White Garments

From Rev. Jeremy Simons, Cathedral Chaplain
June 20, 2018

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7.9

At this time of year, it is common for people to wear white clothes. Graduations, weddings, our June 19th pageant, and other events feature white garments. People often like to wear cool white clothes in the heat of summer.

The Writings tell us that many people in the next life love white garments:

“Among the spirits there are many who love white clothing, and indeed, with such intense desire that they aroused in me a kind of longing to buy white clothing.” Spiritual Experiences 1333

In the Book of Revelation, white garments are noted numerous times. They are a promised gift for “he who overcomes” (3:5), they clothe the 24 elders around the throne (4:4); they comfort the souls under the altar (6:11), they are given to those who come out of the “great tribulation” (7:9), they are worn by the armies of heaven who follow the One on the white horse (19:14).

There is nothing surprising about these references. Most people worldwide intuitively grasp the positive significance of white garments – although there are some cultures that do attach a negative meaning to them. For most of us the color is associated with purity, hope, truth, innocence and similar thoughts. The Writings describe them as relating to truth and the divine protection.

“The white robes represented the presence about them of the Lord with Divine Truth. By means of Divine Truth the Lord protects His own, for He surrounds them with a sphere of light, from which they have white robes. When encompassed by this sphere they can no longer be infested by evil spirits.” Apocalypse Explained 395

This explains why white garments could be an effective remedy to the suffering of the souls under the altar, and a significant reward for “he who overcomes.”

Another way to put it is that white garments stand for the answers and solutions to our most vexing issues.

This week we celebrate New Church Day on June 19th. It is a celebration of the answer to all of humanity’s problems, and the promise of peace on earth, that is the New Church.

Next week we welcome the General Church clergy from all over the world for the annual ministers’ meetings. Although they will not wear white robes during the meetings, we hope that the sphere of their deliberations will be guided by these same divine truths.


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