January 11, 2009
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
As we look at the prophetic Word, it seems that there are several passages that are hidden to us or difficult to understand. Much of this difficulty arises from looking at the Word merely through Western eyes, when the Bible is an Eastern book. What does that mean? It simply means that in order to understand many of the things we read in the scriptures, we are going to need a working knowledge of the time and the culture in which Bible events took place and in which they were written.
Another helpful tool, if you will, in rightly dividing the Word of truth [See 2 Tim. 2:15]; is recognizing the three people groups that God sees in the earth. 1 Corinthians 10:32 says, 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God. [1 Cor. 10:32 NKJV] The Jews are one group of people, the Greeks (nations) are another group; and of the two God has been making a whole new people group, the Church. Your end-time doctrine will be messed up unless you understand this.
We have been looking at difficult prophetic passages. We will continue along that line this week, with the mentioned facts to assist us in doing so. This week’s passage is somewhat related to the last one we examined.
3. THE SECOND AND THIRD WATCH:
Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
What is the message here? In this scripture, also related to the watch, Jesus warned His followers to stay alert (awake) because He would return suddenly and at a time they may not expect. He mentioned the second and third watches. This doesn’t mean much to us in the west, so again we need to get an understanding of the Hebraic roots.
The Jews divided the day in the same manner God did at the time of Creation. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. [Gen. 1:5 NKJV] The Jewish day ends at sunset and a new day begins at sunrise. The time frame was 12 hours plus 12 hours, which totals 24 hours of one complete day. Later, during the Roman occupation, the Jews adopted the Roman reckoning of a day into four watches.
The first watch was from sunset until nine at night.
The second watch was from nine at night until midnight.
The third watch was from midnight until three in the morning.
The fourth watch was from three in the morning until sunrise.
In the English translation of the Bible, these watches are alluded to in Mark 13:35. The first watch is, “even,” the second watch is “midnight,” the third watch is called “cockcrowing,” and the fourth watch is called “morning.” Jesus often awoke long before daylight to pray [Mark 1:35]. On one occasion, He was praying at the fourth watch [Matt. 14:25]. The fourth watch began at three o’clock in the morning and concluded at six in the morning near the time of sunrise. This was the time many fishermen were casting their nets at the Sea of Galilee. It was also a favorite prayer time for Jesus.
The second watch was from nine o’clock at night until midnight, and the third watch was from midnight until three in the morning. The final watch, from three to six in the morning, was the most difficult time for a Temple watchman to stay awake. This was the common time for the Temple officers to make their unexpected rounds to see if the guards were asleep.
Jesus knew that if we sleep, the enemy could successfully sow tares among the wheat and disrupt the harvest [Matt. 13:25].
In these last of the Last Days, let us be found watching and awake! The time of the harvest is here.
The Weekly Word is found in Luke 12:35. Here the Bible says,
35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning.” [Luke 12:35 NKJV]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson