Two Hours

By Royce Frederick

In John 5:25-29, Jesus says He will speak and be heard by persons who are “dead.” Some people have thought all five verses refer to only one “hour.” But a careful examination of these verses shows that Jesus is speaking about two different “hours.”

The “hour” when SOME people will obey the gospel

(25) “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. (26) For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, (27) and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”

In v. 25, now isshows that the time was near. He would soon call sinners by the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14).

Without Christ, everyone is spiritually “dead” in sin (Eph. 2:1; 1 Tim. 5:6; Rom. 3:23; 6:23). The apostles would begin preaching the complete gospel in Acts 2, and many who were “dead” in sin would “hear.”

But not all of the spiritually dead people would “hear” in the sense of giving “heed.” “Those who hear” (heed) the gospel will receive spiritual life in Christ, and those who do not hear (heed) the gospel will not receive spiritual life (Mk. 16:15-16).

The “hour” when ALL people will rise from their graves

(28) “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice (29) and come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

The statement “Do not marvel at this; for…” indicates that a greater, different event will also occur.

Verse 28 does not say “and now is.” This resurrection “is coming,” but was not “immediate” at the time when He was speaking.

In this second “hour” there will not be “those who hear” and others who do not hear. All will hear and all will obey: “...all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth....” All people who have ever lived will arise from death to receive their eternal judgment (Rev. 20:12-13).

WILL YOU obey the gospel call of Christ today? A sinner obeys the gospel by believing in Christ, repenting of his sins, confessing faith in Christ, and being baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 17:30-31; 22:16; Rom. 10:9-10; 6:3-4).

YOU WILL obey the call of the Son of God when He summons you from the grave. In that hour, you will not have a choice. You will not have the power to disobey. You and I will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give account for all of our earthly actions (2 Cor. 5:10).

Will you come to Christ in time so you will be ready to stand before Him in eternity?