The Factor of Coincidence in Decoding Dreams

  1. Thoughts and Dreams

Dreams, by virtue of their timing, can be very significant.  When there is a coincidence of thought and dream, it could be no ordinary dream after all.  In Matthew 1:20, Joseph had a great crisis of emotions. His fiancée had been found pregnant, and he was not responsible. What was he going to do, without putting her to public embarrassment? He was going to disengage from her quietly.  Still deep in his perplexing private thoughts on the matter all day and much of the evening, he fell asleep, with his mind made up on the decided line of modest action. That night, he had a dream that specifically addressed his thoughts and that issue from which he had fallen asleep.  The dream, it turned out, was God’s voice to him.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:20)

The expression, “while he thought on these” might seem to suggest that Joseph was awake and thinking; but he had to have been asleep to have had a dream.  The implication is that he fell asleep under the wearying weight of his grave thoughts, with all the complex emotions of worry and fear, which emotions the angel was also addressing when he said to him, “fear not.” Joseph got up assured that God had spoken to him, allaying his present worries.  He promptly obeyed and saved precious lives.

That was not the last time that Joseph was to have that kind of a ‘coincidental’ dream. One other night, he had a dream in which his name and circumstances were also specifically cited, with an instruction on what to do with his young family (Matthew 2:13-15,19). The dream was not in vague symbols that needed a mighty prophet to decode them.  It was as clear as ABC: “Pick your family and flee right away into Egypt.”  He got up and promptly obeyed, saving precious lives.  The dream was coincidental with the political atmosphere around him at that time.

Check the dreams that come to you in the midst of your profound thoughts, in the nights of those deep emotions.  They might be carrying an answer to the deep thoughts of the time.

  1. Prophet Nathan: That Night…

In 2 Samuel 7, David sought counsel from Prophet Nathan, on his proposed project of building a temple for God. The prophet praised the proposal elaborately and encouraged the king to go ahead. That night, God came to the prophet in a dream and let him know that he had been wrong in his counsel to the king: “…THAT NIGHT, the word of the LORD came unto Nathan…” (v.4).  “That night…” … here again, the coincidence of thought and dream is strategic.  What the prophet had been thinking about, coinciding with a related dream in the night in which he had been thinking about it…

The Scripture does not here say by what means the word of the Lord came to the prophet “that night,” whether he saw an angel physically in his bedroom or heard the audible voice of God in his kitchen.  From similar experiences and expressions in the scriptures, however, we can safely say that the prophet had a dream.  This shows that even when the Scripture sometimes says “that night,” we could understand it, as here, to mean “in a dream THAT NIGHT.”

Our interest is in the timing of the “word of the LORD” that came to the prophet: “that night.”  It was a timely dream specifically addressing the matter over which the prophet had been engaged the day before, and probably all evening before he fell asleep – the great and novel project of a masterpiece architecture in the land, for the Almighty God.  If that “word” had come a month before David had sought the prophet’s counsel, or a year after the prophet had met with the king, it might not have been as significant as when it came “that night.”

  1. King Solomon: That Night…

In 1 Kings 3:4-5, Solomon had gone to Gibeon and sacrificed “a thousand burnt offerings” to God. While still there, he had a dream; a dream that was specific to the thoughts he had carried to that altar.  On this occasion, the Bible does not say “that night,” but it is implied; it does not say “that night” but could well be read as “in that place… that night…” – the night after the sacrifice.

And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there…
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night… (1 Kings 3:4-5).

The Scripture does not say here, as in the case of Nathan, that “the LORD appeared to Solomon that night,” but it states all the same that the encounter was “in a dream by night” – in that place.  If the dream came while he was still in that place, we could say it was “in that place that night.”  In other words, here, we have not only a coincidence of time (that night) but also of place (in Gibeon) – that altar.

Some altars generate unique spiritual encounters (Genesis 28:11-12; Exodus 3:4-5).  When dreams come at such times in such places, like Jacob’s dream in Bethel, it might be worth noting them with an anointed pillar of stone (Genesis 28:16-19).

  1. Prophet Balaam: That Night…

Prophet Balaam affords us with another case of timed dreams, that is, dreams coinciding with current experience in time and place. That prophet had received guests from King Balak, who wanted him to use his prophetic powers to curse the king’s perceived enemies, the Israelites.  While those guests were still housed for the night, “God came to Balam at night warning him against Balak’s seductions (Numbers 22:12, 20). The dream was not a week or two earlier or later, it might then have been of less impact.  It was prophetically timely – that night, while the matter was still fresh in his thoughts, and the guests were still with him.

  1. King Nebuchadnezzar: That Night

Some dreams might be mere metaphysical recreations or mental projections, but a dream that comes “that night”; a dream coinciding with, and specifically naming persons and places and matters, might be no mere dream but the voice of God – or of a counterfeiting personality.  The timeliness of a dream and its coincidence to thought and place are helpful indicators for determining the status of a dream, before the interpretation of it.

In Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream for which he desperately and promptly sought interpretation.  When Daniel came to interpret the dream, he also highlighted the status of that dream by clarifying its context in the nightly anxieties of the king and the dream’s coincidence in time with those deep thoughts. Daniel said to the king, “O king, as you were lying upon your bed thoughts came into your mind about what should come to pass hereafter” (Daniel 2:29a, Amplified Bible).

The king, like many ‘big men’ with no hope beyond their present existence, was wondering at night in his bed: “How will I die? When? Who shall succeed me? How?  Will they maintain or destroy all these world-wonders that I have built?”  Those were the perplexing “thoughts” from which the king had fallen asleep.  The dream that came to him ‘that night’ was the answer to his thoughts, from the God “Who reveals secrets,” who by that dream was “making known to you what shall come to pass” (Daniel 2:29b, Amplified Bible).  That dream ‘that night’ was significant in its coincidence with thoughts, answering the very thoughts, even though in mystic symbols of the image of a man.

  1. Dreams Deferred

Whereas a dream may be significant because of how it coincides in time with thoughts, some dreams could come times ahead of the matters to which they refer, yet no less significant for not being ‘in that night.’  For example, the dream that warned King Nebuchadnezzar against the pride that eventually drove him into the wild for seven years, learning practical humility among the beasts, came twelve months before the judgment of which it warned (Daniel 4:29).  In other words, whereas timely coincidence could be a factor in determining the status of a dream, the opposite case could occur, of a warning long in advance of the danger to which it refers, and it would be no less potent for the ‘twelve months’ timespan.

  1. The Signature of a Troubling Dream

Even when a dream might have no apparent connections to present worries, if it provokes deep thoughts, if it generates concerns in the soul, it might be a significant dream.  Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter 4 addressed no present thoughts and worries, but it generated profound worries that drove the king to seek interpretation.  Pharaoh also had similar dreams.  The dreams did not come in a night after emotional anxieties, but they provoked those anxieties, compelling the desperate search for interpretation that brought Joseph into the glare.  The Bible reports that the dreams had such an impact on the dreamer that “in the morning … his spirit was troubled,” and he began to seek interpretation from “the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof” (Genesis 41:8).

In summary, a dream that coincides in time with thoughts could be significant.  A dream that coincides with thought and place could be significant. Yet while some dreams might seem distant in time from what they address, if they lay a strong hold on the soul, that impact on the soul could be an indication to not dismiss the dream lightly.

May I now pray the simple but profound prayer of the psalmist: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18).  Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary,
June 17, 2006.

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Dr OkwuChukwukwuru Okpara
Dr OkwuChukwukwuru Okpara
1 month ago

I love reading the depth of insight The Holy Spirit has downloaded unto This HIS vessel. It’s amazing and very impactful to me. I am truly fed by God through THE PREACHER!.

Boma Ojokojo
Boma Ojokojo
1 month ago

Very profound truths not easily accessed. We thank God for revealing these truths at this time through the Preacher. God bless the Preacher in Jesus name amen.

Mary Kokoyo Edem
Mary Kokoyo Edem
1 month ago

The Spirit of GOD has used you sir to opened my eyes of understanding.
I’m more enlightened today as regards dreams.
Thank you sir.
I pray for a continual enrichment and flow of grace and utterance in JESUS mighty name.

Bolanle Musa
Bolanle Musa
1 month ago

Thank you for these blessed teachings ????

Duru Clifford Chuka
Duru Clifford Chuka
1 month ago

THE PREACHER is always a delight to read. Streams of inner transactions with the Holy Spirit are activated in the ‘Berean’ believers who read the Preacher with an open mind. Uncommon dimensions are unveiled from scriptures that are often glossed over. I am never in a hurry on the Preacher’s page and I have always been blessed.

May this grace be multiplied as the Preacher remains available, humble and willing to do the Master’s bidding, on HIS terms. ????

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