“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:1-4).
It has been said that the term “hour” from John chapter 2 refers to an epic historical event which was scheduled before the foundation of the world was laid. It has profound prophetic significance. In the Gospel of John, there is a particular event which triggered the coming of a specific “hour” – namely the second coming of Christ. If we can grasp the significance of that first special event, then we will be able to better understand why the future “hour” is not yet come. On the day of Christ’s Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a group of Greeks came to Philip and requested an audience with Jesus. Though they were probably proselytes to Judaism, having come to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, they are, nevertheless, called Greeks. John alludes to the importance of these people as he relates the story of his Gospel …
“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified” (John 12:20-23).
Upon hearing that a group of Gentiles were inquiring about him, Jesus makes a startling statement. He says “The hour is come” Just what did the Savior mean by that? Had he been waiting for these people? Though many Jews had followed Jesus for three and a half years, only when the Greeks asked about him did he announce that a particular “hour” had come – the “hour” in which he should be glorified.
“MINE HOUR IS NOT YET COME”
Let us observe the passages in John’s Gospel that lead up to the coming of that special “hour.” Three times, John reminds us that “the hour is not yet come.” It is only when the Greeks arrive that we are finally told that his “hour” had come …
The Marriage at Cana – The First Reminder
The first statement that the “hour” had not yet come is given in the story of Jesus attending the marriage at Cana in Galilee. The governor of the feast had run out of wine for the guests and Mary asked Jesus to do something about it …
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? “mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:4).
The Savior then proceeded to turn water into wine. It is important to understand why Jesus said that his “hour” had not yet come. Though the marriage festival at Cana represented a prophetic scenario of the greater marriage that will take place in the future – that of Christ (the bridegroom) and his bride (the church made up of born again believers) after the event of the soon-coming rapture in our immediate future – the Savior was not yet ready to begin taking his Bride. He must wait another three years until events can unfold that will lead to his crucifixion at Calvary. The Savior must first be “glorified” (John 12:23) on the cross. This is a strange term. It was actually a veiled reference to the crucifixion. We think of the cross as the time of Christ’s humiliation. Yet, Jesus himself refers to it as an hour of triumph. The cross brought victory, not defeat. The Savior gave his life and gained a bride. At Calvary, the serpent bruised his heel, but the great seed of the woman bruised the serpent’s head. That was the “hour” that was to come. The battle between the Son of God and the old dragon would take place on the cross. This is so because the crucifixion satisfied the mandate that sin should bring forth death. It allows us the opportunity to sidestep the verdict of eternal damnation and live forever. Christ paid the ultimate price for us, again, to satisfy God’s mandate that sin should bring forth death. He was our stand-in at the judgment. If we individually and personally accept him as our savior, he will save us from eternal death and give us eternal life! The estrangement between God and man was dissolved at Calvary. Indeed, Christ has brought happiness to both God and man. Instead of a throne, Christ chose the cross. As the grape, Christ allowed himself to be crushed for our benefit. What appears to have been defeat was actually a victory. Jesus turned apparent defeat into the “hour” of his greatest glory. It should be noted here that the marriage took place on “the third day” (John 2:1), a prophetic implication that the future marriage of Christ to his bride (the church comprised of born again believers including from the Old Testament times on up to the present day) will take place after two thousand years – in the third millennium, which is during the quickly approaching 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ’s kingdom on earth.
John does not give the names of the happy couple. There is a mystery surrounding their identity. We may learn from this story that Jesus did not want the Jews to know who his bride would be. No one, not his mother nor his disciples, were aware that the future bride of Christ would be made up mostly of Gentiles. This selecting of the gentile bride has been occurring from the time of his crucifixion on up to the present, and will continue until the time of the rapture of the church. But the hour had not yet come during this wedding at Cana.
The Feast of Tabernacles – The Second And Third Reminders
The second remarkable passage is found in the seventh chapter of John. Jesus attended the Feast of Tabernacles, another passage that should give us a clue to the “hour.” Again, on this occasion, we are told that the “hour” was not yet come …
“Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (John 7:30).
The Feast of Tabernacles offers several prophetic implications that Christ will turn to the nations and seek a Bride among the Gentiles. The liturgy and ceremony of the festival points to the time when the Jewish Messiah will rule over a worldwide kingdom – bringing all nations into a special relationship with God. However, though the festival points prophetically to Christ’s association with Gentiles, we are reminded that the “hour” had not yet arrived.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
The third time John tells us that Christ’s “hour was not yet come” happened during this same Feast of Tabernacles. In the days of the Temple, on the first evening of the festival, four golden candelabras were lit in the Temple courtyard to provide light through the night. The old worn-out garments of the priesthood served as wicks for these lamps. The lights remind us of the first day of creation in which God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:2). Each of the seven days of the festival reminds us of the seven days of creation. They also point to the seven-thousand years of human history. Therefore, the Feast of Tabernacles is more than just a Jewish festival, it involves a prophetic teaching concerning all nations – Gentiles. Alluding to the lights of the festival, Jesus called himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12). The response to this statement revealed the spiritual darkness of the Pharisees. They were angry and would have attacked the Savior, but his “hour” had not yet arrived. John writes …
“These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come” (John 8:20).
Throughout the festival, a total of seventy bullocks were sacrificed – one for each of seventy Gentile nations. The obvious reference is that God is going to forgive sinners out of all nations. Though the festival pointed to Christ and his association with Gentiles, that alone was not enough to bring on the special “hour.” All of these shadows and types cannot produce the “hour.” A specific event must take place in order to signal the arrival of the “hour.” We have that very event in the twelfth chapter …
“Sir, We would see Jesus!” (John 12:21)
Here it is. It seems as if Jesus was waiting for these Greeks to inquire about him. Only when they requested an audience with the Savior are we told that the “hour” had finally come.
THE DISPENSATION OF GENTILE CHRISTIANITY
The primary reason for the first advent of Christ was to establish a new dispensation devoted to the redemption and salvation of Gentiles. In the great commission, given on the day he ascended back into Heaven, Christ instructed the disciples to be “witnesses … unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The main theme in the book of Acts centers around the conversion of Gentiles. The council that met in Jerusalem to discuss Gentile conversions came to the conclusion that God had visited the Gentiles “… to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14). From that time forward, Gentile Christianity has flourished. Over the past 2,000 years, millions of Gentiles have accepted Christ as Savior. Therefore, it is highly significant that Jesus said the “hour” had come when he was told that a group of Greeks had inquired about him.
THE LAST SUPPER
A few days later, Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples. John informs us that Jesus knew his “hour” had come, even before the meal was prepared …
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1).
This “hour” involved his impending death. His plans were laid out. He would express his love for the disciples, finish the meal and retire to the Garden of Gethsemane. By morning, he would be standing before the tribunal. By 9 A.M., he would be nailed to the cross.
ON THE WAY TO THE GARDEN
Christ talked to God the Father on his way to the Garden. His words reveal his resolve …
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:1-5).
There are some interesting statements that we should note. First, Jesus referred to his being “glorified.” As explained earlier, Calvary was a victory rather than a defeat. What Christ would accomplish on the cross would be history’s finest hour. When we view the crucifixion from Heaven’s perspective, we can understand why Christ was glorified. His
sacrifice was the greatest accomplishment Heaven had ever seen. Secondly, Christ had power over all flesh. We have heard it said that as Christ hung upon the cross, he could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set him free. Actually, he did not need even one angel to free him from the cross. He alone had power over all flesh. It is because of that power that he had the ability to lay down his life and take it again three days later. Death offered no fear for Jesus. He had power over death. Thirdly, it is Christ who has the power to give eternal life to all who believe on him and receive him personally. This is why the born again Christian should not fear death. Finally, Christ reveals his eternal state. He was with the Father “before the world was.” He did not become into being in his mother’s womb like all of us mortal humans. Jesus existed throughout eternity past. He entered the womb as a physical process to gain a human body. But Christ, himself, pre-existed the womb. From birth, he was fully aware of who he was and where he came from. He had no need of schooling. He wrote the book!
THERE IS ANOTHER HOUR COMING
John wrote his Gospel to explain the “hour” of the first advent of Christ. Heaven’s finest “hour” – the cross – that epic event of history which brought salvation to the entire human race, including Gentiles. On the other hand, John wrote the book of Revelation to reveal the “hour” of the second advent of Christ. It will be earth’s finest hour – the throne – the arrival of the King of kings to establish the kingdom of Heaven on earth. In the opening chapters of Revelation, John writes that Jesus associated his second coming with another special “hour” …
“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee” (Revelation 3:3)
To the church at Philadelphia, Christ speaks of the tribulation period as an epic event – a special “hour” …
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
These are only promises that the “hour” will come. It still lies in the future. If the conversion of Gentiles marked the arrival of that first “hour,” the conversion of Gentiles will have a special part in that future “hour.” It is quite convincing that it will come when the last Gentile receives Christ as savior. When we get to chapter 14, we learn that the “hour” has arrived …
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:6-7).
Generally speaking, the Gospel is being preached “to every nation” – a reference to Gentiles. In this particular passage, an angel preaches the “everlasting gospel” and warns of judgment. The “hour” written about here is still a part of the second advent of Christ, even though we are near the end of the Tribulation period. All of the events in Revelation center around that special “hour.” It involves a period of at least seven years, beginning with the conversion of the last member of the Bride of Christ. Seven years later, we see that bride return with Christ. When Heaven is about to open and Christ is about to bring his Bride back to earth with him, we are told that the epic event has arrived …
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).
The Bride is made up of all those Gentiles who have received Christ since the Greeks came saying , “Sir, we would see Jesus.” The Bride was raptured at the beginning of the events recorded in the book of Revelation, and will return with Christ at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period. There are four verses in the book of Revelation that give us the imminency of the return of Christ …
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Revelation 3:11).
“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7).
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Convincingly, the rapture will occur when the last lost, eternally damned person receives Christ as savior. That view ignites a sense of urgency about salvation. If you do not know Christ as your savior, I urge you to settle it up today. Somewhere in this world, the last Christian may be alive. Today may be the day for him or her to be saved. All of Heaven is waiting for that last lost person’s prayer. Will it be yours? Or will you wait one prayer too late?
THE WAY OUT AND YOU
In order to accept the offer of God’s grace and his salvation, you must take the crucial three steps of …
1. Agreeing – A belief and agreeing with God in all that he says in his word, the Bible, about the fact that you are separated from God, as every man and woman on the face of the earth are before accepting his salvation. The Bible reveals that all are separated from him in a spiritual state of death, or in another way that the Bible puts it, in a state of sin, that will result in eternal damnation. Agreeing with God in your heart that you are in need of his salvation. The Bible reveals that God looks upon the heart of a man, and thus, responds accordingly to the man or woman who comes to him for salvation in recognition of his inability to save himself. The Bible makes these facts very clear – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The Bible describes these three kinds of death: physical death (the state experienced when life leaves our bodies); spiritual death (spiritual separation from God caused by our state of spiritual death, or state of sin that results in outward acts of sin on a daily basis as the Bible also puts it – the state of sin is received from the first man Adam); and finally eternal death (the fixed state entered into by the individual who dies physically while he or she is dead spiritually). It is eternal death, in particular, which is the horrible result of receiving the wages of sin. The Lord Jesus Christ frequently described such a death as being eternal (without end) in a destiny which he called Hell. He described Hell as a literal place of judgment (Matthew 13:42); a place of everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8); a place of torment (Luke 16:24,28); a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50); a place of remorse (Mark 9:44-48); of bitter memory (Luke 16:25), and a place originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). In fact, Jesus more often warned about Hell than he spoke about Heaven. It is not God’s will or desire that any person should be consigned to perish in Hell (2 Peter 3:9), but rather that all should come to repentance of unbelief toward him and believe on him for the salvation of the individual’s soul. But God’s justice requires that the “soul who sins” (remains in it’s state of death or state of sin) is the one who will die eternally (Ezekiel 18:4). So, agree with God, admitting that you are unable to save yourself and in a state of sin under God’s just condemnation for that sin and that you are in need of his salvation.
2. Believing – Then, believe that God does not want you to perish eternally in the torment of Hell because of your sin. Believe that God loves you so much that he provided a way whereby he could still be a just, holy and righteous God, and yet pardon you. Believe that God did not just overlook sin, but that he sent his only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to provide salvation by personally paying the penalty for sin. Believe that Jesus Christ, whose life, death, burial and resurrection is the best-attested fact of antiquity, did come to earth to live, die, rise again and ascend to Heaven in order to provide justification and salvation for all who trust him. Believe that he, and he alone, can save you because he has fully satisfied the just demands of God. Believe that you can’t become righteous in God’s sight by your own effort. Believe that he wants to save you and that he will save you. The Bible provides a solid basis for such belief …
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
“But God demonstrates his love toward us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
God presented him (Jesus Christ) as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies the man or woman who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26).
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures … ” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“Jesus answered, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out [drive away]” (John 6:37).
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
3. Calling – It is not enough to agree with God, admit your need, and believe that Christ can and will save you. You must act upon those facts. You must repent of the sin of your unbelief toward him and actively call upon him for the salvation of your soul based on the fact that you cannot save yourself because of your sins. You must be willing to completely turn from your own efforts to save yourself or from any other hope. You must come to Christ, calling upon him for salvation and counting on the fact that he will do what he has promised. This means simply taking the gift of pardon and eternal life which he offers. Merely believing about Jesus Christ without coming to him makes as much sense and is as effective as believing that a medication can successfully treat a fatal disease, but failing to take it. Yet again, the Bible emphatically and authoritatively provides the basis for such statements:
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
The word translated “believe” here means to “rest one’s entire weight and trust on the object or person in which the belief is placed.” It requires action in keeping with the intellectual assent of that belief.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
” … but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
The logical question you may be asking at this point is: “how do I come to Christ and call upon him?” The answer is that “calling upon the Lord” is just another term for praying, or talking to God. To talk to God is not a complicated process, dependent upon some special rituals. God has invited people to approach him through his Son in simple, straightforward terms. In fact, Jesus approved of the dishonest, despised tax collector who simply prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” While the exact words of your prayer to God are not of vital importance (since God sees and knows the attitude of your heart), the following is the kind of prayer that you could pray in calling upon God for salvation …
“Dear Lord Jesus: I realize that I need you. I admit that I have sinned and that I deserve your just, eternal punishment for that sin. But I am sorry for my sin and I am turning to you and asking for forgiveness. I believe that you died and rose again to pay sin’s penalty on my behalf. I come to you and open my heart to you. I ask you to come into my life, forgive me for all of my sin and make me your child. I invite you to take control of my life and to cause me to be the kind of person you would have me to be. I thank you for doing this because you have promised that whosoever calls upon you, as I am doing now, shall be saved. I pray this in the name of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, I urge you to sincerely and genuinely express it to God as your prayer. The Bible makes clear that when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in our heart, God forgives our sins and counts us righteous, and that when we openly confess with our mouth what we have done in our heart, God gives us assurance of that salvation (Romans 10:9-10).
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:3-7).
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