12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 1:12-23
The Lord spoke to many key players through dreams: Mary, Joseph, the wise men, the shepherds, Joseph, and Joseph. The Angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph at least three times during this entire ordeal. The first time in Matthew 1, the angel told him to take Mary as his wife. The last two times, the angel warned him. I don’t know what an angel sounds like, but I suspect the words and the manner was unmistakable. The angel also spoke to Mary, the wise men, and the shepherds (though not in a dream for the shepherds). All were obedient. Speaking through angels was a method God used throughout Scripture because there was no other means to communicate important commands to a select group of people.
God still uses angels, and is just as selective. In Muslim countries there have been many instances where somone was “ripe” for the Gospel, and he spoke to that person in a dream. Normally there was no other means available and He wanted it to be unmistakable. We also know of instances where God speaks through the dreams of those being persecuted – both those being persecuted and those involved with the persecution.
Dreams are a powerful medium for God to communicate to people even in the 21st century. Pray that God will continue to use dreams and angels to speak to people who would never hear otherwise.