Wednesday, April 19, 2017
About 15 years ago I was a Chaplain for the Chicago Police. I am honored to be a Reverend, ordained to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, there is a difference in the titles Chaplain and Reverend. I am not required to preach beyond the Christian faith, nor give consideration to any scripture other than that which is in the Holy Bible as Reverend. In addition, as Rev. Dr.Catherine M. Gross I am more likely to be found giving a message in a church, albeit one’s pulpit is where he or she pitches it. The audience is captive, and pursuant to the ideals of one faith.
Usually a Chaplain is an ordained minister of God, but is able to preach to any faith or denomination. As such, it take more study, more focus, tolerance, and acceptance of others than that which is required of those who teach and preach in different religions. Chaplains are more often affiliated with a workplace, thus the need to service a multitude. Scriptures are taken from the Holy Book of the congregation with whom you communicate. These must reverberate the faith in which you are stabilized. A Chaplainship compels you to see that the religion is like a language. For the most part, albeit the language is different, the interpretation is the same.
My job as a Chaplain for the Chicago Police Department was to preach comfort to the friends and families of fallen police officers including those who have transitioned after retirement. The Chaplain is on call and performs a Wake service, no matter what faith the officer may be of. A Wake service is a ceremony that is performed before the funeral service. They are quite different. In the case of the CPD it is a necessary kindness. Families and friends of police officers live in a state of stress, if you will. The fact is, their loved one puts his or her life on the line on a daily basis.
Sadly, we hear of corrupt policemen on the news, but those who are honest and fair rarely are given any recognition. I came to understand that grief has no denomination, just as love and joy do not. Religion is organized instruction from men who have selected and interpreted what they feel is most important from scripture. That's what makes a denomination. However, love is an element of the heart, and grief is an element of the soul. One’s calling has nothing to do with the fundamentals of religion. It is essential that a Chaplain understands that. Roman 12:1-5 is a powerful message. We are one,not connected by religion, but by the renewing of our minds.
“1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
Many of the officers I performed services for were actually called to be guardians. They had been servicemen, then policemen, and may have ultimately become security guards. Nevertheless no matter how you shake it they were guardians. Their lives were spent guarding and protecting the lives of others. Personally. I believe that this world is a training ground for your assignment in heaven. The men I have described will no doubt become guardian angels. They were warriors and watchmen of men and often journeyed without the acknowledgement of others.
There are many others who have also been called to be watchmen. The bible says that certain watchmen are prophets. These prophets are not like the major or even minor prophets. They are people who are called by God to warn his people of things to come. These prophets also foretell of love faith and hope. As with all true prophets, the major message is for us to seek change for the love of God. Their message is never limited to just one race or religion or gender. It is to people who have ears to hear and eyes to see. These are people with the same conviction. Also the message is always within the word of God. God speaks through them, and God’s word is unchanging.
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:6-7).
“God charges this group to watch for the safety of the city and its citizens. These special servants understand the dangers of the present world. They see the dark clouds gathering on the world’s horizon and are moved to proclaim a warning message to all who will hear.” (The Role of a Watchman, Part 2/Darris McNeely)
It is possible that we have all known one of God’s special servants. Watchmen that see us...but whom we rarely see. For the most part, they look like us and perhaps even sound like us. They invite us into their world of life and hope, and we still don’t recognize who they are. Of one thing you can be sure, they are memorable and they make an actual difference in the lives of their followers. Watchmen who are prophetic special servants of God often offer change as well as protection, so they naturally have followers.
“ChristianAnswers.net describes prophets as "the immediate organs of God for the communication of his mind and will to men. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was ‘to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his Foundation of government.. I think in over-simplistic terms, you could say a prophet is a truth teller”. (Crosswalk:Do Prophets Still Exist Today?/Julie Ferwerda)
Watchmen are Prophets who are Special Servants of God. They exist in every faith, race and gender. According In Acts 2:17-18, says, "In the last days, God said, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.'"From the dispensation of grace through Christ Jesus,we have been in "the last days" The gift of prophecy yet endures. The book of Acts has a lot to say about the prophets of today
17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled
24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Acts 317-18,24-25
So you see, we stand in the midst of prophets today. Just because a person predicts the future does not make them a prophet. That which he teaches and or predicts must be directly in line with the word of God. In addition there can be no prejudice in the message. For instance, there are some who saw Hitler as a prophet. Most people would never dare to consider such a thought. A prophet cannot veer from God's divine message. Watchmen are prophetic because God speaks to them. They in turn speak to us
There is a heavy price that a prophet must pay, it’s not all glory. Watchmen, who are prophets are given special assignments. These are sanctified missions, therefore the prophet must be true, and they must reflect the word of God. In addition, there is an endless list of people who are claimed to be prophets. The bible list several ways to determine whether or not a prophet is true or false. I will be quoting from various Theologians in this article. Following are concepts of Theologists Dr, Veith, Sam Storms, and Edmund Heddle
Professor Walter J Veith, Ph.D:.
The Bible lists a series of tests that can be applied to prophets to determine whether they are genuine or not. Many of these tests can be individually counterfeited, but collectively, they provide an impassable barrier to false prophets. False prophets can quote Scripture or have some of their prophecies come true, but they can still be false prophets—subtly using every opportunity to lead God's people astray.
A true prophet of God will meet all the Biblical criteria, which can be summarized as follows:
ive a godly life and the fruits of his labor testify that he was truly a prophet of God.
“Being a mouthpiece for the word of the Lord was often a dangerous calling. People frequently mocked, rejected, persecuted, and even killed God’s prophets (2 Chron. 36:16; Jer. 11:21; 18:18; 20:2, 7–10). Stephen, the first martyr of the new covenant, pointedly asked, “Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute?” (Acts 7:52).” (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/sam-storms-what-does-scripture-teach-about-office-prophet-gift-prophecy)
According to Edmund Heddle,
“‘As we investigate the numerous ways in which prophets were persecuted we shall find that they divide into (1) rejection of themselves and their message, and (2) physical violence to their persons.
“They were persecuted through ridicule (2 Kings 2:23, Luke 22:64, Jer 20:7); by being told to be quiet (Amos 2:12, 7:13); by unpleasant looks (Jer 1:8,17, 5:3); through accusations and having their message reported back to the authorities (Jer 18:19, 37:13, Amos 7:10, Jer 20:10); by being debarred from attending God's house (Jer 36:5); and by having their prophetic words, both spoken and written, rejected (Isa 30:10, Micah 2:6, Amos 7:12,16, Jer 36:23) “.
Physical violence to their persons took various forms: they were placed in the stocks (Jer 20:2); they were kept in chains (Jer 40:1); they were slapped in the face (1 Kings 22:24); they were imprisoned in cells, dungeons and cisterns (Jer 37:15-16 & 38:6) in some cases just on bread and water (1 Kings 22:27); they were threatened with death (1 Kings 19:1) while others were actually put to death (2 Chron 24:21, Jer 26:20-23).
Others were killed whose names are not recorded. Jesus gives us reason to believe there were many who made the ultimate sacrifice (Luke 11:50-51).
There are many more, but here are a few who were killed in the office of Prophet.Manasseh the son of Hezekiah slew Isaiah with a wooden saw; he was buried before the outfall of the waters which Hezekiah concealed by the side of Siloah6.Joel the son of Bethuel (Pethuel), of the tribe of Reuben, died in peace in his own land. Others say that Ahaziah the son of Amaziah smote him with a staff upon his head; and while his life was yet in him, they brought him to his own land7, and after two days he died. Micah the Morasthite (was) of the tribe of Ephraim, and was slain by Joram the son of Ahab. This (prophet) prophesied concerning the destruction of the temple of the Jews, and the abrogation of the Passover on the death of the Messiah. He died in peace, and was buried in Anikâm.Habakkuk (was) of the tribe of Simeon, and from the land of Sûâr (Zoar)3. This (prophet) prophesied concerning the Messiah, that He should come, and abrogate the laws of the Jews. He brought food to Daniel at Babylon by the divine (or, angelic) agency. The Jews stoned him in Jerusalem.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/bb/bb32.htmNone of us knows what God has wrought. It would be interesting to find that many of the murders that have been committed in the street were committed against Watchmen. We simply call it gang violence and forget about it. What about peer pressure? Children who are bullied? Children who go to church may be prime targets. On the city streets they could easily be perceived as goody two shoes or just plain punks. For all we know these may have been young watchmen. Frankly this is only speculation. The point is, the treatment of prophets has never changed, so many murders that may seem to have been gang related may have been the sacrifice of a Watchman. It’s worth pondering.