clothes make the woman

In Revelation 19 we are told that, in contrast to the "Harlot", the "Bride" has made herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb. "She" has made herself ready by being specially clothed with the legitimate actions of the saints. Here are some examples of the clothing metaphor as used in Revelation.

(Revelation 3:5) 'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
(Revelation 3:18) I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
(Revelation 4:4) Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
(Revelation 7:9) After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.
(Revelation 7:13-17) Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. "They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."
(Revelation 16:15) "Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame."
(Revelation 19:7-8) "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." (8) It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

The Harlot is dressed a bit differently.
(Revelation 17:4) The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality (prostitution),
(Revelation 18:16) saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls;


The Harlot Theme in the OT (part B)

One of the Earliest prophetic messengers to the people soon to be exiled from the promised land was Hosea. Hosea was to marry a Harlot named Gomer and be a Husband to Her even though she would pursue other temporary riches as a harlot. In this way Hosea would not only speak to the people about their unfaithfulness to God, he by this marriage would actually live out a picture of God's Relationship to His supposed bride the Children of Israel. As a husband Hosea would endeavor to provide an environment in which his wife might flourish. But she chose to live foolishly for the temporary payment of those who did not have her best interest at heart.

Hos 1:1-11 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. (2) When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD." (3) So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. (4) And the LORD said to him, "Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. (5) And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel." (6) She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, "Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. (7) But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen." (8) When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. (9) And the LORD said, "Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God." (10) Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God." (11) And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Hos 2:1-23 Say to your brothers, "You are my people," and to your sisters, "You have received mercy." (2) "Plead with your mother, plead-- for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband-- that she put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts; (3) lest I strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and make her like a parched land, and kill her with thirst. (4) Upon her children also I will have no mercy, because they are children of whoredom. (5) For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.' (6) Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. (7) She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.' (8) And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal. (9) Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness. (10) Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. (11) And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts. (12) And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, 'These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.' I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall devour them. (13) And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the LORD. (14) "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. (15) And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. (16) "And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me 'My Husband,' and no longer will you call me 'My Baal.' (17) For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. (18) And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. (19) And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. (20) I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. (21) "And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, (22) and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, (23) and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, 'You are my people'; and he shall say, 'You are my God.'"

Hos 3:1-5 And the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins." (2) So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. (3) And I said to her, "You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you." (4) For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. (5) Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.


The Harlot theme in the O. T. (part A)

The God of Abraham has a Way of fidelity for His people to walk in. When they neglect or abandon the Way which He has for them and make for themselves another way their actions are spoken of as harlotry or adultry. consider each of the passages below.

Exo 34:11-16 "Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (12) Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. (13) You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (14) (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), (15) lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, (16) and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.

Lev 20:4-6 And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, (5) then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech. (6) "If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.

Num 15:38-40 "Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. (39) And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. (40) So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.

Deu 31:16 And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them.

Jdg 2:16-17 Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. (17) Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so.

Jdg 8:27, 33 And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family. (33) As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.


the bride and the harlot revisited

How important are the themes of "the harlot" and "the bride" to a full and well-rounded understanding of Gods word to us? In our reading groups we are still engaging the book of Revelation. The Representation of The Harlot City (and The Victory of Christ Over Her) is found in Rev. 17-20:15. The Representation of The Bride of Christ (or The New Jerusalem) is found in Rev. 21-22:7. These two figures are key and climactic representations in this book. But the idea of their contrast does not originate in this last book of the bible. The contrast between a faithful bride and an unfaithful harlot is already developing in the book of Exodus.

"You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods."(Exodus 34:13-16)

If the passage above was all we had from the Old Testamnet as a figurative use of "harlotry" for corporate unfaithfulness to God by the figurative lady who would call herself, "the people of God", we would only have a small connection to our passages in Revelation. Actually though, this theme of Faithful Bride or Unfaithful Harlot becomes very much more important in the story of God and his people.


somebody better recognize

In a basketball game at our gym I heard this interesting phrase. It was shouted out when a player on one team demonstrated that he had a particularly good 3 point shot and he was not receiving adequate defensive attention from his opponents. After he hit his second poorly contested 3 point shot in a row it was shouted from the bleachers, "Somebody better recognize!" meaning acknowledge this person for who he is, his ability on the court, and his presence on the court, and behave accordingly.
In the Bible, the "pisteuo" word group (usually translated believe/faith) is used with the meaning of "loyal recognition" toward a person.

I think that outside the Bible, people are using the word "faith" in ways that confuse our bible reading. In modern culture the English word "faith" is often used to express "confidence," "religious confidence," "self-confidence," or "a religious optimism about the future." With this meaning the word is used in sentences like, "You just got to have faith." "I'm keeping the faith." "Do you have a strong faith?" with a meaning that gives the word an impersonal and generic slant not appropriate to it's use in scripture. Some common uses for "believe" are also out of step with the scriptural idea. Outside prophetic scripture you may find statements that we "believe" or do not "believe" in a proposition such as: "there will be a resurrection", but this usage does not carry the biblical meaning of the more personal "loyal recognition." When propositions are the issue, the authors of scripture use different vocabulary. For example the Pharisees "say" there is a resurrection and the Sadducees "say" there is not. We don't find "they have faith in" or "they believe in" the resurrection. In the prophetic scriptures the idea of "Loyal recognition" is not easily divorced from obedience. The biblical author James shores up the "loyal" part of the "loyal recognition" meaning. The demons "recognize" God and they often "recognized" Jesus, but Abraham had a "loyal recognition" that was born out in his acts of obedience. This means that if we would read the prophetic scriptures on their own terms, a close definition of the "pisteuo" (believe/faith) word group will be worth our careful observation.


Representations of things that must go on immediately

From the prologue and the epilogue of the Revelation we (along with the original reader's) seem to be given the sense that the whole of the Revelation is representing the events of the immediate period transpiring until the glorious return of Israel's Messiah.

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show (represent) to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place (that which must go on immediately); and He sent and communicated by His angel to His bond-servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near (ready, at hand) Revelation 1:1-3.

And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show (represent) to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place (that which must go on immediately). "And behold, I am coming quickly,. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book." And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. And he said to me, "Do not do that " I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God." And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near (ready, at hand). Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy , still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and let the one who is holy, still keep himself holy. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star." And the Spirit and the bride say,"Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. Revelation 22:6-21.

Again there are things which must go on during this whole season of anticipation which is looked upon by the faithful as "a little while longer while the number of your fellow servants is filled up".