Question: “Is God giving people in closed countries dreams and visions to bring them to faith in Christ?”
Answer: In Acts 10, a man in Caesarea named Cornelius receives a vision from God instructing him to send for a man named Peter (Simon Peter, an apostle of Jesus), who was in Joppa. Meanwhile, Peter receives a vision that instructed him to go with the men Cornelius sent. Peter arrives at Cornelius’s house, shares the gospel, and Cornelius and his entire family receive Jesus Christ as Savior. What an amazing and miraculous account!
In recent years, there have been many reports of people coming to faith in Christ through dreams and visions. The reports are most common in “closed” countries, that is, places where access to the Bible and the gospel is limited.
The stories are inspiring: a missionary’s car breaks down, and as he is waiting for help, a man approaches him and asks if he is God’s messenger. The missionary learns of a dream the man had that told him to go to that exact location to find “God’s messenger.” The missionary returns with the man to the village and proclaims the gospel, and the entire village comes to faith in Christ.
A Muslim man experiences a vision in which Jesus reveals Himself as the true prophet of God, the only Savior, and the only way of reconciliation with God. The Muslim man, at the risk of his life, forsakes Islam and embraces Christ.
What are Bible-believing Christians to do with miraculous claims like these? First, we should recognize that such events are entirely possible. As seen in Acts 10, God has worked in this way. Also, the apostle Paul was brought to faith in Christ through a vision (Acts 9:3–6); and Ananias, who later ministered to Paul, was sent to Paul through a vision (Acts 9:10–19). God at times worked through dreams and visions in the Bible, and there is no reason He could not do so today.
Second, we need to approach claims of dreams and miracles with an appropriate amount of discernment. It is highly unlikely that all such claims are true, even if the results appear to be good. People of false religions also report converts due to dreams, visions, prophecies, etc. Satan is a counterfeiter (2 Corinthians 11:14), and the Bible declares that miraculous revelations can be faked (Ezekiel 13:7; 1 John 4:1–6).
Third, when we hear of such amazing miracles—even if they are verified as true—we need to refocus our attention on the Word of God. Only the Word of God never fails (1 Peter 1:25). Only the Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and authoritative. As Jesus said, if people will not listen to the Word of God, they will not listen even if the most amazing of miracles is performed in front of them (Luke 16:31).
Finally, we are to worship and praise God for the amazing ways that He works. Whether a person is brought to faith in Christ through a simple gospel presentation or through a dream or vision, we should be rejoicing with the angels (Luke 15:10).