God gave Joseph two dreams when he was young, but these were not fulfilled until much later; however, even though his own dreams were not yet fulfilled, Joseph had the faith and the boldness to interpret the dreams of this two companions in prison (Gen. 40:8).
If we had been Joseph, we would have probably “thrown in the towel” and said, I dreamed that I will be the ruler, and now I’m in prison – why should I bother listening to the others’ dreams?
But Joseph was different; he didn’t only have the Lord’s presence, prosperity, and blessing, but he had the faith and the boldness to interpret the dreams of the baker and the cupbearer, and their dreams were fulfilled before his dream was.
Eventually, Joseph was released from prison indirectly through his speaking by faith in interpreting the cupbearer’s dream (see Gen. 41:9-13) and he was later ushered to the throne directly through his speaking boldly in interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams (Gen. 41:14-46).
Joseph’s release and his receiving of authority were a result of his speaking by faith to interpret others dreams before his dream was fulfilled.
It is very similar in our Christian experience: the Lord gives us the heavenly dreams of the glorious church life and the building up of the unique organic Body of Christ, but as we live in the church life many years pass, many sufferings come our way, many problems arise, many things happen, and even many other saints have their dreams interpreted and fulfilled MUCH longer before our dream is fulfilled.
We are all dreamers: we see the heavenly things in a dream, we dream of a better country, and here on earth we dream of God’s economy being fulfilled, the church life being glorious, the Body of Christ being built up, and the New Jerusalem coming into being.
Also, the Lord may give us some dreams personally – the same way He gave Joseph dreams – and then He takes us through trials, sufferings, and situations that will both confirm the dream and strengthen us to speak the interpretation of the dream for others, and then our dream will be fulfilled.
Having the Boldness and the Faith to Interpret Others’ Dreams even though Your Dreams are Not Fulfilled
When Joseph was a young man in his fathers’ house, God gave him two dreams: in the first it was him and his brothers had each a sheaf of wheat, and his brothers’ sheaves bowed down to his, and in the second, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to him.
Joyfully, he told the dream to his family, but instead of entering into the fulfillment of his dreams right away, he was hated by his brothers and eventually sold as a slave and put in prison in Egypt.
In his dreams Joseph didn’t see any sufferings, but on the way to the fulfillment of his dreams, he passed through a lot of unfair things, persecution, hatred, and sufferings.
When we see the vision of the glorious Christ being wrought into us, the heavenly vision of the church, the Body of Christ, and other visions that God shows us, we may not have them fulfilled right away but it may take even decades for them to be fulfilled.
In the fulfillment of the vision of Christ, the church, the cross, and the inner life, we go through sufferings, persecution, hatred, and many other things. However, even though we go through things that seemingly contradict the vision God gave us, we should still be full of faith and boldness and speak our vision and help others to have their dreams interpreted.
Joseph was a dreamer just like his father, and he interpreted others’ dreams, witnessing their fulfillment even before his dreams were fulfilled.
Any victorious Christian is a dreamer, and we all need to be a man of creams, visionaries. We need to be men and women of vision, and these dreams we receive coupled with suffering will work out what God desires in us. Dreams plus suffering, that is, vision plus suffering, issues in God’s purpose being accomplished.
In the early 1900’s brother Watchman Nee was one of the many who saw the vision of Christ and the church, and he was one of the few who kept speaking the vision he saw. He was truly a seer of the divine revelation in the present age.
Because he was bold enough to speak the dreams he saw, this brought him a lot of suffering, opposition, and internal turmoils among the ones who followed the vision he saw.
But he kept speaking and, 25 years after the Lord raised him up in China, he saw the dream coming through – hundreds of local churches were raised. Even now, with the opposition of the Communist Party, the Lord’s move is spreading all the more in China, and the Lord has a prevailing way.
In a similar manner, brother Witness Lee joined brother Nee and also saw many heavenly visions; he started his ministry outside of China from 1950 to 1997, and he spoke extensively concerning the visions God gave him.
All the messages he spoke were dreams and revelations (see MinistryBooks.com for more details), and this brought him his share of sufferings, persecution, evil report, and internal turmoils.
This is our portion: God gives us some dreams and visions, we speak them in faith, and there will be persecution and trials. These visions may not be fulfilled right away, but as we speak and speak and speak, we are being released and eventually brought to the throne to reign with Christ.
So keep speaking the visions, the truth, the spiritual dreams, the dream of Bethel, and keep speaking until the kingdom comes!
Lord Jesus, make us the dreamers who have the heavenly dreams, those who see the heavenly vision and speak it to others! Lord, save us from losing heart when the dream You gave us is not fulfilled when we expect it to be fulfilled. May we continue to speak the heavenly dreams and be bold and full of faith to help others enter into the fulfillment of their dream even though our dream may not yet be fulfilled. Lord, keep us enjoying the dream, living in Your presence, and exercising our spirit to speak what You have shown us!
Always Speak According to the Vision – Even when it is More than What You Experience!
When some Christians hear about speaking the visions God gave us, they may say, It is good to speak these visions, but speak according to your experience! Don’t speak more than what you have experienced, otherwise you’re not speaking according to reality!
Andrew Murray, however, once said, “The good minister of the word should always minister more than he has experienced.” This means that we all should speak MORE according to the vision than according to the fulfillment of the vision.
We should speak by faith according to the dream God gave us; we should speak forth the heavenly vision of Christ, the church, the Body of Christ, consecration, the cross, and the New Jerusalem.
We should speak not according to our limited experience but according to the unchanging heavenly dream. Our experience is important, but we should speak not merely according to what we experience but according to what God shows us in His word and according to His economy.
The students who love the Lord should go on the campus and speak the high gospel to their classmates. The working saints should speak their enjoyment of Christ in His word to His workmates. The parents should get together and be infused with the heavenly vision and then speak it to one another and to the children.
When others have a dream and they fellowship with us, when they see something concerning Christ and the church, we should be bold and speak in faith to bring them into the fulfillment of their dream, regardless of whether our dream is fulfilled or not yet.
Remember: the longer it takes for the dream to be fulfilled, the truer and higher the dream is. The cupbearer’s and baker’s dream were small, but Joseph’s dream was so high. The dreams that we speak of in the Lord’s recovery are not small but heavy, high, and weighty, and while we are waiting for them to be fulfilled we speak them! We speak the dreams and bring others into this dream!
And if we live our Christ as we speak the dream and interpret others’ dreams, we will bring either life or death wherever we are, just as the Apostle Paul said in 2 Cor. 2:14-16. We become a fragrance of Christ to others, to some from death unto life and for others from death unto death. To the cupbearer, Joseph brought restoration, but to the baker, he brought execution (see Gen. 41:12-13).
Our duty is simply to speak the dreams with faith and boldness, and it is up to the Lord whether the listeners will receive life or stay in death. Some will see the dream we speak of and perish while others will live and enter into the reality of the dream; it is not our call or decision, but it is the Lord’s.
Our function and responsibility is to interpret the dream by exercising our spirit to speak according to what the Lord has shown us, and what happens to the dreamer is up to the Lord. Just be faithful to speak and emit the fragrance of the Lord by speaking according to the vision God gave you!
Lord Jesus, make us the good ministers of the word who speak not merely according to their limited experience but according to the high and unchanging heavenly dream! May we be those who speak by faith according to the vision You have shown us. May we be faithful to You to exercise our spirit and speak in faith, emitting the fragrance of Christ wherever we go. Lord, build up Your Body. Make Christ everything to us. Work Yourself into our being and into all the saints. Bring in the New Jerusalem! Lord Jesus, Your kingdom come and Your will be done!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my Christian experience, bro. Minor Chen’s sharing in the message for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Genesis (msg. 112), as quoted in, the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Genesis (3), week 8 / msg 8, Joseph – The Reigning Aspect of the Mature Life (you can buy this morning revival book here).
- Photo credit for Gen. 40:8 and more spiritual quotes on this via, Christian Pictures Blog.
- Hymns on this topic:
# After you receive, / Are filled and enriched / By such a supply, / Go! Open your mouth! / Speak to all men the words of this life! / And having the same / Spirit of faith, / Be strong! Be not weak! / “We also believe, Therefore we also must speak!” (Song on Speaking by Faith)
# Never did I dream before, / Such a place could e’er be found, / Where the tears of sorrow cease, / Songs of endless joy abound. / One who seldom ever sang, / Now delights his voice to raise; / Singing hymns with all the saints, / Echoing the ceaseless praise. (Hymns #1238)
# I love to tell the story; / More wonderful it seems / Than all the golden fancies / Of all my golden dreams, / I love to tell the story, / It did so much for me; / And that is just the reason / I tell it now to thee. (Hymns #1064)
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