||Chosen no: R-5668 b, from: 1915 Year.
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THE WHITE RAIMENT OF THE KINGDOM
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels."--Revelation 3:5.
IN THIS text, as throughout the Bible, the
thought is maintained that the elect class,
who will receive the highest glory, honor
and blessing from the Lord, must demonstrate
their loyalty by overcoming. It is not
sufficient that there shall be an overcoming
of the will at the beginning of the Christian
career, but subsequently there must be trials
and testings endured, and these must be met
in an overcoming manner. The consecration
having been made, and the trials and testings having
begun, the individual yielding under those temptations
and testings, and continuing to be overcome by them,
would prove that he is not sufficiently loyal; for the
Lord has promised that His grace shall be sufficient in
every time of need.--2 Corinthians 12:9.
Although the Lord's grace is sufficient, this would not
mean that we might not sometimes fall into temptation.
We might fall into temptation inadvertently, without the
consent of our wills, and "be overtaken in a fault." But
the Lord's grace is sufficient to bring us out of the temptations
as overcomers, enabling us to triumph over them.
[R5669 : page 118] Falling into temptation does not mean falling in temptation
--falling when tempted. But when one is temporarily
overcome, whether it be a yielding to a temptation of the
flesh or whether it be a wilfulness of spirit, or mind, has
much to do with the nature and degree of the sin. We
may not always be able to triumph fully, completely, according
to the flesh, but the will must be loyal. We must
triumph in the mind, otherwise we shall not be overcomers.
This overcoming is a gradual work, progressing
throughout our Christian course, from the moment of
[R5669 : page 119] consecration down to the conclusion of life. But the text
apparently takes hold of the conclusion, rather than the
beginning or the middle of the work, and implies that the
individual has at the end of the trial, the end of his race-course,
this overcoming degree of righteousness, so that
he may be classed as an overcomer. Such an overcomer
will be clothed in white raiment.
WHITE RAIMENT LOANED TO US
The Scriptures give us to understand that at the very
beginning of our Christian experience, we figuratively are
clothed in white raiment. This white raiment represents
justification--we are justified freely from all things. It
is a robe without a spot. It is sometimes spoken of as
Christ's robe of righteousness, because it comes to us
through Christ. It is to be had only through Him. He
is able to impute to us, to loan to us, grant to us temporarily,
this robe. It is spoken of as the wedding garment.
At an oriental wedding, a wedding garment of
white linen was used to cover over the clothing worn by
each guest. It was loaned to the guest at the wedding by
the host, when he appeared at the wedding-feast.
White linen signifies purity. So when Christ gives us
the use of His merit, it is as a white garment to cover out
imperfections. It is an imputation of His righteousness,
which is to us justification. We are exhorted to keep our
garments unspotted from the world. The imputation of
righteousness given us, we are to preserve, to maintain.
But we cannot fully maintain it of ourselves. Our tongues
may sometimes say things that we wish they had not said,
and our hands may sometimes do things we would not
desire. Hence, God has provided a way by which our
blemishes or transgressions may be eradicated--those not
wilful. This way is our daily application for the cleansing
of these unwilling transgressions, through the precious
blood. Thus we keep our garments unspotted from the
world. Thus our justification, our white robe, is maintained
--should be maintained.
WHITE RAIMENT OUR OWN
But it is not sufficient that we have the imputation of
our Savior's righteousness. This imputation is only a
temporary arrangement. We need to come to the place
where we shall have a righteousness of our own. Our
flesh is imperfect; as St. Paul says, we cannot do the
things which we would. In spite of our best endeavors
things are bound to go more or less wrong. But we are
to prove ourselves overcomers--"more than conquerors."
The Lord has arranged that at the conclusion of our trial,
at the end of the present life, all the overcomers shall
receive the new body. This new body will be a body of
actual purity. Thus, as the Apostle says, we shall "be
clothed upon with our House which is from Heaven."
So our raiment will be changed from a garment of imputed perfection, our justification by faith, to that which
represents actual perfection. At the resurrection we shall
receive that body of inherent purity, without blemish,
without spot, which is here pictured as "white raiment."
"BROUGHT BEFORE THE KING"
Furthermore, we read of each of these that the Lord
"will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life," in
which are written the names of all those who become truly
the Lord's people, those who have made with the Lord "a
covenant by sacrifice," all who renounce their wills, who
present their bodies a living sacrifice. The name of each
of these is recorded, entered in the Lamb's Book of
Life, when he starts to live the new life, and to demonstrate
his loyalty. Just as these are clothed upon with the
robe of Christ's righteousness in advance of being actually
tested, so their names are written in that Book in
advance of being actually tested. If they do not remain
faithful, their names will be blotted out of that Book of
Life. But if they are faithful their names will not be
blotted out of the Book of Life; and they will attain all
those glorious things which are promised to those who love
Him supremely.--Revelation 21:7.
More than this, the Lord says, "I will confess their
names before My Father and before His angels." The
intimation here is that the overcomers will have such
characters that the Lord will not be ashamed of them, but
will be pleased to own them in the presence of the Father
and the holy angels. We are to be "changed from glory
to glory," into the likeness of our Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18.)
In the end, these overcomers will each be so
grandly developed that the Lord will not be ashamed to
confess any of them and to say, Here is one of My followers.
Here is another. They have walked in My footsteps
and have overcome. But He will be ashamed of
any who are ashamed of Him. Of such He says, "Whosoever
shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of him
shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He shall come
in His own glory and in His Father's, and of the holy
It is not a matter of favoritism, but of character-development.
If they will not endure to the end, if they
do not prove overcomers, they will not be fit for the
Kingdom and association with their Lord.
This brings up the thought that there is another class
mentioned in the Bible--the Great Company class, as in
contrast to the Little Flock--or the antitypical Levite class
as in contrast to the antitypical Priestly class. The Great
Company had their names written in the Lamb's Book of
Life, but they were not overcomers in the truest sense.
They did not stand faithful. Because of not proving
faithful, they will not be confessed before the Father and
the holy angels in the same sense as the Bride class.
It is stated that the Bride will be presented before the
Father, and that "the virgins, her companions" (Psalm 45:13-15)
will be there also--but the latter will not be
confessed as the Bride class. We will not say that their
names will be blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life.
Their names may remain. But those who go into the
Second Death will surely have their names blotted out
of the Book; they will be destroyed with everlasting
destruction from the presence of the Lord.
ROBES WASHED IN "THE GREAT TRIBULATION"
The Great Company will not have the "abundant entrance"
granted the Little Flock. And the same distinction
obtains between these two classes in connection with
the white raiment. While all receive the robe of Christ's
imputed righteousness, some of them do not keep their
garments "unspotted from the world." Their white
raiment becomes spotted and soiled, bedraggled by contact
with the earth. Their justification, or robe of Christ's
righteousness, becomes unpresentable. When a spot comes
upon it, instead of having the spot cleansed away at once,
they allow it to remain, and the spots accumulate until
their garment becomes quite soiled. Then at the conclusion
of their course, when the examination day comes,
their robe is found to be spotted--yet they wear it still.
They are not divested of that robe of justification. They
have not abandoned the Lord and He has not abandoned
them. But they have failed to use the means which the
Lord provided for their cleansing.
In the Revelation this class is spoken of as "a great
multitude"--the Great Company. We are told that they
"will come up out of the Great Tribulation, and will wash
[R5669 : page 120] their robes, and make them white in the blood of the
Lamb." Instead of doing a cleansing work day by day,
maintaining their justification with God and being ready
for the change (by means of their faithfulness) they are,
on the contrary, found of Him as unworthy of this chief
place. Their robes will not be taken from them, but they
will be obliged to suffer great tribulations, with the view
to making them ready to wash and make their robes white
in the blood of cleansing, so that they, also, will be clothed
in white and in their resurrection bodies will be pure.
But they will attain this only by passing through "the
Great Tribulation."--See Revelation 7:9-14.