Lou: Let me ask you this. Did you expect things would take as long as they have?
Graham: Well, we thought it was almost a lack of faith to suggest things could take longer than five or ten years.
Lou: When you and I were young, it didn’t seem possible we’d still be here. What leads you now to think of the End as near and the Lord’s coming as something that may happen soon?
Graham: One way would be to go through the biblical description of the events to occur and look for evidence of those. Another way would be thinking of the larger, great controversy view. God is consistent with Himself, His government, and the way He handles things. He is consistent in the way He treats His family, the way He treats the opposition, and the way He wants to make things crystal clear. He will end things in a certain way. So I’m looking for things to end that way. For example, the gospel is going to all the world. But it’s hard to measure that in some ways.
Here is a more measurable evidence of His soon return. The Good News is based on the Bible. People have to be able to get hold of the Scriptures. And never has the Bible been so readily available or so readable as it is now. A key condition of the End is the Bible getting out to the world. The opportunity to know the truth about God is increasing.
Another evidence would be that God will not release the four winds of calamity until His people are settled in the truth (Rev 7:1-3). If I should see Him apparently releasing them, it would suggest His friends are settling into the truth. Some of the things going on in the world today make one wonder if the four angels are releasing their hold.
There’s another important indicator. People in the world need to realize their freedom to ask questions, to make up their own minds. They cannot accept dictated truth about God. They need to think for themselves. And I sense a great longing for freedom all over the world. Often people don’t know how to handle it at first, but the desire for freedom around the world is an important indication. There are also increasing attempts to stifle freedom in certain parts of the world. Freedom is the essence of this thing. People must recognize their right to weigh the evidence for themselves.
But maybe most of all, I would look for the counterfeit. Satan’s final effort to deceive will be a brilliant counterfeit. I think seeing the counterfeit developing would be the most troubling thing.
Lou: In terms of counterfeits today, which do you see as the most serious threat?
Graham: I don’t see the counterfeit as open opposition or a black and white issue. The counterfeit is going to be something very, very close to the truth. The Bible speaks of a counterfeit gospel going to all the world, the Holy Spirit being poured out, and people seeing wondrous things (Rev 13:13-14; 16:13-14). And I think, without indicting anyone in particular, there is a vast counterfeit spiritual revival sweeping the world. There are many innocent people caught up in it, and they’re looking for the truth.
The emphasis in this counterfeit revival, however, is not on the truth. It’s not on weighing the evidence in Scripture. It isn’t even about God. It’s all about ourselves. It’s all about our feelings. And there is great emphasis in this kind of religion on “getting in touch with your feelings.” We think about ourselves too much as it is. There’s such an emphasis on feeling in this kind of religion, feeling the power coming up through you, from your feet on up to your head.
The gospel, to the contrary, is best apprehended the other way around. It should come through the head first. The truth is apprehended by the mind, a mind that is sanctified by the Spirit of Truth. There will be great feeling in true faith, but to start out focused on feeling is very hazardous. The good news is “get in touch with God,” not with your feelings. A religion of feelings is winsome, there’s lots of love, and tears are shed, with miracles of healing and apparent conversion. The deception will be very close to the truth. But as a friend of ours once said, “I am afraid of anything that would have a tendency to turn the mind away from the solid evidences of the truth as revealed in God’s Word. I am afraid of it. I am afraid of it. We must bring our minds within the bounds of reason, lest the enemy so come in as to set everything in a disorderly way.” Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, volume two, 43.