June 20, 2011

Christians are to be Watchmen in the End Times

The role of the watchman is described in scripture in both the Old- and New Testaments. In a key parable, Jesus shows how a Christian may be commissioned by Christ as a dedicated watchmen, while at the same time Christ emphasizes that every believer is to have the attitude of a watchman. In terms of today's politically correct jargon, one could use the term watch-person, if that is more desirable.

The context of Jesus' parable in Mark 13 shows there are signs of perilous times related to the close of this age.  As we see many of these signs all around us today, we understand the rapture of the Church may be close at hand, though we are shown in scripture not to be “date setters” trying to predict the exact day. 
The biblical concept of the watchman has been hijacked by the Jehovah’s Witnesses' Watchtower Magazine, which presents non-biblical ideas, such as the rejection of the Trinity and the rejection of the divinity of Christ. Contemporary evangelical pastors, such as Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, are increasingly recognizing the importance of being informed of current events and see the need for taking a stand in society. Hibbs is a regular speaker at the Watchmen on the Wall conferences in Washington, D.C. where critical issues are raised, while at the same time there is a reassurance of our encouragement and hope in Christ and in His coming.


Jesus' Parable of Watchmen

In Jesus' parable of watchmen in 
Mark 13, the main event is the anticipated return of the “the Son of Man”, a term Jesus used to describe Himself: “For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”[1]  The King James version of the Bible uses the word porter to describe this watchman. In some translations this watchman is called a doorkeeper(NASB) or a gatekeeper(NLT). In one form or another, the porter serves three parties: the master of the house, the inhabitants of the house and the guests who come to visit the house.

In the Old Testament, the watchman stood on top of the city walls because the main threat was an invading army and this threat was perceived visually. In Jesus’ time, the Romans occupied Israel and the main threat to the Jews and the early Church was not an invading army. Information of critical news came by way of word-of-mouth and the door keepers, and those who sat at the gates of the city, would be in the know. Today, threats to the community are ascertained instantly by way of the Internet and radio. Christians who consistently review news and events are serving as modern-day watchmen. Because Christians emphasize truth and integrity and are often willing to stand for truth courageously, many non-Christians are interested in the news Christians have to share.


Though the doorkeeper has the main responsibility to watch in the parable, Jesus emphasizes in the conclusion of the parable that all Christians are to have the attitude of watchmen in the End Times, especially as we await an important main event, Christ’s return to rapture the Church: “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” The following six points further elaborate on the subject of the watchman and what this role means for us today.

1. Prophets and Watchmen have Similar Roles

Roles are listed in the New Testament, as fulfilled by Christian leaders: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.”[1] Ezekiel was called by God to be both a prophet and a watchman, and his warnings to the people were both physical and spiritual in nature.

In Ezekiel 33:1-6 the watchman warns of a physical threat:  "The word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand."

In Ezekiel 3:19, the underlying spiritual aspect of the watchman is emphasized: “Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

Notice that Ezekiel is primarily concerned with fulfilling his responsibility before God. His primary concern is not whether people take heed, panic or fall back into apathetic slumber, but that he has fulfilled his duty to warn them. Their response is their own responsibility. And notice how prayer and a close relationship are implied in the following verse:

2. Prayer is Priority One

Isaiah 62: 6-7 describes the watchmen of ancient Israel:

“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; And give Him no rest until He establishes And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (NASB)

In this verse, the watchman was to take a broad view of the city of Jerusalem and its condition and intercede in prayer for her. The term "remind the Lord" implies the intercessor is reminding God of His promises towards the people and the city. It also reminds us that having a close relationship with God is of prime importance as well. The combination of watching and praying is significant in understanding that our most effective defense and weapon is prayer. Ephesians 6.12 affirms, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."(NIV)

3. Practical Precautions are Prudent

Prayer and spirituality do not preclude practical precautions. In a commentary of Nehemiah 4.9, Chuck Smith shows that our prayers do not excuse us from action, even though prayer is the most effective starting point. Nehemiah 4.9 states: "Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and we set the watch against them day and night, because of these attacks." Pastor Chuck elaborates: "The prayer was not used in lieu of responsible actions. Nor should prayer ever be used in lieu of responsible actions. God expects us to act responsibly. Some people use prayer as an excuse for their laziness. It should never be… God does expect us to do what is wise and what is prudent though all the while we are trusting in Him. We know that, "If the Lord doesn't watch the city, the watchman waketh but in vain"[2] “We realize that it is necessary that God watch the city, but we also realize it's necessary that we take the prudent actions that are required of us. So, "We offered our prayer unto our God and we set our watch day and night."[3]

An important caveat relates to the gospel. A person who is informed of dangers and is willing to sacrifice health and safety for the sake of the gospel is commendable. Missionary Jim Elliot wrote "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."[4] Jim and his team were informed of dangers and took precautions but, nevertheless, ultimately gave their lives as martyrs for the gospel for the glory of God.

4. Perilous Times call for Heightened Watchfulness

During the reign of Solomon, the watchmen must have been pretty bored because God promised the following: "But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign." -and God did as He promised.[5] When Jesus arrived on the scene, the world was less peaceful. As He was sending out His disciples, He warned them: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”[6] Today, we consider the crucifixion a violent act signifying a barbaric culture. But Jesus said the End Times would be even more cruel and violent than the time He walked the Earth. Jesus said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."[7] And what characterized the times of Noah? "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time."[8] and “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the Earth was filled with violence."[9]

5. Positive Encouragement is Important

Though we understand the End Times are a time of heightened trials, there are scriptures that emphasize we are to encourage one another with the blessed hope of the rapture of the Church and our ultimate unity with Christ:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."[10]

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” [11]

6. Preconceptions are Hard to Overcome

Noah warned the people of a great disastrous flood while people had never even seen rain before. Most people were apathetic. When you go against the grain to warn people, most people will be apathetic, some will appreciate it, and others may even become angry. I noticed all three of these reactions when I warned people of chemical weapons leaking in the Black Sea of Crimea from old metal cans that had been dumped offshore during WWII. I was glad one Ukrainian decided not to buy a house on the Black Sea coast after reading my warning. But I was surprised by an American who was indignant and wrote I was "way over the line" for asking people to pray about moving out of the area. Some Christians believe the Church is supposed to "feed the sheep" and that's it. But if all we do is feed the sheep and don't warn them of danger, all we're really doing is just fattening them up for the kill. We shouldn't be dogmatic in assuming our role and responsibility before God is the same as another person.

To be a watchman today requires overcoming some serious obstacles, such as the mind-numbing effects of mainstream media and the dumbed-down public education system. Psychologists have also labeled a certain kind of mental inertia and coined "the normalcy bias" that describes people who believe nothing really dangerous is ever going to happen, no matter what kind of facts you may present. Barton Biggs described this mindset in his book, Wealth, War, and Wisdom: “By the end of 1935, 100,000 Jews had left Germany, but 450,000 still [remained]. Wealthy Jewish families… kept thinking and hoping that the worst was over… Many of the German Jews, brilliant, cultured, and cosmopolitan as they were, were too complacent. They had been in Germany so long and were so well established, they simply couldn’t believe there was going to be a crisis that would endanger them. They were too comfortable. They believed the Nazi’s anti-Semitism was an episodic event and that Hitler’s bark was worse than his bite. [They] reacted sluggishly to the rise of Hitler for completely understandable but tragically erroneous reasons. Events moved much faster than they could imagine.”[12]

7 Presently, There's a Growing Movement

In addition to the blogs and websites sprouting up with a watchmen theme, there are organizations, such as "Watchmen on the Wall” that focus on equipping pastors to be watchmen in their communities. The mission statement of Watchmen on the Wall states:

“Watch what is going on in the culture. Pray for the wisdom to engage biblically, courageously, and winsomely. Sound the Alarm from the pulpit. Take a bold stand with others to defend and advance faith, family, and freedom.”[13] Calvary Chapel pastor Jack Hibbs is a regular speaker at their annual meetings and has some insightful mp3 audio teachings related to this theme available for download.[14]  A website by Chad Miles entitled Hearken the Watchmen references teachers, pastors and radio hosts who are warning and taking a stand for truth in this generation.[15]. Interest in this subject is growing profoundly, as new YouTube and blog sites open up to discuss these issues.

Conclusion

As Christians, we are all called to be watchmen in attitude, if not in service in these End Times, according to the teachings of Jesus. We should be careful of criticizing believers who have been called by God to focus on research regarding critical information and warning others. Though someone like Alex Jones does offer valuable journalism the mainstream media won’t cover, he tends to see the main solution as political and not spiritual. And, personally, I don't agree with his eschatological End Times view that we will overcome the New World Order. Revelation 13 implies this. In any event, there is no sense in living ignorantly and suffering unnecessarily. And the desire to stand for truth and to be "valiant for the truth"[17] still finds common ground among many people of diverse backgrounds.

References

[1] Mark 13.34, KJV, http://bible.cc/mark/13-34.htm
[2] Ephesians 4.11, NIV
[3] Psalm 127:1 and Blue Letter Bible, Nehemiah Commentary, Chuck Smith, http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm?AuthorID=1&contentID=6800&commInfo=25&topic=Nehemiah
[4] Nehemiah 4:9
[5] Journal of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, entry October 28, 1949
[6] 1 Chronicles 22.9, NIV, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Chronicles%2022.9&version=NIV
[7] Matthew 10.16, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+10%3A16&version=NIV
[8] Matthew 24.37, http://bible.cc/matthew/24-37.htm
[9] Genesis 6.5,
[10] Genesis 6:11-12
[12] John 14.1-4, NIV
[13] Stansberry's Investment Advisory, http://www.stansberryresearch.com/pro/1011PSIENDVD/LPSILC72/PR
[14] Watchmen on the Wall, FRC, http://watchmenpastors.org/
[15] Sermon Index, Jack Hibbs: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/viewcat.php?cid=620&min=20&orderby=titleA&show=20
[16] Hearken the Watchmen, http://www.hearkenthewatchmen.com/authorprofile.asp?id=14
[17] Jeremiah 9:3b, KJV


(edited January 7, 2017)

Tags: Bible verses about watchmen, Are Christians called to be watchmen in end times? Should Christians warn others? Why are Christians apathetic about end times? What is a watchman? How can I be a watchman? Are all Christians to be watchmen? Modern day watchman, Bible verses on watchmen, watchmen verses, end times blog, end times watchman, duties of the watchman, role of a watchman in the Bible, examples of watchmen in scripture, duties and responsibilities of Christians in End Times, duty of watchman

8 comments:

  1. Thank you. I was called as a Watchman in October. I appreciate the post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad the post was helpful to you. I pray the Lord keeps you encouraged. The Lord has called all of us to be watchmen in a manner, but some are called to be more dedicated to this.

      There are a lot of people in denial today who simply do not want to acknowledge the facts of what is occurring or to acknowledge the prophecies that are in the process of being fulfilled at this moment. A lot of people will get angry at you for telling them the truth. Others will simply ignore you. But it's very important to say encouraged in God's word, His love, and a fellowship of supportive believers.

      God bless,

      Rick

      Delete
  2. Not all Pastors think watching is what we are to be doing. They think that we are to be reaching souls for Jesus only and Christ wil get here wen it is time. I don't agree with those pastors. why because I was called to be a Watchman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some churches focus on reaching souls, others on good works, others on feeling happy, even others on making money and being "prosperous."

      It's especially important these days to study the Bible for one's self and also to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to what specifically God would have each of us focus on as believers. The prophet Isaiah had predicted the close relationship that believers in our time would have with the guiding Holy Spirit:

      "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." - Isaiah 30:21

      Delete
  3. I would like to know more about this please, because I Believe it's part of my Calling. May Our God Bless YOU, in His Mighty Way, today, and every day. Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would like to know more about this please, I Believe it's part of my Calling, though I'm a Layperson. May Our God Bless YOU, in His Mighty Way, today, and every day. Amen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing. What type of subject or aspect of this would you like to know more about? May God bless you richly as well, Stan.

      Delete
  5. Sir, I appreciate so much your obedience to the Lord in publishing this. I have been called to be a watchman. I am a female and have been quite shaken by this. Almost two years ago I felt led by the Lord to talk to someone and it was very hard because it was family. I asked the Lord to please let me know in His Word that i did the right thing by Him. I opened right to Ezekiel 33. I wept because it was bittersweet. I've recently realized the reason I speak the truth and must. It's a battle with the flesh as well as very humbling that the Lord calls me for this. May God bless continue to bless you and I do ask for your prayers for me and my hometown.

    ReplyDelete

You are welcome to post on-topic comments but, please, no uncivilized blog abuse or spamming. Thank you!