South African prophet Greg Abel shares Biblical evidence for dreams and its interpretation, and why it matters for believers living in these last days.
Growing up in Durban, South Africa, Gregory Abel always wanted to go into business as an adult. But as a fourth generation preacher’s kid, God had other plans for him and he ended up getting into the “family business” instead—that of being a minister of God (the name “Gregory” means to be watchful and alert).
As a youth, he met a well-known prophet, the late Kim Clement, who became a close family friend with the Abels. In 1991, Abel was called into the prophetic ministry by Clement through a direct prophecy over him. He moved to Texas, USA for the next few years to train under Clement, whom he recalls “threw him into the deep end.” He returned to South Africa in 1999 at age 25 and two years later, met and married Wendy, with whom he has two children today.
In May 2012, Abel had an encounter with Jesus. “Time froze. The Lord discussed many things with me, and told me to go to Asia. ‘Tell kings their dreams and teach My people that I still speak to them in the night.’ My first response was, ‘But I don’t know anyone there!’ Then God said that he would connect me to someone in Asia.”
One day, while shaving in the bathroom, he had an open vision of a Chinese man, slim and dressed in a suit. He felt that God wanted him to give a word to this man. Some time later, he saw this man on the news and realised that he was the senior pastor of a church undergoing a period of severe trial—City Harvest Church. To cut a long story short, Abel connected with Kong Hee, and has been friends with the CHC leadership since then.
City News caught up with the 43-year-old minister who was recently in town to talk about the Biblical evidence for dreams and its interpretation, and most importantly, its relevance for believers living in these last days.
City News: Tell us about your ministry of the interpretation of dreams and visions. How does it work?
When somebody tells me their dream, I immediately have an understanding of what the dream means.
When I started ministering this gift, I realized I didn’t really know how I do what I do. I just do it. So I had to actually slow everything down and analyze it, and I realize that when somebody is telling me a dream, I’m listening with a spirit of discernment, and then as they tell me the elements of their dream, I use the gift of knowledge, then when they’re giving me the context, I’m using the spirit of wisdom, and if you combine all of that, the different gifts of the Holy Spirit, you get the gift of interpretation of dreams and visions.
Please share with us one of your most memorable testimonies.
In a meeting in Brazil, a man in the audience (who I did not know at the time was a senior member of the leadership) told me a dream that left me stunned when I heard myself interpreting it. I noticed that as he was telling the dream everyone in the audience got very quiet and some even became visibly upset. Also, the dream was being translated from Brazilian Portuguese into English for me so that I could interpret it. He dreamed that he was searching for his daughter Maria and he could see her in the dream but she was unaware of his presence. Maria was trying to use a mobile phone to call for help but that the phone was pin locked and she couldn’t use the phone because she didn’t know the pin and that she was wearing sunglasses so dark that she couldn’t see through them.
She was getting very frustrated and was on the verge of giving up. But he felt in his dream that the pin code was 2212. Even though dreaming he was shouting out loud in his sleep “22-12! 22-12! 22-12!” as witnessed by his wife (who was also present at the meeting). And then suddenly it felt as if his daughter could hear him in the dream and she punched in the code and the phone was operable. She threw away the sunglasses and called her family home number. And the father answered the phone at home! The dream ended.
This is what I heard myself saying in the interpretation (admittedly I was thinking, “Greg, what on earth are you saying. You’re crazy!”)
“Your daughter is lost to you for a time. But she is not gone far. Don’t quit speaking into her life. Keep prophesying to her. Don’t ever stop. And say these words ‘On the 22nd day of the 12th month’ to her repeatedly. She will return to you. She is not far gone. You will soon hear her voice.”
That’s all there was to the interpretation. Those simple and few words. But his response was shocking to me. Both he and his wife and most of the congregation got up on their feet and started shouting and screaming. At this point I was beyond confused because I couldn’t understand what everyone was shouting about—in Portuguese no less. Eventually everyone calmed down a little—the husband and wife were still crying uncontrollably when the meeting host explained to me that their daughter had been in an accident four months prior and had been in a coma since then. She was not showing any signs of coming out of it.
Every day her parents would visit her and prophesy those words to her. About three months after that dream interpretation Maria opened her eyes. Even though she remained in the hospital for a time, on the 22nd of December she was discharged and returned home.
This dream interpretation is unique in that it drew heavily on the gift of the word of knowledge. The gift of the interpretation of dreams and visions is not a distinct gift in itself but is the operation of the gift of the word of knowledge, the gift of the word of wisdom, the gift of the discernment of spirits, and the gift of prophecy (or in my case the spirit of prophecy) in simultaneous operation. To this day this interpretation is one of the most stand-out moments of my ministry because it was so hyper-accurate.
Wow, so God really speak to us in dreams? Is it Biblical?
There are many examples in the Bible where God speaks to kings and prophets through dreams such as Pharaoh, King Nebuchadnezzar, Abimelech, Joseph and many others.
Numbers 12:6 says, “If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.” You ask, but that’s in the Old Testament, we’re in the New Testament now. But Malachi 3:6 says that God doesn’t change. God did it during then, and He is still doing it today.
In fact, He will do more of it in these last days (Acts 2:17-18). In the last days, dreams and visions will become more abundant.
In Job 33:14-18, Elihu says:
For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.
In order to turn man from his deed,
And conceal pride from man,
He keeps back his soul from the Pit,
And his life from perishing by the sword.
So when God gives you a dream in the night, it’s actually God speaking to you but you don’t recognize that it’s God. Elihu was telling Job that God was speaking to him in a dream, but he didn’t know it was Him. And here’s the kicker: God puts the dream in your heart, and He conceals the meaning from you (Job 33:16).
I always wondered why God hides it. One day, He gave me an understanding of it, that it’s like a software program or an anti-virus program, hiding in the code of your life, in the matrix of your life. It’s running in the background, executing its code and guiding your life—you just don’t know it. You make decisions and you don’t even know why you do something. It’s because God gave you a dream a long time ago and it’s running in the background and guiding you.
So we ask, “What would be the point of it then?”
To keep our lives from destruction. You read it in the very next verse: “He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword.” (Job 33:18)
So God allows Himself to come to us in dreams, and He let these dreams be activated in our lives to keep us from getting hurt by the enemy, while guiding our lives according to God’s plans.
How do we know if it’s a dream from God?
There are three kinds of dreams: the soul dream is a dream of the mind—usually because of some current stimulus in our lives. Sometimes you could have had too much pizza and have a crazy dream that night—that’s not God, that’s the pepperoni. If you watched Wonder Woman before you sleep, and you dreamed you have a whip and a lasso, chances are, it wasn’t God too. Are they of any value? Yes and no. If the input stimulus in our life is negative, you will dream negative dreams. It just tells you what you’re dealing with in your life now.
Sometimes, it’s from the devil. Demonic dreams are full of fear, panic and anxiety. Those are dark dreams, dreams where you’re being hunted, chased down…ignore them totally. Satan only has three KPIs—steal, kill and destroy. If you put your mind on the darkness, you give room for the darkness to happen. If you put your focus on the Lord, that darkness won’t happen.
Dreams from God will always lead you to have the desire to seek out God in a greater measure, or seek out the understanding of the dream. Even Daniel had to pray for the interpretation of his dream.
So should we pray for more dreams from God?
Absolutely. Acts 2 says that God will pour out His spirit, and will send visions and dreams. What you should pray is for God to help you remember the dream so that you understand clearly what He is trying to say. So I always share with others, show the Lord you are serious and you want to have dreams. And there are the practical things you do by faith—have a pen and paper near your bed, so that when you wake up, you can record it down, and ask God for the understanding. But generally I never want to put God in a box. In fact, just ask God to speak to you however He wants to speak to you!
Three things to remember:
- You don’t need a man to interpret your dreams. The Holy Spirit is the greatest interpreter. Yes, we teach the techniques in our courses, but the Holy Spirit can speak to you and tell you what it means, just like how He speaks to you about the issues in your life.
- It is a precursor to revelatory prayer. After you get the understanding of your dream, what next? Pray. It has to be. Daniel had dreams and he prayed about the dreams. So when God gives you a dream or allows you to have a vision, the onus is on you to pray and seek out the Word of the Lord as to what to do. Sometimes dreams address issues in your life in that the interpretation will cleanse you of the thing that hinders His work in your life. So now the onus is on you to allow the Lord to do the work in your life. So dreams can be a precursor to revelatory prayer, because it tells you how to pray and what to pray for.
- Timing matters. Even though a dream has an interpretation, it may not be the right timing in your life for the interpretation to be made known to you, because everything has its time and season. Sometimes He may want it to germinate in you a little longer.
I’m a great believer in receiving and administering the prophetic, but everything must be in the right timing in God. Many times I have a word for someone but God will say not yet, because if you sow the seed at the wrong time, the seed will die—you need to sow the seed at the right time to reap the harvest at the right time.
Caution is great, it’s not like we should be cavalier and throw caution to the wind, because what happens is we’ll end up with a situation like if not we end up with a case of Abraham and Sarah. Ishmael was born out of season and out of the timing of God—it was produced in Abraham’s own power and might, not by God’s spirit. But God still blesses Ishmael and made him a great nation, because Abraham did it. It’s just not what God wanted.
God still brings to pass His word, and Isaac, the true heir, is birthed. But now there is a conflict between the thing you bring to pass by your own ability and the thing God brought to pass by His spirit. That conflict is still in the world today—we see that very evidently.
How we do make sure we don’t run ahead of God’s timing?
When God gives us a word or tell us to do something, in our exuberance, we always want to go do it, we want to speed things up.
Don’t try to help God bring His Word to pass. Pray for His timing in your life, pray for God’s leading and prompting. Exercise patience. The Bible says that the Word of the Lord will come to pass—sometimes, it’ll take a bit longer—but the thing we must prevent is to bring God’s Word to pass using our own power, strength and intellect.
So how do we do this?
Concentrate on the Spirit. The Bible says that when the Spirit of God comes, He will lead us into all things (John 16:13). So our prayer should be, “I know You’ve promised me a great thing, but fill my life with Your spirit, let Your spirit guide me.” So we rely fully on the Holy Ghost, this is something we have to learn by developing the character of God, the fruit of the Spirit in our lives so that we don’t ever run ahead of God.
So on one hand, we never throw caution to the wind and say, “I’m gonna do this,” because the moment you say that, you’re removing the Holy Spirit and your reliance on God.
At the same time, you’re not sitting in you comfort zone but you’re doing your part; if God tells you to go be a missionary in China, then it would behoove you to start learning some Chinese. Because faith without effort is futile (James 2:14-26).
The story of how you connected with Pastor Kong is so supernatural. What do you sense God telling you about our church and why is He bringing you here now?
The answer is very simple. The prophetic is a precursor to the supernatural. If I discern the heart of God correctly, it’s that every time the prophetic arrives, the supernatural follows, with signs and wonders.
What God has been telling me for the past two years is that City Harvest Church will be a church of signs and wonders, invested with the supernatural.
People ask, “What’s a sign?” A sign is something that makes people wonder (laughs). God is going to prepare that kind of marvelous atmosphere as a testimony to Himself. And I believe strongly, from Scriptural understanding, that it takes the prophetic first to breathe it into existence—that’s what the prophetic is, it’s the breath of God.
When you look at the upper room experience in the Book of Acts, it was first the wind—the breath of God, then the fire— the supernatural signs and wonder, and then the wine—the full manifestation of the Holy Ghost.
So, there are these three things coming to CHC—we’re right at the very beginning, not there yet, but we’re embracing the prophetic again, the kind that is accountable and with integrity. God told Ezekiel to breathe upon the dry bones, and God is telling me the same thing, to breathe the prophetic upon the Church again.
What are you currently working on?
Right now, we are working on taking our dream interpretation course online so that everyone around the world can learn from it. We’re targeting January 2018. But other than that I teach at churches all around the world. I haven’t done it at City Harvest, but I’ve done it in Malaysia, Sydney, Indonesia and of course South Africa. Next year, if the Lord prospers us, we’ll take it online.
For now, members who wish to connect with Ps Greg Abel can find him on Instagram at @gregoryabel or at http://bit.ly/2w9Xc9c to have your dreams interpreted.