Rebecca Van Noord
“It has been granted to her that she be dressed in bright, clean fine linen” (Rev 19:8), announces a voice from heaven in John’s revelation. The voice describes the bride who waits in anticipation—representing the believers who wait in expectation of being reunited with Christ.
The text contrasts the fine linen of the bride with the purple and scarlet cloth of the harlot, Babylon, who represents all that oppose God’s reign (Rev 18:16). The harlot receives criticism for her infidelity: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.… For all the nations have drunk from the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich from the power of her sensuality” (Rev 18:2–3).
But the cry goes out in and among Babylon: “Come out from her, my people” (Rev 18:4). The bride, who is preparing herself for the wedding celebration of the Lamb (Rev 19:7), responds to the call to remain pure—to avoid the temptations of the age. She is given the opportunity to dress herself in bright, clean fine linen, representing “the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev 19:8). These deeds do not earn the bride her righteous standing before the Lamb, but they speak of a life that is transformed.
In Revelation, John uses this imagery to entreat the early believers to live righteously while awaiting the hope promised them. Christ has won the victory for us—the final conquering of sin and evil is imminent. We are empowered to live for Him now, to prepare ourselves for the day when we will have our reward: His presence.
How does your expectation of Christ’s coming help you live for Him now?
This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.