Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dreams And Visions

Rising Number Of Muslims Reporting Dreams About Jesus

“I was in the desert alone, lost. As far as the horizon, there was nothing in sight but sand. I felt the sand on my bare feet. Then I saw something extraordinary. In the midst of that barrenness, an immense wooden cross emerged from the earth, rising up with sand spilling from it back to earth.”
So begins a dream narrative posted by Bosnian Muslim teenager Emina Emlonic. A dream about Jesus.

It continues: “I felt then a spectator in my own dream, and the sight of the cross gave me neither fear nor joy. But I was a curious and began moving, almost floating, towards it, the most magnificent … thing I’d ever seen or imagined, and as I came closer to the cross, I suddenly saw a man walking toward me: a broad-shouldered, long-striding man, with a dark complexion, long hair, and wearing a white robe.

“And just as suddenly I ceased to be a witness to my dream. I was in it, walking toward the man walking toward me. I knew him immediately. He was Jesus. Without knowing why, I fell to my knees. He stood over me and touched my face with his right hand.”
Posted at the Catholic Thing website, such accounts of encounters with Jesus through dreams and visions increasingly are being reported, according to Pastor Frank Costenbader, founder ofManifold Hope Ministries, publisher of the Isa Dreams website.
Isa is an Arabic name corresponding to Jesus that is found in the Quran.
“The number of Isa dreams has seemed to grow tremendously since 2000, and in 2005 it seems to have kicked into another gear,” Costenbader said. “There has been an explosion of testimonies on the Web in the past two years about people encountering Jesus in dreams and subsequently becoming followers of Jesus.”

“One night, while I was asleep, I had this horrible dream of me being taken into hell. And what I saw there brought me real fear, and these dreams kept coming to me almost every night. At this point I was really wondering as to why I should be seeing hell in this manner,” he wrote at Answering-Islam.
He said Jesus appeared to him and said: “Son, I am the way, the truth and the life. And if you would give your life to Me, and follow Me, I would save you from the hell that you have seen.

“This came as a surprise to me, for I did not know who this Jesus was. Of course, He is mentioned in the Quran and in the book Surah Mariam. He is stated as one of our prophets, but not as a savior who could save us from hell. So I started looking out for a Christian who could give me some advice about this Jesus I have seen.”
He said he had to reach out to an Egyptian Christian, because Christianity is “totally banned in Saudi Arabia and if a Christian is caught witnessing to a Muslim, [it is] almost sure that he would be beheaded.”

A Thai teenager named Fa reported on Muslims of Thailand she saw Jesus as she walked in a field.
An account of her experience includes: “She found herself in the open field. There was nothing much special in this scenery but she felt peace in her heart, the kind of peace that she has never felt before. It seemed like she has been in this field before and somehow, she knew what was going to happen next.
“And then suddenly there appeared before her a bright light. She didn’t get startled when she saw the figure. It was a man wearing a white robe that seemed to shine. There was so much of joy and love that flooded in her heart when she saw the figure. She immediately knew that Jesus was appearing to her. Then she woke up.”

Muslims are not the only ones reporting such remarkable encounters, as Costenbader also describes accounts by Hindus.
He said regardless of the background, a common characteristic of the dreams of Jesus is that they instill a sense of peace.
“That’s far different than the fear-filled system of Islam,” Costenbader said.
Christine Darg, author and co-host of the Jerusalem Channel television program “Exploits Ministry,” agrees it’s an increasingly common development.

“The phenomenon of Muslims coming to a living faith in Jesus is happening every day. This is part of the prophecy of the prophet Joel that in the last days God will pour out his spirit upon all people – sons and daughters will prophesy, young and old men will experience dreams and visions,” Darg said.
Darg, who is also author of the book “Miracles Among Muslims: The Jesus Visions,” says compiling a record of the visions is difficult because of how often it happens.
“There are so many! One former terrorist promised God he would die for him, Jesus spoke to him audibly and said, ‘I’m calling you not to die but to live for me!’ He was surprised,” Darg said.
“While all Christians, from a theological viewpoint, should be willing to lay down our lives for the Lord Jesus Christ who made atonement for us, nevertheless, this message of Jesus to the former terrorist is quite a refreshing reversal to the death-wish mantra of jihadists!” Darg said.
Darg noted some experts say at least a quarter of all Muslim-background believers have experienced some type of supernatural dream or vision about Jesus.
“When I share my faith with Muslims, I often ask them if they’ve had a dream or a vision about Jesus, and usually they answer positively,” she said.
In his research, Costenbader found accounts of “Isa dreams” are not new.

Author and Choices for Living President Jim Bramlett, who has lived in Saudi Arabia, believes that the phenomenon of Muslims experiencing visions and dreams of Jesus is definitely “supernatural.”
“They’re visions. They’re dreams. It’s a supernatural, sovereign act of God and it’s encouraging. It’s also happening more often than anyone knows,” Bramlett said.
Darg said simply talking about a dream or vision of Jesus opens the door for the Muslim convert to talk openly about the encounter.
“For a case in point, recently I was taking a tour group through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, and our guide had arranged for us to meet a Muslim cleric,” Darg said.
Soon it was time for questions and answers, and knowing that sheik was an expert on the mystical form of Islam, Sufism, Darg said she “felt he surely would have heard of some of his co-religionists who had experienced a dream about Jesus.”
“So I asked the sheik if he could share any examples with us. Suddenly, the man began to break down in tears. ‘I will tell you a secret. I myself have seen Jesus,’ he said, although he was speaking to my entire group,” Darg said.

Costenbader said the dreams, in the words of one woman he interviewed, transform lives.
“When I interviewed one woman from Iran, she said that they had all had dreams,” Costenbader said.
The woman told him: “Would you put your life on the line for a proposition? We need something transformational, that’s what these dreams are.”
Darg’s book has examples of Jesus appearing to multiple people at the same time.
“My research, as far as I know, is the only book to emphasize this fascinating fact. It’s one thing when Jesus appears to an individual, which He did to me when I was a young girl. He healed me of a life-threatening illness in an open vision.
“But it’s another dimension altogether when Jesus appears to a group simultaneously. I have a whole chapter in my book about the Lord appearing to Muslim schoolboys in Arabia in a classroom during Ramadan,” Darg said.
Bramlett said the visions could be the result of prayers for Muslims, but he says God is the one who is doing the work.
“I believe He’s sovereignly pouring out His presence to the Muslim people. It’s a product of His grace. He sent His Son to die for them and He loves them. This is one of His ways of communicating His love to them,” Bramlett said.
While Bramlett believes Muslims’ prior perception of Jesus as a prophet could help them come to terms with the visions, another factor is responsible for Muslim conversions.
“I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is at work, because Scripture says that no one can say Jesus is Lord apart from the Holy Spirit. So it’s His work,” Bramlett said.
Bramlett also notes an important attitude shift that he believes is necessary. He says the details of the stories should help Americans understand God’s desire to see the Arab people embrace Christianity.
“They themselves are God’s creation. Jesus wants to reach out to those precious souls,” Bramlett said.

The Arab League will hold an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss ongoing tensions in Jerusalem, among other regional issues, Kuwait’s envoy to the body announced Saturday.
Aziz al-Dihani said Kuwait called for the meeting to focus on the situation in Jerusalem amid “violations against the al-Aqsa Mosque” by Israel, the summer’s conflict in Gaza and the attack on Egyptian soldiers that left 31 dead, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.
Ongoing violence in Iraq would also be discussed, according to the Kuwait news agency KUNA.

Tensions over the Temple Mount, which contains the al-Aqsa Mosque, have ramped in recent days amid calls by Palestinian officials to “defend” the site against visits by Jewish Israelis.

The tensions over the site, known as Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, have come against the backdrop of near daily riots in some East Jerusalem flashpoint neighborhoods.
Several violent clashes occurred in the capital Saturday night between security forces and Palestinian protesters: A small improvised bomb was hurled at police forces in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, with no casualties reported; fireworks were fired at policemen in the Old City and in Wadi Joz; a 13-year-old Arab teen attacked a Jewish man near the Old City’s Damascus Gate, and was arrested.

Officials have vowed to crackdown on the violence, dispatching over a thousand police to flashpoint neighborhoods on the capital.
The situation in Gaza, where Israel fought a 50-day war with Hamas and other Palestinian factions will also be brought up in the Arab league meeting, according to Ma’an.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday called on all Knesset members to work to calm tensions surrounding the Temple Mount.
The prime minister spoke with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and asked for his assistance in reining in MKs on this issue and helping ensure they display responsibility and restraint, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The prime minister’s move came after right-wing activists and several MKs called for an en masse march Thursday to the Temple Mount as a response to the shooting of Rabbi Yehudah Glick Wednesday night at the hands of a Palestinian gunman.
Al-Aqsa, in the Old City, and adjacent neighborhoods have seen months of violence, and the mosque compound has been a rallying point for Palestinians.

A deal between the US and Iran, or an extension of talks on that contentious issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, are both terrible options that would further destabilize the Middle East and allow the Islamic Republic to develop atomic weapons with relative ease, a senior Israeli official said Sunday.
The official, who spoke under condition of anonymity, asserted that throughout the nuclear negotiations, the US had repeatedly conceded to Iranian demands, while Iran itself had not budged from its initial positions
“It would be a bad agreement,” the official told The Times of Israel. “The number of centrifuges the US agreed to [allow Iran to operate] is rising. Already, there are talks about 5,000 centrifuges, while it is clear that the Iranians do not need that many for civilian purposes.”

The official asserted the Iran had clearly conducted nuclear experiments in its covert Parchin military facility, which the Iranian government had closed off to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency despite repeated requests by the UN watchdog to investigate the site.
On Friday, the head of the IAEA was quoted saying Iran had not complied with its obligations to provide information on “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program, the New York Times reported.
Other weapons programs, such as the Iranian long-range missile project, were not even up for negotiation, the official said.
Yukiya Amano added that despite the fact that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had promised to address the issue, talks between the agency and Tehran
The official maintained that the US was keen to mend ties with the Islamic Republic in order to help solve other regional issues.
 have not progressed.

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