Billy Graham 'Doing Better Than He Has in Months' Ahead of 97th Birthday as Son Franklin Promotes 'Final Book'

Evangelist Billy Graham speaks at the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, May 31, 2007. | (Photo: Reuters/Robert Padgett)

Evangelist Billy Graham is said to be in better shape today than he's been in for a while as his 97th birthday approaches, and his son, Franklin, is sharing how Hollywood's depiction of eternity has inspired what's being promoted as his father's final book.

Graham will be 97 on Nov. 7, and Franklin, who's president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that his father is doing "pretty good."

"I think he's probably doing better now than he has in months, he's just got energy," Franklin told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. " … This Sunday I walked in and I said 'daddy, this is Franklin," and he said, "oh son, where have you been? It's good to see you.' He'll want to talk about different things, so he's doing pretty good."

Last week, Graham released what could be his final book, Where I am: Heaven, Eternity and our Life Beyond, which Franklin said was inspired by his father's realization that "he's on the doorstep of eternity."

"Daddy has concern about concepts of Heaven today out of culture that give a different view [of eternity] — kind of a view from Hollywood," said Franklin. "He wanted people to know what the Bible … that Heaven is a real place and Hell is a real place and it's for eternity. My father realized that he's on the doorstep of eternity and he just wanted it to be clear."

The Samaritan's Purse CEO also shared how scripture, specifically Exodus 3:14, inspired the book's title.

"It comes from the Bible, God told Moses when he was in the desert, when He told him to go back to Egypt and He was calling his people out of bondage, Moses asked God, 'Who should I say sent me?'" said Franklin.

"And God said: 'I am what I am. You tell them that I am sent you. And all through the Bible you'll see that where Jesus says 'I am the way the truth and the life. There's two roads in life, one to Heaven and one to Hell and my father wanted that to be clear — that there's one way [to Heaven] and that's through the blood of Jesus Christ who took our sins to the cross."

Last month, the North Carolina Senate approved a bill seeking to replace a statue of former Gov. Charles Brantley Aycock in the National Statuary Hall Collection with one of Graham.

In 2013, he preached his final sermon while celebrating his 95th birthday with 800 guests in North Carolina.

"Our country's in great need of a spiritual awakening," Graham said in a video titled "My Hope America" that was played at the event. "There have been times that I've wept as I've gone from city to city and I've seen how far people have wandered from God."

The world-renowned evangelist launched his ministry back in 1947. He has led over 400 crusades, has preached to millions around the world in more than 185 countries and has prayed with every U.S. president since Harry Truman.

Email me: Connect with me on Twitter: @MzBenge

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