The Messenger Must Be the Embodiment of His Message (continued)
Now we go to the second title of Ezekiel. In chapter three, at verse seventeen, it says, "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel." And the word of the Lord came to me saying,
"Son of man, speak to the sons of your people, and say to them, "If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman; and he sees the sword coming upon the land, and he blows on the trumpet and warns the people, then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes his away, his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman's hand." Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth, and give them warning from Me" (Ezekiel 33:1-7).
The second title of Ezekiel is "a watchman." This idea is not peculiar to Ezekiel. We have the watchman in other prophets, or, shall we say, we have the function of the watchman in other prophets. Habakkuk 2:1 says, "I will stand upon my watch": that is a function of the watchman. In Isaiah 21:11 we have, "Watchman, what of the night?" So again we have the function, but no one else was exactly called a watchman except Ezekiel. And as you have noticed, that title was applied to him at the beginning of his ministry, and later at his re-commission.
Now this title and this function need not keep us very long. We just ask ourselves the question, "What is the function of a watchman?" First of all, the function of the watchman is to know and to declare the time. That was always an idea associated with the watchman. Right down to modern times that is true. In the country places, the watchman went around at certain times of the night and blew his trumpet or rang his bell and shouted the time. He would ring his bell and shout, "It is five o'clock of the morning." That idea is in Isaiah, chapter 21. Someone is asking the time, "Watchman, what is the time?" And the watchman answers, "The morning cometh, and also the night." The first thing about a watchman is that he must know the time - he must know what time it is in the purpose and work of God.
You know there are a lot of people who are very mixed-up on this matter. They are trying to do a lot of things out of time. There are some people who are confused in the dispensations over this. In this dispensation, God is doing a special thing. There is one particular thing that marks this dispensation in the purpose of God, and it s the greatest importance that you and I know what it is that belongs to this dispensation.
There are all sorts of systems of teaching which have nothing to do with the purpose of this dispensation. They are very interesting, there may be some truth in them, but they are not right in line with God's specific purpose for this dispensation. I am not going to take your time to illustrate what I mean, even though I could tell you of different systems of truth which have taken people right off the line of God's specific purpose for now. It is not always a question of how much truth or how much error there is in it. The real question is, "Is that what God is seeking now, in this dispensation?" Now you can usually detect the fault by one thing - has that something to do with this earth now? If it has, then that is no what God is doing in this dispensation. God is not concerned with doing something on this earth, in this dispensation, but He is taking out of the nations a people for His Name. He is building something in heaven in this dispensation. Whether it is Israel, or anything else, that is not God's concern in this dispensation; and anything which has wholly to do with this earth does not belong to this dispensation. That is why the Lord Jesus left this earth and went to heaven. This dispensation is characterized by a Heavenly thing; and not an earthly thing. That is a major test of everything.
(continued with # 36)