It seems odd that we must judge a dream or vision, but this is true, since there are dreams that come from the flesh, dreams that come from the Spirit of God, and fiery mental darts (Eph. 6:16) that can create a dream from the presence of some unclean spirit, which may shoot an arrow in a believer's mind while he is asleep. How do we judge a dream?
Judge it by the Word of God.
As we have and will continue to discuss in this book, there are established methods we can use to determine if a dream is from the Lord. The greatest confirmation comes directly from the Word of God. If the dream instructs or implies that you are to act, speak, or live in a way contrary to God's Word, then it is not from the Lord.
One married man said he had a dream that he was to leave his wife and marry another woman in the church, who was also married, thus breaking up two marriages to fulfill God's purpose. This is a seducing dream and definitely not from the Lord. According to Ephesians 5:25, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and a "bishop then must be . . . the husband of one wife" (1 Tim. 3:2). If it's not right, it won't stand the test in the "light" (Ps. 119:105).
Judge it by the reputation of the dreamer.
The Bible is clear; there are occasional false teachers and false prophets. The apostle John wrote that there was a woman, identified as Jezebel, who "calls herself a prophetess" and who was sexually seducing men in the church (Rev. 2:20). She had a reputation on Earth as a prophetess, but in heaven she was a seducer.
We need to begin to see people as heaven sees them, not as people perceive them. I have known of believers who truly loved God, but they followed ministries whose leaders were morally repugnant in their private lives, beating their companion, cursing, sleeping with numerous women, getting drunk, and still trying to reveal the mysteries of God in prophetic words. The reputation of the minister and the credibility of what he has spoken in the "name of the Lord" must always be considered before accepting any alleged word that God is sending you through a person.
For a moment I must boast about my precious father, who is a very humble individual. He can hardly talk about the Lord without weeping, and when he relates the old stories, he breaks down every time and cries. I cannot tell you the number of times Dad has experienced a warning dream or a vision, and it came to pass in great detail. In fact, I cannot think of one time when he was warned about something when the dream or vision did not come to pass. This is the test of a true prophetic person who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
One of the most bizarre accounts occurred years ago when we were praying in a house together. Dad began to "pray in the Spirit" (1 Cor. 14:15) and soon saw a mental vision. He said, "The Lord told me that great darkness is coming out of Lebanon. He also said that there would be confusion created between Yasser Arafat's group and Hamas." Within a few months Lebanon began stirring, and eventually Israel had a major summer war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. I was stunned when the PLO and Hamas in Gaza began killing each other during a power struggle. Dad used the word Hezbos and said the Lord would eventually judge "Hezbos."
I said, "Dad, it is Hezbollah."
He said, "I heard the word Hezbos."
I decided to go to the Internet and look up this word. It was actually a derogatory abbreviation and name for Hezbollah in Lebanon!
The Lord was speaking down on this terror group! The word Hezbos is the plural form of Hezbo, which is often an abbreviated word for the name of the Hezbollah. In some instances the name Hezbos is used in a negative manner or even derogatory manner when speaking about Hezbollah, the noted terror network headquartered in Lebanon. How odd that Dad heard the name Hezbos, which indicated to me the Holy Spirit was mocking this group.
Paul taught that we should judge prophetic words (1 Cor. 14:29), and yet Christ taught in Matthew 7:1, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (niv). Is this a contradiction? Paul was instructing believers not just to accept any word as from the Lord, but to weigh it as a group to ensure that the group judging the statement all bore witness to the accuracy of the statement. In Christ's warning not to judge, He was speaking about judging another person's personal life or spirituality, which was a common error among the Pharisees who always were criticizing others for the same sins they themselves were committing and trying to hide.
The closer the body of Christ moves toward the time of the end, the more important the ability to discern will be, for there will not only be false prophets with false words, but also there will arise a higher level of spiritual wickedness that causes a spiritual clash like that between Elijah and the false prophets of Baal!