Dr. Donald Wilton, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg and longtime friend of Rev. Billy Graham, is reacting to the news of the reverend's passing.
Wilton said he was traveling to Montreat, North Carolina on Wednesday to have lunch with Graham when he found out Graham had passed away at his home that morning.
"I've told some people, I really believe the Lord Jesus made the decision that he wanted to have lunch with his servant," Wilton said. "And so, I couldn't think of any greater joy than that fact.
Wilton also served as Graham's personal pastor.
"He was a man of such deep and abiding conviction about the message of the cross and about the love of God and forgiveness and life and meaning and purpose," Wilton said. "He loved all people across the board regardless of where they were, who they were, where they came from, the color of their skin."
Wilton would visit Graham on a weekly basis and would often share his upcoming sermons with the evangelist for feedback.
"I think Mr. Graham arrived in heaven at 7:30 this morning, and in my human mind, you know, there were literally millions of people standing there in that heavenly choir, probably led by Mr. Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shay singing, singing 'I'd Rather Have Jesus'," said WIlton. "And standing there was precious Mrs. Ruth Graham, and the Lord Jesus himself saying, 'Billy, well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the world.'"
First Baptist Spartanburg issued the following statement:Dr Wilton, Mr. Graham's personal pastor says Mr. Graham was taken by God's Angels and given a "royal escort" into heaven this morning. We are all obviously grieving because we all loved him so very much. This moment in time is the fulfillment of Mr. Graham's life time ministry centered around the eternal life we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are all joining together in expressing our love to the Graham family even as we thank God for the incredible life of Dr. Billy Graham. Funeral arrangements will be announced to the public.READ MORE: Rev. Billy Graham passes away at age 99
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