Some have doubted the veracity of Fred Lemon’s testimony. Others have gone so far as to say that Jesus would never appear to anyone until He comes for His saints. But if anyone were to listen to Fred tell his tale, as has been my privilege, they would think otherwise. Furthermore, the world is replete with examples of Moslems having visions and dreams of Jesus, by which they have received Him into their hearts, no matter the cost to themselves. Shall we put false limits on the Lord’s ability to reach the lost?
The Bible records three similar occasions where wicked people have been met by the Lord, or been severely apprehended by Him. Let’s have a look at the evidence. First of all we meet with Nebuchadnezzar. What was he like?. Listen as Daniel addresses King Belshazzar.
“O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.” (Daniel 5:18-21)
To whom much is given, much is expected, hence the severity of the judgment. “Let his heart be changed from that of a man, let him be given the heart of a beast, and let seven times pass over him. This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones.” (Daniel 4:16-17)
What was the result? This is the king’s testimony. “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:34)
Our second example is King Manasseh of Judah, who reigned for 55 years. “He did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.” (2 Kings 21:2-6) “Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD.” (2 Kings 21:16)
What happened? “The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon. Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.”
There is an interesting little addition to this story, found in the Apocrypha under the title “The Prayer of Manasseh”.
Our third example is Saul of Tarsus. Let us hear what he had to say to King Agrippa whilst in detention. “I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.” (Acts 26:9-11)
But all this came to a very sudden and unexpected end. “At midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” (Acts 26:13-19)
His testimony some years later was this. “I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10. “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8)
Here then is the evidence of major interventions in the lives of four men, all of whom were desperately wicked, and the outcome was to the glory of the Lord in each case. Tomorrow we shall see some deeper truth behind these four testimonies.