Just as Noah did in ancient times, world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham is sounding the alarm that the Second Coming is “near” and signs of the end of the age are “converging now for the first time since Jesus made those predictions.”
The remarks by Graham come amid a steadily rising wave of public interest in the end times, as demonstrated by recent polls and New York Times and recent bestselling books.
In September, a poll by the Ventura, Calif.-based Barna Group found 4 in 10 Americans--and 77 percent of evangelical Christians--believe the “world is now living in the biblical end times.”
In an exclusive email interview with WND, Graham, 94, who is giving what may be his last message to the world as part of the My Hope America with Billy Graham evangelistic outreach in early November, said the world is “coming toward the end of the age.”
“There’s a great deal to say in the Bible about the signs we’re to watch for and when these signs all converge at one place we can be sure that we’re close to the end of the age,” Graham wrote. “And those signs, in my judgment, are converging now for the first time since Jesus made those predictions.”
In his new book, “The Reason for My Hope: Salvation,” the famed preacher who has delivered the gospel message to more people face-to-face than anyone in history wrote the great hope of the Christian faith rests in the promised return of Christ.
Graham said he now has a burden for “sounding the alarm for humanity to repent and turn from their sin … just as Noah did in ancient days.”
“God keeps his promises, and this is why we can be sure that the return of Christ is near,” Graham said. “Scripture tells us that there will be signs pointing toward the return of the Lord. I believe all these signs are evident today.”
The evangelistic outreach and book come as a number of major evangelists--Graham, his son Franklin Graham, Reinhard Bonnke, Greg Laurie, Luis Palau, Banning Liebscher and others--are turning their attention toward America in the hope of helping ignite what Graham calls an end-times “great spiritual awakening.”
In what the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association describes as the largest outreach in its six-decade history, Graham will give a dynamic and poignant pre-recorded message the week of Nov. 7, his 95th birthday. The My Hope programs will be available for viewing online and on YouTube. The Cross, the primary program in the My Hope series, will be broadcast on the Fox News channel, TBN, Christian networks and local television stations in a number of cities.
The event follows an open letter Graham released in the summer of 2012 titled “My Heart Aches for America.”
In the letter, Graham wondered what his late wife, Ruth, would think of a nation in which “self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”
Graham compared America to the ancient city of Nineveh, the lone superpower of its time. When the prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, the people repented and escaped judgment, Graham wrote, adding he believes the same thing could happen today.
Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said there is an urgency and sense “that the Lord Jesus could be returning soon.”
“The Bible gives us warning signs,” he said. “Jesus told his disciples the things people should be looking for, and I believe all the prophecies that have to take place for Jesus to return have been fulfilled.”
One of the big prophecies was the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948.
“It’s just now a question of when is that time, and I believe in my own heart that it’s sometime soon,” he said. “When I say soon--the next 10, 20 years--I don’t know. But as far as the history of the world, I believe we’re coming down to the midnight hour on God’s clock.”
It’s a time, Billy Graham wrote in “The Reason for My Hope: Salvation,” to take the news of the day in one hand and the Bible in the other and watch the unfolding of the great drama of the ages come together.
“This is an exciting and thrilling time to be alive,” wrote Graham. “I would not want to live in any other period,” he said.
“The Apocalypse (the unveiling of the end times) speaks powerfully of trouble ahead with storm warnings that carrying a booming jolt of truth. The warning is clear: prepare to meet thy God--followed by the voice of the gentle Shepherd--’Come.’“
A new world is coming, Graham wrote. The paradise that humanity lost in the Garden of Eden will be regained. Christ is coming to conquer evil and establish his perfect rule over all creation
“But until then God wants to give everyone an opportunity to know Christ through repentance and faith,” Graham wrote. “Regardless of what society says, we can’t go on much longer in the sea of immorality without judgment coming. We are at a crossroads, and there are profound moral issues at stake. It is time to return to biblical truth.”