It’s fascinating how much girls think about their wedding, and in particular their dress. I’ve titled this series after a show on TLC called Say Yes to the Dress. I haven’t seen an entire episode because … well, since I’m a man, though admittedly with slightly less machismo.
Scripture tells us, and to all the little girls who’ve anticipated their wedding dress, what the Bride of Christ will be wearing on her wedding day.
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. —Revelation 19:6-8 (ESV)
I’d like to point out a few things from this prophetic passage somewhat out of order:
1. The Bridegroom gives to his Bride her gown
… it was granted her to clothe herself …
Unlike traditional weddings where the bride, or at least her family, is responsible for her dress (and the entire wedding, for that matter) the bridegroom here provides everything necessary. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of how God arrayed the nation of Israel:
I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. —Ezekiel 16:10-13 (ESV)
A nose ring, pretty cool.
2. The Bride makes herself ready
… and his Bride has made herself ready …
I don’t know what takes place in the bridal chamber prior to a wedding, but someday my girls will probably get married. I’m sure there’s a lot of fussing and fretting over hair and makeup and placement of jewelry. We men don’t do much. Even our clothes are simple. Jerry Seinfeld says, in fact, that the reason groomsmen are dressed like the groom is because if he fails to show up, they could all just move over and the wedding would carry on unhindered.
3. The Bride’s gown is what she does
… for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
I did some moderate research into wedding dress fabric. Usually chiffons, satins, and silks are featured. Rayon is a less expensive alternative, with polyester even less expensive. I didn’t see anything about a linen wedding dress. Perhaps if you were going to get married on an island in the Caribbean, which if I got to do it all over again I might choose.
[pullquote]Throughout Christian history, every holy attitude and good deed prompted by God’s grace have been woven into the tapestry of the bride’s attire.[/pullquote]Understand that linen in biblical times was highly prized. It symbolized purity and demonstrated wealth. Here this fine linen is not what she wears but what she does. The Bride is adorned in righteousness, the deeds of God’s saints everywhere and throughout all time. What a wonderful assurance that everything we do that is both directed and enabled by God’s Spirit will not be in vain. When we serve, when we give, when we pray, when we worship, when encourage—we will wear this righteousness as the bridal gown of the collective Church. What we do has eternal implications.
This righteousness is what we were made for and what we were saved for:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. —Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
No bride before will have been clothed as radiantly, as exquisitely—no princess, no heiress, no celebrity.
Throughout Christian history, every holy attitude and good deed prompted by God’s grace have been woven into the tapestry of the bride’s attire. —Holman New Testament Commentary
For more, see my post “Dressed by the Buckle.”