Rev. Billy Graham (BGEA)
Observing the “gross sin and wickedness” in the world, Pastor Billy Graham drew a parallel with today’s society and “the days of Noah,” when the “great Day of Judgment draws ever nearer,” and a “catastrophe as great and terrible” as the flood awaits those who refuse “to enter the ark of salvation.”
“The days of Noah are returning to the Earth, and a catastrophe as great and terrible awaits those who refuse to enter into the ark of salvation, which is Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Graham in a commentary in the May edition of Decision magazine, which is published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
“The Bible many times warns that toward the end of history as we know it, there will be a return to pre-flood conditions of gross sin and wickedness,” says Pastor Graham. “The Scripture says concerning the people of Noah’s day, ‘Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’ (Genesis 6:5).”
He then notes that in Matthew 24, Christ warned, “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Artist's depiction of Noah's ark and
the flood. (Wikimedia)
“As the great Day of Judgment draws ever nearer, we see these very things happening about us,” says Rev. Graham.
“It would seem,” he continues, “that we were reading from an article in a modern magazine as we read Paul’s word to Timothy, ‘But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
That is what the world will be like toward the end, but we do not know exactly when that judgment will come, explained Pastor Graham. Nonetheless, “there are many indications that we are now living in the closing period of history,” he said, “and we are warned from the Scriptures that we are to repent and return to Christ as that day draws nearer.”
In addition to Noah and the Flood, Billy Graham drew a parallel between today’s society and ancient Rome.
“All ancient civilizations have gone down to destruction through sin,” said Rev. Graham. “Rome went on a gigantic spree toward the end of her history -- just as the world has been doing now for the past several years. Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D.; Rome’s overthrow came more than 400 years later. One moment, almost omnipotent power was within Rome’s grasp; and the next, destruction.”
“The world today is heading the same way,” he said. “Immorality and uncleanness occupied the minds of Roman rulers and of antediluvians. So today, we see a world saturated with sexual sins in places high and low.
Artist's depiction of people drowning
in the flood. (Public Domain)
Many people today “have deliberately chosen the way of sin and death,” said Rev. Graham. Also, there are many who “think they are saved, [but] who have a false notion that they can be a Christian and live any way they like,” he said, which makes them indistinguishable from the world.
They are deceiving themselves, said the pastor, and when the end comes – the person’s life or the world itself – the false Christians will cry out to God but will not find Him. The ark of salvation will no longer be open.
As in the days of Noah, “[o]utside the ark, men and women were struggling for their lives, clutching at pieces of driftwood until the pitiless hand of death reached up and drew them down beneath those cruel and relentless waves,” said Rev. Graham.
“All were lost,” he said. “There was not one soul outside the ark who did not perish. They had had their chance but tossed it away. There were hundreds that day who were close to the ark and yet lost.”
“This fearful scene from the Bible is a prototype, a shadow of that day of judgment that lies before our world,” said Pastor Graham.
Toward the end of his commentary, Rev. Graham said, “The universal and terrible storm is coming. The days of Noah may be soon upon us. Are you ready for the Day of Judgment?”
“Even if the world does not end in your lifetime in a cataclysmic judgment, the moment you die will be the end of the world for you,” he continued. “The world that you live in will die with you. Are you ready for death? Are you ready for the judgment that is to come the moment you step out into eternity?”
Billy Graham, who is retired and living at his family cabin in Montreat, North Carolina, is the most influential Christian evangelist of the last 60 years. He has led thousands of prayer rallies in the United States and overseas, and more than 2 billion people have heard his Gospel preaching over the decades, in person, on the radio and television, and on the Internet.
Billy Graham has five children, and his wife of 64 years, Ruth Bell Graham, died in 2007.