Are the angels we meet in our dreams real?
This article explores this question, plus more, from a biblical perspective.
Discover how angels can appear in dreams, and what that might look like in practice – with real dream examples.
I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.
Everyday Christians can encounter angels
One thing I have learned, though numerous years following Christ, is that there are many people who regularly have very real encounters with the spiritual realm: People have visions; they meet God; they are taken to heaven; and they see angels and other heavenly beings.
I am not one of those people!! At least, I have never knowingly seen an angel or the like while I was awake.
But since the time I started taking dreams seriously, angels have appeared in my dreams. It doesn’t happen all the time, but at fairly regular intervals I do have angelic encounters in my dreams.
I am not particularly prophetically gifted – I consider myself to be a fairly average Christian in that respect – but I have become much more aware of angelic activity my life though listening to my dreams.
We are more spiritually receptive while asleep
I believe – and it has been my experience – that we become much more receptive to the spiritual realm while we sleep. As our brain switches off for the night, God and His heavenly helpers can finally get through to us. As it says in Song of Solomon, although we are sleeping our heart is still awake.
- Song of Solomon 5:2, NASB “I was asleep but my heart was awake…”
Everybody dreams. That means that if God and His angels can get through to us in our dreams, then everybody can potentially meet them while they sleep. That means you can too! I find that prospect very exciting.
Biblical foundation for angels in dreams
If you are wondering whether it is biblically sound to meet angels in your dreams, rest assured that there are some good examples in the bible. So if it is important for you to have a biblical foundation, check out the full passages at the following references:
- In Genesis 28: 10-16 Jacob dreamed of a ladder reaching up to heaven, and he saw angels of God ascending and descending on it. This was a real vision in his dream because he also saw God – who spoke to him.
- In Genesis 31: 10-13 an angel appeared to Jacob in a dream with a strategy for successful goat breeding. This angel was speaking on God’s behalf.
- In Matthew 1:18-21 an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, and assured him that it was good for him to marry Mary.
- In Matthew 2 there are two more recorded incidents of angels appearing to Joseph in dreams – and giving him specific guidance for the safety of his family and the baby Jesus.
Each of these angelic encounters happened within dreams. The prophet Daniel also had encounters with heavenly beings in dreams which are recorded in his book.
I find the example of Joseph the most encouraging. Mary had the angel Gabriel appear to her while she was awake, with dramatic results – as we know from the Christmas story. But the appearance of an angel to Joseph – in a dream – is also recorded in the bible, which assumes it was just as real as the appearance to Mary.
Can we interact with angels?
We can see from the biblical examples that there is no reason for us to avoid interacting with angels. I am convinced we should honour them as fellow servants of God, and co-operate with the purpose for which God sent them – with humble and thankful hearts.
I think of angels as fellow servants in God’s Kingdom.
Some of us have been told to avoid talking to angels because we could be worshipping them. That doesn’t make sense to me: We talk to other people – and work with them – without feeling worried in case we are worshipping them. The same goes for angels and other heavenly beings from God.
I think it gives God great pleasure when we work together out of reverence for Him. I personally take it as a demonstration of God’s love that He provides heavenly help for us.
We are all here to serve Christ
It is true that we should not worship angels or become overly obsessed with them. And we must be alert so we are not deceived by false spirits; we do need to be discerning. Our priority is to develop our relationship with God and listen to Him – and if our heart is to do that then we will be on the right track.
So let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and honour those He sends to help us – both human and angelic. We are all here to serve Christ.
- Hebrews 12:3, CEV We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.
- 1 Peter 3:22, CEV Christ is now in heaven, where he sits at the right side of God. All angels, authorities, and powers are under his control.
More about spiritual discernment in dreams…
Why do angels appear in dreams?
Oftentimes, I think angels appear in our dreams because it is the easiest way for us to be aware of their presence. They are real spiritual beings who we struggle to perceive while we are awake.
I believe that angels surround us constantly and are active on our behalf, as God’s representatives, even though we cannot see them. In passages like Daniel chapters 7-12 we get a glimpse into this heavenly activity.
- Hebrews 1:14, NASB Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to provide service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
So angels are active all the time. But while asleep we are more receptive to their activity. And if an angel appears to us in a dream, it means there is a reason for us to interact with them or be aware of them. They are there for a purpose!
In terms of their actual purpose, I think they appear in our dreams for the same reasons that they appear while we are awake. So we can consider some general reasons God might send them – and then see some examples of how they have done that through dreams.
Angels appear in dreams for the same reasons they appear when we are awake.
Here are a few reasons God might assign angels to us:
Angels bring messages and understanding from God
Sometimes, like in the following examples, angels clearly state that they are a messenger sent by God:
- Daniel 9:21-22, NASB …Gabriel… came to me… and talked with me and said, “Daniel, I have come now to give you insight with understanding.
- Matthew 1:20, NASB …an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
But we also saw earlier – from Jacob’s dream in Genesis 31 – how the bible sometimes treats messages from angels as though it is God Himself speaking directly. We see the same thing in the incident of the burning bush in Exodus 3 and with the pillar of fire in Exodus 14.
So God seems to use angels and other heavenly beings as His personal representative to people – and messages from angels are generally treated as messages from God.
The bible treats angels as God’s personal representatives.
Real dream example: Message from God
I dreamed I had been in an aeroplane and it had been a bit bumpy. A lady came to talk to me. She said she was my angel and had come to give me a message, which she then did. It explained why things had been bumpy! At the end three angels were standing around me.
This dream was to encourage me during a difficult time (the bumpy flight symbolised difficult times); the angel brought a message from God, explaining what was going on. It was also a great encouragement to know that they were surrounding me!
Real dream example: Understanding
I dreamed I was in a room and could see angels floating in the air. One of them was my cousin Lucy. They explained a couple of questions that I had been asking, showing me how red and blue combine to make purple.
This confirmed to me that my cousin Lucy is actually an angel when she apears in my dreams. It also gave me some understanding about the colour purple.
Angels bring heavenly guidance
Angels regularly appear in the bible to bring essential guidance from God.
- Matthew 2:13, ESV …an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you…”
- Acts 8:26, ESV Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”(Acts 5:20, Acts 8:26, Mathew 2)
Real dream example: Direction
I dreamed I was driving along and suddenly there was an angel in the road ahead, causing me to stop. We were right by a little church called ‘Lightening’. I thought I would get out and take a photo in the evening light.
The evening before I dreamed this, I had realised something I had never seen before. The appearance of the angel alerted me that this revelation was important. I should stop and think about it some more, not just rush on to other things.
Real dream example: Guidance
I dreamed that an angel appeared with a list of things for me to do; it involved conversations to have and things to pray. I agreed to it (although I couldn’t remember the specifics when I woke up). The first opportunity arose, and it was difficult to find an opening to have the conversation, but I pushed through the discomfort as I knew it might be the only opportunity I had.
This dream was telling me that I needed to have various conversations. Even though it would be quite hard it was important to push through and do it. This helped me in the situation I was facing at the time, which did involve some difficult conversations.
Angels bring healing and deliverance
God is our Healer and Deliverer, and assigns angels to carry out those functions. Here is an example of a physical deliverance by an angel from prison:
- Acts 5:18, ESV …during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out…
God also uses angels to bring spiritual deliverance; to set us free from strongholds, wrong mindsets, and anything else that keeps us in bondage. In a famous hymn by Charles Wesley, he says, ‘My chains fell off, my heart was free’, to describe what it feels like.
Angels can also administer physical healing. I have never experienced this personally, but I know people who have.
Real dream example: Deliverence
I dreamed a lady came into the room I was in and announced, ‘I have come to deliver you and you’re not going to like it’. I asked whether I might die, and she said, ‘yes!’. I agreed to it.
On waking I realised that this unknown lady was actually an angel sent to deliver me. Soon after this I did go through a process of deliverence where I had to die to some old ways of thinking.
Angels bring encouragement and protection
Sometimes angels bring specific words of encouragement from God:
- Luke 22:43, ESV And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.
- Acts 27:33-34, ESV For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’
In the following passage, Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes would be opened to see the heavenly armies that surrounded them. The servant was feeling troubled and anxious, so being aware of the angels would have greatly encouraged him.
- 2 Kings 6:17, ESV Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
In the same way, I find that very often it is simply encouraging enough to know that I have heavenly help assigned to me for a particular task.
We can also see from this story that angels also offer protection. Psalm 91 talks about this:
- Psalm 91:11, ESV For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
It is extremely reassuring to know that you have heavenly protection assigned to you.
Real dream example: Encouragement
I dreamed that my son had been in hospital, so I was feeling worried. In the dream his angel was telling me that if I never needed help I should ask and it will be arranged. I never saw the angel but was aware it was him speaking. I felt very encouraged to know that practical help would come.
This particular son usually represents my church in dreams, and I could identify his illness as symbolising a challenge we had at church that I was worried about, as I am on the leadership team. This dream encouraged me greatly! It told me that the church angel would help me, and I just needed to ask.
How to recognise angels in dreams
So, now that we have established that angels can appear in our dreams, what might that look like in practice? How do we know that they are angels? We have seen some examples already in the dreams I have shared.
Here are some ways that we could encounter them:
Angels can appear as themselves
In the biblical examples we have seen, the dreamer knew that it was an angel when they were in the dream. It is easy to recognise them when this happens!
I have also had many dreams where I was aware I was talking to an angel. Sometimes I saw them, and sometimes I was just aware of them being there but couldn’t describe their appearance afterwards.
Real dream example: Seeing angels as themselves
While I was at a Streams training weekend on dream interpretation, I dreamed I saw my angel. He was sitting round a table with all the other angels who had come with the other people there. They were all having a wonderful time and seemed to be meant to be there together.
I knew that they were angels in the dream. My angel had curly blond hair and was wearing white, but that might just have been because that’s how I expect angels to look! This dream encouraged me that I was meant to be on the course, because I was feeling a little inadequate.
Angels can appear as unknown helpers
Angels can also appear as companions in a dream. They can be unknown people who are generally helping us or conveying a message to us.
This can be confusing as the Holy Spirit also sometimes appears as an unknown helper with us.
I personally don’t think it matters too much if we know whether it was an angel or the Holy Spirit in our dream. The main thing is that we know God is helping us! As we have seen, the lines between the two are often blurred in the bible too.
Real dream example: Unknown helper
I dreamed I was in a dodgy feeling area and felt quite afraid. It was monochrome coloured. A very tall person was walking beside me and said, ‘I think we should get out of here now.’ I lit up and flew!
The dodgy area represented a negative spiritual environment (the monochrome is a good indicator of this). On waking I understood that the tall person with me was an angel! It was encouraging to know that he was with me for protection – and to help me rise above it.
Angels can appear as people we know
Dreams are frequently symbolic in nature. This means that although angels can appear as themselves – it is also common for them to appear disguised as other people; and usually it is someone we know.
The bible tells us that in real life people have entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2), so it’s not surprising that they can appear in our dreams as people without us realising until afterwards either.
There are some clues to look for that might suggest that a person in your dream might actually be an angel or heavenly helper:
A relative or cousin: Angels often appear as someone in our extended family. My guardian angel appears in dreams in the form of my cousin Lucy, who was my childhood friend in real life.
Biblical names of angels: Look for names of people that are similar to names of angels in the bible, for example, Michael, Gabriela.
Angel characteristics: Look out for names that have a meaning that describes a characteristic of angels, such as a name that means light (like Lucy), defender, protector, healer, etc. Also look for people in your dreams who are carrying out angelic functions.
The name Angela: This is a very common one for me. The angel assigned to my church appears in my dreams in the form of a lovely lady called Angela who was part of our church for many years.
Real dream example: The name Michael
I dreamed a man I know called Mike came and stood near me. He announced that it was time for me to move to the next level. After that I walked round a barrier that was in front of me and had a much better view.
Although this seemed to be a real person that I know in the dream, the message he brought was very authoritative and I responded accordingly. Michael is a known angel name in the bible, and I’m sure this was an angel delivering a message from God.
Real dream example: The name Angela
I dreamed an old friend of mine called Angela came to visit our house. She wanted to see what had changed since she last visited; she was giving me her thoughts on what was good and what wasn’t so good, and she reminded me of some things we had forgotten about.
I am in church leadership. I understood that the house was our church, and Angela represented an angel assigned to give us God’s perspective on how things were going! I could see how the things she said symbolically applied to things happening in our church.
Dreams are a way for angels to connect with those of us who struggle to perceive them while awake. This is an excellent reason to pay attention to our dreams! I still carry the hope that one day I will be aware of angelic activity while I am awake. But until then, encountering them in dreams is a great starting point.
The bible treats heavenly angels as representatives of God Himself, and sometimes blurs the line between the two. This is the same in our dreams. They can appear in our dreams for many different purposes, in various forms:
- As themselves
- As unknown helpers
- Disguised as people we know
I am constantly overwhelmed by the love of our Father God – that He assigns angels to help us in so many ways and to encourage us. It is very reassuring to discover through a dream that we have heavenly help for a particular task or situation.
Maybe you have met angels in your dreams and didn’t know it until now? Do let me know in a comment if that has happened to you.
If you want to know more, do get in touch, or subscribe to my emails to receive regular helpful dream interpretation tips.
Subscribe to get the latest dream interpretation tips!
Don’t miss out! Sign up to recieve email notifications of new articles.
Taking inspiration from the bible to understand the symbolic language of dreams, plus real dream examples.
Would you love to meet the risen Christ? Discover how Jesus can appear in your dreams, symbolically and literally!
The surprising number and importance of dreams in the biblical nativity account.