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What is a Watchman on the Wall?

Over the past several years, a trend has emerged on social media – Many Christians declaring that they are the Lord's "Watchmen on the Wall".

Many of these well-meaning individuals have stepped forward proclaiming imminent calamity, wars, governmental conspiracy, rapture dates, and astrological warning signs "from God". Some even tiptoe down the path of speculation about future world events, the motivations of political powers, and conspiracy theory.

However, when we examine the role of watchmen in the Bible, we get quite a different picture of what a watchmen's role really is:

When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ezekiel 3:18-19).

Ezekiel’s warning was about sin to the wicked. It’s a warning of death if they do not repent. He was more concerned about the spiritual state of Israel and Judah than he was any physical attacks from an enemy. We can know this because in Ezekiel 33:6 it states:

"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood."

The watchman’s warning isn’t so you can save your flesh, but so you can save your soul.

The role of a watchman is not limited to speaking only about the sins and problems of the society. Watchmen should also be proclaiming the Gospel (the good news about 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.

To Jerusalem and the land of Israel God says the watchmen will hold a vigil day and night for the peace of the people. “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they 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."

In Isaiah, we see that the role of a watchmen is to proclaim the gospel and announce the reign of God. Through warning and prayer, they seek to keep the city from suffering the ravaging effects of Satan, our spiritual enemy.

Knowing the consequence of sin is death, Biblical Watchmen stand on the “walls” of society and proclaim a warning to any who will hear: “God is in control. You will die in your sins if you do not turn to Him.” Regardless of impending war or devastation, no matter which evil worker is plotting to destroy -- above ALL is our Lord and Savior, who has His hand in ALL things.

Therefore, a watchman’s message should include Biblical teaching of the Word of God that points the listener to Jesus Christ, who is the way to Salvation.

A watchman’s duty is not to speculate on worldly events that affect the flesh, but to watch out for and address gaps in the spiritual wall of the body of Christ that might let the enemy in.

Watchmen must shift their gaze from the physical to the spiritual, and there is where they must be watching.