WHERE ARE THE WATCHMEN?by: Elder Lawrence Nelson
We begin with God asking a question and giving the answer as in Isaiah 21:11,12: "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night." God had appointed Isaiah as His faithful watchman and God was asking for a report. Before we discuss the tremendous implications to be discovered in His answer, "The morning cometh, and also the night," let us pray for guidance.
Our loving Father, we are about to probe deeply into the responsibilities of Thy watchman. Please enlighten us with Thy Holy Spirit as to what we should expect to hear from Thy appointed watchman in these final, closing hours just before the return of Jesus. This we ask in His name, Amen.
In the book, Gospel Workers p. 14, God has given to us an inspired understanding as to what He expected of a watchman in the days of Isaiah. "In ancient times, sentinels were often stationed on the walls of cities, where, from points of vantage, they could overlook important points to be guarded, and give warning of the approach of an enemy. Upon their faithfulness depended the safety of all within. At stated intervals they were required to call to one another, to make sure that all were awake, and that no harm had befallen any. The cry of good cheer, or of warning was borne from one to another, each repeating the call until it reechoed around the city."
Just so today the spiritual watchman on the walls of Zion (God's church) should be found standing in the watchtower with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in his hand and with his prayer constantly ascending for divine grace. His eyes and ears ever alert for he must be acquainted with the horizon of our time. He must be able, by divine help, to perceive the pulse and the mood of the day. He must also know what God's people should be doing now and he should be keenly aware of the timely messages needed so that God's end-time people may be ever ready.
Now with such knowledge of what God expects of His watchmen let us turn our thoughts to the question, "What is the meaning of God's words spoken to Isaiah when He said, 'Watchmen, what of the night?'" The Spirit of Prophecy gives us an answer, "The watchman is to know the time of the night." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6, p. 407. In addition we ready in Testimonies to Ministers p. 230, "As the inquiry shall be made, 'Watchmen, what of the night?' the faithful message is to be heard in response, 'The morning cometh, and also the night.'"
Now this leads us to a further question. What is the meaning of the words, "The morning cometh"? Again we will turn to Inspiration which will give us the answer in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4, p. 592. We read, "Beloved, what a glorious morning this will be when the Lifegiver awakens the countless millions of the redeemed and we, which remain alive, will receive, with the risen saints, everlasting life." You just can't help but say "Praise God, it is coming, a glorious morning when Jesus returns!"
But now, what is the meaning of those last four words that follow, "the morning cometh" "and also the night"? The answer is found in Bible Echo, February 1, 1891, "The night symbolizes prevalence of error, misinterpretation and misapplication of Scriptures. (Are you listening?) Every species of delusion is now being brought in. The plainest truths of God's word are covered with a mass of man-made theories. Deadly errors are presented as the truth to which all must bow. The simplicity of true godliness is buried beneath tradition."
Now from this message we can clearly discern that God's true minister will be fearlessly preaching that the morning is coming very, very soon for we are facing the eminent return of Christ. This is the meaning of the words, "The morning cometh." Such a minister will also warn the flock that the darkness of night is quickly gathering about the saints for the doctrines of devils is now being preached in some of our churches.
This is why God has given the following warning, "To every minister the Lord declares, 'O son of man, I have set thee a watchman in the house of Israel. Therefore thou shalt hear the word of 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 will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 33:7-9.
These words of the prophet declare the solemn responsibility resting upon those who are appointed as guardians of the church, stewards of the mysteries of God. They are to stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion to sound the note of alarm at the approach of the enemy. If, for any reason, their spiritual senses become so benumbed that they are unable to discern danger, and through their failure to give warning the people perish, God will require at their hand the blood of those who are lost.
"It is the privilege of the watchmen on the walls of Zion to live so near to God, and to be so susceptible to the impressions of His Spirit, that He can work through them to tell sinners of their peril, and point them to the place of safety. Chosen of God, sealed with the blood of consecration, they are to rescue men and women from impending destruction. Faithfully are they to warn their fellow-men of the sure result of transgression, and faithfully are they to safeguard the interest of the church. At no time may they relax their vigilance. Theirs is a work requiring the exercise of every faculty of their being. In trumpet tones their voices are to be lifted, and never should they sound one wavering, uncertain note. Not for wages are they to labor, but because they cannot do otherwise, because they realize that there is a woe upon them if they fail to preach the gospel." Gospel Workers p. 15.
For the past several month Dean and I have attended many worship services. Only once have we heard the exciting news that Jesus is coming soon. No wonder the servant of the Lord speaks so plainly, "Slumbering watchmen, what of the night? Do you not know the time of night? Do you feel no burden to lift the danger signal and give the warnings for this time? If you do not, come down from the walls of Zion, for God will not entrust you with the light He has to give. Light is only given to those who will reflect that light upon others." Evangelism p. 144.
Here Ellen White is writing to a minister in our church to rebuke him because he was an unfaithful watchman. She says, "And this is one whom God has called to stand between the living and the dead; this is one of the watchmen stationed upon the walls of Zion to tell the people the time of the night. A heavy responsibility rests upon you. If you go down, you will not go alone; for Satan will employ you as his agent to lead souls to death." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, p. 430. Therefore, we must be like the Bereans found in Acts 17:11, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Then in Christian Leadership p. 73 we are told how a once-faithful minister becomes an unfaithful watchman. "Unless the minister shall fearlessly declare the whole truth, unless he shall have an eye single to the glory of God and shall work under the direction of the great Captain of his salvation, unless he shall move to the front, irrespective of censure and uncontaminated by applause, he will be accounted an unfaithful watchman."
O how we need to pray these days for our pastors, some of whom are under enormous pressure from the conference to revitalize his congregation by means of excitement such as is found in Celebration worship. To use dramatic skits, music with a worldly beat of drums, preaching using jokes to create a spirit of laughter and clapping rather than the preaching of a solemn message to bring a conviction of sin and a need for repentance to be ready to meet Jesus.
We may conclude, "The voice of the true watchman needs now to be heard all along the line, 'The morning cometh and also the night.' The trumpet must give a certain sound for we are in the great day of the Lord's preparation. (And here I feel like shouting, "And there is no time to lose!") Sound an alarm through the land, tell the people that the day of the Lord is near and hasteneth greatly. Let none be left unwarned. God's watchmen on the walls of Zion today should be ready to give an answer to those who inquire what hour of earth's long night it is and when the dawn of eternal day may be expected." Bible Commentaries, Volume 4, p. 188.
Again she counsels, "Show the people where we are in prophetic history." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, p. 716. So, by the grace of God this we will endeavor to do in this tape that the listener may fully realize that the closing events are now taking place all around us every day.
Let us begin with spiritualism in which Satan is deceiving the whole world today through his first lie that the soul is immortal. "Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden: 'Ye shall not surely die.' Genesis 3:4. … Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs, but it will be reached in the last remnant of time." Great Controversy p. 561.
No student of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in our day will question that we have now reached the final moments of this earth's history. This masterpiece of spiritualism is openly manifested everywhere in the world. Webster's Dictionary defines spiritualism as, "A belief that the spirits of the dead communicate with the living." Today the devil is using his evil angels to impersonate holy angels and to impersonate Mary, the mother of our Lord. The Catholic Church reports more than 10,000 apparitions of Mary to have taken place in recent years.
I will refer to just one such apparition which took place in 1994 when Satan made a most important statement through his medium Mary to Father Golby. Please listen very, very carefully. "I confirm to you that by the great jubilee year, 2000, there will take place the triumph of my Immaculate heart of which I foretold you at Fatima and this will come to pass with the return of Jesus in glory to establish his reign in the world." (That was taken from a 90-minute video documentary based upon the voices of visionaries prepared by the Catholic Church.)
Now over 300 bishops and cardinals and over 55,000 priests worldwide have embraced this message of the Marion Movement. (See Thunder of Justice p 63). And now hear this, the prophecy of Satan's revealing that the coming of the antichrist before the year 2001 should ring an alarm bell in every Adventist heart for Satan is the greatest student of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy barring none. He knows that we are in the last remnant of time. While the Bible teaches that only God can accurately predict a future event but Satan can surmise and guess when a coming event is to take place. We should take special note when Satan's mouthpiece openly publishes such a startling event.
Now that we have entered the great jubilee of 2000 Satan is planning his ultimate deception to counterfeit the Second Coming of Christ. The present pope has openly confessed that he is totally committed to the apparitions of Mary. This is why the pope is preparing the world for this event by calling for the unity of all Christians and also of all world religions so he can inaugurate the so-called New Millennium of Peace.
Ellen White says, "Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium." Great Controversy p. 588.
In March of this year, 2000, the pope astonished the world by apologizing for past atrocities committed by the church. This appeal for reconciliation was predicted by God, through Ellen White many years ago when she wrote in Great Controversy p. 571, "The Roman church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today."
Also in March of the year, 2000, the papal historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land is the most significant of all his visits to other countries of the world. The Israel prime minister, Ehud Barak, was in no doubt as to what the papal visit signified. He greeted the pope with the following solemn words, "Here, right now, time itself has come to a standstill. This very moment holds within it 2000 years of history." During his visit the whole world could see him on every television news and could read about it in the newspapers as they presented him as the most important individual in all of the world. This is the preparatory event to so soon, very soon, to fulfil the end-time prophecy which says, "All the world wondered after the beast." Revelation 13:3. Therefore, this papal visit was a strong sign for us that the end is very near.
Then, there is the predicted event by God that all the religions of the world, and the kings of this world, (meaning governments, governors and parliamentarians) will unite under papal rule as we read in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 7, p. 182. "Under one head--the papal power--the people will unite." This is what God says, "And the ten horns, which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast (that's the papacy). These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast." Revelation 17:12,13.
Now how will this be done? It will be accomplished through "the climax of satanic planning for the unification of the world through a compact between apostate religious organizations of the earth and the political powers of the earth." Bible Commentaries, Volume 7, p. 857 Ellen White also comments on this prophecy in Revelation 17:12,13: "There will be a universal bond of unity, one great harmony, a confederacy of Satan's forces and shall give their power and strength unto the beast (the papacy)." Manuscript 24, 1891.
And so with such knowledge of what is taking place in the very end of time we should not be surprised to learn that on May 18, 1999 a joint Anglican/Roman Catholic commission asked that the pope be recognized as the universal primate, meaning that he is to lead every church of the world and also every government of the world. We were told that the last movements will be rapid ones, so listen to this. Immediately the government of Sweden disestablished the state Lutheran church after some 450 years in order that the Lutheran Church of Sweden may now reunite with the church of Rome.
And immediately followed another event. Following this request that the pope become the universal primate, Great Briton asked of her parliament to change the 1701 Act of Settlement which prohibits a Roman Catholic to reign as a monarch of Great Briton. The Act alone forbids such a monarch to even be married to a Roman Catholic spouse for a reigning monarch was to be the head of the Church of England. So now parliament is struggling with this problem. This is very significant since Prince Charles, who is the heir to the throne, has a lady friend who is a Roman Catholic.
What did God say? "And all the world wondered after the beast." Revelation 13:3. It's no wonder that reconciliation and unity is the main trend and spirit in the world today. And how does Ellen White describe the counterfeit Second Coming of Jesus Christ? "The world is a theater; the actors, its inhabitants, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, p. 27. And what is this "last great drama"? "A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scene in the drama - Satan coming as Christ." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, p. 28.
And right now all the leaders and the people of this world are looking for someone who will bring them peace, justice and prosperity. For instance, the Jews are waiting for Messiah in His first coming. The Christians are waiting for Jesus Christ in His Second Coming. The Buddhists are waiting for Buddha in his fifth incarnation. The Hindus are waiting for Krishna. The Muslims are waiting for a man Mahudi and the New Age people are waiting for Maiytria, the Cosmic Christ. But listen, the moment that Satan counterfeits the Second Coming of Christ, all will welcome him as their savior. Then Satan, together with the pope, will promise peace, justice and prosperity to the world.
But, at that time, there will be a small group of God's people who will say, "This is the false Christ who will deceive the whole world." O how I hope that you will be in this group! Then they will bring accusations against God's people by saying, "They are against peace, justice and prosperity."
What will the people of the earth do to this group? The pen of Inspiration answers, "I saw our people in great distress, weeping, and praying, pleading the sure promises of God, while the wicked were all around us, mocking us, and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness, they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted us with words that were calculated to cut deep. They charged us with taking an independent position from all the rest of the world. They had cut off our resources so that we could not buy or sell, and referred to our abject poverty and stricken condition. They could not see how we could live without the world; we were dependent upon the world, and we must concede to the customs, practices, and the laws of the world, or go out of it. If we were the only people in the world whom the Lord favored the appearances were awfully against us. They declared that they had the truth, that miracles were among them, that angels from heaven talked with them, and walked with them, that great power, and signs and wonders were performed among them, and this was the Temporal Millennium, which they had been expecting so long. The whole world was converted and in harmony with the Sunday law, and this little feeble people stood out in defiance of the laws of the land, and the laws of God, and claimed to be the only ones right on the earth." Maranatha p. 209.
Now did you notice two important facts from this statement? First, this was the temporal millennium which they had been expecting so long, and this is openly confirmed today by spiritualism in which thousands of miracles are being produced to sustain this belief. And then the second and most important statement is this, the whole world was converted and in harmony with the Sunday law. From this we clearly see that Satan, through the two great errors, will deceive the whole world.
The Spirit of Prophecy confirms this, "Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience." Great Controversy p. 588.
Adventist expositors agree with the identification of this dragon as the beast and the false prophet as modern spiritualism or paganism and the papacy and apostate Protestantism. This trio, or trinity, of religious powers together constitute the latter day great Babylon. (See Revelation 16:13,14). It should be of no surprise, then, that on July 7, 1998 at the Vatican City the pope's 100 page apostolic letter entitle "Dies Domini" (The Day of the Lord) was released. This is the pope's call for a Sunday observance and of more importance, for legislation.
The pope at the beginning and at the end of this apostolic letter focuses on the new millennium in the context of the importance of Sunday. He says, "The fundamental importance of Sunday has been recognized through 2000 years of history. The coming of the third millennium, which calls believers to reflect upon the course of history in the light of Christ, also calls them to rediscover with new intensity the meaning of Sunday, its mystery, its celebration, its significance for Christian and human life." Apostolic Letter p. 5,6.
From this you can see, that the prediction about the millennium and Sunday legislation given by the Spirit of Prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. All of the above are the last preparatory events leading to the direct event, namely, Satan's counterfeit of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Revelation 17, and Sunday legislation and enforcement of the end-time prophecy of Revelation 13.
To begin such legislation is the plan of the papal Jubilee 2000 to begin January 1, 2001 with a new calendar that would place Monday as the first day of the week so that Sunday would be shown as the seventh day, or the false sabbath. This would add new force to the commandment as found in the Catholic Bible and catechism. I just learned recently that Norway has already adopted this new change together with some ten or more other world governments.
And now, please follow me closely. The Spirit of Prophecy tells us to prepare for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise. Could this amazing surprise have to do with the second Vatican Council which voted to not oppose a new perpetual calendar as recorded in the 1998 Revised Edition of the Second Vatican Council p. 37? Here I see the possibility to introduce this new perpetual calendar in the following sequence of events: First Satan counterfeits the second coming of Christ; then at the same time the Catholic church prophecy will be fulfilled which says that when Jesus Christ comes then the pope will give Him his tiara and throne and Jesus will give him the keys and also will bless the pope. The whole world will witness this ceremony on TV. In the book entitled The Keys of This Blood, it confirms that, "John Paul II is, and will be, the sole possessor of the keys of this blood on that day." p. 639.
Now the question is, "Which day?" - The day when Satan counterfeits the coming of Jesus Christ. In that day the prophecy of Revelation 13:3,4 will come true which says, "And his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" It is then that the great design of "God" for the New World Order, which the pope claims to have received from heaven, will begin.
This is the time, that I believe that the pope may demand this perpetual new calendar. Such a calendar would not only make Sunday the seventh day of the week but this proposed perpetual calendar will divide the year into four quarters, each 28-day months, and one 35-day month. Dates would always fall on the same day of the week. For instance, the first of the month would always be Monday and the 28th day would always be Sunday. It all adds up to 364 days, the 365th day, December, 36, would fall between Sunday and Monday and would be called and "intercalculated day" - a blank day, a holiday, a world peace day, perhaps. In leap years the extra day would be added in a similar fashion as a holiday at the end of June. Easter would then become a fixed date, something the papacy is determined to do.
Now I hope you have been listening, you are awake and startled. Did you notice that this perpetual calendar has a blank day and in a leap year another blank day which completely breaks the seven day weekly cycle. For the true Sabbath would then fall on another day of the week. Heaven forbid! And the next year the two Sabbaths would be like, for instance, on a Friday and the next year on a Thursday and so on.
A Seventh-day Adventist would not be able to hold a job. He would have no means to support his family. Satan could not have devised a plan with more power to enforce his mark. The scripture states it clearly in Revelation 13:16,17, "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast."
Don't think this calendar plan is something new. I discovered in Malachi Martin's book, The Keys of This Blood, p. 480, the following quotation showing that this is in the pope's master plan to have a new calendar in the New World Order. Listen carefully, "Neither does anyone know for sure the factors that hasten the end of the old game, and in a certain true sense, impose the end-game with such ease and with such rapidity, dictating new rules, even fixing the time table. The end-game follows a new calendar."
Beloved, we are living in the very end of time! This tape will not permit further discussion of this new calendar for we must also talk about other plans that Satan has for reaching his objectives. Some 200 church dignitaries joined the pope in Jerusalem in March 2000 in the hope to bring unity between the churches. And he has not overlooked the politician either. Now the papacy is providing for 2000 world leaders to follow in the footsteps of St. Paul in the Jubilee celebration which will involve governors and parliamentarians.
I am quoting from Zamat, which is printed in Rome, January 19, "Politicians have not been forgotten in the plan for the Jubilee. The Vatican understands that the men and women who decide policy have a unique opportunity to improve life for all citizens. To celebrate the first Jubilee of governors and parliamentarians, to be held November 5, 2000. The Jubilee Committee has planned a special pilgrimage in preparation. The pilgrimage will begin on October 26 in Bethlehem. When 1000 politicians from all the world will travel the length of the Mediterranean in St. Paul's footsteps until they arrive in Rome on November 5 for the Jubilee proper which will be held in the Vatican."
This reminds us of the Biblical prophecy which says, "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils working miracles which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world." Revelation 16:13,14.
Also the prophecy which says, "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings (that's speaking of the whole world) which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind and shall give their power and strength unto the beast." Revelation 17:12,13.
This prophecy is going to be fulfilled just before our very eyes. And as the prophecy predicted the United Nations has already divided the world into ten divisions – one of which is the United States, Canada and Mexico. There is a strong movement called the Christian Coalition that is a gathering of Protestants, Roman Catholics and Jews. These people have come together with a common goal and aim. Their common purpose is to bring America back to God. They want the United States to have prayer in its schools. They want Sunday to be the family day – the day when all the people go to church to worship. Evangelicals and Catholics together have already signed the document.
Ellen White predicted this unity between Catholics and Protestants. She stated, "Protestants and Catholics unite." Bible Echo p. 87. These events are preparatory to the direct fulfillment of Revelation 13:11-17 which will be when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance. See Great Controversy p. 579.
In the light of the facts and evidences I've presented to you do you see clearly now we are witnessing the final events of fulfillment of Bible end-time prophecy? Do you see the urgency and seriousness of our time? God's end-time people must be aware and know the significance of the events occurring in the world today and in the immediate future in order that we know where we are in prophetic history, where we are going and how near is the end.
We must, as never before, take a very serious, close look at our spiritual lives. May I ask, "Is Jesus the center of our life? Do we have a living, loving relationship with Him through daily prayer, daily Bible study and daily witnessing? Are we experiencing the last great revival and reformation?"
By the grace of God I have presented to you truth for this time. The signs of the times and the nearest events just before us, which indicate the end is very, very near. In reality we are literally living in the last moments. Why has God revealed to us the seriousness of the times in which we are living and what is to take place in the last days? - Inspiration answers, "God has revealed what is to take place in the last days, that His people may prepare." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, p. 452.
Now is the time for the last great revival and reformation and also the final shaking. I believe that we are in the time of the judgment of the living. The Bible says in 1Peter 4:17, "For the time is come that the judgment must begin with the house of God. And if it first begin with us what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God."
This shows us where we are, now. O beloved, now your name or my name, at any time, could be called to come up in the judgment. Do you see the very seriousness of the time in which we are living? Dear friend, one word sums it all up – preparation. If we who profess to belong to God's people and neglect this preparation time of the last great revival and reformation, we will not receive the seal of the living God nor the power of the Holy Spirit of the latter rain. We will be lost. What a tragedy.
So from this we can see how important is the last great revival and reformation. It is a call to total, whole-hearted, genuine conversion, breathing the justification and New Birth experience and a divine invitation to possess the character of Jesus, NOW.
Dear God, give Thy people this reformation experience and needed revival for we plead this in Jesus' name, Amen.