Be RESPONSIBLE as ‘WATCHMEN’ & ‘MESSENGERS’ of GOD: "So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you shall surely die!' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul." (Ezek. 33:7-9)
Ezekiel chapter 33 marks the beginning of the second part of the book of Ezekiel. While the first part of this book (chaps 1-32) focused on the past and the present happenings of the old city of Jerusalem; the second part of this book (chaps 33-48) focuses on the future of the New Jerusalem, the City of God. The second part of the book begins by repeating two important themes: first, a reiteration of Ezekiel’s call as watchman (vv. 1–9); and second, the doctrine of individual moral responsibility (vv. 10–20).
We should note that Ezekiel’s original ministry of judgment was completed, so God appoints him to a crucial position for the second time where his focus is now on God’s restoration of Israel. Thus, Ezekiel now receives a second commission as a ‘watchman’ and a ‘messenger’ of Jehovah God. His initial commission (see 3:16–27) was more or less concerns with the judgment of God, while his second commission concerned restoration and blessing of the people of Israel. Ezekiel received his second commission at a crucial juncture in 585 B.C. when the news of Jerusalem’s fall had just reached Babylon (v. 21).
In the land of Israel, every walled city had a watchman to insure its safety and security. It was the duty of the watchman to scan the horizon and sound the alarm for any impending danger. The prophet Ezekiel was assigned as a ‘watchman’ of Israel. There are three crucial things to note concerning the responsibilities that God had entrusted His prophet:
- God had ordained Ezekiel to be a watchman who was responsible for the entire house of Israel. As a watchman, when he saw the sword coming, he was to blow the trumpet and warn the people of Israel of the incoming danger.
- Ezekiel’s responsibility was only to warn the house of Israel, while the people of Israel were responsible to heed the warnings. If he warns the people faithfully, but they do not hear, then they will be responsible for their own destruction.
- If Ezekiel fails to warn the house of Israel, God will hold him ultimately accountable for their destruction. This means that if Ezekiel fails to warn the people and they perish, then God will require their blood from his hand.