How we can meet God literally and symbolically in our night dreams, what that might look like, plus real dream examples.
Would you love to meet God face-to-face?
Well, maybe you already have and just don’t know it!
This article explores some of the ways we can meet God in our dreams, with biblical foundations and 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.
If you have just come across this post and are new to dream interpretation, it is worth mentioning that dreams are symbolic in nature. You might find it helpful to read the following articles: Understand your dreams: A bible-based introduction to dream language and Beginner’s guide to biblical dream interpretation .
- Can we meet God today?
- Meeting God in the bible
- Meeting God in dreams
- Examples of meeting God in dreams
Can we meet God today?
I grew up in church, so I have been exposed to many of the bible stories over the years. I always wondered why so many people seemed to have God encounters back then, but not so much now. I used to think that God seems rather silent these days in comparison.
But surely God is the same now as he was then? Why would he suddenly stop speaking? Have we been missing something?
I now believe that we can meet God and that he loves to engage with us; I believe he is communicating with us all the time – and understanding my dreams was one of the biggest factors in changing my perspective on this.
Understanding dreams was a big factor in changing my perspective on meeting God.
You can read my story here…
My story: How dreams transformed my relationship with God
How I learned to hear God’s voice through interpreting dreams – and how that changed my life.
Meeting God in the bible
In the first part of this article, I will give a brief biblical basis for why we should expect to be encountering God today – to create a hunger for more God-encounters. In the second part l will explain how this works in dreams, with real examples.
Adam and Eve walked with God
Let’s take things back to the beginning – to God’s big plan for mankind.
Often we can glean so much by going back to the first mention of something. The first image we see of God interacting with humanity is the beautiful scene in the garden of Eden, which is found in Genesis:
- Genesis 3:8, NIV Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.
What a wonderful image! Imagine what it would have been like for Adam and Eve, having that closeness to God.
During lockdown, my husband and I walked together every evening, as we were lucky enough to have open fields right on our doorstep. It was a great time to catch up with each other, talk about our dreams, plan together, and commiserate over the difficulties we have faced during the day.
Now imagine being able to do that with God!
Sadly, we know that after the garden of Eden, something changed. Whether we take it as a literal story or figurative, one thing is for sure: We lost that face-to-face relationship and have been struggling to regain it ever since.
Moses met God face-to-face
The life of Moses also inspires hunger for relationship with God:
- After some dramatic miracles and a national exodus from Egypt, he went up a mountain and spent 40 days talking to God and obtaining detailed plans.
- He heard God’s voice speak to him directly from a bush and received very clear guidance.
- In addition, he spoke to God every day in the ‘tent of meeting’, which was a special tent that they erected for this purpose outside the Israelite camp.
The bible even tells us that he spoke to God ‘face-to-face’, like one talks to a friend.
- Exodus 33:11, NIV The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
So, even in the Old Testament and under the old covenant, it was possible to have a kind of face-to-face relationship with God at specific times.
God pursued us through Jesus
If that was true for Moses in the Old Testament, then how much more so should we be able to have that kind of relationship with God today?
- Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
- 2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
One thing we know for sure is that God wants to have that face-to-face relationship with us as much as we do with him. That’s a staggering thought. But how do we know that?
The bible tells us that God loved us so much that he came into the world as Jesus, the Son of God. And moreover, he chose to die on the cross to restore our relationship with him.
- 1 John 4:10, NIV This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
When Jesus came, he changed everything through his death and resurrection: The Holy Spirit was poured out, and all of us now have the potential to have the kind of relationship that was lost in the garden of Eden.
Jesus even promised to reveal himself to us if we love him:
- John 14:21, NKJV And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
If that’s true, then I think we should all have an expectation that God will reveal Himself to us in some way, if we are paying attention.
I wrote in more depth about how God spoke to people in bible times – and how that changed with Jesus, in the following article:
How did God speak to people in bible times?
An overview of ways God spoke to people in the Old Testament, how that changed with Jesus, and what it means for us today.
Meeting God in dreams
So, the bible tells us that we can all expect God to reveal himself to us, if we are seeking him.
Some of you may have experienced God, or Jesus, appearing to you in real life while you were awake. That hasn’t (yet) happened to me – but it would be amazing if it did. However, I do personally know people this has happened to. Do leave a comment below if that has happened to you!
But what if, like me, you have always struggled to connect with God? Well, that’s where dreams come in. I believe that dreams are one way we can all potentially meet God – and that makes me very excited!
Dreams are a way God can reveal himself to everybody.
Meeting God literally in dreams
If you have got this far in my article, you may well already know stories of God, or Jesus, appearing to people literally in dreams. By this, I mean that they knew it was God while in the dream. You might even have your own story of that happening to you.
By God appearing LITERALLY in a dream, I mean that we know it is God while we are in the dream.
Tom Doyle has witnessed many testimonies of Muslims meeting Jesus in dreams. If you are interested in knowing more, he has written a book about it called DREAMS AND VISIONS: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?
At times, Jesus has appeared to me literally in my dreams; I wrote about these occasions in more detail in Meeting Jesus in your dreams.
Since I began listening to my dreams, I have also met God the Father and the Holy Spirit literally in my dreams. Just think, I could have missed those precious moments if I had not been taking my dreams seriously and writing them down!
There are also examples of God appearing to people literally in their dreams in the bible:
- To Abimelek in Genesis 20:3-7
- To Jacob in Genesis 28:10-16
- To Laban in Genesis 31:24
- To Solomon in 1 Kings 3:5-15
Some of you may be thinking, ‘I wish that would happen to me, but it never does.’ But hold on for a moment: You might have met God in a dream and not known it – because God often appears in disguise.
Meeting God symbolically in dreams
God most commonly appears in our dreams in disguise. In other words, we don’t know it was him in the dream, and we only realise once we wake up and reflect on the dream. In these instances, God is appearing in symbolic form.
By God appearing SYMBOLICALLY in a dream, I mean that we don’t realise it was God until we reflect on the dream afterwards,
I can remember the first time I experienced meeting Father God in a dream. I was involved in church leadership at the time, and was praying for direction and guidance for the church. I had this dream:
I dreamed I was walking with my Dad around the church garden. He was pointing things out and explaining what he thought about different areas of the church. He pointed out which areas needed more attention, and which parts were looking OK.
I had learnt by then that dreams are symbolic. I knew that Jesus often told parables where the Father in the story represented Father God (e.g. Luke 15:11), and also that dreams are like night parables.
Suddenly the lights came on: I realised that I had just had a real conversation with God in my dream. It was none other than God the Father – walking and talking with me! He was giving me real, practical advice about the church, and what He wanted me to focus on.
As someone who always struggled to relate to an invisible God, this was a game changer.
It was none other than God the Father – walking and talking with me in my dream!
That dream changed everything for me and is the primary reason I have pursued dreams ever since: To have a conversation with God and to hear his opinion about things in my life – that’s worth prioritising.
Examples of meeting God in dreams
I have since discovered that God turns up in covert ways throughout my dreams, disguised as my friend, my brother, my husband, my helper, and my leader – to name but a few. Sometimes he even appears in the form of an animal (such as a lion).
I have compiled the following table of some ways God has met me – disguised as another person – in my dreams, along with biblical references:
|PERSON IN MY DREAM||PERSON OF GOD REPRESENTED||BIBLE REFERENCE|
|My dad||God the Father||Matthew 6:9|
|My mum||God the Holy Spirit||Isaiah 66:13|
|My husband||Jesus as my husband||2 Corinthians 11:2|
|My brother||Jesus as my brother||Romans 8:29|
|A friend helping me||God as my friend||John 15:15|
|My boss||Jesus as my Lord||1 Corinthians 8:6|
|My church leader||Jesus as head of the church||Colossians 1:18|
|A doctor||God the healer||Exodus 15:26|
|A dentist||God who gives understanding||Proverbs 2:6|
|Someone I can’t see who is with me||The Holy Spirit||John 14:16|
These people do not always represent God in our dreams. They can sometimes represent areas of our own life, or other people and things. But sometimes it really is God! For more ideas about what people could be in your dreams, see People in dreams.
I have found that some characters (like my dad and my husband), are usually God when they appear in my dreams. The others are more variable, and it depends on the context. This is something you will have to figure out for yourself in your own dream life.
Tip: If you identify God appearing symbolically in your dream, add the symbol to your personal dream dictionary so you can remember it for consideration in future dreams.
Sometimes God can appear as something other than a person, for example as an animal (e.g. a dove or lion), or a substance (God can be light, the Holy Spirit can be water or fire).
I have written more in-depth articles on meeting God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, in dreams – with examples of the type of symbols he might use for each of these:
Why does God appear in disguise?
There could be many reasons why God appears in disguise. He did it in the bible, for example to Abram (Genesis 18) and to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-16).
Here are some ideas why he might do this:
- It might be overwhelming if God appeared in his true form. Appearing as someone familiar to us is not frightening.
- The person can reflect the side of God’s character he wants us to see (as in the table above).
- We can talk more honestly if we don’t know it’s God. He can reveal how we feel about him and deal with character issues when we have our guards down.
For more ideas, see Why does God speak in parables?
How do I know it’s God in my dream?
I have found that discernment is usually good in dreams, and it is quite easy to recognise when a person in my dream is God – whether literally or symbolically. Here are some pointers:
- Sometimes we ‘just know’ it’s God in the dream, and I find that is generally accurate. When it’s not God, there is usually an element of doubt (or niggle) in the dream.
- When it’s God, the person often carries an air of authority, and what they say bears weight. We accept what they say without question, or just ‘know’ it’s true.
- If we have relationship with God, his presence may feel familiar.
- The person may do something that God typically does, like give direction, offer a solution, rescue us, challenge us, or help us in some way.
- Usually, we can relate the role of the person to a biblical image of God (as in the table above).
- Their name meaning could link to an attribute of God.
- It could be a wordplay (like Dr Reigner in one of my dreams).
There are also some general dream interpretation principles that can help, such as:
- Considering the background colour and atmosphere of the dream.
- Considering whether the person is appearing in a positive or negative context in the dream.
- Knowing God’s heart and ways so we can recognise him.
And finally… knowing God personally is the best way to recognise his presence in our dreams! So, make sure to attend to your spiritual health by putting in solid foundations and developing your relationship with him.
5 spiritual foundations for receiving dreams from God
5 foundational lifestyle habits that can help you receive and understand more dreams from God.
Dreams as a stepping stone
Dreams are an incredible way for us to encounter God: We go to sleep, our minds switch off, and God can meet with us face-to-face… and it’s available to everyone!
But dreams do have a disadvantage: They are generally one-sided, and we don’t have control over the conversation topics while we are sleeping. It’s not like when we are awake, and we can ask whatever we like.
In my mind, this is an advantage: I like the fact that God sets the agenda and decides the topic of conversation. I find surrendering control reassuring, and I trust him to know what I need to know. I also find that he does often answer the questions from my waking life in my dreams.
However, I believe dreams are meant to be a stepping stone towards deeper relationship with God, and I am definitely looking forward to having a two-way conversation with him one day – while I am awake!
The naked truth about dream interpretation – for Christians
The truth about what dreams are and what they are not – but why you should learn to understand them anyway.
We have seen how people met God face-to-face in the bible, how he longs to reveal himself to each of us today, and how dreams can help with that!
We have also seen how God can appear both literally and symbolically in our dreams.
- I encourage you to think about the images of God in the bible, particularly in the parables that Jesus told, and some of the names of God. Then think about how those characters could appear in your dreams as God in disguise.
- I hope that you will feel inspired to start writing down your dreams and training your mind to take them seriously, for who knows what God-encounters might happen if you do!
Maybe you are already realising that God has appeared in your dreams, and you didn’t know it was him until now. How exciting! If that’s you, please leave a comment below!
So, keep on the lookout for God in your dreams… and have fun dreaming!
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The purpose of this blog is to provide biblical foundations for interpreting dreams and encourage others to make their own dream journey. I am primarily a writer and bible teacher – who loves dreams, and I hope you will be inspired to learn to interpret your own dreams.
It is not currently my aim to routinely engage in dream interpretations or provide training, except through writing blog posts. You can read my most up to date position on interpreting dreams here: Requests for dream interpretations.
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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Jennifer Needham disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.
Beginner’s guide to biblical dream interpretation
How to get started interpreting your dreams – in the context of a relationship with God.
Engaging heaven in your dreams
Could our dreams be a window into the spiritual realm? Could we be engaging heaven while we sleep?
Meeting Jesus in your dreams
How Jesus can appear in dreams, both literally and symbolically; appearances of Jesus in the bible; dream symbols for Jesus.
- Dream symbols: Sun, wind, rain, storms, and other types of weather
- Why you don’t need a prophetic gift to interpret dreams
- Dream symbols: Gardens, plants, and flowers – and what they mean
- How dreams can help with renewing the mind
- Meeting God in your dreams
2 thoughts on “Meeting God in your dreams”
I am so blessed by this article. If you can only see my journal this morning sis Jenny. I wrote this morning about the “personalities of God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” then I opened the link and saw this. I am in tears.
When I became a Christian, I surrendered everything and there’s nothing more important relationship I can remember but Him in my mind most of the times (especially if I’m not anxious or worried). Now reading this, I remembered the times when God visited me many times to talk to me in the dream, Jesus in scars hugging me and offered me a direction about my life and the Holy Spirit fighting with me. I can’t seem to remember their faces especially the Holy Spirit but I know it was Him. I know it was Him 😭 I cannot forget the time when the Holy Spirit was disappointed in me because I was not praying but now He has become my bestfriend. This is so wonderful. This is speaking to my heart. ❤️🙏
That’s wonderful Jen, thanks for sharing!