Lesson 369 - Senior
"As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11).
I The Military Watchman
1. He is chosen by the people for a watchman of their land, [EZE:33:1-2].
2. He who heeds not the warning shall have his blood upon his own head, [EZE:33:3-5].
3. The blood of the one who is not warned shall be upon the watchman's head, [EZE:33:6]
II The Spiritual Watchman
1. He is chosen by God to warn Israel of his iniquity, at the mouth of the Lord, [EZE:33:7].
2. The blood of the one who is not warned shall be on the watchman's head, [EZE:33:8].
3. The blood of the one not heeding the warning shall be upon his own head, [EZE:33:9].
4.The equality of God's judgment is reiterated, [EZE:33:10-19].
5. The protection of the faithful and destruction of the careless watchman are seen by Ezekiel, [EZE:9:1-7]; [ISA:62:1-7].
6. All parents are watchmen of their children, [PRO:22:6]; [PRO:29:15].
The Watchman at Work
"I see a company," shouted the watchman who stood on the tower in Jezreel. "Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?" ordered the king. Again the watchman sounded the alarm. "The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again." A second messenger was hastened out. "He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously," informed the watchman. "Make ready," was the king's response.
The watchman in his tower on the wall of he city was a familiar sight in the days of Israel. Many of their cities were built upon hills so that the view of the watchman would be unobstructed.
As the watchman looked out over the horizon from his vantage place, he warned the people of any apparent dangers " he told them what he saw. Death was the penalty if he should go to sleep on duty and fail to give warning. His was an important post, and on him rested a grave responsibility. If he failed to sound the warning when the enemy came, his city might be destroyed and many lives lost.
Ezekiel, the Spiritual Watchman
The Lord showed Ezekiel a watchman on the wall, and told him that was his work. He was chosen, not by the people but by the Lord Himself, to warn the people, not of temporal danger, but of eternal damnation through the inroads of sin in their land. If Ezekiel failed of his duty to warn the people, their blood would be required at his hands. In other words, he would be guilty of murder -" not of the body, but the souls of men. It was a grave responsibility, which the lord placed upon His prophet. Why did he do it?
"As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?" "It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish" [MAT:18:14]). God called Jonah to preach to Nineveh. He prepared a special fish and took Jonah down to "the belly of hell" to make him willing to go to that great city. Why? Because He had more than 120,000 souls there that needed to be warned.
Christians today all have a responsibility to carry the Gospel to the world, and are under the same penalty that Ezekiel was if they neglect to perform their duty. "Outer darkness" was the doom of the man who failed to put his talent to use. God's great love for the souls of men compels Him to put a severe penalty on negligence, which might result in many going down to perdition. Many fatal accidents have been traced to neglect. Are souls being lost today because of your failure to sound the warning?
The increasing problems of juvenile delinquency show a failure on the part of parents to discharge their responsibility as watchmen. "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" [PRO:29:15]). Shame on the parents who fail in the use of the "rod of correction" [PRO:22:15]). The land is full of child specialists and psychiatrists, but there is no substitute for bringing children up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" [EPH:6:4]). "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" [PRO:22:6]).
A View from the Watchtower
As the Christian soldier looks from the vantage point upon the wall, what does he see? Sin, crime, violence, and destruction stalking through the land. Dare he keep silent and let his nation fall? As he scans the horizon and sees, the approaching army of the Antichrist, should he not blow the trumpet? As he looks in the Book and sees, "As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" [MAT:24:37]), should he not awaken the sleeper, that he might get ready?
The true child of God carries a burden for lost humanity. Not only is he warning the people, but he is prevailing before the Throne of God, that his mercy will be extended to a perishing world. God has ordained it thus. "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night" [ISA:62:6]). May God help us to faithfully discharge our duty!
"The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night" [ISA:21:11-12]). If the Christian saw only the night into which this world is sinking, it would truly be a dreary picture; but "The morning cometh." On that morning, "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 Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" [1TS:4:16-17]).
After a brief period in the air the Lord will descend with His saints, to set up His throne in Jerusalem. Then shall "the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth" [ISA:62:1]). "Ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." What a glorious morning it will be when "the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" [MIC:4:2]). The desert shall "blossom as the rose." "Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing" [ISA:35:1], [ISA:35:6]). Saints of the Lord, give Him no rest until He answers the prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" [MAT:6:10]).
The Necessity of Enduring to the End
The Israelites were complaining that the way of the Lord was not equal. They were laying claim to being the chosen people of God and expected God's blessing upon them. The Lord told them very clearly: "The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: . . . neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. . . . all his righteousness shall not be remembered; . . . When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby" [EZE:33:12-13], [EZE:33:18]). These warnings very clearly set forth the possibility of a person's losing the love of God out of his heart and being lost after having once known the way of righteousness.
This message and others throughout the Scriptures warn the people of God of the necessity of continuing "steadfast unto the end" [HEB:3:14]).
While there are some who say that once a person is saved it is impossible for him to be lost, these warnings as well as many others throughout the Word of God let us know that only "he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" [MAT:24:13]). "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" [1CO:10:12]).
Let us take warning from the example of Saul of whom it was said, "The Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy . . . and shalt be turned into another man" [1SM:10:6]). We are told that "God gave him another heart" [1SM:10:9]). However, after this, Saul backslid to the extent that "the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets" [1SM:28:6]). Being thus forsaken by God, Saul turned to a woman with a familiar spirit (witchcraft) for help. In the end Saul committed suicide by falling upon his own sword thus meeting his Maker a lost soul. (See also [EZE:33:13]; [JHN:8:31]; [2TM:2:10]; [HEB:10:28-29].)
1. What was the duty of a watchman of Ezekiel's day?
2. By whom was the watchman to be appointed?
3. What was the penalty if the watchman failed to give warning?
4. What happened if the people failed to heed the warning?
5. How did the duties of a watchman compare with Ezekiel's calling?
6. How could a wicked man find eternal life?
7. What was the punishment of a righteous man when he committed sin?
8. To what period does Isaiah 62 have reference?
9. In what way are all parents watchmen?
10. What position will Jerusalem hold in the Millennium?