Significance of "One Hour"
Matthew 24: 36 (ESV) --
"But concerning that day and HOUR no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only."
Matthew 24: 44 (ESV) --
"Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an HOUR you do not expect."
Revelation 3: 3 (ESV) --
"If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what HOUR I will come against you."
Revelation 18: 10 (ESV) --
"They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, 'Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single HOUR your judgment has come.'"
Revelation 18: 17 (ESV) --
"For in a single HOUR all this wealth has been laid waste."
Revelation 18: 19 (ESV) --
"And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, 'Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single HOUR she has been laid waste.'
Revelation 9: 15 (NIV) --
And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very HOUR and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
There appears to be a connection between the phrases "in one hour" used in the context of the destruction of Babylon -- and the idea that Jesus is coming at "an hour that no one expects", as mentioned in the teachings of Jesus. The common thread here is the element of suddenness and unpredictability in both cases.
Let's explore this connection further:
Babylon's Destruction: In Revelation 18: 10, 17, and 19, it is stated that Babylon, symbolizing a powerful and corrupt city or system who "rules over the kings of the earth", will be destroyed "in one hour." This phrase emphasizes the swift and unexpected nature of Babylon's downfall. The repetition of this timeframe underscores the idea that the destruction will occur rapidly and catch people off guard. In Revelation 17: 16, it says that Babylon will be destroyed by the Beast and the ten kings ("The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire."). The timing of this event must occur early in the Tribulation -- because the Babylon will no longer rule over the kings of the earth once she is destroyed. The speed of the destruction also suggests a preemptive nuclear attack, which is now possible with modern hypersonic missile technology.
Return of Jesus: In Matthew 24: 36 and 44, Jesus speaks about His Second Coming, stating that "no one knows the day or hour" when it will happen. This emphasizes the unpredictability, suddenness, and speed of His return.. In this context, the coming of Jesus (parousia) is referring to the "Rapture of the Church" -- when Christ meets believers in the air -- versus His Second Coming to the earth. The imagery of "a thief coming in the night" (Matthew 24: 43) further reinforces the idea that His return will be unexpected and catch people unaware.
Connecting the Dots:
The connection between these two concepts lies in the element of surprise and suddenness, and the fact that both occur within a single hour. Just as Babylon's destruction comes suddenly "in one hour," Jesus' return is described as happening at an hour when people do not expect it. It can be argued that this parallel suggests that these two events actually occur simultaneously. The believers are raptured within the same hour as the destruction of the "Great City that rules over the kings of the earth".
The emphasis on the unexpected nature and speed of these events also serves as a reminder of the need for spiritual vigilance and preparedness. Believers are encouraged to remain watchful and ready at all times, as they do not know when these significant events will take place. This interpretation highlights the broader theme of the uncertainty of the future -- and the importance of being spiritually prepared for any sudden turn of events.
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