We have all heard the tributes that poured in when Dr. Graham closed his life on February 21st, 2018. His was a remarkable journey and he touched countless thousands of people during his many crusades. And thousands who heeded the call of Dr. Graham and came forth to accept Christ at the crusades discovered the peace and joy they were seeking when they came under the Blood of Jesus. Of course, many thousands were just caught up in the moment and their lives never really experienced any significant change. But, Billy Graham was something special, he had his struggles like most of us, but his walk with Jesus and his dedication to the Word of God made a powerful impact on all of those who sat spellbound when he was speaking. You can shut your eyes and visualize the power of Dr. Graham’s words reverberating through his vast audiences, like these that flowed through a British crusade in 1954, “Ladies and Gentlemen, God made us; but we were sold to slavery. We became spiritual and moral slaves. And Jesus Christ came to redeem us, to bring us back to God. Now the Bible teaches that, because of sin, we are in the devil’s prison. You say, `Well, I’m not a slave. I feel fine. I can do as I like now’. You can’t. You are in a moral and spiritual prison whether you know it or not. The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Bible teaches that we are under the power of Satan. Man is the prisoner of his own sin”.
It’s interesting how different people come to God, remember, even Billy Graham had to make a personal decision when God called him. It has been reported that Dr. Graham’s mother, at their farmhouse in 1926, was earnestly praying for her eight year old son, that he may discover his strong Christian roots. I can only imagine her delight, when at the age of 16, Billy made his personal decision for Christ in an evangelistic campaign conducted by Dr. M. Fowler Ham. Then, three years later, he heard the call to abandon his secular ambitions and devote his life to the ministry of the Gospel. And we all know how effective he was throughout his life. When he was introduced to an English audience, the speaker said, “Unless you have actually heard this young preacher, you will not be able to read his words quite as those who heard them in the Harringay Arena, and who have come to respect and love him. They have listened in that colossal arena to his honest and rugged assault upon our wickedness. And they have seen for themselves his genuine humility, his remarkable simplicity and obvious trust in God. There is also something about this young man’s utter faith in the written Word that makes an impression quite impossible to convey here. It has found its way into the hearts of notable intellectuals”.
I mentioned Dr. Fowler, his first name was Mordecai. In 1926, he visited England on a speaking engagement. He spoke of the deeper understanding of Scripture, of the confirmation and wonder of God’s purpose of world salvation which he had found since he had realized the working out of God’s covenanted promises to Abraham. The invitation to speak was extended by his good friend, the Reverend Dr. Wm. Pascoe Goard” on behalf of the Annual Congress of the British Israel World Federation. You see, almost from the beginning of his Ministry, Mordecai Ham was fully aware that his twenty-five years of evangelical work had been singularly enriched and even more encouraged by the heartening knowledge of the Israel Truth. Rev. Graham did not embrace this doctrine; perhaps if he had, he would not have been the success of bringing people to Christ. God obviously had a different path for him to travel.
As a short aside, as a young 20 year old, your editor and a friend drove from Canada’s Province of New Brunswick to New York City for a summer adventure in 1957. While we were wandering the streets, we passed Madison Square Garden where a Billy Graham Crusade was being conducted. Curious, we went in and despite the constant urging from my friend to leave shortly thereafter, I was memorized and when Reverend Graham began to speak, I remember paying attention to a minister for the first time and when I arrived back home, I picked up a Bible, also probably for the first time. I can’t remember all that Billy Graham said that day, although I have since watched the sermon on Internet, but the experience stayed with me throughout life. And when I was invited to attend his Vancouver Crusade, this time as a fairly committed Christian, 1 jumped at the chance. Reverend Graham may not have believed the Israel Truth, as we do, but I am one of the millions with strengthened faith because of him. Thank you, Billy.
To conclude this article, I would like to print an intriguing analysis by Michael Clark, president of the British Israel World Federation, UK. There is no one in our Movement today with such a handle on the understanding of numerics and their prophetic significance. Here is what he wrote me on Reverend Graham’s death.
(1918 Nov 7 to 2018 Feb 21)
Preacher and Witness to the coming of Jesus Christ
Billy Graham was born in the USA 4 days (the world number) before the Armistice of Nov 11, 1918. He preached to the world as a witness to the world of Jesus Christ and of His Coming again as King of kings and Lord of lords. He was converted under the preaching of Mordecai Ham, a Kingdom truth believer.
We may say that his witness was as a John the Baptist, coming in the spirit of Elijah, before the Appearing or Second Coming of Jesus Christ to take up the Throne of David — The Kingdom in our Midst (see the BIWF website for more information).
Billy lived 99 years and 99 days plus 7 days – significant of the solemn ‘Amen’ or ‘Verily’ of our Lord Jesus Christ, in years and days, plus an extra seven days confirming a spiritually perfected period of life.
Editor’s Concluding Comment: Billy Graham often counselled the attendees at his Crusades by telling them there will never be a moment again like this, as he quoted Jesus, “If you are not willing to deny self and take up the cross and follow Him, you can’t be a disciple”. I think the beauty of our knowing the Israel Truth is the reason we experience the greater joy and firmer desire to follow Him.