CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There was no altar call. Nor were there scores of people walking down the aisles tearfully reciting the “sinner’s prayer.”
But make no mistake, the gospel message the late Rev. Billy Graham delivered to millions in 185 countries during his 60 years of ministry was the same message preached at his funeral by his son and successor Franklin.
While it was a private service limited to around 2,000 guests – mostly comprised of family, close friends, and fellow ministers – many more watched on television or livestreams on social media.
“Billy Graham was one wise believer in the Messiah. What a legacy!” said Sid Roth, host of “It’s Supernatural!” He was referencing a verse in the book of Proverbs that says, “He who is wise wins souls.”
Roth – like a growing list of others, including the late evangelist’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz – believes his death, which he likened to a promotion, could be the catalyst to spark a new revival.
“Many people have said when Billy Graham is promoted, there will be a major outpouring of God’s spirit and evangelism,” Roth told CBN News one day before Graham’s funeral.
Like Graham Lotz, Roth compares her father to ancient Israel’s prophet and leader Moses.
“Moses was instructed by God, ‘Take some of the glory on you and put it on these leaders,’” Roth explained. “That’s my analogy of what’s going on with the promotion of Billy Graham. Some of that glory that was on him is coming on those that are hungering for more at this moment in history.”
While Graham Lotz noted the significance of the date her father died, Feb. 21, Roth points to the events surrounding Graham’s funeral, which coincided with Purim – the Jewish holiday commemorating the salvation of the Jews from Haman.
“In the book of Esther it says when the Jews were spared, a great revival broke out among the Gentiles,” Roth said. “So, it’s the same parallel.”
Roth also believes the world is about to witness the “outpouring of [God’s] greatest glory in history” – tying the early church at Pentecost to the Azusa Street Revival prophesies in the early 1900’s, which allude to an even greater revival 100 years later.
“The Jews were the spark plug for the greatest move of God’s spirit 2,000 years ago [at Pentecost], and the Jews are the spark plug for greatest move of God’s spirit today,” Roth explained referencing a recent Barna survey about Jewish Millennials – a generation more willing to consider whether Jesus might be the Messiah.
Meanwhile, those who knew Graham well simply encourage other believers to follow in his footsteps.
“We need all to understand that we’re all called to be evangelists. We are all witnesses,” explained Don Wilton, whom Graham viewed as his own personal pastor.
“We are all people that are told to go out into all the world and share the love of Christ. What greater treasure could there be?” asked Wilton.
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California agrees.
“To me, the greatest tribute we could pay to Billy Graham is to do what Billy did. What did Billy do? Billy proclaimed the gospel,” he said. “That’s the greatest tribute we could give to a man who dedicated his entire life to doing that.”
Roth insists if Christian believers follow through on that call, revival will come.
“I’m expecting a move from God’s glory to hit this year,” he said. “I’m expecting the move of God this year to be the greatest glory the world has ever seen released just like in the second chapter of Acts, where God says, ‘In the last days, I will pour out my glory on all flesh.’”