Some say Evangelist Billy Graham was one of God’s prophets.
Just got the word that Billy Graham had died at his home in North Carolina after battling cancer, pneumonia and other ailments. Arguably the most well-known evangelist, he was 99. There will be a lot written about Billy Graham over the next few days. Many will honor his lifetime commitment from 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Others will try to tear down his longstanding reputation. I have had some small heated conversations over those detractions, but for me personally, Graham lives on as a good and faithful servant to the Lord.
My wife Chris attended one of Billy Graham Crusades at Cleveland Stadium in Ohio when she was 12. She describes it as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to hear him preach the word “the way only he does it.” She didn’t go down for the altar call because she was already saved. She recalls that there were hardly anyone in their seats when the call was made. This is the profound impact of a man who committed his life to telling others of the good news of the gospel. From earthly kings to the poor and less fortunate, Graham stood as a reminder of the light of Christ. He preached Christ can turn your life around, provide hope, direction, love, truth, and most of all, eternal salvation.
Before I first went into ministry, I believed the Lord was calling me to evangelize. I began to read everything I could get my hands on to find out about spreading the word of God and those who did it well. From the Wesleys’ to Billy Sunday to Dwight Moody to Reinhard Bonnke to Smith Wigglesworth to D. James Kennedy, I read them all. But the one who I read the most was Billy Graham. Billy Graham had a simple message and a powerful delivery. He was not fancy or showy. Billy was direct, to the point, and believable. As AP writes in announcing his death, “Graham reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio. Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society.”
Now there are a few Christians out there trying to make some sort of spiritual sense out of Billy Graham’s death. Some are saying it is a sign of the coming rapture. Others are reading into his death and making predictions. I think it is obvious Graham died before the rapture. We are all still here. He has gone on to the Lord naturally. So yes, the rapture will come after Graham’s death. But there is a whole lot of prophecy to be fulfilled before the return of the Lord and the gathering up of the saints. For me, there is no spiritualization of Billy Graham’s death. He walked as a man, talked as a man, lived as an example to the rest of us. He wanted all to have the opportunity to arrive at their appointed time where he is today. As a result, that’s the significance of his life and death as I see it.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!