Several media outlets are reporting that churches across Europe are seeing thousands of Middle Eastern refugees, most of them Muslims, turning to Christ.
Recently the Pastor of a Persian Church in Hamburg, Germany baptized 600 Muslims in one service, largely Afghans and Pakistanis. And it was done for all to see as a local TV station — ARD TV — showed up with its cameras in tow to film the momentous event..
In the same city, Pentecostal Pastor Albert Babjan just baptized 80 former Muslims who had converted to Christ. So far this year, Babjan has baptized 196 Muslims and expects the number could reach 500 by December.
In an interview with the German newspaper Stern, Babjan said that many of the converts are turning to Christianity because of their disappointment in Islam.
They are tired of the Islamic extremists’ fear and intimidation tactics in the countries from which they fled. Stern interviewed one of the recently baptized Christian converts that Babjan had just baptized and described the difference between Christianity and Islam this way:
“In Islam we always lived in fear. Fear God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. But Christ is the God of Love.”
The Pastor of a German Evangelical-Lutheran Church called the 1,200 Iranians and Afghans who have converted and joined his church over the past three years as “a gift from God.”
And this move of God among the Muslims is not limited to Germany. Churches in other European countries, such as Belgium and Holland, are witnessing a similar growth.
The Dutch New Life Evangelical church now provides a Farsi translation during its service delivered via headphones after 50 Iranians and Afghans accepted Christ this past year. In an interview with the newspaper Trouw , Pastor Ab Meerbeek said the recent converts were “touched by God’s word during the prayer sessions.”
Oddly, the refugee crisis may be fulfilling Biblical prophecy.
Throughout the Old Testament, there are several references at some future date of people in the countries surrounding Israel turning to Jehovah. Today, these would be largely Muslim.
Not all of them would turn to Jehovah, but the Bible predicted a remnant (10%). One country specifically named, Edom, would today have descendants living in many of the Middle East’s Islamic nations:
“In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David,
And wall up its breaches;
I will also raise up its ruins
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom
And all the nations who are called by My name,”
Declares the Lord who does this. (Amos 9:11-12 NASV)
But if these prophecies were given to Israel, how could they apply to the Church.
There is a simple explanation, the early Church looked upon itself as the true Israel of God –– the Jews who accepted Jesus as the Messiah. In fact, Paul refers to the church as the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) and Stephen called Israel the Church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38).
The Church is simply the continuation of Israel.
As such, the early church believed the church fulfilled the Amos prophecy about Edom.
After the Holy Spirit fell on the gentiles in the Book of Acts, the early church leaders used this passage at the Jerusalem conference to explain why the gentiles should be welcomed into the church as equals with the Jews (Acts 15).
Along a similar vein, the prophet Zechariah predicted that people would be coming to the Jews (Christians) and asking how to become believers. He speaks prophetically of ten men from every nation (a remnant) grabbing the cloaks of the Israelis and wanting to be part of this group because God was with them.
22 So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord.’ 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’” (Zechariah 8:22-23 NASV)
Isaiah similarly prophesied that the Cush and Sabeans whose descendants similar to the Edomites now populate the Middle East will declare there is no other God like Jehovah (Isaiah 45:14).
With many world leaders now describing ISIS’s extermination of Christians in Iraq and Syria as genocide, a few chapters later Isaiah declares that many of those who oppressed Israel (the Church) will accept Jehovah (Isaiah 60:14).
Zephaniah similarly predicted that people from the nations who had afflicted Israel (the Amonites, Philistines, Babylonians, Moabites, Assyrians, Persians, etc) would become Christians (Zephaniah 3:19).
- Thousands of refugees suddenly flocking to Jesus: Christian Broadcasting Network
- Why Are So Many Muslim Refugees in Europe Suddenly Finding Jesus?: Daily Beast
- Mass baptism when refugees discover Christ: The Stern (German)
Vluchtelingen in Nederlandse kerken: de verschillen blijven: Trouw (Dutch)