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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

Watchmen, What of the Night?

E. L. Bynum

From the Plains Baptist Challenger, August 2014

The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? (Isaiah 21:11)

The Purpose of the Watchmen

This pictures a walled city with a watchman on the wall, to sound the alarm if they see danger such as the approach of an enemy. They were also to inform of any messengers who might be coming with good or bad news. In the days of walled cities, it was absolutely essential that watchmen should be upon the wall where they could watch every approach to the city.

Inside the walls of a city in those days they could see nothing of the outside, so we can see how important it was to have alert watchmen on the walls. This was a job that had to be done day and night, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.

The Prophets Were the Watchmen

In Isaiah's day, the prophets were spiritual watchmen. They were specially called men who were to proclaim the Word of God and to warn the people of their apostasy and the approaching judgment of God. There were faithful men, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, who understood the truth of God's Word and would boldly warn the people of the danger of disobedience. As we can see, there were very few true prophets who were aware of what the nation was facing.

Isaiah spoke of the failure of the watchmen of his day and these words apply to the watchmen of our day.

"His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." (Isaiah 56:10-11)

These watchmen were "blind" to the facts, and blind watchmen could not see the danger. They were "all ignorant: and could not recognize the danger that faced them. They are all "dumb dogs," that could not bark. A dog that cannot bark is not of any use as a watch dog.

A number of years ago I preached a revival in a rural area of Kentucky. During the day I would go visiting with the pastor as we went inviting people to the revival. At nearly every house there would be a pack of long-eared hound dogs sleeping in the yard, and they would rarely open their eyes to look. l decided right there they would not be good watch dogs. They were very good at trailing raccoons at night, but they were no good at being watchdogs.

These watchmen were no good at sounding an alarm, for they were sleeping the sleep of ignorance, and could not warn the people because they were dumb dogs and could not bark. They were always slumbering and seemed too unaware of the desperate condition that the people faced. The prophets were greedy dogs always looking out for their own financial and political welfare.

The preaching of Isaiah and Jeremiah can be perfectly applied to our day since we are entering into the same period of danger and destruction as they faced. The true messenger of God is commanded of God to do something. "Cry aloud, spare not lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." (Isaiah 58:1) God needs watchmen today who will do that very thing, by pointing out the sins of the nation and its people, and crying aloud.

God's Word provides many warnings of the approaching disaster, but most preachers are ignoring it, or only giving passing lip-service. Jesus Christ and the apostles give tremendous warnings that we had better listen to and give warning of their messages.

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith." (II Timothy 3:1-8)

These are sinful deeds that cannot be ignored by preachers who stand for the Word of God. Any servant of God that ignores this message is not worth his salt, much less the salary he is given. The false watchmen are "all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

The true watchmen of the Lord will hear and accept the following charge:

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."(II Timothy 4:1-4)

The Problems of the Watchmen

We must understand that most watchmen (preachers) of today are lullaby singers and not true watchmen. Instead being militant and bold, they are soothsayers and have become experts at pacifying their congregations rather than boldly warning the people of the con-sequences of their sins.

I know from my experience as a pastor that is it is sometimes hard to rebuke sin, and I will guarantee you that you will suffer for your trouble. The pastor that dares to do this will be glad when he faces God at the judgment. It is better to have the approval of God than the praises of men. It is not so hard to preach against sin, but you start telling the people what sin is, you will find it to be hard. When you start naming sin and showing the people their sins, you will have no easy task. The true prophets named sin and exposed them. Christ and his true preachers named the sins of the people and openly rebuked them.

When a struggling pastor, who is trying to build his congregation, sees the sin and rebellion in some of his people, he will always find it easy to preach a more positive message. At the same time he hopes that the people will change, but they seldom do. A Church is a place for fellowship, but how can we have fellowship when we are not in the same ship. 'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Ephesians 5:11)

The preacher should preach the truth in love, and not out of anger and harshness, but firmly and without apology. We are never going to have revival and the power of God upon our services unless we follow God's way and methods. Soft soaping the gospel and sin will not get it done. It is time that pastors should exercise their authority and calling. "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" (I Timothy 3:5)

It is clear that a pastor must rule his own house, and in like manner to take care of the house of God. He is not to be a harsh dictator over his own house, nor over the house of God (church), but he is to exercise his God given authority over both.

The Performance of the Watchmen

A pastor is not going to be judged by the number of degrees that he has or how large his Church was, but on his obedience to the word of God. He should seek to build as large a church that he can, but not by compromise or by being soft on sin.

When we see little children being used as pawns by the homosexuals, it is time to cry aloud and spare not. If a four or five-year-old boy acts a bit like a little girl, he is quickly targeted for a sex-change operation or given hormones to change him into a little girl. This is ungodly and a deliberate attempt to produce a homosexual recruit. It is time to rise up and condemn this awful practice. When you are born, the doctor identifies what equipment you are born with, either as a male or a female. That is what you are, and when man tries to change that, it is an ungodly effort and should be exposed.

Looking at the dramatic change of opinion in the USA is almost unbelievable. In fact it is so unbelievable that we question the accuracy of this poll, but they may be right. The following polls published in the Baptist Press are sure to alarm Bible believers:

"Public opinion surveys in March showed the dramatic shift in favor of gay marriage in recent years: 59 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, while 34 percent oppose it, according to a poll by The Post and ABC News. The result was nearly the exact opposite of the same poll in March 2004, when only 38 percent favored legalizing gay marriage and 59 percent opposed it.

"69 percent of adults under age 30 support legalizing same-sex marriage, according to the Pew Research Center. Among those 18 to 29 years of age who identify themselves as Republican or leaning Republican, 61 percent agree with legalizing gay marriage. The same survey shows that overall 54 percent of Americans and 39 percent of Republicans, or those who lean toward the GOP, support same-sex marriage.

"Meanwhile, 15 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that provide explicit protections for transgender people. Last August, California became the first state to enact a law to enable students to use the restrooms and play on the athletic teams of the gender they identify with, regardless of their biological sex."

It's no wonder this is happening since the Bible and prayer have been purged from the classroom for many years, while ethics and morality are being taught by the immoral. Christian teachers have their hands tied by the system and find themselves unable to teach the truth.

Many Christians have become afraid and have become moral cowards in the face of this perilous onslaught, and are afraid to say much about these perilous times. The Bible and the Constitution are in favor with our stand, but by and large, the modern government and laws are against us. "But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way."(Matthew 13:25) This is true today, the watchmen are asleep and the devil is busy sowing tares and we are reaping the bitter seed from the tares, and not the good bread from the wheat. Tares are bitter and useless for bread or any other food.

It is impossible to report in this brief article of the great flood of evil that is drowning our land. We ask the "Watchman, what of the night?" (Isaiah 21:11) "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." (John 9:4) Christ and the apostles did not hesitate to preach the righteous of God, and at the same time, preach against the sins of their day.

It might cost you your head. It cost the head of John the Baptist. Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."(Matthew 11:11) John may have lost his head, but he earned the everlasting praise of the Son of God.

It will be better to hear the “well done” of the Lord, than to hear the earthly praise of man. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou host been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:21)