Joel 2:28. “…your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions”.
I have been studying and pondering this verse for weeks. Why would old men dream? I have quietly reflected on it, chatted with friends over drinks and studied the bible to find some clarity.
Dreaming implies something like a wish, a thought, an ambition. Surely old age is not the time for dreaming.
The book of Joel was originally written in Hebrew, as most of the Old Testament was (the New Testament was in Greek). There are a few different Hebraic words that mean dream, but in the case of Joel 2:28 it is a word called ‘halam’ which means ‘encourage others to dream’. For me, that translation totally changes the verse to something like:
“…your old men will be men who encourage others to dream, who pass the baton on and inspire the next generation”.
That changes everything.
Frodo was handed Bilbo’s his most treasured possession and was encouraged to finish the job that Bilbo couldn’t. A Hobbit’s tale of encouraging the next generation to go and live the adventures, to fight the battles and come back with heroic stories to tell.
“…your young men will see visions” is also given new insight if you use the original Hebrew word ‘hizzayon’, which means revelation; a spiritual discovery.
The journey that Frodo took brought him so much more than he could have imagined. It awoke his eyes. It allowed him to grow. To mature. To become a man. To change his destiny.
Using both halam and hizzayon brings Joel 2:28 to greater heights.
“…your old men will be men who encourage others to dream, who pass the baton on and inspire the next generation, your young men will see visions that grow them, gain revelations that change destinies and they will play a part in a new spiritual discovery”.
That is very powerful.
Older men must encourage others to dream. They must pass on their knowledge and wisdom. They must champion the next generation.
Young men must find revelation for themselves. Having others help in starting is great. But life demands stamina, and that must come from you and your relationship with God. The revelation needs to be yours.
I was the first to come to Christ in my family and I have never really been spiritually fathered. I’ve never really had a man who showed me the ways of God first hand and how to fight the spiritual battles. My children, grand-children, great-grand-children will be blessed because this knowledge, wisdom and first hand revelation will be passed down.
Much love. Rob
Linked blog post. The Ancient Paths.
* Information on translation from the ‘Strongest Concordance’, Goodrick & Kohlenberger (1999), Zondervan.
* Bible verses in NIV translation.