Tuesday, April 26, 2011

THE VISION OF JESUS AND HIS WHITE GARMENT

THE VISION OF JESUS, IN SEVEN PARTS


BEFORE we jump into this study, looking at the vision of Jesus PHRASE BY PHRASE, I want to make sure we GARNER the CLEAR and ENTIRE picture of John’s VISION of our RESURRECTED Lord.  We'll see ALL the verses which reveal John’s awesome VISION of our Lord Jesus Christ.

After that, we’ll BACK-TRACK as long as it takes to study EACH ELEMENT of this vision IN DETAIL, to garner understanding about EACH symbol used.  By doing this, we'll get a deeper glimpse into the WONDROUS TRUTH ABOUT OUR AWESOME LORD.

There are SEVEN PARTS in the description of Jesus, and that should NOT surprise the Bible scholar who KNOWS about the MANY uses of SEVEN in the book of Revelation.  (MAKE NOTE--the SEVEN PART FEATURE of Jesus’ description relates to HIS BODY.  The SEVEN parts do NOT include His apparel, His clothes.) The SEVEN parts include His head, eyes, feet, voice, right hand, mouth and countenance (face).

Thus in the number SEVEN, we see a COMPLETE Jesus, PERFECT in all His powerful attributes.  Get ready to be AMAZED.

This is our Savior and Lord, a righteous God, a fearsome Truth-Bearer, an accurate Proclaimer of Holy Standards. We’re comfortable with pictures of a gentle and humble Servant, a Friend, and an Advocate--that we have in Jesus.  (I have the CLASSIC portrait of Jesus--a picture which brings much comfort and peace to my soul), BUT HERE--we’re ABOUT to discover another facet of our Jesus, uncovered in the elements of this VISION.  It serves as an INTRODUCTION to HOW Jesus will be PORTRAYED throughout this last book of the Bible.

Revelation 1:13-16--"And in the midst of the lampstands One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle.  His head and His hairs were like wool, white as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of fire:  and His feet like unto fine (burnished, polished) brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.  And He had in His right hand seven stars:  and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword:  and His countenance was as the sun shines in his strength.”

One might say that such a MIGHTY vision of our Lord is NOT comforting.  In fact, the symbolism which is ACTUALLY USED might stir up a sensation of fear and dread.  These SYMBOLS form a picture of Christ as He brings discipline, correction, rebuke and judgment.  When John saw THIS JESUS, he fainted.  Revelation 1:17.

Why is Jesus described with elements of FIRE, HOT BRASS, A ROARING VOICE, A SWORD (in His Mouth) and a face SHINING BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN?

When we arrive at the SEVEN letters to the Churches in chapters 2 and 3, we're going to discover elements of Jesus’ POTENT description REPEATED in those letters.  WHY?  Because, already, even in this EARLY PART of Revelation, Jesus BEGINS His ministry of bringing correction, and giving warnings of impending judgments.  Yes, even within a variety of Churches!  (Judgment must BEGIN at the house of God.  1 Peter 4:17.)

Jesus repeats in ALL seven of His letters to the Churches-- “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.”

The vision of Jesus Christ in chapter one is an INTRODUCTION to what will come later:  (For the Churches in chapters 2 and 3.  For Israel and the rest of the world in chapters 6 though 19.)

Are we ready to listen?  Will we have ears to hear what the Spirit says?


THE VISION OF JESUS--HIS WHITE GARMENT


Now, we'll focus upon the many details in this vision.  We’ll consider Jesus' clothing first, the EMPHASIS being upon His garment.

Revelation 1:13, the last part of the verse: “…One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a GARMENT down to the foot…”

The garment being described is a long robe which flows in deep folds down to Jesus’ feet.  (This robe is cinched-in with a golden girdle across the chest.)  We can assume that the garment is white because of what’s recorded ELSEWHERE in scripture.

The meaning of being covered in a white garment down to the feet is this:  "RIGHTEOUSNESS."  We also find that Jesus’ garment speaks of "LIGHT"--as recorded in the Psalms.  When John saw Jesus in the vision here in Revelation 1, we get THE CLEAR impression that His appearance conveyed BRIGHTNESS.  His feet glowed, His face shone like the sun.  And…

The BRIGHTNESS includes His garment.  Consider Psalm 104:1-2--“Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty.  Who COVERS Thyself with LIGHT as with A GARMENT:  Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain.”

Jesus’ garment, being white, shows the character of RIGHTEOUSNESS, because ALL through the scripture, WHITE is said to be just that (we’ll look at a few passages in a moment).

According to Psalms 104, the Lord’s garment includes the concept of HONOR and MAJESTY.  It also shows LIGHT.  Jesus RADIATES LIGHT and BRIGHTNESS, honor and majesty and RIGHTEOUSNESS. 

When we consider GARMENTS in scripture, we also DISCOVER how THE CHURCH is clothed, and out garments SHOW a covering of sin, as the Church is actually CLOTHED in Jesus.  GARMENTS upon THE CHURCH are also described AS WHITE.

In Matthew 22:11-13, we see that a person CANNOT be at THE MARRIAGE SUPPER, UNLESS they are covered WITH A WHITE GARMENT.  The person who attends the GREAT MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB (see Revelation 19:7-9) MUST BE ready and MUST BE COVERED in white!  This MEANS that the person MUST have his/her sins COVERED by the garment provided THROUGH FAITH in Jesus for the FORGIVENESS OF SINS.  That person must be MADE the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Jesus Christ  (2 Corinthians 5:21--where scriptures says God MADE Jesus to be SIN for us, so that we are MADE the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God IN HIM).

When we get to Revelation 16:15, we’ll discover how THE COVERING is NEEDED CONTINUOUSLY.  This SHOWS how we MUST WALK in daily CONFESSION of sin, receiving forgiveness. There MUST be a DAILY CLEANSING process, so the garment does NOT become STAINED and STREAKED WITH DIRT.  Revelation 16:15-- “Behold, I come as a thief.  Blessed is he that WATCHES, and KEEPS his garments, lest he WALK NAKED.”

To CONFESS SINS does NOT mean this--“Woe is me. I’m a miserable worm. I’m a poor and helpless sinner”--and it does NOT mean ACTING LIKE a worm either.

It SIMPLY MEANS that as soon as we are aware of sin in our lives, ANY SIN, great or small, that we CONFESS it.  We ADMIT we fall short of God’s glory.  We NAME the sin, IF we KNOW what it is.  Or if we DON’T remember HOW we sinned, then simply say, “I KNOW I sinned against You, Lord, at some point during my day.  I sinned against You by thought, word, deed and attitude.  And I KNOW that AS I CONFESS my sins, You ARE Faithful and Just, and You FORGIVE my sin by the precious blood of Jesus IN WHOM I place ALL my FAITH and CONFIDENCE.”  1 John 1:9.  (I say that little prayer DAILY--before I go to sleep at night.  Sometimes I confess sins MORE THAN once a day, IF I REALLY BLOW IT AND SIN IN A BLATANT AND OBVIOUS MANNER--usually I blow it by anger and bad language.  Ever do that?  None of us are free from our sin nature--NOT YET, on this side of eternity...)

When we LIVE and OPERATE like this, confessing our sins and wrong-doings, we make sure that our bright white garments are cleansed from EVERY STAIN and BLOT.  We also GROW in the character of Jesus, which He desires.  Thus, we keep our garments laundered, so that we are JOYFUL when we enter into the GREAT MARRIAGE OF JESUS and His Bride.  (This is NOT doing WORKS in order to have God accept us--this is SO THAT we'll NOT be ASHAMED at His coming with any unconfessed sins staining our garments.)

Living a life of CONFESSION of sins means that we are FREE OF GUILT and HEAVINESS.  Our consciences remain CLEAR and we can LOVE and SERVE God with pure hearts, plus we enjoy a PEACE that passes ALL understanding!

We have looked at WHITE GARMENTS which SHOW righteousness.  As Jesus is clothed in righteousness--SO ARE WE, as we place our faith in Him.

Now, we’ll consider a CONTRAST--this is what our OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS looks like WITHOUT Jesus.  How can a person be righteous WITHOUT Jesus?  It’s a SELF-IMPOSED attitude of pride and goodness.  It’s a posture of “holier than thou.”  It’s “self-righteousness.”  Very UGLY and quite DISGUSTING.

Here’s what Isaiah 64:6 (the first part of the verse) says about such SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS:  “But we are all as an UNCLEAN THING, and ALL OUR righteousness are as FILTHY RAGS.”

The King James spared us the LITERAL MEANING.  The ORIGINAL HEBREW did NOT spare a reader the TRUE PICTURE.  Unclean things and filthy rags are “USED menstrual cloths.”

If a person is tempted to stick their nose in the air in pride and self-righteousness--remember this scripture!  This is HOW GOD sees THE ACT and it IS NOT pretty.  Besides, “holier than thou” self-righteousness gives the world a very UGLY idea of Christianity.  It should NOT happen this way!  (I got on my soap-box about this ugly sin, because it’s so DETRIMENTAL to the Church’s witness to non-believers.  I think that’s why God used the most disgusting words in human language to convey His UTTER ABHORRENCE of self-righteousness.)

OH, HOW WE NEED JESUS!  And PRAISE GOD--in Jesus, we can trade the FILTHY RAGS for PURE WHITE GARMENTS OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS--which is always HUMBLE and MEEK.

Let us choose Jesus and HIS WHITE GARMENT!  Let us DAILY (and as often as we are aware) confess our sin, and KEEP those garments clean!

That’s not so hard, is it?

A clean conscience, lack of guilt and "the peace that passes all understanding" IS THE REWARD we’ll receive.  It’s a wonderful and delightful blessing.  I KNOW.  I live by this!

Will you do so, too?

Put on the WHITE GARMENT provided by Jesus (Who is clothed in RIGHTEOUSNESS), by your FAITH in Him.  You’ll NEVER be sorry that you did!

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