A Watchman in
 Our Midst
 

In biblical lands in ancient times the role of a watchman was crucial. Invasion, siege, destruction and enslavement were all too common as empires battled for for power and plunder. Watchmen were stationed atop towers or the city wall, and if danger approached they were to sound the alarm to alert their fellow citizens to the threat.

A watchman failing in his role all too often meant the difference between life and death -- not just for himself, but for those around him.

Blowing the Alarm

The Hastings Bible Dictionary informs us that "The watchman blew the shofar to RAISE AN ALARM or to indicate IMPENDING DANGER (Amos 3:6, Jeremiah 6:1, Ezekiel 33:6), and Moore (on Judges 6:24) renders shofar by 'WAR HORN.'" According to the New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, "The sound of the shofar was audible at a great distance (Exodus 19:16, 19); and WATCHMEN BLEW IT TO SOUND THE ALARM (Jeremiah 6:1; Amos 3:6).

Notice that the shofar as an instrument is defined in the Bible as an instrument of WARNING. It was used to SOUND THE ALARM, when a city or nation was threatened by an invading army or disaster of some kind. Here we see the REAL symbolism of the watchman and his shofar. Shofars were blown as an ALARM -- they signified a WARNING BLAST of impending danger, peril, calamity, destruction! They were a warning to GET READY -- GET PREPARED -- for the day of judgment is coming soon!

The Role of the Prophets

Ezekiel is an outstanding example of one who boldly announced a message of repentance and remission of sins. His entire book contains a warning that must be delivered to the modern-day descendants of Jacob -- the British and American peoples, along with the nations of North-Western Europe. Ancient Israel had gone into captivity long before Ezekiel wrote his book. His message is for us today.

This is the background for the prophetic commission found in Ezekiel 3. Here YEHOVAH God tells Ezekiel, "I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me" (verse 17, emphasis added throughout).

Notice that YEHOVAH God says, "give them a WARNING from Me." It's YEHOVAH's message -- as delivered through His human instrument, Ezekiel. Eight times in chapter 33 (verses 3 through 9) YEHOVAH says WARN!

"Say to them: 'As I live,' says the LORD God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:11).

YEHOVAH God has commissioned watchmen to warn His people Israel -- watchmen who will NOT hold back from revealing the sins of His people:

"I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall NEVER hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth [during the Millennium]" (Isaiah 62:6-7).

Notice also that it was a message of sober warning: "If I warn the wicked, saying, 'You are under the penalty of death,' but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible, demanding your blood for theirs. lf you warn them and they keep on sinning and refuse to repent, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved your life because you did what you were told to do."

He continues, "But if you warn them and they repent, they will live, and you will have saved your own life, too" (verses 18-19, 21, New Living Translation). YEHOVAH's goal was clear: He wanted people to heed the warning, repent and live.

YEHOVAH God raised up prophets who served as watchmen to the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 6:17). These prophet-watchmen had the responsibility to WARN the wicked of impending destruction and, if they failed to do so, they were held ACCOUNTABLE to YEHOVAH God. If, however, the people were unresponsive and failed to heed the warning, THEIR BLOOD WAS UPON THEMSELVES (Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:1-9).

The Two Kingdoms

And here's where the story really gets interesting: The ancient Israelites were divided into two kingdoms -- the House of Israel and the House of Judah. When Ezekiel, of Judah, gave his prophetic warnings intended in large part for the house of Israel, its people had already been punished and taken away into captivity by the Assyrian Empire more than 120 years before.

If you've been reading our articles for long, you probably understand that the modern Anglo-Saxon nations of the world are descended from the House of Israel. You may also realize that, as discussed regularly within our articles, those ancient Israelites disappeared from the pages of history (becoming known to historians as "the lost 10 tribes") before reemerging in more recent centuries as the peoples of North-Western European heritage, especially the major English-speaking nations.

Viewed in this light, the puzzle of Ezekiel's message makes sense. His warning could not have been for the Israel of his own day, since it was 120 years too late. It must be for the modern descendants of Israel, predominantly today's major English-speaking nations -- the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

A Warning for Today!

And if ever a people needed a warning, it is today. Britain and the United States have been the world's foremost superpowers over recent centuries, first with the British Empire ruling the seas and a vast array of peoples and nations, followed by the United States assuming Britain's former role after World War II.

But Britain's empire fell and is now a shadow of its former self. America is rapidly following in economic, social and cultural decline, losing influence daily around the world.

Notice what the prophet Micah warns --

"The day of your watchman and your punishment comes; now shall be their perplexity" (Micah 7:4).

YEHOVAH God blasts the irresponsible leaders of America and the other Israelite nations, and makes it very plain what He thinks of their degenerate behavior:

"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'" (Isaiah 56:9-12).

YEHOVAH God then goes on to lambast the religious leaders of our nations:

"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. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. But come here, you sons of the sorceress, you offspring of the adulterer and the harlot! Whom do you ridicule? Against whom do you make a wide mouth and stick out the tongue? Are you not children of transgression, offspring of falsehood, inflaming yourselves with gods under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?...And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me, nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me? I will declare your righteousness and your works, for they will not profit you. When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry them all away, a breath will take them. But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land, and shall inherit My holy mountain" (Isaiah 57:1-5, 11-13).

Why is it that the churches of this world DO NOT cry out for our nations to turn to YEHOVAH God in humility and to REPENT of their wicked conduct? Most religious leaders today don't even grasp what sin is because they have been led to believe -- erroneously -- that YEHOVAH's spiritual law -- which regulates all human behavior -- was nailed to the cross! The only thing that was nailed to the tree was the Messiah's crucified body -- along with our guilty past, assuming that we turn to YEHOVAH God in repentance!

This is why, when the Messiah came into Galilee preaching the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, he told people to REPENT and to believe (accept in faith) the TRUE gospel of the Kingdom. In other words, we have to be willing to change our ways -- to repent of sin -- if we are to enter into YEHOVAH's Kingdom.

This has ALWAYS been the message of YEHOVAH's TRUE servants: repentance and remission of sins. It was repeatedly proclaimed by all the prophets, and YEHOVAH knows that most people will not repent. But He unequivocally says, Witness against them anyway! That way they will be left without excuse. If YEHOVAH's true servants do their job, then when the plagues descend, the unrepentant won't be able to say, You should have warned us!  

Sobering as it is, this is a primary message of Hope of Israel Ministries -- that sin exacts a terrible price, whether on a nation or an individual. We're seeing that played out before our eyes. And like Ezekiel and the watchman on the wall, WE ARE BLOWING THE SHOFAR, WE ARE SOUNDING THE ALARM, SHOUTING A WARNING MESSAGE TO ALL WHO WILL HEAR AND HEED. Are you listening?

 

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.
www.hope-of-israel.org

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