1. WATCHERS ON THE WALLS OF ZION
a. What is the difference between a faithful and an unfaithful watcher? Ezekiel 33:2–6.
“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 till it echoed round the city.”—Gospel Workers, p. 14.
b. Why do we as individual Christians need to be concerned about the souls of those who are without God and without salvation? Ezekiel 33:7–9.
c. Does the Lord seek to destroy—or to save? Ezekiel 33:11.
2. CERTAIN OR UNCERTAIN SOUNDS?
a. What happens when the watcher blows the trumpet but does not give a distinct sound? 1 Corinthians 14:8.
“Let the watchman beware lest, through his hesitancy and delay, souls shall be left to perish, and their blood shall be required at his hand.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 716.
b. Under the symbol of an evil servant, how did Christ describe a large class of unfaithful sentinels? Matthew 24:48–51.
“The evil servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming’(Luke 12:45). He does not say that Christ will not come. He does not scoff at the idea of His second coming. But in his heart and by his actions and words he declares that the Lord’s coming is delayed. He banishes from the minds of others the conviction that the Lord is coming quickly. His influence leads men to presumptuous, careless delay. They are confirmed in their worldliness and stupor. Earthly passions, corrupt thoughts, take possession of the mind. The evil servant eats and drinks with the drunken, unites with the world in pleasure seeking. He smites his fellow servants, accusing and condemning those who are faithful to their Master. He mingles with the world. Like grows with like in transgression.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 635.
c. What warning did the apostle Paul give us about these sentinels? 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
“The advent of Christ will surprise the false teachers. They are saying, ‘Peace and safety.’ Like the priests and teachers before the fall of Jerusalem, they look for the church to enjoy earthly prosperity and glory. The signs of the times they interpret as foreshadowing this. But what saith the word of Inspiration? ‘Sudden destruction cometh upon them’ (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth, upon all who make this world their home, the day of God will come as a snare.”—Ibid.
3. CHARACTERISTICS OF INCOMPETENT SENTINELS
a. How can we identify a disqualified watcher? Isaiah 56:10–12.
“Some who occupy the position of watchmen to warn the people of danger have given up their watch and recline at ease. They are unfaithful sentinels. They remain inactive, while their wily foe enters the fort and works successfully by their side to tear down what God has commanded to be built up. They see that Satan is deceiving the inexperienced and unsuspecting; yet they take it all quietly, as though they had no special interest, as though these things did not concern them. They apprehend no special danger; they see no cause to raise an alarm. To them everything seems to be going well, and they see no necessity of raising the faithful, trumpet notes of warning which they hear borne by the plain testimonies, to show the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins. These reproofs and warnings disturb the quiet of these sleepy, ease-loving sentinels, and they are not pleased. They say in heart, if not in words: ‘This is all uncalled for. It is too severe, too harsh. These men are unnecessarily disturbed and excited, and seem unwilling to give us any rest or quietude.’”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 440.
b. What warning should we bear in mind regarding the work of spiritually-blind watchers? Matthew 15:14. How does the servant of the Lord describe one such sentinel in the history of Adventism?
“Some have been so blinded by their own unbelief that they could not discern the spirit of Brother B. . . . He has refused to walk in the light of truth which God has given His people, and those who would walk in the light he has hindered.
“He feels that it is an honor to suggest doubts and unbelief in regard to the established faith of God’s commandment-keeping people. The truth that he once rejoiced in is now darkness to him, and, unless he changes his course, he will fall back into a mixture of the views of the different denominations, but will agree in the whole with none of them; he will be a distinct church of himself. . . . Satan is surely leading him, as he has led many others, away from the body in a course of deception and error.”—Ibid., vol. 3, p. 441.
4. CHARACTERISTICS OF QUALIFIED SERVANTS
a. Describe the characteristics of a faithful servant of Christ. 1 Timothy 4:12–16; Titus 2:7, 8.
“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 the 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.
b. What work has Christ entrusted to us individually? Matthew 24:45; 2 Timothy 4:2, 5.
“Among earth’s inhabitants, scattered in every land, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Like the stars of heaven, which appear only at night, these faithful ones will shine forth when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in all the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to an apostate world the transforming power of obedience to His law. Even now they are appearing in every nation, among every tongue and people. . . . The darker the night, the more brilliantly will they shine. . . .
“Then let no man attempt to number Israel today, but let everyone have a heart of flesh, a heart of tender sympathy, a heart that, like the heart of Christ, reaches out for the salvation of a lost world.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 188, 189.
5. WHAT REJOICING THERE WILL BE!
a. When the redeemed get to heaven, will they recognize each other? 1 Corinthians 13:12. What will they hear from the mouth of those whom they led to Christ?
“The redeemed will meet and recognize those whose attention they have directed to the uplifted Saviour. What blessed converse they have with these souls! ‘I was a sinner,’ it will be said, ‘without God and without hope in the world, and you came to me and drew my attention to the precious Saviour as my only hope. . . .’ Others will say, ‘I was a heathen in heathen lands. You left your friends and comfortable home and came to teach me how to find Jesus and believe in Him as the only true God. I demolished my idols and worshiped God, and now I see Him face to face. I am saved, eternally saved, ever to behold Him whom I love.’”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 311.
b. What will Christ declare to them? Matthew 25:34–40.
“Others will express their gratitude to those who fed the hungry and clothed the naked. ‘When despair bound my soul in unbelief, the Lord sent you to me,’ they say, ‘to speak words of hope and comfort. You brought me food for my physical necessities, and you opened to me the word of God, awakening me to my spiritual needs. You treated me as a brother.’”—Ibid.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Differentiate between faithful and unfaithful watchers.
2. What is Christ’s description of unfaithful sentinels?
3. How are many in danger of the trap of “Brother B” in 3T 441?
4. How can we reflect more closely the characteristics of faith?
5. Relate the tremendously rewarding words of gratitude that will be expressed in Heaven.