Watchman, What of the Night?

Isaiah 21:11‑12  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 5
Another year of the long-suffering of God has nearly come to a close. "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come." Isa. 21:11, 1211The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? 12The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come. (Isaiah 21:11‑12).
Let us meditate a little on the year that is passed, a measured portion of "the night," the long, dark night of man's rejection of Christ. God has His own, those whom He has chosen out of the world who are not of it, but given to Christ. But let us not shut our eyes to the awful fact that this world has rejected and killed the Son of God, and still rejects Him. Satan, the great enemy of man, is the god of this world and nowhere does Satan display more enmity against Christ than in the professing Church. Is not Christendom a caricature of the Church of God, as seen in Scripture in the beginning?
How rapidly infidelity is increasing everywhere, and if not infidelity, the grossest idolatry. As a Hindu idolater said to a professed Christian: "We have no idolatry like yours. We worship an idol, as representing God; but you bake a god, worship it as God, and then eat it." Surely this is the lowest depth of dark idolatry. And Satan calls this wickedness "holy communion"! Watchman, what of the night? Is it not getting darker and darker, ripening for the terrible judgment? And what is the state of the world around? Violence and lawlessness, dishonesty publicly defended. There never was a time when Christians needed more to cry to God to preserve the members of the government.
Further Shocks
Yes, the long night of man's rejection of Christ grows darker and darker. Soon men's hearts will fail them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Is it not even so now in measure? Are not the powers that be, which are ordained of God, being rudely shaken? Who can say what further shocks may be felt before this year is out?
“Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night." In the watchman's reply there are two facts brought before us, and then he says, "If ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come." Let us at the close of this year of the dark night, return and inquire concerning these two things:
First, "The morning cometh.”
Second, "And also the night.”
Oh, happy morn! the Lord will come,
And take His waiting people home,
Beyond the reach of care:
O morn, too bright for mortal eyes,
When all the ransomed Church shall rise,
And wing their way to yonder skies
Called up with Christ to reign.
“The morning cometh." "Behold the Bridegroom." "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
New Year of Years
For Jesus says, "Surely I come quickly." This coming morning is our new year of years, our morn of morns, our entire future, our every desire, our hope, our joy! We have read, heard, and thought of that bright morning without a cloud, but now it comes. Oh, bride of the Lamb, awaken; the morning breaks— it comes. Let every child of God awaken. The next event is "The morning cometh." "The night is far spent, the day is at hand.”
What is your real state at the end of another year? Now, we tell you the watchman says, "The morning cometh." We are about to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, but first the dead in Christ will be raised. If you could see those so dear to you—it may be a loved child, or a long-departed parent—raised in glory like the glorified Lord, if you could see those who are alive and remain, in that moment, are changed also into His likeness (for you will see us in the unclouded glory and welcome presence of our blessed Lord,) would you not give worlds rather than be left behind? Is Satan tempting you to refuse the present, great salvation for the pleasures and sins of this evil world? Now look at all that he can give you; it is only for this brief moment before the "morning" comes.
Has Sin Satisfied You?
Another year is nearly gone; how have you spent it? Has Satan satisfied your heart? Has sin satisfied you? Are you happy, shutting God out of your thoughts? Can you refuse Christ, and be satisfied with anything under the sun? He waits to be gracious; yes, after all, God still is love. Will you longer put off the concerns of your soul? How can you, how dare you, since the "morning cometh"? The door will soon be shut and it will be forever too late. Do you say, "I long, I thirst to be saved?”
Jesus says to you, "I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." "And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Oh, precious, infinite grace! Every sinner that reads these lines and thirsts to be saved, is surely welcomed by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fellow-Christians, are we longing for the morning that is coming? Does the thought thrill our souls that we are now going to see and be like our risen Lord? Oh, how that morning without a cloud occupies His heart He who loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word is He not waiting for that morning when He shall present it to Himself glorious, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy, and without blemish? Yes, the Holy Spirit says to the waiting Man in the glory, and to us waiting here below, "The morning cometh.”
May the words of the Lord cheer our hearts until we see His face. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:1-31Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1‑3). Sweet, then, the words of the watchman to us, "The morning cometh." But what does he say after this bright and blessed morning? "And also the night." Sad and dark has been the history of this long night of man's rejection of Christ, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. What will that period of darkness be like when the Church shall have been taken at the morning that is coming? Then comes also the night.
Ancient Babylon and the Apostate Church
Which of these will be your future—the morning of unclouded joy and ever lasting brightness, or the night of darkness, sorrow, and judgment? What was true of ancient Babylon will then soon be true as to the Babylon of the apostate Church. The watchman answered and said, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods He hath broken unto the ground. O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you." Isa. 21:9, 109And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. 10O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you. (Isaiah 21:9‑10).
Boastful, modern Babylon, drunk with the blood of the saints, rejoicing in pride, sits as a queen. What have we heard of the Lord of hosts concerning this great ripening, rich, apostate Christendom? What has He spoken concerning those who have not received the love of the truth that they might be saved? He has said, "For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thess. 2:11, 1211And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11‑12). The morning comes and also the night. Has He said what He will do with the false, boasting, but lukewarm Christendom, rich and increased in goods? Yes, He will utterly throw it off as a testimony. The Lord has spoken. He said, "I will spew thee out of My mouth.”
Has God revealed the character of that dark, dark night that is fast approaching, after the bright morning of the Church? Yes, peace shall be taken from the earth; they shall kill one another.
Break up of Social Order
There shall be famine and pestilence, the sword, hunger, and death; there will be the terrible breakup of all social order, like an earth-quake and men shall flee into dens and caves of the earth. (Rev. 6.) The most terrible, scorching judgments shall fall upon the circumstances, and then on the persons of men. (Rev. 8, 9.) God has revealed these judgments, and they will surely come to pass. "And also the night." Satan will then lead men in open hostility against God. The terrible Roman Empire, in its fearful Satanic, destructive form will suddenly reappear. Men will worship Satan. The malignant passions of devils and men will be let loose in that terrible night of darkness. (Rev. 13.) Then shall the great whore of apostate Christendom appear in all her abominations, until the infidel kingdoms rise up and destroy her. (Rev. 17.)
May the children of God hear His words, "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins." Yes, that night of tribulation will come, such as never was and never shall be again—closing in the personal coming of the Lord Jesus to judge the wicked, living nations and set up His blessed kingdom on earth.
The watchman then brings these two things before us: "The morning cometh, and also the night." If then, we should close this year on earth, may the watchman's words be our motto: "The morning cometh." May this be the deep, settled hope of our hearts, for "we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." As we shall be like Him then, so may we more and more seek to walk as He walked, until we are forever with and like the Lord. Our Watchman never slumbers; may we also be awake and hear His words. Surely the Holy Spirit speaks to us: "The morning cometh, and also the night."
Things New and Old