Visions of Jesus Stir Muslim Hearts
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JERUSALEM - The Muslim call to prayer resounds through a large part of the Earth, where more than one billion people call themselves Muslims.
Throughout the Islamic world, many Muslims from Gaza to London are also responding to the call to global jihad, where the goal is to take over the world for Islam. It's a clash of civilizations with the Christian faith in the middle.
Throughout the nearly 1,400 year history of Islam, Muslims have resisted the Christian Gospel. Many Christians tried to reach them with the good news, but with little success.
But according to many reports from the Middle East and around the world, that history is changing.
"I see many, many Arabic-speaking people turning to Christ, accepting Him as Lord and Savior,” said Nizar Shaheen, host of Light for the Nations, a Christian program seen throughout the Muslim world. "It's happening all over the Arab world. It's happening in North Africa. It's happening in the Middle East. It's happening in the Gulf countries. It's happening in Europe and Canada and the United States-in the Arabic-speaking world. Everywhere, people are accepting Jesus."
"What's happening nowadays in the Muslim world has never happened before," said Father Zakaria Henein, an Egyptian Coptic priest is one of the foremost evangelists to the Muslim world. He says a cross-section of Muslims are accepting Jesus Christ. "Young and old, educated and not educated, males and females, even those who are fanatic."
One fanatic Muslim who came to faith in Jesus Christ is Samer Achmad Muhammed. He studied for years to become a Wahabbi sheik, one of the most virulent forms of Islam. He hated Christians and the church, but his heart changed when he heard the Gospel.
"I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ, Jesus forgave me for my sins,” he said. “He gave me eternal life and peace. And the second thing, I really suffered in my daily life, but I had peace, I had joy because Jesus entered my heart."
Muhammed is just one of many who are coming to Jesus. Heidi Baker of Iris Ministries sees thousands of African Muslims receiving Jesus and getting baptized.
"It's probably the only place in the world where they are coming so quickly,” she said. “Many people are having dreams. They see Jesus appear to them. Probably half our pastors were leaders, imams in Moslem mosques. They were leaders in these mosques, now they're pastors."
Another significant evangelistic movement among Muslims links China and Jerusalem. Chinese house churches plan to send at least 100,000 evangelists from China through many predominantly Muslim nations all the back here to Jerusalem.
This quiet but powerful movement of itinerant evangelists is bringing the story of Jesus Christ into the heart of the Muslim world. Technologies like satellite television and the Internet also penetrate the world of Islam.
But beyond technology, many say a supernatural dimension is at work throughout the Islamic world.
"There is an end-time phenomenon that is happening through dreams and visions," said Christine Darg, author of The Jesus Visions: Signs and Wonders in the Muslim World. “He is going into the Muslim world and revealing, particularly, the last 24 hours of His life - how He died on the cross, which Islam does not teach - how He was raised from the dead, which Islam also does not teach – and how He is the Son of God, risen in power."
"We receive lots of letters about people who have had dreams about the Lord, visions, even miracles,” Shaheen said. “When they watch the program, they say yes, we had a dream or a vision, and they accept Jesus as Lord."
But Muslims who accept Jesus face persecution, discrimination or even death. Despite the dangers, many continue to live out their faith and lead others to Jesus Christ.
"Jesus loves all people, Jesus changes all people and Jesus is the One who places love and peace,” Shaheen said. “I was not like this but Jesus changed my life and I am not scared to talk about Jesus because praise is unto Him."
Some believe the Church's response to jihad must be a fearless proclamation of the Gospel to Muslims. Through prayer and evangelism, many see an unparalleled opportunity for the Gospel.
"I anticipate that very soon – perhaps within two or three years-we are going to see the greatest harvest in history," Shaheen said.