I was at work and all of the sudden Chinese tanks burst through the walls. I ran around the store to make sure that everyone was safe and found no one in the store. I quickly ran through the streets and said, "I need to join The Army. I need to fight in this war." I evaded enemy tanks, and troops that were coming after me and went into a workshop where they were building machines that could destroy tanks. Suddenly the scene shifts. I am standing in front of five pillars and an angel walks out. He says, "Choose one." On top of the pillars there were scrolls for the different branches of the military. I chose the Navy. The angel then said, "Sign Here." I read it and signed it. Then he took it, wrapped it up and said, "You have chosen the sea section."
When I woke up I just knew that this was an end of the world dream! I mean Chinese tanks, Walmart being destroyed, fighting in the streets...That's a no brainer, right? As I gained an understanding of dreams I learned that is was a spiritual warfare dream and a dream that was identifying my role in the army of God, but it was not necessarily pertaining to the end of the world. How did I come to that conclusion you ask? Great question! Psssstttt.... Come closer; (whispers quietly), discerning the focus and the context of the dream.
What does it mean to discern the focus of the dream? I like to put it like this; Who was the main character in the dream? If you are watching a movie such as The Bourne Supremacy, you would deduce that Jason Bourne is the main character. Everything in the movie revolves around him, and if it weren't for him the movie would have no point. The entire movie would fall apart. This is the same concept that we apply to dreams. Of course there are other characters in the dream, but if I asked you who was the main character in Batman you'd say Batman (maybe Bruce Wayne), or if I asked who was the main Character in Spiderman you'd probably say Peter Parker (Maybe even Miles Morales if you're being ornery). I am sure you get my drift by now.
In my dream, the main character is me. I was able to deduce that because I said "I did this", I went here, I saw this. If you took me out of the dream the entire dream would fall apart. It would have been a completely different story if I was dreaming and all these things happened but I didn't engage in the dream at all. If you removed me from that dream then the tank would have come through the wall at some place and that's where the dream would end.
Now that we have covered context, how did I know it was not about the world or end times? Again, Context. The first thing that I noticed about this dream is that there is a battle happening, or an attack of some sort. That immediately triggers my mind to perceive that the dream is regarding spiritual warfare. Since I was the focus of the dream it shows that the warfare was regarding me, and since I was at work it indicates warfare pertaining to my job (field, ministry, or life work). I wanted to fight. I wanted to join the military and defend my homeland. The only person that was actually affected in the dream was me, therefore the dream didn't pertain to the world.
In Genesis 41 you see a prime example of this. "In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.
“In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me."
There are couple of things to notice about this dream. Even though there are no people in the dream but Pharaoh, He is not the focus. If you removed Pharaoh the dream will still go on. The river represented the life source of Egypt. The cows feasted on the reeds which shows that the river bed was fertile and good. The Nile flows through the heart of all of Egypt indicating it will affect all of Egypt. The seven Grains is where we get the indication of time. The grains grew up to a head. When wheat comes to a head it is ready to be harvested. The seven stalks represented seven harvest seasons that would be full and ripe. In each dream these seven healthy, fat, full years would be consumed (as the cows devoured the others) by seven years of lack (sick, skinny cows, and unhealthy wheat).
Here's how we establish if a dream is prophetic in nature. There are several indicators you will see commonly. Dreams pertaining to future events come in many forms. The most common of which is noted by the "front." I Frequently hear people say in dreams that they went out the front door, or looked out the front window, or are talking about the front yard in some manner etc. The front is God's way of saying what is before you, or what it is ahead of you. Much like if you are driving a car in a dream it will indicate where you are heading (with cars it may represent what's driving you) in life.
Some other prophetic flags are News papers, news on the television, radio shows... anything news related will usually be prophetic. A T.V. is a great indicator. Televisions is a play on the words "Tell- A - Vision." Visions are literal, but they may have symbolism behind them. Since visions are literal they will not always be about future event, but they will always be about something that is, or will be happening soon. Windows are also a good indicator. Windows represent what you look through, how you see things, etc. The Hebrew word chazah is the word used for vision. It literally means to look through, or to peer into, to gaze at, to perceive mentally, contemplate (with pleasure); specifically, to have a vision of, behold, look, prophesy, provide, see.
The end part of the dream that I shared with you, the Sea Section, that represents the prophetic (see) section of God's Heavenly armies. I was being given the choice to choose how I wanted to operate in God's Body. I chose the prophetic. I chose to be an eye and see. I chose the navy. I enlisted in God's army so that I could war in the spirit through the power of prophecy.
I could say so much more about how to tell if a dream is about the end times. For me, God will make the sky orangish-red indicating sunset, or end of the day (end of days). These types of dreams are pretty rare, though they seem to be growing in frequency recently. If you are not involved in the dream and the dream keeps happening, then that is most likely not about you. You're going to have to Rely on the Holy spirit in order to tell if it's end of days, or just a warfare dream. Armageddon/end of days/Revelation style dreams will line up with the scriptures. You have to allow the Holy Spirit to tell you. You will most likely see any of the indicators listed above in the dream as well. I could go on, and on, and on about this topic but I digress.
I hope that this has been a help to you, and blesses you in your journey to understand dreams. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Be blessed.