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 Revelation 16:5 Revelation 16:7 Revelation 16:14 ) and who so often in ( Revelation 22:7 Revelation 22:12 Revelation 22:20 ) 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 ) ( 2 Peter 3:10 ) ( Revelation 3:3 ) 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 ) ( 3:18 )
lest he walk naked;
(twumh Nm Mwre) F2, "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 Matthew 22:13 ) 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 F3;
``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.
F2 Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 91. 3.
F3 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.