And white robes were given unto every one of them; (Revelation 6:11)
Recently we were reading our daily devotional Days of Praise. The devotional for that day was entitled “Clothing.” In that article, the author, John D. Morris, Ph.D., points out the fact that Adam and Eve were naked when they were created, and only after they sinned did their nakedness become apparent to them. The last book of the Bible informs us that we will be clothed with white robes in heaven – that is, those of us who go to heaven. So the question came up, why are we not naked in heaven the way God created us in the beginning? The Bible tells us that we will be clothed “in fine linen, clean and white,” but it makes no comment about why we are clothed rather than naked. That made me think.
When Adam and Eve sinned, God had to clothe them in skins to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:21). Someone suggested that before they sinned, Adam and Eve were “clothed” in light. The Hebrew word for light is ‘ôr (אור). This reminds me of the time when Moses was in the presence of God for forty days, and his face shone with a light so that the people were afraid of him. He had to veil his face (Exodus 34:29-35) so that the people would not fear him. Then there was the time at the Mount of Transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, and all of them glowed (Matthew 17:1-2). Adam and Eve may have had a similar glow about them. Then when they sinned, they lost that glow so that their nakedness became apparent to them (Genesis 3:7). God then covered them with skins. The Hebrew word for skin is ‛ôr (עור). There may be a play on words here. Note that both Hebrew words are pronounced “or,” but they have different spellings in Hebrew. Before they sinned, they were clothed in אור (light), but after they sinned, God clothed them in עור (skin).
That may be a part of it, but what is of greater importance is that the skins were a covering for their nakedness which represented their sin. The idea of covering conveys the meaning of “atonement.” Throughout Scripture the shedding of innocent blood has always been the requirement for making atonement or the covering of sin.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11, emphasis mine)
The robes given to the saints in heaven are made “white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). Once again, the innocent blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), was shed, once for all, to cover our sin.
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13-14, emphasis mine)
Perhaps this is why we wear robes in heaven. The robes will remind us for eternity that Jesus shed His blood to cover (atone for) our sin. Our clothing in heaven is His righteousness, not our own. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I [Jesus] will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5, emphasis mine). “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked” (2 Corinthians 5:2-3).