“To the one who conquers…”, pt. 5: Rev. 3:5

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The white garments in 3:5 are continued from the verse before. Here we see that white garments are given to people who are worthy to receive them.To the Laodicean church, John counsels the people to buy white garments to cover their shameful nakedness (3:18). The elders in 4:4 are clothed in white garments. And lastly, the one who stays awake and keeps his garments on is blessed (16:15). The royalty in the Greek word here (imation) is less emphasized than other verses that mention clothing (robes; stole; 6:11, 7:9, 13, 14, 22:14; imation, 3:4, 5; 18; 4:4; 16:15; 19:13, 16). The apocrypal work 2 Esdras refers to those who have fulfilled the law of the Lord will be clothed in white, their number will be completed, and they will be made holy (2 Esdr 2:40-41). White is seen as being pure, thus being made holy is being made white, or pure (cf. Dan 11:35, 12:10; both of which include language of refinement). The writer of Ecclesiastes includes a blessing for his readers to have white garments (9:8) For John, the one who conquers will be made holy. This is symbolized by given pure, fresh, white clothing (3:4, 5, 18; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9, 13, 14; 19:14). Even God’s throne is specified as being white (20:11). Elsewhere in the NT, whiteness emphasizes God’s glory (Matt. 17:2; 28:3; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29).

The book of life may find its background in Psalm 56:8, 69:28, 139:16, Dan. 12:1-2, and Ex. 32:32-33. Paul, in Phil. 4:3, mentions that his true companions and those that stood next to him have their names written in the book of life. In Revelation, those who worship the Law are clothed in His righteousness and their names are written in the book of life (3:5; Luke 10:20), and they have entrance to the new city (21:27). Conversely, those who follow the beast or submit themselves to evil are excluded from the book (13:8, 17:8; 20:12, 15). The person that endures and conquers will have eternal life and enter in to the New Kingdom.

Lastly, John asserts that Jesus will confess the name of the one who conquers to the Father (cf. Matt. 10:32-33; Luke 12:8; Mark 8:38 1 John 2:23). In Revelation, John shows Jesus to be the Faithful and True Witness (1:5; 3:14, 19:11). The themes of confession and bearing witness are intimately linked. First, Jesus calls believers to remain faithful and bear witness to Him even through their own slaughter (2:13; 6:9; 11:1-14). So then, to the believers who remain the faithful witness to the Lamb, the Lamb will remain the faithful witness to them before the Father. But to be a faithful witness, one has to be faithful to whom they are witnessing. Their character and words (confess) conform to the truth of their witness. Therefore, believers who are considered faithful and true witnesses are faithful and true to the witness of Jesus Himself. If Jesus witness is to conquer nonviolently, then for the believer’s witness to Jesus to be faithful and true means that they conquer nonviolently also.

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