Dreamers of Dreams
The first time I studied the book of Jude, I moved right over verses 8-10, and didn’t really dive into them. In fact, I think I skimmed over them to get to the next section!
This time, with the help of Godchats, I was able to learn much more about false teachers and their dreams, something I witnessed in my former church that rattled and troubled me.
Let’s Define “Dreaming”
By just tapping on the word in verse 8 (and be sure to tap on “MORE” to get the expanded meaning), I can better understand what Jude is saying:
enupniázō – from enúpnion (1798), something seen in the sleep, a dream. Used and spoken of visions in dreams (Acts 2:17 [cf. Sept.: Gen. 28:12; Joel 2:28]). Pres. mid. part. nom. enupniazómenoi, dreamers, meaning ones holding vain and empty opinions, deceivers (Jude 1:8).
As you can see, the meaning is a little different in Jude 1:8!
I found these points in Godchats helped cement my understanding:
- God used dreams in the OT to communicate His messages to His people.
- God’s primary way of speaking to us today – is through Christ, through His Word, Heb 1:1-2.
- God may use dreams today (2020) to reach those who do not have access to His Word, such as the many Muslims who give testimony that Jesus has come to them in their dreams, revealing Himself to them.
What God Says About Dreams in His Word
Many pastors on the fringes of the charismatic movement love to use Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:14-21 (out of context) as proof that their dreams are visions and prophecies directly from God to them. But those verses are not about general, every day dreams given to put a pastor on a pedestal of authority or make them seem closer to God than everyone else in their church.
In Acts 2, Peter was defending the apostles preaching the Gospel in other languages. He quoted Joel 2 because the Jews were accusing them of being drunk. Peter’s use of the prophet Joel was to show dreams, visions and miracles as a way for God to reveal Himself to people.
The prophet Jeremiah pleaded with the people of Israel not to follow the false teachers of the day. The entirety of Chapter 23 is worth the read, but take a quick look at these verses:
Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who steal My words from each other. “Behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who use their tongues and declare, `The Lord declares.’ “Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,” declares the LORD, “and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:30-32
In verses eight to ten, Jude explains that these false teachers:
- Defile the flesh – they are morally stained, sinful and disobedient to God’s Word.
- Reject authority – Whose authority? God and His Word!
- Revile angelic majesties – they blaspheme and defame holy beings, in contrast to Michael the archangel (v. 9) who left that job in God’s hands: “…when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgement, but said “the Lord rebuke you!”
- Revile things they do not understand – if it doesn’t make sense to them, they curse or dismiss it.
- Are destroyed by what they know instinctively, but don’t reason correctly – due to their lack of knowledge and understanding.
How Jude’s Teaching Applies to Us Today
There is a difference between historical, Biblical dreams of prophets and the imaginations of church leaders today. Of course, people can have dreams that when spoken, introduce people to Jesus who would have no other way of hearing about Him and the salvation he offers.
But in our world, where our revelation about God is found in His revealed Word, dreams are not necessary. Dreams can be a result of indigestion or be interpreted incorrectly based on someone’s imagination.
We must be consistently reading, learning, and memorizing God’s Word so that when someone tries to relay a teaching, or “Word from God” they supposedly received in a dream, we can know if it lines up with Scripture or not.
In Jeremiah 23:1, God says, “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” Too many Christians are being led astray by dreaming shepherds who reject authority and live in sinful pride believing their visions to be direct words from God, adding to Scripture things that God has never said to the church as a whole.
In these crucial days we all must make sure our shepherds listen to the TRUE voice of God in His revealed and written Word.