In a sermon delivered at Nauvoo, Illinois July 19, 1840, Joseph Smith said the following:
“We shall build the Zion of the Lord in peace until the servants of that Lord shall begin to lay the foundation of a great and high watch Tower, and then shall they begin to say within themselves, “what need hath my Lord of this tower seeing this is a time of peace?” Then the Enemy shall come as a thief in the night and scatter the servants abroad. When the seed of these 12 Olive trees are scattered abroad they will wake up the Nations of the whole Earth. Even this Nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the Staff upon which the Nation shall lean, and they shall bear the constitution away from the very verge of destruction. Then shall the Lord say, “go, tell all my servants who are the strength of mine house, my young men, and middle aged, and come to the Land of my vineyard and fight the battle of the Lord”. Then the Kings & Queens shall come, then the rulers of the Earth shall come, then shall all saints come, yea the Foreign saints shall come to fight for the Land of my vineyard, for in this thing shall be their safety, and they will have no power to choose but will come as a man fleeth from a sudden destruction.”
Put simply, I believe the tower is Zion and the watchmen are the “pure in heart”.
The prophets are often referred to as the watchmen on the tower, and that is quite fitting considering their call to be prophets, seers, and revelators. We are privileged to receive their counsel on a regular basis, in General Conference, and elsewhere, which, if followed, will be a protection to us. I believe, furthermore, that we all can be watchmen on the tower, we all should be, especially within our own families and communities.
In the parable of the Tower, the Lord asked for watchmen to be placed around the vineyard, upon the walls, as a well as a watchman upon the tower. The reason for the tower was to see the enemy coming from far away. Unfortunately, after only working on the foundation, the servants felt, because it was a time of peace, that they had no need for the tower, and this resulted in much destruction.
I believe this parable applies to us, individually, and as a Church. Since 2 years after the Church was founded in 1830 we have been under condemnation. “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.” Fortunately, as individuals, we can remove ourselves from such condemnation by reading and using the Book of Mormon as we should, and by keeping the commandments and covenants we have received.
As we strive to follow Christ, and seek guidance and revelation from the Lord, we become watchmen upon the tower. It is primarily through being in-tune with the Spirit that we can see the enemy coming from afar and act accordingly. As we continue to build Zion, to establish the Kingdom of God upon this earth, in other words, as we do our part to build the Tower, the Spirit of the Lord will be upon us, and will warn us of danger.
The Tower also represents our homes and communities.
We must become watchmen upon our own towers and keep the enemy from destroying ourselves and our families. We must have a good relationship with our spouse and raise our children in righteousness.
We also have a civic responsibility to be involved in strengthening our communities, and standing up for correct principles and good government. As more and more people stand up for what is right within our communities, they will be protected from the evils of the world, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty“.
I believe the building of the tower also relates to the building up of the political Kingdom of God as mentioned in the scriptures. The Book of Revelation, Chapter 12, refers to a woman who flees from the dragon into the wilderness, and brings forth a man child, “who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron”. We read in the Bible Dictionary that “The woman is the Church; the man child is the political kingdom of God growing out of the Church.”
How does the Constitution relate to the parable of the watchtower?
I believe that Joseph Smith’s mention of the “constitution on the brink of ruin” helps us to better understand the timeline of events related in the parable. It is also stated that “they (the saints) shall bear the constitution away from the very verge of destruction”. This should serve as a reminder of those principles we must be upholding, the principles of Liberty.
Regarding the previously quoted statement of Joseph Smith, I believe he was prophesying about events past, events currently happening and those to come.
We are currently in the days where the Constitution is “hanging by a thread”, the Secret Combinations have obtained sole management of the government, and the nation is getting ripe for destruction. The enemy is among us, and people are waking up.
There is still time to strengthen ourselves and others, to preach the Gospel unto all the earth, to stand up for freedom; to lift where we stand.
Ezra Taft Benson warned us that one of the devils most effective neutralizers is:
“‘Don’t do anything in the fight for freedom until the Church sets up its own specific program to save the Constitution’… To those slothful servants who will not do anything until they are ‘compelled in all things’, maybe the Lord will never set up a specific church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution. Perhaps if he set one up at this time it might split the Church asunder, and perhaps he does not want that to happen yet for not all the wheat and tares are fully ripe.”
The prophesied time will come, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, when we will finally take back the Lord’s vineyard (from the enemy), place watchmen round about and on the walls, and finish building the tower (Zion).
“The field is white already to harvest; wherefore, thrust in your sickles, and reap with all your might, mind, and strength.” (D&C 33:7)
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Beyond the thoughts I have shared with you, I’d also like to share some insights from others that I have asked about the meaning of the parable of the tower in the past:
The Tower was supposed to be a Watch tower to view the enemy while they were afar off. I believe a modern day ‘watch tower’ would have been a news service like like a CNN or Fox News. It would’ve been extremely expensive to build but we could have watch the politicians during Christmas breaks changing our Constitution by passing unratified ammendments and Federal Reserve Acts. We could further warn the Saints concerning the deceptions in war and promote truth and expose wickedness to a worldwide audience. It would be a broadcast “tower” to the world.
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I take this as, the Tower is the Constitution or the knowledge of it (Knowledge = Power) and that knowledge acts as a Tower. If you know the principles of freedom then you can see the enemy afar off when they say things that are in conflict with constitutional principles. Remember anything more or less than the Constitution cometh of evil, the Tower is the principles of the Constitution (“know your constitution!”). The people do not want to know all about what is in the constitution because they have no need and then the enemy, Gadiantons, have taken the constitution (tower) and the Lord is commanding US to take it back! The Lord asks for his strong servants, young men and middle age?? This is the youth that have been held back for 6000 years! Think on it carefully. “Young men and middle age servants, the old ones had their chance and they messed it up in the Pres. Mckay and Pres. Benson’s times, they had no need to study the constitution (tower) and refused to listen to Mckay and Benson (save a few). Now it has been taken over by the evil men scheming to change our Tower (constitution) to their own liking! This is what I take from all this, now is our time, this is our moment to take back the Tower.
I also know there is a lot of “endure to the end” to be done, John the revelator talks of the great patience of the Saints. Just a thought.
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In the other parables of the vineyard, it meant the earth.
This vineyard is a choice spot in the land, and that would be the US in my eyes.
Those on the towers are those that would guard this land, protect the liberty.
If liberty falls, the church does not exist in this land.
To me, this says that we have been called to stand up, climb the towers and uproot all those that are enemies to liberty, because they are enemies to the gospel of Jesus Christ by being such. And in order to do that, we must preach the gospel, and preach it in action. We stand up, we get involved, we educate the people, and we take the country back. As we do this, it destroys their strong holds, their power, and they crumble to the earth.
That is how I was impressed. To get up and defend the gospel through protecting the liberty of this nation. That it is my mission to do so, and that I was sent in this time because I will risk it all to save liberty, therefore protecting the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Image: Watchtower – LDS Media Library