The Truth About Visions and Dreams
Dreams and visions. And they are very closely related. "And our old men will have dreams; and our young will have visions." (Joel 2:28
) But these are dreams and visions in the metaphorical meaning of ideals and intellectual development.
Normal dreams occur when one is deeply sleeping. And everyone dreams; and we dream every time we are asleep. Many think they don't because 75 percent of dreams are forgotten as we wake up.
What is the difference between dreams and visions? To dream, everyone does, although only 25 percent remember to have dreamed or the dream they dreamed. To have a vision, one must be self-trained to be in control of the dream, which will become a lucid dream. And the ancient Israelite Prophets were pretty good experts at it.
Visions are known as lucid dreams, and they occur during that period of transition between deep sleep and the awaken state. But they mostly occur during a slumber, as one takes a rest and can't fall asleep because of preoccupations about what has been happening with one's life or with significant ones.
A classical example of the above we have in Abraham, when soon after his circumcision, he tried to rest at the entrance of his tent in the shade under a large tree as he was taking advantage of the fresh breeze in the heat of the day. He could not stop worrying about the barren condition of Sarah vis-a-vis God's promise of a son. Then, he would worry about his nephew Lot living in Sodom in the middle of corruption. Thus,he slumbered and had a lucid dream or vision, which he, almost involuntarily, would control it into his understanding through his imaginations as how things would take a turn either this or that way. Then, he saw in his lucid dream/vision the Divine confirmation of the promise, and even Sarah laughing from her tent at the idea of giving birth to a child as the old woman that she was.
Then, in the same lucid dream/vision he would change scenery as his imagination went from Sarah to Lot in Sodom. Then, he would find himself dialoguing with Divine emanations in the form of human messengers who spoke with him on behalf of God, or even with God Himself about His promissed heir and about Sodom.
The same thing happened with Ezekiel the Prophet when he was in Babylon at the end of the exile. He would worry about Israel and the eminent return. In his vision he would be lifted up in the air and brought to Jerusalem. Any non-trained reader would think of him in Jerusalem when he never left Babylon.(Ezek. 8:3
) It had been all in
the lucidity of his imaginations.
The Prophets had rich imaginations which they would use during a lucid dream or vision in order to find solutions and sound advices to kings or people in charge of the government of nations. I am not ruling out the Divine intervention, but through emanations in the minds of the Prophets, or even in some of the common people.
Now, during dreams, lucid dreams or vision, everything is possible, even to see God and live. And some Prophets thought they would die because of the intensity with which they would self-induce themselves into believing that they had really seen God, when everything occurred during a lucid dream or vision.
Of course, the imagination functions according to the mental or religious orientation of the dreamer or visionary.