Final Day and Hour

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

Beach Sunset - Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash
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, where he will divide them into two groups. One will receive “everlasting destruction,” and the other, “everlasting life.” - [Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash].

Revelation makes no use of the parable, but its visions reflect the same process of sifting humanity that began at Calvary and continues until the end of the age when humanity is divided into two groups – Those who follow the “Lamb” and those who render homage to the “Beast.” There is no third alternative.

Jesus became the “faithful witness” in his sacrificial death 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,” just as the Psalmist promised. Even now, he is “shepherding the nations,” and like a shepherd, he is separating the “sheep” from the “goats” – (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.” 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.” 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).

The Risen Jesus summoned the church at Sardis to repent and remain ever vigilant, otherwise, he would “come like a thief,” and there was no way for the church to know “in what hour I will come upon you.” To the saints in Philadelphia, he promised to keep them from the “hour of trial” that would come inevitably on the “whole habitable earth” – (Revelation 3:1-3, 3:10).

The opening of the sixth seal revealed 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 The “stars of heaven fell to the earth, and the heavens were withdrawn as a scroll rolling itself up, and every mountain and island were shaken out of their place.”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 was the “great day of the wrath” of the “Lamb” - (Revelation 6:12-17).

When the “sixth trumpet sounded,” four angels were released that had been “prepared for the hour and day and month and year.” When the “seventh trumpet” sounded, the final victory of the kingdom of God was declared and the time of judgment arrived - (Revelation 9:14-15, 11:11-19).

Likewise, when the sixth bowl of wrath was emptied, the “kings of the earth” were gathered to the final battle on the “great day of God Almighty” – (Revelation 9:14-15, 16:12-16).

In chapter 14, an angel proclaimed - “The hour of his judgment has come” - The fall of “Babylon” and the destruction of those who rendered homage to the “beast.” That “hour” culminated 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” arrived “in one hour,” and she was “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 the final judgment. When the “sixth seal” was opened, the day of “wrath” arrived for the unrepentant. The “seventh trumpet” announced the day of judgment for the wicked and of the vindication of the righteous. The seventh “bowl of wrath” completed 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” set 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.” All this began with his first coming, and his future return will consummate all things, which is why the book concludes with the exclamation - “Yea! I come speedily. Amen! come, Lord Jesus!

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