It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Charisma House (May 3, 2011)
***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***
Perry Stone is the best-selling author of numerous books, including The Meal That Heals and Breaking the Jewish Code. He directs one of America’s fastest-growing ministries, The Voice of Evangelism. An international evangelist, Perry holds a BA in theology from Covenant Life Christian College. He lives in Cleveland, Tennessee, with his wife, Pam, and their two children.
Visit the author’s website.
Is God Trying to Tell You Something?
Have you ever had a dream or vision that was so vivid that it remained with you for days? It is possible that your dream had a spiritual connotation and your vision was a message from God.
In How to Interpret Dreams and Visions, best-selling author and evangelist Perry Stone explains the guidance and warnings encrypted in our visions and dreams. With his unique blend of Bible knowledge and spiritual insight he provides answers to questions such as…
Is my dream really from God?How do I distinguish between types of spiritual visions?Why am I having nightmares or unclean dreams?· What do my dreams of a departed loved one mean?
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (May 3, 2011)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
The Last Days— Time to Pierce the Veil
But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
-2 Corinthians 3:14–17
The spirit world is as real as the air we breathe and the water we drink. The natural realm is a reflection of the spirit world. Earthly things are patterned after heavenly things. (See Hebrews 8:1–5.) Our world consists of trees, rivers, mountains, and cities. The heavenly city, New Jerusalem, has the tree of life, the crystal river of life, and a mountain where God is worshiped called Mount Zion (Rev. 22:1–5). These heavenly realities were the original Creation that was reflected on Earth when God created man. Humanity has struggled to believe in a world that cannot be seen with the eyes, touched with the hands, or smelled when we breathe.
To the skeptic, angels are myths, and demonic spirits are the dark imagination of Hollywood scripts. The prevailing attitude is the Thomas syndrome, which says, “Unless I can see it and touch it, I will never believe it” (John 20:25, author’s paraphrase). The fact is that there is an invisible veil covering both the natural eyes and the spiritual understanding of men and women, and only when the veil is lifted or pierced can the realities of the invisible realm become visible. The Bible is a book written by forty different authors over a period of about fifteen hundred years of time that tells the story of men called prophets who were inspired of the Lord and who pierced this veil and saw marvelous eternal and heavenly images that brought to mankind the revelation of God.
Paul wrote that there is a veil, similar to scales, over the eyes of our understanding that clouds the light of God’s revelation from entering into our minds and enlightening us with life-changing insight. If we live behind this veil, then we will never know or experience God’s best for us. This veil, which at times manifests as a lack of interest in spiritual matters, a dullness in our understanding, or a spirit of unbelief toward the idea of Bible-based spiritual manifestations, must be lifted to experience the unseen. This ability to see the future was the gift that set apart the biblical prophets from their false counterparts in surrounding idolatrous nations. These Hebrew visionaries had a reputation for knowing the unknown behind closed doors.
One such example can be seen when a Syrian general sent his army to capture one of God’s prophets, Elisha. When Elisha’s servant saw the army, fear gripped him. However, after Elisha prayed for the eyes of his servant to be opened, the fear turned to faith as the servant saw horses and chariots of fire encamped round about them both, forming a protective hedge. (See 2 Kings 6:8–17.) There is a covering of some sort on our physical eyes, which prevents us from seeing the activity of the spirit world. However, when we sleep, we are still able to see images through dreams or visions. In Scripture, men like the apostle John recorded these dreams and visions. John was on an island when he suddenly saw a “door in heaven open,” or as we would say, “heaven open,” and this opening projected his mind and spirit into another world, a world just as real as the world we live in. (See Revelation 4:1; 19:11.) These two biblical incidents from Revelation indicate two important facts: something occurs on Earth and something occurs in heaven to cause information to be released and the veil removed. On Earth our eyes must be “opened.” This happens when our inner vision, which creates the images in our brain at night, receives information from the heavenly realm, which “opens,” allowing eternal information to pass from the heavenly realm to the earthly realm.
One question posed by sincere seekers is: “Why would God be concerned about revealing events to us that have not yet occurred?” A simple answer is that He does so to prepare us for something or to cause us to intercede in prayer to prevent or to change a situation.
For example, when King Hezekiah was informed by Isaiah to set his house in order because he would soon die, the king began to earnestly pray, and his death was delayed for fifteen years (Isa. 38:1–5).
Another reason God is concerned is because He knows we need to understand certain events in the future.
Why is the Spirit World Veiled?
Human eyes cannot see into the spirit world. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Angels are spirits (Heb. 1:13–14). Satan’s kingdom is organized into four levels of spirit rebels (Eph. 6:12), and every man is a tripartite creation of a body, a soul, and a spirit, or, as some teach, a spirit with a soul living in a body (1 Thess. 5:23).
In the time of Adam and Eve, God entered the Garden of Eden and communicated directly with man by walking through the garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). Adam and Eve could see and hear God clearly. After they fell into sin, “the eyes of both of them were opened,” and they saw they were naked and felt shame (Gen. 3:7). Although their eyes were opened, at the same time their eyes were veiled. From that moment forward, angelic visitors appeared in the form of a vision, a dream, or would take upon themselves human form, just as the two angelic messengers did when instructed by the Almighty to investigate the sins of Sodom. (See Genesis 19.) Even the writer of Hebrews wrote to be careful when entertaining a stranger because you might not be aware that it is an angel (Heb. 13:2).
If our eyes could be opened and the veil lifted, we would continually see angels, demonic entities, and other forms of spirit beings. While some may wish to see into the invisible realm, the fact is that when great men of God and Hebrew prophets have pierced this veil and seen, for example, angels in their full glory, the reactions have normally been to fall down and be gripped with an overwhelming feeling of fear. Abraham fell into a deep trance (Gen. 15:12) and fell on his face when God talked to him (Gen. 17:3, 17). Ezekiel describes seeing the Almighty upon His throne, with cherubim and amazing heavenly beings appearing like wheels spinning within wheels (Ezek. 1), and he too fell upon his face (v. 28). In several instances when a vision of God or the angelic realm manifested, the prophet fell down upon his face (Ezek. 9:8; 43:3; 44:4). Daniel described an angelic visitor with brass-colored arms and feet, white hair, a gold belt, and eyes like fire. His reaction was so visibly powerful that even the men with him who did not see the vision became overwhelmed and began “quaking” and fled, hiding themselves (Dan. 10:5–7, kjv). Daniel found himself on his face with no strength remaining in his body (vv. 8–9). When John saw the resurrected Christ in heaven, he “fell at His feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17). Even Balaam’s donkey fell down when it saw an angel of the Lord (Num. 22:27)!
When the veil is lifted and a mere mortal taps into not just a vision or dream, but into the actual unseen world of angels, demons, heaven, or hell, the human body is unable to sustain the glory of the heavenly realm without responding in some manner. If we could live with our spiritual eyes continually opened, I suggest we would never get any work done and would be continually disrupted in our sleep.
Scripture instructs believers to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). I cannot physically see God, but I believe in God because of the Bible’s evidence and because I have faith that undergirds my confidence in the Word. With my human eyes I am unable to spot an angel flying through the heavens or a cosmic conflict between warring angels and prince spirits called the “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). However, because my inner being is also a “spirit,” I can at times sense or feel the presence of the Lord, the warmth and peace of an angel, or the dark oppressive wicked spirits that are in my earth zone. To pierce the curtain of the unseen, a believer must be in tune to that particular realm of spiritual activity.
When my seventy-seven-year-old father was praying for my twenty year-old son, who was kneeling before him at Dad’s small home in Tennessee, with tears in his eyes my father said to Jonathan, “There is a future.” He was encouraging his grandson not to just live for the moment but to discover, plan, and prevail for his future, which the Lord has already laid out for him and his little sister. At that moment I realized that this is what life is really all about—the future. When God laid out a detailed plan for man’s redemption from sin, He prepared the details long before Adam fell. Jesus is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). When Christ was praying before His death, He said that God had loved Him from “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). God planned a future for all of mankind before Adam and Eve were created and fell into sin!
Once man sinned, God Himself released the first prophecy by predicting that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). God spoke this about four thousand years before Mary gave birth to the Messiah (Luke 2). After Cain slew his brother, Abel, God wasted no time in replacing Abel with Adam and Eve’s new addition to the family, a son named Seth who would initiate a nine-generation lineage of righteous men, leading up to tenth man from Adam, Noah. (See Genesis 5.) God continually has your future on His mind and in His purpose
The Almighty’s passion for the future is also witnessed in the fact that God thinks generationally. When God established His covenant through Abraham, He was planning that Abraham’s descendants would become a nation. First God promised Abraham a son and to make a “great nation” from Abraham’s children (Gen. 12:2). Years later God predicted that Abraham would be “a great and mighty nation” (Gen. 18:18). Years passed, and then God visited Abraham’s grandson Jacob, changing his name from Jacob to Israel. God enlarged His promise by saying to Jacob, “A nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you” (Gen. 35:11). After the nation of Israel expanded from seventy souls to more than six hundred thousand men of war (Exod. 1:5; 12:37), the Lord announced that the nation would be “blessed above all peoples” (Deut. 7:14). From one simple individual, Abraham, to seventy souls who went into Egypt under Joseph, in four hundred years the nation grew to six hundred thousand men marching through the Red Sea and on to the millions of Jewish people now in the world. God was beginning the preparations for one large family called the children of Israel when He was making covenant with one man—Abraham! This is why God changed Abram’s name (meaning “father”) to Abraham, meaning “father of many” (Gen. 17:5). Israel began with a dream and a vision!
Securing confidence and boldness for the future is so significant to the Almighty that He allowed men to enter into the dream dimension and receive vital knowledge for themselves, for their leaders, or for the nations in which they were given authority. A few examples of significant dreams that altered situations, set destinies, or brought prophetic knowledge are:
. God warned King Abimelech with the threat of death if he didn’t return Sarah to Abraham (Gen. 20:6–7).
. God confirmed in a dream for Jacob to leave Laban, taking his wives and sons to Canaan (Gen. 31).
. God prepared Joseph’s future by giving him two prophetic dreams when he was a teenager (Gen. 37).
. God allowed Joseph to interpret the dreams of the butler and the baker while in prison (Gen. 40).
. Joseph interpreted both dreams of Pharaoh and prepared for a seven-year famine (Gen. 41).
. It was the “barley cake dream” that gave Gideon confidence to fight the Midianites (Judg. 7).
. God appeared to Solomon in a dream, granting his request for the gift of wisdom (1 Kings 3).
. Daniel was the only man in Babylon capable of interpreting the dream of the metallic image (Dan. 2).
. Daniel later interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s “tree dream,” predicting the downfall of the king (Dan. 4).
. Daniel experienced a major prophetic dream of world empires symbolized by wild beasts (Dan. 7).
Nearly six thousand years of human history have demonstrated that just because God plans a person’s future, it is no guarantee that opposition will not eclipse the light of the revelation. There is a plan by the kingdom of darkness to distract, disrupt, and destroy the future, both God’s prophetic plan and your personal destiny. Each person is said to have a “destiny,” which is simply your future according to God. Just as God revealed to Jeremiah that He foreknew him when he was still in his mother’s womb and that He preordained him to be a prophet (Jer. 1:5), God has a predetermined plan for each person. With all of the clutter and clamor and mixed voices speaking into our lives, our minds can become cloudy and our understanding fogged with numerous possibilities from which we must choose. This is why at times God will permit a believer to pierce the world of the natural and enter the realm of a dream or a vision so that secret strategies of the enemy can be exposed and the hidden plans of God can be revealed. Warnings that are perceived and received can help you avoid potholes and pits in your path to destiny, and understanding God’s plan will empower you to pursue that purpose.
The disrupting of God’s will in our lives can begin at a very early age. During major prophetic cycles and seasons of prophetic fulfillment, children come under severe attack from the adversary. This was seen when Pharaoh ordered the male infants born to the Hebrews to be cast into the Nile River (Exod. 1:22). The time was coming when a deliverer would bring the Hebrews out of Egypt, and the adversary was no doubt attempting to preempt the prophecy by killing the possible male child deliverer before he could become a man! The second assignment of an evil ruler was when Herod commissioned Roman soldiers to encircle the area of Ramah and kill all male children who were under two years of age, attempting to slay the future king of the Jews that the wise men came to worship (Matt. 2).
From a personal perspective, if we survive our birth and live to be teenagers, other battles begin. When he was a teenager (age seventeen), a plot was organized against Joseph by his own brothers (Gen. 37). They were sick of this dreamer, Daddy’s favorite little spoiled boy, running around with an expensive coat! Joseph was doing well until he began to confess his dreams of success that would come to him. At that point his brothers conspired against him, and Joseph ended up in a pit, then in a prison, and spent thirteen years in what seemed negative, dream-killing circumstances.
I was a young teenager when the Lord began to reveal to me His will and I began planning for it. I encountered various types of verbal persecution from my own spiritual brothers in the same denomination of which I was a member. When David—just a teen—was anointed by Samuel as the next king “in the midst of his brothers,” jealousy arose among certain brothers much older who may have felt they deserved the position more than their kid brother (1 Sam. 16:13; 17:28).
When I was a teenager, the Holy Spirit inspired me to organize a ministry called Voice of Evangelism when I had only preached in three states. Ministers said, “Perry isn’t the voice of anything, much less of evangelism.” They were correct from the natural perspective but wrong in the Spirit. The Lord had a future for me! At age eighteen I formed a “7-Point Outreach Plan” that included a ministry outreach through books, revival meetings, magazines, and other forms of branching out. Then I began overhearing statements like: “Who does he think he is, Billy Graham or Oral Roberts?” Without sounding arrogant, I knew something these other men did not know. I had a small glimpse into the future. I had both heard and seen in my spirit and through dreams and prayer that I would be used of the Lord to one day have a worldwide ministry Thus, once you see your future, you can learn how to hold off the adversity and know why there is opposition against your destiny!
Watch out for that girl!
When my father, Fred Stone, was a young, black-haired teenage minister, he met a very attractive girl about his age who was gifted in playing the piano and singing. Of course, the common belief was that if you were a minister, your wife needed to be a singer or musician. The girl took a liking to him. However, Dad had a dream in which he saw this girl coming out of a barn embracing a young man. He realized the girl was having relations with this boy. He heard a voice say, “I have warned you; have nothing to do with that girl.” Dad said that after this dream, the girl tried to get close to him in friendship; he would say hello but go no further. Even Dad’s uncle, a noted minister, rebuked Dad for not expressing more interest in such a talented young girl. But three months later the girl’s father told Dad’s uncle he was glad Dad had not formed a relationship with his daughter, because she was pregnant out of wedlock by a fellow she knew.
When I was the same age as my father, a similar situation was repeated in my life. I was eighteen years of age, traveling from church to church conducting weekly revivals. At one location, a family I knew with a daughter about my age wanted me to go out with her to eat. My policy was to only go out with a group of young people and avoid going out alone with the opposite sex. Soon she began to speak to friends that she was serious about me and thought our friendship could lead to eventual marriage. At the same time I dreamed that she was pregnant. In the dream the Lord told me to avoid her. The same week, three noted ministers spoke to me in confidence and said, “You must be careful around this girl. There is something not right about her.” I sent word to her through a friend not to have any contact with me again. One month later it was confirmed that she was pregnant, and she married the father of the child shortly thereafter. Years later she and her mother came to hear me minister in a church and asked to speak with me. Her mother, a very godly woman, required her to apologize to me for plotting to pull me into her situation without my knowledge. The girl said, “I was hoping you would suddenly fall in love with me and marry me before anyone knew I was pregnant with this man’s baby.”
In both cases, more than twenty-six years apart, the same type of snare was laid for Dad and me. By following the same type of dreams and inward warnings, we both avoided missing the will of God and entering into a situation that would have been not only questionable but also embarrassing and detrimental to our early ministries. These illustrations reveal how strategies are set to disrupt God’s purposes, but God is concerned about the details of our personal lives because circumstances affect our destiny!
Often when we think of a spiritual dream we envision a visitation that warns us of national calamity or an international warning on the same level as what the Old Testament prophets received when warning the priests and the kings of coming calamity. However, God has indicated in Scripture that He is concerned for each individual and not just for the collective population of a nation. Christ revealed that the Father watched a sparrow fall to the ground and saw the lilies in the field grow (Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:28), and if the Almighty is concerned for the smallest in His creation, how much more is His concern manifested toward man, who is made in His image (Gen. 1:26).
The Need to Know
The understanding of the Book of Daniel was sealed “until the time of the end,” when “knowledge shall increase” (Dan. 12:4). Numerous prophecies are assigned to occur in the “time of the end,” a term used in the Book of Daniel five times (Dan. 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9). Other predictions will unfold in the “last days,” a phrase coined to identify the time frame prior to the return of the Messiah, listed five times in the New Testament (Acts 2:17; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Pet. 3:3). The final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will occur in the “last days” (Acts 2:17) and includes sons and daughters prophesying and experiencing visions and dreams. Among this final generation there is a need-to-know attitude about their future and destiny.
This need to know is obvious when one considers the millions of dollars spent by sincere yet uninformed individuals on fortune-tellers, astrologers, séances, and psychics. According to the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life, “about 1 in 7 Americans consulted a psychic or fortune teller in 2009.”1 The only reason these false prophets of greed are consulted is to determine the hidden and the unseen and to know in advance the person’s future. Why should the body of Christ sit back and refuse to tell this generation to seek God for His direction, when the adversary will provide a horoscope for that purpose? There is a human need to know, and our knowledge for redemption can be found in the Bible—as well as the guide for practical living found in those inspired Scriptures. However, there are times we are uncertain concerning personal and national decisions that can be seen and understood through visions and dreams.
However, the invisible veil must be pierced in the mind and in the understanding. This begins with the “dream factor.”
In How to Interpret Dreams and Visions, Perry Stone offers a wealth of information on the title topic. This book is filled with personal anecdotes, scriptural references, and practical advice as well as an appendix with definitions of certain objects often found in dreams and how they might used to interpret them. Stone explains the reasons God would choose to speak to his children through dreams and visions and offers suggestions on how that can be accomplished. He also lists reasons that might prevent hearing from the Lord clearly.
How to Interpret Dreams and Visions is well written and arranged in a manner that makes it easy to find specific topics. Several chapters cover issues not normally covered in books of this genre; however these topics complement the more familiar themes. While this book is not and does not claim to be an all inclusive study of the subject, it should be a welcome addition to the library of those interested in dreams and visions.