Todays readings.. Job 40, Malachi 2, Revelation 19&20
“FOR THE FINE LINEN IS … “
Although the book of Revelation contains much symbolic language we can build up a framework of understanding from the definitions it provides. We have now reached the climax and see the vindication of those who faithfully serve him in spite of all the opposition and challenges to faith they have variously encountered in the spiritual battles in their lives..
We now read of the appearing of the Lamb of God, our Saviour and Lord. His dramatic return to earth is described in several parts of the New Testament. What follows this!? What fear many experience, but what rejoicing is experienced by the faithful remnant.
John tells us how he hears “what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” [19 v.6-8]
Paul had told believers that they were espoused to Christ to become his bride (Romans 7 v.4; 2 Cor. 11 v.2). John, in his Gospel tells us that John the Baptist, when he met Jesus, said he “rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice” [John 3 v.29].
The bride is made up of all the truly committed believers and, as Jesus said in a parable (Matt. 25 v.6), they are those with their lamps (and garments) ready who go out to meet their returning bridegroom. Look up and meditate on Isaiah 61 v.10.
Revelation ch. 19 proceeds to describe the other role of Christ at his return; “in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire … from his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God …” [v.11,12,15]
Chapter 20 describes how the bride “will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years” [v.6]. The end of this chapter makes the sobering statement that “if anyone’s name is not found written in the book of life, he was thrown in the lake of fire” and that “this is the second death” – so we are left in no doubt as to what that lake symbolises.
Verse 20 of Ch. 19 told us that all the evil powers and those who had “received the mark of the beast” were also thrown in the lake of fire. In contrast, those “who have not soiled their garments” – they have “fine linen.” Because of this Jesus says I “will never blot his name out of the book of life.” [Ch.3 v.4,6] Let us keep our “linen” fine, because we are faithful members of “his Bride (who) has made herself ready” [ch. 19 v.7]