The Robes of White

The Robes of White

Some day these scarlet robes we wear

Shall turn to lily white,

And all these crosses that we bear

Will change to crowns so bright.

The days and nights will be the same—

No darkness in the land.

And with the last tear wiped away

We’ll touch the Saviour’s hand.

He’ll gently lead us down the path

He long ago prepared,

And in that land so glorious

There’ll be no parting there.

Oh what a day that’s going to be,

The one we’ve waited for.

Our lovely robes of purest white

No stains for evermore.

Our crowns will shine so beautifully

Each gem’s been set with care.

And in our robes of righteousness

We’ll wear no crosses there.

Virginia Atwood Shaw

White Robes of Righteousness, Part I

In studying about the final events and the final hour in which we are living, the following statement came to my attention: “The bright light going among the living creatures with the swiftness of lightning represents the speed with which this work will finally go forward to completion.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 754. Ellen White is referring in this statement to Ezekiel 1:13, part of a vision given to Ezekiel. Other references about lightning in the Bible reveal something outstanding. Matthew 28:3, speaking of the angel of the Lord, states: “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.” Why should this be mentioned? Let us consider and study this phrase and its meaning in this mighty final hour.

  1. Angels. Angels mentioned in the New Testament were dressed in white: “raiment white as snow,” Matthew 28:3; “long white garment,” Mark 16:5; “two angels in white,” John 20:12; “two men [angels] stood by them in white apparel,” Acts 1:10; “the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen,” Revelation 15:6.
  2. Jesus Christ. At the time Jesus Christ our Redeemer was transfigured, “His raiment was white as the light.” Matthew 17:2. Mark 9:3 states, “His raiment became shining, exceedingly white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.” Luke 9:29 says that as Jesus prayed, “His raiment [was] white [and] glistering.” In Revelation 1:13, 14, we read that the Son of man was clothed with a garment down to the foot, and “His head and [His] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow.”
  3. The Father. Consider now the Father, the Ancient of Days. “The Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool.” Daniel 7:9. Verse 13 tells that the Son of man joined the Ancient of days. John saw a “great white throne,” Revelation 20:11, before which man was judged, “every man according to their works.” Verse 13.
  4.  24 Elders. In Revelation 4:4, the 24 elders are “clothed in white raiment” around the throne of God.
  5. Heaven’s Horses. White signifies purity, cleanliness, godliness, and holiness and righteousness of the Lamb of God. We see in Revelation 19:11 that Jesus is riding a white horse, and that “the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 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.” Verses 7, 8. Verse 14 tells us, “The armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
  6. Coming of Jesus. Ellen White wrote: “Our eyes were drawn to the east, for a small black cloud had appeared, about half as large as a man’s hand, which we all knew was the sign of the Son of man. We all in solemn silence gazed on the cloud as it drew nearer and became lighter, glorious, and still more glorious, till it was a great white cloud.” Early Writings, 15. Revelation 19:11-16 describes the coming of the Lord with the angelic host dressed in white. Revelation 14:14 tells us that the Son of man is coming on a white cloud. Revelation 19:17-21 describes the destruction of the wicked who preferred to wear fig-leaf garments of their own devising to their final destruction, rather than the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness and eternal life.
  7. Earth’s Human Family. As we consider the heavenly beings the Father, the Son, and the angelic hosts as white as snow¾what does this mean to humanity and to God’s people? White is maximum lightness, holiness, godliness; it is heavenly. White is in stark contrast to black, which signifies darkness, wickedness, and hell.

When fresh snow has fallen, it is sparkling white without spot or blemish whatsoever. What God is longing to teach the human family in darkness on this earth is the contrast to the light, white heavenly atmosphere. However, before we can be dressed in garments of white in heaven, we must have garments of white on earth. If heavenly beings are dressed in all white, what does God expect of the human family?

From the Beginning

Let us begin our study at the beginning creation. Genesis 2:7 and verses 21-25 state that the Lord God created Adam and Eve, and both were naked but not ashamed. “The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden. They lived in perfect conformity to the will of God. All the strength of their affections was given to their heavenly Father. A beautiful soft light, the light of God, enshrouded the holy pair. This robe of light was a symbol of their spiritual garments of heavenly innocence. Had they remained true to God it would ever have continued to enshroud them. But when sin entered, they severed their connection with God, and the light that had encircled them departed. Naked and ashamed, they tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering.

“This is what the transgressors of God’s law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God.

“But this they can never do. Nothing can man devise to supply the place of his lost robe of innocence. No fig-leaf garment, no worldly citizen-dress, can be worn by those who sit down with Christ and angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311.

Adam and Eve had the white robe of innocence, the robe of light, garments of heavenly innocence, until sin entered. They possessed the white robe of heavenly purity and godliness. All heavenly beings and the contents of heaven are associated with white.

Then Came “Knowledge”

“Adam and Eve both ate of the fruit, and obtained a knowledge which, had they obeyed God, they would never have had,¾an experience in disobedience and disloyalty to God,¾the knowledge that they were naked. The garment of innocence, a covering from God, which surrounded them, departed; and they supplied the place of this heavenly garment by sewing together fig-leaves for aprons.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1084.

“Had Adam and Eve never disobeyed their Creator, had they remained in the path of perfect rectitude, they could have known and understood God. But when they listened to the voice of the tempter, and sinned against God, the light of the garments of heavenly innocence departed from them; and in parting with the garments of innocence, they drew about them the dark robes of ignorance of God. The clear and perfect light that had hitherto surrounded them had lightened everything they approached; but deprived of that heavenly light, the posterity of Adam could no longer trace the character of God in His created works.” Ibid.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they saw their nakedness immediately, and sewed fig leaves as garments. This was their own devising. (Genesis 3:6, 7.) “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” Genesis 3:8-11.

Adam and Eve were hiding. As God looked for them, Adam indicated that they were afraid, because they were naked. Adam’s sin revealed it all; both to him and to us today.

Mercy of God

What a loving God we have, however, for He declared to the serpent, in verse 15, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God presented the gospel that though Christ would suffer for humanity’s sake on the cross (bruise His heel), Satan will suffer destruction by the cross (head to be bruised). This gave hope to Adam and to the human family. God lovingly made a coat of skins for Adam and Eve to replace the fig-leaf aprons. (Genesis 3:21.) How much God cares for His created beings!

“When the curse was pronounced upon the earth and upon man, in connection with the curse was a promise that through Christ there was hope and pardon for the transgression of God’s law. Although gloom and darkness hung, like the pall of death, over the future, yet in the promise of the Redeemer, the Star of hope lighted up the dark future. The gospel was first preached to Adam by Christ. Adam and Eve felt sincere sorrow and repentance for their guilt. They believed the precious promise of God, and were saved from utter ruin.” Review and Herald, April 29, 1875.

God pleads with His people today, through the revelation of the cross, with mercy and love. He desires the human family to reveal Christ and His righteousness. God realizes our deep need and identifies our problems and our needs.

Rags to Robes

“But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6.

An example of God’s mercy is given in Zechariah 3:3, 4. When Joshua the high priest was shown clothed with filthy garments, the Lord said, “Take away the filthy garments. . . . Thine iniquity is passed from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of garments.” So also will God take our filthy garments and we will be new creatures in Christ (11 Corinthians 5:17), and we will walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4).

“None are so low, so corrupt and vile, that they cannot find in Jesus, who died for them, strength, purity, and righteousness, if they will put away their sins, cease their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God. He is waiting to strip them of their garments, stained and polluted by sin, and to put upon them the white, bright robes of righteousness; and He bids them live and not die.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 453.

“This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. ‘All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God ‘was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.’ Sin is defined to be ‘the transgression of the law.’ 1 John 3:5, 4. But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law. He said of Himself, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. When on earth, He said to His disciples, ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311, 312.

“He [God] would have us comprehend something of His love in giving His Son to die that He might counteract evil, remove the defiling stains of sin from the workmanship of God, and reinstate the lost, elevating and ennobling the soul to its original purity through Christ’s imputed righteousness. The only way in which the fallen race could be restored was through the gift of His Son, equal with Himself, possessing the attributes of God.” That I May Know Him, 206.

God desires to restore us to the original purity of the white robe of innocence. He will change our robes of human devising, the fig-leaf garments, to His robe of righteousness, which is whiter than snow. God is longing, waiting with long patience, that His people be clothed with His perfect character, the garment of righteousness, for His coming draweth nigh.

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7, 8. Today is our opportunity to form this holy, righteous character for the eternal home.

Garments of Salvation

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10. God is longing to clothe His people¾He gives them the garment of salvation. Notice again¾to clothe us with the garment of salvation.

“Behold, God [is] my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah [is] my strength and [my] song; he also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2.

The garment of salvation reveals that God is our salvation, whom we trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Thereby, we are not afraid, for God is our strength and our song, and He has become our salvation.

As stated in Isaiah 61:10, the Lord has covered us with the robe of righteousness; that is, His white raiment. We are totally in Christ, and He has become our salvation, our hope, and our guide for eternity.


God offers much to get us started, prepared to wear that white robe. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. Notice the longing of God to remove all sin. Notice the phrase, “white as snow,” and the word, “wool.” These are the characteristics of God the Father and Jesus Christ our Saviour mentioned above in the Word of God. They long to pass on to God’s people these qualities and purity.

David was convicted, and he longed for a clean heart and to be purged and to be whiter than snow. “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:2, 7, 10. He longed to be recreated with a clean heart and to be renewed.

“When the light from Christ shines into our souls, we shall see how impure we are; we shall discern the selfishness of motive, the enmity against God, that has defiled every act of life. Then we shall know that our own righteousness is indeed as filthy rags, and that the blood of Christ alone can cleanse us from the defilement of sin, and renew our hearts in His own likeness.” Conflict and Courage, 292.

God’s Longing

From Isaiah 57:14, 15, we read that God “Shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Do not hinder anyone from growing and working in and for the Lord, for God is longing to revive His people with a humble and contrite spirit and to wash us with His own blood. “And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Revelation 1:5. Not only are we washed and regenerated by Christ our Saviour, but we are also being renewed by the Holy Spirit for the hope of eternal life: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7.

“He [Jesus] made the infinite sacrifice, not only that sin might be removed, but that human nature might be restored, rebeautified, reconstructed from its ruins, and made fit for the presence of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 537.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire.” Matthew 3:11. Jesus was preparing to be baptized by John the Baptist. John the Baptist, realizing the solemnity of the baptism of Christ, proclaimed that Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire, which cleanses us and purifies from all earthliness. Verse 16 shows the work of the Holy Spirit. He descended on Jesus like a dove, as Jesus was being baptized, to demonstrate how we must be “born again.” Read John 3:3-8.

If we were born again but drifted away, we should be rebaptized. “The Lord calls for a decided reformation. And when a soul is truly reconverted, let him be rebaptized. Let him renew his covenant with God, and God will renew His covenant with him. . . . Reconversion must take place among the members, that as God’s witnesses they may testify to the authoritative power of the truth that sanctifies the soul.” Evangelism, 375.

“If we would be overcomers, we must search our hearts to be sure that we are not cherishing anything that is offensive to God. If we are, we cannot wear the white raiment that is here promised. If we would stand before God in the white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints, we must now do the work of overcoming.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 138.

“Let us each examine ourselves carefully to see if we are in the faith; let us be diligent to make sure work for eternity. Jesus says that he will confess the name of the overcomer before his Father, and before the holy angels. If we would have our names honored before the heavenly host in the day of God, we must obtain the white raiment now. We must clothe ourselves with humility as with a garment. Every step heavenward must be a step of humility.” Ibid., 139.

To be continued . . .

A real estate broker in Collegedale, Tennessee, for 15 years, Bill Humeniuk decided to retire early so he would be able to spend more time in Bible study and working for the Lord. Five years ago, he started Advent Hope Ministries, Inc., which is primarily a “Bibles for Africa” project. He may be contacted by e-mail at: or at: