The Lord's Watchmen
Sons of Light (Day) or Sons of Darkness (Night)

Watch out for false prophets. - Matthew 7:15

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you." - Matthew 24:4

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." - Matthew 24:42

So watch yourselves. - Luke 17:3

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. - Romans 16:17

... watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. - Galatians 5:15b

But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. - Galatians 6:1

Watch your life and doctrine closely. - 1 Timothy 4:16

God alone is the absolute ruler of all creation (Colossians 1:16, Isaiah 44:24, John 1:3, Hebrews 1:2). As the Commander in Chief, His total authority over all that exists is unquestionable (1 Chronicles 29:11, Philippians 2:9-11, Colossians 2:10). To Him alone all are accountable (Hebrews 4:13, 1 Peter 4:5). The Apostle Paul places every person into one of two classifications, denoting their status in the presence of the Lord. There is no third category, no possible middle ground; each individual is either part of the Sons of Light (Day) or of the Sons of Darkness (Night). To be a "son of" is to designate your nature, your natural descent. Yet in Adam's fallen race all begin this life as Sons of Darkness, inexorably bound for the destruction that await all who are in rebellion against their Commander and Lord (Romans 3:10-12). Only by Divine intervention are any transformed, given a new and unchangeable nature. Through irrevocable adoption those made sons of light do not merely act as such, they have become one.

Ephesians 2:1-11 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

A little later Paul directly employs the phrase, for believers, "Live as children of light". Because of who they are, the believer lives in a whole new way, seeking to please the Lord, a complete contrast to those who live in darkness.

Ephesians 5:8-11 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

In his letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul expands upon what it means to be children of light, intentionally intertwining military imagery.2 Believers are far more than helpless children playing in view of the Father; we're divinely empowered members of the Lord's army, capable and responsible to serve under His command.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-12 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since awe are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (NASU)

Those of darkness fear the Lord's return, worrying lest they should be discovered in their shameful ways or being found complacently absorbed in the pursuit of self. Imagine the reaction of their Commander, when He returns to find insubordinate troops, reveling in drunkenness and filth, perverting justice, preying on the weak and defenseless, and concerned only for themselves and personal gain. His justified rage and punishment for those offenders will be fearsome indeed. (See also Mark 13:34-38).

Matthew 25:30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (NIV)

False watchmen have always shown themselves by their deeds, their focus is on self rather than their duty to their Commander-in-Chief. The prophet Isaiah warns of such:

Isaiah 56:10-12 Israel's watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. 11 They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain. 12 "Come," each one cries, "let me get wine! Let us drink our fill of beer! And tomorrow will be like today, or even far better." (NIV)

Faithful watchmen for the King, children of light, live everyday doing exactly that - watching! They will not be taken by surprise at the Lord's return; they seek and desire it daily. Every believer is a watchman, all with various degrees of responsibility. In the least, all are called to be watching for the Lord's return and living in light of that inevitability. All are called to warn those in darkness that their day of judgment awaits unless they repent and seek the mercy of their Lord.

Isaiah 62:6-7 I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. (NIV)

How can they remain silent? How can children of the light do anything other than that which pleases their Lord? A watchman, while serving out of love, serves as if his life depends upon it. They owe their life fully to the one who gave it to them!

Ezekiel 3:16-21 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17 "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. 20 "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself." (NIV) 1

Ezekiel 33:1-9 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: 'When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. 5 Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.' 7 "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself. (NIV) 1

While all believers are watchman, God has called and equipped some for specific leadership and responsibility in His army. Some are privileged to be friend of other believers, called to watch over them as brothers and sisters (i.e. James 5:19-20, Galatians 6:1-2). Others are parents specifically called to watch over their children. Some are called to shepherd and safeguard the local church. These too are fellow watchmen, given specific duty for their Chief (see also Acts 20:28). Submission to their just authority is tantamount to submission to their Lord. How can any watchman be diligent in watching if he or she fails to recognize the lines of authority God has instituted?

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. (NIV)

But - and this is very important - all watchmen are accountable first and foremost to their Commander-in-Chief. No watchmen can use the excuse that they were only following orders to justify any misdeeds. Our written orders were given from the top. No command of leadership, from a true watchman, is ever to be in contradiction or addition to this sure Word of our Lord. As children of the light we are called to discern.

Ephesians 5:8-20 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 15 Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)

Believers live in the light of our Lord - both now and for eternity! (See also 1 John 1:5-7 and Revelation 21:22-27)


1. The one who lives in sin is the one who dies because of it. Only the false watchman, the one who does not do what His Lord commands, is the one who reaps the destruction he has sown. Any who turn away from the Lord, while seeming to start well, have shown that they were not sons of light - for all who God graciously saves will persevere, not give up, and overcome the world.

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. (NIV)

Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)

1 John 5:4-5 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (NIV)

2. The military imagery that Paul uses is directly tied to being in one of two camps, light or darkness. The armor of God is provided for this spiritual battle, where we fight the ideas and standards of the opposition, all while seeking the salvation and rescue of those who are caught in the deception that has enslaved them to the wrong side.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (NIV)

Romans 13:11-14 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (NIV)

1 John 2:9-11 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him. (NIV)

What a strange battle, in the eyes of the world, where the sons of light follow the example of our Commander in loving those who hate and oppose us.

Romans 5:6-8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)

Article by Brent MacDonald, Lion Tracks Ministries (c) 2009