Restoration: The Watchman as Servant

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Restoration

The Watchman as Servant

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hile in Southern California for a World News and Prophecy seminar last month, I had a chance to visit San Diego and take in a view of the city from atop Point Loma. There we visited the old lighthouse that for many years, from 1855 to 1891, was the beacon light for ships coming up the coast and into San Diego Harbor. The lighthouse was decommissioned after it was determined that a new one was needed, lower on the coast. Because the old lighthouse sits 422 feet above the harbor, frequently it would be shrouded by fog and clouds, thus rendering its light undetectable to passing ships. Without its light, a lighthouse serves no purpose. Looking out on the Pacific Ocean from this vantage point got me to thinking about the role of a watchman so often described in the Bible. Perhaps the best known reference to a watchman is in Ezekiel. While in captivity in Babylon, God told Ezekiel: "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 3:17Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
American King James Version×
). A watchman had multiple roles in the ancient world. Watchmen stayed in the fields for weeks at a time watching the crops as they matured so they would not be stolen. Watchers stood on the city walls observing the daily comings and goings within the city gates and about the walls. You could imagine them as the early warning radar systems of the time, watching the weather, the roads and the business of everyday folk. A watchman was an observer who had a unique view of his small corner of the world. The prophets of God were spiritual watchmen, charged by Him to warn Israel and Judah of their sins against Him and the need to repent and turn back to Him. Their message included a warning of captivity at the hands of Assyria or Babylon if they failed to listen and change. A spiritual watchman's job was to warn the people of their sins and the need to repent. The message to the citizenry was in essence a witness to which they had the responsibility to respond. The role of a watchman is not limited to only speaking about the sins and problems of the society. The watchman was also charged with proclaiming good news about the paths of salvation. Notice this in Isaiah: "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. "Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" (Isaiah 52:7-10 Isaiah 52:7-10 [7] How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that said to Zion, Your God reigns! [8] Your watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. [9] Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. [10] The LORD has made bore his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
American King James Version×
). While at the Point Loma lighthouse I noticed a quote about its purpose on display. The quote is from the playwright George Bernard Shaw and says, "I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve. They weren't built for any other purpose." That sums up the role of a watchman—to serve humanity from a selfless love by giving the message of the coming Kingdom of God, the only sure hope in a divided world. A watchman stands and delivers the message about the restoration of all things. Today all who hear have the same responsibility Israel and Judah had. Will they believe and respond to the advance notice? WNP

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