Thursday, July 30, 2020

Coverstone Dreams

When Christians are sharing dreams that they believe are a message from God, two things are really important.

  • They should write down the dream in full detail as soon as possible after they received it. It is very easy to forget important bits or add glosses to the dream if the description is being written later.

  • The dream and its interpretation and application should be kept separate. This is important for testing the interpretation of the dream. Church leaders cannot test the dream itself, because they did not see it. Only the person who saw the dream knows what they saw. Leaders cannot say that the person did not see what they claim to have seen.

    Church leaders can test the source of a dream. If they believe that the dream was sent by evil spirits or was just a manifestation of the flesh or indigestion, they can legitimately assess that the dream was not inspired by God.

    The most important role of church leaders is to assess the interpretation of the dream. The person receiving the dream might get the interpretation wrong, even if the dream came from God. The interpretation can only be tested if it is kept separate from the description of the dream. If the description of the dream includes interpretations it is much harder to assess the interpretation.

An example of both these problems can be seen in the dreams recently shared by Dana Coverstone, a pastor from Burkesville Kentucky. He describes on YouTube a couple of dreams that warn of traumatic times for the United States. He claims that the first dream, which he received at the end of 2019 was a warning about the coronavirus and race riots from March to June. His second dream warns of even more traumatic events from September to November.

Dana’s announcement of these dreams has created immense interest amongst prophetic Christians. Some Christian leaders have come out directly and said that his warnings are wrong. I have listened to his description of the dreams several times, and am not certain of what to make of them.

The most serious problem with assessing these dreams is they are not recorded very clearly. I get the impression that he did not write the first dream down when he first saw it. Dana described a calendar and hand he saw very precisely, but the description of the rest of the dream was quite vague. He seemed to list a number of things that he had seen, as if he was reading a list of things recorded on his phone.

Dana gave no explanation of what he was doing in the dream when these events were occurring, ie was he there during the protests or at the hospital where the queues of people were waiting. He does not explain the transition from one scene to another. It sounded like he just saw a whole lot of scenes on a screen, with each one rolling into the next. That is fine if that is what he saw, but it is more usual in a dream for the person to be present among the things that are happening.

I suspect the paucity of his description of the dream on the video is because he was rushing to get through the dream quickly, but it makes it more difficult to test the interpretation. This makes it hard to be certain that the dream really was a description of the Covid19 outbreak.

  • The first dream began with protests. People were wearing masks, but it is not clear whether they were worried about disease, or wearing them to protect their identity. This means that it is not clear that the dream was a prediction of the Covid19 crisis.

  • It might be that the ambulances and the hospital were treating people injured in the protests. Likewise, the people queuing outside the hospital. Were they injured in the protests or were they sick? There was nothing in the description of the dream to suggest that they had a virus.

  • The same is true for the people in ventilators. They might have been sick; but they might also have been injured in the protests and the disruption that followed. There was nothing in the dream itself to indicate which was the case.

If the description of the dream was fuller, we might have gained a clearer understanding of its message.

Taken as a whole, the dream is more about violent protests than a viral epidemic. From Dana’s description of the dream, a listener would struggle to have predicted the coronavirus outbreak, and I presume that he did not. It is only looking back after the Covid19 has emerged that it would occur to him that the dream was about a new virus hitting the nation and the world. So, the claim that the dream predicted the epidemic is actually an interpretation imposed on the dream after the event, which is not the same as prophesying the epidemic in advance.

This distinction is important because Dana claims that because the first dream was an accurate prediction of Covid19 and the BLM protests, the second dream should be taken seriously. However, if the meaning of the first dream is uncertain, the validity and meaning of the second dream is undermined.

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