By John Larkins
About 570 B.C., many key Jews had been exiled to Babylon, including Ezekiel. God had been forced to punish the Israelites for their stubborn sinfulness and general refusal to obey Him.
God decided to try something new, especially outside of Jerusalem. He announced to Ezekiel that He would make this priest a sentinel, someone to warn Israel away from sin so that they could one day return to Jerusalem and restore the Temple.
This detailed “job description” resembles Jesus’ mission statement to the Apostles of His new covenant church that would forgive sins and dispense His saving grace after He returned to Heaven. This may seem lengthy, but God’s word applies today, as well as then, to all baptized Christians and the sad state of our present-day religious circumstances. I say this principally because Jesus declared that “IF you love me you will keep my commandments.” Thou shall not murder (even children?).
Ezekiel 33:7-9 says, “So, thou O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefor thou shalt hear the word at my mouth and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity but thou hast delivered thy soul.”
In the new covenant, Mark records this in Mark 16: 15-16: And He said unto them, “ Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Matthew wrote a little differently in Matthew 28: 18-20: “And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Amen.
In Mark, it is clear that person being taught is responsible for accepting Christ’s message. The Holy Ghost will convert the listener or that person will be lost, without liability for the teacher.
Jesus obviously recognized (“all things whatsoever I have commanded you”) that the Bible had not yet been written but would be based upon the writings of these men and other holy persons.
Also in Matthew, we note Jesus’s promise to be with His Church “always.” In the Gadsden telephone yellow pages, one can find at least 100 religious’ organizations. Researchers have said that there are about 25,000 “Christian” churches worldwide. It is safe to say that one of them is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” One of those churches is 2,000 years old. In one of those churches, Jesus is still present, body, soul, blood and divinity.
Did Jesus keep His word of remaining with us forever? Is it time to consider whether the role of “Watchman” has come to be a priority regarding the Word of God?
John Larkins was born in Oklahoma to an U.S. Army family. His education was in the Catholic Church and teaching in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. After 50 years of various positions in federal service at home and in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, John and his wife Carol live in Gadsden. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.