The Bible As DreamWorld: According to the Bible

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” {And} “Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength [Beauty] which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

My earlier stipulation that the Biblical record actually originally consisted largely of the dream material taken from ancient royals, prophets, and more rarely priests was not an ad hoc suggestion.  Years of my personal study and research support it.  Here are some noteworthy points in favor of my own perspective on this matter:

  1. Genesis culminates with Joseph as the chief of both Egypt, and in a way, of the whole planet. This was the result of his stated dream (Gen. 37.8). In the story, he was “called a dreamer” by his brothers who despised him.
  2. Joseph was simply in the tradition of many of the patriarchs before him who all saw visions. The “Bible gateway” search-engine portal online lists 22 references to dreams in Genesis alone.
  3. Here (20.3) king Abimelech has a dream. (28.10- 12) records Jacob’s dream of “jacob’s ladder.”
  4. Gen. 31.11 say an angel of God spoke to Jacob in a dream.
  5. 31.24 Laban dreams a dream.
  6. We are told that “the interpretation of dreams belongs to God,” implying that dreams have prophetic import, not mere a kind of random (trivial) status we apply to them today; and Gen. 41.11 indicates that “every dream has a meaning of its own.” Ecclesiastes 5.7 cynically contradicts this (otherwise nearly universally-held) biblical view, however, saying, “much dreaming is meaningless.”
  7. Numbers 12.6 equates (prophetic) “visions” with “dreams.” Dreams throughout the Bible are consider “night visions,” and while moderns distinguish “dreams” from visions, the ancient most often did not. The apocalyptic visions of Daniel and Revelation are presaged with each falling either asleep, or else into a kind of trance. The visions were dreams.
  8. Deuteronomy 13.3 calls “prophets” “dreamers,” like Joseph.
  9. Judges 7 has Gideon overhearing an enemy’s dream, which both sides take to be prophetic, and it turns out to be so. The man was no prophet, but his dream comes true anyway. This again shows the ancient superstitions about dreams and dreaming – that they determine history.
  10.    1 Kings 3.5 has God appearing to Solomon to ask for whatever he might wish in a dream. He asks for wisdom and impresses God.
  11. Job 4.13 mentions “disquieting dreams.” The ancients called them “night-terrors” when we call them “nightmares.” These are the basis for the apocalyptic literature. Job 7.14 has Job complaining that “even then (when he sleeps) you frighten me with dreams, and terrify me with visions.”
  12. Job 20.8 calls dreams “visions.”
  13.  Isaiah 27.9 again equates prophecy (prophetic visions) and dreams. This is extremely important, because it makes all the prophetic corpus of the Bible, the telling and interpreting of dream material (by clear implication)
  14. Daniel 2.28 takes the same view of all dreams as prophetic, and calls his God a revealer of mysteries because he is the “God of heaven,” not merely the God of kings.
  15.  Daniel 1.7 indicates his unique ability to “understand dreams and visions of all kinds.”   The Revelation continues Daniel’s visions material, and John shows obvious parallels to Daniel.
  16.  According to Daniel 2.9, dreams were so important to some kings in the ancient world, that they would be willing to kill all their prophets (seers and diviners) if they proved unable to tell them the meaning of royal dreaming.  This is because bonuses and other corporate incentives were not yet invented.
  17.  This also implies that the New Testament shows the fulfillment of dreams, and so continues to fulfillment the dream material.
  18. The end of the NT confirms this. Matthew has an angel speaking to Joseph in a dream (tells him to return a by a different route than he had planned) at the outset of the NT, and Revelation shows the fulfillment of all the prophets as a kind of dream-vision material.
  19. Matthew 1.20 shows dreams so important that one should follow them to decide to marry even very controversial persons (Joseph is told to take Mary to wife in a dream, and he does).
  20. Finally, Matthew 27.10 improbably suggests that even Pontius Pilate (a Roman Procurator) decided to follow the advice of his wife, “who suffered many things in a dream” because of Jesus, and PP supposedly complies (at first).  Dreams were this important to ancients, even when they were not the dreams of anyone but — dear God — a woman.  The ancient had little respect for them, including the Christians — who lived, and yet live, in a DreamWorld.

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