Kidnapping while not a common theme in the Bible can be found in Scripture. This fact is crucial for any attempt at figuring out the biblical meaning of being kidnapped.
Whether it is the kidnapping involving the tribe of the Benjamin, or the de facto kidnapping of Joseph and being sold into slavery, as well as the larger theological equivalent of kidnapping, which is the exile of the children of Israel.
No matter how you term it, the idea of being moved, or being transported without your will is talked about in the Bible.
If you have experienced the nighttime vision of being kidnapped, the Bible has quite a lot to say regarding your state of mind and being.
With that said, the biblical meaning of being kidnapped in a dream is not as straightforward as a lot of people would hope.
In this in-depth analysis, we’re going to go through many different contextual differences so you can get closer to a scriptural meaning that may make sense to your waking life.
The good news, if you see yourself being kidnapped, or any other horrible thing happening to you, in your dreams, rest assured that for the most part, your night vision is not a prophecy.
It does happen from time to time, but for the most part, there is no one-to-one correlation between what you see in your dreams, and what actually happens to you in the flesh in the “real
Instead, your subconscious uses your dreams as a way of reaching out to you to communicate important personal truths.
Maybe you’re overlooking this, maybe you’re in denial, or maybe you’re simply distracted by other “bigger issues” in your life.
Whatever the case may be, your subconscious found it important enough to use a resting if not traumatizing, imagery, and the matching emotional states that go with it to try to get your attention regarding something that needs urgent action.
The general biblical meaning of dreams about the kidnapping
Kidnapping when viewed from a biblical perspective indicates the abuse of power over individuals from the point of view of the person being kidnapped, they’re almost always the innocent victim.
They obviously did not intend to be taken just like Joseph, nor the day to see just how brutal their journey could be, like the women kidnapped by the remnants of the tribal Benjamin in the Old Testament.
There is a contrast between the abuse of power and seeming moral recklessness of the kidnapper and the helpless, voiceless, and often powerless victim.
The person being kidnapped can see his or her world spiral out of control and there’s really nothing they could do about it.
When your subconscious shows you this image, in the biblical context, this indicates a failure of a relationship.
It could be your marriage, it could be your relationship with your romantic partner, it could be a working relationship or even a deep friendship.
Whatever the case may be their communication issues that indicate that the relationship has broken down.
It doesn’t mean that it has gone for good, it may well be the case that it’s basically stuck in arrested development.
How does this work out?
Well, do you have relatives, maybe even your own father and mother, that you can only relate to up to a certain level?
Maybe you can only tolerate them for so long until you have to take a break and not see them or call them for a while?
This is because your relationship has broken down at a certain stage.
For whatever reason, cannot move past that stage.
Either you’re afraid of saying something that will make them upset at you, or you feel that they keep saying certain things that totally missed the point, or reveal their lack of concern, or even love for you.
Whatever the case may be you are in a relationship that has broken down and just like Joseph, it’s very easy for people who misunderstand you to develop strong emotions about you to the point that physically harming you is not off the table.
When you experience dreams of kidnapping, it can also indicate a deep and profound worry about the future of somebody close to you.
This could be your children, even your nephews, and nieces, somebody that you feel you’re responsible for is going to face immense challenges maybe they don’t know it yet, but you do.
So almost in a hidden way, you’re agonizing over that person, but you can’t quite bring yourself to the point to speak to who their parents are.
It’s like being stuck in traffic and noticing that the several cars up ahead of you are about to get hit by a slow-moving train, you’re paralyzed by fear, you don’t quite know what to say or how to act but you know what’s going to happen.
And what makes this so painful and traumatic is that it’s happening slowly, and you have the sneaking suspicion that if you don’t speak up, you’re complicit in what’s happening.
You may not be doing the child abuse, you may not be part of the impending disaster that’s going to be facing this person but you feel that since you didn’t speak up, you are somehow some way to blame.
And the more you think about it, the more paralyzed you feel it’s as if you’re caught in this negative feedback loop.
Finally, another biblical meaning of being kidnapped in a dream, is it involves just a complete breakdown of your mental and physical resources.
This doesn’t mean you’re gonna have a nervous breakdown instead, you just feel that in certain areas of your life, you’ve given it all, and you’re tapped out.
In fact, if you’re completely honest with yourself, it seems that you’ve been profoundly and deeply exhausted for a long time.
But just like a zombie, you’ve just found the strength to make it day to day but there is this creeping realization that you will just burn out, you can’t make it anymore.
This can involve your job, your school, your church, your relationships, or even your health whatever the case may be, it’s of deep personal importance.
You don’t know where to turn for help because you are tapped out.
What does it mean, to dream about getting kidnapped?
If you are the person who is the center of the kidnapping dream, this indicates that you feel that there are certain areas in your life that could be improved, that could have turned out much better.
But you are convinced that due to circumstances beyond your control, you’re just forced to settle for what you have.
You know that given how things are going, there probably won’t be a happy or even tolerable ending.
But just like a passenger, bound and gagged in the trunk of a car by kidnappers, there’s really not much you could do about it.
At least this is how it appears to you.
Those people have made up their minds, they are convinced that you aren’t one way.
Now, at this point, it is very easy to just look at this as proof that you are the victim of people’s conspiring against you, talking behind your back, or otherwise having it against you for no good reason.
But just like Joseph in the Bible, you need to backtrack, you need to look back to things that you said are things that you may have done that would somehow or at least partially explain why they feel the way they do about you.
Let’s do a quick recap.
In the Bible, Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob or Israel, was sold into slavery by his brothers.
They essentially kidnapped him.
He was given to people who took him to a strange land, the land of Egypt.
Can you imagine the hate animosity and deep-seated anger that would push somebody to take their own flesh and blood and sell that person into slavery?
Two things have to happen for people to take that kind of action.
First, you are no longer my brother.
That’s kind of a hard leap to make but when you look at the biography of Joseph, the Patriarch in the Old Testament it’s easy to see why.
First, his father gave him a coat of many colors, he didn’t give the same or even a similar go to any of his children.
Favoritism burned through Jacob’s family.
The father basically said, “This is my favorite son, this is my best son and you guys just face in the crowd. You’re still my sons, but you’re not as special as Joseph”.
Favoritism creates divisions obviously and that was enough for them to think you are not my brother because even though we share the same father, he himself has set you apart.
The moment you start thinking that you are different from somebody else, it doesn’t take much effort to hold them to a different standard.
This is where the golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated breaks down.
They are no longer worth being treated as yourself because you don’t see them as yourself, they are on a totally different level lower than you or apart from you.
When the Communists took over China and Russia, they would routinely take out the farmers who were slightly more successful than the other farmers out there.
Maybe they had land to rent out, maybe they just had a little better clothes or they had a little bit more money saved up.
Whatever the case may be, these previous pillars of society were lined up against the wall men, women, and children are shot.
Think for a moment I mean, it’s one thing to read a history book and look at this horrific stuff, and just have this distant, yet the vaguely empathetic view of what happened.
But there’s a lot more going on than the killing of the Kulaks in Russia, or the petty landowners in China, for people to line them up, pull the trigger and kill them in cold blood the people doing the killing must be first convinced that these people are the others.
They’re not like you and me, we are the victims, we are oppressed.
And in this massive movement, this massive one-time action of righteous anger we take back what is ours.
This is the soundtrack that is playing out throughout history when people do the unspeakable to others that they should be treated like themselves.
Because something big has to offset the almost instinctive human drive to treat others like themselves.
Please understand that the reciprocity instinct, is burned into our DNA, we as a species would not be around if we did not have a sense of reciprocity.
In other words, if somebody is kind to you, you have to be kind to them.
You may not like them, they might look weird, they might speak with a different accent, or they might be saying gibberish, but the fact that they did something good to you means that you are somehow someway obligated to return the favor.
It doesn’t matter what region of the world you’re in that behavior and expectation can be observed.
This is part of our evolution because just think about if caveman groups did not have that instinct, what do you think will happen?
The chances are they won’t, and when they don’t survive, they don’t get to pass on their genes.
The ones who do have that reciprocity in impulse are more likely to survive and the survivors would have those genes.
So it’s literally burned into our genes.
But what happened to the kidnapping of Joseph indicates a very important ingredient to breaking that reciprocity instinct.
You must first be convinced that that person that you’re going to do a horrible thing to is not a human being or at least it’s not like you.
So we human beings come up with these neat little tricks, “I am the victim, you are the oppressor”, “I am poor, you are rich”, and “I am the outsider, you are the insider.”
Do you see how this works?
These words are not just mere labels.
Instead, they trigger emotional states and within those emotional states a range of acceptable actions.
And I’m sorry to report but those acceptable actions can sometimes lead to otherwise decent people who love their children, respect their parents, and are otherwise great members of the community pulling triggers, raping, burning people at the stake, and whatever horrible historical action you could come up with.
The second thing that needed to happen for Joseph to be kidnapped and by extension for us to do horrible things is plausible deniability.
When you do something horrible, you just say, “Well, I did something to a certain point, I called you fat” or, “I wrote a negative review of your performance at work but I didn’t know that it was going to be used to fire you”, or “I didn’t know that you being called fat would turn you into some sort of Nymphomaniac, desperate for male attention because of your bad body image, I didn’t know that.”
Do you see how this game is played?
We try to put limits on the harm that we do and say, “Well, I didn’t foresee that you’re going to go off the deep end. That’s not my fault”.
But isn’t it?
What if the rules are switched?
What if you were verbally abused in junior high school?
Wouldn’t you think that this abuse pushed you to certain things?
Wouldn’t you hold them to account at least to be part of the reason?
This highlights the point that human beings have this tendency to make a big deal of when they are at the bottom of the wheel.
When they’re the ones taking the hit, when they’re the ones who seem to be bearing the brunt of the universe’s injustice, they yell out “I am the victim here”.
But the truth is victims can be victimizers in the next breath.
The world is round.
Karma goes around and around.
And just because you are the recipient of all this negativity doesn’t excuse you from doing the same to other people, maybe to a lesser degree or in a different way, whatever the case may be, it’s still negative.
So the biblical meaning of kidnapping indicates this breakdown of how we regard each other.
Don’t let the silence swallow your relationships or your self-perception
Just because people are either too polite or too conflicted to talk doesn’t mean that the issue is dead.
Just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about it or that it’s not worth talking about.
In fact, when people are quiet about certain issues, it means that it has become the 800-pound elephant in the room.
Imagine an absurd situation where there’s an 800-pound pack of them in the room, and nobody seems to notice.
It’s as if they’re going about their business day to day completely blind to the fact that there’s this elephant with massive poop everywhere, stinking up the room, but everybody’s still doing their thing as if they have all this space to work with.
Some even merrily going on the way.
Well, that is not a joke.
People do that.
We have this capacity to put up with almost any unpleasant reality through willful blindness, we reach a point where we don’t even see the elephant.
Our actions revealed that there is an elephant that we are reacting to, but it’s only by implication but on a day-to-day basis, we have trained ourselves not to see the elephant.
What is the elephant in the room in your family or in your personal life?
Do you have a sex addiction?
Are you or one of your relatives, an alcoholic or drug addict?
Did you fail out of school or got pregnant and felt that was the biggest failure of your life that you can overcome?
Did you go to jail and feel that you were unjustly convicted and there should be nothing you can do to fix that then it ruined your life?
I could go on and on.
But the question is are these stories that you claim to be real?
Or are they just the path people make around the elephant to make sure they don’t see the elephant?
Do you see how this works?
At some point when we play these games, we’ve played this game so much, that we forget that the way to make the elephant go away is a breakdown of communication.
And this is the core of biblical dreams about kidnapping because communication is not just a case of getting your point across.
Communication is all about trust
Whether you’re talking to some total stranger, or you’re talking to somebody in your family trust has to be in the communication.
Without that element, who knows what you will get?
Also, who knows what you will say?
Maybe you don’t trust the person enough to tell them the truth, maybe you feel that they can handle it.
You might be thinking, wow, “That is unethical. That’s immoral”.
Seriously, how many times have you downplayed or watered down the truth so as not to hurt the feelings of a loved one?
This is somebody you really care about so you will kind of treat them with kid gloves, instead of the harsh truth that is sure to upset them.
Maybe make them cry or go off into fits of rage, you just leave half of the truth out or you space it out at different times in a context that it doesn’t really mean much of anything.
I’m willing to bet that most of us are guilty of this.
But at the end of the day, we’re not really doing anybody any favors because if this becomes a habit our communication breaks down, because our trust has broken down.
If you really love somebody, trust has to be there.
It’s hard to love somebody that you don’t trust.
I hope this is obvious.
But unfortunately, a lot of people don’t act this way, they put themselves in this impossible situation where they convinced themselves that since I love this person so much I cannot afford to tell this person the truth because I cannot trust this person, that’s how much I love him.
Does that make any sense?
The biblical meaning of trust
There’s a reason why the phrase, fear not or don’t be afraid, and similar phrases are repeated hundreds of times in both the Old and New Testaments.
In the total body of the Christian Bible, the encouragement and even the instruction of not being afraid of taking courage is repeated over and over again.
It takes courage to trust.
Biblical trust is all about understanding that God has you, he is sovereign, he sustains the universe, and he created it from nothing.
And because of the enormity of his creative power, he can also make us new again.
All the filth, humiliation, shame, failure and physical and mental scars that you’ve gone through because of your bad decisions all washed away not because you’re a good person or you somehow earned it but because of God’s grace.
Imagine that power and it happens because of one single operation, his word.
Just as he spoke everything into existence, when you trust His word embodied in the Bible His word will make you.
Do you believe this?
This is where trust comes in.
In practical terms, a lot of people would rather trust the chair that they are sitting on than the word of God.
Think about it.
If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’re sitting on something, I bet that before you sat on that chair or structure or whatever it is that you’re on, you probably had one nanosecond sneak peek at it before you place your behind on that structure.
The reason why you just went through the motions is that you have sat on that thing over and over again.
It hasn’t collapsed yet.
You haven’t fallen on your butt, you haven’t been injured.
So you just take one nanosecond, it’s a tiny fraction of a second.
And it’s not like you willfully seek information in that instance, for you like most people, it’s a formality.
Because in the back of your head, maybe I could see a crack or there’s a spike in the chairs or something off, but your own also simultaneously assuming that the chances of that happening are slim to none.
So you sit, again and again, that’s trust.
Now, let me ask you, the fact that you woke up alive today isn’t that a sign of God’s blessing?
The fact that chances are you’re not suffering from any kind of debilitating, painful, or life-threatening disease right now as you read this post, isn’t that a sign of being blessed and living in God’s favor?
It’s very easy for us to define blessings in terms of answered prayers.
Maybe we’re looking to meet ‘the right person”, maybe we’re looking to get accepted to the right job, or we were applying to the right school and we want to be admitted.
Whatever the case may be, we define blessings as things that we get all that happens to us.
Implicit in all of this is that we see it because we desire it so much.
It is defined, structured in our minds can be measured and if it doesn’t happen, then they added an answer to prayers.
Well, let me tell you.
Before you read this blog post, you weren’t hit by a bus, somebody didn’t come up to you pointed a gun at the back of your head, and pulled the trigger emptying the contents of your braincase on the pavement, that didn’t happen.
Chances are if you’re reading this, your family is in good health more or less.
What if we flip the script?
What if those are blessings as well?
Because it’s easy to define blessings as things that you can see hear, touch, taste, and smell but that’s just one part of reality.
Reality is also made up of things that didn’t happen because of God’s grace.
One of my church members, a fairly young guy is actually married twice.
He didn’t mean to do it because his first wife was just getting off a Jeepney as part of her daily routine getting to work, and then a truck came out of nowhere, ending her life in an instant.
It was unexplainable, unforeseeable and it happened so quickly.
It took him a while to get over the trauma as he was just newly married.
It’s very easy to define blessings as things that happen, but also things that don’t happen are also blessings.
The Earth could have been hit by an asteroid.
Now you may be thinking, “Oh, that’s improbable”.
Are you sure?
What do scientists say about what happened to the dinosaurs?
“Black Swan events” can and do happen and they have a way of turning our lives upside down oftentimes in a very short period of time.
The fact that these don’t happen with regularity is also a blessing.
So it’s important to understand trust in a biblical context that you trust God enough to bless you and prosper you and not harm you.
Now, a lot of people might say, “Well, I’m a good person, why do bad things happen to good people?”
Well, it’s because you operate from a sense of earning.
Kidnapping, and the power of grace
What happens when you get kidnapped?
Chances are you didn’t know that it’s coming or otherwise, you probably won’t get kidnapped.
If you’re like most people, you probably would be able to put two and two together and contact the right authorities or make some sort of arrangement to make sure that the worst doesn’t happen to you.
You were only able to do that because you saw it coming, you had some advance notice.
Well, in kidnappings, that doesn’t happen.
You don’t have advance notice and that’s why the kidnappers got to you it’s all done by surprise.
Not only were you not part of the planning, but you don’t know where they’re going to store you, where they’re going to take you, how they’re going to bind you, what they’re going to feed you if they’re going to feed you at all, the list goes on and on.
There is a sense of helplessness here that is tied to a lack of information.
Breakdown in communication.
You don’t know what the other people are thinking and what assumptions they are operating under, all you can see is their actions.
All you can see in the kidnapping situation is that you are held against your will.
God’s grace is different from how humans conceptualize the world.
The parts of the Bible that make sense to us are quite numerous.
When the Bible says in First Corinthians “You reap what you sow”, that makes sense to us.
This is basic causation.
For every action, there is a reaction and there is some predictability as to the range of reactions that your action will trigger.
In Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul said “He who doesn’t work doesn’t eat”.
Again, that makes sense.
Why should you live off the labor of others when you are perfectly capable of providing for yourself and your family?
There’s a logic there that appeals to many people.
But there are also parts of the Bible like the book of Job that just hits us from left field.
In the beginning, God said that this is a worthy person, this is a righteous person.
Why are these disasters happening to this person then?
And to make matters worse, God gave the devil permission to deal with Job, the only condition is don’t kill him.
The reason why these are difficult to understand much like being trapped in the trunk of a car being taken to a place you don’t know and racking your mind over what could possibly happen to you, as a kidnap victim brings us to the topic of grace.
When we can look at the world as a series of mechanical transactions the way life operates, would not make any sense.
Seriously, because if the world does operate according to human philosophical construction and logic, the evil would be punished and the good will get what’s coming to them.
We won’t be stuck in a position where we say “Why are bad things happening to good people?”
But in reality, there is no good person.
Jesus, Himself said, “Why do you call me good? The only good is the father”
He is talking about God.
Jesus is God.
And if we construct the idea of goodness from a human perspective, it will fail.
Because we will go back to that earlier question is why the bad things happen to good people?
The question that begs to be asked this “Are they good people to begin with?”
Because the Bible is clear all have fallen short of the glory of God.
If you think that isn’t final enough, look at Jeremiah.
The human heart is deceitful.
Who can know it?
If that isn’t enough, look at the sounds working David says “I was knit in my mother’s womb in iniquity”.
No one is good.
Jesus was telling the truth, humans are not good, were falling.
So in that context, even the idea of good people having all these evil things happening to them doesn’t make any sense because there are no good people, to begin with.
And guess what?
It’s not a philosophical thing, it has practical implications.
The wages of sin is death.
We all deserve the death penalty.
We don’t have anything good coming our way we don’t deserve it.
This is in stark contrast to what I described earlier, where we look at the world in transactional terms.
So if I do good to you I deserve some good things happening to me.
It operates like a bank and that’s why karma is not a Christian concept.
Because even though First Corinthians talks about reaping what you sow that is just part of the picture.
The big picture is God is in control.
There are two parables told by Jesus that proclaim this truth.
There was a vineyard owner who needed some work in his field so he went out to the marketplace in the morning and got some workers realizing that there was still a lot more work to be done, he went out again and invited even more people.
He kept doing this several times until near the last hour of work and he invited some people again.
When it came time to pay the laborers, the guys who got hired earliest in the day, though that they will get paid more.
Again, this is human logic, it just makes sense.
They put in more work, they should get paid more.
Does this sound familiar?
If you don’t work, you don’t eat.
You reap what you sow.
So far, so good?
What do you think happened?
They were upset because the vineyard owner, first paid those who he hired last and when the people who got hired first saw how much the last guys got paid they said, “Oh, man, we’re going to get paid a lot more”.
They were operating based on their logic, they were operating based on their sense of fairness.
What do you think the vineyard owner paid them the same amount as the last group of people?
Jesus is saying that the ultimate treasure in this world is who gets to spend eternity with God because the rest is death, the rest is decay, and the rest is not worth thinking about because it’s gone.
There are only two choices, eternal life or perish.
Means you die once and for all, there is no hell.
As a side note, I mean, any serious reading of the Bible would lead to the conclusion that there is no eternal hell.
There is still no hell right now because the Revelation says there will be a lake of fire, but it’s not going to burn forever.
A lot of the later Christian embellishments from different religious traditions of an eternal hell were actually borrowed from the Greeks.
And the Greeks borrowed from another pagan culture but that’s not Christian, that’s not biblical.
If you think about it makes a lot of sense because if you hate God, why would you want to go to heaven?
Why would you want to spend eternity with Him?
It doesn’t make any sense.
Back to our analysis, Jesus was saying that the wages represent salvation, and God justified giving the same reward to those who were saved at the last minute, and to the ones who have been keeping the law for all this time as a reflection of his sovereignty.
Pay attention to what he said to the irritated workers, he said, “Am I not free to give my property as I see fit?” or something along those lines.
This is the power of grace.
If you believe in the spirituality of grace, then you truly believe in a God because God is beyond our human construction of fairness, goodness, equality, justice, and all that.
Grace, trumps all of that, because God said, “I will do this. I know that human logic doesn’t make any sense but I will do this because I am God. You deserve that you deserve nothing, but I will do this instead”
The other story from the Bible that brings this across involves, of course, the famous parable of the two debtors.
One man owed the King a ton of money even in those days that amount of money could never be paid.
And the king saw just how sincerely sorry the servant was and he forgave the debt in total, which shocked people because that’s a huge amount of money.
What do you think that person did?
He saw another person who owed them a tiny fraction of what he owed the King.
The other person said, “Please give me some time, I’ll pay you” he said “No. You’re going to jail”.
And when the King heard that he took back his forgiveness of the man’s debt.
Grace seeks to operate in such a way that we’re supposed to pass it on.
Every single breath that we take right now is a free pass.
We don’t deserve it.
We deserve to die because of our sinful nature.
But we’ve been given a free pass after free pass, but it’s not supposed to be hung on to, it’s supposed to be shared.
How do you share?
You stop looking at reciprocity.
You stop looking at whether people deserve it or not.
You just forgive, because if you’re really honest with yourself, do you really deserve to draw another breath?
Do you really deserve to be alive?
I know I don’t.
That’s the power of grace.
So the whole dream imagery of kidnapping and the lack of control is really the point where human logic about, “being deserving or justice and fairness” all breaks down.
And we are left with the choice to trust in God’s grace or not.
That’s all we have.
Because the image of a kidnapping victim whether in Joseph’s time, bundled up or bound by ropes in the back of a donkey or in modern times hogtied in the trunk of a car, still, all indicates the sense of powerlessness and helplessness that we feel.
This is a point where due to the consequences of our choices, as well as the confluence of events, there’s really nothing we could do.
So the question is, are we going to hang on to this 800-pound elephant in the room imagined power of human ability?
Or do we learn to trust?
And trust means letting go of fear, learning to forgive, and learning to love unconditionally.
These are easy to say and I know they’re very hard to do but the one who forgave our debt compels us to do that.
The question is do we choose to?
Every person’s answer is different.
Dream interpretation and symbology have fascinated me ever since I read Freud’s classic, “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Ever since, I have explored Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist as well as Jungian psychological ideas about the meaning of dreams. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the amazing intersection between our conscious waking world and the rich expanse of our subconscious-the home of our intuition, instincts, and hidden potential.