Campfire Scripture: Uncommon scriptures, simple truth… For pondering over a warm campfire.
Author, Date and Context:
Ezekiel was both a prophet and a priest who lived during the time of Israel’s exile. He was called to ministry while Daniel was already a well-known figure. His ministry was dated from 593 B.C. to 570 B.C.
The above passage is right at the beginning of a whole section of encouragement for the Israelites during their exile. He’s just finished outlining the enemies of Israel who’ve made the Lord’s blacklist, and begins by explaining that the prophets of God are the watchmen who have warned Israel and they never listened.
What I Reckon:
Let me start by saying what I really like about this verse is the violent masculine imagery used to teach this point. A simple truth – preach the Gospel, spelled out in a vision of watchmen and a coming sword. The same lesson could have been by way of an analogy with a girl in a field of daisy’s protecting her little pixie friends from a strong gust of wind or a big bird.
To some extent the sword is literal, as in the context it describes the hand of the enemies of Israel by way of the sword to punish Israel and carry them off into exile.
So the verse in context is specifically referring to the ancient prophets as the ‘watchmen’, and the people were Israel. However the verse is making a general point about those people who know and have heard the Word of God and that they have a responsibility to pass the message on. We Christians today have the Word of God in the Bible and the Bible calls us not just here, but in many other passages to preach to the lost.
So the ‘watchmen’ is all Christians, and the ‘people’ are all non-Christians, and the ‘trumpet’ is the Gospel, and the ‘sword’ is… well it’s death, the second coming, the judgement, it’s the end basically.
The lesson here is quite simple. Preach the Gospel, it’s your responsibility to preach the Gospel to the lost. The message of the Gospel is simple. Anyone who asks the Lord for faith, and receives it with joy can understand it. In this case what you’re meant to understand is that it’s our responsibility as Christians who know the truth to share the truth with the lost and warn them of the coming judgement. If we don’t do this then how can we really say we love them?
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).