More than one of Christ's parables were tactfully worded, apparently, allowing for a standard interpretation to apply for the many generations of believers living prior to the great tribulation, but with added insights applying specifically for tribulation believers.
Take, for example, the "food" found just prior to the parable of the virgins. It would depict spiritual food for all generations of believers, but also literal food for the great-tribulation generation. Also, the parable of the sheep and the goats appears to have its greatest significance in the great tribulation even while it can apply to previous generations.
Certainly, the parable of the ten virgins is a call to prepare for the return of Jesus, and while oil may depict the Holy Spirit in other scriptures, the story line of the parable does not support a Holy-Spirit interpretation as well as oil = food, fuel and related physical needs permitting us to live apart from receiving the mark of the beast.
Is it any wonder that charismatics would interpret the oil as the Holy Spirit, just so that they can interpret the extra oil as an extra infilling of the Spirit...which they claim to possess at the exclusion of all other believers? You do realize, don't you, that this in their minds makes all other believers -- those who don't speak in tongues or perform miracles -- into the foolish virgins condemned to Hell? I don’t agree with this charismatic “full-gospel” view.
In the parable, we see that because the five foolish virgins will not prepare extra oil, they will be incapable of enduring deeper into the night than required, and their calamity at the end of the night takes an infinite turn for the worse in the horrible fate of eternal condemnation. When at the end of the night the five wise virgins alone are rewarded with eternal life, the ones without the extra oil beg, "Lord, Lord...", only to hear Jesus reply, "I don't know you."
Sound familiar? It's the same condemnation reported by Jesus in Matthew 7:21, where he says, "Not everyone saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." As the foolish virgins are believers in Jesus, so also the ones who say "Lord, Lord" in the Matthew-7 text, who claim to drive out demons and perform miracles in the name of Jesus but who do not live for God appropriately in the key areas required by Him. Therefore, as these condemned believers sound just like charismatics, is it really true that the wise virgins are within charismatic circles, or wouldn't the truth be nearer to the other way around, that some of the foolish virgins are those charismatics who create the will of God for their lives while confusing their imaginations for the voice and moving of God?
As a side note, I started out in Pentecostal/charismatic churches as a born-again believer, when I was converted, not in a church, but in my own room. I learned quickly that the Christian life must not be a largely mystical, revelation-based experience, but a calculated performance of doing the Words of Jesus. I must admit, I am largely disappointed in some areas of my performance. But one thing I won't do is what charismatics are famous for, playing prophet or apostle of God, or in other ways acting like an elite believer who considers himself special compared to others just because he partook in an amazing conversion experience. Within a month, as a witness to my old circle of friends, the Lord used me to cast out a demon from an anti-Christian friend while I was bending one knee in front of my old party-pals, and praying openly to Jesus for her deliverance. She was rolling on the floor at the time, but immediately her mind-losing screams ceased. This took place on the very night that the Holy Spirit showed me a morning vision of that woman, and following up by instructing me with a clearly-perceptible Voice to write something on paper. That was God's way of showing me that He had truly come into my life.
But He has not communicated with me in such grand ways more than a half-dozen times since, and I understand that, unless I obey the written Words of God through the direction of Jesus, my amazing conversion, or any other gift of God that comes supernaturally, and all the communications of God toward me personally, will mean nothing but deep regrets in Darkness.
What troubles me is that I heard a voice at age seven, while running across my front yard with no one around. The voice asked, "Will you live for me." I knew that it was God, no one had to teach me, but what troubles me now is my learning that famous charismatics and cult leaders, whom I think were false prophets, had typically claimed to have heard the voices of angels in their childhood...voices that they claim made them specially-gifted or positioned in the Kingdom of God. Whether they were lying, or whether the angels were demons disguised as Heavenly, I do not know, but in my case I told God, "NO," that I didn't want to give up my childhood fun to serve Him. I told him, maybe later.
God came back to me at age eleven, and at the very second that I was rejecting Him, while the words of rejection were still coming from my mouth, a strong bolt of lightning struck the chimney of my house, and sent broken bricks rolling down the shingles. Yet I ignored Him anyway, until age 21, when after a series of teen-age hardships, I sat upon my bed and looked up to the ceiling, saying, "If I have to go to Hell, from there I will love you." As I lay down on my bed just then, naked I remember, feeling dirty, I begged for His Spirit three times, and within a minute I felt a warm, half-frightening sensation sinking into my head, frightening because I could sense this Being was intruding into the depths of my being. When it was over, after seeing my terrible sins wiped clean, I could feel Jesus inside of me, radiating in every direction, and PEACE, such PEACE. I was never the same again.
Why did God call me like that from an early age? Was it to write this book? Indeed, as soon as I was converted, I began to study prophecy quite intensely, and couldn't understand why others found little interest in it. I also took to writing. When I learned of pre-tribulationism a year later, I determined to write a book against it, but never did I realize that I would be writing on tribulation preparation, until 1994, when through a series of miracle-like events, I thought that God had led me to my own tribulation retreat. I bought the river property, having four acres of native/wild pecan trees. I have since built the cottage, added a fenced garden beside it, and dug a well to clean water just ten feet below ground level. I consider all this wise, but my wife abandoned the project after the first year, and then me too. Am I one of the wise virgins simply because I am preparing for the deep dark night ahead? Perhaps.
THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
The fact that the oil in the parable is needed for all ten lamps underscores the passing of all ten virgins through the night, until the Bridegroom comes and brings the Morning. There is no early rapture seen here; it occurs well past the mid-night hour. So please mark this: the oil which the virgins possess prior to the night means relatively little. It is the extra supply which they store for the deepest part of the night--or do not store for that time--which determines whether they are wise or foolish...whether they receive life or condemnation.
Note that the extra supply of oil is found in "jars," which implies the storage of something. What are Christians to store for the deepest part of the tribulation, do you think? Faith? The Holy Spirit? Yes, but also food and other earthly needs.
Is it truly too peculiar to depict the "night" as the tribulation period, otherwise known as the 70th Week? To the contrary, many have come to this conclusion without difficulty, although I can see why a pre-tribulationist would be very reluctant to interpret the night as the tribulation, since the wise virgins represent Elect Christians IN that night. The pre-tribulationist would like to distort this parable, therefore, so that the coming of the Bridegroom deep in the night is the pre-tribulation rapture (i.e. before the tribulation altogether).
It is so difficult to deny the implication of "night" as the tribulation period that pre-tribulationists have resorted to an elaborate scheme, suggesting that the parable reflects a Jewish marriage custom in which the groom would come and steal the bride in the wee hours of the night. But Jesus was not merely referring to the wee hours of the morning, but to a spiritually dark period in history. For, the parable includes the use of the telling phrase, "THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT."
Note that the Bible divides the last seven years into two halves of 3 1/2 years each, thus providing a definite middle of the tribulation period, which we are told arrives after the Abomination of Desolation occurs. Therefore, the parable's "middle of the night" irresistibly becomes a point in the future which sees the Abomination of Desolation. It is then, with about 1260 days to go before the anti-Christ's power is diminished, that the Church--the Woman of Revelation 12--requires food and drink from special wilderness sources. Note that the virgins do not wait for the bridegroom from their homes, but rather, "go forth to a meeting of the Bridegroom." Do you know when they go forth to this meeting?
A "cry" in "the middle of the night," says the parable, will be heard by all ten drowsing virgins, alerting them to the arrival of the Bridegroom. But, of course, there is significant time left before he actually arrives, for the extra oil is yet needed from that time onward. What would have been the point in storing the all-important jars of oil if there was no significant time between the middle of the night and the Bridegroom's return? And behold, verse 5 tells us that the virgins "went forth to a meeting" just as they heard that cry in the middle of the night, suggesting that the Meeting is the wilderness experience of Revelation 12.
If true, what could the jars of oil represent but storage of foods, etc.? If that's also true, then, while Revelation 12 doesn't reveal much of how the Woman is fed and kept, this parable does: not by expecting God to make food fall out of the sky, but by preparing our very own stores of food.
The sleepiness of the church up until that mid-night point refers to unwatchfulness. All commands of God are given because He knows in advance that we do not obey. Thus, He emphatically told us to watch because He knows that we will tire and not obey when the critical time arrives. But the Abomination of Desolation will be the grand wake-up call for us, when even pre-tribulationists will need to admit that they, too, are leg-deep into the 70th Week. Yes, we are foretold that all ten virgins will then "wake up" and begin to "trim their lamps" in expectation of the Bridegroom.
We see that the oil which the virgins happen to have in their lamps is sufficient to get them through the first half of the night. Then, at the midway point, the foolish virgins discover that they haven't got oil for the rest of the night, and they are quite alarmed by having to endure further without it. This very much evokes reaching the middle of the tribulation period without a store of earthly provisions to do battle against the skincode.
Oil is a source of both food and fuel, and there are some very solid reasons found in the parable itself to support this physical interpretation. For example, the foolish Christians approach the "ready ones" to borrow oil. Is it the element of love, faith in Christ, or the Holy Spirit that they seek to borrow from fellow believers? That doesn't fit very well.
The foolish virgins, realizing that the skincode is nearly upon them now, beg: "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." Are they saying, "Give us some of your Holy Spirit, for our salvation is going out?" That just doesn't fit. A request to borrow food and fuel, however, suits the text extremely well in that food and fuel would sum up the bare survival needs in the event of the skincode.
The response of the "ready ones" to the stern demands are stern denials. They tell the unprepared ones to go and "BUY FOR YOURSELVES." If the foolish ones, who suddenly discover that they are out of faith, or fear that they have lost the Spirit, go to Christ's chosen ones for assistance, wouldn't these wise Christians point them gladly in the right direction, sharing their faith with them, and in the Spirit pray together with them? To the contrary, the prepared ones refuse to help the unprepared ones by sharing their oil, suggesting that the oil does not depict spiritual things. Clearly, the extra jars are such a great prize at this point that they cannot be shared, wherefore the oil must depict provisions vital for life but not easily obtained. Having these provisions provides "light" in the final half of the Week; being without them darkens the period...and makes the mark of the beast enticing.
It's possible that the wise virgins steer the foolish ones to go buy their needs while the skincode is not quite at the enforcement stage, but, even then, at such a late time, while millions of pre-tribulationists and Latter Rainists attempt to buy simultaneously, they are not going to get enough to last very long.
What does the phrase mean which says, "go to those who sell and buy for yourselves." Is it per chance the parable's round-about way of implying, "go buy from God?" No way. This interpretation is denied simply because the foolish virgins did go out and buy for themselves, but since they were condemned while doing so, the theory is unsound. For, there is no just cause for condemnation in going to God in request of additional faith or Spirit.
Surely, Jesus, the author of the parable, would not include such inconsistencies as these, where if oil depicts the Holy Spirit, he would then have it borrowed and bought? The phrase, "go to those who sell," implies human marketplaces. But the phrase also reveals a betrayal of Christ, a receiving of the skincode...which is a just cause for condemnation.
Why do the wise Christians pack extra jars in the first place, if not solely on their prior understanding of having to endure very deep into the night? Pre-tribulationists ought to think hard on this. Anyone who does not believe that they must live through the final half of the tribulation does not pack provisions for that time. Because the wise virgins do prepare for the deep night, the parable identifies them as post-tribulationists who properly heed the requirement set out in Revelation 12 and 13: prepare for the skincode by living in the wilderness for 1260 days, and it would be wise to provide your own food and fuel rather than to depend on God to just plop it into your lap.
Indeed, the wise virgins do not appear to believe that God is going to supply all their needs as the needs arise, or else they would not be shown packing extra jars BEFOREHAND. Packing jars has to do with preservation, and anything packed is used in the future. So, the message of this parable is: don't wait until the tribulation arrives before you prepare your needs. And don't expect God to just hand you your needs at that late time.
The foolish virgins are certainly portrayed as having a strong will to continue in their faith, for they desire more oil the purpose of which is to live longer for Christ during the last half of the night. They certainly wish to enter the Kingdom of the Bridegroom, therefore, for they even knock hard and heavy on Heaven's Door later on (so to speak). Thus, the wishes of all ten are alike, but their deeds are clearly not. For the eventual condemnation of five shows that God has not chosen them. Jesus said, "many are called, but few are chosen." I wish it were not true, and I pray that it will not be true, but alas...
And so we see that those whom God does not choose will consequently not prepare extra oil for the darkest half of the night, suggesting logically that God will not move them to such preparations, for which reason we can expect them to make all kinds of excuses when "wise virgins" urge them to prepare. It certainly brings to my mind the stiff-necked pre-tribbers and mid-tribbers who are fully determined not to prepare anything at all.
However, there are also some post-tribbers who will suffer the same shock as the foolish virgins, for they feel no need to prepare anything...now telling me that God will provide all great-tribulation needs at the moment of need. This reasoning could be an excuse in that they really don't want to prepare. Or, acting spiritually tall, they will tell me that we should prepare spiritually rather than physically. But isn't it foolish to prepare spiritually and mentally but not physically? Are we to just die of starvation before the Lord to prove our great spirituality?
Yes, God can provide for us in an instant if he so desired, but God does not appear to give the extra oil to the chosen virgins without their own participation. Indeed, there exists a fundamental warning in this parable which exhorts us to such participation. I expect to see the chosen working in concert with the Father, to prepare needs before the night, so that the night becomes a time of spiritual growth and not a nightmare spent hunting for our physical needs. I believe that the Father will oversee/direct our pre-trib' preparations with or without our knowledge.
Note how we learn acutely here that our charity is not required to extend to the goats. Jesus makes plain the apparent "selfishness" of the wise virgins. Because the Father is not expected to move the goats to preparation, they will come knocking on our doors at the start of the last 1260 days, seeking our foods and our space. Count on it. This too is the message of this parable. But not all who come knocking, and not all who fail to make preparations, will be goats; some will be the Elect of God.
The wise virgins will invite many to partake of their provisions, even though the parable of the virgins doesn't reveal this. But it is revealed elsewhere in Scripture. For example, being the Elect, the wise virgins must also be the sheep who in the sheep-and-goat parable (Matthew 25:31) are shown practicing great charity toward other sheep. And the "they" in Revelation 12:6, whom God uses/appoints to feed His chosen Bride, must also be some of the wise virgins. Moreover, are the wise virgins not also those in Matthew 25:14-22 who use their "talents" to increase the Kingdom of God? The wise virgins are all over Matthew 25, not merely in their own parable. And what of the so-called "wise servants" whom the Lord will "appoint over His Household, to give [the Household] food in due season" (Matthew 24:45)?
In one account of the Old-Testament prophet Elijah, there wasn't rain for 3.5 years (we must wonder if this length of time isn't so because it reflects the 3.5-year great tribulation period). During the drought, God fed Elijah in a special way beside a stream in the wilderness. When Elijah was visiting the house of a woman (symbolic for the Church?), who thought that she was going to die on account of the drought, he told her:
"For so says YHWH the God of Israel: 'The pitcher of food shall not be consumed, and the jar of oil shall not fail, until the day that YHWH sends rain on the land'" (1 Kings 17:14).
Miraculously, for the entire 3.5 years, until the foods were made available to Israel again, Elijah was nourished by God's overspreading hand. This account is key to those post-tribulationists who believe that we don't have to prepare a thing before the great tribulation...that God will supply for us at the very moment of need. While I cannot argue against the possibility of this method of Care because God can act in a number of different ways, and because I do believe that he will intervene miraculously at times, neither can I disregard the parable of the virgins which teaches an onus on our part to prepare/store our own provisions.
Couldn't we consider ordinary preparation as being miraculous, if God is at the head of task? That is, the one who prepares a store of food will find that God makes it last to the end of the period, which is logical in that no one (generally speaking) will prepare a store of food except that God moves them to do so, and God will move only those written in the Book of Life.
The "jar of oil" in the Lord's promise to the woman of Elijah's day is not a representation of the Holy Spirit, for it is literal in this case. Since the jars of oil in the parable configure well to the widow's jar of literal oil--in that both cases are associated with enduring a 3.5-year period by dependence on God--the Elijah account is Scriptural support for the parable's physical interpretation of oil. After all, didn't Jesus know about the 3.5 years of Elijah's day, and the jar of oil from which he was sustained, when He told the ten-virgin parable?
If the objection is raised that the five foolish virgins would not be condemned by Christ to eternal Hell just because they failed to prepare bread and blankets for their tribulation endurance, then, if the reader has not yet seen it, let me spell it out. The condemnation is deserved because they will receive the skincode in order to secure their survival needs:
"If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, even he shall drink of the wine of the anger of God" (14:9).
Verse 11 concludes the call with:
"And the smoke of the torment of them goes up from age to age, and they have not rest day nor night who worship the beast and its image, or if anyone receives the mark of its name."
Does this mean that people which consider themselves Christians can be condemned solely for buying merchandise, if they buy it by taking the mark? Yes. Does the parable imply that the condemnation of the foolish virgins involved their reception of the mark? Yes:
"'Lest it does not fully suffice for us and for you,' the wise virgins told the foolish ones, 'go rather to those who sell and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and the ready ones went in with him to the wedding festivities, and the door was shut [to the other five]" (Matthew 25:9-10).
Does this passage not imply that the foolish ones are in the act of buying their needs at the time of Christ's return?
They come begging to enter the Festivities, but the mercy of God does not extend out to them. They bang on the door, as it were, but no one opens, except Christ, to tell them to go away because he doesn't know them. How can this utter rejection and condemnation occur before the tribulation? Surely, this can only be a sentence passed by God after the tribulation. Therefore, the parable itself also reveals a post-tribulation rapture.
To suggest that the skincode will be enforced at that very point, "in the middle of the night," is logical, since the foolish Christians are found precisely then to be in great need of future provisions. Supporting this timing for the skincode is the fact that the Bride in Revelation 12 requires wilderness sustenance for exactly 1,260 days. Therefore, this parable is one of only two places in the Bible where I have been able to discover the timing of the skincode's arrival within the 70th Week.
Parables cannot say everything about a situation. They are meant to point out certain aspects only, and may not possess total consistency because the use of allegory is not always perfect in its reflection of reality. Therefore, not everyone who is found unprepared at the midway point of the tribulation will end up being condemned, and not all who ask for assistance from ready ones will be turned away. Jesus is telling us that the possibility exists because it will happen just that way to many, but he is not stating a universal law.
Even Biblical statements which are not parables are often generalizations. When Jesus said, "In this night, there will be two men on one couch; one will be taken and the other left" (Luke 17:34), it doesn't condemn one out of every two men who will be found sitting together at the Return. There will be cases where neither of two are saved, and also cases where both are saved. And, of course, there will be cases where there are more than two men working together. And notice that He didn't say there would be two men climbing the back sides of giant cactuses in an effort to hide from the anti-Christ's desert raiders.
In the same way, he didn't say two women would be stirring their stews with stalactites while hiding out in caves. He said, "There will be two woman grinding [grain] together; one will be taken and the other will be left" (Luke 17:36). Clearly, there will be those who will live with true believers in tribulation retreats, but who will not go up in the rapture. Thus, some foolish ones will, after all, receive space amid the wise virgins, and remain with them until the very end of the 1260 days.
Watch your backside, therefore. Not all is what it may seem among the post-tribulationists. But do realize that sheep sometimes do what goats are big on (i.e. sin), and that goats sometimes do what sheep are big on (i.e. love). Let God be the Judge; our job is to be as much sheep material as possible, and to hope that all believers achieve salvation.
Revelation 19 deals with a celebration in Heaven over the destruction of Babylon, a destruction that is post-tribulational according to the seventh-bowl (16:19). Therefore, the celebration over her doom must be more post-tribulational still.
But, now, the Wedding festivities -- the same festivities seen in the ten-virgin parable -- are brought to the fore. Yes, right there in Revelation 19, where Babylon's post-trib' destruction is being highlighted, and where Jesus is seen coming on his White Horse to commence Armageddon, the text says:
"The Marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has prepared herself, and it was given to her that she might be clothed with white linen bright and clean..."
"Blessed are the ones who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (19:9).
Therefore, shame on you, pre-tribulationists, who claim that the Wedding occurs somewhere in the sky and during the tribulation period...while mere babes in Christ are being severely persecuted on earth yet. And what nonsense it is to suggest a Wedding prior to the resurrection of Abraham, while even the end-time Jewish Remnant is absent.
Is it not plain from Revelation 19 and elsewhere--especially Daniel 11:35--that the Bride prepares herself with white clothing during the tribulation period...whitened by the tribulations therein and no doubt also by the wilderness experience? And doesn't Daniel 12:1-2 show the resurrection of Abraham at the end of the anti-Christ's rule?
The Rider of Revelation 19 is a Warrior and the Bridegroom at the same time. This is the fundamental post-tribulation rapture position, where the gathering of "wise virgins" occurs at the initiation of Armageddon, at the same time that both Old- and New-Testament dead saints are resurrected from the grave, and at the same time that the surviving Jewish Remnant is saved...that the entire "woman" of Revelation 12 (i.e. "all Israel") may find salvation simultaneously, and all partake in the Wedding Feast together.
It's not by coincidence that those remaining alive on earth should be taken up at that time, for it is absolutely necessary to pull the Bride up out of the world in order to rain the fires of Armageddon down, as even the wheat-and-tare parable confirms. For, simultaneous to the battle of Armageddon, there will be global upheaval...a melting of the mountains and a removal of the islands, among other drastic Measures.
After Armageddon, the Wedding table will be adorned upon the meadows of Israel, the wine will be passed out, and the Bread of Life will take his seat at the head:
"You shall lay low the noise of foreigners...the shouting of the terrifying ones shall be laid low. And YHWH of hosts will make a feast of fat things for all peoples in this mountain [Zion], a feast of wine on the meadows, of fat things full of marrow, refined wine upon the lees. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering which covers all the people, and the veil that is woven over all the nations. He will swallow up death in victory! The Lord YHWH will wipe away tears from all faces..." (Isaiah 25:6-8).
While I realize that the Wedding Banquet will include mortal Israelites, just where do you plan to be at the time, Christian, with your new immortal body? You will be right there, listening to the King, and sitting among the others, with wine in your glass and meat on your plate, with the realization that something very good is about to begin, lasting for an eternity.
Swallowing death in victory and wiping tears from all faces is Rapture-Resurrection talk, which is why I place this Feast found in Isaiah immediately after Armageddon. The fact that it takes place on earth certainly denies the pre-tribulationist view all the more. And so to distort yet another doctrine, they teach that the Feast will occur somewhere in the sky. In fact, the "mansions" of John 14:2 are said to be in the sky somewhere, and the Church is said to be spending the seven years in those mansions while the babes on earth are tortured.
In the post-trib' view, there are no mansions or rooms in the sky that Jesus will take us to during the rapture. As the rapture elevates the saints into the sky for merely a period of days, or less, the mansions/rooms of John, said by Jesus to be in the Father's House, are going to be on earth. Perhaps these rooms refer to the New Jerusalem, but, even so, the New Jerusalem will be set on earth.
After being taken up to the clouds to be spared the heat of Armageddon, Jesus will take us back down with him so that where he is, we can be also. Those who come back down with the Lord will then be appointed as the judges (i.e. rulers) of the earth, just as Jude 14 tells us. Those pre-tribulationists who interpret the coming of Jesus in Jude 14 as the Armageddon appearance are incorrect, and such a teaching creates yet another new doctrine, that of the saints coming to literally fight Armageddon alongside the Lord. Thus, the pre-tribbers violate the wheat-and-tare parable by sticking the wheat right into Armageddon's fires! But if that scene seems incorrect to you, then realize that Jude was speaking of a cooler, post-Armageddon landing.
In an effort to prove their position, pre-tribulationists teach that the "armies of Heaven" which follow the King of kings on his white "horse" represent the Church coming back to Earth with him, to fight alongside him in Armageddon. But nowhere are the saints ever called "armies of Heaven," and nowhere in prophecy do we see saints coming to fight in Armageddon. To the contrary, the phrase, "armies of Heaven," depicts the angels most appropriately, who are often shown side-by-side with Christ/God at Armageddon.
Indeed, where Thessalonians tells us more than twice that the saints are to be spared the wrath of God, it is referring to a rapture occurring at the Armageddon wrath, as per 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, for example:
"...at the apocalypse of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven with his powerful angels in flaming fire, giving full vengeance to those not knowing God...when he comes to be glorified in his saints and to be admired by all those who trusted..."
These saints do not seem to be coming with the Lord and his angels, do they? But they are meeting the Lord at his Coming, filled with glorious admiration i.e. as though meeting for the first time. And if one reads verses 4-6, he will find that the saints are enduring persecutions and afflictions up until that apocalyptic Appearance. The WRATH of God (i.e. "full vengeance") is in association with the apocalyptic Appearance, of course, when he pays back our persecutors for damage done to us during the tribulation period.
The fact that the Bride is seen in white "linen" earlier in Revelation 19, even as the angelic armies of Heaven are shown in white, serves to show, not that the armies are the Bride, but that the saints will become like the angels. "White clothing" is said to depict righteousness, although I also believe that it depicts the white light of God which radiates from the angels.
Consider the angel in the first verse of the previous Revelation chapter (18), where it says of him, "the earth was lit up by his glory." Therefore, it may be that we will also shine literally with white light, as Daniel may have implied when he wrote that the saints will shine like the stars forever and ever. If true, pity those unbelievers who have frowned on eternal life by supposing it to be a completely boring affair due to everyone wearing the same, white colors...and robes on top of that, as if "robes" are literal.