Joseph, Daniel, and Nephi: Dream-Interpreters

Not all dreams are revelations from God, but some are. Joseph was a dreamer, and he clearly believed that some of his dreams were messages from God. (See Genesis 37:5-11.) Perhaps because of that experience, he was attuned to the dreams of others, and he was able to interpret the cryptic dreams of Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker, and then of Pharaoh himself. (See Genesis 40, Genesis 41.) But he was careful not to claim credit for this gift. When he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, he said, “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:16).

Daniel also had the gift of “understanding in all visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17). At least twice, he interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. (See Daniel 2, Daniel 4.) On the first of those occasions, he said, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever…. He giveth wisdom unto the wise…. He revealeth the deep and secret things” (Daniel 2:20-22).

Nephi’s father had a dream as their family traveled in the wilderness. He shared his dream with the family, with very little commentary on its meaning. (See 1 Nephi 8.) But Nephi wanted to know more. “I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost,” he wrote. “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (1 Nephi 10:17, 19). As he prayed, he saw a vision in which the symbols of his father’s dream were explained to him. (See 1 Nephi 11-14.)

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from these stories:

  • God communicates with some people through their dreams.
  • He can help us understand the revelations we receive.
  • Revelations about revelations are not redundant. They are a manifestation of the principle that God gives us “line upon line, precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30, Isaiah 28:10, 13).

Today, I will be grateful for the examples of Joseph, Daniel, and Nephi, who were not afraid to seek knowledge from God to help them better understand revelations received through dreams. I will strive to be aware of the ways God is communicating with me, and I will ask him for help to better understand His revelations.

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