Billy Graham: Do you scoff at the second coming of Christ?

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days” (2 Peter 3:3).

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We’ve got them today—the scoffers. They scoff at the Bible. They scoff at the Second Coming of Christ. They scoff at the atonement of Christ. They scoff at the idea of the resurrection of Christ—there will be scoffers in the last days.

And here’s why they scoff—they’re “walking according to their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3). They don’t want to live for God. They’re interested in their own pleasure, their materialism, in feeding their own lusts.

I’ve talked to many men who have admitted to me that the reason they have doubts about the Bible is not intellectual. Their “intellectual problems” are only excuses. The whole point is that they don’t want Christ to disturb them in their sins. They don’t want to be disturbed in their lusts. They don’t want to be disturbed in their soft materialism. So, they scoff at spiritual things.

And here’s what they are saying: “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4).

They say, “Here are all of these things that have happened, and Christ hasn’t come. We’ve had one upheaval in history after another. But Christ hasn’t come. This is a crazy doctrine. Christ is not coming. You Christians are crazy. It’s a myth. It’s foolishness, ridiculous.”

The Bible says they willingly forget; they are willingly ignorant (see 2 Peter 3:5). They don’t have to be ignorant. But they are willingly ignorant, just like Eve and Adam. Adam deliberately sinned with his eyes open, and so it is with you. There came a time when you deliberately told a lie. There came times when your conscience flashed a warning light, but you deliberately committed immorality. These people are willingly ignorant. They want to be spiritually blind. They know better, but they are hardened in their sins by their own will.

What is it that they willingly forget? That “by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us” (2 Peter 3:5-9).

Yes, Christ is delaying His coming, but one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. We have one lifetime—50, 60 or 70 years. It seems a long time; but in God’s eternal reckoning, it’s only the flash of an eye. It’s only a moment in eternity.

God has not forgotten. He’s not slack concerning His promise that He’s going to be coming back to Earth again. He’s not slack concerning His promise that there’s going to be a great judgment. But God loves you. He’s “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). None of us is going to be able to stand before God and say we didn’t have time to repent. He’s given us a lifetime to repent; and we didn’t do it.

Since World War II, Western Europe and the United States have had a higher standard of living than any people in the history of the world, and we’ve rejected God. We’ve turned our backs on God. And His judgment is coming closer.

In this time, when God has blessed us and given us food, we should have repented and been on our knees. Instead of going to our knees and thanking Him, we’ve gone on a wild pleasure binge. We’re more interested in things than we are in God.

God hasn’t forgotten. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:10). A thief doesn’t say, “I’m a thief. I’ll be at your house at midnight tonight.” The Bible says that when Christ comes, it’ll be like a thief—when you least expect Him.

Are you ready to meet Him?

A great French novelist said some time ago, “I wake up in the middle of the night and my hair stands on end, when I think I may have to die some day and face the judgment of the Almighty God.”

Jesus gave certain signs indicating when His coming might be. Here’s one of them: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26).

Let’s look at Noah’s day: The Bible uses terrible words to describe it. It uses the word wickedness. It uses the word evil. It uses the words evil imagination, corruption, violence. And then God says, “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil” (Cf. Genesis 6:5). Man was given to evil and wickedness, and God said, “I’ve had enough.”

Yes, there comes a day when God says, “It’s enough.” Do you think we can get away with the sins we’re committing? Do you think you as an individual can get away with it?

The Bible says that God did not spare His own people; God did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah; God did not spare the ancient world. And God won’t promise to spare you in the day of judgment.

In Noah’s day, marriage was abused. They were marrying and giving in marriage (see Luke 17:27), and that expression carries with it the idea of divorces. Changing spouses, legalized adultery, feeding upon their lusts.

Today, the emphasis on sex in this country is enough to destroy us. We now have the facilities—through films, through the printed page, through all the modern media—to stimulate sexual desire in a way that former generations couldn’t. We have more immorality on a mass scale than probably any people in history; and God destroyed other nations by judgment.

And you think God is going to spare us? I don’t think so, unless we turn back to Him. We’re going deeper and deeper in the mire all the time. The more money we get and the higher our standard of living, the more immoral we become.

It was a world in which lawlessness and violence prevailed. And today, our news is filled with tension, bitterness, violence and crime. This is one of the things that happened in Noah’s day. Worldwide violence and lawlessness.

It was a world in which spiritual influences were neglected. The people of Noah’s day had religion, but the Bible says that’s not enough. The Bible says even the devil believes in God. He knows the Bible is true. But the devil is not saved. He’s not going to Heaven; he’s going to the lake of fire and brimstone. Intellectual faith is not enough.

And there are thousands of church members today who have only an intellectual faith. Christ doesn’t live in their hearts. They may go to church, but they live for themselves. There’s no time for Bible reading, no time for Bible study, no time for prayer, no time for spiritual things. This is the way it was in Noah’s day. God said, “I’ve had enough. I’m going to destroy the world. I’m going to start the human race all over again.”

But then God saw one man who was living for Him, a sincere, godly man in a wicked and perverse generation. God said, “I’m going to save him.” His name was Noah. I don’t believe that there’s another man in the Old Testament who had the integrity and the faith in God that Noah had. He was a man of moral integrity. He worshiped God. And he dared to stand alone.

Today everybody wants to be like everybody else. We’re afraid to stand up and be counted. We’re afraid to stand alone. We don’t want to be different. We want to get into our house in suburbia and be like everybody else

The Bible says we are a peculiar, separated people (see 1 Peter 2:9). We are to “come out from among them and be separate” and “do not touch what is unclean” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Christ said, “You cannot follow me unless you are willing to take up the cross” (see Luke 9:23). What did he mean by that? He meant that He was going to die as a criminal, and He wanted you to go with Him. That means that you go back to your school, back to your home, back to your community, and you live for Christ even though they crucify you.

Noah was willing to be killed for God’s sake. And God said, “Noah I’m going to save you. I’m going to cause it to rain 40 days and 40 nights. A flood is coming. Judgment is going to fall. I want to save you. I want you to build a ship.”

That boat was as big as a modern-day battleship. And he was building it in the desert with no place to sail it. Everybody thought he was crazy. The Bible says, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

God told him about the judgment that was coming, and Noah began to build this ship to save himself and his family. People laughed at him. They called him a fool, they called him ridiculous.

Isn’t that a picture of today? We’ve lost our fear of God. We’ve been told that God is a kindly old man sitting on a cloud, and He’s going to forgive everybody, and everybody in the end is going to be saved.

The Bible teaches otherwise.


Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.

Photo: Russ Busby/©1966 BGEA