The founder of a ministry devoted to serving the Iranian underground church says that many people in the restrictive nation have encountered Jesus through dreams and visions — something that might seem foreign to those living in Western cultures.
The Rev. Lazarus Yeghnazar, founder of Transform Iran, an organization preaching the Gospel in Iran and planting churches, told CBN’s Faithwire how many Iranians find themselves enraptured by Christ following these apparitions. “They know it was real and they cannot stop talking about it, hence the severe persecution, the severity of the brutality,” Yeghnazar said of the persecution many Iranian Christians face. “[Believers will say], ‘I saw a vision of a man in a white robe, with a cross on his shoulder or on his heart, and he says, ‘I am Jesus.'”
While many Christians in the West might meet Jesus as the result of others sharing the Gospel, these dreams and visions are the touchpoints in Iran that spark life-change and heart transformation. Yeghnazar pointed back to Scripture to show how God has used visions to communicate with humanity in the past and explained why Iranians might be having this spiritual experience today. “In the Middle East, people see visions,” he said. “In the Western understanding, we want everything to be tangible, verifiable, accountable.” But he said the dynamic is quite different in the Middle East, where these experiences deeply resonate with those who have them. “In Iran, people see a vision — they will wake up sweating and shaking,” Yeghnazar said. He cited specific biblical examples of when God spoke to prominent figures through dreams, delivering life-altering and important messages. “You know, paving that way from Abraham to Moses, to Daniel, to Joseph, to Mary, the mother of Christ … all of them see dreams,” Yeghnazar said. “Peter, at the beginning of his ministry, started seeing dreams.” The preacher said people might be surprised to see the juxtaposition when it comes to the prevalence of God speaking through dreams for Westerners versus those in the Middle East. “Any gathering of Iranians or Afghan Christians, if you say, ‘How many have seen dreams that have been touched, if not radically, transformed because of a vision,’ 90% will raise their hands,” he said. “If you ask a church in Wisconsin, or in Maryland, or Boston, ‘How many people have come to Christ through a dream?’ they would say, ‘What is a dream?'” Sadly, we also know that many of these people are not born again and do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling their spirit. When the prophesied “last days” tribulation comes upon us many will fall away. However, many will cry out to God and He will turn up in dreams and visions as He is in Iran. Watch for the full discussion.