Let Ishmael Live!
“Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:16-20)
In this hour, God is surely answering the prayer of his friend Abraham, "O that Ishmael might live!" (Genesis 17:18)
Ishmael was the patriarch of the Arabs. And in the Arab world, the Lord has been showing the New Testament to many by vision like a giant television screen in the night. Many have beheld and handled the Lord's wounded hands and feet. Others have seen the last 24 hours of His life. They have been granted compelling visions and dreams of His agonizing prayer in the Garden, and of the Crucifixion, death, burial and Resurrection. They wake up convinced that Jesus is not just a prophet, but also the Son of God.
Mention visions and dreams, however, and some people react like they've seen a ghost! This is ridiculous because there are plenty of visions in our spiritual manual, the Bible. The apostle Paul was converted and commissioned by a vision; he received the Macedonian call in a night vision.
The apostle Peter preached the glorious Gospel to the Gentiles because of instructions given in a vision. John received the Book of the Revelation by visions.Concerning the birth and safety of the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph were guided continually through visions and dreams. There are too many Biblical examples to recount them all.
Furthermore, the Scriptures specifically predict that visions and dreams will characterize the End-Time move of the Holy Spirit! "And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions." (Joel 2:28)
God may surprise your theological concepts if you confine the Holy Spirit in your mind into a box. Throughout the world, the Holy Spirit is moving in the realms of dreams and visions, especially in the most unevangelized area on the map known as the "10/40 window" that stretches from North Africa to Asia.
When the Holy Spirit genuinely inspires visions, they glorify God and bear fruit for the Lord's kingdom. However, we must emphasize that these wonderful visions and dreams are SOVEREIGN works of sovereign GRACE. While the overriding sovereignty of God is one of the most blessed and comforting doctrines, nevertheless the lost peoples of this world still need the glorious Gospel preached to them. The Lord certainly has not abandoned the method of the "foolishness of preaching!" (1 Corinthians 1: 18-21)
When the Holy Spirit was outpoured at Pentecost, people believed en masse. The day is still coming when the glory of God will be revealed again in the Middle East, and there will be a mass revelation of Christ as Lord, Savior, Messiah, the Last Word.
The Holy Spirit is God’s greatest weapon of mass conversions!
There have been and continue to be harbingers of this coming Harvest in the Mideast. Indeed, what the Lord has already performed, He is well able to do again!
Salvation for the Shazlis
The life story of British explorer Sir Richard Burton documents one of the most amazing events of a mass movement to Jesus in the 19th century-- not through missionaries, books, Bible distribution, or pamphlets-- but through the divine agencies of dreams and visions! Incredulous as it may seem, what the Lord has done before, He is well able to do again!
This particular movement of the Holy Spirit began in the year 1868 in Damascus amongst the Shazli sect who were messianic in nature. Jesus appeared separately to them through similar dreams. Some of the dreams pointed out a simple priest holding a lantern who would teach the Shazlis the truth. The Holy Spirit had so encouraged them to follow the Good Shepherd, and they were so filled with a happiness they had never before experienced, that they were hardly dissuaded from proclaiming Christ in the streets!
We quote from a biography of Burton, "What originally had seemed like no more than a few hundred ... Arabs seeking a Savior ... quickly assumed the proportions of a major heresy. Some 25,000 Shazlis were now reported ready for baptism. . . .Events now ran out of control for the Shazlis and for Burton . . .." (Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton by Edward Rice, Scribners 1990)
The account relates how Sir Richard had rather naively hoped that Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch would baptize all 25,000 Shazlis, and assist in their safe resettlement!
But apparently it was not politically or “religiously” correct for these Muslims to change their religion! The patriarch reported the extraordinary phenomenon to the authorities at Damascus, and that action brought a swift end to the Shazli saga.
"In the end," writes the author, "the British embassy at Constantinople, the Latin patriarch in Jerusalem and [highranking Turks] all had a role in betraying the converts." Many were cruelly martyred.
The question must be asked: if the Holy Spirit moved powerfully again in the Middle East and 25,000 or more Muslims in a city desired with all of their hearts to turn to Jesus, would the institutional Church welcome them today? Or would church leaders again do the “politically” correct thing and betray the believers?
Jesus Verifies His Crucifixion to Muslim
The story of Al-‘Uris is another historical case in point of great significance. He was a person associated with the family of Saladin, the famous Muslim warrior and Ayyubid sultan of Egypt and the great opponent of the Crusaders. In the journals of the Ayyubids and their conflicts with the Crusaders, Muslim history records an extremely significant dream of Al-’Uris which sounds similar to the above account of the Shazlis!
Tragically, Al-‘Uris was brutally killed because Jesus tried to communicate with him the truth concerning His death and Resurrection. Perhaps Al-‘Uris did after all trust in Jesus as his personal Savior, because he was, in fact, crucified for relating this dream.
“Al-‘Uris saw in his sleep Christ Jesus Son of Mary, who seemed to turn his face toward him from heaven. Al-‘Uris asked him, ‘Did the crucifixion really happen?’ Jesus said, ‘Yes, the crucifixion really happened.’ Al-‘Uris then related his dream to an interpreter, who said, ‘The man who saw this dream shall be crucified. For Jesus is infallible and can speak only the truth, yet the crucifixion he spoke of cannot refer to his own, because the Glorious Qur’an specifically states that Jesus was not crucified or killed. Accordingly, this must refer to the dreamer, and it is he who shall be crucified.’ The matter turned out as the interpreter said." (The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature by Tarif Khalidi, Harvard University Press, 2001)
Similar betrayal and suffering echo in the experiences of presentday martyrs. Imagine confronting the Living God and knowing the truth of the Gospel with absolute certainty. Your first instinct might be to "shout it from the housetops." But what would the reaction of a neighbor or relative be to your declaration? We cannot be sure how many countless people have experienced the reality of Jesus through visions and divine revelation, but there are surely a great many who tremble at the consequences of publicly admitting such a momentous, life-changing encounter.
In a more secure environment, these stories circulate freely. Arabs living in Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, frequently feel relatively free to share their remarkable dreams and visions. My Palestinian acquaintance Mufeed, for example, openly described how he had met the Lord one night while walking along the dusty road of a refugee camp. No Christian missionary had witnessed to him! Jesus simply appeared to him in a halo of light and said, "I am Jesus. Follow me."
Woman’s Sad Existence Cheered by Jesus
Many women are also meeting the Lord through supernatural circumstances. A Bible worker in the “Community of Reconciliation,” an evangelical organization in Jerusalem which ministers to both Jews and Arabs, wrote in the organization’s journal that she had visited an Arab woman five times and was never able to say anything significant about Jesus. The woman, Halima, was 28 years old, divorced and disappointed with life. Soon she would be yoked in marriage to a man who was 50 years old; thus she would be provided for again and would no longer pose a threat to the family honor as a divorced single mother.
After a meal that broke the fast during the month of Ramadan, the Bible worker sat alone for a while with Halima. This Christian worker testified how Jesus had healed her from many inner wounds. Halima also suffered in her soul. And then, to the Christian’s amazement, Halima shared a dream she had experienced only recently: “I saw a man who was dressed in white and also had white hair. He invited me to look out of a window, and I saw a shining green meadow. The man in white had water, too, which was very clear and clean. He gave me to drink some of it. I have never tasted such good water before.”
The Bible woman was amazed! Jesus had already revealed much about Himself in Halima’s dream! For example, in the Book of Revelation, Jesus is described as such a man in white garments with white hair; and in Psalm 23 and in John 10, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leads his sheep to peaceful green meadows. In John 4, He offers a woman His own thirst-quenching water of life. The woman evangelist had wondered how she could share Jesus, and here He Himself had already prepared Halima to hear and receive the Gospel!
Another acquaintance of the author, Magid, was performing daily prayers in the cemetery below the Golden Gate near the Temple Mount. He testified in one of my meetings, the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ called him audibly: "Magid! I am the only Savior. Trust Me."
Yosuf, a surly post office employee, seemed an unlikely candidate to embrace the Good News. But I have learned never to underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. This miserablelooking man, after being invited to our Bible study, gladly prayed the sinner's prayer to receive Jesus as Savior and as the Sacrifice for all his sins.
What nobody knew was that Yosuf had already been prepared by a dream years before. In fact, when Yosuf was a young boy, he experienced a dream of Jesus' holy and bruised body lying in the garden tomb—dead, buried and shrouded. Years later I was able to offer this explanation to him, "Yosuf, the Lord wanted you to know that He died for your sins."
You see, the religious teaching under which Yosuf was brought up denies that Jesus died for the sins of the world. His comprehension was limited to the idea that Jesus was spirited away to heaven, that He was too good to die, and that a vile sinner (Judas) died on the cross instead. But the Islamic deviation from the Gospel steals the very heart of the Gospel. If Jesus did not die, we don't have a Savior who was God's holy Sacrifice and Substitute for our sins! If Jesus has not ascended unto the Father and is not seated at the right hand of the Almighty, then we no longer have an Intercessor and an Advocate who can mediate as High Priest on our behalf.
But thank God, the Good News is that Jesus did die on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the world! And if we will believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead and dare to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, the Bible assures us that we shall be saved!
“For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:5-13)
Jesus became “the author of eternal salvation" (Hebrews 5:9). God uniquely honored Him in being chosen to die as the Atonement sacrifice for the world. Having triumphed, having presented Himself the sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus’ sinless blood is 100 per cent pure to cover the transgressions for the entire race of mankind.
Yosuf’s countenance was always surly. One day I said to myself, "Anybody who looks that miserable needs to hear the Good News!" So I plucked up courage and invited this morose and unpleasant man to our Wednesday night Cross-Cultural Bible Study at Christ Church inside Jaffa Gate.
To my surprise, he thanked me for the invitation and came to the meeting. He listened intently. Afterwards during personal ministry time, he said sheepishly, "I can't believe that you invited me to church, because I am a Muslim." But I've always tried to follow the Apostle Paul's example of becoming all things to all people so as to win some. I think Paul’s is one of the most brilliant and adventurous evangelistic tactics, and I never tire of trying to be all things to all people to win some to Him.
So I said delightedly, "I'm thrilled that you came. Jesus loves all the people of Jerusalem including the Muslims. Jesus died for you, too." This genuine expression of acceptance and love reached deep into Yosuf's spirit. He smiled for the first time. His face looked entirely different. A couple of days later, I was in the church’s coffee shop. He spotted me and came in. He ventured, "I had a dream when I was six years old about Jesus. Can you tell me the meaning of it?" What a supernatural set-up by God for this man's salvation! I love such a challenge, because you never know what inspiration the Holy Ghost might give. I said, "I can't tell you the interpretation, but the Holy Spirit can, and I will ask Him to give it to me!"
"OK, " he said. "This was the dream. I saw Jesus' face when he was buried in the tomb. I was only six years old, but I'll never forget that face and the light that shone from it. I don't know how I knew that it was Jesus, but I have just always known in my heart that it was Jesus."
"Yosuf," I said excitedly, but gently, "I already know why you were given that specific dream. The Holy Spirit shows me that it's because Muslims don't believe that Jesus died on the cross and was buried. You have been taught to believe that God spirited Jesus off to heaven and allowed someone else to die in his place. You have been taught that Jesus was too good to die. But his death, burial and Resurrection are the heart of the Gospel! JESUS HAD TO DIE, so that He could make atonement, a substitutionary death, for you and for me. God gave you that dream so that you would know that Jesus did die for your sins. He had to die in order to complete your salvation. The Bible also assures us that He was resurrected and that over 500 witnesses saw Him! Would you like to pray to receive Jesus as your Lord?"
Yosuf said “Yes,” and right there in the coffee shop, he bowed his head, prayed the sinner's prayer and said that he believed in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and he confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord.
Outpouring of Visions to Mullahs
Like an addendum to the Book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God performed a most unusual marvel in southeastern Europe. God began to speak in visions and dreams to 24 mullahs (mosque leaders) near the Bulgarian border with Turkey. During these manifestations, Jesus typically said, "I am Jesus Christ the Messiah. You must repent of your sins and put your faith in me to be forgiven." None of the mullahs knew anything about the experiences of the others who were also receiving visitations from the Lord. But each of them obeyed the vision of Jesus and faithfully proclaimed what they had seen and heard. Their congregations began to seek God through his Son Jesus, repenting of their sins. Immediately they were filled with the Holy Spirit as in Acts Chapter 2, and men began to speak out with messages in tongues and others interpreted.
As these mullahs heard of each other's experiences, they were thirsty to learn more about Jesus. Subsequently, they sent two representatives to the capital city of Sofia to seek help. On the streets, these two mullahs began to ask, "What kind of people worship Jesus and speak in unknown languages with interpretations and have people healed in their services?"
Somebody suggested that they visit the Bulgarian Pentecostal Church, where they were introduced to an evangelist to the Balkan States from the Assemblies of God, who faithfully documented this story.
A Modern Christmas Miracle
The testimony of an Arab brother whom the author has known for almost two decades is another example of the merciful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Mideast through dreams and visions. He is a watchman on the Mount of Olives and is one of the most precious prayer partners of our ministry. Many times he has interceded for us when we have been preaching in dangerous places. He has patiently served Jesus through many persecutions and deep heartaches. Though he lives in a humble abode and is misunderstood by most of his family, this dear brother will receive a great welcome in Heaven!
A few years ago, the author experienced a dream in which I saw this brother drowning and calling for help. I telephoned him to learn that he had become paralyzed. A ministry associate and I visited him and commanded him to walk again in the Name of Jesus. He was healed in order to continue his ministry of intercession. The Lord encourages him with Words from the Bible, with dreams and impressions. This is his amazing story:
“I am the unknown soldier of Jesus. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. I believe I was always looking for the Lord, but I didn't know how to find Him. Once I visited Jesus' empty Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, because in my heart I was seeking the Lord. I did not find Him, but He found me! I did not choose Him, but He chose me!
“When I was working in a hotel, I was overdrinking and under a lot of financial pressure, and one night at 7 p.m. as I was sitting at the bar, I collapsed and suffered a severe nervous breakdown. I was put in the intensive care ward in Bethlehem, and my life was sustained by an intravenous drip, when suddenly, after 40 days in a coma, on Christmas Eve, there was what I can only describe as an earthquake in the hospital. I saw the wall open and a beautiful Man walked into the ward and stood by my bedside. He was the most handsome Man I had ever seen. This Man was Jesus.
“Suddenly, I had a vision of Jesus brighter than the sun and the moon and all the stars combined; and I saw colors that I've never seen on earth. At first I thought He was Joseph, because the holy book of my religion, the Koran, said that Joseph was the most beautiful man who had ever lived.
“But Jesus called me by my name twice in Arabic, and He said to me, ‘I am Jesus; you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you!’
“He laid his hand on my shoulder, and He spoke supernatural messages to me in about 12 or 14 different languages, and then He spoke to me in Arabic again and said that I was healed.
“Immediately I sat up and pulled the drip out of my arm. My doctor and nurses looked at me like they had seen a ghost, because I was almost like Lazarus who was raised from the dead! That was 30 years ago and I am still walking with the Lord Jesus. When my family took me home, I told them about Jesus, but my brothers stole everything from me. I suffered many things, but the fellowship of Jesus was greater than their hate.
"The Lord continues to speak to me in dreams and visions. In a very important vision in 1987 before the [first] Intifada uprising, He appeared to me with the Bible in His hand and told me that many troubles were coming but that I would overcome by the words in the Book. Amen.
“In 1993, I had a dream in which I found a cross buried in a hole in the ground which I uncovered. I believe the meaning of this dream is that religion has buried the cross, but we must lift up the cross of Jesus, for it is the power of God."
In the gripping book "The Torn Veil," Pakistani former cripple Gulshan Esther recounts her wonderful testimony; she heard the voice of Jesus quoting the Muslim holy book-- the section about Jesus the Healer. All medical help failed in her quest to be healed. Later, Jesus appeared to her with the twelve apostles and totally healed her! She was also told supernatural instructions to find a Holy Bible.
George Otis Jr. in "The Last of the Giants," outlines accounts from the early 1980s of supernatural conversions falling into three basic categories: through dreams and visitations, miraculous healings and special deliverances (both physical and spiritual).
Otis reports the magnitude of these phenomena is so great that some missionary organizations are taking the time to reexamine doctrinal positions relative to issues such as divine healing. He wrote: "In the early 1980s, a truly remarkable incident took place in a North African village located 125 miles east of Algiers. According to testimony, on one unforgettable night in 1983, with no prior warning and for no immediately discernible reason--God sovereignly descended upon this coastal township. Moving from house to house, and communicating through a combination of dreams, visions and angelic visitations, He did not rest until every member of this Muslim community was properly introduced to His only begotten Son, Jesus. Come daybreak, nearly every villager had a story to tell. A sense of spiritual awe settled over the entire village. In the weeks that followed, their conclusions led to a dramatic wholesale conversion involving from 400 to 450 Muslim villagers--that was a nearly 18-fold increase in the size of the entire Algerian national church!
"When amazed mission workers, who had had no direct involvement in this extraordinary development, began to investigate possible reasons for this sovereign visitation, they came across a stunning piece of information. It was at virtually this very site that in 1315, a Spanish missionary named Raymond Lull had been stoned to death by Muslims after he preached in the open market. It has often been said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Lull is generally considered to be the first missionary to Muslims.”
God will also communicate in dreams and visions to empower us for service, especially for very arduous service. An account from the IsaalMasih.net (“Jesus Is Messiah”) website is a case in point: The Jesus Visions -63- “A North Africa believer in Jesus found the needed strength to face his imprisonment from a dream he experienced while imprisoned for his faith. In the dream, he saw thousands of believers pouring through the streets of his city, openly proclaiming their faith in his restricted country. While in prison, he was tortured, suspended upside-down for hours, beaten with electrified rods and repeatedly threatened with execution. His vision of a day when people of his country would openly proclaim their faith in the streets gave him great strength to persevere through this most difficult time in his life.”
Ask, Seek, Knock
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity,” the Almighty promises in the Bible in Jeremiah 29: 13-14.
Many of the divine dreams contain clues, which are meant to cause a hunger for Jesus and to trigger the process of seeking Him.
During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, a young Muslim from the Indonesian island of Kalimantan (formerly Borneo) experienced a disturbing dream: he was tied to a chair with heavy, thick ropes. A Man he recognized as Jesus touched the ropes, and they fell from his arms. Jesus then said to him, “Look for the pole.”
“What pole?” he asked, but Jesus simply reiterated, “Look for the pole.”
The young man awakened from his dream pondering the meaning of the pole, but in a few days he forgot about the dream as the daily cares of life pressed upon him. But two years later, again during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, another dream occurred. This time Jesus visited the young man saying, “Why haven’t you done what I asked? I told you to look for the pole.”
“Where is this pole and how can I find it?” the young man asked, perplexed. Jesus pointed to a hill very far away and said, “Go, look for the pole.” In his dream, the man ran in the direction Jesus had pointed. He seemed to run for miles through thorns and density and, finally, exhausted, he came to a clearing. To his utter surprise, before him stood a Cross! This was the pole the Lord Jesus had told him to find!
The next day, the young man visited his mosque and asked the leader if he knew the meaning of the dreams and the Cross. The Imam wisely replied, “Search for the truth.” “Is the Christian Jesus the truth then?”
But the Imam just repeated, “Search for the truth.”
The next night the young man dreamed again, and this time he saw a cemetery. He recognized the graves as Christian-- all were decorated with crosses. Suddenly, the graves were opened! Those who were buried rose into the sky, where Jesus was waiting for them. He cried out to Jesus that he wasn’t ready because he did not yet have the Cross!
Awakening from this dream, the young man was greatly distressed. He knew of a small church near his village, so he visited the church to seek help from the pastor, who gave him a Bible. They opened the pages to John 14: 6, “Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth and the life.”
The Sign of the Cross
One of the most remarkable testimonies concerning dreams and visions in the Middle East involves a very brave brother whom I’ll call Issa from the Orthodox Church. Many years ago when my husband and I lived in a suburb of Jerusalem, we held Christmas parties and house meetings where the power of God was manifested mightily with Jewish and Arab friends in attendance. One of the young men who received a saving knowledge of the Lord was Issa. He has stood faithfully in his hometown and has grown tremendously in the Lord. He was also one of the first persons to host an evangelistic meeting for our ministry in the Middle East, so he is doubly precious to our family.
Within recent years, Issa has received several dramatic visitations from the Lord, who instructed him to construct large crosses to change the skyline of his city. Because of his obedience to the heavenly vision, the skyline has indeed changed dramatically, especially at nighttime with an abundance of bright white and red large crosses atop buildings and hotels.
Although demographically his city used to be a Christian town, most of the Christians have left through intimidation from Islam and now most of the residents are Muslims. Issa is a simple street vendor; yet he is the kind of humble person whom the Lord often calls.
The first time the Lord instructed Issa in a night vision to erect crosses in the Holy Land, Jesus said, “ Issa, Issa, trouble is coming, but you will raise up the sign of the Cross just as Moses lifted up the snake on the pole in the wilderness. And when the people look to the Cross, as they looked at the snake on the pole in the wilderness, they will live because of the Cross. ”Issa emphasized to me, “The Lord said when the people look to the Cross, they will believe and live.”
I personally know this to be true. An Arab named Mohammed who secretly loved the Lord and who prayed the sinner’s prayer with me was once traveling through an Israeli checkpoint without proper papers. He was in peril of being jailed. But when he looked at one of the illuminated crosses that had been erected by Issa, Mohammed took fresh courage and managed to evade danger.
At first, Issa was timid and reluctant, so he fashioned only one simple cross to display in his city. He thought by that one act, he had obeyed the Lord. But Jesus appeared to him a second time and told him not to stop displaying the crosses. There are now more than 18 of these large crosses that Issa has erected.
The Lord admonished him this time, “Issa! Issa! Just as I told the Israelites to put the Blood of the Lamb over the doorposts and they lived because of the protection of that blood, so I command you to raise up the Cross in the Middle East, and people will look and live.” Pray for the continuing protection and boldness of this brave young man.
The Sign of the Communion Cup
“. . . Young men will see visions. . . .” The Holy Spirit’s saga in the Bible lands continues. While ministering in the national church in Kuwait, I met a wonderful young man and brother whom I’ll call Ahmed from Saudi Arabia. Because he had studied to be a leader in his regional mosque, and because of being a Saudi national, Ahmed had no knowledge whatsoever of the Christian church.
Yet one day not long ago, without any prior knowledge of Christ, Ahmed experienced a remarkable open vision. In this vision he saw a large church descending from Heaven. Inside the edifice he heard people singing the most beautiful and glorious music he had ever heard. In fact, he had never heard any music like it on earth before or since! (Worshippers don’t sing together in mosques.) He saw people from every nation in this building who were worshipping and praising the living God. Down the center aisle swiftly approaching him was a majestic Man, who extended to Ahmed a silver cup. The Man said to him, “From the moment you drink from this Cup, you are mine.”
Determined to understand this mysterious but glorious vision, Ahmed visited a neighboring Arab country, where church buildings are permitted, unlike in Saudi Arabia. The first and most obvious church building he visited belonged to the Roman Catholics. He entered while a Mass was being conducted, and he received the communion, but he did not know what he was doing. Afterward, the priest suggested that Ahmed should visit the nearby Orthodox Church, where he saw an icon of Christ. This was the Man of the vision! The Orthodox priest suggested that Ahmed should visit the nearby Evangelical Church, where he was extended the right hand of fellowship.
Remarkably, other Arabs are receiving visions and strength from the Cup of Christ! Khalid in Jerusalem told us his remarkable story on a visit to his humble home in East Jerusalem:
“As you know,” Khalid began, “I’ve been a believer in Jesus for several years because of dreams and visions. I even began to evangelize and lead other Arabs to the Lord. But I did not realize what a clever enemy we new believers have in Satan, who does not want anybody to come to the knowledge of the truth. So for several years, the devil managed to lure me back onto drugs, and I was a heroin addict. My wife and my children and all my family despised me because I could not kick the habit, no matter how many times I was in hospital for rehabilitation. I tried to kill myself, but even failed at that.
“Finally, I said to the Lord, ‘I am going home and I will trust you and you only to deliver me, as the drugs in the hospital that are supposed to cure me are making me crave heroin more!’ So I came home trusting Jesus and Jesus alone. He appeared to me in a vision. I could see Him as clearly as I see you now. He was holding in His hands a big silver cup, and He told me to drink from it. But when I looked inside, I was afraid, because it was full of Blood [representative of the atoning Blood of Yesua Al Messia, Arabic for Jesus Christ]. But He told me not to be afraid and to drink. He said, ‘Drink from the cup of salvation.’ When I tasted it, it did not taste like blood, but it was sweet to taste like a Heavenly wine, and instantly all the desire for heroin disappeared from me!
“But,” Khalid continued, “Although I knew I was now set free, I also knew I was a swept clean and empty house that Satan could overpower again if I was not careful, which is what happened before. So this time, the Lord came to me again in a vision. I saw him motioning for me to follow Him into the desert, the place where He went when He endured a 40-day fast to overcome the devil. I am going to take only a donkey, a tent and water supply, and I am going to follow that vision and go into the desert and fast for 40 days to get the power over drugs and the powers of darkness that are trying to destroy my life and my witness.”
We prayed with much might for Khalid to be strengthened. I told him, “Remember that the angels came and ministered to Jesus while He was fasting in the wilderness and overcoming Satan by the Word of God, so if you feel you are going to die, call on the Lord, and I know He will send his angels to help you.”
Although at the time, Khalid was very thin, nevertheless, he reported later that he had survived the fast. When he felt the weakest, he said he could hear the saints praying for him, and he overcame by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony!