“Then I heard a sound like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:6-8).
The wedding gown is purchased. It’s been altered twice, and she has one last fitting in a few weeks.
The invitations arrived yesterday. We’re a little behind schedule, but they will be addressed soon, stamped twice for the RSVPs. The invite list had to be limited to just over two hundred. How we wished we could invite everybody, but funds are limited too.
So many details thread through the tapestry of a wedding ceremony.
So many details.
Bridesmaids and flower-girl dresses. Shoes. Bow ties and suspenders for the guys. The color palate has to be just right–the wedding party’s attire a reflection of the bride and groom’s personalities.
It will be beautiful.
But the wedding we are planning for our daughter is only a tiny glimpse of what is coming– the wedding of the Lamb. And the dresses chosen to wear pale in comparison to the wedding attire of the saints.
As I studied the verses above from the book of Revelation I was bothered by the last phrase that describes the fine linen the saints are wearing. The NIV explains that the linen is the “righteous acts of the saints” and the ESV translates this Greek word as “the righteous deeds of the saints.”
It’s easy to rush past these words to get to the celebration. It’s exciting! Everybody loves a good wedding, especially this wedding. But I hope that if you get anything out of my blog posts, you are encouraged to study when a verse from the Bible doesn’t sit well in your spirit. Please don’t settle for doctrine and even translations that seem contradictory to something else you’ve learned.
We could never make ourselves holy. No number of our own “righteous acts” could purify us. That’s the whole beauty of the gospel. Jesus did what we couldn’t.
Let’s do some digging.
“Righteous deeds” was translated from the Greek word, dikaioma. This word derived from a Greek noun that means the “product or result of being justified.” Diakoma actually means “the legal rights of the saints.” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2003. E-Sword iPad edition.)
Hold that thought as we study the word “saints”. It’s been translated from hagios which means “pure, clean . . . perfect, without blemish.” (Key Word)
If I were to re-translate these verses I would write something like, “. . . for the fine linen is the legal right of those who’ve been made holy, who have no flaws through Christ.”
Legal right. What was needed to be done for the saints to obtain this “legal right” has been done.
This “dress” needs no alteration. No shopping necessary. It’s one size fits all. Perfect. All we have to do is put it on in faith. Everyone is invited. The guest list has no limits at this wedding party.
John continues writing in Revelation 19: 9,
“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
We are invited. We are invited to the celebration, but we as believers are the church which is the bride.
The imagery of the church as the bride of Christ is interesting. We often individualize our faith, but we aren’t individual brides to Christ, we are a collective bride.
Can someone say “Glory!”?
Let’s pray together:
“Dear God, thank you for loving us. . . for desiring us. It’s hard to fathom. We can understand why you love others, but sometimes we struggle to believe that you love us. We’re trying to be good enough when you’ve already done what was needed for our entry into heaven. We are part of the bride of Christ and one day we will meet you face to face as hagios(hag ́-ee-os), saints, whose beautiful dress was paid for by you—no alterations needed. One size fits all in the kingdom of God. Amen”
What’s your favorite part of a wedding?