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What does robe washing in Revelation 22 refer to?

Is robe washing synonymous with confession?

Revelation 22:1 - 21

ESV - 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Clarify Share Report Asked May 14 2020 Mini Debra Grannemann

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
As I understand it, variations of the text in some versions of the cited verse (Revelation 22:14), as found on the website https://www.biblehub.com, equate robe washing with obedience by translating "Blessed are those who wash their robes" as "Blessed are they that do His commandments".

Although this may seem a sizable difference (in light of the fact that no one is capable of the perfect obedience that God requires), perhaps both renderings could have their place as a reflection of the universal need for humans to exercise faith in Christ (that is, to have their robes -- a symbol of their characters -- washed in His blood through confession of their sins and receipt of the forgiveness that only faith in Christ can impart) in order to enter the gates of the New Jerusalem.

(In addition, as Paul noted in 1 Timothy 2:4, and Peter stated in 2 Peter 3:9, it is the desire or wish of God that all humans should be saved, so that, in that sense, confession in order to receive salvation by faith could also be considered obedience.)

May 14 2020 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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Mini Aurel Gheorghe
Revelation 22:14 can be controversial for some. The KJV read “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life….” while ESV, NIV and other translations read “Blessed are those who wash their robes so, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.”

Some have argued that the modern Bible translations must contain a transcription error as Revelation 22:14 in the original Greek sounds almost identical in both versions: “Blessed are those doing the commandments His.” (Makarioi oi poiountes tas entolas autou) and “Blessed are those washing the robes His.” (Makarioi oi pluntes tas stolas auton). 

So, which is it? Do His commandments or wash their robes? In my opinion both translations are acceptable because those “who do His commandments” and “who wash their robes are the same people and they will be in the Kingdom (Rev 1:5; 7:14; 12:17; 14:12). There is no discrepancy - all those who wash their robes are keeping the commandments. On the other hand, all who ignore the commandments will not be in the Kingdom (1 Cor 6:9-11; Rev 22:15). 

The phrase, "wash their robes," (Rev 7:14) describes the redeemed standing before the throne of God. Their sins were washed away not because they obeyed the commandments but by the blood of the Lamb. The obedience to the commandments is the result of having their sins washed away and thus they gain access to the tree of life - all because Christ washed their robes. 

The phrase "that they may have the right to the tree of life" points to the reason for keeping the commandments: "Because they will have... " rather than "in order to have access..." Again, and again, in Revelation John sees the faithful obeying God’s commandments – similarly to what Jesus asked us to do John 14:15.

May 16 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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