Yesterday we read about the fall of Babylon. Today we will find out how the saints react to her fall. Verses 1-5 read,
“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”[a]
3 Once more they cried out,
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”
4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”5 And from the throne came a voice saying,
“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.”
I have to be honest, when I first read this, I thought “how can they be so happy over the horror that came upon all those deceived people.” But then God showed me that the fate of Babylon is the fate I deserve. I sinned. I am a sinner. I deserve to pray the price for those sins, the way all of the citizens of Babylon the prostitute will. I am not worthy to be the bride. But Jesus is worthy. He took my sin and gave me His righteousness. He paid the price for me and gave me the right to be His bride. (If you do not know or understand what it means to be saved or if what I have written here makes no sense to you, please read the blog How to be Saved by Jesus, contact me, or speak to one of those “Bible thumpers” you know.) Every saint in Heaven could have been among the doomed in Babylon and so they rejoice over eternal life, they praise God for all He has done.
The prostitute Babylon was not very kind to Jesus’ bride. She made war, tortured, and killed the believers. She deceived the world to keep them following the path to destruction and away from Jesus. We who are covered by Jesus’ blood will be avenged. Those who spilled our blood, cheered over it, or did nothing to stop it will see their blood pour out of them at the Word of Jesus Christ. Those who rejected Christ will pay the price for their pride. So we will be able to celebrate the vengeance of the LORD. Verses 6-8 continue the song of praise in Heaven.
Then I heard 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,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”--
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”
I have read so very often of the garments of the saints. Lately, I hear people reminding me to be ready and wear the wedding garments. Sometimes we believers can repeat words to the point that they lose their profoundness. I do not want that to happen. I want to understand the garments and the state of preparedness for Jesus’ coming, for the harvest and for the wedding feast we will enjoy. So let’s look into the garments of fine linen, bright and pure.
The bride is dressed radically differently from the prostitute. Babylon was depicted wearing “fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls” (Revelation 18:16). She dresses in clothes only the wealthy can afford, in beautiful colors and she adorns herself in jewels. No doubt she is enticing and beautiful in her finery. She appears majestic in purple and scarlet. She is covered in treasures of the earth. The purple represents a royalty, a self-implemented title. Purple clothing was very expensive to make and historically it is the color of monarchs. When the Roman soldiers mocked Jesus, they clothed Him in purple (Mark 15:16-20). Scarlet or crimson represents her sin and immorality, just as the fine linen of the saints represents righteous deeds. Scarlet is a banner of the beast (Revelation17:3). Isaiah 1:16-20 reads,
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.
18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Many of us like to think that our wedding clothes are our salvation. That when we accept Jesus as Christ we get a beautiful white linen robe and that’s that. Sin made our robes scarlet. Jesus blood washed them white as snow. But our deeds in the Holy Spirit are what make them shine. Our deeds are how we glorify Christ, love others, and show the world who we belong to. Our righteous deeds or good works are the banner of Christ. Good works are the proof of faith. James 2:14-26 says it this way,
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
We have to put on those garments, those wedding clothes. Jesus saves us. With Salvation we are given the Holy Spirit who transforms us. We have to let Him do it. We have to be willing. We put on the new self and throw off the old. Ephesians 4:19-24 says,
“They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ! — 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The fine linen white and pure looks like Jesus’ robes (Matthew 17:2). Repeating the “sinner’s prayer” doesn’t automatically make us look like Jesus, it is not sitting in a pew, it is following Him and walking in The Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Being prepared, by wearing the garments means that we are filled with the Spirit, bearing His fruit, and doing His good works. Glorifying Jesus means looking and walking like Him. And we are told to be prepared for a reason. John was told to write this down for a purpose. Verses 9-10 read,
“And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
We are invited to the Marriage Supper and it is splendid. But not just anyone can come. Jesus told a parable about the wedding feast. The king prepared a great feast but the original invitees ignored the request to attend. So he invited others regardless of who they were. But one guest was not dressed appropriately for the occasion. Matthew 22:11-14 describe what happened.
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
It is auspicious to be invited, but to attend we have to wear the appropriate clothes, robes washed in Jesus’ blood and shining brightly with good works which are the spiritual result of faith.