The Role of a Watchman: Amos37 ministries exists to help in the ministry of equipping, teaching and defending the faith. Apologetics is the ready defense of the Church. No one ministry can watch everything. We seek in this section to promote other Watchmen and the ultimate call is that as the Church is under assault from without and from more troubling from within. We offer a look at the role of the watchman attached below. We have many other great ministries that are on the cutting edge of the various issues confronting the Church. While the list is not complete it represents ministries we find solid.
The Role of The Watchman
Some foundational Scriptures for this call. Many call us divisive or Pharisees and unloving. This could not be further from the truth. Most of these people are devoid of the scriptures understanding of this very clear topic. We have featured several ministries which have proven themselves as true workmen of the Kingdom of God and rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 3,4
The Critical issue of doctrine, doctrine means teaching… Everyone teaches doctrine, everyone.
If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained….Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1 Timothy 4:6-16
Ministers of Satan and False gospels that are leading many into everlasting destruction. Deception in the Church by it’s very nature is hard to detect by design. Demons teach doctrine inside and outside the Church and seek to move the masses away from the truth. Nothing short of being “born again” and staying in the word can keep us aware of the various issues related to truth.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him]… For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Corinthians 11:2-15
One of the key signs The Lord Jesus and his prophets and apostles constantly warn is the deception of the last days without and from within the Church. I find the words of Jesus most chilling in the wake of the varied false gospels that permeate the Church today. Check your motives and your presuppositions and let the scriptures speak to us.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Matthew 24:3-5
The issue of false prophets and false teachers… The bible teaches it over and over. So who are they and why does the Watchmen shout a warning? It ultimately is a denial of our Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. These ministries featured will highlight these issues in love and concern for the flock of God. Many speak to our carnal nature and tickle our ears with the bait of satan.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1
I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith…2 Timothy 4:1-8
It is my sincere hope that you will become aware of the nature of the battle which is largely unseen and many have been taken captive to do the will of the enemy. 2 Timothy 2:6
In Christ, Keith McKenzie (Amos 3:7)
Here are some links to The Best Watchmen and Apologetic sites that we trust. This does not mean we agree on every point, but are all great ministries. Many we know personally and discuss and share. The list is NOT exhaustive but each one has a love for the truth.
Lighthouse Trails One of my favorites
The Role of a Watchman
By Steve Mitchell
The 21st century has come! With its arrival, comes a general feeling that we, as the church, are in the final hours of history before the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As we look out upon the vast ocean of humanity, we see a world largely lost in sin and in desperate need of this Savior we are (or should be) in such earnest expectation to see. Indeed, the world can be a savage place and we are eyewitnesses to this generation’s increased ungodliness. False teachings and demonic wisdom abound within and without the church. Delusion and confusion are spreading far and wide. There’s never been a more crucial time for working and moving in the ministry of the “watchman”!
A watchman is someone who is committed to being alert and awake, ever ready to warn of approaching danger. He has clear eyes focused on the enemy’s advances and stands at his post, poised to sound the alarm and warn the people he serves. In ancient times, multiple watchmen would be stationed in towers or guardhouses along the city walls, under direct orders from their commanders to identify and warn of coming danger. Watchmen worked in shifts so that the city or fortress’ safety could be insured and the watch would be constant. It was a high calling and not to be taken lightly or lazily. In truth, the safety of the entire town depended on sharp eyes and a concerned heart.
Since God mentions this ministry several times throughout the Bible with great clarity, we do well to read, heed, and learn to be men and women with this attitude for the church today. While we may not be under the threat of physical invasion today, or living in literal walled fortresses, Satan and his workers seek to destroy and lay siege to the church today through false teachers and ungodly philosophies. He seeks to lead us into false forms of worship and unbiblical teachings that masquerade as truth. He has engineered and orchestrated a full-out assault on the people of God today, complete with deceptive false ministers and non-prophets who no longer view His Word as the primary basis for true doctrine. The church is definitely under attack and , therefore, definitely and desperately in need of watchmen in this age.
Let’s look together at the “watchman” ministry as it is revealed in the Bible…
Old Testament Examples
Take the examples in the Old Testament of the ministry of the prophets. God called certain men to a special guard duty that involved warning Israel or Judah to be wary of the surrounding false beliefs and abominable pagan practices that always sought to get into the lifestyles and values of God’s people. At times, this ministry was very unappreciated and even ignored by the majority of the people. In fact, very seldom were the people willing to hear the warnings uttered because of their sins, yet, God set these watchmen in their midst for their own good. So, the Old Testament prophets were watchmen to warn people of spiritual danger and the consequences of falling prey to the enemy’s schemes and evil.
Ezekiel was a priest-prophet to Judah during the 70-year captivity in Babylon. He prophesied and warned the Jews between 592 B.C. and 570 B.C., and died 10 years later. He probably began this ministry when he was around 30 years of age and was directly called by God Himself (Ez. 1:2,3). This radical ministry included being what God called a “watchman” [Heb: sapa: “to keep watch; to be a lookout”]. Go to Ezekiel 3:17:
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:” (Ezekiel 3:17)
Ezekiel’s mission was to “hear” what the Lord told him, and “warn” the people of God to follow His Word.
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’, and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 3:18-19)
Ezekiel was to warn the wicked when God told him to do so. If he was a bad watchman and didn’t deliver the message, then Ezekiel himself would be judged for not fulfilling this role. But obedience to God’s command brought deliverance to the bearer even if the recipient did not heed the message.
“Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin and his righteousness which he has done will not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless, if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also, you have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 3:20-21)
Watchman Ezekiel is told to warn the righteous man against doing wickedness. This is such an act of mercy on God’s part, and there are so many themes to discuss from these verses, but for our purposes, notice that the watchman is held accountable if no warning is given. A non-warning watchman is in trouble with God because he has held back what should have been spoken. Neither the listener nor the watchman is excused for disobedience.
I bring up these points to show the level of accountability that God placed on the watchman position. Perhaps, because of the seriousness and diligence of this calling, it is less popular or favorable to some who want an “easier” time in ministry today. We don’t see very many people rising up to warn of error or false teachers in the church today although the need is every bit as urgent.
We can learn four very important things from the above verses about Ezekiel’s watchman position:
1. God appointed this ministry to Ezekiel
2. Watchman position contains heavy accountability
3. Obedience is mandatory
4. The watchman is called to warn both the wicked and the righteous
Let’s look a bit closer at the calling Ezekiel was given. This is further explained in Ezekiel 33:
“Again, the word of the Lord came to me saying,”‘ 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 a land take a man from their territory and make him a watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 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. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 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.’ “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore, you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” (Ezekiel 33:1-7)
This passage of Scripture further clarifies the role of a watchman that Ezekiel was called to perform. In these verses, we see how tragic it is to be under the ministry of a disobedient watchman who would not sound the trumpet to warn of the enemy’s sword. God wants to emphasize the crucial nature of this ministry. It is vital for the well being of both the people and those called to watch over them. Truly, faithfulness in this position was of life and death importance for both sides.
Both Ezekiel 3 and 33’s accounts of Ezekiel’s call to be a watchman are then followed with examples of this ministry in action. God would speak to His chosen watchman and he, in turn, confronted, warned, and presented to the people what he was instructed by the Lord. Ezekiel proved to be an obedient watchman even in the face of Israel not acknowledging the vital nature of his job.
Today, you may not be called to the office of a prophet (AFI.com would hold the position that NO ONE is called to that office today in the same way as the Biblical prophets were, (regardless of self-appointed claims to prophethood)), BUT you and I need to share with others and even warn them of the words God has delivered in the Holy Bible. We must be faithful in the calling God has given all of us who are in His family to warn others of the perilous consequences of unrighteous living and unbelief. Souls hang in the balance and the reality is every bit as serious as it was in Ezekiel’s day. We must tell the unbelievers, fellow believers entering into sin, and fellow churchgoers of the importance of accepting Christ and having right relationships with God.
At times and in certain situations, we must also be willing to confront false teachers with Holy boldness. Sadly, we must still stand poised to blow that trumpet on false teachings that will lead others astray if not detected, corrected and halted by application of God’s Word. In short, the enemy’s sword is still drawing blood and we need to warn of its coming.
Other Old Testament Examples:
Watchmen are also mentioned in Isaiah (Ch.6, 21) and again in Jeremiah:
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said’ We will not walk in it’. Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, and ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.'” (Jeremiah 6:16,17)
God is addressing a rebellious Jerusalem through His “Weeping Prophet” Jeremiah. The Old Testament abounds with God’s patience and “going after” His wayward people. Note that God Himself “set” [Heb: qum: “to establish; raise up; confirm”] watchmen over the people, but here is a clear example of what happens when they don’t listen. God explains in following verses that great “calamity” will be brought upon the people because they wouldn’t heed the Lord speaking through His watchmen. In all examples of this ministry in the Bible, there is a great emphasis on the urgency to listen when a good watchman warns.
The Messiah Speaks
What words did the Messiah Himself teach concerning watchmen who fail to be faithful to their position? Here’s a message to those who would rather be wicked than watch:
“All you beasts of the field, come to devour, all you beasts in the forest. His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yes, they are greedy dogs, which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain. From his own territory.”
“‘Come,’ one says, ‘I will bring wine, and we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; tomorrow will be as today, and much more abundant.’
“The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.” (Isaiah 56:10-57:1)
Isaiah is used to deliver the words and warning of Christ Himself to the wicked watchmen. They are lazy and engulfed in delusion as they “sleep at their posts” while letting the people go unwarned. But what does the true watchman do? He heeds the Lord’s words in Isaiah 58:1:
“Cry aloud, spare not (Lit. “Don’t hold back”); Lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
The true watchman does just that and doesn’t let the danger of sin go un-dealt with. Sin and wickedness are barriers to true worship of God and right relationship. Rather than lazily being self-absorbed, the watchmen must be pure and “sold out” to this calling. Heavy message to us from the Old Testament watchmen and the Living and True God who appointed them to warn Israel.
Watchmen in the New Testament and Today:
Having looked at a few models of this ministry in Old Testament times concerning Israel, we see some major components that are needed in ministry (en masse) today. If we could advertise, our sign would say “WATCHMEN NEEDED” Apply within today’s church. Anyone with an ounce of discernment can see that this ministry is sorely lacking in today’s church. Rampant false teaching and heretical prophets are ravaging the precious doctrines of the apostles and adding huge doses of “leaven” to the pure teachings of God’s Word.
Again, AFI.com is not advocating the Third Wave idea of reinstating the office of prophet/apostle today. That’s utter nonsense because today’s versions bear little or no resemblance to the biblical offices they claim to be a part of. What is being set forth in this article is the need for sober vigilant watchfulness by leaders and laypeople in the church today. Satan is not through with his attacks but many Christians seem to have laid down their arms and refuse to cry out against these teachings for fear of offending the enemy. Today, every bit as much as before, we need watchmen!
So, we must ask, “Have we received the commission to be watchmen today? Where in the Bible do we read that the church needs watchmen? Here are some New Testament passages that indicate the need for this ministry today. Although you don’t find the official title of “watchman”, the features are unmistakably clear.
Pastors and Church Leaders As Watchmen:
In the New Testament, there are several passages about the qualifications of pastors and leaders in the church. This is not an article dealing with forms of church government as it sometimes differs between denominations. AFI.com wants to show an example or two that show watchmen characteristics. The author of Hebrews was explicit in 13:17:
“Obey those who rule over you (Note this phrase “have the rule over you” is used only three times in the whole New Testament and only in Hebrews 13. Greek: hegeomai – “To lead; rule; guide”), and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
We are told in verse 7 of that chapter that we are to “remember those who have the rule over” us, and the context is clearly a reference to church leadership and those in the church with teaching and pastoral positions. Notice the emphasis of harmony in vs. 17.See also the concepts of good leadership, stewardship, and accountability. If we submit to the authority of a good watchful church leader who is in the truth, and understand that they are “gifts” to the church (Eph. 4) for our benefit, it will be well with us. Note the calling on their part to be watchful over the spiritual conditions of their flocks. This is so clear that they are to be a sort of watchman over and to the people of God.
The entire letter to Titus from the apostle Paul also provides us with a good description of qualities in a church leader. This is sort of a perfect example of Hebrews 13:17 – a “picture” of the qualities of a good shepherd. This brings me to the strongest point that I believe exists in the New Testament call for watchmen.
The Shepherd As Watchman
While Jesus is the ultimate “Shepherd of the sheep” (Heb. 13:20, Ps. 23), pastors are to function as lower-level shepherds to those whom God has entrusted to their spiritual care.
“The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed; Shepherd the flock of God, which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint (“pressure, compulsion”) but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; Nor as being lords (“masters”) over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” (I Peter 5:1-4)
This relationship between Jesus Christ and those elders or pastors he has entrusted with sheep, involves being an “overseer” [Greek: episkopeo: “to see; to care for”] and a steward. Don’t miss the motif. Watchfulness is crucial to the calling of a shepherd. Like shepherding a literal sheep flock requires vigilance and a sharp eye for danger (not to mention correcting guidance for grazing), so, too, does pastoring a spiritual community of growing believers.
The picture of a shepherd is heavy with significance throughout the Bible. Remember in the Isaiah 56 verses we previously looked at, the lazy watchmen were mentioned alongside of and virtually synonymous with the bad shepherds. There is an obvious connection between a shepherd and his need to demonstrate the characteristics of a watchman.
Much more could be said on this topic which I feel best proves the point of watchmen needed in churches today. Some of the reasons for the sorry spiritual state of many churches and the tendency of many to unquestioningly embrace false teachings is due to the fact that the actual pastors of these churches haven’t taken seriously the call to be watchmen. There is a need to sound alarms and take stands that churchgoers may label controversial or too radical. Attendance may decrease in the church where the pastor doesn’t accept the new false revivalist concepts or “Third Wave” teachings, but nothing should deter the shepherd from wielding his staff against wolves (Acts 20) and sounding needful wake-up calls to his people. Their spiritual safety depends on it!
We end this section with another exhortation from Paul to young pastor Timothy:
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)
I recommend reading all of 2 Timothy (well, the whole Bible for that matter) to get a feel for what a young pastor faces. Pastoring is serving, and serving, in any capacity, is a challenge, especially in the day in which we live. After being warned of the future deterioration of the church and the false workings that will corrupt many, Tim is urged to keep focused. His calling as a pastor is to be a watchman. Verse 5 says, “Be watchful in all things”. That covers quite a bit of ground including the affairs of the church as well as the attacks from inside and outside.
In order to be watchman in the fullest way, we need the guidance, direction, empowerment of the Holy Spirit and wisdom from heaven. We also must have a better-than-slight working knowledge of God’s Word, which is precisely what Paul told Timothy in the earlier verses of Chapter 4. “Be a watchman, Timothy”. This is a “holy calling”(1:9).
This kind of teaching is all through the pastoral epistles of Paul. Therefore, we can conclude that a pastor and even other church leaders should be diligent watchmen and good stewards of their office.
The Church As Watchmen
Perhaps you’re thinking that the watchman position is reserved only for ancient prophets, present pastors, seminary graduates, professional apologists, or just someone else besides you or the people you go to church with. The fact is that the New Testament is full of exhortations for us to live godly, obedient lives. Doing that involves watchfulness, soberness, alertness, and even recognizing the enemy’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11) and warning others away from sin and satanic deception:
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19,20)
Watching and warning were regular inclusions in Paul’s letters to the churches. Paul himself showed characteristics of a watchman and then urged the readers of his day and now us to “imitate” him as he imitated Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1). Paul modeled for us what Godly concern and sounding a trumpet looked like.
The writer of Hebrews tells us to grow in maturity and to imitate others who demonstrate faithfulness:
“But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak to you in this manner. (The writer had previously been warning of the dangers of immaturity and apostasy). For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but IMITATE those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:9-12)
Peter tells us to be watchful (“sober; vigilant” 1 Peter 5:8), and the entire letter of Jude is a watchman’s warning, clearly identifying false teachers and crying out to church people like you and I “To Arms!!!” Of special note is verse 3:
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary (Lit: “compelled or pressured from the outside”. This construct is used 18 times in the New Testament) to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly (“Fight hard”) for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Jesus Christ Our Lord is the ultimate Watchman and “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). He left a brilliant pattern for us to follow of One who knew no compromise as He proclaimed the truth. By doing that, He displayed “salt” and “light” to fallen mankind and then asked us to be those same preserving and illuminating elements in the world we live in. (Matthew 5:13,14)
Worthy of mention is the fact that Jesus never shied away from taking the tough stands against the corrupt teachings and false religion in His day. He clearly declared the truth about hell, a real devil, the horrors of sin, and coming judgment.
The scriptures are obvious and vast so we wont include them all, but these writers and the Lord Himself demonstrated qualities and actions that were watchful and protective. If we are to try to imitate our Lord and Savior and live Godly examples, then our lives need to reflect clear seeing, bold warning, and alertness in this dark time. Clearly, we are being asked to move in this sphere.
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