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Revelation 7:14

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Sir, thou knowest - That is, I do not know, but thou canst inform me.

Came out of great tribulation - Persecutions of every kind.

And have washed their robes - Have obtained their pardon and purity, through the blood of the Lamb.

Their white robes cannot mean the righteousness of Christ, for this cannot be washed and made white in his own blood. This white linen is said to be the righteousness of the saints, Revelation 19:8, and this is the righteousness in which they stand before the throne; therefore it is not Christ's righteousness, but it is a righteousness wrought in them by the merit of his blood, and the power of his Spirit.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest - The word “sir” in this place - κύριέ kurie“lord” - is a form of respectful address, such as would be used when speaking to a superior, Genesis 43:20; Matthew 13:27; Matthew 21:30; Matthew 27:63; John 4:11, John 4:15, John 4:19, John 4:49; John 5:7; John 12:21; John 20:15. The simple meaning of the phrase “thou knowest” is, that he who had asked the question must be better informed than he to whom he had proposed it. It is, on the part of John, a modest confession that he did not know, or could not be presumed to know, and at the same time the respectful utterance of an opinion that he who addressed this question to him must be in possession of this knowledge.

And he said unto me - Not offended with the reply, and ready, as he had evidently intended to do, to give him the information which he needed.

These are they which came out of great tribulation - The word rendered “tribulation” - θλίψις thlipsis- is a word of general character, meaning “affliction,” though perhaps there is here an allusion to persecution. The sense, however, would be better expressed by the phrase great trials. The object seems to have been to set before the mind of the apostle a view of those who had suffered much, and who by their sufferings had been sanctified and prepared for heaven, in order to encourage those who might be yet called to suffer.

And have washed their robes - To wit, in the blood of the Lamb.

And made them white in the blood of the Lamb - There is some incongruity in saying that they had made them white in the blood of the Lamb; and the meaning therefore must be, that they had cleansed or purified them in that blood. Under the ancient ritual, various things about the sanctuary were cleansed from ceremonial defilement by the sprinkling of blood on them - the blood of sacrifice. In accordance with that usage, the blood of the Lamb - of the Lord Jesus - is said to cleanse and purify. John sees a great company with white robes. The means by which it is said they became white or pure is the blood of the Lamb. It is not said that they were made white as the result of their sufferings or their afflictions but by the blood of the Lamb. The course of thought here is such that it would be natural to suppose that, if at any time the great deeds or the sufferings of the saints could contribute to the fact that they will wear white robes in heaven, this is an occasion on which there might be such a reference.

But there is no allusion to that. It is not by their own sufferings and trials, their persecutions and sorrows, that they are made holy, but by the blood of the Lamb that had been shed for sinners. This reference to the blood of the Lamb is one of the incidental proofs that occur so frequently in the Scriptures of the reality of the atonement. It could be only in allusion to that, and with an implied belief in that, that the blood of the Lamb could be referred to as cleansing the robes of the saints in heaven. If he sheds his blood merely as other people have done; if he died only as a martyr, what propriety would there have been in referring to his blood more than to the blood of any other martyr? And what influence could the blood of any martyr have in cleansing the robes of the saints in heaven? The fact is, that if that were all, such language would be unmeaning. It is never used except in connection with the blood of Christ; and the language of the Bible everywhere is such as would be employed on the supposition that he shed his blood to make expiation for sin, and on no other supposition. On the general meaning of the language used here, and the sentiment expressed, see the Hebrews 9:14 note and 1 John 1:7 note.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Faithful Christians deserve our notice and respect; we should mark the upright. Those who would gain knowledge, must not be ashamed to seek instruction from any who can give it. The way to heaven is through many tribulations; but tribulation, how great soever, shall not separate us from the love of God. Tribulation makes heaven more welcome and more glorious. It is not the blood of the martyrs, but the blood of the Lamb, that can wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sight of God; other blood stains, this is the only blood that makes the robes of the saints white and clean. They are happy in their employment; heaven is a state of service, though not of suffering; it is a state of rest, but not of sloth; it isa praising, delightful rest. They have had sorrows, and shed many tears on account of sin and affliction; but God himself, with his own gracious hand, will wipe those tears away. He deals with them as a tender father. This should support the Christian under all his troubles. As all the redeemed owe their happiness wholly to sovereign mercy; so the work and worship of God their Saviour is their element; his presence and favour complete their happiness, nor can they conceive of any other joy. To Him may all his people come; from him they receive every needed grace; and to him let them offer all praise and glory.
Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 17-9

At first only a few were identified with this group who were moving forward in advancing light. By the year 1846 they reckoned their numbers as about fifty. EW xvii.1

The larger group who turned from confidence in the fulfillment of prophecy in 1844 numbered approximately thirty thousand. Their leaders came together in 1845 in a conference in Albany, New York, April 29 to May 1, at which time they restudied their positions. By formal action they went on record as warning against those who claim “special illumination,” those who teach “Jewish fables,” and those who establish “new tests” (Advent Herald, May 14, 1845). Thus they closed the door to light on the Sabbath and the Spirit of Prophecy. They were confident that prophecy had not been fulfilled in 1844, and some set time for the termination of the 2300-day period in the future. Various times were set, but one after another they passed by. These people, held together by the cohesive element of the Advent hope, at first aligned themselves in several rather loosely knit groups with considerable variation in certain doctrinal positions. Some of these groups soon faded out. The group that survived became the Advent Christian Church. Such are identified in this book as the “first day Adventists” or “nominal Adventists.” EW xvii.2

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 677

There the redeemed shall know, even as also they are known. The loves and sympathies which God Himself has planted in the soul shall there find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the sacred ties that bind together “the whole family in heaven and earth” (Ephesians 3:15)—these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed. GC 677.1

There, immortal minds will contemplate with never-failing delight the wonders of creative power, the mysteries of redeeming love. There will be no cruel, deceiving foe to tempt to forgetfulness of God. Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized; and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body. GC 677.2

All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God's redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar—worlds that thrilled with sorrow at the spectacle of human woe and rang with songs of gladness at the tidings of a ransomed soul. With unutterable delight the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. They share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through ages upon ages in contemplation of God's handiwork. With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation—suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator's name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed. GC 677.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 960

A true sense of repentance before God does not hold us in bondage, causing us to feel like persons in a funeral procession. We are to be cheerful, not sorrowful. But all the time we are to be sorry that after Christ had given His precious life for us, we gave so many years of our life to the powers of darkness. We are to feel sorrow of heart as we remember that after Christ had given His all for our redemption, we used in the service of the enemy some of the time and capabilities which the Lord entrusted to us as talents to use to His name's glory. We are to repent because we have not endeavored in every way possible to become acquainted with the precious truth, which enables us to exercise that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. 7BC 960.1

As we see souls out of Christ, we are to put ourselves in their place, and in their behalf feel repentance before God, resting not until we bring them to repentance. If we do everything we can for them, and yet they do not repent, the sin lies at their door; but we are still to feel sorrow of heart because of their condition, showing them how to repent, and trying to lead them step by step to Jesus Christ (Manuscript 92, 1901). 7BC 960.2

4. See EGW on ch. 19:7-9; Hebrews 2:14-18. 7BC 960.3

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Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 253

The want of this necessary preparation will shut out the greatest portion of the young professors, for they will not labor earnestly and zealously enough to obtain that rest that remains for the people of God. They will not honestly confess their sins, that they may be pardoned and blotted out. These sins in a short time will be revealed in just their enormity. God's eye does not slumber. He knows every sin that is hidden from mortal eye. The guilty know just what sins to confess, that their souls may be clean before God. 2SG 253.1

I saw that Jesus was now giving them opportunity to confess, to repent in deep humility, and purify their lives by obeying and living out the truth. I saw that now was the time for wrongs to be righted, sins to be confessed, or appear before the sinner in the day of God's wrath. 2SG 253.2

I saw that parents generally put too much confidence in their children, and often when their parents are confiding in them, they are in concealed iniquity. Parents, watch over your children with a jealous care. Exhort, reprove, counsel them when you rise up, and when you sit down; when you go out, and when you come in; “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little.” Subdue your children when they are young. With many parents this has been sadly neglected. 2SG 253.3

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