Home > General > Demons, Dreams, and Deceptions

Demons, Dreams, and Deceptions

I figured I should write on this subject while the content is still somewhat fresh in my mind. We all really need to learn how to discern the truth from a wide array of information sources. I hope this will at least give people a general idea and awareness to supplement their knowledge of the Bible.

Everyone has dreams, and many people even claim to have visions or to have heard from God in some way. How are we to know if these dreams are reliable sources of information? Well, it first helps to concretely realize this fact: Dreams come from only three different sources: 1) our own subconscious, 2) God, and 3) demons. That’s it.

Most dreams probably come from within ourselves—sometimes deep within our subconscious. They are a jumble of past experiences, thoughts, and things we have sensed, felt, or feared. The next time you have a dream, try tracing its steps. When I do dream, I can often determine later why a certain person appeared in a certain setting or whatever. And don’t underestimate your own capacity for creativeness, especially when you are unrestricted in imagination. When you’re asleep, you’re not worried about things making sense or if a train of thought is strange or corny. You know how musicians claim to make better music when they’re on drugs? Well, it’s because they become unrestricted creatively. They are “freeing their minds” (although in a very dangerous and often destructive fashion). Likewise, with our conscious minds switched off, our thoughts can roam freely with fewer hindrances.

Those are dreams from a natural source. But sometimes, more rarely, dreams or visions can also come from supernatural sources. And determining where a dream came from is not as simple as people seem to think.

There seems to be a line of thought where if a person identifies him/herself as a Christian, then all those dreams must be from God. Those that receive demonic dreams must be unbelievers, they reason.

This is far from the truth, actually. As Christians, we are protected from certain kinds of demonic attack, but not all. For instance, we cannot be fully possessed and controlled by demons because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who is far greater in power. But we can still be tempted and deceived if we are not vigilant and on guard—equipped with truth to combat the lies. Deception is by far the #1 tool of the enemy. Satan is not called the “Father of Lies” for nothing.

While demons cannot read our minds—because they are not omniscient like God—they can implant thoughts and ideas into our heads. And knowing what they themselves have implanted, they can know what you are thinking at certain moments. They are also keen observers who have been watching mankind since our inception, so they quite literally know us better than we know ourselves. We must never take them lightly (nor should we have an inordinate amount of fear paralyzing us from possessing a bold faith). Satan is smarter than all of us, so the only way we can hope to discern the truth is to study the Word of God and stay in prayer.

Remember: A genuine dream or communication from God will never, ever contradict scripture—nor will it add to it. God does not tell or empower anyone to “fix” or “update” His word.

Aside from blatantly contradicting scripture (which is a HUGE portion of Satan’s lies), there are certain signs that a dream or a “truth” is coming from a demon rather than God. This isn’t an exact science, of course, but this list has scriptural and theological support. Feel free to replace the word “dream” with a lot of other things, like “feeling,” “conviction,” etc…

The dream tells you what you want to hear, even though you know it’s probably wrong. Satan likes to whisper sweet nothings in people’s ears, pushing them to do wrong by easing their conscience. He also tries to inject some Christian-sounding justifications for our wrong behavior to trick our gullible minds. (Satan knows the Bible, too, but his interpretation is always twisted.) You’ll notice that many of Satan’s lies are simply variations from the original granddaddy of them all: “[Go ahead and eat that fruit]…you will surely not die!”

Example #1: “Go ahead and marry that alcoholic, non-Christian, and volatile bad boy. You can do God’s work by converting him, and love can change people!”

See 2 Corinthians 6:14, which flat-out contradicts this. True, God can change anybody’s heart, but it’s a huge risk and an exception He makes purely out of grace. Even when we disobey, God can still show us kindness—but it’s still sin. Dangerously, more often than not, the unbeliever drags the believer down.

Example #2: “Sure Christians can regularly go clubbing and live a lifestyle close to sin. After all, how else will those lost souls be reached? Don’t be so prude and legalistic!”

God tells us to run far from sin, not dabble in it or toe the line. If God wants to bring a lost soul to Him, it can be accomplished in other ways. While efforts like prison ministry are valid because of the general lack of influence prisoners have on ministers there, a “clubbing ministry” or “partying ministry” would be highly suspect.

The dream gives the recipient a sense of power and uniqueness that puffs up pride and self-worth. Again, there’s nothing new about this; pride is the original sin. Satan knows this, so he instructs his demons to find ways to make people feel special by giving them a false sense of purpose and power.

Example #1: “You are to lead up a new religion! God has specifically chosen you out of everyone else to show the error of Christianity to the world. Those Christians will try to tell you how you are plainly wrong according to scripture, but don’t you listen. ‘God’ is on your side, chosen one!'”

(You can pretty much substitute “new religion” with “atheism” and “God” with “logic”…the lie and the appeal to pride are the same.)

Many false religions probably began like this. While it is true that the church has often been corrupt and in need of reform, God would never revise His already-completed Word. While interpretation of the Bible has been botched for man’s selfish purposes, the words themselves have remained steady and true. Check your beliefs against the Word daily.

Example#2: “I, ‘God,” am now giving you the power to tell others what to do with their lives. They will line up at conferences and retreats to hear your wisdom. You are a modern prophet!”

Any time in the Bible that miracles or prophets are used by God, it is to facilitate a great movement of some kind—whether fulfilling a grand promise of God, stirring a nation to repentance, or validating the revelation of Jesus Christ as savior and Messiah. A person is never bestowed with divine power or knowledge to simply feel useful or even just to help people. Do you ever notice how such “prophets” seem to always tell everyone else that they are chosen to do “big things” for God? Plus, there’s a lot people can tell by looking at the eyes, so it’s not all supernatural.

If I went to those people with a mean look on my face, I might get the “God is telling me that you need to pray more” response rather than the “you are going to do big things for His kingdom.” Just maybe…or am I being way too cynical here?

The dream communicates with someone from heaven or hell. The purpose of Satan tricking people into hearing from “the beyond” is usually to spread some kind of deception or to lure them away from relying on God as their source of truth. I am hard-pressed to find a single example from the Bible where anyone on earth successfully hears from someone in heaven or hell. Why would anyone in heaven or hell be interested in earth’s affairs?

Even when Jesus told of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:14-31), that was a parable, not a real-life occurrence. There seems to be a practically impenetrable divide between our world and theirs, so be aware of this. The only one we can maybe hear from beyond is God, but that’s because He is God. Plus, He is omnipresent, so He’s present in this world anyway. (Please note: I am aware of the potentially sensitive content that is about to follow, but I think that people have shied away from this too much when people need to know the truth.)

Example #1: “Granny Smith came to me in a dream last night, and she told me that she is happy in heaven right now! That is such a relief because I was pretty sure she wasn’t even a Christian while she was living.”

I am convinced that Satan perpetrates this particular kind of lie very often to get people to alter their views on salvation and God’s standard. It tricks people into thinking that getting into heaven is easy, and all you need to do is basically be a “good person,” again contradicting the Bible and shifting the priority away from God’s sovereignty to human works.

Example #2: “An oracle told me that Uncle Bob is in heaven, and the guy was pretty nasty! I guess God’s grace really does cover all. I know the oracle was telling me the truth because she also mentioned Uncle Bob was sitting in his favorite polka-dotted couch, and how could anyone know about this??”

Again, same sort of lie, but this time it is bolstered with “evidence.” Of course, any demon who observed Uncle Bob for any amount of time on this earth could tell the oracle that. The oracle is speaking to a trickster demon, probably without even realizing it.

Example #3: “A pastor claims to be able to speak with people in the afterlife, and apparently, John Calvin is in hell pleading with us not to believe his theology!”

(A real-life pastor actually claimed to hear John Calvin warning us from hell. The person that told this to me did not necessarily believe it, but just mentioned it as an observation.)

Again, there is no reason to believe in speaking with those in the afterlife, so we can reasonably conclude that this is another demon trying to trick us. Since we know that deception is their main tool, we can pretty much believe the opposite. Calvin is almost certainly in heaven (we can only speculate, after all), and he was probably onto something that Satan didn’t like. By the way, don’t believe someone just because they hold the title of “pastor.” The world is rife with false teachers—even those who don’t realize they are misleading others; they can be nice people with good intentions. Being a pastor does not mean they have a good grasp of the Bible. Heck, Dan Barker went to seminary and he botches even basic elements of interpretation. I have a B.A. in Economics from a good university, but other than supply and demand and “sunk cost,” there’s not much else I remember.

What’s even more alarming from this example is that God explicitly mentions trying to call upon the dead as an abomination, and it was punishable by death (Deut. 18:11; 1 Chron. 10:13-14). Attempting to convene with the dead is basically inviting demons to mess with you. Believing these types of dreams can lead us dangerously astray as well. I fear for this pastor’s spiritual well-being. I might expect this from someone involved in the occult, but not a Christian.

*Please note that just because we dreamed about someone we love being in heaven, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s false or demonic. It’s possible that we are piecing that together in our own subconscious and drawing upon our own memories and hopes for that person. It’s also possible that God may be comforting us with this knowledge, but it’s pretty unlikely. I don’t think we would be directly speaking to that individual in any case. If there appears to be an unmistakable supernatural element to it, then immediately be on guard.

**It is my guess/observation that the vast majority of people fall into one of two camps: 1) They believe in the afterlife and that communication between both worlds is possible, even common; and 2) there is no afterlife, and therefore, all supposed communication between both worlds is a trick or scam. My personal stance from reading the Bible is that there is an afterlife, but no communication between both worlds. If there is spiritual communication—whether from God or demons—it is done on earth and not through some invisible portal. If there were some kind of portal, only God would have the authority to use it anyway.

I think you’re starting to get the gist, and as you can probably surmise, these kinds of deceptions are not limited to dreams only. They could come as visions or even “moments of clarity” or revelation. Sometimes, I’m tempted to think that the words I write on this blog are coming almost directly from God, but I have to quickly check my pride. While I do think God can use me, nothing I write is infallible and should be checked against scripture.

The Bible trumps all other knowledge, and not every supernatural “feel-good” experience is from God. Let’s equip ourselves by studying the Word every day. If you don’t know the Bible, then you won’t know if something is contradicting it. Always remember Jesus’ exhortation to us all: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” — Matthew 10:16.

As always, mind and heart—not one or the other.

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