|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:12-16 This probably shows the destruction of the Turkish power, and of idolatry, and that a way will be made for the return of the Jews. Or, take it for Rome, as mystical Babylon, the name of Babylon being put for Rome, which was meant, but was not then to be directly named. When Rome is destroyed, her river and merchandise must suffer with her. And perhaps a way will be opened for the eastern nations to come into the church of Christ. The great dragon will collect all his forces, to make one desperate struggle before all be lost. God warns of this great trial, to engage his people to prepare for it. These will be times of great temptation; therefore Christ, by his apostle, calls on his professed servants to expect his sudden coming, and to watch that they might not be put to shame, as apostates or hypocrites. However Christians differ, as to their views of the times and seasons of events yet to be brought to pass, on this one point all are agreed, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, will suddenly come again to judge the world. To those living near to Christ, it is an object of joyful hope and expectation, and delay is not desired by them.
Verse 15. - Behold, I come as a thief. The very words addressed to the Church at Sardis (Revelation 3:3), and similar to those connected by our blessed Lord with the great day (see ver. 14). The mention of that day, and perhaps the knowledge that the battle is a daily one (see on ver. 14), naturally leads to the solemn warning given here. It is worth notice how St. John adopts this idea; and this of itself should suffice to demonstrate the incorrectness of endeavoring to compute the times and seasons, as has been done by so many Apocalyptic writers (cf. also Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4; 2 Peter 3:10). Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. The same figure again as in Revelation 3:17. Isaac Williams correctly points out that these words seem to indicate that the battle of ver. 14 is a daily one, in which Christians are themselves engaged (see on ver. 14). The garment is the garment of righteousness, the fervent love of God (see on Revelation 3:17).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Behold I come as a thief,.... These are the words of Christ, inserted in a parenthesis in this account, before it is concluded, to acquaint his people with his near and sudden approach, and to give them a word of caution and exhortation in these times of difficulty; for he is the Lord God Almighty, who sent forth these angels to pour out their vials, and whose judgments are applauded as righteous, Revelation 16:1 and who so often in Revelation 22:7 says "I come quickly"; and which is to be understood not of his spiritual coming, which will be already at this time, but of his personal coming: and which will be "as a thief": as it is often expressed, 1 Thessalonians 5:2 not in the bad sense, to steal and kill, and to destroy, though Christ's coming will issue in the everlasting destruction of the wicked; but the phrase is designed to express the suddenness of his coming, and the surprise of it:
blessed is he that watcheth; against sin, the lusts of the flesh, and the cares of this life, lest they bring a sleepiness upon him, and so the day of the Lord come upon him at an unawares; and against Satan and his temptations, who goes about seeking whom he may devour; and against his emissaries and false teachers, who lie in wait to deceive; and blessed is he also who is wishing and waiting for the coming of Christ, and so, being ready, will enter with him into the marriage chamber, and partake of the supper of the Lamb:
and keepeth his garments: either his conversation garments, unspotted from the world, and whenever defiled washes them, and makes them white in the blood of the Lamb; and keeps them from being stripped of them, by those who would lead them into sinful ways; or that keeps and holds fast the robe of Christ's righteousness, and garments of his salvation, which are the righteousness of the saints, that fine linen clean and white, that white raiment which only can cover their nakedness, that the shame thereof does not appear, Revelation 19:8
lest he walk naked; (b), "naked of the commandments", or good works, according to the Jewish phrase; having lost, or dropped his conversation garments:
and they see his shame; or lest, being naked, he be exposed to shame and confusion, yea, to everlasting ruin and destruction; see Matthew 22:12 the allusion is to the burning of the garments of those priests who were found asleep when upon their watch in the temple: the account that is given is this (c);
"the man of the mountain of the house (the governor of the temple) goes round all the wards (every night) with burning torches before him; and in every ward where the person does not stand upon his feet, the man of the mountain of the house says to him, peace be to thee; if he finds he is asleep, he strikes him with his staff, and he has power to burn his clothes; and they say (in Jerusalem) what voice is that in the court? (it is answered) the voice of a Levite beaten, and his clothes burnt, because he slept in the time of his watch; R. Eliezer ben Jacob says, once they found my mother's brother asleep, and they burnt his clothes:''
now imagine with what shame the poor Levite so served must appear the next morning among his brethren, with his clothes burnt, and he naked; and with greater shame and confusions must he appear at the last day that is destitute of the righteousness of Christ.
(b) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 91. 3.((c) Misna Middot, c. 1. sect. 2. T. Bab. Tamid, fol. 27. 2. & 28. 1. Maimon. Beth Habbechira, c. 8. sect. 10. & Cele Hamikdash, c. 7. sect. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. The gathering of the world kings with the beast against the Lamb is the signal for Christ's coming; therefore He here gives the charge to be watching for His coming and clothed in the garments of justification and sanctification, so as to be accepted.
thief—(Mt 24:43; 2Pe 3:10).
they—saints and angels.
shame—literally, "unseemliness" (Greek, "aschemosunee"): Greek, 1Co 13:5: a different word from the Greek in Re 3:18 (Greek, "aischunee").
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