And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up…
It was customary in the temple at Jerusalem for certain of the Levites to keep watch or guard during stated hours of the night. An officer was appointed over them, whose business it was to go round, and see that these watchers were attentive to their duties. He carried a lighted torch in his hand, and, if he found any of the men asleep at their posts, the law permitted him, if it did not require of him, to set fire to their garments. The offender, thus marked, was brought up before the magistrate on the following day, with his garments either wholly consumed or partially scorched, and then received the punishment due to his negligence. Now, see the force of the text: "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments." Blessed is the man who so takes heed to his Christian profession in this dark world, where it is necessary he should act as a watchman, because his enemy Satan goeth about to catch him asleep at his post. Blessed is the man who so minds his duties and his Master's interests that no mark of disgrace is put upon him, and that a charge of negligence cannot fairly be brought against him. Blessed is the man who gives such "diligence to make his calling and election sure," that the garments in which he will have to appear, in the light of perfect day, when every man's work will be tried of what sort it is, may not prove his confusion.
I. First LET US TAKE THE WORD "GARMENTS" AS USED LITERALLY, AND AS DENOTING ONLY THE CLOTHING OR COVERING WHICH WE WEAR UPON OUR BODIES. The Bible teaches us something about our garments in this plain and literal sense. Many seem to think that religion has nothing to do with the manner in which a love of dress and outward adornment is indulged; that every one is at liberty to choose and act for themselves in this matter. A Christian, however, does not think so. He has learnt that there is a sobriety and suitableness of attire which become godliness; and he makes it his aim to adorn, not himself, but the gospel he professes, even in this particular.
II. But LET US NOW TAKE THE WORD "GARMENTS" IN ITS FIGURATIVE SENSE, AND SEE WHAT DOCTRINAL TRUTHS IT IS EMPLOYED TO TEACH.
1. The perishable nature of all earthly things.
2. The sinfulness of our nature, and the worthlessness of our best deeds.
3. Again, the figure contained in the text is used also in the Bible in a more cheering and gracious signification. "Garments of light," are spoken of; "garments of praise"; "white garments"; "holy garments"; "shining garment." These beautifully significant figures were not all of them applied, in the first instance, to sinful creatures like ourselves; yet they truly betoken the state of God's redeemed people at one period or other of their earthly pilgrimage. Collectively, they portray the believer's sanctification.
4. But I must proceed to remark, lastly, that there is a sense given, in the Bible, to the figure in our text, which is especially glorious and worthy of remembrance. "Garments of salvation" are spoken of, beautiful garments, which are something more than mere garments of sanctification, though that is an immense blessing; garments in which the believer may appear before God "with exceeding joy."
(F. W. Naylor, M. A.).
Parallel VersesKJV: And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.