Glory! Glory!Revelation 7:1-17Theme: Eternity.In this week’s lessons, Dr. Philip Ryken teaches us about our future adornment, employment, and enjoyment.
LessonHere in Revelation 7, three features of our glorious life are mentioned: our beautiful adornment, our blessed employment, and our endless enjoyment. First, our beautiful adornment: when we all get to heaven, we will all wear long, white robes. Now, this is theologically significant. It’s mentioned several times in these verses. It is mentioned again in Revelation, chapter 19, where we are told that we will wear “fine linen, bright and clean.” In fact, the history of salvation is actually a series of fashion statements.
It began with Adam and Eve in their state of innocence. The first man and woman were both naked, and they felt no shame. We are ashamed. But unlike us, Adam and Eve had never sinned, and thus, they were able to eat, sleep, work, and play in the nude. And what they were wearing, or what they were not wearing, was directly related to their spiritual condition. In their innocence they had nothing to hide either from God or from one another. Then they sinned and the fashions changed. No sooner had our first parents eaten the forbidden fruit than the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked, and so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. What they were making was not so much a fashion statement as it was a theological statement. They were admitting that they had become guilty sinners.
Yet fig leaves are not of much use when it comes to covering up sin. Sadly, human beings have been trying to make their own clothes ever since, spiritually speaking. Every false religion tries to dress people up so that they will be good enough for God. But the trouble with trying to wear your own good deeds is that they always smell a little bit like the dirty laundry. The prophet Isaiah put it like this: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Isa. 64:6). You can see what is shocking about Isaiah’s comment. He’s not talking about our sins when he says our deeds are like filthy rags. He’s talking about our very best works.
It gets even worse, because in order to stand before God’s throne, it is absolutely necessary to come suitably dressed. Jesus told a parable about the necessity of proper attire in Matthew 22. It was a parable about a wedding reception in a great banquet hall filled with guests. When the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, “how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless, and then the king told the attendants, “Tie him hand and foot and throw him outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” On the Day of Judgment everyone not suitably dressed will be banished from Gods’ presence forever. And so the question becomes, what are you planning to wear to heaven? You cannot come as you are. Nothing in your own closet is really suitable. Even your best spiritual clothes are morally filthy, and if you try to wear any of them you will be denied entrance. No, what every sinner needs is a brand new set of clothes. There’s only one way to get it, and that way sounds very strange to us.
We find it in Revelation 7:14: “…they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Now that kind of metaphor is familiar to most Christians, but it is highly unusual. Blood is an organic fluid that leaves an indelible stain. So how, then, could a robe dipped in blood come out pure white? The answer is that this is no ordinary blood. It is the blood of the Lamb, and the Lamb is Jesus Christ. The Scripture says he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. His blood is the blood that he shed at Calvary when he died on the cross for sins. Jesus was nailed to the cross, bleeding and dying. The Bible teaches that his blood is the blood of redemption, the blood that paid the price of our salvation. It’s the blood of atonement that covers all of our sin, the blood of reconciliation that brings us back to God. Through a mysterious, miraculous act of divine chemistry, that crimson tide makes us clean and spotless. By washing our robes in the blood of Christ, in other words, simply by going to the cross and asking Jesus to apply his perfect sacrifice to our filthy sins, we are made pure in God’s sight.
How is clothing used in the Bible? Give examples.
How are we made pure in God’s sight?
Further StudyFor another example of the theological significance of Biblical attire, read Zechariah 3:1-5. Conduct a personal study of all the biblical passages where clothing is used to communicate theological truth.