A Dream of Martyrdom and God’s Judgment on the World
“I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28NIV
It was a Sunday morning in 2003 when I awoke from the most vivid dream I have ever dreamt in my life. It was the sort of dream where you wonder if you have actually awakened from it; the kind that stays with you for the next few days.
This was no ordinary dream for me. It has remained with me in its entirety since I experienced it.
I am usually the type of person that looks a bit skeptically at the “dreams and visions” of others. I did not grow up in a “charismatic” faction of Christian faith and practice. Naturally, I proceed with caution when examining the spiritual experiences of others.
So, as a disclaimer, you must know that I consider myself a level-headed person that has tendencies to choose logic over faith; the objective over the subjective; empirical evidence over personal experience.
I was never encouraged to seek out dreams or visions from the Lord. This one was thrusted upon me and lives with me everyday. I would be a fool to ignore it. Therefore, I can’t help but believe it to have some level of truth in reality.
I often casually joke about my death with others who know me, but I assure you it is no joke to me. It shapes my entire view of the present and the days to come.
I see my life leading up to this event. Sure, it could be that this dream will not have a full and literal fulfillment. I know others may want to interpret it, and they will. No matter what others may say or think about my dream, for me it has already happened.
Back to the dream…
I crawled out of bed and started getting ready for the morning. I was a youth pastor at a small church in a small East Texas town. We lived right next to the church building. I quickly got my stuff together and rushed over to the youth department to prepare for that morning’s many activities.
This entire time the dream was on my mind, but I didn’t have time to think about it because I had responsibilities to carry out. And so I did my thing and postponed further reflection until I had a moment of stillness.
Later that morning when all of my duties had been fulfilled, I sat in my chair next to my wife to listen to the sermon. In the beginning I was listening and then my mind began to drift back to my dream. I slowly began to see my dream play over again in my head. I left myself for a moment and began to relive the dream from the night before.
What did I see? What did it mean? It wasn’t a long dream, but it was enough.
In my dream I am walking with a group of men. From what I remember, there were no women and children with us. We were in a concentration camp of some kind. I don’t remember seeing barbed wire and all that you can imagine would fit the description, but I do remember the soldiers. I do not know whose soldiers they were. But I am certain they were not Nazis.
I was living in the modern world and was experiencing something in the future.
I was walking with a group of men in a single-file line. There was no noise or any talking, only the sound of footsteps in the sand and gravel. We were walking toward a building. Soldiers were shoulder to shoulder on our left. They had weapons, but they were not doing anything. They just watched us walking toward the building.
We walked into a large building through large iron double-doors. I know they were iron because I remember the sound they made when they closed behind us. The doors closed with a loud creak and “CLANG!” I heard the shuffling of feet, as all of us men were crowded together. I heard the faint whimpering of someone close. I felt the moment building as the sound of something turned on and the high-pitched noise grew louder.
Fear started to come up against me and then at the climax of the sound I saw a bright light. It wasn’t a tunnel with a light at the end. The light illuminated the room and then there was a peace that came over me—then silence.
That was when I awoke from the dream.
Something seemed to be missing though. As I was reflecting on the entire dream and within myself asking the Lord, “What does this mean?” I went back to the moment in the dream where we were coming up to the doors of the building and were about to walk inside. I could see something else.
As we were approaching the doors there were soldiers to the left seeing to it that we walked quietly inside. Then I could see us laying open Bibles at their feet. We laid the open Scripture at their feet and walked in quietly. As I reflected, I was wondering what this was about. I looked more intently and the Lord showed me that the Bibles were open to the book of Malachi.
“Malachi?” I thought to myself. All I could remember from the prophet Malachi was that God hates divorce and something about giving the tithe. Of course I knew it was the last book of the Old Testament.
The next year I would translate Malachi in my Hebrew class. But at that time I didn’t really know anything off the top of my head that could shed some light on my dream.
As the service continued around me, I quickly turned to the book of Malachi. I was certain not to be noticed by others that anything was out of the ordinary.
I started with the first chapter in Malachi. The book only has four chapters so it wasn’t going to take me long to find out whether or not this dream had a supernatural origin or if it was an invention of my own neurological processes during sleep. I began reading at verse one. I read the entire first chapter. Nothing! So I kept reading.
In the first three chapters there was nothing that had any relevant connection to my dream. It wasn’t until I began reading the fourth and final chapter. My heart about stopped as my eyes moved from one word to the next. This is what I read…
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 4:1-3 NIV
At that moment I knew that my mind had not conjured up some twisted thoughts resulting from my knowledge of WWII or my past viewing of Schindler’s List. This dream definitely had the signature of God all over it. How exactly did I interpret this dream in that moment?
It was very clear to me.
Those men who were laying this Scripture at the feet of the soldiers were humbly pronouncing the judgment of God that would soon “burn like a furnace.” As we were being led to our death in this “furnace” we were declaring our hope in the Lord.
We were saying, “We will give our lives in this fire, but you need to know that the day is coming when the Lord will overcome the wicked and exalt those who revere his name. He will trample down the wicked and they will be the ashes under the soles of our feet. This is the word of the Lord God Almighty.”
I believe the Lord has led me to share this dream with you. I pray that it will be an encouragement to those of us who have been called by His name to be a testimony of Jesus Christ. For those that do not know Jesus as the resurrection and life, I pray you will consider the word of our Lord. Lord, bless your church in this final hour.
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser (i.e. Satan) of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:10-11 NIV
D.D. Flowers, 2008.