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Prophetic Dreams: A Comprehensive Guide!

Prophetic Dreams: A Comprehensive Guide!

Updated on Jul 27, 2022 | Published on Feb 07, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

Prophetic Dreams - Meaning, Types, Symbols, Examples and More

Key Takeaways


  • Prophetic dreams are broadly classified into warning, decision, and directional dreams.
  • They bring important messages from the divine God or universe for the dreamer.
  • Whether a dream is prophetic or not can only be determined after the events repeat themselves in reality.
  • They often feature visions, symbols, and voices.

Though we simplify every vision we see in our sleep state as dreams, most of us are not aware that dreams can be differentiated into several types such as regular, prophetic, and visitation dreams

In this web post, we have listed all the details you need to know about prophetic dreams – what they are, how they are different from other dreams, and how to know if you had one.

But first, let’s have a brief idea of what they are. 

Prophetic Dreams - A Comprehensive Guide!
Prophetic Dreams – A Comprehensive Guide!

What Are Prophetic Dreams?

SUMMARY
Dreams that give insight into the future and the upcoming events are categorized as prophetic dreams. They are broadly classified into directional, decision, and warning dreams.

Prophetic dreams are defined as those that foretell a future event. Or in other words, dream scenarios that contain foresight into the future can be categorized as prophetic dreams. 

For instance, let’s say you had a dream of getting into your dream company. In the next few days or weeks, if you do get a position at that particular company, you can consider that dream as prophetic. 

Though they foretell what would happen in the foreseeable future, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same incidents and events will happen in reality. 

You may dream of traveling to an exotic foreign country but in reality, you may take a trip to the countryside, away from your residence. 

Having said that, your prophetic dream of traveling abroad is not completely out of question. 

As the name suggests, prophetic dreams can be exceedingly complex to decipher. 

Therefore, it is imperative to gather all the dream events, as accurately as possible, connect the dots, find their common ground, and then proceed with the dream interpretation. 


Prophetic Dreams Meaning: Elements

Prophetic dreams often carry messages from God involving visions, symbols, and sounds hinting at events that will happen in the foreseeable future.


Types Of Prophetic Dreams

Prophetic dreams can be categorized under different heads as discussed below –

1. Warning Dreams

Warning dreams are the most common types of prophetic dreams. Such types of dreams warn you of possible impediments and therefore to be wary. 

For instance, assume that you have invested in a new venture. Around this time, if you dream of a stop sign, a red flag, or even a huge block on your path, the higher self or the universe forewarns you of forthcoming troubles that would come up in your path.

Here, the dream did not mean you should halt or even give up everything. Instead, it hints at things you must avoid to have a smooth road ahead.

You are wrong if you think warning dreams are etched in stone. The events can be changed, and most probably, the universe too let the dream happen so you can alter the future. 

2. Decision Dreams

In these types of dreams, you see yourself faced with a choice and then watch yourself make a decision. 

Since your conscious self is completely shut off during your sleep stages, it is your subconscious instead of your rational conscious mind that made the decision in your dream. 

3. Directional Dreams

Through directional dreams, the universe or your spirit guides give you prophetic messages.

For instance, if a voice in a dream tells you to follow a specific direction, you should try to reevaluate the pros and cons of following the path directed by the voice.

Furthermore, prophetic dreams can also be classified under the following heads_

4. Clairaudient Dreams 

If you hear a clear and distinct voice in your dream, that dream can fall under clairaudient dreams. You may or may not know where it comes from or who it belongs to. 

Regardless of that, it is crucial to pay attention to the message the voice conveys as that is the key to the whole dream. 

5. Telepathic Dreams

As the name suggests, in such types of dreams, you can connect with someone’s thoughts via the dream.

In a nutshell, you would be able to know what he or she feels about a particular matter without him or her telling you anything about it. 

Generally, the person you can connect with in the dream is someone you are very close to. 

6. Empathetic Dreams

In empathetic dreams, you will encounter yourself feeling empathetic towards someone or something. However, you wouldn’t be able to find out the reason why you felt that way. 

Most of the time, the person you feel empathetic towards in the dream would be a close friend or family. 

7. Apparition Dreams 

In apparition dreams, deceased people appear to convey an important message. 


Prophetic Dreamers

God says, “When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams.” ~ Numbers 12:6


Prophetic Dream Symbols

Symbols to look out for in a dream you believe is prophetic include –

1. Wisdom 

Through prophetic dreams, God often sends messages to help you understand yourself better- attitudes, behaviors, etc.

Through hints and insights, you would be able to figure out your personality traits that are negatively affecting your life or surroundings.

Also, if you delve deep and look closely, these types of dreams will even help you discover talents and skills you are not even aware of. 

2. Encouragement

Prophetic dreams also happen as a means for God to encourage and give you the much-needed push. 

For example, let’s assume that you are in a fix regarding your career. You want to pursue theatrical arts but are not sure if that would be the right choice. 

At that point, if you experience a dream telling you to follow your heart, that can be a message from God encouraging you to take up the career your heart desires. 

Therefore, the scenario may have happened to encourage and motivate you further and not lose hope. 

Such dreams will either build the confidence you need or help you discover your potential to face the challenges you need to pursue your dream goals.

Through the dream, God sends you messages to take up and face the challenges that come up your way. 

A Biblical example of an encouraging dream is when in Joseph’s dream, God encourages him not to be afraid of Mary’s pregnancy and move ahead with their plans to get married. (Matthew 1)

3. Healing

Through prophetic dreams, God may remind you to have faith in him and be hopeful of the future.

Whatever pain and heartache you have gone through in the past, your heart and soul will certainly get healed if you place your trust in him. 

In your dream, if you envision yourself living a much more comfortable life without worries and stress, God may be urging you to have faith in him and His process. 

4. Warning

One of the most common messages God conveys through prophetic dreams is warnings. Such scenarios often occur when you or someone near you is marching towards danger but are not aware of it in the least bit. 

For example, assume that you have made an investment in your friend’s new venture. In your dream, you may see yourself going bankrupt and living a dirt-poor life.

In that case, know that God is sending you warning signs not to make further investments. 

What’s done is done and you can do nothing to reverse the situation. However, you can save yourself from further damage if you pay heed to the warning signs and refrain from getting involved in it further. 

Of course, seeing yourself live a life of poverty in your dream doesn’t necessarily mean the same will happen in reality. However, you are likely to suffer from huge losses if you carry on doing the same things. 

A Biblical example of a warning dream is when Pharaoh was warned to store up food in preparation for the upcoming famine. (Genesis 41)

If God sends you a message through a prophetic dream, its meaning will be clearly explained to you if you ask Him to help you understand it. 

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…”. ~1 Corinthians 14:33

5. Help

One of the messages people often receive in prophetic dreams is to assist someone who is in dire need of help. That person may be a close one or a mere acquaintance.

The reason why God chose you is that He knows you have the ability to help that person get out of trouble. 

Therefore, if you experience such a dream, do not hesitate to reach out to those who might be needing your support. 

A Biblical example of such types of dreams is Paul’s dream urging him to go to Macedonia to help people listen to the words of God. (Acts 16)


Prophetic Dreams: How To Tell If You Had One?

According to dream analysts, prophetic dreams provide you with insights into what will possibly happen in the near future. 

However, as you might have guessed, it is not easy to determine if your dream can be called prophetic or not because we humans have no idea about what will happen in the future until the moment it happens. 


Prophetic Dreams: Real Examples

Some of the world-famous examples of prophetic dreams are –

1. Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States had a prophetic dream, some days prior to his assassination. Just three days before, he narrated his dream to his wife and friends. 

The following is the conversation recorded by Ward Hill Lamon, one of his companions who were present at the above-mentioned event. 

About 10 days prior to the meeting, the president retired late after waiting for important dispatches. Soon, he fell into a slumber and began to dream….

He heard sobbing and weeping sounds in his dream.

The president went from room to room but saw no living person. However, the same mournful environment met him as he passed.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious event, he went on until he arrived at the East Room.

“…There I met with a sickening surprise”

Before the president was a catafalque. And on it rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. It was guarded by stationed soldiers with a throng of people gazing mournfully upon the covered corpse.

…‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers. ‘The President,’ was his answer; ‘he was killed by an assassin.’ Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. (Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1847-1865 by Ward Hill Lamon, published 1911)

On April 14, 1865, two weeks after the dream, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. As in his dream, his casket was kept in the East Room of the White House and guarded by soldiers.

2. Aberfan Landslide

In 1966, nearly 150 children and adults were killed after waste from a coal mine was buried in a school in South Wales.

Interestingly, when John Barker, the psychiatrist visited the town and interacted with several residents, he realized that a lot of them, including some who died in the disaster, had experienced premonitory dreams about the misfortune. 

Further, Barker advertised in a London newspaper, asking people who had experienced premonitory dreams before the landslide to send written accounts. He received more than 60 replies, and more than half of them mentioned a dream of the landslide.

3. Julius Caesar’s Death

Calpurnia, the wife of Caesar, dreamed that something terrible was going to befall her husband, and begged him to stay home.

He ignored her warnings and later ended up being stabbed to death by members of the Senate.


Scientific Analysis Of Prophetic Dreams

According to scientists, dreams that come true can be a guidance for you to follow through, thus making it look like they are coming true. 

Another scientific argument is that because your subconscious is a lot faster than your conscious, your subconscious mind has the ability to put together bits and pieces of information regarding what is likely to happen based on the events and incidents that have already taken place in reality. 


Do Prophetic Dreams Come True?

Whether prophetic dreams come true or not is hard to conclude. 

It is complicated, though not impossible to tell if a dream is prophetic or not because until and unless the incidents in the dream actually happened, you will not be able to determine if you can class a particular dream as prophetic or not. 

And even if the events do come true, they can merely be coincidences rather than the Divine speaking to you. 

However, that is not to say – there’s nothing such as prophetic dreams. As you have seen, Lincoln’s assassination and the Aberfan landslide are classic examples. 


How To Tell If A Prophetic Dream Should be Interpreted Personally Or As A Warning For The Whole?

Dale M. Kushner, author of the novel, The Conditions Of Love raised this question to Dr. Murray Stein, renowned author, and Jungian analyst at the International School for Analytic Psychology, Zurich, Switzerland. 

In response, Stein replied that there are no statistics on whether people have predictive dreams more frequently in times of crisis than at other times. 

As you have seen, Abraham Lincoln’s dream was completely personal and the aftermath of the dream was born just by him and his dear ones.

However, those who experienced premonitory dreams of the Aberfan landslide saw that the dream was not a personal warning but for the community as a whole. 

He further added that one can’t tell if a dream is precognitive or not until after the event.


How To Make Prophetic Dream Interpretation Easier

  1. In case you get a hunch that you had a prophetic dream, note down everything you can recall.
  2. Take note of any signs, symbols, or numbers you saw in the dream.
  3. If someone uttered any word in the dream, do not forget to write it down. That simple word can be the reason behind the whole dream. 
  4. Recall and analyze the events, the more detailed the better. 
  5. Study them until you see a pattern.

What Are The Steps You Need To Take If You Believed You Had A Prophetic Dream?

The further actions you should take entirely depend on the type of dream you saw. A warning dream will convey a different meaning as compared to a decision dream. 

For instance, a warning dream could be warning you or someone close to you to avoid a particular person or event to stay away from trouble. 

On the other hand, a decision dream may hint at signs you must look out for to make a decision that will ultimately help you reach your desired destination. 


Interpretation Of A Prophetic Dream: Example

Note how the below dream is interpreted as it will help you give a direction on how to proceed with your own. 

“A good friend says he has bad dreams all the time—and often, they come true! He has dreamed about car accidents, injuries, and deaths in the family. Soon after he dreams about them, these very things have happened to the people he loves. How is this possible?” ~ Anonymous

There are endless possibilities to the above accurate dreams – they can simply be coincidences or such types can also happen if the ‘friend’ is subconsciously worried about something that has the possibility of taking place soon – an elderly, ailing person who can pass away any time. 

However, it is also possible that God is speaking to the dreamer. 

Oftentimes, in these types of dreams, God has something special to communicate to the dreamer – warning about something that is likely to happen, guiding him or her to take a specific action, etc. 

Conclusion

Prophetic dreams can leave you feeling uneasy and afraid of what will happen soon. But you need to remember that such dreams happen not to scare you but to warn and guide you so you avoid pitfalls in your real life. 

If your gut feeling tells you that you just experienced a prophetic dream, the best thing you can do for yourself and others is to take careful note of each element present in the dream and dig into their connection to your reality.