In Joel 2:28, the prophet spoke of a day when God would pour out His Holy Spirit on all flesh, and added that it would be evidenced by people having dreams and visions.
I have written several articles on how people in the Middle East have had their lives transformed by God-given dreams and visions.
And while this seems to be happening in other parts of the world, it does not seem to be taking place, at least to the same degree, in Western countries.
I have a couple of friends who regularly receive dreams and visions. In my case, I have had only one, which I would describe as a warning dream. It resulted in a positive, spiritually life-altering experience as my wife and I moved to another city.
Yet, for most Westerners, myself included, these are rare experiences in Christian circles.
In an interview with Faithwire, Rev. Lazarus Yeghnazar, the founder of Transform Iran, made an interesting statement that may explain why.
If he was in a meeting with Iranian believers and asked how many of them had been touched and radically transformed by a dream or vision, Yeghnazar said 90% would raise their hands in the affirmative.
Ironically, Yeghnazar also added that these dreams and visions are so powerful, they are often the source of the persecution that Iranians receive.
“They cannot stop talking about it. Hence the severe persecution, the severity of the brutality,” Yeghnazar said “[These believers will say], ‘I saw a vision of a man with a white robe, with a cross on his shoulder or on his heart, and he says, ‘I’m Jesus.’”
But then Yeghnazar said if he posed the same question to a group of believers in the West, most, if any, would say they hadn’t.
So why the discrepancy?
Is it because the Holy Spirit is not speaking to Westerners through these mediums as He does across the Middle East?
Or are Westerners having dreams and visions but simply not appreciating their spiritual significance?
Yeghnazar believes that it is the former.
The Holy Spirit is not speaking to Westerners through dreams and visions because they are not as open to them as those living in other countries.
“In the Middle East, people see visions. In the Western understanding, we want everything to be tangible, verifiable, accountable,” Yeghnazar explained.
Yet throughout the Bible, we read countless stories on how God impacted people through dreams and visions including Abraham, Jacob, Daniel, Zechariah, Joseph and Mary, and the Apostle Paul, to name a few. This is normal Christianity.
Some of these dreams and visions, not only transformed people’s lives, but changed the direction of nations.
Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams resulted in him providing advice on how to deal with the coming famine predicted by the Pharaoh’s dreams of seven fat cows being eaten by seven skinny cows (Genesis 41).
The Apostle Peter had a vision where he saw a sheet come down filled with unclean animals and was told to eat. Peter refused, but then God spoke to him and said “What God has made clean, do not call common.” (Acts 10:9-16).
This vision prepared Peter’s heart to respond positively to a request from a gentile by the name of Cornelius, who had also received a vision telling him to ask Peter to attend one of his home meetings (Acts 10:1-8). This resulted in the Holy Spirit being poured on the gentiles and ultimately the salvation of millions (Acts 10:44-48).
These dreams and visions were not only life-changing, but they also led to nation-changing and world-changing events.
As Westerners, I suspect we need to become more open to supernatural dreams and visions if we want the Holy Spirit to speak to us through them.