The Dream: Tombstones and Bowls

Last week I wrote a blog entry about the nature of dreams and how I believe dreaming is an evidence of an immaterial soul that temporarily disengages from our body and allows us to be both the author and audience of our dreams.

Writing that blog entry brought back to my mind an incredible dream I had about six months ago that was so moving I dictated it into a recorder after waking up. It is not unusual for me to have vivid, intense dreams, but the following dream was in a category all its own. Immediately upon waking up I felt impressed in my spirit that my dream had a depth of spiritual meaning that did not originate within my own creative mind. There was a level of clarity and sharpness to specific details in the dream that amazed me. Entire conversations were still very much on the surface of my mind and so I quickly grabbed my I-pad and began to record everything I could remember. Listening to it again has only confirmed that I believe God was seeking to share a message to me. I have not bothered to write it down until today. Except for some grammar restructuring and other minor details the above recounting is almost a word for word transcription of what I recorded into my I-pad in the few, short minutes after waking up. I pray that the Lord would help you discern what is true from what is false and aid you in arriving at a conclusion that reflects His heart and mind. That being said, here we go:

“I have just woken up from a dream and I am now recording it because I believe it was God given. I was surrounded by all the superheroes of the world. Superman was there, Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman— every hero the earth looks to for salvation and help was at one gathering in one place. All of a sudden we were all taken up into the sky and we began to move as one group through the atmosphere into space. We passed the moon in a second and then we quickly flew past Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The sensation of speed was amazing. I remember it was so fast that Superman declared that it was faster than even he could fly, and therefore he knew he was not flying under his own power. Batman stated he couldn’t fly at all so he knew there was a force that was allowing them to fly together.

The rate of our travel was beyond anything possible that any superhero could achieve who was there. We then traveled through what I can only describe as a wormhole. The speed of our travel increased as the most distant stars in the Milky Way zipped past us by the hundreds and then the thousands. We soon arrived at the end of the Milky Way and then shot out the other side. We continued our journey through empty space, surrounded only by darkness. Soon we could see another distant galaxy approaching. It was at that point that we suddenly stopped. We turned around and looked back upon the Milky Way galaxy in the distance.

All of a sudden the earth appeared before us, yet we all seemed to know it was not the actual earth but rather a representation of the earth as some sort of alternate reality. The earth suddenly zoomed right into us and we found ourselves standing in the most beautiful, green valley I have ever seen. In the distance were majestic, snowcapped mountains and tall evergreen trees. In the middle of this green valley were hundreds of beautiful, white tombstones, each with the name of someone carved into them. It was a graveyard but it did not feel like a graveyard. There was no sense of sorrow or grief. One could only feel a sense of beauty, calm and incredible peace and rest.

In front of the white tombstones, in a very small area, was a wooden deck and on the ledge of the deck was about a dozen wooden bowls. Some of the wooden bows were filled with fruit, some with vegetables, some with candles and incense and others with only water. I didn’t know what I was looking at and neither did any of the superheroes. In fact Superman and Spiderman began to talk to each other asking, “Why are we here? We are on the other side of the Milky Way. Who brought us here? We did not come here under our own power…” I too began to wonder aloud, “What are we looking at? What are all these graves doing here?”

At that moment a man approached us. He was clothed in light but it was not a blinding light. Somehow I knew it wasn’t God the Father or Jesus but I intuitively knew it was someone from heaven— possibly an angel— who was sent as a messenger to explain to us what we were seeing. He turned to the group of superheroes and said,

“You are allowed to see this because you are the ones the earth looks for and looks to as they would a savior. You are the ones the earth creates stories about because they are looking for a savior. Deep down inside of them they know they need a savior; they know they need to be saved from themselves by something greater than themselves, and so they create great mythologies based on you that are not real. You have been taken to the other side of the Milky Way to see a picture of what the earth could be like as a parallel world of reality.”

The messenger seemed to be addressing the group, but I began to feel he was specifically talking to me. I stepped forward and asked, “But what are these tombstones? What is this beautiful, peaceful valley? How can this valley feel so peaceful in the midst of so much death?” The messenger or angel then replied,

“You are looking at how calm and peaceful and beautiful the earth can be. You are looking at the answer that the earth needs for true salvation— and it is death to self-life. It is death to self-rule. It is death to self-centeredness.

The messenger then began to quote phrases in scripture, saying:

“I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”

“Put to death the deeds of the old man.”

“Put off the old man and pick up the new man.”

“I have been buried with Christ in death and baptism that I might be raised in new life with Christ.”

I had read and heard all these scriptures before, but they took on a new level of weighted authority as they came out of his mouth. I remember the messenger pausing as if he was looking to see if I was taking his words into my heart. He then continued to declare scriptures with a firm voice but not necessarily a loud voice,

“What does the Lord desire? He desires that you would be a living sacrifice.”

“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God”

As if he knew I needed more understanding, he explained,

“A sacrifice is about something dying. But that does not mean God wants you to commit suicide. No—God wants you to be a living sacrifice not a dead sacrifice. To be a living sacrifice you must be willing to die to anything inside of you that is not presently under the authority of Jesus.”

His words were piercing right through me and I remember feeling like it was impossible to hide from his words—as if his words were alive and would seek me out in the end. But I still wondered about the tombstones. I was about to ask for more clarification when the messenger suddenly proclaimed,

“The reason the world looks to heroes and saviors, and the reason the world is filled with crime, murder, rape, hatred, lying, cheating, wars, child pornography and every evil known to man is because men refuse to die to themselves. The answer the Son of God brought was his death on the cross. Our Lord Jesus then declared that each person who wants to come and follow after Him must also be willing to die in order to be set right. That is why He said, ‘No one can follow me unless he picks up his cross and follows after Me.’ The answer to the world’s problems is men and women who belong to Christ being willing to die by presenting their wills and bodies as living sacrifices. That does not always mean physical death or martyrdom. More than anything it means being willing to die to their old man of the flesh and choose wholehearted obedience to the Lord. All of these graves you are looking at, and the names written on each white stone, represent the names of the people heaven will always remember. These are the people who will be honored in the next age when heaven and earth merge together and make a new world. These are the ones who will be honored in front of everyone. These are the ones who humbled themselves on earth and will become exalted in the next age to come. Everyone on earth now—including many in the body of Christ— are so focused on the age they are living in, they give no thought to the next age to come. This age will one day pass away, but it determines how you will spend the next age to come. The age to come will be much longer and lasting and it will trump every other age that came before. It will be the greatest age the universe has ever witnessed. But so few are living in the light and knowledge of the next age to come. The message and power of the cross has been lost to many. But those whose names you see written on these white tombstones are those who were willing to pick up their cross in this present age and heaven will not forget their sacrifice in the age to come.”

His words were powerful and gripping. But I found myself somewhat distracted by the wooden deck and the wooden bowls. I began wondering about them. The wood was old and weathered, not necessarily rotten or ugly but there was nothing special about it. In comparison to the beauty of the valley it seemed to be out of place. Out of curiosity I asked, “What is this wooden deck with the wooden bowls doing in this beautiful valley in front of the white tombstones?”

Without a hint of annoyance at being asked too many questions, the messenger calmly replied, “The wooden deck and bowls are a picture of people trying to present a sacrifice to God that does not include their death to a self-centered life.”

He then picked up the first bowl and said,

“This bowl was carved out by a man who wanted to follow the Lord, but he didn’t want to pick up his cross and die to himself. Instead he wanted to present a different sacrifice to God, hoping that God would accept it. But God rejected his sacrifice just like he rejected the sacrifice of Cain who wanted to confidently present to God the fruit of his own work, sweat and labor— his vegetables. God accepted the sacrifice of Abel because in sacrificing a lamb, Abel showed he accepted God’s terms and understood by faith that true sacrifice is representative of an inner death to our own self-rule and self-governance. By murdering his brother, Cain only showed how little he understood of inner sacrifice at the time his outward sacrifice of vegetables was offered.”

I remember still being somewhat confused as to the meaning of the wooden bowls. Again as if the messenger was able to hear my thoughts, he began to explain about the wooden bowls further, calling them, “Hindu bowls of sacrifice.” It was then I recalled seeing similar, smaller bowls in Hindu temples and Buddhist temples filled to the brim with offerings of fruit, rice or money and then given to a particular deity or idol in the hopes that their offering can offset their negative (religious) debt and win them favor.

The messenger then declared in a final voice of authority,

“Remember these Hindu bowls of sacrifice represent sacrifices the Lord cannot except. They will not survive His judgment. Those who try to offer them may adorn themselves on the outside and use the same vocabulary as others, but do not be deceived, such sacrifices cannot be accepted. The Lord knows their sacrifice is a different sacrifice. Only those who are willing to present themselves as living sacrifices will be true heroes in the age to come.”

At that time I heard either the messenger or one of those in the group say something along the lines of, “We are done…it is now time to return.”

And then my alarm went off and I woke up.

About StriderMTB

Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I started my blog as an unmarried man who was blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. As of 2022, I am a happily married man to an amazing missionary wife serving together on the mission field. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an apathetic church.
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2 Responses to The Dream: Tombstones and Bowls

  1. Tim Potter says:

    thanks for sharing this brother — very helpful!

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