Ezekiel 3:14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. 15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. 16 And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
Ezekiel was first listed as a priest (1:3). Then he was called a prophet (2:5). And now the Lord is calling him into the service of a watchman. Becoming a prophet supersedes that of a priest. But the prophet can and does remain a prophet as he assumes the duties of a watchman.
For as you read the immediate instructions from the Lord at the time of his appointment as a watchman, it does not sound the least bit contrary to his prophetic duties. Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
And the Hebrew word translated, “prophet” according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance means, “to lean forward, i.e., to peer into the distance, to await; to observe.” And we see that they were those who “go about the city,” (Song 3:3, 5:7), to assure its peace and safety. And they, as all must do, rely entirely upon the Spirit of God for the proper carrying out of their duties successfully. Psalm 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
He is a unique individual, dedicated to the watchful care of the Lord’s interests. He provides himself even temporary shelter to suit the best advantage point for his observance. Job 27:18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth (a temporary shelter), that the keeper maketh. (That word translated “keeper” is also listed as “watchman.”)
The Lord Jesus Christ and all his truly called ministers have lives in accordance to that which best affords them advantage in the carrying out of their assigned tasks. Matthew 8:19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 1 Corinthians 4:11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And a skilled watchman can peer into the distance and identify the approaching individual to the king. Consider these passages: 2 Samuel 18:24 And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone. 25 And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near. 26 And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the porter, and said, Behold another man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings. 27 And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings.
2 Kings 9:19 Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. 20 And the watchman told, saying, 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.
So does the rare spiritual watchman of our day. But he is one among a thousand! Job 33:23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Yet he works with the Lord Christ, giving account of that which he perceives. Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Also the Lord’s people develop a discerning spirit concerning those claiming to be preachers. Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
They are even instructed, as a warning, to do so. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. That word, “spirits” has reference to those claiming to have spiritual gifts. For in that same verse it relates to us that it is in reference to “false prophets.”
For both those born into the natural realm, and those born into the spiritual realm produce traits which reveal their own personal individuality. Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. These who are truly Spirit born, have the following trait as listed in John 3:21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
But those only born of the natural birth have the opposite traits as seen in John 3:20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. Therefore the response to the gospel of Christ, whether favorable or not, reveals the inner man to discerning souls. And this is the condemnation of those rejecting the gospel’s benefits. John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Therefore the world lying in darkness depends even upon the watchmen of God for any light they may have. Isaiah 21:6 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. 11 ¶ The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? 12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.
That word, “Dumah” is set forth to symbolize a place of the world, outside the realm of God’s people. They seek to the watchman to inform them of when the darkness of their present oppression shall end. Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. John 8:12 ¶ Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
The Apostle Paul reminded the Jews in Rome of this. Romans 2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
The true church has the inner voice and revelation of the Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
And the watchman, true to his inner gift, reveals to Dumah that light shall come to relieve them of the darkness, but then the darkness of night shall again follow thereafter. For God has set it to be so! All Providence runs in cycles. Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. And to those who finally reject Christ as the light of life, there will eventually come that eternal night of darkness. Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But both the day and the night are ruled by heavenly bodies. Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. Light dispels darkness, and must be withdrawn for the darkness to again appear. The sun, representing the “S-O-N” rules the day. But his withdrawal brings the darkness of night, in which the moon, representing the church (Revelation 12), reflects Christ’s light into the night. And the stars represent the true ministers of God, by whom we can guide our journey.
Then we are given to know the perplexity of the watchman’s duty, as revealed in verses 18 through 21 of our above listed text. He is instructed that he must deal with both the unrepentant wicked, and the moral man who may apostatize in such a dark day as this was. It was so dangerous that even the prophet was personally warned by God to be very careful of his own steadfastness. Ezekiel 2:8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
We should be very observant of this warning in our present day. For when “strong delusion” is set forth by God, even the elect must be sovereignly kept by Him! Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The world has a saying: “One bad apple will spoil the whole barrel.” Another saying of the world is that you can’t lay down with a dog without getting fleas! God’s word states: 1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
We must be very careful in this generation to wash our minds by the word of God. For all the vulgarities that fill our ears in this corrupt society shall seek to fill our hearts and eventually come out of our mouths. Having trash cans for ears leads to having a trash mouth! Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Let us then be warned as this watchman was, to guard our hearts very carefully in these dark days. Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. For once the gospel is heard and rejected, it is an impossibility to renew that soul to properly repent! Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,… 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. gb