And one of the elders answered, saying to me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and from where came they?…
I saw a beautiful vase, and asked its story. Once it was a lump of common day lying in the darkness. Then it was rudely dug out and crushed and ground in the mill, and then put upon the wheel and shaped, then polished and tinted and put into the furnace and burned. At last, after many processes, it stood upon the table, a gem of graceful beauty. In some way analogous to this every noble character is formed. Common clay at first, it passes through a thousand processes and experiences, many of them hard and painful, until at length it is presented before God, faultless in its beauty, bearing the features of Christ Himself. Spiritual beauty never can be reached without cost. The blessing is always hidden sway in the burden, and can be gotten only by lifting the burden. Michael Angelo used to say, as the chippings flew thick from the marble on the floor of his studio: "While the marble wastes the image grows."
(J. R. Miller, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?