This past Saturday, I wrote an essay titled Getting Dressed for Easter. That essay explored the topic of the difference between spiffing ourselves up with nice clothes on the outside, and the Spirit spiffing us up from the inside. Jesus can tell the difference between a genuinely adorned person and falsely adorned person, and I cited several verses and parables. One of the verses I used for the platform to launch my topic was Zephaniah 1:8, which says,
“And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.”
The background for that verse is literal, and I explained what it meant in a longer essay than this will be. Jews really used to wear apparel that distinguished them as God’s children, having a blue band around the edges of their clothes. It is also metaphorical, in that nowadays, draping ourselves in strange apparel won’t cover the unforgiven sins inside is, if there are any. You can wear clean, shiny new clothes to the church service but that won’t hide from Jesus the wretched sins inside you.
But the Holy Spirit still has that verse and that phrase on my mind. He won’t let go. So…looking at the verse in an additional metaphorical way, let’s go back to how God uses metaphors for clothing as a wrapping for us in righteousness. As Job said in chapter/book 29:14 “I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.”
As Paul said, metaphorically, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27).
In Revelation, the martyrs during the Tribulation begin to arrive in multitudinous numbers, and we read, “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.” (Rev 6:11).
Revelation 7:13-14: “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?” 14I 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.”
White robes are the emblems of purity, innocence, and triumph. I don’t know if the white robes given to the Tribulation martyrs are symbolic or literal. We do know that Paul was speaking of clothing ourselves in Christ both literally and figuratively. Literally in that the Holy Spirit does come to dwell inside us, but no one can see the literal Jesus on us, except in our demeanor as the fruits we bear.
However, I strenuously note that the robes of righteousness, the cloak of justice, are not strange apparel to Jesus! These garments are familiar to Jesus because HE gives them to us.
Strange apparel are clothes God does not recognize. On His day, He will not recognize those who are cloaked in sins. Anyone wearing strange apparel, cloaked in sin that is, will not be familiar to Jesus and “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:23)
If you are interested in putting on Christ’s robes of righteousness, then please follow this link to learn how to become one who is familiar to Him, wearing His robes and being clothed in love and forgiveness: