Posted by Tim on 29th October 2012
For a number of years, Christians have been amazed at the stories coming out of the Moslem world of people coming to faith in Christ as a result of having seen Jesus in a dream. They call him ‘The Beautiful One’. Many of us may have been sceptical at first, but in recent months the number of reports has increased significantly.
Although accurate reports are hard to get hold of, I heard of one church in a central Asian republic where 80% of the believers had come to faith following a dream. There are stories of Imams having a dream and leading the entire congregation of the Mosque to Christ. Just visit a well-known video hosting website and key in ‘dreams of Jesus’ and you will see numerous testimonies. Some reports suggest that Moslems are turning to Christ in greater numbers now than at any time in the 1400 year history of Islam.
Muslims of course are not ignorant of Jesus. He is one of their great prophets, and it is taught that it will be Jesus who comes back at the end of the age to receive the faithful and inaugurate global Islam. But they do not expect to find salvation in Jesus. It should of course be emphasised that receiving a dream about Jesus does not automatically make someone a Christian, or to be more accurate, a Moslem-background believer. This is only the start of their journey of faith, which may lead them deeper into their Moslem beliefs, as Jesus is revered within their own religious tradition.
Many of the people who receive dreams are not searching for Jesus, and are perfectly content Moslems. Reports of the dreams make it clear that the dreamers are in no doubt that it is Jesus they are seeing. They describe him as beautiful, dressed in a white robe and glowing with light. This figure will be instantly recognisable to Christians familiar with the book of Revelation. If the Beautiful One talks, he may tell them to follow him, or that their sins are forgiven. I was given a first-hand report of a mosque in a middle-eastern country where everyone had received a dream. Yet if you ask them who it was, they will answer ‘The Prophet… or maybe Jesus’, as the risk of openly confessing Jesus is very high.
So why are these visions coming now? It cannot be a coincidence that in recent years, just as concerted and committed prayer for the countries of the 10/40 window has been coordinated, it has become very hard for outsiders to get into Moslem communities worldwide to preach the gospel openly. Although many still go undercover, their ability to spread the message is severely restricted. With the rise of militant Islam, pressure on indigenous believers from Palestine to the Philippines has become heavier. Church buildings are being burned and believers being martyred. So the Spirit of God does a new thing, and speaks to Moslems directly when his human followers can’t. Together with the rise of Christian satellite TV and the internet, the Moslem world has never been so technologically open to the Gospel. Those who have dreamed of Jesus may find it hard to meet fellow believers, but they can watch TV and surf the net.
How can we help Moslems find Jesus their Saviour? Above all, prayer. Prayer opens the way into the darkest places and softens the hardest of hearts. If you meet a Moslem, you can ask him if he has had a dream of the Beautiful One (don’t say Jesus!) or if he knows of anyone who has. Gently (remember that persuading someone to change their religion is a crime in many Moslem countries) ask who he thinks it might be. What does he want to say to the Moslem? What does he want of him? Why does he appear now? Respectful questions will open a channel for the individual to reflect on the dream while not imposing our beliefs on him or disrespecting his traditions.
- that Jesus will reveal himself to Moslems in all nations, and that they will see him for who he really is;
- that the faith of Moslem-background believers will be strong despite the persecution they may face;
- that Christian mission agencies will be effective in spreading and broadcasting the Gospel and following up.