“The word of the Lord came to me, ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?” ‘I see the branch of an almond tree,’ I replied. The Lord said, ‘You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” (Jer. 1:11-13).
Isn’t this scripture awesome!! Look at the divine wordplay going on here. First, the LORD says, “What do you see?” He is expecting Jeremiah to reply by what he actually sees with his own eyes. Then, when Jeremiah does reply, you might be like me and think, “Okay, but what does an almond branch have to do with the LORD watching His Word be fulfilled? In this amazing vision of Jeremiah, the LORD is showing Jeremiah, as well as us, how to look beyond the symbol to the all important message lying underneath.
In Hebrew the actual word for “almond tree” is shoked. It is very similar to the Hebrew word for “hasten“ which is shoked ani. Just like the almond tree, which produced flowers, fruit, even leaves early, the LORD was showing Jeremiah that He was going to “hasten” the Word, to see that it was fulfilled. How beautiful is that!
How Does This Apply To Dreams?
Now think about dreams. The LORD speaks to us in dreams most always through symbols and signs. I find it interesting that even though Jeremiah had the LORD there to interpret, the LORD still asked “What do YOU see?” The LORD desires for us to understand, perceive, search, and find the answer. Like Jeremiah who understood the symbolism of what he saw, we must look in the natural and compare to the spiritual in order to discern and perceive the hidden message of the LORD. However, we must set aside what our natural mind thinks and dig deep into the spiritual. Could the LORD just have spoken the message plainly? Of course, but it is evident that HE wanted Jeremiah to search and understand both the natural and spiritual things of God. He wants the same from you and me. Proverbs states that “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter” (Prov. 25:2). When we dream (and we know it is from the LORD) then we pray, search, seek His face more diligently than ever. I know this is how I respond to dreams, and whether the answer comes right away or not, I learn something in the search. This is what John Paul Jackson used to say all the time. It is not always about the end result, but it is about learning more in the search, the journey, than in the final destination (paraphrased). Yes, the destination is great, but how much more did you learn just in the process? How much has your knowledge and understanding of the Holy One increased through the search? In fact, I can say that my spiritual growth has occurred on the pathway of searching out His Word, praying, interceding, speaking, and believing more than when I finally got the confirmation or the interpretation to a dream or prophetic utterance.
Symbol of the Summer Fruit
Another great example of divine wordplay comes from the book of Amos. It says in one portion: “The Lord showed me: Behold, a basket of summer fruit, and he said to me, “Amos what do you see?” So I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me: “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore” (Amos 8:1-2). Like me, you might be thinking, “Okay, what does summer fruit have to do with the people of Israel?” Well, I am definitely not a Jewish scholar, but as I have researched and read, I found an interesting explanation for this symbolic scripture. First, you will see the connection of wordplay being used here for ‘summer fruit’ and ‘end’. According to my Bible commentary, summer fruit in Hebrew is qayiş while End is qēş. The Lord has placed both words strategically within this passage of Amos’ vision. Also, it is noted that the Jewish concept of summer fruit was that this fruit was considered to be the last of the harvest. Often times, the summer fruit was a little more wilted or withered, and because of that it began to rot very easily. Now, this scripture makes a little more sense. It seems that the Lord is showing Amos that the people of Israel still sees themselves as fresh fruit when, indeed, they are quickly wilting and withering, and the end is set. The “summer” harvest has been made, and the Lord is saying He will not pass by them anymore. It’s done, and it’s now time for pruning. Ouch! Pruning is a whole new message I will have to talk on one day 🙂 . The symbolism here is amazing, and as Amos looked in the vision, he knew and understood the hidden message of the LORD.
What Do You See?
Dreams are uniquely like these two examples. Sometimes we have those dreams where we wake up thinking what does that mean?? We may not have the LORD in there asking us “What do you see?” but the message is implied. When you wake up from an interesting, scary, unique, or even sometimes what you might think is a silly dream, you wake up thinking what did I just see??
Here is a great example: last night, I dreamed about a friend’s daughter (someone I have not seen in a long time). I saw her being stalked by an unknown person in a car. She was alone in this room, and I kept telling her she needed to call someone to be with her so she wouldn’t be alone. Then the scene shifted and I saw the car, and some unknown woman getting lured toward it by a baby that appeared to be alone inside of the car. As the baby was peering out of the window, the stranger bent down to talk to the baby, and the stalker inside rose up from their hiding place and killed this woman. Then the scene shifted again, and my friend’s daughter was in the car with the stalker, and the stalker was a young girl with browninsh-blonde hair and a very sweet face. They were smiling like, “It’s okay,” but inside I knew that this was not going to end well. After all, I had seen this sweet, young girl kill another person. The mask looked good, but the inside was rotten and evil.
When I woke up, my immediate thought was “What in the world did I just see?” How can I piece it together? LORD, give me the wisdom to understand like Amos, Zephaniah, Ezekiel, and all the other great men who saw the vision and understood the signs and symbols with great clarity. It would be nice to have instant clarification, but that doesn’t always happen, and as I have noted before, sometimes true interpretation doesn’t even come until the event takes place and you see the results. However, we have the power to pray and change things. No dream is set in stone. We can pray and seek His face that He might turn the situation around and change the outcome; however, first, we have to understand what the message is implying. After all, how do we know what to pray about unless we understand what the dream message really is referring to.
Looking at the symbols:
The car was an older model vehicle: This could represent an old issue, or someone from the past trying to weasel their way back into her life.
The lure was a baby alone: I found this interesting because it seems to imply innocence, nothing harmful or scary. Babies have sweet appeal, goodness, and a sense of security and vulnerability surrounding them that draws people in. The enemy is using a tactic to lure people toward ‘him’ and break down defenses or cautions that others might feel so that they won’t fear or hesitate.
A young, sweet girl: The “enemy” turns out to look very harmless, friendly, appealing (kind of like the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. Here again, you see that the tactic of appearing safe is implied. If the enemy had looked mean, scary, or dangerous, then it is obvious that my friend’s daughter would not have gotten in the car. Instead, the enemy has disguised himself as something pleasant and easy-going, friendly so that the person will not be afraid and will trust ‘him’ enough to let down their guard, their defenses.
I’m not sure on the specifics of this dream yet, but I am praying. Haven’t we all been in that place where the enemy tries to sneak back into our life through a past experience, memory, old relationship, etc? He doesn’t come around with horns, a tail, and looking grotesquely dangerous. In fact, the enemy, just like sin, often comes to us in the form of something beautiful, desirable, good all the while using this tactic to get us to let our guard down and trust. We must be on guard and look beyond what our natural eyes see. We must be vigilant in the spirit to guard our hearts, minds, souls from the enemy because he is very tricky. Just like in this dream, the LORD is warning the daughter to be on guard. She is vulnerable (she was shown to be alone in a room even though she is married in reality), and she was fearful at the beginning of the dream. When she showed up in the car of the enemy my insides shook. It also implies that she put her trust in the wrong person, and allowed the enemy to take control because she is in the passenger seat not the driver’s. Here are a few other resources to learn about symbols from earlier blogs:
Crazy Dreams, And What’s Up With The Barley Bread?
You might think, well, that was just a crazy dream. Yes, possibly, but so was the one about Gideon in the book of Judges. Remember, he arrived just at the moment when a man was telling a friend about his dream. The man said, “I had a dream, [and] a round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed” (Judges 7:13-15). Now, this is a bizarre dream! A barley loaf destroying a large tent structure? However, the friend immediately replied, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” Okay, in the first place, how did the friend get the “sword of Gideon” out of a “loaf of barley bread”?
Let’s look a little deeper into this time period and what was going on. The Midianites during this time had taken the choicest wheat and the finest flour, and all that was left for the oppressed people was barley (known more as the food of the poor). In other words, barley was seen as inferior, much like Gideon was seen by the Midianites. So, when the barley loaf rolls down and destroys the tents of the Midianites, the dreamer and his friend immediately thought of Gideon destroying the enemy, and that the destruction would be unexpected and detrimental to the Midianites. How cool is that? The people understood the times, the signs, and the symbols. They understood that although Gideon as one man seemed inferior and unable to do something so fantastic, and yet God was showing them, and as Gideon overhears this dream God was showing him, that nothing is impossible when God is in it. All this through a Barley loaf rolling down a hill! No matter how crazy your dream might be apply to the Word. Seek the LORD’s council. Determine what all is going on in the spirit around you during the time of the dream. What have you been praying about or for during this time. If that dream lines up with the Word then begin to seek and understand what is being symbolically spoken into your Spirit man. We must increase our understanding in order that we have spiritual eyes to see and ears to discern and understand the times, signs, and symbols within our natural realm and the spiritual realm of prophetic utterances, visions, and dreams. I encourage you to study symbols as a basis to becoming familiar with what the LORD is saying. Study the dreamers in scripture and the dreams and interpretations that are given. Get a book on symbols (that correlates with scripture) to help gain better insight into these symbols and signs.
Be blessed and keep dreaming!!