The sleeping state is often used by God to communicate with people. People can often more easily “hear” God and receive communication from him while sleeping or while resting. This does not automatically mean that all forms of communication that may happen while we are asleep or resting are from God. However, there is plenty of evidence in the Bible to suggest that this is a primary means God uses to communicate personal messages with his children, and so we should really be open to hearing God speak to us in this way. You never know, the message might be very important.
For example, recall that when Herod wanted to kill Jesus, the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream (Matthew 2:13). Why a dream? I can’t tell you all the reasons, except to say that the Bible is filled with experiences of men and women of God who have received dreams from God. And, guess what? Not all of them were particularly holy, either! Don’t think that just because you receive some communication from God, that it means you are particularly holy. You might be, but it is much more likely that you are simply open to receiving communication from God, and that God wants to speak to you! How do you know if maybe what he wants to tell you is, “repent”?
For example, king Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which Daniel interpreted. I would not say, by reading the Scriptures, that Nebuchadnezzar was particularly holy. Was he loved by God? Sure. Was he a real servant of God? No. I certainly cannot say that. He had flesh, and he had spirituality. He seemed to have more flesh than spirituality, but we’ll let God be the final judge of that. God may give revelation to people, and some of those people that God gives revelation to may be against him! Think of Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar. He’s the one that saw the “hand writing on the wall”. That was a hand from nowhere, and the Bible tells us that it had Belshazzar literally shaking in his boots, for we read, “his knees began knocking together” (Daniel 5:6). He died that evening. The revelation in this case was a form of judgment. Daniel explained to him that he had been found wanting by God. It’s good not to be found wanting by God!
Recently, I had a very very short instance where I heard a voice speak to me while I was sleeping (in fact, just getting up). It wasn’t audible, but I heard it speak to me just as though it was audible and just as clearly as if it was audible. 1 John 4:1 says to “test the spirits to see if they be of God”. We are not to ignore them, or pretend that they don’t exist. Instead, we are to test them. Pray about it. Weight the spirit. If there is compulsion or anxiety behind it, it is likely not from God. In this case, I heard the voice speak to me and say the following words. I will let you judge to see if this was likely from God or not.
“The reason that the days are getting warmer is because the Lord is coming back soon.”
That was the entire communication that I received. And it was very very clear, too. I received it just as I was waking up, and that appears to be a common time for many when the Lord often prefers to speak. It’s a time when all is still, and we’re not busy, and it appears to be almost the perfect environment.
What could a message like that really mean, though? Is it significant? The messages we receive might not really appear that significant at the time we receive them. However, if it is really the Lord speaking, we can be sure there is a very significant reason for it. I think I better understand what the Lord was telling me, now that several days have transpired since I heard him say that to me. You see, not more than an hour ago, I was listening to NBC news via the internet. They were talking a lot about Hurricane Ike. As I write this, Hurricane Ike has not touched ground yet, in the USA, but is expected to do so within about 36 hours.
In one report, I heard the commentator say, “it seems to be heating up quite literally. In one week, four hurricanes or tropical storms have come marching across the Atlantic.” (Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hannah, Hurricane Ike, tropical storm Josephine). Another person then talked about “a succession of dangerous storms leading some to wonder if global warming … is making a bad situation worse.” Another then went on to say that “there is evidence that these storms are forming sooner; they are lasting a bit longer; some of them are a bit bigger.” When I heard this, it was as though the Lord was speaking to me, saying, “That is what I’m talking about.” In other words, the increase in warmth, as stated by the commentators, is leading to an increase in hurricanes and natural disasters. And the increase in natural disasters is a prophetic sign that the Lord is coming back soon.
But does Scripture support this? In fact, it does. Matthew 24:7 and other passages talk about natural disasters increasing in direct connection with the Lord’s return. According to this passage, this is the start of “birth pangs” which will eventually lead to the Lord’s return. In other words, there is much more to come, still! His return will not be today, but it is coming and, in God’s prophetic time table, it is not that far off. How far could that be? Well, it could be ten, twenty, or more years still. However, by comparison to how long the earth has been in existence for, and in comparison to eternity, the time is very short.
What are we doing to prepare for his coming? If anything, I believe this would be one good reason why the Lord would say, “The reason that the days are getting warmer is because the Lord is coming back soon.” For he wants us to be busy doing his work, for the the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few, as we read in Luke 10:2.
He is coming back soon. That much is clear. The day and the hour no one knows (nor should we even care about it, since we are told we do not know). But the season, this is a different story. Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!
“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” (2 Peter 3:8-14)