalition.org/article/are-dreams-and-visions-messages-from-god-africa-study-bible/  webpage states that  (Isaiah 29:8) and (Ecclesiastes 5:3) refer to dreams and visions associated with Our own subconsciousness (which, correct me if I'm wrong, I believe are fleshly desires/feelings). 

In any case, I'd like other people's views and interpretations of said bible scriptures.  Do the (Isaiah 29:7-9) and (Ecclesiastes 5:3) bible verses relate to dreams and visions associated with fleshly desires as opposed to Godly?

( Interesting Side Note: In (reference:  https://www.zoranpaunovich.com/soul-supernatural-dreams/ ) website, soul dreams are closely associated with what we called fleshly dreams in our postings, and spiritual dreams are Godly dreams.

(Quote from said reference): 'Derek Prince once said, “The only instrument sharp enough and sensitive enough to distinguish between the spiritual and the soulish is the Word of God. This is why correct discernment is possible only for Christians who have become mature through regular feeding on the ‘solid food’ of Scripture. The failure to distinguish between the spiritual and the soulish can have disastrous consequences.”'

which is closely based on:

(Hebrews 4:12)

 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. )

2 Answers 2

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Dreams are a normal, God-ordained way for our brains to sort-of organise what it has been dealing with in our waking hours. Yet we only remember very few of our dreams. I read a recent article entitled "I Dreamed a Dream..." in a Christian newspaper. The author quoted Isaiah 29:8 (though not the Ecclesiastes one) and spoke about lusts in connection with dreams, and it is this latter point that might be important to clear up. You seem to think that "Our subconscious is fleshly desires/feeling." You may be wrong about that, so let me quote this author.

"The Bible often talks about dreams as passing and insignificant. Moses declared that humanity is 'like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers' (Ps.90:5-65). Dreams are short-lived and transient, he declares - and so is human life. [Then quotes Ps.73:20 to show that dreams are] 'phantoms' - unreal and irrelevant - and that we should 'despise' them." (Stephen Rees' article in Evangelical Times, Nov. 2021 p13)

He then quotes Isaiah 29:8 to make the point that:

"In a dream I may imagine anything. I may imagine that I'm eating or drinking, or that I'm the Emperor of China, It doesn't mean that it's actually happening or is going to happen.

Does that mean that I should ignore everything that happens in my dreams? No, not always. Most of my dreams arise from things that have actually happened to me, or that I've read about, or that people have said to me... Psychologists tell us that if we're worried about something but refusing to think about it while we're awake, it may surface in our dreams...

What about those dreams that leave me feeling guilty or ashamed? Suppose I wake up from a dream in which I've had a violent fight with somebody? ...I still have to say that it's a sign that I belong to a fallen race... I must search myself and ask, "Have I been harbouring angry or hating thoughts about that man?" (Ibid. p14)

He then says there might be a need for him to ask God to search his heart and thoughts as per Ps.139:23. If he knows he has any ill thoughts against that man in his dream, he must repent and seek to love that man and to pray for his good. But if his conscience is clear, he can ask God to prevent such troubling dreams invading his sleep and for the Holy Spirit to keep him from sinful thoughts or feelings, awake or asleep. Then comes the bit about fleshly desires and dreams. Most Christians don't have hatred or anger invading their dream. No, they can feel guilty and ashamed because they had lustful dreams with sexual elements.

"They are not voluntary [dreams] and at certain stages of life (especially for boys in the teenage years) they are almost inevitable. But if a believer does experience such dreams, he should ask whether it is a sign that he has been indulging in lustful thoughts when he's awake, Has he been reading unhelpful stories or watching unhelpful films? Again, if you find that your conscience is clear, give thanks. And if you find that in some way you've opened your heart to lust, repent and believe that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.

I should add this: don't spend a lot of time trying to remember or analyse such vivid dreams. The very act of remembering them may stir up the very feelings you're trying to confess and repent of. Lengthy and detailed confessions can be unhelpful." (Ibid.)

Bear in mind that people with the most godly of desires are not immune from bad or disturbing dreams. Neither is their 'level' of godliness any kind of indicator for receiving dreams that are directly from God. There are cases in the Bible of some wicked people receiving dreams from God (as warnings) and of some non-Christians receiving dreams of direction from God. Let Psalm 139:23-24 be your guide here:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Be honest before God, and open to him, out of a desire to be led by him in the way everlasting, and trust him to do that. But if you obsess about your dreams, you are in danger of keeping your eyes fixed on yourself, and not on Christ, as per Hebrews 12:1-3.

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  • In article mentioned in OP, africa.thegospelcoalition.org/article/… , in paragraph titled Subconscious Processing , it does mention dreams caused by "repressed desires, and unfulfilled hopes" which could be interpreted as fleshly desires. Therefore, Subconscious Processing could involve fleshly desires
    – crazyTech
    Mar 3 at 9:26
  • @crazyTech, well, if you were already agreed about that article's statement, why did you ask this Q? Did the article use those 2 texts you ask about, and you are seeking confirmation from others, or did it not use them and you are hoping to find support in them for what seems like preoccupation with your dreams and your subconscious? You might best ask about this in the Psychology & Neuroscience section.
    – Anne
    Mar 3 at 10:07
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    I attend a Charismatic/Pentecostal church that focuses on The Holy Spirit Charismatic guidance whether it's via Godly Revelatory messages, Dreams, Visions, Unctions, etc. I'm trying to understand bible parts that help us know what is Godly Or fleshly( direct lie Or our fleshly emotional desires). Lots Cessationists, Mainline Protestant, NonCharismatic/NonPentecostal denominations make the error of rejecting &/or ignoring said guidance so it's good to discuss said subject.But, I understand when they complain that Charismatics/Pentecostals go overboard by overemphasizing said Charismatic gifts.
    – crazyTech
    Mar 3 at 16:03
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I do not see Isaiah 29:7-9 relate to dreams and visions associated with fleshly desires nor Godly. Starting from the beginning of chapter 29, Isaiah prophesized the destruction of Jerusalem, would come while they were

"blind yourselves and be sightless, be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer" Isaiah 29:9 NIV

as the Lord had brought over them a deep sleep, to seal their eyes and hearing from the warning of the prophets (refer to vv10). The dream mentioned in vv7&8 was not a real dream of desire, it was a metaphor that the destruction came so sudden that their mind had not been prepared, for the Lord sealed their senses as if they were in a deep sleep.


Ecclesiastes 5:1-4, again the focus is not about the dream.

Starting from the beginning of Ecclesiastes 5, it talks about the correct attitude for one coming before the Lord.

A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool. (vv3 NIV)

In view of the parallelism in the context, I think The Living Bible has a vivid translation.

Just as being too busy gives you nightmares, so being a fool makes you a blabbermouth.(vv3 TLB)

In both context of the OP, they are not good example to explain dreams or visions of human desire.

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