What is the critical role of one sent by God to warn the people?
[Darris McNeely] In the fields of the Middle East during the times of the Bible shepherds, farmers would go out into the fields and they would stand on these towers, what were called watchtowers, to look out over the fields, to watch their herds and also protect their fields from marauders and thieves. They were called watchmen. The Bible uses that term "watchman" to describe the role of a servant of God or the church to watch and to understand and to send a warning to the people of God to turn from sins, to repent, to understand the times in which they live.
[Steve Myers] We're continuing our series on prophecy. And one of the important things about the watchman is the fact that in the Old Testament it's not just about those people that watched for marauders. It's not just about those that were protecting their crops. There's a spiritual analogy here that points to the future. And there's an important section of Scripture that connects that watchman to the commission of the church today - that there's an important job that God's ministers must be about in order to warn the world about impending danger that's ahead.
[Darris McNeely] In Ezekiel chapter 33, beginning in verse 1, "The word of God came to the prophet and said, 'Son of man, 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, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head'" (Ezekiel 33:1-4 Ezekiel 33:1-4  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 on a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
 If when he sees the sword come on the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
 Then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be on his own head.
American King James Version×). Then it goes on to explain that if they do heed the warning, and they turn and they will be in a sense saved, the blood then will not be upon the watchman's hands and the individual themselves can be saved because they heed a message that leads them to turn and change the way they live and to turn to God in repentance.
[Steve Myers] And so if you remember that section of Scripture in Ezekiel 33, it really starts right at the beginning and carries on for quite a few verses. But it points that out very clearly that there is a watchman. And as God's Church, God's ministers, we have to be about warning people about the impending danger to come. This world cannot continue the way that it is. There is fulfilled prophecy that has happened and there's prophecies in the Bible that show there are things that are coming that are going to shake this world to it's very core. Christ talked about the Great Tribulation. That's just on the horizon. We can see that in the world today and all the indications that these things are coming. And we better change our ways and we better get close to God. And that watchman and that commission that God gives is to give that message that there is danger ahead and we better draw near to God.
[Darris McNeely] And it is a warning to turn to change the way we live, not only to understand the times in which one lives, what's happening in the world, the ebb and flow of nations and powers, the fulfillment of prophecy, but also to take that very personally at our level and to turn and to change and to live. Here in Ezekiel 33, down in verse 11 it goes on to say, "'As I live' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways. For why should you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:11 Ezekiel 33:11Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
American King James Version×.) So whether it was Ezekiel saying, giving the message of his day, or Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or any of the other prophets of God, or even Jesus Christ Himself in His time, or God's work today through His Church issuing a message of warning to people to turn and to repent, to change their ways and to turn to God, it is the same story. It is the same instruction from God and way in which He operates through a servant, through a body of people to warn and to urge people to turn and to live because they change their ways.
[Steve Myers] And that's the good news. There's a passage that goes right along with what Darris just said and it's over in 2 Peter. And in that particular passage in 2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
American King James Version×it says exactly that, that the good news about prophecy, as we draw close to God and we repent - because God is not willing that any should perish, but all come to repentance. That's 2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
American King James Version×. And so part of the wonderful news about prophecy is not only about the danger that's ahead and the difficulties that's to come, but the fact that we can change, we can repent, we can draw near to God. What a great blessing that prophecy can - to warn us of the things to come.
[Darris McNeely] And that's part of the role of the Church, to send a message of warning to turn and repent and change one's life and to believe the gospel of the Kingdom of God and of Jesus Christ. That's BT Daily. Join us next time.