Revelation 16:15
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
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(15) Behold, I come . . .—Translate, Behold, I come as a thief. It is the oft-repeated Scripture warning (Revelation 3:3; 1Thessalonians 5:2-3; 2Peter 3:10. Comp. Luke 12:35-40). It reminds us not only that our Lord may come unexpectedly, but that He may even come and we be unaware. There is one day when He will come, and every eye will behold Him; but He comes in various ways and forms to bless and to test man. Blessed are they who are ready, watching. But vigilance is not enough: the garments must be kept. The powers of evil are abroad. Sloth and pleasure may counsel ease, and tempt the watcher to lay aside his garments and take rest and sleep. The earnest watcher desires, like St. Paul, to be found in Christ, clad in the true righteousness of faith (Philippians 3:9).

Revelation 16:15-16. Behold, I come as a thief — Suddenly and unexpectedly. Observe the beautiful abruptness; I, Jesus Christ. Hear him! Thus, when it is foretold that these evil agents will use great art and address in support of their bad cause, the Spirit of wisdom adds a useful caution, warning the faithful servants of Christ to be on their guard against the emissaries of hell, lest they should be deceived to their own destruction. Blessed is he that watcheth — That looks continually for him that comes quickly; and keepeth his garments on him — Which men usually put off when they sleep; that is, that keepeth himself clothed with the robe of righteousness, the garment of salvation; lest he walk naked, and they see his shame — Lest he lose the graces which he takes no care to keep, and others see his sin and punishment. And he gathered them together — The true construction is, And they gathered them together; that is, the evil spirits and agents, before mentioned, gather all the forces of the Popish princes together; into a place called, in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon — That is, the mountain of destruction. Mageddon, or Megiddo, is a place frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, well known in ancient times for many memorable occurrences; in particular, the slaughter of the kings of Canaan, related Jdg 5:19. Here the narrative appears to break off, but is resumed again chap. Revelation 19:19.

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.Behold, I come as a thief - That is, suddenly and unexpectedly. See the Matthew 24:43 note; 1 Thessalonians 5:2 note. This is designed evidently to admonish people to watch, or to be in readiness for his coming, since, whenever it would occur, it would be at a time when people were not expecting him.

Blessed is he that watcheth - Compare Matthew 24:42-44. The meaning here is, that he who watches for these events, who marks the indications of their approach, and who is conscious of a preparation for them, is in a better and happier state of mind than he on whom they come suddenly and unexpectedly.

And keepeth his garments - The allusion here seems to be to one who, regardless of danger, or of the approach of an enemy, should lay aside his garments and lie down to sleep. Then the thief might come and take away his garments, leaving him naked. The essential idea, therefore, here, is the duty of vigilance. We are to be awake to duty and to danger; we are not to be found sleeping at our post; we are to be ready for death - ready for the coming of the Son of man.

Lest he walk naked - His raiment being carried away while he is asleep.

And they see his shame - Compare the notes on Revelation 3:18. The meaning here is, that, as Christians are clothed with the garments of righteousness, they should not lay them aside, so that their spiritual nakedness should be seen. They are to be always clothed with the robes of salvation; always ready for any event, however soon or suddenly it may come upon them.

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").

I come as a thief; that is, I come suddenly and unexpectedly: see Matthew 24:43,44 Lu 12:39 1 Thessalonians 5:2 Revelation 3:3. It may be understood either of Christ’s coming to the last judgment, or of his coming in his vindicative providence to be revenged on his enemies.

Blessed is he that watcheth, he is a happy man that maketh it his business to keep himself from sin, in prospect of any such coming,

and keepeth his garments, and that persevereth in my ways and truth;

lest he walk naked, and they see his shame; for if he doth not, he will be found one of those that are not clothed with my righteousness, and his hypocrisy will appear to all men.

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.

{18} Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

(18) A parenthesis for admonition, in which God warns his holy servants, who rest in the expectation of Christ, always to think of his coming, and to look to themselves, that they be not shamefully made naked and circumvented of these unclean spirits, and so they be miserable unprepared at the coming of the Lord; Mt 24:29,25:13.

15. Behold, I come] St John apparently hears, and writes down as he hears, the words of Christ spoken in the midst of his vision.

as a thief] See Revelation 3:3 and references.

Blessed is he that watcheth] The image is that of St Matthew 24:43, though in the phrase there may be a reminiscence of the different image of St Luke 12:37.

and keepeth his garments] The forewarned householder sits up with his clothes on, and the thief will decamp as soon as he sees him. If he were not forewarned, he might hear the thief at work, and start naked out of bed, but would be too late for anything but a fruitless chase in unseemly and ridiculous guise. It seems quite irrelevant to fancy an allusion to the curious Jewish custom, that if a priest fell asleep on night duty in the Temple, his clothes were set on fire—which of course would have the effect of making him throw them off, and run away naked.

his shame] Lit. uncomeliness, as 1 Corinthians 12:23.

Revelation 16:15. Τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην) ערוה, the LXX. generally render ἀσχημοσύνη.

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). Revelation 16:15Behold - shame

These words are parenthetical.

As a thief

Compare Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10.

Watcheth (γρηρορῶν)

See on Mark 13:35; see on 1 Peter 5:8.

Keepeth his garments

"During the night the captain of the Temple made his rounds. On his approach the guards had to rise and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep when on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire. The confession of one of the Rabbins is on record that, on a certain occasion, his own maternal uncle had actually undergone the punishment of having his clothes set on fire by the captain of the Temple" (Edersheim, "The Temple," etc.).

Shame (ἀσχημοσύνην)

Only here and Romans 1:27. From ἀ not and σχῆμα fashion. Deformity, unseemliness; nearly answering to the phrase not in good form.

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