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There Are No More Billy Graham's In America Or The World!

While Christians around the world are mourning the death of Billy Graham and I suppose many non-believers who admired him, I remember what he said about his death - "Some day you will hear that I died, don't believe it, I will be very much alive and in Heaven with the Lord".  We can be assured that Billy Graham, the long-time faithful evangelist who never like some, left his calling as a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is this very moment in Heaven rejoicing around the throne of God with all the other departed saints. And there is no doubt upon arriving in heaven, he heard these words from the Lord Jesus, "Well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in a few things and I will make you a ruler over many things". 

The first time I saw Billy Graham was in 1952 at one of his crusades in Tyler, Texas held in a football stadium. Even though I was a small boy, I remember there was standing room only left in the stadium. While I didn't understand much of what he said, a great number of people came forward to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. 

Then in 1980's I personally met Mr. Graham at another one of his outdoor crusades held at the Rice University football stadium in Houston, Texas. My brother was a guest speaker that night so he introduced me to Mr. Graham. I remember shaking his hand and telling him what an honor it was to meet him. He smiled and said, "Allen I am pleased to meet you and my the Lord bless you".  I sensed I was in the presence of a great man of God who was truly a Nathaniel except for one or two occasions.  When Jesus was calling His disciples, he saw Nathaniel at a distance and said, "Here is a man without any guile" meaning there was no hypocrisy in his life. He was a totally honest person.  There aren't many Nathaniel's today in our world, but an abundance of hypocrites and liars even among the clergy.

Billy Graham came from humble surroundings in North Carolina as his parents were farmers. I think what made him a great man of God is that he never forgot his humble beginnings.  He would preach to millions all over the world and rub elbows with world leaders including presidents and the Pope's, yet he never let his popularity go to his head. Several times in his long career, he was enticed to enter politics and each time he would say that was not his calling - his one calling was to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he did with great boldness more so as a young man.  In his older age, he mellowed somewhat and backed off from the once fiery bold presentation of biblical truth he was known for, and on one occasion, he apologized for the "One-Way Message" of Jesus Christ, I believe because of the Muslim clerics he shared a seat with that day - September 14, 2001 at the National Cathedral. I remember how my heart sank when this great man of God seemed to cower under the influence of the Islamic religion. His Son, Franklin Graham would never have done that.

That just proves that all of us are born sinners and none of us are perfect in God's sight for the Scriptures attest, "There is none righteous, no not a one for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". Even the mightily anointed servant of Jesus Christ, Billy Graham, was not perfect and had his faults. However, that does not take away from the sum of his life, which was devoted to the God and Christ whom he loved with all his being. He remained steadfast and was never accused or involved in any of the sins and scandals that have plagued modern day pastors and evangelists. The list of those who have fallen into sexual sin and financial corruptness is too long to mention. The Christian community thought at one time Baptist evangelist, James Robison, would be the next Billy Graham because of his fiery bold preaching until he had an extra marital affair and previous to that, he and his ministry partner, musical soloist ,John McKay, parted company. In addition, James was fired from his ABC television program for preaching that homosexuality is a sin. Secular and religious liberals crucified him for that stand. Not long after all of the aforementioned, James left his calling as an evangelist and it was obviously he was not going to fill Billy Graham's shoes. 

One thing that always impressed me about Billy Graham is that he did not personally aspire to living "high-on-the-hog" as many modern day so-called pastors and preachers of the mega churches do. He and his wife Ruth lived in the same modest house in North Carolina throughout their marriage and ministry. While it is true, his ministry received millions of dollars in donations, most of it went to support his world-wide crusades. The Grahams lived comfortably, but not extravagant.  

If you want to see what a true man of God is and was in a bold fearless presentation of biblical truth, look at some of the tapes and videos of his early years even into his forties. Countless souls came under strong conviction of sin due to his unapologetic preaching that everyone born into this world is a sinner and needs the forgiveness of God afforded in Jesus Christ's death on the cross and resurrection. He was not afraid to preach the judgment of God and warned not only the crowds he preached to, but the politicians in Washington, D.C.  As I said previously, in his later years, he mellowed his message somewhat and preached more that God loved all people and wanted everyone to go to heaven when they died, but he never backed down from preaching there was only one way to heaven - repentance and faith in the shed blood of Jesus. In that regard, his son, Franklin Graham is much like him. 

There are no more Billy Grahams in America and in this world and maybe that is a sign God is about to close out the Church Age and usher in the days of judgment referred to in the Bible as the Tribulation Period. As I write in my book, The Day of the Lord, The Key To Understanding End-Time Prophecy, Satan must first have his day (the Great Tribulation) before the Lord returns on the posttrib Day of the Lord.  (See 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9, but note that verses 8 and 9 have been mistranslated in every translation of the Bible for the original Greek indicates that Satan must first have his day, then the Lord returns on the Day of the Lord. What is being held back or restrained is the Day of the Lord and what is holding it back is that Satan has been given by God one last ditch effort to rule this world - the restraining period is the 3 1/2 years, 42 months, and 1260 days of the Great Tribulation). 

I will miss Billy Graham and when I close my eyes, I can still hear his long time friend, ministry partner and music director, Clifford Barrows, lead the crusade choirs in the invitation song, "Just As I Am", as throngs of people made their way down the aisles to the front of the platform from which Billy preached to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior:

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Our generation was blessed to have the ministry and life of evangelist, Billy Graham. 

Thank you Lord for giving us this honorable man of God and we know that he is with you in heaven this very day.