WHO IS A WATCHMAN? by Bishop Dr. J. Akin Atere, J.P

LECTURE DELIVERED AT THE PROVINCIAL PRAYER CONVOCATION HELD AT FAITH PLAZA, BARIGA, LAGOS ON THURSDAY 14TH – SATURDAY 16TH JUNE, 2012.

GENERAL THEME: WATCHMAN OF THE WALL

SUB THEME: WHO IS A WATCHMAN?

INTRODUCTION:

In the ancient world of the Bible, we have several walled cities, watchmen served a vital function  as sentries assigned to keep the lookout for any signs of approaching enemy/ armies or any other dangers. The position of watchman was considered so important due to its responsibility for the lives of others.  So much that any sign of negligence could result to his death, using this analogy, God commissioned spiritual watchmen who were charged by Him with announcing His judgement. For example, Isaiah wrote “upon the watchtower, O Jehovah , I am standing constantly by day and  at my guard post all the night” Isa 21:8. Habakkuk, another ancient prophetic watchman explains his duty. “At my guard post, I will keep standing, and I will keep myself stationed upon the bulwark and I shall keep watch, to see what he will speak by me and what I shall reply at the reproof of me.” Habbakuk 2:1. Ezekiel was likewise commissioned as a  watchman to see, not merely tell others what they want to hear, but must be courageous to be also the bearer of bad news if duty calls for such. The  tendency of Jehovah’s witnesses is also similar specifically to what is recorded in 30th chapter of Isaiah where God’s watchman was told “You must not see, and to the one having visions, you must not envision deceptive things, turn aside from the way; deviate from the path.  Just as kings and priests refused to listen to God’s watchmen in ancient times, so too, the  very same message contained in God’s prophetic word,  much of  which  was originally transmitted by means of vision is  also rejected by the  leadership of God’s people and the people of this generation. Instead, the leaders desire is to hear and teach “smooth things…deceptive things”

In this ancient times, also there were no electronic gadgets, not even clocks, the role of the watchmen were crucial to the whole community they were part of, it was  their job to literally watch for incoming visitors, messengers, enemies and anything unusual so that the people would be alerted to these. In the roster of the Night watchman he would be watching for the morning star in order to arouse people to be ready to start the day’s work. Only a few citizens would work as watchmen, whereas all citizens, everyone is meant to wrath and respond as was appropriate for them to watch the watchman’s message was. This is why Jesus said we should all “watch and pray.”

The 21st century has come! With its arrival, comes a general feeling that we, as the church, are in the final hours of history before the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As we look out upon the vast ocean of humanity, we see a world largely lost in sin and in desperate need of this Saviour we are (or should be) in such earnest expectation to see. Indeed, the world can be a savage place and we are eyewitnesses to this generation’s increased ungodliness. False teachings and demonic wisdom abound far and wide. There’s never been a more crucial time for working and moving in the ministry of the “watchman” because a watchman is someone who is committed to being alert and awake, ever ready to warn of approaching danger. He has clear eyes focused on the enemy’s advances and stands at his post, poised to sound the alarm and warn the people he serves. In ancient times, multiple watchmen would be stationed in towers or guardhouses along the city walls, under direct orders from their commanders to identify and warn of coming danger. Watchman worked in shifts so that the city or fortress’ safety could be  insured and the watch would be  constant. It was a high calling and not to be taken lightly or lazily. In  truth, the safety of the entire town depended on sharp eyes and a  concerned heart.  Since God mentions this ministry several times throughout the Bible with great clarity, we do well to read, heed, and  learn to be men and women with this attitude for the church today. While we may not be under the threat of physical invasion today, or living in literal walled fortresses, Satan and his workers seek to destroy and lay siege to the church today through false teachers and ungodly philosophies. He seeks to lead us into false forms of worship and unbiblical teachings that masquerade as truth. He has engineered and orchestrated a full-out assault on the people of God today, complete with deceptive false ministers and non-prophets who no longer view His Word as the primary basis for true doctrine. The church is definitely under attack and, therefore, definitely and desperately in need of watchmen in this age. Let’s look together at the “watchman” ministry as it is revealed in the Bible…

 OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES

Take the  examples of the  Old Testament of the ministry of the prophets. God called certain men to a special guard duty that involved warning Israel or Judah to be wary of the surrounding false beliefs and abominable pagan practices that always sought to get into the lifestyles and values of God’s people. At times, this ministry was very unappreciated and even ignored by the majority of the people. In fact, very seldom were the people willing to hear the warnings uttered because of their sins, yet, God set these watchmen in their midst for their own  good. So, the Old Testament prophets were  watchmen to warn people of  spiritual danger and the consequences of falling prey to the enemy’s schemes and evil. Ezekiel was a priest-prophet to Judah during the 70-year captivity in Babylon. He prophesized and warned the Jews between 592 B.C.  and 570 B.C. and died 10 years later. He probably began this ministry when he was around 30 years of age and was directly called by God Himself (Ez 1:2-3) “On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.” This radical ministry included being what God called a “watchman” “to keep watch; to be at lookout” Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me.” Ezekiel’s mission  was to “hear” what the Lord told him, and “warn” the people of God to follow His Word (Ezekiel 3:18-19) “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 was to warn the wicked when God told him to do so. If he was a bad watchman and didn’t deliver the message, then Ezekiel himself would be  judged for not fulfilling this role. But obedience to God’s command brought deliverance to the bearer even if the recipient did not heed the message (Ezekiel 3:20-21) “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall  not be remembered; but his blood I will  require at your hand. Nevertheless, if you warn the  righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.” Watchman Ezekiel is told to warn the righteous man against doing wickedness. This is such an act of mercy on God’s part, and there are so many themes to discuss from these verses, but for our purposes, notice that the watchman is held accountable if no warning is given. A non-warning watchman is in trouble with God because he has held back what should have been spoken. Neither the listener nor the watchman is excused for disobedience. I bring up these points to show the level of accountability that God placed on the watchman position. Perhaps, because of the seriousness and diligence of this calling, it is less popular or favourable to some who want an “easier” time in ministry today.  We don’t see very many people  rising up to warn of error or false teachers in the church today although the need is every bit as urgent. We can learn four very important things from the above verses about Ezekiel’s watchman position:

  1. God appointed this ministry to Ezekiel, as it’s appointed to you
  2. Watchman position contains heavy accountability, therefore, obedience is mandatory
  3. The watchman is called to warn both the wicked and the righteous. “let’s look a bit closer at the calling Ezekiel was giving. This is further explained in Ezekiel 33. “Again, the word of the Lord came to me saying,” (Ezekiel 33:1-7) This passage of scripture further clarifies the role of a watchman that Ezekiel was called to perform. In these verses, we see how tragic it is to be under the ministry of a disobedient watchman who would not sound the trumpet to warn of the enemy’s sword. God wants to emphasize the crucial nature of this ministry. It is vital for the well-being of both the people and those called to watch over them. Truly, faithfulness in this position was of life and death importance for both sides. Both Ezekiel 3 and 33’s accounts of Ezekiel’s call to be a watchman are then followed with examples of this ministry in action. God would speak to His chosen watchman and he, in turn, confronted, warned and presented to the people what he was instructed by the Lord. Ezekiel proved to be an obedient watchman even in the face of Israel not acknowledging the vital nature of his job. Today, you may not be called to the office of a prophet in the same way as the Biblical prophets were, BUT you and I need to share with others and even warn them of the words God has delivered in the Holy Bible. We must be faithful in the calling God has given all of us who are in His family to warn others of the perilous consequences of unrighteous living and unbelief. Souls hang in the balance and the reality is every bit as serious as it was in Ezekiel’s day. We must tell the unbelievers, fellow believers entering into sin, and fellow church goers of the importance of accepting Christ ad having right relationships with God. At times and in certain situations, we must also be willing to confront false teachers with Holy boldness. Sadly, we must still stand poised to blow that trumpet on false teachings that will lead others astray if not detected, corrected and halted by application of God’s Word. In short, the enemy’s sword is still drawing blood and we need to warn of its coming.

Other Examples of watchmen are also mentioned in Isaiah 6, 21) and again in  Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, Listen to the sound of the trumpet! But they said, we will not listen” Jeremiah 6:16-17 God was addressing a rebellious Jerusalem through His “Weeping Prophet” Jeremiah. The Old Testament abounds with God’s patience and “going after” His wayward people. Note that God Himself “set” “establish; raise up; confirm” watchmen over the  people,  but here is a clear example of what happens when they don’t listen. God explains in following verses that  great “calamity” will be brought upon  the people because they wouldn’t heed the Lord speaking through His watchmen. In all examples of this ministry in the Bible, there is a great  emphasize on the urgency to listen  when a good watchman warns.  What words did the  Messiah Himself teach concerning watchmen who fail to be faithful to their position? Here’s a message to those who would rather  be wicked than watch: “All you beasts of the field, come to devour, all you beats 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.” Isaiah 56:10, 57:1)

Isaiah is used to deliver the words and warning of Christ Himself to the wicked watchmen. They are lazy and engulfed in delusion as they “sleep at  their posts” while letting the people go unwarned. But what does the true watchman do? He heeds the Lord’s words in Isaiah 58:1 “Cry aloud, spare not, Don’t hold back; lift up your voice like trumpet; tell my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”

 

The true watchman does just that and doesn’t let the danger of sin go undealt with. Sin and wickedness are barriers to true worship of God and  right relationship. Rather than lazily being self-absorbed, the watchmen must be pure and  “sold out” to this calling. Heavy message to us from the Old Testament watchmen and the Living and True God who appointed them to warn Israel.

WATCHMEN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AND TODAY:

Having looked at a few models of this ministry in Old Testament times concerning Israel, we see some major components that are needed in ministry today. If we could advertise, our sign would say “WATCHMEN NEEDED” Apply within today’s church. Anyone with an ounce of discernment can see that this ministry is sorely lacking in today’s church. Rampant false teaching and heretical prophets are ravaging the  precious doctrines of the apostles and adding huge doses of  “leaven” to  the pure teachings of God’s Word.

What is being set forth in this articles is the need for sober vigilant watchfulness by leaders and laypeople in the church today. Satan is not through with his attacks but many Christians seem to have laid down their arms and refuse to cry out against these teachings for fear of offending the enemy. Today, every bit as much as before, we need watchmen!

 

So, we must ask, “Have we received the commission to be watchmen today? Where in the Bible do we read that the church needs watchmen? Although you don’t find the official title of “watchmen”, in the New Testament BUT the features are unmistakably clear.

PASTOR AND CHURCH LEADERS AS WATCHMEN

In the New Testament, there are several passages about the qualifications of pastors and leaders in the church. This is not an article dealing with the forms of church government as it sometimes differs between denominations. The author of Hebrews was explicit in 13:17: “Obey those who rule over you (Note this phrase “have the rule over you” is used only three times in the whole New Testament and only in Hebrews 13. Greek: hegeomai – “To lead, rule; guide), and be submissive, for they watch out for our souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.  “We are told in verse 7 of that chapter that we are to “remember those who have the rule over “us, and the context is clearly a reference to church leadership, stewardship, and accountability. If we submit to the authority of a good watchful church leader who is in the truth, and understand that they are “gifts” to the  church (Eph. 4) for our benefit, it will be well with us.  Note the calling on  their part to be watchful over the  spiritual conditions of their flocks. This is  so clear  that they are to be a sort of watchman over and to the people of God. The entire letter to Titus from the  Apostle Paul also provides us with a  good description of qualities in a church leader. This is sort of a perfect example of Hebrews 13:17 – a “picture” of the qualities of a good shepherd. This brings me to the strongest point that I believe exists in the New Testament call for watchmen i.e.

THE SHEPHERD AS WATCHMAN

While Jesus is the ultimate “Shepherd of the sheep” (Heb. 13: 20, Ps. 23), pastors, evangelist, church Teachers, Clergy, Bishops are to function as lower- level shepherd to those whom God has entrusted to their spiritual care. “The elders who are among you (1Peter 5: 1-4) This relationship between Jesus Christ and those elder or pastors he has entrusted with sheep, involved being an “overseer” (Greek: episkopeo: “to see; to care for”) and a steward. Don’t miss the motif Watchfulness is crucial to the calling of a shepherd. Like shepherding a literal sheep flock requires vigilance and a sharp eye for danger (not to mention correcting guidance for grazing), so, too, does pasturing a spiritual community of growing believers. The picture of a shepherd is heavy with significance through the Bible. Remember in the Isaiah 56 verses we previously looked at, the lazy watchmen were mentioned alongside of and virtually synonymous with the bad shepherds. There is an obvious connection between a shepherd and his need to demonstrate the characteristics of a watchman. Much more could be said on this topic which I feel best proves the point of watchmen needed in churches today. Some of the reasons for the sorry spiritual state of many churches and the tendency of many to unquestioningly embrace false teachings is due to the fact that the actual pastors of these churches haven’t taken seriously the call to be watchmen. There is a need to sound alarms and take stands that churchgoers may label controversial or too radical. Attendance may decrease in the church where the pastor doesn’t accept the new false revivalist concepts or “Third Wave” teachings, but nothing should deter the shepherd from wielding his staff against wolves. (Acts 20) and sounding needful wake-up calls to his people. Their spiritual safety depends on it. Let not this exhortation from Paul to young pastor Timothy: “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” ( 2 Timothy 4:5) I recommend reading all  of 2 Timothy (well, the whole  Bible for that matter ) to get a feel for what a young pastor faces. Pasturing is serving, and serving, in any capacity, is a challenge, especially in the day in which we live. After being warned of the future deterioration of the church and the false workings that will corrupt many. Timothy is urged to keep focused. His calling as a pastor is to be a watchman. Verse 5 says, “be watchful in all things.” That covers quite a bit of ground including the affairs of the church as well as the attacks from inside and outside. In order to be watchman in the fullest way, we need the guidance, direction, empowerment of the Holy Spirit and wisdom from heaven. We also must have a better-than-slight working knowledge of  God’s Word, which is precisely what Paul told Timothy in the  earlier verses of Chapter 4. “Be a watchman, Timothy”. This is a “holy calling” (1:9). This  kind of teaching is all through the pastoral epistles of Paul. Therefore, we can conclude that a pastor and even other church leaders should be diligent watchmen and good stewards of their office.

THE CHURCH AS WATCHMEN:

Perhaps you’re thinking that the watchman position is reserved only for ancient prophets, present pastors, seminary graduates, professional apologists, or just someone else besides you or the people you go to church with. The fact is that the New Testament is full of exhortations for us to live Godly, obedient lives. Doing that involves watchfulness, soberness, alertness, and even recognizing the enemy’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11) “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” and warning others away from sin and satanic. Deception: “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from  the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19, 20) Watching and warning were regular inclusions in Paul’s letters to the churches. Paul himself showed characteristics of a watchman and then urged the readers of his day and now us to “imitate” him as he imitated Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1). Paul modeled for us what Godly concern and sounding a trumpet looked like. The writer of Hebrews tells us to grow in maturity and to imitate others who demonstrate faithfulness: “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak to you in this manner. (The writer had preciously been warning of the dangers of immaturity and apostasy) (Hebrews 6:9-12) Peter tells us to be watchful (1 Peter 5:8), and the entire letter of Jude is watchman’s warning, clearly identifying false teachers and crying out to church  people like you and I “To Arms!!!” Of special note in verse 3: “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary i.e. “Compelled to pressured from the outside”. This construct is used 18 times in the New Testament) to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly (“Fight hard”) for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. “Jesus Christ Our Lord is the ultimate Watchman and “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4) “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” He left a brilliant pattern for us to follow of One who knew no compromise as He proclaimed the truth. By doing that, he displayed “salt” and “light” to fallen mankind and then asked us to be those same preserving and illuminating elements in the world we live in. (Matthew 5:13,14) “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Worthy of mention is the fact that Jesus never shield away from taking the tough stands against the corrupt teachings and false religion in His day. He clearly declared the truth about hell, a real devil, the horrors of sin, and coming judgement. The scriptures are obvious and vast so we wont include them all, but these writers and the Lord Himself demonstrated qualities and actions that were watchful and protective. If we try to imitate our Lord and Saviour and live Godly examples, then our lives need to reflect clear seeing, bold warning, and alertness in this dark time. Clearly, we are being asked to move in this sphere.

A FINAL CALL TO WATCHMEN:

This is by no means an exhaustive article on the subject of the watchman definition, and I want to make clear that there are also definite Hebraic considerations about the watchman position. A scholar like Jacob Prasch best handles those features, when he says

  1. We must be alert and awake today and give a distinct alarm when we see false teaching coming into our churches.
  2. We must be specific in dealing with the men and women who would seek to introduce us to and instruct us in non-biblical techniques and ideas.
  3. We should have no fear identifying these workers by name in order that God’s people can be clearly directed to safety away from the damage these things bring.
  4. It is only by exercising this ministry that we can avoid the pitfalls Satan has laid for our personal walks, families and churches. Someone famous said it once: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” So true, yet large portions of God’s church have fallen asleep at their guard posts to even fail to see the need to WAKE UP, STAND UP, SPEAK UP and BE WATCHMEN!!! Only then can we truly treasure God’s Word and bring Him glory by “contending for the faith, once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3) WATCHMEN ARISE IN ANGLICAN CHURCH. THE TIME IS NOW.

Through Isaiah the prophet, God promises the watchful eye of servants who will hold day and night vigils for the peace of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. “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 praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7) How much are we doing in our various dioceses, The faith o our for-bearers are eluding us, Pastors are no  longer obedient to the call injunction, more interest are now on what I can gain. In Isaiah’s day, God charges this group to watch for the safety of the city and its citizens. These special servants understand the dangers of the present world. They see the dark cloud gathering on the world’s horizon and are moved to proclaim a warning message to all who will hear. The message would also include teaching the way to personal peace for those who listen. It will show the true teaching of God and the way to salvation. It will show how one could choose to escape the judgment God will bring on the world. Do you see yourself in this group of watchmen? Is there a role for you among those who watch today’s world and yearn to make it better? Putting a number of scriptural commands and principles together, it becomes clear that today’s true Christians are meant to shoulder this grave responsibility now in the last days. We are to share in the role of standing vigil like a watchman of old, and showing the way forward through the suffering and evil in of our world. We saw above that Ezekiel was set as a watchman to the house of Israel (Ezekiel 3). God took Ezekiel in vision back to Jerusalem to observe the lifestyle of those Jews who were left behind when Nebuchadnezzar captured the city and took many captive to Babylon. It seems that the majority of the populace had not learnt from the many warnings to change their wicked ways. In Jerusalem the people continued to worship false gods and strange customs completely different from what God has given their forefathers. Violence became an everyday occurrence. While in the temple (the heart of the city) (the place representative of the presence of God) Ezekiel saw six men (angels) approached, each carrying a battle-ax. Another angel had a writer’s inkhorn; they all came and stood beside the altar (Ezekiel 9:1-2) Next, God “called to the man clothed with linen, who had the  writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst…of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men which sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it” (verses 3-4) God was going to send the six angels through the city to kill the disobedient. But those who were not caught up in sin and rebellion against God would be spared. Those who prayed from a heart-sick grief over the state of society were granted, a mark that protected them, from God’s judgment. What was their distinguishing feature? Their active concern for the moral and ethical condition of the society. God honoured that attitude. Does this describe you to Him? Does we sigh and cry for the moral condition of our nation? Do we see the world through God’s eyes and understand how far people have strayed from His righteous commandments? If so, then we have a duty to help others understand that is coming when God sets His command in judgment of the nations.

“Do this and live” Amos the prophet walked into the city of Samaria, (capital of the northern kingdom of Israel), and boldly told the king and city leaders to repent or face captivity at the hands of the Assyrians. He pointed to neighbouring states that had fallen and said, “You are no better than they were.” He rebuked those who did not want to hear a “message of doom.” To those who stocked their homes with the finest luxury goods and gourmet foods, trusting that affluence was a sign of God’s blessing, he said, “Don’t trust in materialism.” The citizenry, at all levels, looked only to their comfort and ease and did not grieve “for the affliction of Joseph” (Amos 6:6) that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments, but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Those who “grieve” and “sign and cry” over societal sins are called to a unique role. They are part of God’s elect, called to the duty of proclaiming the announcement of the Kingdom of God. That message includes the good news of Jesus Christ’s return to restore all things (Acts 3:19-21) The message also contains a warning to repent and receive God’s blessing or ignore the warning and face the judgment of God. It is a double-edged message – plain-spoken, yet full of hope. Fulfilling this role requires courage, perseverance and a  love for the people addressed. One of the best examples of this was the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah spent more than 40 years in the role of a watchman to the nation of Judah, urging people to heed his warnings and return to the ways of God. Notice this passage: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)

CONCLUSION:

In Mark 13:32-37. Jesus’ prophecy of the end time, that He urges His disciples three times to “watch” during the times leading to His second coming. The emphasis is on a personal watch through prayer to know the times. By prayer and righteous living, we stay tuned to Jesus Christ. Through this way of life one can discern the moral climate of the times and avoid being tossed around with every shifting ideology of modern culture. Walking in God’s laws and instruction insulates us from the course of the world and its deceptions. Revelation 16 described a massive end-time deception perpetrated by Satan and demons that work  through the human instruments called “the Beast” and “the False prophet” (verse 13). Their influence gathers the leaders of the earth “to the battle of that great  day of God Almighty…to the place called  in Hebrew, Armageddon” (verses 14,16). IN our fascination over these other worldly figures, we can easily skip over Christ’s charge: “Behold, I  am coming as a thief” suddenly and unexpectedly. “Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (verse 15), The natural by-product of this close relationship with god is being alert to religious deception. Those who frame their life around the coming Kingdom of God will watch and keep themselves from the wiles and the devil. This is the end result of fulfilling the role of a watchman within the Body of Christ to be found standing in the faith, blessed of God at the dawn of His Kingdom on this earth. Our world is moving toward this time of global cataclysm. Revelation 16 described a future moment when people will be caught up in events engineering through the Beast and False Prophet. The former is a political leader of compelling personality and ability; and the other, a religious leader unlike any in modern times. Together they will convince armies to move toward Jerusalem to fight Jesus Christ at His coming. This is a time for the watchmen to mount the walls and sound a clear, unmistakable warning message of the dangers facing not just the people of province of Lagos, or  The Church of Nigeria but also the whole world. It is a time to make known the hope of the coming Kingdom of God. Isaiah’s message stands bright and clear today: “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” (Isaiah 52:6).

Come, take you place on the walls, work for the Kingdom and pray for its speedy arrival!

 

Thanks for listening.

 

The Rt. Rev’d Dr. J. Akin Atere

Bishop, Diocese of Awori