Revelation: Sardis, Keep Your Clothes

Revelation 3:3b …If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

This phrase would have a special meaning to priests who stood watch at the Jewish Temple. The night watch was divided into three groups. There were 24 stations at gates and in the courts of the Temple complex. Each station had 10 men for a total of 240 night guards.

During the night, the captain would make his rounds and check on the guards. The catch, no one knew what time the captain would come for inspection. If a watchman was found asleep, he would be beaten or his garments would be set on fire.

Temple insights provided by: Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, Chapter 7 At Night in the Temple

We should pay attention to the analogy. As believers we will be kings and priests in the future. John makes the point in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 1:6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

The believer’s position of royalty and priesthood with Jesus Christ is confirmed later in the book.

Revelation 20:6…Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

See also Revelation 20:4.

Consider the course of the priest who was given the responsibility to stand watch. He fell asleep. He lost his clothes to fire. But, he was still a priest. He had to report to his superior naked. It was obvious what had occurred. That had to be embarrassing.

Shame entered the world with nakedness at the fall of man in Genesis 3. From this point forward, nakedness is associated with sin. Two of many examples are noted below.

Lamentations 1:8 Jerusalem sinned grievously; therefore she became filthy; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans and turns her face away.

Isaiah 47:3 Your nakedness will be uncovered, your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man.

As believers, do we want to stand naked before Jesus Christ? He shed His blood for us and clothed us in priestly linen garments to cover our sin. He is the High Priest and King. Jesus is our authority. Christ is going to know what happened and whether or not we faithfully stood watch.

Don’t make it obvious by showing up naked.

 

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