Final Hour

Revelation moves inexorably from the death of Jesus to the final day when God judges the wicked and vindicates the righteous

At the conclusion of his ‘Olivet Discourse,’ Jesus taught his parable of the Sheep and the Goats. On the day when the “Son of Man arrives in glory,” his angels will gather all the nations before him for judgment, and he will divide them into two groups. One will receive “everlasting destruction,” and the other, “everlasting life.”

The book of Revelation does not reference this parable, but the book’s visions reflect the same process of sifting humanity that began at Calvary, and a process that will continue until the end of the age when humanity is divided into two groups for final judgment - Those who follow the “Lamb,” and those who give allegiance to the “Beast” and its overlord, the “Dragon.” There will be no third alternative.

In his death, Jesus became the “faithful witness,” and the “firstborn of the dead” upon his resurrection. Consequently, he now reigns supreme on the messianic throne; he is the “ruler of the kings of the earth,” and his realm extends to the “uttermost parts of the earth” as in the second Psalm.

THE GREAT DENOUEMENT


Even now, the risen “Son of Man” is “shepherding the nations,” and like any good shepherd, he is separating the “sheep” from the “goats” in preparation for the “final hour” – (Psalm 2:1-9, Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 1:4-6).

The final settlement of all accounts will not occur until the final “day” and “hour” when all humanity stands before the “Great White Throne of Judgment.” At that time, everyone whose name is “written in the book of life” will receive everlasting life, while all others will be cast “into the Lake of fire.”

And on that final day, your fate is determined by how you respond to the “Lamb” and the “beast” in the here-and-now – (Revelation 21:24).

In Sardis, the Risen Jesus summons the church to repent and remain ever vigilant, otherwise, he will “come as a thief,” and there is no way for the church to know “in what hour I will come upon you.”

To the saints in Philadelphia, he promises to keep them from the “hour of trial” that will come inevitably on the “whole habitable earth.” In Revelation, the “final hour” represents the time of final judgment. The promise to this church is not its escape from trials and persecution, but that its faithful members will not partake of the “second death” on that day – (Revelation 3:1-3, 3:10).

The opening of the sixth seal reveals the final “day of wrath.” The “stars of heaven fell to the earth, and the heavens were withdrawn as a scroll rolling itself up, and every mountain and island were shaken out of their place.” It is the “GREAT DAY OF THE WRATH” of the “Lamb” - (Revelation 6:12-17).

When the “sixth trumpet sounds,” four angels are released that have been “prepared for the hour and day and month and year.” When the “seventh trumpet” sounds, the final victory of the kingdom of God is declared and the time of judgment arrives - (Revelation 9:14-15, 11:11-19).

Likewise, when the sixth bowl of wrath is emptied, the “kings of the earth” are gathered to the final battle on the “great day of God Almighty.” There, the forces of the “Beast” will be destroyed – (Revelation 9:14-15, 16:12-16).

HOUR OF JUDGMENT


In chapter 14, an angel proclaims: “The HOUR OF HIS JUDGMENT has come.” This means the fall of “Babylon” and the destruction of those who render homage to the “Beast.”

And that “hour” will culminate in two “harvests” (“For the harvest of the earth is ripe”): The “reaping” of the righteous, and the “ingathering” of the “vine of the earth,” and the latter was cast into the “winepress of the wrath of God.”

Likewise, in chapter 18, the destruction of “Babylon” arrives “IN ONE HOUR,” and she is “laid waste” in the very same “hour” - (Revelation 14:1-20, 18:10, 18:17-19).

The series of seals, trumpets, and “bowls of wrath” all culminate in judgment in the “final hour.” When the “sixth seal” is opened, the day of “wrath” arrives for the unrepentant. The “seventh trumpet” announces the day of judgment for the wicked and the vindication of the righteous. And the seventh “bowl of wrath” COMPLETES the “wrath of God” - (Revelation 6:12-17, 11:15-19, 16:17-21).

Revelation is about far more than history’s final few years. Its visions provide a broad sweep that begins with the death of Jesus and ends with his final victory in the New Creation.

The exaltation of the “slain Lamb” to the “throne” sets events into motion that must culminate inevitably in the judgment of the wicked, the vindication of the righteous, and the descent of “New Jerusalem” to the earth.

All this is the outworking of God’s redemptive plan that the “Lamb” began to implement following his death and enthronement. He is the “alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” the “firstborn of the dead,” and the “beginning of the (new) creation.”

And all this began with the first coming of Jesus of Nazareth who appeared first in Galilee proclaiming the kingdom of God. His future return in the “final hour” will consummate all things set into motion thousands of years ago, which is why the book concludes with the exclamation - “Yea! I come speedily. Amen! come, Lord Jesus!

For the “overcoming” saint, that “hour” will mean vindication and life everlasting in “New Jerusalem.” But for the unrepentant man, that day will end in the “second death” in the “Lake of Fire.” When the clock strikes twelve, for him, it will be too late. And that is why today is always the day and hour of salvation, the time of decision.


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