Dreams and Visions today: a story or three
The prophet Joel said concerning the last days that the Lord would work in wonderous ways. We are seeing much of that in our time.
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28)
► Romani gypsies taught by the Lord
Not long after the collapse of the USSR a Christian believer found himself in conversation with Peter M. (a well-known figure in Scottish Christian circles then) who had an outreach ministry to countries which were previously behind the iron curtain.
In the course of his travel to Moldova (a land-locked country north of the Black Sea) he came across a gypsy tribe who were earnest followers of Jesus Christ.
These Romani gypsy believers were being taught the Word of God by the 'head man'. Indeed in the gypsy culture that was the way it would have to be; no one else could take that role.
While Peter was thrilled to learn of their belief and of their being taught in the faith, but he was absolutely astounded when he came to know more. In a fuller understanding of the situation, he discovered that the gypsy leader was illiterate.
So how did he come to know all the Bible truths that he was teaching? He had never been to Bible school and no one had taught him. In fact the answer, as Peter came to discover, was that the Word of God had been communicated to the tribal patriarch by direct revelation.
Two centuries ago, as the Bible tells us, the unbelieving Saul of Tarsus had to be transported into a higher plane to receive God's revelation. However it seems that the Lord is perfectly capable of working in similar fashion today. Praise God.
► Personal invitations to believe
Last week saw a British-born Jewish evangelist pay a visit to fellow-believers in Scotland who pray for and support the Jewish people and the nation of Israel in the context of God's prophetic word for them in latter days.
During the course of his trip and speaking engagements, Dr. Tony Stone told of dreams which Jewish people were having. In fact each person was having the same particular dreams.
The first dream would be that of Jesus's death and burial; and for a Jew who doesn't believe that Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah that particular dream poses no challenge whatsoever. They are 'comfortable' with that dream. However that is only the first dream they have: it is followed by a second one.
In the second dream they see Jesus coming back from the dead. That is in total contradiction to Judaism's teaching which still waits for Jesus to come as 'Israel's champion' and means of national salvation. While this is extremely disturbing to their worldview what happens next totally overwhelms them. In the final part of the dream-sequence, Jesus approaches the individual dreamer and calls him or her by name. The effect of that is surely most profound. According to Tony Stone this story is appearing more and more as he travels in his ministry within the believing church and the Jewish communities.
► A 'Proof text'
Finally Joel Richardson, the American Bible teacher and author writes:
One of the interviews we conducted earlier this year was with a friend who is an underground church planter and pastor in Iran. It was a very powerful interview. One of the stories that he shared, I need to pass on to you all.
My friend – let's call him Ali – while in Iran had heard about a man who had become a believer in a fairly remote village with no other known believers. Wanting to find out how this man had come to believe in Jesus, he travelled to the village to meet with the man. The villager related how a man had visited him; he wore a white robe, had longer hair and a very commanding presence. The man in white spoke at length to the villager and told him to write down his words. The villager agreed.
After hearing the villager's story, Ali asked him if he could see what was written that had caused him to become a Christian. The man showed Ali a large journal. In Farsi, the first line began as follows:
"In the beginning was the word. The word was with God, and the word was God."
The man was holding a hand written copy of the entire Gospel of John. According to the Iranian villager, it was the man in white who had relayed this story to him, verbatim.
Stories like this are actually common in Iran, where many new believers are coming to faith through divine encounters, dreams and visions. Hearing some of these stories was extremely encouraging.
[Ed note: "Amen"]