For God does speak—now one way, now another— though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people, as they slumber in their beds, (Job 33:14) NIV
For some time now, I have been praying that God would send dreams and visions of Jesus to those who persecute, torture, and kill His people. I have asked that these would be dreams and visions of Jesus that the enemies of the cross can neither forget nor ignore.
Three weeks ago, I published a blog that told of awakening and revival over much of the planet, including the enormous phenomenon of Muslims converting to Christianity in the Arab world. The research I found at that time estimated that 667 Muslims were converting to Christianity every hour!
I was intrigued to learn more, so I googled “dreams and visions of Jesus” and got 1.64 million results. Normally, on such a search I get two or three pages of results that are directly relevant and then on the third page or so it’s pretty obvious the relevance of the results begin to break down.
Not so here.
It goes on and on for page after page.
Then, on page 28 of the search results, I found an article on Biblical Missiology where a man named Georges Houssney decided to conduct a formal survey of how Muslims came to belief in Christ.
Mr. Housnney said he has had contact with hundreds of Muslim converts to Christianity, and decided to present them with a questionnaire to find out how they came to faith.
Over a period of three years, he was able to ask the same ten questions in his study of 100 former Muslims who became Christians.
Fully 60% reported experiencing dreams and visions, mostly of Jesus-- and 25% said that those dreams where the primary reason for their conversion.
There are scores of stories all over the internet relating the stories of individual Muslims who came to Christ. They are not hard to find.
There’s even a book, written by Pastor Tom Doyle titled, “Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?” The description of the book says, “Doyle has spent eleven years as a full-time missionary in the Middle East and Central Asia, spreading the word of Jesus Christ. Throughout his journey he has encountered a staggering number of Muslims who were first introduced to Jesus through a vision or dream so powerful that they eventually turned from their lifelong religion of Islam and embraced Christ as their Savior.”
And Doyle’s isn’t the only book on this subject. There’s also Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity, A Wind In The House Of Islam: How God Is Drawing Muslims Around The World To Faith In Jesus Christ, I Dared to Call Him Father: The Miraculous Story of a Muslim Woman's Encounter with God, and more.
Now, to be fair in all of this, there are those who are suspicious of such reports—including John Piper.
Piper’s suspicion of this is based on Romans 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (NIV)
Going past suspicion is Dr. Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel who has concluded: “…the biblical support offered for the Muslim dreams phenomenon, when evaluated within the context of Scripture, does not, in fact, support the phenomenon. Therefore, I conclude that these dreams and visions lack biblical authority and must therefore be viewed as extra-biblical experiences generated from sources other than the Holy Spirit.”
At the risk of disagreeing with people who are almost certainly smarter than I am and are undoubtedly more highly-trained in scriptural matters, I have to ask, “What about the dreams and visions of Jacob (Genesis 28:10-17), Joseph (Genesis 37:1-11), Zacharias (Luke1: 5-23), Joseph (Matthew 1:20, 2:13), Ananias (Acts 9:10), Cornelius (Acts 10:1-6), Peter (Acts 10:9-15), and the whole book of Revelation through John?
It’s also noteworthy that neither Piper nor Gilley are denying that millions of Muslims are coming to Christ. More than one source says more Muslims are coming to believe in Jesus right now than any other time in the last 1400 years.
Going back to Housnney’s study, 85% of the Muslims he interviewed said the love of Christians was one of the major factors in their conversion. He also noted that 75% of former Muslims thought Islam was a religion of fear and not one former Muslim thought their former religion had anything to do with a loving relationship with God. 90% thought they are now worshiping a completely different God than before.
All of which got me thinking of John 6:4. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (NIV)
See, when you read the individual stories of the Muslims who had these dreams and visions, they all invariably involve the person who had the dream or vision being initially drawn to Jesus, and then subsequently going out and seeking a Christian to actually learn more about Jesus, to get a Bible, to come to truly know Jesus and to mature as believers.
Houssney’s study bears this out because those 85% who mentioned the love of Christians had to have had contact with a Christian at some point to experience that.
I think that also answers Piper’s and Gilley’s concerns. The Muslims were initially drawn to seek Jesus by the dream or vision and came to faith when the Gospel was spoken to them.
So, in my opinion, I think great miracles are indeed happening in the Arab world and the LORD God is solely worthy of great honor, glory, and praise!
And I am certainly going to keep praying that those dreams and visions continue!
JESUS IS LORD!
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:7 ESV