One of the first things my boyfriend and I talk about in the morning is our dreams. Lately I had a dream that my grandmother had married another man and had returned a book I had given her and changed all the pictures in her home to hide the fact that she was old enough to have grandchildren. Of course in reality this is laughable but in the dream her rejection was very hurtful to me. I was told that in Korean culture, when one has a dream that an older family member gets remarried, this means that they will die soon! Obviously this is a self-fulfilling prophecy as she is in her mid-80s...but I hope she'll be around for a little while longer!
I shared this dream and the Korean interpretation with my brother and he of course "saw my bet and raised it" with one of his own dreams. He dreamed that our father had actually died and that he was having to cope with taking care of the details and wondering how he would manage without Dad's advice and counsel. I hope that when this does happen that I'll be able to help out and that my brother won't have so much of the burden. In Korean culture, this dream is interpreted to mean that you want to get closer to that person. I guess that makes sense.
Most dreams I just feel are a conglomeration of things I've thought or experienced throughout the day and my subconscious is just trying to put them all together. Most dream interpretation in my culture is seen in the same light that we view our daily horoscopes: entertaining but not something to be taken too seriously. However some dreams come to us so vividly and clearly that you have to wonder: is there a message here and if so, from whom?
Many characters in the Bible had messages from God communicated to them in dreams. Joseph son of Jacob would be the obvious one to start with. I always wondered about just how clever he really was. I mean if you had a dream that so obviously had to do with your brothers, would you go and tell them about it? Doesn't seem like the smartest move ever does it? However Joseph does state ""Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams," (Gen. 40:8) which tends to lead credence to the argument that our dreams are messages from God.
Other Old Testament characters such as Laban, Daniel, and King Solomon all had dreams which determined a certain course for their lives and gave them divine guidance. In the New Testament, Joseph, father of Jesus, had three pivotal dreams, one to keep his betrothal to Mary, one to flee to Egypt and one to return to Palestine again. Both Peter and Paul received important messages through dreams that changed the course of the Christian faith (Peter's dream made it possible for Christians to do away with Jewish dietary laws, namely pork and seafood. Paul's dreams led him to take the message of Christ to the Gentiles, changing the Christian church from a Jewish off-shoot to a "world" religion.). Message-filled dreams weren't limited to people from the Jewish culture either. Pilate's wife is recorded as having a dream regarding the trial of Jesus.
However the Bible also cautions us about holding too much stock into dreams and their interpretation. Three passages warn about false prophets who claim to receive revelations through dreams (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Jeremiah 23:25-32;27:9;29:8; Zechariah 10:2).
In my humble opinion, the "jury's still out" with regards to dreams and their importance. Part of me wants to believe that they serve an important purpose and many times when I had a sense of deja vu, I felt like I was experiencing something I had previously dreamed. I kept a dream journal for a long time just in case I had something like that happen again and then I could go back and find that occurance but I was unsuccessful.
Perhaps someday I will figure it out one way or the other. Until then I'll keep on dreaming!