The Porter’s Watch, Mark 13:34-37

What is the Mark 13 Account All About?

Mark 13:34-37, “[For the Son of Man] is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watchWatch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Watching does not mean looking out the window, or standing at the door and staring off into space. It means that we are to remain vigilant in our preparing for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ on the clouds of Glory. We read in Matthew 24:48-51, “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunkenThe lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of. And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  

What Does It Mean to “Watch”?

Remember a similar warning in 2 Peter 3:3-9, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. ¶ But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Note how this harmonizes with Psalm 90:4-7, “For a thousand years in thy sight [are but] as yesterdaywhen it is past, and [as] a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are [as] a sleep: in the morning [they are] like grass [which] groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.” Moreover, we can determine that the thousand years is allegorically typifying the New Testament era when we correlate the “watch in the night”, that is associated with a thousand years, with what we learn in Revelation 20:1 “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” The devil was bound at the cross, and here we are at the end of a literal period of almost 2000 years of the New Testament era (typified by the thousand years), entering into, or quite possibly having already entered into, the little season where the devil would be loosed in the lead up to Judgment Day when Jesus returns to Judge the world and establish the new heavens and the new earth. Apart from the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ,  mankind is in darkness, and the only light that does shine is the New Testament Gospel going forth to save sinners, and the watch in the night being, likewise, the sending forth of the same in the darkness of this present world, the New Testament era.

This same Greek word is translated be vigilant in 1Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” which sums it quite nicely.  The Greek word translated as “Vigilant” is the same Greek word for “Watch” (γρηγορέω (grēgoreō)),G1127.  And when we look at where we find that same word translated from the Greek as “watch” in the Bible, we find clear and unequivocal references to Judgement Day and the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven!:

Matthew 24:42-44 “WatchG1127therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched,G1127and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 25:13 “WatchG1127therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

Luke 12:37, “Blessed [are] those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watchingG1127: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

2 Peter 3:10-12,  “¶But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, Looking for (waiting in expection) and hasting (earnestly desiring) unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

And finally, we are told that at the end of the plagues, just after the 6th Vial of Wrath is poured out and just before the 7th Vial of Wrath is poured out on Judgment Day (when the world is destroyed with thunders and lightnings and a great unprecedented earthquake in Revelation 16:18 ) that Jesus declares in Revelation 16:15¶Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.¶ And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” The Final Battle of Armageddon is Judgement Day as prefigured in Judges 4&5!

What About the “Night”?  “Night” and “Darkness” is Where God Is Not…Jesus (and the Believers in Him) Is the “Day”and the “Light of the World”

Is it not interesting that in Proverbs Chapter 7 we are warned by God to obey His commandments, to effectively write them on the tablets of our hearts and to treat wisdom and understanding as our sister and kinswoman, and then in Proverbs 7:5 we are told that they are the means to keep us from falling prey to the “strange woman, from the stranger [which] flattereth with her words.” Note how God explains how these false gospels and the false churches can be compared to a harlot (a prostitute) that entices the unwary person (a man without wisdom or understanding) into her house. And particularly, as we read in Proverbs 7:9, that it was “In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:” And what did the harlot say in Proverbs 7:19, “For the goodman [is] not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, [and] will come home at the day appointed.” Does not that sound exactly like the account Jesus describes in Mark 13?

Moreover, note what the end of that matter is as we read what God warns in the concluding verses in Pro 7:24-27, “Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong [men] have been slain by her. Her house [is] the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

This is a warning by God to hold fast to the Truth of God’s Word, and to beware of false gospels being taught in false churches that will only mislead us to Hell. Note that the misleading is done in darkness, in the night, where no light is. Jesus in the Light of the World that is missing in the night and in darkness! Note that we are also told not to follow “her paths”. We know from Psalm 119:105 “NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” and from Psalm 23:3, He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” And remember that we are instructed in Proverbs 3:5&6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Other instructive verses regarding the night and darkness:

Psalm 16:7 “I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

Isaiah 9:2 “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great lightthey that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

Isaiah 9:19Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.

Luke 22:52&53 “¶Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

1Thessalonians 5:2, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

John 8:12  “¶ Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 9:4, Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can workAs long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 11:10 “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

John 13:30…we read where Judas Iscariot fled from Jesus to betray Him, “¶ He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

Ephesians 5:8 “¶For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lordwalk as children of light:”

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].”

1Peter 2:9, ¶ “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

The Watchman’s Duty

The Book of Ezekiel provides us with three instances (in addition to Ezekiel 2:1-10) that make it clear that the duty of a watchman is to warn the people of impending danger…to issue the warning of the coming Judgment (typified by “the sword”).  The Believer’s duty is to warn and apply the talents gifted to him or her ((The Gospel of the Light of Life) and to let the world know that there is a way to make peace with God through Jesus Christ Alone.  We should be mindful of Jesus’s teaching in Luke 14:31-33, “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus is the only means of suing for peace with God for our sins to stave off God’s vengeance on Judgment Day. We need Jesus to be our Ambassador, Intercessor, and our Advocate before the Father as we read in 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins] of the whole world.

Ezekiel 3:16-21, “¶And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israeltherefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. ¶Again, When a righteous [man] doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous [man], that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ezekiel 13:1-3 “¶And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; ¶ Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!

Ezekiel 33:1-9 “¶ Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning;his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warningshall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take [any] person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. ¶So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked [man], thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

The duty of the watchmen is to be warning to the world, both the Sword of Judgment to come and the Way of Escape in Jesus, rather than sitting and gazing!  (And please remember how God exemplified Jesus through Barak (meaning Lightning and Glistening Sword) coming on Judgment Day in Judges 4&5 . And it is NOT incidental in Revelation 1:16, Revelation 2:16, Revelation 19:15, and Revelation 19:21 that a sword came out of Jesus’s Mouth! The Word of God will judge the unsaved on the Last Day! Jesus made that clear in John 12:48He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

But we also should be mindful that according to Psalm 127:1 [[A Song of degrees for Solomon.]] Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.” God Alone does the saving! And God Alone is Sovereign. Note the similarity with Job 12:14, “Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.” See also: The Real Inconvenient Truth.

What Does It Mean to be “Sleeping”?

To be sleeping is to be as one who is oblivious to the temporariness of life, and who is without the desire to serve God by serving others in faithfully bringing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that they might have eternal life in Heaven. The ones who are not asleep will remain sober and vigilant, and they will not be asleep at the wheel (slumbering) while they should be on the “Watch”.

Here is a quick word review on the implications on the word “slumber

Psalm 132:4 “I will not give sleep to mine eyes, [or] slumber to mine eyelids, “

Proverbs 6:4 “Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.

Proverbs 6:10 “[Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Proverbs 24:33 “[Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come [as] one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

Isaiah 5:27 “None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:” The context is where the believers are bringing judgment. And in order to do that, the the believers must put on the whole armor of God as we read in Ephesians 6:13-17, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. ¶Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Isaiah 56:10 “His watchmen [are] blind: they are all ignorant, they [are]all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. The context is where the unsaved pastors and teachers are not watching (not faithfully preaching and teaching) and are like someone who sleeps, or is like a dumb dog that is unable to bark.

Romans 11:8 “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” The context is describing the Priests and Pharisees of Paul’s day, but also the unsaved pastors and teachers of our day who are not remaining faithful to the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Occupy til I come”: Spreading the Gospel Message So That The Seed Continues To Be Sown In Order to Bring About a Great Harvest of Souls

As we have been shown elsewhere, the seed of the sower in the Parable of the Sower is (just like the talents in this parable) represents “the Word of God“…through, and by which, the Gospel Message of Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ Alone is preached and taught. To be a profitable servant, the Gospel Message must go forth from each and every believer!  We must also hold fast to that which we have been entrusted and as stated in Luke 19:13 “And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

Working in the Fields of Harvest is Occupying

A believer must be awake, working, doing, and not sleeping. That means continuing in the faith and continuing to share the Gospel in this otherwise dead and dying world. A couple of verses to show how God expects us to be diligently serving Him.

Proverbs 10:4 “He becometh poor that dealeth [with] a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Romans 2:7 “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

Philippians 2:12&13, “¶ Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

James 2:18 “¶ Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” 

James 2:20  “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”

James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Matthew 5:15 “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house“.

Luke 11:33 “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth [it] in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

Ephesians 6:6&7 “Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christdoing the will of God from the heartWith good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”

1 Peter 2:15 “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:”

Revelation 2:24-26, “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:”

Also remember Jesus teaching (particularly regarding false teachers coming as wolves in sheep’s clothing) in *Matthew 7:17-20, “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

Finally, the title of this study quotes from Luke 12:48, which states, “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”  Please also see: The-Parable-of-the-Talents

Believer’s will hopefully be convicted to pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, in the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Beloved Only Begotten Son, have mercy on me, for I am still a most unprofitable servant.  Please bless me with the Holy Spirit (Thy Anointing Oil) that I might be profitable for Thee, as a faithful watchman, to effectively share the true Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ to multiply the talents given to me for Thee.  And to use Thy Word to bring many others to salvation (as bountiful fruit into Thy harvest house), so they too can escape the just penalty for their sins, which is only possible through the Person, and Atoning Work, of the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved before that Great and Terrible Day of Judgment at the end of the world when Jesus comes again on the clouds of Glory.

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