Here we see a group of torch-bearing priests who have left the Chamber of the Hearth and set out early in the morning to make a circuit of the Temple colonnades checking that all was ready for the day’s service before the opening of the Temple.
The importance of watching is reflected in the words of Jesus “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13. 35-37).
It has been suggested that the quote from Revelation 16. 15: “Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame,” is derived from John the Apostle’s own experience of guard duty in the Temple.