The Watchman and His Duties

Hebrew tsaphah = “to lean forward, to peer”. A watchman stands on a vantage point (Hab 2:1–3) and carefully observes the horizon for signs of danger or good news. Immediately they appear he warns those he is caring for with a clear blast on his trumpet (1 Cor 14:7,8) so that they may take the necessary action.

The Watchman’s Duties—Ezekiel 33

  • He must be able to correctly interpret the situation and its significance (v1–3)
  • His warning must be clearly understood and unmistakable (v3)
  • He must accept personal responsibility for his duty (v6)
  • To do this ecclesially he must hear the word and expound it clearly (v7)
  • If the ecclesia does not respond he is absolved from his responsibility (v9)

Some References to Watchmen

  • Unless Yahweh keeps the city the watchman wakes in vain (Psa 127:1)
  • Yahweh sent his prophets as watchmen (Jer 6:17; Ezek 3:15–21)
  • Those who seek Jerusalem’s peace are like watchmen upon her walls (Isa 62:6,7)
  • When Christ comes to Zion these watchmen shall rejoice (Isa 52:8)
  • We need to be continually watching and asking, “Watchman, what of the night?” (Isa 21:6–12)
  • Blind watchmen or sleeping watchmen are useless in spiritual matters (Isa 56:10)

Our Personal Need for Watchfulness

  • We need to “look unto” (Heb tsaphah) Yahweh (Micah 7:7; Psa 5:3)
  • The virtuous woman “looked well” (Heb tsaphah), to her house (Prov 31:27)
  • We need to be watchful in ecclesial matters (Rev 3:2,3; 2 Tim 4:5; Acts 20:31)
  • We need personal watchfulness (Matt 24:42,43; 25:13; Luke 21:36; 2 Tim 4:5)
  • We must watch in prayer (Col 4:2; Matt 26:41)
  • The ecclesial elders must act as watchmen (Heb 13:17)
  • We must watch, keeping our garments holy (Rev 16:15)

Paul as the Ecclesial Watchman—Acts 20:26–31

Paul tells the elders of the ecclesia at Ephesus that he fulfilled his role as a watchman

  • v26 He was pure from the blood of all men (Ezek 33:8)
  • v27 He declared all the counsel of God (Ezek 33:7)
  • v31 He ceased not to warn them (Ezek 33:3,7)
  • v31 He told them to watch as he had watched over the ecclesia (Ezek 33:2,7)

Christ the Great Watchman—Matthew 26:38–41

In his hour of greatest trial he needed to “watch and pray”.

  • “Tarry ye here, and watch with me” (v38)
  • “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” (v40)
  • “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (v41).

In all this Christ was setting the greatest example for watchmen to follow. Like him we must never sleep in times of impending trouble, but continue in prayer.