12-7-2019 The Rise of the Watchmen
Father takes Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry bones. The valley was scattered with very dry bones. Scattered all over the place. Then Father asks Ezekiel a question “Can these dry bones live?” Ezekiel is no dummy, he answers “Only You now, Lord.” Father tells Ezekiel what He is going to do - Dry bones, listen to the Word of the Lord. I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live. I will put flesh upon you and cover you with skin and you shall live.
Ezekiel did as he was told and there was a shaking and the bones came together, bone on bone. Ezekiel watched as sinews, flesh and skin came upon those bones. Though they looked like people, there was no life in them.
God commanded Ezekiel again and he did as God commanded “Breath, come from the four winds and breathe upon these who are slain that they might live. Breath came and a great army stood up upon their feet.
Father tells Ezekiel that these bones are the whole house of Israel. However, all these bodies which have been raised complain “Our bones are dry, we are lost, we are cut off for our parts.”
Then Father gives Ezekiel one more commandment “Behold. Oh my people, I, the Lord God, will bring you up out of your graves and cause you to come up out of them and I will put you in the land of Israel. And you will know that it is I, the Lord God, who opened your graves and brought you up out of those graves.
I will put My Spirit in you and you shall live and put you in your own land and you will know that I, the Lord, have said it and performed it, thus says the Lord!”
Father keeps showing me new dimensions to the application of this scripture for today. Notice, the bodies have all the components they need but there is no life. Breath comes into them yet they complain. So Father brings them up out of their graves (the ‘walking dead’ still without the fullness of God in them).
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus died to cleanse us from our sin. For a while, the church grew and thrived. But just like Israel, it didn’t take the church long to lose its original drive, its original love.
Over the centuries, the church which Jesus established, has slid into complacency and comfortability. Too many in leadership, in the church, have spent their time telling us what ‘God really said’, using their own interpretation rather than relying upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Many of these men may have thought they were doing right. They were just listening to the wrong voices. Unfortunately, many more have interpreted the scriptures to justify their own means and to gain control over people and/or personal wealth. They have become too much like the scribes and Pharisees of two thousand years ago. Enjoying renown, ‘respect’ and self-gain over glorifying the true and living God. God’s Word has been watered down (by man) to gain power and position. The gospel has been watered down, not to offend anyone, so the numbers don’t leave the church (really?). They have come to ‘like’ putting on the show “I’m the man” and enjoying self-recognition. Many have already fallen, or more will fall unless their hearts come back into right standing with our Heavenly Father. Unless ways are changed, downfall will be grievous. Unfortunately, many will be taken into the pits with those who have already fallen. The pits? Eternal separation from God.
Father is raising a ‘new’ breed of Christian. He is raising men and women who hear the Word of God, see the Word of God and are putting that Word deep into their hearts. You may have heard it already, but the sound of the alarm will be heard and it will grow as time passes. The season is close at hand. Who is listening.
Speak to the children and tell them “When I bring the sword (judgment) upon the land, they should set one of their own as a watchman upon their coasts. When he sees the sword coming, he should sound the trumpet to warn the people.
He who hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning, shall be taken by the sword and his blood will upon his own head, but he who listens, shall be saved. However, should the watchman not warn the people, some will still die but their blood will be on the hands of the watchman.
This sword may represent an enemy OR it may represent God. Not only is there a watch for the enemy’s attack upon the church, but a watch for God’s judgment for those who have strayed and are yet to return.
Ezekiel 3:17-21 For those whom God has called to be a watchman
Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the house of Israel, therefore, hear the words from My mouth and warn them for me. When I tell the wicked ‘you shall surely die’ and you don’t warn them or speak to their wicked ways, in order to save his life, that man shall die in his sin, but his blood will be required at your hand (you, O watchman, didn’t warn him).
But, if you do warn the wicked and he doesn’t turn from his wickedness and sins, he will die in that sin, but you have delivered your soul. (you did what you should, he ignored you).
But, if a righteous man turns from his righteousness, I lay a stumbling block before him. But if you have not warned him, he will die and the righteousness he did shall no more be remembered, but I will require his blood at your hand (for not warning him).
Yet when you warn the righteous man though he has not sinned nor does he (sin), he shall surely live because you have warned him. You have also delivered your soul (as well as his).
So, just what does all this mean to us today? After all, I’m OK and You are OK, right? I go to church – regularly. I’m OK?
Look at the world around us. The enemy has been (and still is) trying to erase any knowledge of the true and living God from man’s consciousness. ‘Take the things, that reference God, from public view. Take prayers out of public places and our schools, so that they who turn a deaf ear to God, won’t be reminded that He still is. Look at the turmoil, the chaos, the hurt and the pain that are prevalent in the world today. When we refuse God, He turns us over to the desires of our own heart (and those are Satan influenced). Though He gives us more chances than we deserve, God does not wrestle with us forever (Rom. 1:21-32). People don’t want to acknowledge God, but then they blame Him for all the troubles in their lives. Sin may be pleasurable for a season, but we do reap a return on what we sow. We plant negative things, negative things come back upon us. Consider the ultimate end – the eternal lake of fire, where there is never ending pain and suffering abounds. We sow good things (in love), good things do come back to us, like love, joy, peace, protection, etc. Our ultimate reward is eternal life with Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The world keeps slipping backwards, more and more, living in lust, violence, poverty, death. Unfortunately, the church (as a whole) seems to follow the world rather than God.
In the Valley of Dry Bones, Father explains how He is rebuilding Israel. You say “Okay, but that was Israel.” Yeah. Right!
In the Old Covenant, Israel were those who not just born into the tribes of Israel but rather those who truly sought God. When Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant, He brought us into the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was expressed with physical circumcision of our body. The New Covenant is expressed through the circumcision of our heart (Rom. 3:25-29). The Old Covenant was founded on keeping ten, basic laws (Exod. 20:1-17). Today, as with Jesus, The church keeps the New Covenant by living in love. Jesus is love and He tells us He has fulfilled the Old Covenant. He didn’t do away with the Old but demonstrated that living in love IS keeping the Old Covenant (The Law). In living in love, we keep the five things in the Law which we should (#1-5) and automatically don’t do the things which we shouldn’t (#6-10). Living in love is keeping the Law. Not because we have to but because it is in our heart, so our desire is to do that which is in it. To live for God.
God has been (and is till) gathering those dry bones for centuries. He’s building bodies, bone on bone, in proper alignment, and He is connecting those bones with sinews so they aren’t scattered all over the valley floor again. He’s covering those bones with muscle so we can do the work to which He has called us. And He has been covering those bones, sinews and muscle with skin so we can look like we supposed to. We are made in His image so we should be a reflection of His image. His image is love. In Ezekiel 37, we see the body is ‘complete but has no life. Not necessarily physically dead, but spiritually dead. Those bones did nothing, just lay there in the valley complete bodies.
Father is rebuilding individuals to live for Him. He is rebuilding His church to do His works.
Jesus gave us new life with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through our salvation experience, but He also promised to give us power (Acts 1:8). Jesus gave his disciples the authority to go forth and heal the sick and cast out demons, but He was their power as He is ours today. With our salvation experience, we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have the authority, but do we use it?
Do we know how to use it? Without Acts chapter two, we still have that authority to act in Jesus’ name. The disciples went forth in Jesus’ name and did things but the Holy Spirit was not yet within them. He was with them, in the form of Jesus. But as shown in Acts 2 Jesus gives us the power to back up our actions (Him, through the Holy Ghost, working in us) or the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Not going into detail here – do some research on your own and see if you can discover the difference.
In our passage from Ezekiel 37, the body is complete but has no life, so breath is commanded from the four winds to bring life that the bodies might live. The slain bodies had natural animation but, with the indwelling of God’s Spirit (breath from the four winds) now we have received the authority to do things. The fact that the army complains indicates they yet don’t know how to tap into that power. They can move about and do things. They even have the authority, but they complain “our bones are dry, we are lost, we are cut off for our parts.”
So Father says “I will bring you up out of your graves and put you in your own land (Israel). I will put My Spirit in you shall live.” This is the ‘baptism of the Holy Ghost, or the infilling which give us power. We are yet in our graves until we come into the fullness Father intended.
The New Covenant (Testament) church is spiritual Israel living in God’s love. For now, our land is still planet earth, but we will function in God’s love even though we’re surrounded by evil.
Remember the hedge Father had around Job (Job 1:1-12). We are living in our own land because we are no longer bound by the things of this world. Does “peace that surpasses all understanding” ring a bell? This doesn’t mean persecution won’t come. But as with Paul and Silas, who were in stocks and chains in prison, God is with us. All we have to do is glorify and trust Him IN all things. As with Paul and Silas, we can live in God’s peace as our faith looses chains and moves mountains.
Today, Father is bringing us up out of our graves so we can do His work more effectively.
Now comes the watchman.
The watchman stands guard watching to see if evil is coming against the people. Today, the watchman watches, actually, all people. He doesn’t just watch over the lost, but he is responsible for the church. Evangelists go out spreading the gospel hoping many will come to Jesus. I remember, that once a year, we would have a ‘revival’ in the church. Yes, this gave a preacher the chance to practice his trade (sermons), but if a church is living in God’s love, why would a revival be necessary? Why has the church have fallen asleep?
In the Old Testament, we see Israel in and out of God’s graces. Are we so pompous that we think we won’t experience the same ups and downs today? There is a reason why God tells us about those things in the scriptures. So we can learn from Israel’s mistakes!
In the church, there is pride, people thinking and/or desiring to be more that what they are. In the church, how many men and women are cohabitating without the benefit of marriage? That’s fornication, in case you’re not aware of that. But the world does it so why can’t we?
We are not bound by what the world does. We are responsible to the creator for all the things we do. Within your memory, how many preachers are you aware of who have fallen, for one reason or another? Do you know any ministers who live like a king, yet their flocks are a poor church mouse? I understand prosperity, but not because we have used others for our own gain. God will bless us as we live in His love and are obedient to His Word.
Though the watchman watches over all people (Jonah went to Nineveh) the primary concern, today, is to get God’s people back on the right track. That’s what the watchman does! Should a church be engulfed in sin, the watchman warns the people so they might return to obedience in God’s love.
Being a Christian is not always a ‘feel good’ way of life. Just as we correct our children to keep them on the right track, Father does the same with us.
The church is in trouble. Father is preparing his servants for a mighty work. The watchman sounds the alarm when he/she sees God’s people not doing as they should. The watchman is in trouble should he NOT do his duty. The watchman serves God and should be diligent to do so that the people don’t perish.