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The Perils of Perversion Part 7 – The Third Watch

Pro. Jeremiah Shepherd

The Night Season

As we’ve discussed and discovered, our anticipation of the Lord’s return is critical. The close comparison of the two fishing miracles reveals the very different outcomes of those who are eagerly expecting Jesus arrival and those who aren’t. In both instances, they had been fishing all night, and in both cases, Jesus caused a miracle of an abundance of fish. But it was only in the latter miracle, where the disciples earnestly awaited the arrival of Jesus, that their nets didn’t break, and Jesus who was in the spirit, prepared a meal for them on the dry land of the shore. Without doubt, Jesus is soon to return, and those who look for Him will find Him. In man’s current season of increasing darkness, children of the light are as the wise virgins who recognize the importance of keeping oil for their lamps (Matthew 25:1-13).

1 Thessalonians 5:1-8
1But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8But 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.

Surely this is the night season of the human age, and the story of the fishing miracles includes even more revelation about the last days when compared with whole of scripture.

John 21:9-14
9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

The more you observe this miracle which occurred after the resurrection of Christ, the more it is clearly seen as a type and shadow of the second coming of Jesus. Additionally, verse 14 interestingly notes that this was the third time that Jesus showed Himself to his disciples, and this is much more significant than most initially perceive.

Remember in both of the fishing miracles, the disciples had been fishing all night. In the greater setting and context of the second miracle, the disciples were fleeing the persecution of Jewish leaders and Roman authorities. Thus, the literal night time when the disciples were fishing was a symbol paralleling the season of darkness that night represents.

For the faithful disciples of Jesus, darkness intensified after the resurrection. Widespread iniquity and perversion was operating uncontrollably, and the righteous were in constant, imminent danger. Jesus was their ultimate comfort, and one can only imagine the protection and security they felt when He made appearances in His glorified state. Similarly those who are aware of surrounding darkness also cherish the presence of the Lord, because it is their security and protection.

Finally, as the last fishing miracle describes, this was the third time during Jesus appeared to them, and this a profound and revelatory detail that shows up other places in scripture.

Night Watches

Before we continue, let’s understand some important facts about night watches:

From Watches of night. The Jews, like the Greeks and Romans, divided the night into military watches instead of hours, each watch representing the period for which sentinels or pickets remained on duty. The proper Jewish reckoning recognized only three such watches, entitled the first or “beginning of the watches,” ( Lamentations 2:19 ) the middle watch, ( Judges 7:19 ) and the morning watch. ( Exodus 14:24 ; 1 Samuel 11:11 ) These would last respectively from sunset to 10 P.M.; from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M.; and from 2 A.M. to sunrise. After the establishment of the Roman supremacy, the number of watches was increased to four, which were described either according to their numerical order, as in the case of the “fourth watch,” ( Matthew 14:25 ) or by the terms “even,” “midnight,” “cock-crowing” and “morning.” ( Mark 13:35 ) These terminated respectively at 9 P.M., midnight, 3 A.M. and 6 A.M.

During the night, the Jews recognized three watches. It is worth considering that Rome changed those three night watches to four, and this could be a prophetic reflection of how secular influence can negatively alter our expectancy of the times and seasons of Lord’s return. Continuing from the Jewish perspective, the third watch would have witnessed night turn into day. For enemies looking to seek an advantage under the cover and opportunity of night, the third watch is their final opportunity. Spiritually speaking, the coded language reveals that the “third time” or “third watch” represents the final season preceding the return of the Lord and the judgment of God. With the return of the sun (Son) comes the light of a new day and the exposure that accompanies it. Figuratively—and often literally—speaking, with the dawn of a new day comes salvation and judgment.

Notice the places in scripture where this is applied:

Matthew 28:1-2
1In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

Genesis 19:15
15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

Exodus 14:19-25; 30
19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. … 30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

These are just a few instances where God used the physical dawn to symbolize judgment and redemption and simultaneously perform it spiritually. These kinds of details should not go overlooked, because they provide additional help and insight to those who endure night seasons in the future, especially the children of God, today. It is important that we do as David and recognize the importance of calling on the Lord in the final watch, so that we are prepared the Day of the Lord.

Psalm 119:145-150 (NASB)
145I cried with all my heart; answer me, O LORD! I will observe Your statutes. 146I cried to You; save me And I shall keep Your testimonies. 147I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. 148My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word. 149Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances. 150Those who follow after wickedness draw near; They are far from Your law.

The Night is Far Spent

Romans 13:10-14
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

At this point, scriptures like these should need no explanation though they speak with symbolism. We must be on the lookout for those seeking to betray us for serving a truth that does not suit them. As Judas betrayed Jesus from right in His midst, so too will religion betray the remnant in favor of exaltation within Satan’s worldly system (Rome).

Matthew 26:20; 26;
“20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me. … 26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.’

The night is indeed far spent as perversion and iniquity have had an extensive run of wickedness. How long will the Lord tolerate lawlessness? How long will He put up with hearts set on evil things? The final straw that provokes the judgment of the Lord is when murmuring and conspiracy turns into blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and persecution of the righteous. This is no pleasant period for saints and believers. Like the disciples were fleeing for their lives, believers all over will one day be forced to move discreetly and with great wisdom to preserve their livelihoods and even their lives. The only way to prepare is to pray intently through the night season just as Jesus did before He went to the cross.

continued Matthew 26; 31; 34-47
”…. 31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. 36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. 47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

In retrospect, consider how the disciples felt when they realized they could stay awake in the hours just before the betrayal of Jesus. Comparatively speaking, how would it feel to be unprepared for persecution when it arrives?

*Matthew 24:36-51
36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38For 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, 39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43But 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. 44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50The 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, 51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.*

Those who have a relationship with Jesus are blessed beyond measure. We are given both the proper information and approach for surviving the darkest seasons of mankind. We may not know the exact day or hour that Jesus will return, but that shouldn’t stop us from being prepared for when He does. Darkness is upon us, and it’s more than likely that we’ve entered the third watch of man’s night season. Lawlessness is increasing as religion leaders set their hearts to continue in their iniquity despite God’s warnings, and the people of the earth insist on continuing in their sin.

All of this ultimately means that the armies of the world in in pursuit of the remnant. But we must rest and have peace in the pillar of fire that protects us, and that is the Holy Ghost. He comforts us, gives us direction and makes a way of escape. He reminds us of our promise and keeps us connected to our Savlor. He empowers us to be faithful and obedience and helps us to maintain our light in the seasons of darkness.

Additional Reading

How do we know that we are in the third watch?

  • Antichrists shall come. They will pervert/invert The purpose of light. Good will be presented as evil and evil will be presented as good. Sin, lawlessness and overall darkness will be suggested as solutions bringing peace while light will be thought of as the cause for trouble.

*Revelation 19:17-21
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.*

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