Many may think that I am obsessed with end time prophecies, the rapture and my strong opposition against heretic theologies such as amillennialism, replacement or fulfilment theology and the unbiblical allegorical interpretation of God’s holy Scripture. But whatever people may think is fine with me as I honestly believe that being a watchman is a calling from God. And in no way do as say this in arrogance.
As watchmen we are often being accused by those who reject the literal meaning of Bible prophecy and who follow the eschatology of men, that we are wasting time that could rather have been used on preaching the Gospel of Salvation to an unbelieving world.
But what does the Bible teach on this topic?
THE GREAT COMMISSION AND UNITY IN DIVERSITY
We read about the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20.
“16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
In this passage, we see three key activities – Make disciples, baptize them and teach them.
1 Corinthians 12 says, “4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of al.”
This is indeed how things work, even today. There are evangelists, some going to foreign countries, to preach the gospel. We also see street preachers and many Christians who share the Gospel on social media, only to name a few. On the other hand, there are preachers running churches – baptizing and teaching those who have already heard of the Gospel. And so does each and every reborn Christian plays his or her role in light of the Great Commission – some roles bigger and some smaller. “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? (v.7)
But there is also another type of ministry … that of the watchmen, who teach and prepare people to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, these are the brothers and sisters who often get mocked when executing their God-given assignments.
WATCHMEN IN ANCIENT TIMES
In ancient times, watchmen stood guard on a city’s walls to see to the welfare of its citizens and to warn of coming trouble. Through Isaiah the prophet, God promises the watchful eye of servants who will hold day and night vigils for the peace of Jerusalem and its inhabitants:
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:6-7).
Jeremiah and others like him have stood in the role of a watchman. “Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, you nations … Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people —the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words nor My law, but rejected it” (Jeremiah 6:17-19).
The role of the ancient watchmen is best described in Ezekiel 33:1-6;
“1 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will [a]save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.”
WATCHMEN AND THE GREAT COMMISSION
If we continue to read from Ezekiel 33, we soon realize that the role of the watchman still applies today and also forms part of the Great Commission.
8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have [b]delivered your soul. 10 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine[c] away in them, how can we then live?” ’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
WATCH FOR THE COMING OF CHRIST
In the New Testament, we as Christians are instructed to watch and prepare for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In Mark 13:33-37, during Jesus’ prophecy of the end time, He urges His disciples three times to “watch” during the times leading to His second coming.
Paul warns in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6;
1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Paul also wrote: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11) The closer we draw to the second coming of Christ, the more urgent it is that we awake out of spiritual sleep! Indeed, we have entered the fearful end-time years that are the grand climax of human civilization. If ever there was a time to pay attention and get prepared, it is now!
To know where to focus our attention, we particularly need to know the Bible prophecies of the end time, especially the prophecies surrounding the second coming of Christ. We are to “eagerly wait for” Christ’s return, not just passively wait around (Hebrews 9:28). Jesus was emphatic that His followers should hope for His return, expect His return and pray for His return! In addition, our enthusiastic anticipation and excitement will intensify as we see more and more world events fulfilling Bible prophecies—especially those that point to the increasing nearness of Christ’s return.
“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching ” (Luke 12:35-36).
Jesus concluded His message by saying, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40).
Luke 21:28 says, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” and in verse 36 we read, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man”
In Revelation 16:15 we read, “Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame”
According to the Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13, the five virgins who are prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival are rewarded, while the five who are not prepared are disowned.
God warns us through the message of the prophets that sins will demand a day of reckoning. People cannot continue worshipping the false gods of materialism and self, blindly stumbling along in their own righteousness, and expect their affluent standard of living to continue.
By prayer and righteous living, we stay tuned to Jesus Christ. Through this way of life one can discern the moral climate of the times and avoid being tossed around with every shifting ideology of modern culture. Walking in God’s laws and instruction insulates us from the course of the world and its deceptions.
In his article, “The Role Of A Watchman,” Darris McNeely writes;
“Amos the prophet walked into the city of Samaria, capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, and boldly told the king and city leaders to repent or face captivity at the hands of the Assyrians. He pointed to neighboring states that had fallen and said, “You are no better than they were.”
He rebuked those who did not want to hear a “message of doom.” To those who stocked their homes with the finest luxury goods and gourmet foods, trusting that affluence was a sign of God’s blessing, he said, “Don’t trust in materialism.” The citizenry, at all levels, looked only to their comfort and ease and did not grieve “for the affliction of Joseph” (Amos 6:6).
Those who “grieve” and “sigh and cry” over societal sins are called to a unique role. They are part of God’s elect, called to the duty of proclaiming the announcement of the Kingdom of God. That message includes the good news of Jesus Christ’s return to restore all things (see Acts 3:19-21). The message also contains a warning to repent and receive God’s blessing or ignore the warning and face the judgment of God. It is a double-edged message—plain-spoken, yet full of hope.”
MORE ON THE ROLE OF THE WATCHMEN
Do we sigh and cry for the moral condition of our nation? Do we see the world through God’s eyes and understand how far people have strayed from His righteous commandments? If so, then we have a duty to help others understand what is coming when God sets His hand in judgment on the nations.
Do you see yourself in this group of watchmen? Is there a role for you among those who watch today’s world and yearn to make it better? Putting a number of scriptural commands and principles together, it becomes clear that today’s true Christians are meant to shoulder this grave responsibility now in the last days. We are to share in the role of standing vigil like a watchman of old, and showing the way forward through the suffering and evil in much of our world.
Fulfilling the role of a watchman requires courage, perseverance and a love for the people addressed. One of the best examples of this was the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah spent more than 40 years in the role of a watchman to the nation of Judah, urging people to heed his warnings and return to the ways of God.
These special servants understand the dangers of the present world. They see the dark clouds gathering on the world’s horizon and are moved to proclaim a warning message to all who will hear.
The message would also include teaching the way to personal peace for those who listen. It will show the true teachings of God and the way to salvation and how one could escape the judgment God will bring on the world.
The end result of fulfilling the role of a watchman within the Body of Christ—to be found standing in the faith, blessed of God at the dawn of His Kingdom on this earth. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord brings back Zion” (Isaiah 52:7).
(Main source: “The Role Of A Watchman” by Darris McNeely)