(December 6, 2020) Honouring the memory of the late missionary statesman Dr George Forbes we rerun one of his previously posted Christmas blogs, the incident of the ‘voice in the night’ phenomenon…
In contrast to stories of apparitions and spirits these ‘mysterious voice’ speaking to Muslims reports have been extremely specific, constant and detailed.
There have been literally thousands of reported dreams and visions of devout Muslims, including many Imams, Mullahs and Sheiks who have seen ‘Isa’ and heard him speak to them.
(Note: Isa an Arabic translation of Jesus, itself having a Hebrew origin).
Phenomenon converts many Muslims
This phenomenon has led to the conversion of large numbers of Muslims. They have become convinced of the gospel by the appearance of Jesus and by his words of life. I and many others are convinced these reports are genuine.
God loves every Muslim – as indeed he loves every man, woman and child on earth. His love for all humanity was focused on Calvary when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified as the sin-bearer and Saviour of the world (John 3:16).
The scriptures declare in Romans 5:6 that, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. The apostle Peter wrote that, ‘Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God ‘(1 Peter 3:18).
This gospel truth is transforming people right around the world, with a significant number of conversions occurring among former Muslims.
Mysterious encounters with Christ
Stories are being told of many such encounters, where the Lord Jesus Christ appears to individuals, even leaders in the Muslim world. These are days of amazing contrasts between light and darkness, hope and hopelessness.
A young Muslim in Africa, whom we shall call ‘Ahmad’, related his own spiritual awakening. He belongs to a people group that exceeded 26 million people among whom there were only three known believers in Jesus Christ.
Ahmad told about disharmony in his marriage. That his children were sick and weak, his crops simply didn’t grow, and his livestock multiplied erratically. True to his folk-Muslim culture, he went to a spiritualist for advice.
After describing the problems in his life, he received this word, one that carried an unusual assurance: ‘I will sacrifice a chicken on your behalf. You are to return home, fast and meditate for three days and three nights. On the third night, an answer to your problems will come.’
‘Find Jesus,’ a voice directs
Ahmad did exactly as he was instructed by ‘the spiritualist’… but the result was unexpected!
‘On the third night, a voice – without a body – came to me, saying, “Find Jesus, find the good news,”’ he recalled.
Ahmad knew nothing but Islam. He had nothing but a Quran. He had never heard of a Bible and had never met a Christian. He did not know whether ‘Jesus’ was some fruit, a vegetable or a rock. He did, however, want the good news he had just been told about.
This voice instructed him to go to a particular city about five hours away, a city he had never visited. There was more mystery: The voice also instructed him to ask the first two men he met in the city to direct him to a certain street. Then, he was to search for a door marked with certain numbers.
A five-hour mountainous journey
Without informing his wife or children, Ahmad left his village the next day to walk five hours over the mountains. Arriving at the city, he obediently asked the first two men he saw to direct him to a certain street.
He walked down that street until he found the door numbered as told him by the voice. He knocked and knocked until it was opened by an older gentleman.
‘What do you want?’ the older man asked. The young man answered, ‘I have come to find Jesus and the good news!’
A hand shot out and pulled him into the house. ‘You Muslims must think I am idiot to fall for something like this!’ the older man cried. But Ahmad replied, ‘Sir, I do not know if you are an idiot or not, but this is why I have come: I have been told to come.’ Over the next hour, Ahmad told his story.
The Holy Spirit has been moving among Muslims
Amazingly God had led this young man to the home of one of the only three believers known among his people group at the time! Patiently, this older man shared the story of Jesus with him until the good news became his own.
The young man returned to his village. Over time, his wife saw the change in his life and she too became a believer. His children regained their health; his crops and livestock prospered.
The most significant thing is that many others in Ahmad’s village also became believers in Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit moved in that place. This is equally true of many more places where the Lord is moving sovereignly among Muslim peoples. The glory belongs to God alone!
May many everywhere hear the voice of good news!
This month we hear carols played and sung and we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We can also celebrate the fact that many including Muslims have found Jesus – and that many more can find not the babe of Bethlehem but the reality of the man of Calvary, the risen Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Ahmad was obedient to those directions he heard from that mysterious voice. For we who know Christ as Saviour and Lord, moving in obedience to his command without necessarily seeing all the pieces of the divine plan and purpose, is a fundamental action of faith!
We are commanded to ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19)… and this calls for faith in action. We cannot be fruitful in the service of Christ without active faith in his word. We will never impact unreached people groups and evangelise the lost – without a faith that dares and a love that cares!
It’s almost Christmas – a time when people are expecting good things and encouragements by way of cards and gifts. The gospel speaks of the greatest gift of all – God’s gift of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
You may never be called to be a missionary overseas but even here at home you can fulfil the great commission in your local suburbs! You can find opportunities to share the good news of the gospel, the real reason for the season. May all Christians help lost sinners discover Jesus, the man of Calvary!
Dr George Forbes was former director World Missions, AoG Australia (ACC). Widely known for his heart for the lost of the nations, he had a wealth of missionary knowledge, and a unique ability to communicate the global picture.