Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, January 30, 2022
A Conversation with Yeshua – When Will He Return? (Part 10) by Dr. Raymond Finney
INTRODUCTION: In last Sunday’s RR, I discussed the paradox of part of the world’s population falling from faith in Yeshua (apostasy and apathy), while others accept Yeshua as Savior. I suggested this paradoxical behavior will be due to conflicting activities of the long-prophesied “war” between forces of good (pro-God) and forces of evil (pro-Satan). This conflict was prophesied in the Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3:15-17), especially the protevangelium (first proclamation of the Gospel) in Genesis 3:15.
Today, I present a topic about evangelism that I find interesting. This topic is controversial. Some persons accept, while others refuse to accept, accounts of Yeshua appearing to nonbelievers in dreams and visions.
THE PROPHETS SPOKE: Peter speaking, quoted Joel in a pertinent end-time prophecy (Acts 2:16-17): “But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out My Ruach on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.’” Today’s RR gives examples of some fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy of dreams and visions in the last days. (This prophecy is recorded as Joel 3:1 in the Tree of Life Version, which follows the Hebrew numbering pattern, but as Joel 2:28 in most other versions.)
YESHUA SPOKE: Yeshua gave several commandments that the Gospel must be spread throughout the nations, including the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20): And Yeshua came up to [the eleven disciples] and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
WHAT IF? Consider three questions:
● What if the end of the Age of Grace is fast approaching, implying an urgency that all Believers’ tasks must soon be completed?
● What if Yeshua’s Followers have fallen behind and are not making “disciples of all nations” in sufficient numbers for God’s purposes?
● What if Yeshua must step in and start making disciples of all nations because a lazy, self-centered, apostate and apathetic Body of Believers (patterned after the Body in Laodicea, Revelation 3:14-22) is failing its mission?
Today’s RR suggests that Yeshua may be actually spreading the Gospel to the nations because we Believers are not keeping pace with the demand for more Followers.
REPORTS OF YESHUA PERSONALLY SPREADING THE GOSPEL: I reproduce a small sample of Internet-published reports that appear to show Yeshua’s active role in evangelism. More reports are available, which I cannot include (space limitations). Use a search engine to find these reports. I include a brief summary of each report. I also include the URL (Internet address), if you wish to read the entire report, as published.
Some news sources reporting such accounts are rated as having low or questionable credibility by media fact/ bias reporting services. Could such low ratings be because the sources present news considered “too far to the right” or “too Christian?” Expect news sources that uphold the Triune God to be vilified or marginalized in the last days. The media and Silicon Valley technocrats are becoming increasingly hostile toward Yeshua and those who follow Him. Several Scriptures admonish us to follow God, not man. Personally, I doubt much of what I am told by the mainstream media (MSM).
We read (Hosea 4:6a): [Adonai said] “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….” When our news sources are filled with lies, bias, political spin, and error, where can we learn the truth? Pontius Pilate probably spoke well at the conclusion of Yeshua’s trial (John 18:38a): Pilate said to [Yeshua], “What is truth?”…. I believe there are too many reports of Yeshua appearing in dreams or visions to unsaved persons to disregard them all as being concocted by “right-wing Bible thumpers.” I believe an important phenomenon is occurring throughout the nations of the world. To quote Fox News: “We report, you decide.” Consider two reports:
► Title: “When Muslims Dream of Jesus”
Source: The Gospel Coalition, May 31, 2018
Summary: A study of 750 former Muslims who converted to Christianity showed that one reason is a dream or vision from Yeshua. The Missions Frontier magazine also studied 600 Muslim converts to Christianity, finding that 25 per cent of the converts had a dream featuring Yeshua. Missionaries to Islamic nations report the same phenomenon. The Bible records dreams and visions from God as an integral part of spreading the Judeo-Christian faith. If dreams and visions were important in spreading faith centuries ago, why should dreams and visions not be important now? Muslims, especially Shia Muslims, are open to receiving divine messages through supernatural means. Dreams and visions of Yeshua appearing to a Muslim (the dreamer) typically have one or more of the following features: (1) Yeshua speaks Scriptures, even Scriptures the dreamer had never heard before. (2) Yeshua tells the dreamer to do something. (3) The effect of the dream or vision is that the dreamer feels cleansed or at peace. (4) A “Man in white” appears to the dreamer. Seven examples follow:
● An Iranian refuge was greatly disturbed by a “Man in white” who appeared to him, with hand raised and saying things he did not understand, including: “Stand up and follow Me. I am the Alpha and the Omega. I’m the way to heaven. No one can go to the Father, except through Me.” The refugee had never seen a Bible before, much less had any part read to him. When the message was explained, he became a Believer. The refugee left and returned within an hour with ten of his friends. All wanted Bibles.
● A woman Muslim did not believe in Yeshua. One day, a “Man in white” entered her room, called her by name, and said, “I told you, and I tell you again, I am the way and the truth. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” She instantly converted.
● An elderly Afghan woman had nothing to do with Yeshua all of her life. Sitting down to rest one day, she suddenly saw a bright light (brighter than the sun) coming from behind her. She heard a voice: “My daughter, my daughter, the door is open for you. Come!” She, a devout Muslim, resisted the voice, arguing, “The door is closed!” The voice persisted: “I am the Son of God [Yeshua]. The door is open for you, My daughter. I am the door!” She immediately accepted Yeshua as her Savior, and experienced profound peace and joy. She would later explain: “Many times [I have been encouraged] to pray that God would speak to me. I thought it was blasphemy! But now I know [Yeshua] is alive.” She took Bibles to her friends and relatives, insisting that they read about this Yeshua.
● Each member of a family in Kurdistan had the same dream, separately, that they should cross a certain river. When they obeyed and reached the other side, they were given a Bible by a Believer. All family members were converted to faith in Yeshua, and this Bible became a cherished family possession.
● A Muslim woman in Iran decided she should divorce her husband who, while in a refugee camp, had become a Christian. As a Muslim woman, she could not be married to a Christian man. She searched the Koran to see if Muhammad had written anything about Isa (Yeshua). He had! While reading about Yeshua in the Koran, the room became white, and she felt clean. She immediately became a Believer. No divorce was necessary because she was now “equally yoked” with her Believer husband.
● A Muslim family fleeing Turkey for Greece by boat lost their seven year-old daughter in the sea. All on board frantically searched for the little girl. She suddenly appeared on the opposite side of the boat, and said, “A Man who walked on the water took me and brought me to the other side of the boat.” The relieved parents dismissed her statement as childish gibberish. Upon arriving on the shore of Greece, they met a Believer who made a fire and asked, without knowing about the daughter’s near drowning experience, “Would you like to know about a God who walked on water?” The family burst into tears, knowing the little girl’s life had been saved by this God who could walk on water. They all became Believers.
● A mission team from the United States went to Athens, Greece for a short-term missions project. They held a sign, written in Greek, which simply stated, “We will interpret your dreams.” The dreams often contained Divine messages, unknown to the dreamers. In a few hours, the mission team had unlocked God’s hidden messages and had led fourteen people to salvation in Yeshua HaMashiach.
► Title: “Are large numbers of Muslims converting after having dreams and visions of Jesus Christ?”
Source: LifeSite News, December 7, 2021 (posted by well-known Dinesh D’Souza)
Summary: A “substantial number” of Muslims are converting to Christianity in Africa and the Middle East after accounts of curious dreams and visions of Yeshua HaMashiach. In Islam, Isa (Jesus, Yeshua) is considered a great prophet, but not the Son of God. (Islamic orthodoxy holds: Allah was neither begotten nor does he beget.) Numerous reports from Islamic nations show that many Muslims are being saved because they saw Yeshua in dreams or visions, beckoning them to follow Him. This phenomenon is so widespread that pastors and missionaries in this area have an acronym for such Believers– MBB (“Muslim Background Believer”).
In an old (2000) interview D’Souza made with an Al Jazeera leader, Sheikh Ahmad al Katani, the Sheikh estimated that “in Africa every hour Islam loses 667 Muslims [who] convert to Christianity, every day 16,000, [and] every year six million.” Other examples are given.
As D’Souza points out, these stories of Yeshua visiting Muslims in dreams and visions come from all over the world, wherever Muslims are found. He relates a story of a woman from Frankfurt, Germany who sought out a Catholic priest because “God… commanded [her] in a dream to go to the big church on the Market Square and ask for the ‘imam’… to tell [her] the truth.” [Imam = a Muslim prayer leader, somewhat similar to a pastor or priest.]
There are many other accounts of Muslims and nonbelievers who have been converted after a supernatural visitation from this “Man in white.” Interestingly, many of these accounts come from Muslims living in dar al-islam (lands devoted to Allah). These people are nearly impossible to reach by conventional means– Christianity is banned and Believers are strongly persecuted. Many dar al-islam lands once were Judeo-Christian, before Muhammad brought his religion to the area. Is Yeshua reclaiming former Judeo-Christian lands from Islam to His faith? Could He be establishing a remnant of Believers necessary for end-time faith?
SIDELIGHT– A NAYSAYER OPINES: Dennis McBride, pastor of Bethany Bible Church in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, studied the phenomenon of Yeshua deams, interpreting these events as follows: “[My] study concludes that the biblical support offered for the Muslim dreams phenomenon, when evaluated within the context of Scripture, does not, in fact, support the phenomenon. Therefore, I conclude that these dreams and visions lack biblical authority and must therefore be viewed as extra-biblical experiences generated from sources other than the Holy Spirit.” Of course, anything positive about Scriptures attracts detractors. See additional analysis at: https://www.biblicalintegrity.org/2012/03/01/muslim-visions-jesus/ . END sidelight.
VISIONS: Many persons have come to salvation by seeing Yeshua in a dream or vision. Three examples are:
► A vision reported by the Apostle Paul should be known to all Believers. Paul, then called Saul, was an avid persecutor of early Believers. He had lifelong remorse at his participation in the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr named in the B’rit Chadashah. He was suddenly transformed from a hater and persecutor of early Believers to one of the most ardent supporters of Yeshua and author of a major portion of the B’rit Chadashah. Read Paul’s Damascus Road conversion in Acts, chapter 9.
Initially, Yeshua’s disciples feared and shunned Saul (Paul). After Saul (Paul) told of his encounter with Yeshua, they welcomed him into their fellowship and mission (Acts 9:27): But Barnabas took [Saul] in and brought him to the emissaries. He described to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and the Lord had spoken to him, and how he had spoken boldly in the name of Yeshua. (Most translations use “apostles,” rather than the Tree of Life’s translation “emissaries.” “Apostle,” in this verse, is a transliteration of the Greek ἀποστόλους (apostolous). Consider how greatly Paul spread and taught the Gospel in the first century, and all because Yeshua appeared to him in a vision. How many persons have been impacted by Yeshua’s confrontation of Saul in a vision on the Road to Damascus?
► A few years later, the Apostle John, while held as a political prisoner of the Roman Emperor Domitian on the Island of Patmos, had a vision of Yeshua and angels, who came to him with specific instructions (Revelation 1:10-11a): I [John] was in the Ruach on the Day of the Lord, and I heard behind me a loud voice like that of a trumpet, saying, “Write what you see in a scroll, and send it to Messiah’s seven communities….” That vision written in a scroll is The Revelation, which gives important prophetic information about the last days, especially the Tribulation, as well as information about the relationship between a Believer and the Triune God. How many persons have been impacted by Yeshua’s appearance to John in a vision on the Isle of Patmos?
► I will mention a life-changing vision in modern times. Kirt Schneider grew up as an Orthodox Jew in a Jewish neighborhood in Beachwood, Ohio. He was exposed only to Judaism, and His religious literature was restricted to the Tanakh and similar Judaic texts. He had no relationship with Yeshua. At age 20, he had a vision of Yeshua hanging on the cross. He accepted Yeshua as His Savior. This relationship of Schneider with the Lord has lasted more than three decades– and still exists. He now is a Messianic Rabbi; hosts a Messianic television program, “Discovering the Jewish Jesus,” on Christian television; and has written books about his conversion experience, including Awakening to Messiah. (See: https://www1.cbn.com/leaving-it-all-behind-jesus .) Rabbi Schneider actively spreads and teaches the Gospel in the twenty-first century. How many persons have been impacted by Yeshua’s appearance to Kirt Schneider in his room as a brief vision?
CLOSELY RELATED? NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES: Now that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is so widespread and effective throughout the world, patients who formerly would have died (cardiac arrest) are now resuscitated (literally brought back to life) by drugs, physical measures, and oxygen. These patients are said to have experienced a “near death experience” (NDE). Many report a beautiful, peaceful, supernatural state (Paradise?); see deceased relatives and friends (significantly, never still-living relatives and friends); and may speak with a beautiful authority Person (Yeshua?). I have personally discussed NDEs with patients who have been resuscitated. There is no doubt in their minds that they were in a special, unique, supernatural place and were not experiencing a dream.
SIDELIGHT: While many NDE survivors report this beautiful experience (Paradise?), some report the exact opposite (Hell?). I attended a Blount County church with a man who had a hell-like experience. He described himself as a former drunk, “hell-raiser,” and atheist. After drinking too much at a local tavern one Saturday night, he crashed his automobile into a utility pole. He was rushed to Blount Memorial Hospital, where he underwent three cardiac arrests (with, obviously, three successful resuscitations). During the unconscious state of at least one of his cardiac arrests, he experienced a NDE. His description of this place of hellish torment in his NDE– and what he saw and heard there– is absolutely terrifying.
After a full recovery, he was discharged. He did not directly go home. He first sought a pastor, who happened to serve the church I attended. He gave his heart to the Lord that day. He has not touched alcohol since the accident. He knew he never wanted to see again the hell-like place he witnessed in his NDE. I never knew a more dedicated Believer than this former drunk, who apparently was given the privilege of seeing Hell, brought back to new life, and allowed to choose God over Satan. This near death vision snatched him from Hell to Heaven, and he now serves as an example for others.
If you think this is not possible, read Yeshua’s Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31). Yeshua told of the fates of two men– the poor beggar Lazarus, who loved God, and the rich man, who had little use for God. Their fates, after death, were remarkably different. Lazarus went to “Abraham’s side” – which we would now call Paradise– but the rich man went to Sheol– the place of dead for the wicked and damned. One of these two fates awaits every person– including you and me. Faith in Yeshua determines which fate is realized after death. Sound too simple? Paul explained (1 Corinthians 1:18): For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. END sidelight.
► The Apostle Paul surely experienced a NDE (2 Corinthians 12:2-4): I know a man in Messiah (whether in the body I don’t know, or whether out of the body I don’t know– God knows) fourteen years ago, he was caught up to the third heaven. I know such a man (whether in the body or outside of the body I don’t know– God knows) he was caught up into Paradise and heard words too sacred to tell, which a human is not permitted to utter. The “man in Messiah” Paul knew surely was Paul himself. Paul nearly died in Lystra, after being stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19). Paul briefly seemed to describe common features of a NDE, including an out-of-body experience and wondrous sights and sounds (“words too sacred to tell”).
SIDELIGHT: Incidentally, I recommend that you not be so hard-headed that you believe only what you have experienced in the past. God has an entire Universe, and Heaven, and Hell with things you have never experienced and cannot even imagine are possible. The fullness of God may never be fully revealed to us. We will probably spend much of eternity, wide-eyed and merely saying, “Wow!” Paul, seldom at a loss for words, was left speechless after his brief glimpse of Paradise. END sidelight.
Why mention NDE? This experience, although differing from the dreams and visions featuring Yeshua, demonstrates another dimension of which we small-minded humans have little knowledge. I am a very stupid person, but I am smart enough to recognize my stupidity. I recognize the tremendous limitations of my pea-sized brain. However, I listen respectfully to others, when they tell about the glory of God. I am not so arrogant that I believe I know everything about God. I do believe there is more to God than we can even begin to fathom, as Paul reminded us (1 Corinthians 2:9): But as it is written, “Things no eye has seen and no ear has heard, that have not entered the heart of mankind– these things God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Scriptures clearly tell us about a superior God (Isaiah 55:8): “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. When you hear others testify about the glories of God (even including NDEs, or dreams, or visions), respectfully listen with an open mind. You may learn something. This may be God’s way of teaching you unknown truths.
I have heard comparisons of humans and ants. An ant may observe a modern skyscraper being built next to its anthill home. Would the ant be much help trying to communicate with and advise the architects, engineers, and workers designing and building the skyscraper? Of course not. But, we humans have no hesitancy in telling God how He should operate the Universe. Our humanly views are probably as helpful to God as an ant’s views are helpful to the skyscraper builders.
SUMMARY: Scriptures tell us that God wants as many persons as possible to escape damnation in Hell (2 Peter 3:9): The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some consider slowness. Rather, He is being patient toward you– not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance.
Some of these accounts of Yeshua appearing in dreams and visions require faith in the supernatural power of an omnipotent God. Faith, the basis of our spiritual life, must always be kept strong and alive (Hebrews 11:1): Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen. Yeshua told us to believe in things greater than ourselves (John 3:12): “If you do not believe the earthly things I told you, how will you believe when I tell you about heavenly things?”
We Believers have Yeshua’s commandments to seek out the lost. God has given us impressive tools to reach the lost. Most of us, though– and I sadly include myself in this list of shame– do far, far too little to spread the Gospel. God will not let our laziness, our apathy, our apostasy, our lack of love for our neighbors defeat His purposes. We may be seeing now– and may see more in the future– supernatural (Divine) manifestations, such as visions, dreams, and other events from Heaven, to accomplish for the Kingdom that which we Believers neglect to accomplish.
To quote the prophet once again (Joel 2:8, or 3:1 TLV): “And it shall be in the last days,” says God, “that I will pour out My Ruach on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” Shalom and Maranatha.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 30-Jan-2022 28th of Sh’vat, 5782
Ex 25:1-16 1 Ki 16 Ps 107 Jn 4:1-30 (1 Tim 4)