Rev. Graham: ‘As I Read the News, I Can’t Help But Wonder if We’re in Last Hours’
Rev. Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. (AP)
(CNSNews.com) – Rev. Franklin Graham, head of the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse and son of world-renowned preacher Billy Graham, said that given all the “bad news” about the killing of Christians by Muslims in some countries, and attacks on Christians by the media and the government even in America, he cannot “help but wonder if we are in the last hours before our Lord Jesus Christ returns.”
“As I read the news, I can’t help but wonder if we are in the last hours before our Lord Jesus Christ returns to rescue His church and God pours out His wrath on the world for the rejection of His Son,” said Rev. Graham in a post on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) website.
“I don’t know if we have hours, days, months, or years—but as Christians, God calls us to take the truth of the Gospel to the ends of the earth,” said Graham. “Our job is to warn sinners of the consequences of sin and show them that God is loving and gracious, willing to forgive if we come to Him in repentance and faith.”
American journalist James Foley, a Christian, just before he was beheaded by an ISIS jihadist. His excution was videotaped and posted on the Internet. (Photo: YouTube.)
The BGEA was founded in 1950 by Rev. Billy Graham, and Franklin Graham is vice chairman and CEO of the evangelical organization.
In his remarks, Rev. Graham talked about the spread of Ebola in Africa, noting that just in 2014 “the virus has already claimed the lives of over 1,000, making it the deadliest outbreak in history.” One of the American doctors, Kent Brantly, infected with Ebola in Liberia and flown back to the United States for treatment last month was working with Samaritan’s Purse.
As for the religious persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere, Rev. Graham questioned whether “the world is coming apart at the seams,” adding, “There appears to be no end to the bad news. The killing of Christians by Muslims from Indonesia to Bangladesh to Pakistan. China tearing down church buildings. Christians tortured, beheaded, and crucified in Iraq, with villages burned and churches destroyed, and much the same in Syria.”
“American pastor Saeed Abedini is still imprisoned in Iran for his faith,” said Rev. Graham. “Throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East, and many parts of the world, the church of Jesus Christ—and anyone or any group who bears His Name—is under attack.”
An Orthodox Christian church destroyed by ISIS jihadists in Syria. (AP)
“In our own country as well, there is great opposition to the church of Jesus Christ,” he said. “We see this throughout the media, the entertainment industry, government, and politics.”
Rev. Graham continued, “Jesus warned His disciples in Matthew 24 when they asked Him about the signs of the end of the age. He said there would be wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilence. He told them, ‘Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.’”
Franklin Graham is married, has five children, and lives in Boone, N.C. His father, Rev. Billy Graham, 95, is in poor health and not expected to live much longer. Over the years, Billy Graham preached to more than 215 million people in 185 different countries, and he wrote 31 books. For more than 50 years he has regularly been ranked among one of the most admired people in the world.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people which are called by my name will Humble themselves, and Pray, and Seek my face, and Turn from their wicked ways; then will I Hear from heaven, and will Forgive their sin, and will Heal their land.
This quick lesson is what this verse means for me.
When I am:
Humble (on my knees)
Pray (not aimlessly, w/o distraction)
Seek my face (presence/ will of the Lord)
Turn from my wicked ways (name specific sin)
Then God will:
Hear from heaven
Forgive their sin
Heal their land
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:25-37 KJV)
A PARABLE is a earthly story with a Heavenly meaning. While I study the Parables, I like to keep that definition in mind. It tells me that Jesus is using things on this Earth to explain to me what it means Spiritually.
Now when Jesus taught his disciples, he used Parables but also within the Parable there was symbols. For example, when Jesus was being Baptized…He (God the Son, JESUS) was standing in the river, a voice from heaven (God the Father, Lord) and a Spirit descended like a dove ( God the Holy Spirit). This has been commonly referred to as the Trinity…Colossians 2:8-10 calls it the GODHEAD. Anyways, Jesus often uses symbols. In John 10:25-37 I will try to identify some of the symbols so we can understand this parable from Jesus.
LAWYER= a lawyer in this time and day was not associated with the judicial system. But he was an expert in the Law of Moses. So he was an interpreter of the Law of Moses. Just because he was an interpreter DOES NOT make him a follower of God, or a Christian. Even though I walk into a garage, I am not a car. Even so, if I go to church that does not make me a Christian. Some lawyers in this time were also Levites, maybe it was in this case. It may have been causing this lawyer to squirm a little.
CERTAIN MAN= this man fell among thieves. In this area, you did not want to travel alone. Because thieves would hide behind rocks and jump you from behind once you passed by. They would also steal all your goods, and obviously beat you until you are half dead. Since this man fell and was helpless, and half dead, this would represent us, or HUMANITY.
Thieves= symbolizes the devil. In John8:44 Jesus declares the devil to be a murderer from the beginning. In John 10:8 Jesus says that all that came before Him are thieves and robbers. When they arrested Jesus Matt 26:55 In that same hour Jesus said to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. (Matthew 26:55 KJV) The devil is a thief and a liar. Jesus was crucified between to thieves.
Priest = symbolizes ritualism or ceremonialism. Ritualism is doing things by a ceremony or ritual. Some churches rely heavily upon ceremonies and rituals which do not save a person. For example, being stuck doing the same things the same way every time. Ceremonies and rituals cannot save a person. This man may have seen that he had been robbed. He didn’t want to lose what he had therefore, he passed by on the other side.
Levite = Symbolizes legalism. Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, Judaizers, and Nicolatians were some the groups that thought keeping the Law would save them. They boasted about how and what they did to observe the law. They were very knowledgable about what was legal and what was not. Although they didn’t trust Christ as Savior, they were trusting in their legalisms and in their own ability to observe certain traditions and laws.
Good Samaritan = Represents Christ. When we are helpless sinners and half dead, Jesus comes and quickens (means to make alive) us. He binds up our wounds and pours in oil and wine…which indicates the Holy Spirit. He is the only one that can save us from our sins.
Neighbor = the neighbor is anyone that we can help. Not just people we live beside. But anyone at all, any race, any color, and any language. These are our neighbors.
There are 3 philosophies that can be taken from this parable.
1) The thieves said, “what you have is mine, and I’m going to steal it.”
2) Priest and Levite said, “what I have is mine and I’m not going to share.”
3) Good Samaritan said, “I have the means to help you and I will. This should be all our philosophies. This is the Christ-like attitude.