Watchmen of the Night | World Challenge

Watchmen of the Night

David WilkersonJanuary 1, 1986

We are living in a day in which the messages of the prophets must be understood and proclaimed. Jesus lived and preached, constantly under the knowledge that He was fulfilling the words of the prophets, "Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and ALL THINGS THAT ARE WRITTEN BY THE PROPHETS concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished" (Luke 18:31). [Capitals in Scripture quotes are ours.]

Jesus upbraided the two disciples on the road to Emmaus for NOT believing what the prophets spoke. "Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe ALL THAT THE PROPHETS HAVE SPOKEN" (Luke 24:25).

Paul clearly states that the prophets speak to these last days. "Yea and ALL THE PROPHETS FROM SAMUEL AND THOSE THAT FOLLOW AFTER, AS MANY AS HAVE SPOKEN, HAVE LIKEWISE FORETOLD OF THESE DAYS" (Acts 3:24).

John the Baptist understood and preached the message of the prophets. He needed no new revelation, no new doctrine, no novel truth. He preached from Isaiah! "Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. FOR THIS IS THE ONE REFERRED TO BY ISAIAH THE PROPHET, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!" (Matthew 3:1–3 NAS).

We do not need NEW TRUTH — PRESENT TRUTH — or whatever novel thing itching ears now seek for. We need to hear what the prophets spoke about this, our day. They were accurate regarding Christ in every detail. They must also be right about their warnings and admonitions to us!

All through the New Testament, you see events unfolding in order that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled. "And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon–possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill IN ORDER THAT WHAT WAS SPOKEN THROUGH ISAIAH THE PROPHET MIGHT BE FULFILLED, saying, "He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases" (Matthew 8:16,17 NAS). "But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them not to make Him known, IN ORDER THAT WHAT WAS SPOKEN THROUGH ISAIAH THE PROPHET MIGHT BE FULFILLED…" (Matthew 12:15–17 NAS).

Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus centuries ago; and he preached Christ in his own day. Isaiah not only saw the future Lord and Savior; he also had a hard, devastating vision of the very days in which we live. His vision in Chapter 21 must be understood, heeded and proclaimed! It is a message FOR THIS TIME!

Isaiah begins, "A harsh vision has been shown to me…" (Isaiah 21:2 NAS).

The prophet does not give us the details of this horrifying vision; but his insight into the future was so devastating, it violently agitated him. Isaiah revealed the vision's impact on him: "For this reason my loins are full of anguish; pains have seized me like the pains of a woman in labor. I am so bewildered I cannot hear, so terrified I cannot see. My mind reels, horror overwhelms me; the twilight I longed for has been turned for me into trembling" (Isaiah 21:3–4 NAS).

What caused such convulsions in Isaiah's body? Why did his heart beat wildly? Why such anguish of soul? He saw a storm roaring in from the desert. It was a massive enemy army — "riders, horsemen in pairs, trains of donkeys, camels…"

The prophet sees the coming downfall of the Babylonian system. He hears in his spiritual ear — he sees in his spiritual eye — the downfall of all that is of this world. He sees the end of pride, ambition, wickedness and corruption. "Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all her idols lie shattered on the ground" (Isaiah 21:9).

Isaiah saw all the coming judgment and destruction, and he cried out, "PAY CLOSE ATTENTION, VERY CLOSE ATTENTION" (Isaiah 21:7). He calls out, "RISE UP — OIL THE SHIELDS" (verse 5). But no one is listening! Instead, "They set the table, they spread out the cloth, they eat, they drink…" (Isaiah 21:5).

Indescribable judgments are at the door; massive armies are marching outside the gate; the day of reckoning has come! The prophet is shouting, "Pay attention! Get ready! Oil the shields! Put on the whole armor!" But they ignore the warnings of the prophet! They go about their ways, eating, drinking, making merry — spreading out a feast table of prosperity, success, and entertainment. They are deaf! They don't want to hear about the mounting gloom outside the gate! They have their own HAPPY DAYS prophets sitting at the head of their tables. While they sit with them on ivory couches, they prophesy smooth things. "This is a rebellious people, lying children that will not hear the law of the Lord…which say to the seers, 'See not,' and to the prophets, 'Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits…' (Isaiah 30:9–10).

What a vivid vision Isaiah had of our present day. Here are alarmed watchmen blowing a trumpet, begging the unconcerned to wake up, to prepare for a day of disaster! But the crowds spread their tables and sit down to dance and play!

It is not just that they ignore him — they shout to him, "Enough of your doom and gloom! You've been on the wall too long! Why don't you ever give us a good word? Why so rough, so harsh — so negative?"

I ask you, if the watchman keeps quiet, if he gets weary of warning, if he does relent and ease up — WILL THAT CHANGE ANYTHING? WILL THAT STOP THE DESTRUCTION? NO!

Whether or not the people will listen, God is setting His watchmen in place!

"For thus hath the Lord said…Go, set a watchman — Let him declare what he seeth…" (Isaiah 21:6). God has set up faithful watchmen in these troubled times. They see the gathering storm of divine judgment; and they are appointed to warn the people.

We know that the Old Testament prophets and shepherds were set as watchmen. Some were called seers because they walked with God so closely they could see what others could not. They could see the approaching enemy; they could see into the future — their warnings came from the very heart of God. God said to Ezekiel, "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me" (Ezekiel 3:17).

God spoke through Isaiah: "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day or night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence…and give him no rest, till he establish, and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Isaiah 62:6–7).

This should greatly encourage the holy remnant! It should bring hope to all God's people who sigh and cry over the abominations in the house of the Lord! GOD HAS SET UP HOLY WATCHMEN WHO WILL NEVER SHUT UP! NIGHT AND DAY, THEY WILL BLOW THE TRUMPET AND WARN THE PEOPLE UNTIL GOD'S HOUSE IS CLEANSED AND AWAKENED!

Some are saying, "This message of impending judgment by self-styled prophets will pass away! These ridiculous warnings, these awesome thunderings, these harsh visions will die out!" Not a chance! God has posted His watchmen! God has instructed them to "KEEP NOT SILENT!" Call them self–appointed; call them misinformed; call them any name you choose — they will not be hindered in their mission. They have been set in place by divine authority.

The New Testament is A CALL TO EVERY SERVANT OF GOD — TO WATCH! "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. WATCH YE THEREFORE, AND PRAY ALWAYS, THAT YE MAY BE ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT SHALL COME TO PASS, AND TO STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN" (Luke 21:32–36).

Paul warns the present day ministry: "WATCH YE! Stand fast in the faith — act like men — be strong!" (1 Corinthians 16:13).

For three years, Paul stood watch over the Corinthian church. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. THEREFORE WATCH, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears" (Acts 20:28–32).

To the overseers, to bishops, to pastors — He said the same thing! "WATCH — WARN EVERYONE – NIGHT AND DAY — WITH TEARS!"

Paul said of true ministers, "THEY WATCH FOR YOUR SOUL." That is the test of a true watchman! Does he watch out for his own interest — his own dreams — his own ambitions? Or, does he WATCH FOR SOULS? If Paul had to preach to ministers today, he would deliver the same message he gave to young Timothy: "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 into fables. BUT WATCH THOU IN ALL THINGS, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry…" (2 Timothy 4:3–6).

Isaiah's vision focused on a cry coming to his ears "out of the land of the lawless."

"The oracle [burden or cry] concerning Edom…one keeps calling to me from Seir" (Isaiah 21:11 NAS). Genesis 36:8 says Edom is ESAU. In Malachi 1:3, God said, "I hated Esau…and I laid his territory and mountains to waste." Malachi gives us God's view of what Edom and Esau represents: "Men shall call them the territory of the lawless, and the people with whom Jehovah hath indignation against until times eternal" (Malachi 1:4 Rotterham, Original Hebrew).

What is this cry coming out of THE TERRITORY OF THE LAWLESS? It is the very same cry arising out of religious America! WE HAVE BECOME THE LAND OF THE LAWLESS. We are those who have rejected the Lord and against whom God is indignant!

Here is the cry from the land of the lawless: "Watchman, how far gone is the night? Watchman, how far gone is the night?" (Isaiah 21:11 NAS). The King James Version reads: "Watchman, what of the night?" But the Hebrew text is actually, "How far gone is the night?"

There was no cry, "What must we do to be saved? How can we repent and turn to God? How can we prepare to meet the enemy?" The only question being asked by these deluded children of God was, "How much longer until the good times return? How soon will a NEW DAY dawn, so we can return to our feasting and drinking?"

Mark my words, THE DAY HAS ALREADY COME — multitudes of prosperity lovers led by their success preachers share one great concern — TO BRING IN A BRIGHT, NEW DAY OF ENDLESS PROSPERITY AND BLISS! When the darkness of recession and depression begins to fall all around, they cry out, "How long will it last? How soon until we are back in the sunlight of good times? How deep, how long will be the darkness?" They prophesy great and prosperous times just ahead.

The Scripture that says, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand" means something very different to them. They see that as a promise that God is going to set up His earthly kingdom soon! No imminent return of Christ. No going to meet the Lord in the air! They have become so earthbound, they can't see giving it up even to meet Him in glory!

This is the cry of the NEW AGE PEOPLE! It is the cry of the spreading gospel of the KINGDOM PREACHERS: "A NEW DAY IS DAWNING! A day of EARTHLY PEACE AND PROSPERITY! They boast, "God is going to give us the wealth of the world; we will become kings — take dominion over all government, all science, all law and legislation."

They are no longer "looking for Christ's appearing in the clouds of glory" (Mark 13:26). They evidently do not believe the words of Jesus when He warned, "On this earth you will suffer and be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). They reject Christ's warning that the church will be "hated and scorned" among men (Luke 21:17). Christ is no longer expected to return "as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2). They don't believe Paul's warning that "sudden destruction" is coming upon the earth (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Nevertheless, Jesus bluntly said, "My kingdom is not of this world." His reign is in the hearts of men.

Hear the answer of the watchmen (Isaiah 21:12): "The watchman said, "The morning cometh and also the night…if ye will inquire, inquire…RETURN — COME!" He is saying, "For those who RETURN AND REPENT, THERE IS A NEW DAY COMING — but for those who are living the land of the lawless, bound by the spirit of Esau, with its lust and evil — there is nothing but night!"

Isaiah went on to describe what that meant. For the backslidden and unconcerned, "A day of confusing and downtreading and perplexity…a day of undermining of walls, and a cry for help" (Isaiah 22:5). Those who live for self, who lust for success and power and earthly dominion will awaken to a day of perplexity and unprecedented trouble.

What makes this so frightening is that Isaiah is speaking of our time! Only a holy, separated remnant will comprise the holy Zion — the city coming down from God! While many preach about a new day of earthly might, glory and dominion — it will actually be that dreaded day of perplexity, sorrow, and cries for help!

The preachers of Paradise Restored are deluded prophets. That is easily proven by God's Word. Here is unshakeable proof God has not sent them, but that they are deceived and speak their own imaginations. "But, 'Ah, Lord God!' I said, 'Look, the prophets are telling them, You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place.' Then the Lord said to me, 'The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds" (Jeremiah 14:13–14 NAS).

There are holy watchmen–and there are evil watchmen! We live in a day when many who were once mightily anointed are falling asleep in sin!

Let me share with you one of the saddest indictments against evil watchmen in God's Word. "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. THE WATCHMEN THAT GO ABOUT THE CITY FOUND ME: TO WHOM I SAID, SAW YE HIM WHOM MY SOUL LOVETH? IT WAS BUT A LITTLE THAT I PASSED FROM THEM, BUT I FOUND HIM WHOM MY SOUL LOVETH: I beheld Him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me" (Song of Solomon 3:1–4).

Here is the bride — the church — the people of God truly hungering and thirsting for their Lord! They want Him! They yearn for His love and presence. IT IS A SEEKING PEOPLE! They don't know how to reach Him! There is a confrontation with certain of the watchmen! If anyone should know where to find Him, the watchman should. Who could miss this man so well described: "…His head is of the most fine gold; his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set — His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers; His lips are like lilies — His hands are as gold rings — His legs as pillars of marble — He is altogether lovely…" (Song of Solomon 5:10–16).

Of the watchman she asks, "Have you seen Him whom my soul loveth?" In other words, "Lead me to Him whom my soul longs for! You are the watchmen — bring me to Him!"

How sad these words are: "It was but a little that I passed from them; but I have found Him whom my soul loveth…" The bride is confessing, "When I got away from the blind watchmen, then I found Him! They could not help me…." Isaiah said: "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).

Think of it! In Chapter 21 the watchmen awake; they are calling the people to action, speaking only the truth; faithful; watching day and night. Now in Chapter 56, some have fallen asleep; they are lying down like a bunch of lazy dogs. They refuse to blow the trumpet! They have left off warnings! Some are asleep on the wall! They have become spiritually blind, ignorant — with no discernment left.

WHAT HAPPENED? Isaiah said they became self–centered! Greedy! Filled with lust and sensuality! "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…. Come, say thus, 'I will fetch wine and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant…' " (Isaiah 56:11,12).

Isaiah lamented, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN PERISHETH, AND NO MAN LAYETH IT TO HEART" (Isaiah 57:1). Instead, some became greedy, looking out for themselves, their own dreams and plans — having fallen into lust and love for pleasure. They have opted for comfort, acceptance and respect among men. They have been corrupted by a lust for power and position.

Jesus described the condition of those in hell: WHERE THE WORM NEVER DIES AND THE FIRE IS NEVER QUENCHED! It is the worm of LUST! If that worm of lust is not destroyed in this life, it will eat away in the mind through all eternity.

Look about today as many ministers fall into adultery! The worm of lust is eating like a cancer, destroying the love of many. So few now weep for the lost! Fewer yet are taking to heart the backsliding of God's people! There is greed, self–promotion, self–seeking!

What grief God must carry over the backslidden, blind watchmen!

His grief goes beyond their spiritual blindness! Beyond the pride and greed! Beyond sensuality and self–centeredness! It is a two–fold grief!

First, grief because God can never delights in the fall of a single created being. He laments the loss of their love! The loss of their communion! The loss of a chosen son or daughter! The loss of one so important to His work on earth. Saul falls and the prophet Samuel weeps for Him. Absalom rebels, is killed in rebellion — yet David laments, "Absalom, my son — my son!" Will not God lament over the loss of His rebellious, fallen watchmen?

Second, it is the GRIEF OF HAVING TO TURN CORRUPTED WATCHMEN OVER TO THEIR SINS! I call it the DREAD RELEASE. You find it in Romans 1; but also throughout God's Word. God never removes His offer of grace and mercy! His mercy is everlasting! But when men who once knew the truth, preached it, embraced it — then became bound and enslaved to creature lusts — and they refuse to let it go — refuse to walk in holiness before a holy God — THEN God MUST release them to their sins!

You see this DREAD RELEASE in Ezekiel 20:39, "As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God…Go, serve everyone his idols…."

God is also releasing this Christian nation to her idols. He is saying, "Go to your TV idol! Go to your secret lover! Go to your pornographic cassettes! Go to your filthy magazines! Go to your hidden sin! If you will have your idols rather than walk wholly separated in holiness, then go to the object of your desires."

Let me show you the tragic end of the greedy, blind watchmen.

"I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. THE WATCHMEN THAT WENT ABOUT THE CITY FOUND ME, THEY SMOTE ME, THEY WOUNDED ME; THE KEEPERS OF THE WALLS TOOK AWAY MY VEIL FROM ME" (Song of Solomon 5:6–7).

Can you believe it? The blind watchmen are beating up on the bride! They are wounding the bride! They are tearing off her veil! Her veil is her covering of modesty! Behind it she can blush! She can close her eyes to all others so she will not behold sin!

Think of all the rock concerts in God's house! The senseless choreographed dancing! The blatant entertainment! The emphasis on materialism, success and self–improvement. The cancerous growth of worldliness in the churches. The lack of grief over sin among believers. The acceptance of rock, punk and disco music in God's house. The foolishness, the lightness, the off–color–joking — the drinking and fornicating. It is the fault of greedy backslidden watchmen who are tearing at the bride's veil! Once again the blind watchmen are "taking away the veil…"

The blind watchmen did it to the children of Israel, and they are trying to do it to God's people today: "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 6:14,15).

The blind watchmen become candidates as rulers of darkness and angels of light.

They end up preaching another Jesus, another gospel! Listen to these very clear warnings, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him" (2 Corinthians 11: 2–4). "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their words" (2 Corinthians 11:13–15).

I listen to the so-called Christian rockers and punkers as they talk so sweetly about loving Jesus and of their desire to take Him where the world is. They sound so pious, so humble, so sincere. They say the right words, but their hearts do not belong wholly to the Lord. God says of them, "And the Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken. OH THAT THEY HAD SUCH A HEART IN THEM, THAT THEY WOULD FEAR ME, AND KEEP ALL MY COMMANDMENTS ALWAYS, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever" (Deuteronomy 5:28,29 NAS).

Some blind watchmen in the Northwest have introduced dancing in their churches with others' spouses. They dance for hours with the mate of someone else, staring intently into each others' eyes — calling the affair a SPIRITUAL CONNECTION. An intricate and evil doctrine has been concocted to support it as a so-called "new move of the Holy Spirit." It is causing divorces, suicide among the adults, and terror among the children of those caught up in it. Many hundreds are involved, and adultery is rampant among them. The leaders of this diabolical doctrine preach so sweetly about Jesus, about the bride of Christ — and their words at times sound right. But they are the prophecies and doctrines of devils. Those involved are devil-inspired angels of light, come to deceive, if possible, even the elect. These are those referred to in the Song of Solomon who "wound the bride, smite her, and strip her veil!! God has promised to deal with them with His holy fire of jealousy. "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES" (Hebrews 10:26,27 NAS).

Thank God — THE TRUE AND FAITHFUL WATCHMEN ON THE WALL WILL NEVER COMPROMISE! They will not stop warning the righteous about the seductions and infiltrations of the wicked one among God's people. No sincere Christian need be in doubt about who to listen to in these days of many voices.

There are two very clear and unmistakable tests of all prophetic warnings:

  1. True prophecy seeks to turn Christians away from sin.
    "But if they had stood in my council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds" (Jeremiah 23:22 NAS).

    Heed the voice of those who seek to turn you away from wickedness. Avoid those who speak soothing words with no reference to sin.

  2. Prophetic warnings, from the beginning, spoke of judgments upon the wicked.
    "Yet hear now this word which I am about to speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people! The prophets who were before me and before you from ancient times prophesied against many lands and against great kingdoms, of war and of calamity and of pestilence" (Jeremiah 28:7–8 NAS).

    Those who warn of coming judgment are in good company. They speak the same word of all the prophets "from the beginning."

I declare with all assurance that the warnings now going forth from God's holy watchmen are the greatest evidences of His love to this generation. He loves His people enough to prepare them; to give them time to repent and prepare the way of the Lord in holiness! Those who love the Lord will be thankful. Those who are at ease in Zion will be repelled and indignant.

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