Why did God speak through dreams?

Why has God communicated His message through dreams?

In general, God communicated truth through dreams when the Scriptures were not completed. In the future, He will also communicate through dreams to Israel, a nation which seeks signs (Matthew 12:39; 1 Corinthians 1:22) and whose language is like Thomas’, "Except I shall see..., I will not believe" (John 20:25). Perhaps all recorded dreams relate to God’s earthly purposes for Israel and unfold His immediate plans. This may suggest another reason for God’s instantaneous communication by dreams to a completely passive (sleeping) individual.

God links dreams with prophecy: "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28). This will have its fulfillment during Daniel’s seventieth week ("the Tribulation"), when events in the prophetic Scriptures will unfold. No additional truth will be revealed, because the canon of Scripture is complete (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Revelation 22:18); instead, with prophetic authority, these "dreamers" will use language similar to Peter’s in Acts 2:16, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." These dreams will not reveal new truth, but the fulfillment of what was previously revealed.

Solomon explains the normal source of dreams, "A dream cometh through the multitude of business," or, as a less literal translation (TCV) says, "Bad dreams come from too much worrying" (Ecclesiastes 5:3). Most dreams, then, are an expression of the individual’s thoughts, happy or sad, optimistic or pessimistic, worrisome or encouraging. Dreams tell us more about ourselves than about God. Even dreams in which God speaks to the unconverted (Job 33:15) may result from thoughts stirred by the Spirit during waking hours. Such dreams do not reveal truth, but impress it on the sinner.

D. Oliver