Watchman... Where Are You? Print E-mail

WATCHMAN…WHERE ARE YOU?

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezekiel 33:6).

“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).

Bible prophecy and current events appear as identical twins, walking hand in hand into the sunset. What a privilege to live in this age and be entrusted by our Lord to be His watchmen. He has honored us by allowing it to fall on our watch to warn the world that the long night is coming. He has given us the message of eternal day.

“Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset; eternity to the wicked is a night with no sunrise.” –Thomas Watson

The worldwide adulation shown Michael Jackson after his passing provoked me to write a commentary on the decadence of our culture and the drift among so many in the church. This generation’s values, disciplines, and sense of right and wrong, are as confused as Michael Jackson’s persona. Anyone who has followed his story to any degree has to admit that his life was a wreck.

In my article, I commented on the weariness that I was experiencing of late, from the ever increasing pressure of Satan’s two pronged attack upon the Body of Christ; a devil-deceived world, and the betrayal by the luke-warm within the church. After publishing “O’ God Help Me, I Am So Weary,” I pondered whether I had been too transparent? Then, only a few hours later, I turned on the radio to listen to a nationally syndicated radio/TV talk show. I could hardly believe what the host was saying.

He said, “I am not feeling well lately, in fact, I have been to my doctor, he says there is nothing physically wrong with me. I have counseled with my bishop, he says that I am just stressed. Some of my friends are telling me that I had better take some time off before I really get sick. But how can I? The prophet Ezekiel in the Bible said, “If the watchman sees the sword coming, and does not warn the people, their blood will be required of him.” I feel that in my role as a commentator, I am a watchman, and I see a storm coming. It may be ten months, it may be ten weeks, or ten days, but there is something about to happen in our world, really bad. All the indicators are there, the collapsing worldwide economy, the radical move to a new world order, ever present terrorism, and the rise of tensions all over the globe with nuclear possibilities.”

What a dramatic confirmation! If a self-confessed recovering alcoholic talk show host can see the sword approaching, and feels a responsibility to blow the trumpet, how can the Apostolic ministry and laity remain silent? How can we continue with business as usual? Watchman, where are you?

“Righteousness exhalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
How long will a just God allow an outlaw spirit to run amok in His world? Lot is not one of my favorite biblical characters for several reasons, but, at least he was “vexed” at the sins of his time. Where is the vexation among the church today? We know deep in our hearts that most of us have become too attached to this world. We preach and sing values, but our fruits, our affections, and our actions say something else.

I am in my 66th year of life, and 45th year of ministry. I have tried to be a scholar, biblically and otherwise. I am becoming more aware everyday, like others in my generation, that I have let some weighty matters slide. We are well able to quote the statistics of the book of Revelation and our doctrinal points. We have “learned the ropes” to cope in a business savvy world, and very few of us in America can say “silver and gold have I none;” but, there is a scripture that keeps coming to me, more an more, written in red, Jesus said, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2).

Apostle Paul counted his accomplishments as “dung,” and declared he was a “debtor.” To whom did Paul owe a debt? He owed the gospel to the Jew, the Greek, the Roman, and the Barbarian. He owed his best to the church; and he owed his very life and soul to God. Can we honestly agree with Paul, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)? I long to share the same heaven with Paul. What an honor to be his peer.

I state the following not as criticism to those who have attained positions of honor and accomplishment; but, only to illustrate the point, that our generation is so title conscious: Reverend, Doctor, Elder, Minister, District/Elder, Pastor, Bishop, (now Archbishop), Prophet, Prophetess, Apostle, Evangelist, and Missionary. Does anyone covet the title, “Martyr?” Will it ever come to that? It certainly has in the history of the church, and even now in some parts of the world. Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). It is apparent that our Lord does not think it exceptional to demand courage, commitment, sacrifice, and selflessness from His followers.

When I was a boy, I remember reading the passage from the diary of one of the five missionaries who were martyred along the Amazon River in the jungles of South America: “One is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep, for that which he cannot lose.” Where are the radical watchmen in this late hour? We must man our posts and cry aloud, not spending our precious allotted time here trying to squeeze out any and all permissible pleasures from an otherwise hell-bound world. Are we competing for a miserly small piece of the pie here, when we are promised to inherit the entire bakery, in the hereafter?

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”-C.S. Lewis

The sins of America are so obvious, only the willfully blind can ignore them. The idolization of the Michael Jackson is just one of the many symptoms of a sick society; no boundaries, indulgent and bent on self-destruction. The days of Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the worst of the Roman Empire are upon us. Pornography, abortion, incest, drugs, drunkenness, the occult, every ungodly excess is growing worldwide, with no signs of abating. Watchman, where are you?

Recently, USA Today newspaper reviewed two of the seasons most popular HBO TV series, “Hung,” and “True Blood.” The latter has a story line of vampires as they interact in society; quoting USA Today, “It is gory, sexy and so entertaining. The vampires are positively portrayed, and about the time you become comfortable, they scare you, and then about time you are scared out of your wits, they win you back as they interact normally with their families and loved ones.”

After the USA Today story, CNN discussed whether the increasing subject of vampires and the occult in entertainment was responsible for the spike in occult related violence across America? It is not rocket science to answer that question. Why do advertisers spend a million dollars for a 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl? People will reenact what they see; will buy the product, seek the pleasure, and/or take the risk. Some will act upon their baser instincts, provoked to play out their darker side.

The other hit HBO series, “Hung,” I am embarrassed to say more than it deals with the problems a man faces, coping in real life with the size of a certain part of his anatomy. Are you shocked yet? It is past time for some righteous indignation, and I dare someone to call it self-righteousness!

A culture will seek entertainment compatible with the level of their spirituality. There is no shame, no limits with this generation. All one has to do is wake up and look around! “As it was in the days of Noah… as it was in the days of Lot.” Jesus said, “The night cometh when no man can work.” Watchman, where are you?

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

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to this fallen world to merely start a new religion. He did not pay the bloody price on a rugged cross at the hands of the cruelest of men to create mental fodder for philosophers and theologians to thresh, ponder and debate; nor to provide well compensated employment for architects, artists, and religious orators for ages to come. He came to seek and to save that which was lost!

Bible scholars call the period between the Old Testament prophet Malachi and John the Baptist, “The 400 years of Silence,” as there was no prominent national prophet to Israel. When John finally appeared on the scene, he was introduced simply as “a man sent from God.” He never wrote a book, he never performed a miracle, he lived an austere life. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, among them born of women there hath not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). What was John’s message to a world so utterly depraved and ungodly that it was necessary for the Creator Himself to appear in the flesh to rescue His fallen creation? John trumpeted, “repent!”

Do we really believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ? If so, how can the forerunners of his second coming have a less powerful and relevant message that that of the forerunner of his first coming?

“A popular evangelist reaches your emotions. A true prophet reaches your conscience.”- Leonard Ravenhill

During the last 40 years there has been a dearth in bold spiritual leadership in America. It is not coincidental, that this country has taken a nose-dive into the cesspool of immorality, atheism and the occult. We have passively watched religious kingdoms built that rival the Vatican in property, buildings, wealth and opulence. We have endured, if not welcomed, the superstar status of Christian personalities that rival Donald Trump, “the rich and the famous,” even Hollywood, in their excessive lifestyle, planes, cars, homes, and wardrobes.

“We manufacture atheists with mundane Christianity.”-Robert Wurtz II

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, America briefly turned to God; two of the most renowned Christian leaders in our nation proclaimed that the attacks were a warning from the Almighty, and a prelude to more national judgment unless we repented. Immediately, the secular pundits ridiculed them, and just as quickly these two famed ministers retracted their proclamations rather than suffer public distain.

Only days after September 11, 2001, I watched a memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, called the nation’s church; with the President and every important national leader; Supreme Court, Senate, Congress, and leading clergymen sit it rapt attention as the dean of the National Cathedral opened the proceedings with the following prayer; “to the God of Abraham, Jesus, and Muhammad.” High heresy prevailed in our darkest hour, at the very moment when our leaders should have petitioned the Almighty in spirit and truth! This same God has proclaimed that He is a jealous God, who will not share His glory with another! “The blind are leading the blind.” Watchman…what of the night?

“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10)

With pleasant nostalgia, three years ago, I watched a black and white video of America’s most famous evangelist preach to thousands in an open air crusade during the 1960’s. Like an Old Testament prophet he thundered “What saith the Lord!” He touched on heaven and hell, angels and demons, the second coming of Christ, and the emergence of the anti-christ; he demanded that sinners repent! Thousands responded. Soon thereafter, I watched him being interviewed, now 40 years later, by a popular televangelist, and heard him state that he has changed his mind about salvation. He now says, “We have brothers in Christ; Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, even non-church-goers, who are our brethren because they do the good works taught by Christ, even though they do not know him.” Jesus said; “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother.…” (Matthew 12:48).

Let me pause and raise the point. How many times have we who preach the necessity of the New Birth; water and spirit, repentance, the name in baptism, and the biblical evidence of tongues; how often have we been accused of promoting these “truths” as works? Now, the same critics say that unbelievers will be saved by their good works. Not only do we have the spiritual weapons to combat the present day heresy, but, we have the theological prowess to prevail; the truth is on our side, if only we have the courage to meet the challenge! Watchman, where are you?

“If men can get to heaven by being good then the death of Christ is the worst waste in human history.”- Dr. Toussaint

More recently, the pastor of one of America’s largest churches was interviewed by Larry King, and when asked why his preaching was not more emphatic relative to traditional Christian values, he answered, “That is not my calling, I am a life coach; my calling is to lead people into successful living.” Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul” (Mark 8:36)?

Another pastor of a mega-church, best-selling author, and a household name, after taking a stand opposing same sex marriage, folded and backed away when pressed by the homosexual lobby, going as far as writing letters of clarification to homosexual leaders. Certainly, he did not want to endure the same vicious vendetta experienced by a beauty pageant contestant, who simply stated that she believed in traditional marriage. The angry mobs of Sodom and Gomorrah are revisiting the earth ! Watchman where are you?

I could hardly believe what I was seeing on national news; a church service with Michael Jackson’s music blaring away and people dancing in the sanctuary. That shock was only exceeded the next day by the picture shown nationwide of one of America’s leading clergymen, captioned, “Rev. ______ grinds against woman to the music of Michael Jackson during memorial service at Apollo Theater.” ….And there are those who fault us for dancing before the Lord? ….And worse, we are intimidated by them?

Recently, a newspaper interviewed the pastor of one the nation’s fastest growing churches, having grown from only a few dozen to over 15,000 in a short time. When asked his formula for such rapid growth, he said, “I let them in the back door.”

People cannot come into Christ by osmosis, being simply assimilated into His Body, the church. Jesus made it plain, “Ye must be born again.” One must be begotten, conceived and birthed to be saved. There must be a messenger with the message of truth that sets the soul free! Watchman, where are you?

I recall my Bible College mentor, Bishop Norris, teaching that the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, universally acclaimed a type and shadow of the New Testament plan of salvation; saying “there is no back door, no side door, only the front door to the Tabernacle.”

Was Jesus a boaster, or worse, a jester, when He proclaimed, “I am the door: if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” (John 10:9)? He settled the issue, once and for all, and no man can change it. Either the Bible is absolute or it is obsolete! “Enter ye in the strait gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” Matthew 7:13-15. This passage needs no further interpretation; false prophets behaving as meekly as sheep, speaking men-pleasing words and soul-soothing messages to the sinful, are driven by a spirit that is vile and destructive.

God’s way never varies, and is consistent in all things. Light drives out darkness, true prophets prevail over false prophets. At every crisis point in the Bible, God had a Moses, an Elijah, a Daniel, a David, a Jonah, an Apostle Peter, an Apostle Paul; I could continue, but the point is made, these men put the trumpet to their mouths! Where are the watchmen today? Many are reading this article. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, pick up the trumpet, climb onto the wall, and sound the alarm!

“So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me” (Ezekiel 33:7).

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence” (Isaiah 62:6).

We will be silent no more!

 
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