In Ezekiel 3, the prophet is made a watchman to Israel. A similar passage is also found in Ezekiel 33. e.g. “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me...."

Some commentaries apply the watchman idea to Christian Ministers. Is it a stretch to say that all Christians, not just ministers, are watchmen from this passage in Ezekiel 3 or 33?

  • Who says we aren't all ministers? The priesthood of all believers essentially renders the question moot for those who subscribe to it. Oct 31 '13 at 11:08
  • @Affable Problem is that if we take on the mantle of watchman, then we take on the responsibilities of the watchman also. But will we really be judged for not speaking about the Lord to people in the sense of having their blood on our hands, as Ezekiel did?
    – user5197
    Nov 1 '13 at 23:47
  • @Affable Good point!
    – user5197
    Nov 21 '13 at 1:28

This is something I am currently wrestling with. What strikes me is that every Christian has far more knowledge than Ezekiel had. We know what the plans of the the Lord are for the future of every individual we meet - that he has appointed a day when he will judge the world by the man he has appointed, and that he has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead (Acts 17). And we know that the only hope for anyone on at that day is to come to Jesus as Lord and Saviour now before we meet him as our judge.

It is correct that there is little in the New Testament setting out a positive obligation on Christians to evangelise and tell people about the coming judgement. However, that is not as surprising as it might seem because the Bible of the early church was the Old Testament. It was the Old Testament that they went to for training, correction and rebuke so that they were fully equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3), and the Old Testament through Ezekiel sets out that those who have knowledge from God about the future destiny of a person are responsible for sharing that knowledge.

So, it seems to me that the obligation Ezekiel had to warn people to repent and believe is an obligation that every Christian has, and like every obligation that Christians have, we need to bring our daily failures to carry them out to the Lord, receive his forgiveness and ask for strength to keep going.

  • Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. This is a good answer. Nov 19 '13 at 20:11
  • @8669 the point is well made that all Christians are to preach the Gospel. In effect it is doing a similar job to the watchman.
    – user5197
    Nov 21 '13 at 6:44

God makes or determines the Prophet and sets a “Prophet (as) a Watchman”. The Prophets are the Son’s of Adam, which Jesus Christ identified Himself also as the “Son of Man” or the Son of Adam.

1 Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Within Christianity there are many perspectives in regard to God’s placement and gifting of the “Sons of Man”. The “Watchman” has an obligation to issue an alarm in the presence of an intruder, just as a supernatural “Watchman” has an obligation to issue an alarm in the presence of a supernatural intruder.

Today we have many self-proclaimed Prophets! Historically, a Prophet (thus a Watchman) is so identified as a result of their spiritual sightedness, proven over time.


In the Old Testament, God establishes a personal relationship with only a small number of selected individuals who are then God's representatives on earth. But all Christians have a personal relationship with God through Christ, therefore I would agree that we are all at least potentially in the position of the Watchman as described by Ezekiel.


Paul clearly taught in 1 Cor. 14 that all should seek the gift of prophecy. For example:

1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

Christ taught that everyone is to be considered our neighbor.

It appears that the concept of being the watchman on the tower, an assignment given in times of old to those who could prophesy, is as relevant today as we are all invited to become prophets. Although @Rick's answer shouldn't be ignored — there will always be many who claim to be prophets, using the obligation to be a watchman to further one's own desires rather than the glory of God. True watchmen will consistently follow Christ and seek after the well being of others, even to the exclusion of their own wants.

I am not Catholic, but I would be hard pressed to review the life of someone like Mother Teresa and not accept her devotion as one of the Lord's watchmen.

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