Rev. Franklin Graham has said that ISIS' brutal massacre of 30 Ethiopian Christians will only strengthen the faith of those living in the country and has encouraged believers to remember Jesus' promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church, in reference to Matthew 16:18.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Graham, who is the President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrote, "We learned yesterday that Ethiopian Christians were beheaded by ISIS in Libya. Once again we are reminded of the brutality that emanates from Islam. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Ethiopian families who have lost their sons, their fathers, their husbands, their brothers-we are praying for you. I was just In Ethiopia a few weeks ago and met with some of the wonderful Christians there. This will only strengthen their faith. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church."
Graham's comments were made just after ISIS released a 30-minute video, titled "Until There Came to Them Clear Evidence," which showed two groups of men, one in orange jumpsuits and the other in black, being killed at different locations in Libya, according to the video's narrator. The men in one of the groups were apparently shot to death, while the others were beheaded.
In the video, a narrator speaking in an American accent warns "the nation of the cross" that more killings are to come, vowing further "revenge" for what it called "shed Muslim blood" in the region.
"And we swear to Allah: the one who disgraced you by our hands, you will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam," the narrator concludes.
While the video has not yet been authenticated, the White House has condemned "in the strongest terms" the murders and admitted the victims were killed by the Muslim terrorists because of their faith.
Graham's words of encouragement clearly resonated with many, as nearly 40,000 people "liked" his post and another 11,000 "shared" it.
"Praying for these families, and for the surviving Christians around the world as they have lost brothers and sisters in Christ at the hands of ISIS. My heart aches at this news," wrote Kathy Cowart.
"Amen, it is unimaginable the persecution of Christians going on around the world, just another sign, Jesus is coming! God bless them and their families," added Lezlie Keegan.
This is not the first time the 64 evangelist has publicly condemned the brutality of the Islamic State and the group's continued persecution of Christians. In February, Graham responded to the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS by criticizing President Barack Obama's response, which he says "continues to protect Islam."
"Can you imagine the outcry if 21 Muslims had been beheaded by Christians?" he wrote in a Facebok post. " Where is the universal condemnation by Muslim leaders around the world? As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we'd better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States."
However, Graham, who is also the President of Samaritan's Purse, has said that the "evil of ISIS" should not be a shock for Christians, because "it is fully in keeping with their ultimate agenda of hastening a final apocalypse."
"God's Word tells us that there will be a final battle one day, but it will result in the defeat of Satan and all those allied with him," the preacher said on Facebook.
"One thing is for sure - one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."