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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Hour (Figurative)

As in the literal sense ‘hour’ signifies a point in, or part of, the course of a day, so in the NT it is used metaphorically to signify a point or period in a course of historical development. In Romans 13:11 the use is vividly realistic. The present time of trial is like the dark and gloomy night, but ‘salvation’ draws nigh; already, therefore, it is ‘the hour to awake out of sleep.’ With this single exception, the metaphorical sense of the word is peculiar to the Johannine group of writings (cf. John 2:4; John 4:21; John 12:23; John 13:1, etc.), and may be defined as the fixed time, in distinction from καιρός, the fit time (‘the boast of heraldry, the pomp of power … await alike th’ inevitable hour’). Thus the Apocalypse speaks (Revelation 14:15) of the ‘hour’ for reaping the harvest of the earth, which is the ‘hour’ of God’s judgment (Revelation 14:7) upon the pagan world. To the faithful church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:10) safe-keeping is promised from the ‘hour of testing’ which is about to come upon the whole earth, i.e. the period of trial which is to usher in the Messianic deliverance. This is defined (Revelation 13:14-17) as a time of seduction to the worship of the Beast (the Imperial cult); but in 1 John 2:18 the sign of this ‘last hour’ is already seen in the rise of Antichrist, yea, of ‘many antichrists,’ i.e. the Gnostic propagandists. In many passages the appearance of false teachers is foretold or discerned as a symptom that the last hour of this world’s day is running its course (Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:11; Matthew 24:23-24, Luke 21:8, 1 Timothy 4:1-3, 2 Peter 3:3, etc.).

Robert Law.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Hour (Figurative)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/h/hour-figurative.html. 1906-1918.

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