Watchmen - Watch and Pray
If there is any credence to the sudden coming of the Lord on an unknown day at an unknown hour, then the following would seem to support that. The Lord continously warned us to watch and pray and to be sober and alert, not drunk and sleeping, as did Paul in the book of 1 Thessalonians 5:
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ
Paul apparently points back to what Jesus said in relation to the night watches in the temple:
Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 the 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
THE SCRIPTURES: WATCH AND PRAY FOR WE KNOW NOT IN WHAT HOUR HE MAY COME
Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33 TAKE YE HEED, WATCH AND PRAY: FOR YE KNOW NOT WHEN THE TIME IS.
34 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 watch.
35 WATCH 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:
36 LEST COMING SUDDENLY HE FIND YOU SLEEPING.
37 AND WHAT I SAY UNTO YOU I SAY UNTO ALL, WATCH.
Matthew 24:36 BUT OF THAT DAY AND HOUR KNOWETH NO MAN, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 WATCH THEREFORE: FOR YE KNOW NOT WHAT HOUR YOUR LORD DOTH COME.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, HE WOULD HAVE WATCHED, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 THEREFORE BE YE ALSO READY: FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YE THINK NOT THE SON OF MAN COMETH.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 THE 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,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 WATCH THEREFORE, FOR YE KNOW NEITHER THE DAY NOR THE HOUR WHEREIN THE SON OF MAN COMETH.
Luke 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
40 BE YE THEREFORE READY ALSO: FOR THE SON OF MAN COMETH AT AN HOUR WHEN YE THINK NOT.
41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 THE LORD OF THAT SERVANT WILL COME IN A DAY WHEN HE LOOKETH NOT FOR HIM, AND AT AN HOUR WHEN HE IS NOT AWARE, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 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.
Easton's Bible Dictionary 1897
Watches - the periods into which the time between sunset and sunrise was divided. They are so called because watchmen relieved each other at each of these periods. There are frequent references in Scripture to the duties of watchmen who were appointed to give notice of the approach of an enemy (2 Sam. 18:24-27; 2 Kings 9:17-20; Isa. 21:5-9). They were sometimes placed for this purpose on watch-towers (2 Kings 17:9; 18:8). Ministers or teachers are also spoken of under this title (Jer. 6:17; Ezek. 33:2-9; Heb. 13:17).
The watches of the night were originally three in number, (1) "the beginning of the watches" (Lam. 2:19); (2) "the middle watch" (Judg. 7:19); and (3) "the morning watch" (Ex. 14:24; 1 Sam. 11:11), which extended from two o'clock to sunrise. But in the New Testament we read of four watches, a division probably introduced by the Romans (Matt. 14:25; Mark 6:48; Luke 12:38). (See DAY.)
A-1, phulake, [Noun, 5438]
is used (a) with the meaning "a watch," actively, "a guarding," Luke 2:8, lit., "(keeping, phulasso) watches;" (b) of "the time during which guard was kept by night, a watch of the night," Matt. 14:25; 24:43; Mark 6:48; Luke 12:38. See CAGE, HOLD, IMPRISONMENT, PRISON.
Note: Among the Jews the night was divided into three "watches" (see, e.g., Exod. 14:24; Judg. 7:19), and this continued on through Roman times. The Romans divided the night into four "watches;" this was recognized among the Jews (see Mark 13:35).
EDERSHEIM ON THE SUDDEN COMING OF THE CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD
(Scripture used in this quote are found after the quote.)
"But already the night-watches had been set in the Temple. By day and night it was the duty of the Levites to keep guard at the gates, to prevent, so far as possible, the unclean from entering. To them the duties of the Temple police were also entrusted, under the command of an official known to us in the New Testament as the 'captain of the Temple' (Acts 4:1, etc.), but in Jewish writings chiefly as 'the man of the Temple Mount.' The office must have been of considerable responsibility, considering the multitude on feast-days, their keen national susceptibilities, and the close proximity of the hated Romans in Fort Antonia. At night guards were placed in twenty-four stations about the gates and courts. Of these twenty-one were occupied by Levites alone; the other innermost three jointly by priests and Levites. *
"* The watch at some of the gates seems at one time to have been hereditary in certain families. For this, see Herzfeld, vol. i. p. 419; ii. p. 57.
"Each guard consisted of ten men; so that in all two hundred and forty Levites and thirty priests were on duty every night. The Temple guards were relieved by day, but not during the night, which the Romans divided into four, but the Jews, properly, into three watches, the fourth being really the morning watch. *
"* Compare Matthew 14:25. See, however, the discussion in Jer. Ber. i. 1. Hence, when the Lord saith, 'Blessed are those servants whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching,' He expressly refers to the second and third watches as those of deepest sleep (Luke 12:38).
"The Rounds of the Captain
"During the night the 'captain of the Temple' made his rounds. On his approach the guards had to rise and salute him in a particular manner. ANY GUARD FOUND ASLEEP WHEN ON DUTY WAS BEATEN, OR HIS GARMENTS WERE SET ON FIRE--A PUNISHMENT, AS WE KNOW, ACTUALLY AWARDED. Hence the admonition to us who, as it were, are here on Temple guard, 'Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments' (Rev 16:15). But, indeed, there could have been little inclination to sleep within the Temple, even had the deep emotion natural in the circumstances allowed it. True, the chief of the course and 'the heads of families' reclined on couches along that part of the Beth-Moked in which it was lawful to sit down, * and the older priests might lie on the floor, having wrapped their priestly garments beside them, while the younger men kept watch.
"* The part built out on the Chel; for it was not lawful for any but the king to sit down anywhere within the enclosure of the 'Priests' Court.'
"But then the preparations for the service of the morning required each to be early astir. The priest whose duty it was to superintend the arrangements might any moment knock at the door and demand entrance. HE CAME SUDDENLY AND UNEXPECTEDLY, NO ONE KNEW WHEN. The Rabbis use almost the very words in which Scripture describes the unexpected coming of the Master (Mark 13:35), when they say, 'SOMETIMES HE CAME AT THE COCK-CROWING, SOMETIMES A LITTLE EARLIER, SOMETIMES A LITTLE LATER. HE CAME AND KNOCKED, AND THEY OPENED TO HIM. THEN SAID HE UNTO THEM, ALL YE WHO HAVE WASHED, COME AND CAST LOTS' (Mishnah, Tamid. i. 1, 2). For the customary bath required to have been taken before the superintending priest came round, since it was a principle that none might go into the court to serve, although he were clean, unless he had bathed. A subterranean passage, lit on both sides, led to the well-appointed bath-rooms where the priests immersed themselves. After that they needed not (except under one circumstance) all that day to wash again, save their hands and feet, which they had to do each time, however often, they came for service into the Temple. It was, no doubt, to this that our Lord referred in His reply to Peter: 'He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit' (John 13:10)" (The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, Alfred Edersheim, Chapter 7, At Night in the Temple; CAPS mine for emphasis).
THE SCRIPTURES FROM THE ABOVE QUOTE
Matthew 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
Luke 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
Mark 13:35 Watch 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:
Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
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.
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