The Ram and the Goat #2
Daniel 8:1-15 (Perfect Example)
Daniel 8:15a ESV
Daniel 8:15b-17 ESV
Daniel 8:18-26 ESV
Daniel 8:27 ESV
The Interpretation of a vision from God is often puzzling and unsettling. Without a proper interpretation there are times when the dream or vision can make it so you’re unsure about what God is saying.
At least that’s been my experience.
I find comfort in Daniel’s words when he wanted to understand the dream/vision he had with the Ram and the Goat.
I think perhaps clarification about a dream from God or a vision from God is in order here as well.
I went through a time earlier in life when I would have a dream or a vision and I would wonder if there was a difference. I wondered, why did God speak to me through a dream this time? Or is there a reason I received a vision from God instead of a dream?
I used to try to categorize them to see if there was a difference.
The problem I had was that earlier in life I didn’t know anyone else who had dreams and visions from God. I knew they were scriptural but why didn’t I know anyone who had dreams and visions?
Thankfully I had my dad who could help me. He had two things he did that he was passionate about, one was fishing. The other was studying scripture. I remember my dad telling me how I would know when my dreams and visions WERE from God. He talked about prophets who had dreams and visions and he helped me to learn from scripture. My dad also help me to understand after I had a dream or a vision to determine if it was from God. One was is that after I had a dream or vision if they came true I knew it was from God.
My dad went to heaven when I was 34 years old. After that determining the meaning of my dreams was difficult. A lot of believers told me my dreams were not from God. Then when I was in my early fifties all of my uncertainty ended when I started going to see a Spiritual Director. I asked about dreams and visions and he was able to help me in many many ways.
He put me at ease about them.
He assured me that God is God and can communicate with me in various ways.
I asked about the difference between having a dream and having a vision. He basically said both are from God and told me to ‘call it good’.
He told me to trust my instincts.
He told me to trust God because God is God and God is able.
He asked me why I was unsure about my dreams and visions. Once I shared my history, that Christian people led me to believe my dreams and visions were evil, he openly laughed. He reminded me they are scriptural and the people who were making me feel uncertain must not have read scripture.
So I relaxed.
Daniel 8:1-15 is a perfect example.
Daniel had a dream/vision and in verse 15a we read, “When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it.”
Daniel had a dream and he knew it was from God but he didn’t know exactly what it meant. So, he sought to understand. I get that!
In Daniel 8:15b-17 we learn, “And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”
In Daniel 8:18-26, “And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power. And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”
Notice God said “I” will make known.
Daniel’s words in Daniel 8:27 give me great hope. He wrote, “And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king's business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.”
Even Daniel didn’t always understand and pondered about his dreams and visions. So, why would I think I would always understand immediately? I eventually learned that in God’s good time all things will be made clear.
My Spiritual Director also helped me to relax about my responsibility with dreams and visions. In other words, my responsibility was to seek to listen to God. That meant giving God my time and space (quiet space) so I could hear. I’ll bet he told me a thousand times over the course of ten years to create a quiet space so I could hear God. He told me that means turning off the music, the ‘Telly’, the computer (iPhone, smart phone, iPad), and any other distracting noises.
He told me the rest was up to God.
Spiritual Practice: Make or Find a Quiet Space
It can be any place as long as it is quiet. Sit in silence with God.
In God, Deborah