Daniel 4:5 NKJV I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
Oneirophobia is the fear of dreams or dreaming. It is generally present in those who have had a traumatic experience or traumatic nightmare who fear dreaming about the experience or having a reoccurrence of the terrifying dream again. In this case, Nebuchadnezzar was having a prophetic dream about himself.
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king and man of war from his youth. There was no man nor nation that he feared, yet “God can make the minds of the greatest men uneasy amidest all their glory, pride, and pleasure (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible).” Still, God wasn’t out to torment the guy. The Lord was trying to help him. Nebuchadnezzar was a very prideful man and the Lord was trying to warn him about the upcoming pending fall he would take unless he had an immediate change in his attitude. He didn’t heed the advice given in Daniel 4:27 and a year later while boasting on himself (v30), God spoke and the dream was fulfilled.
The most terrifying dream I’ve ever had was when I was about 11. It involved a cartoon version of the Incredible Hulk chasing me around my house and I hid in the clothes dryer prior to waking up in a panic. Hey, stop laughing! It was terrifying. I also used to have reoccurring night terrors where boulders like in “Indiana Jones” were following me. I’d wake up after physically running through the house and my Dad would have to grab me and helped me come out of the dream. Now, I doubt either of those were prophetic warnings from the Lord and am relatively convinced they were a result of bad diet both in what I ate and what I watched on TV, and because I hadn’t yet experienced the peace of God that comes with salvation. I certainly don’t discount the Lord speaking to people through dreams. Joel prophesied about it (Joel 2:28-30), Peter preached about it in Acts 2 and Paul experienced it in Acts 16:9. But none of these guys feared dreams. And neither should you.
Nebuchadnezzar feared because he was a prideful man, lacking reverence and Holy fear of God. Even so, the dream was only terrifying if he would not recognize that the God’s Lordship over him. God loved Nebuchadnezzar enough to warn him of where his pride was taking him and to show him that if he would mend his ways and submit himself to God’s Lordship that there would be nothing to fear. Is Jesus your Lord? If so, then Fear Not! If not, read Romans 10:8-13, believe what it says, ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life, and Fear Not!