Revelation 19:8
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) And to her was granted . . .—Better, And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright, pure; for the fine linen is the righteousness (or, righteousnesses; the word is plural) of the saints. This verse is not to be taken as part of the song. The song closes with the announcement that the Lamb’s wife has made herself ready. Then follows the explanation of this readiness: she is adorned in fine linen. Her apparel is in contrast to the harlot: it is not purple and scarlet (Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:16), but pure white. The symbol is explained: “the fine linen is the righteousness (or, righteousnesses) of the saints.” The raiment is that which strikes the eye: it has its character, and it indicates the character of the wearer. The harlot attracts by ostentatious colours, the tokens of qualities more conspicuous than abiding, more dazzling than helpful; the Lamb’s wife is robed in pure and stainless white, the token of those high, moral, spiritual qualities by which she has been known. The source of these righteousnesses is divine: it is given to her to be so arrayed. It is no fictitious righteousness: it is real, it is hers, though it would never have been hers but for Him without whom she can do nothing (comp. John 15:4-5, and Philippians 3:8-10): and it is through the wearing of this white flower of a blameless life that she has borne witness for her Lord, and against the spirit of harlotry and sin (Matthew 7:16-18).

19:1-10 Praising God for what we have, is praying for what is yet further to be done for us. There is harmony between the angels and the saints in this triumphant song. Christ is the Bridegroom of his ransomed church. This second union will be completed in heaven; but the beginning of the glorious millennium (by which is meant a reign of Christ, or a state of happiness, for a thousand years on earth) may be considered as the celebration of his espousals on earth. Then the church of Christ, being purified from errors, divisions, and corruptions, in doctrine, discipline, worship, and practice, will be made ready to be publicly owned by him as his delight and his beloved. The church appeared; not in the gay, gaudy dress of the mother of harlots, but in fine linen, clean and white. In the robes of Christ's righteousness, imputed for justification, and imparted for sanctification. The promises of the gospel, the true sayings of God, opened, applied, and sealed by the Spirit of God, in holy ordinances, are the marriage-feast. This seems to refer to the abundant grace and consolation Christians will receive in the happy days which are to come. The apostle offered honour to the angel. The angel refused it. He directed the apostle to the true and only object of religious worship; to worship God, and him alone. This plainly condemns the practice of those who worship the elements of bread and wine, and saints, and angels; and of those who do not believe that Christ is truly and by nature God, yet pay him a sort of worship. They stand convicted of idolatry by a messenger from heaven. These are the true sayings of God; of Him who is to be worshipped, as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.And to her was granted - It is not said here by whom this was granted, but it is perhaps implied that this was conferred by the Saviour himself on his bride.

That she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white - See the notes on Revelation 3:4-5, Revelation 3:18; Revelation 7:13. White has, perhaps, in all countries been the usual color of the bridal dress - as an emblem of innocence.

For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints - Represents the righteousness of the saints; or is an emblem of it. It should be remarked, however, that it is implied here, as it is everywhere in the Scriptures, that this is not their own righteousness, for it is said that this was "given" to the bride - to the saints. It is the gracious bestowment of their Lord; and the reference here must be to that righteousness which they obtain by faith - the righteousness which results from justification through the merits of the Redeemer. Of this Paul speaks, when he says Philippians 3:9, "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but what is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Compare the notes on Romans 3:25-26.

8. granted—Though in one sense she "made herself ready," having by the Spirit's work in her put on "the wedding garment," yet in the fullest sense it is not she, but her Lord, who makes her ready by "granting to her that she be arrayed in fine linen." It is He who, by giving Himself for her, presents her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, but holy and without blemish. It is He also who sanctifies her, naturally vile and without beauty, with the washing of water by the word, and puts His own comeliness on her, which thus becomes hers.

clean and white—so Andreas. But A and B transpose. Translate, "bright and pure"; at once brilliantly splendid and spotless as in the bride herself.

righteousness—Greek, "righteousnesses"; distributively used. Each saint must have this righteousness: not merely be justified, as if the righteousness belonged to the Church in the aggregate; the saints together have righteousnesses; namely, He is accounted as "the Lord our righteousness" to each saint on his believing, their robes being made white in the blood of the Lamb. The righteousness of the saint is not, as Alford erroneously states, inherent, but is imputed: if it were otherwise, Christ would be merely enabling the sinner to justify himself. Ro 5:18 is decisive on this. Compare Article XI, Church of England. The justification already given to the saints in title and unseen possession, is now GIVEN them in manifestation: they openly walk with Christ in white. To this, rather than to their primary justification on earth, the reference is here. Their justification before the apostate world, which had persecuted them, contrasts with the judgment and condemnation of the harlot. "Now that the harlot has fallen, the woman triumphs" [Auberlen]. Contrast with the pure fine linen (indicating the simplicity and purity) of the bride, the tawdry ornamentation of the harlot. Babylon, the apostate Church, is the antithesis to new Jerusalem, the transfigured Church of God. The woman (Re 12:1-6), the harlot (Re 17:1-7), the bride (Re 19:1-10), are the three leading aspects of the Church.

And to her was granted; that is, to the Lamb’s wife, whether Jews or Gentiles, or both.

That she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; that she should be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, reckoned to her for righteousness. This

is the righteosness of the saints; called the righteousness of God, Romans 1:17; a righteousness through the faith of Christ, Philippians 3:9: called righteousness, in the Greek, because there are many saints to be clothed with it; and because it is imputed both for justification and sanctificaion, not to excuse us from holiness, but to make up our defects. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen,.... Or "Byssine": the "Byssus", of which fine linen is made, is said to grow on a tree, in height like to a poplar, and its leaves like a willow, and to be brought out of Judea into Egypt, which the Egyptians used in most of their holy things (q). A dress neat and modest, and not like the attire of the whore of Rome, Revelation 17:4 and this is said to be

clean and white, and is interpreted in the next clause:

for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints, or "righteousnesses"; not good works, or their own righteousness; for though these are evidences of faith, by which the saints are justified, and are what God has prepared for them, that they should walk in them; yet these are not comparable to fine linen, clean and white, but are like filthy rags, and cannot justify in the sight of God; but the righteousness of Christ is meant, and justification by that; for that is the only justifying righteousness of the saints: and though it is but one, yet it may be called "righteousnesses", or "justifications", in the plural number; partly because of the several seasons in which the act of justification passes, first in God's mind from eternity, next on Christ as the surety, when he rose from the dead, and on all the elect in him, and then in the consciences of the saints when they believe, and the sentence of it will be notified and declared to men and angels at the last judgment; and partly because of the many persons that are justified by it, as also because of the excellency of it; so the Jews use the word in the plural number: the Targumist on Zechariah 3:4 paraphrases the text, "I will clothe thee" "with righteousnesses" (r); upon which words Jarchi has this note,

"change of beautiful garments is all one as if it had been said "righteousnesses": and because sin is like to filthy garments, righteousness is like to garments beautiful and white.''

Christ's righteousness may be compared to fine linen, clean and white, because of its spotless purity; those that are arrayed with it being unblamable and irreprovable, and without spot and blemish, and without fault before the throne; with this the Jewish church will be clothed; all the Lord's people will be righteous, they will have on the best robe, and wedding garment, which was despised by the Jews in Christ's time, who refused to come to the marriage feast; and their being arrayed with it will be owing to the grace of Christ, who grants it; and so Christ's righteousness is called the gift of righteousness, the free gift, and gift by grace, and abundance of grace; and faith, which receives it, and puts it on, is the gift of God, Romans 5:15. Not only the garment is a gift of grace, but the putting of it on is a grant from Christ, and what he himself does, Isaiah 61:10.

(q) Philostrat. Vita Apollon. l. 2. c. 9. Vid. Apul. Apolog. p. 225. Pausan. l. 5. sive Eliac. p. 294. (r) See Isaiah 61.10. & Targum in Hos. x. 12.

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in {8} fine linen, clean and white: for the fine {9} linen is the {b} righteousness of saints.

(8) As an ensign of kingly and priestly dignity, which Christ bestows on us in Re 1:6.

(9) This is a gift given by the husband for marriage sake, and a most choice ornament which Christ gave to us, as to his spouse.

(b) Good works which are lively testimonies of faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 19:8. “Yea, she is (has been) permitted to put on” (for διδόναι ἵνα cf. Revelation 9:5, Mark 10:37), epexegetic of ἡτοιμ. ἑαυτήν (Isaiah 61:10). “Uides hic cultum gravem ut matronae, non pompaticum qualis meretricis ante (Revelation 17:4) descriptus,” Grot. In the following gloss (see above) the rare use of δικαιώματα (= “righteous deeds”) is paralleled by Bar 2:19 (τὰ δικ. τῶν πατέρων) and by an incidental employment of the sing in this sense by Paul (see on Romans 5:18). Moral purity and activity, which are the conditions of future and final bliss, are (as in Revelation 7:14, Revelation 14:4) defined as the outcome of human effort, although of course their existence must be referred to God (ἐδόθη), and their success to the aid of Christ (loc. cit.); see on Revelation 1:4-6. Ignatius similarly (Eph. 10.) describes the saints as “robed entirely in the commandments of Christ”. The connexion of thought is the same as that in Matthew 21:43; Matthew 22:2; Matthew 22:11-14. For 8 b see the fontal passage from Sohar (cited by Gfrörer, ii. 184, 185): traditum est, quod opera bona ab homine hoc in mundo peracta, fiant ipsi uestis pretiosa in mundo illo.8. And to her was granted] Better, it was given to her—the form is the same as recurs so often throughout the vision, from Revelation 6:2 onwards. This being so, it is not likely that this clause still forms part of the proclamation of the voice: it is the Seer’s description of the “making herself ready” which the voice proclaimed.

clean and white] The epithets should be transposed, and “and” omitted, bright clean fine linen.

the righteousness] Rather, the righteous acts. Every good work done by every single saint goes to make up the perfect glory of the Church as it shall be when at last complete. The doctrine of the Communion of Saints is contained in, or follows from, that of the holy Catholic Church.Revelation 19:8. Γὰρ, for) A particle of explanation, as Revelation 19:10.Verse 8. - And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; and it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright [and] pure. The double nature of the process is here set forth. "It was given her," the power comes from God (cf. Revelation 13:5, etc.), and yet "she arrays herself;" the action is still voluntary. (On "white linen," see on Revelation 4:4; 7:9; 15:6.) The following words are a sufficient commentary. This verse appears to contain the words of the writer, the heavenly song having ceased at the end of ver. 7. For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints; the righteous acts of the saints. That is, their former righteousness, exhibited in fidelity to God and hostility to the world, obtained and retained by the grace of God, now forms their chief glory. So "their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13). Fine linen (βύσσινον)

See on Luke 16:19. The four vestments of the ordinary Jewish priest were made of linen or byssus. Their symbolic meaning depended in part on the whiteness and luster of their substance (καθαρὸν καὶ λαμπρόν pure and bright).

Righteousness (δικαιώματα)

More strictly, as Rev. righteous acts.

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