Both the Old and New Testaments provide detailed descriptions of the Watches of The LORD, and there are differences in how they operate, and why, which we as born again Christians, need to be aware of.
The Old Testament Watches of The LORD
Typically in the Old Testament watches were assigned as a duty and as such, the person on duty was responsible for that time of guarding or watching. Matthew 28:11 illustrates this type of guarding:
“While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.”
These guards, these watchmen were they eyes and ears of the city – especially at night time. It was a serious duty and they make sure that there were no problems on their watch. This position, duty and responsibility of the watchman is singled out clearly in Ezekiel 7:17-18 as Jehovah spoke to Ezekiel saying
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel. Therefore hear the Word of My mouth, and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, You shall surely die; and you do not give him warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked one shall die in his iniquity; but I will require his blood at your hand.”
God did not take the duty of a Watchman lightly, either in the past, or today. Those whom He appoints are required to fulfill their duty or bear all consequences of failure, directly.
The Hebrew watch began at sun set and continued through the night. This was the way God worked in creation, and the Jews stuck to this formula. There were only three original watches in the Old Testament, each of four hours, commencing at sunset.
The Beginning Watch: 6:00 – 10:00 pm.
This is established in Lamentations 2:19 as we read
“Their heart cried to The LORD. O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! Give yourself no rest, your eyes no respite! “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of The LORD! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.””
Here we see Jeremiah speaking to the wall in prophetic voice, instructing the people to cry out at the beginning of the night watches. Beginning for the Hebrews is rô‘sh / ראשׁ, meaning beginning, of first in rank, or time or place and for the first watch in Hebrew also meant the “most easily shaken”. This was the apostolic watch and the first watch of the new day, for the Hebrews reckoned sunset as the start of the day. This first watch had and has, therefore, great prophetic significance when viewed from their worldview. Jeremiah tells the people to pour out their hearts like a torrent of water before The LORD. This was the time for prayers of the homes and the time for the darkness to be filled with spiritual light. This was the time to pray against the darkness, before darkness and its powers had time to consolidate themselves.
The Middle Watch: 10:00 pm. – 2:00 am.
Judges 7:19 says
“So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands.”
First, the reference here to ‘middle’ watch confirms there were only three night watches. In Hebrew, ‘middle’ is tı̂ykôn תּיכון means centre, or middle or womb of the watch. While Judges 7 is normally cited as an example of God’s battle strategy, compared to man’s, we can see here how it is being used for spiritual reason, in particular intercession. It was not by chance that these 100 men were instructed to blow trumpets and smash jars in the middle of the night. This was the watch when evil could be planted against the righteous with maximum effect, and it was, therefore, around this watch, that intercessory prayer is likewise built for maximum effect in the spiritual realm.
The Morning Watch: 2:00 – 6:00 am.
It was in the early morning, in the dark when as Exodus 14:24 says:
“And in the morning watch it happened that Jehovah looked to the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the army of the Egyptians.”
In the Morning Watch, God’s hand saved his people from the hands of the Egyptian army. Similarly as First Samuel 11:11 says
“And it was so on the next day, Saul put the people in three companies, and they came into the middle of the army at the morning watch. And they killed the Ammonites until the heat of the day. And the ones who remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.”
Another victory for His people orchestrated by God in the Morning Watch.
We can see prophetically from these examples that the Old Testament Morning Watch is the time to gain victory over the enemy. Morning, or bôqer/בּקר properly means dawn or day-break, or generally morning. The root word bôqer also means plough, break-through or break-out and this is time for break-through prayer and for break-through or break-out intercession. This is the fruit of this time for those who are faithful in prayer and intercession in this time period.
The New Testament Watches of The LORD
When the Romans ended the Jewish occupation of Israel in AD70, not only did they exile most of the occupants, but by then, the times of the day and names of the weeks and months had already been changed (see below). No longer were the times and days of the Torah and the Hebrews held, but those of the Roman gods which we still use today. Similarly the times changed to follow Greco-Roman style where the Morning watch was the first, not the last. This was an intentional change by the conquerors to crush not only the people, but also their society and customs.
Thus the times have changed in the New Testament for the Watches of The LORD as in the New Testament and they fall under the Greco-Roman clock which we also still use today.
First Watch: 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
The First Watch in the New Testament is now the watch in which the sun rises, rather than sets. As in Mark 1:32
“And at evening, when the sun set, they brought all those who were diseased to Him, and those who had been demon-possessed”
and in Luke 4:40
“And the sun sinking, all, as many as had sick ones with different kinds of diseases brought them to Him. And laying hands on each of them, He healed them,”
it was also the time people brought people to Jesus for healing. As in the Old Testament First Watch, anything which is First has great prophetic and apostolic significance. It is a pioneering time and a time for carrying out the anointing of the day. Those who are praying in this ministry need to have an anointing to break into new things, into new territories for maximum advantage and power over the enemy. It is a time to focus on the future, on the barriers to be overcome. It is certainly not a time to look back at the past. This is time when those who really know God and are anointed by Him for this time and for breakthroughs, can make great headway and complete great exploits, but it requires to be built on a foundation of apostolic and prophetic boldness and power. This is not a time for half measures.
Second Watch: 9:00 – 12:00 am.
Praying in the second watch is of great strategic importance. The first watch has established the goals and targets for the four watches and they are now set up. The second watch, apostolically and prophetically is to take the momentum of the first watch forward to the third watch. The third watch is typically when the enemy is at maximum power and intensity, so powerful prayer warriors and intercessors in the second watch are of vital importance to conquering the third watch and denying the enemy any advantage.
Third Watch: 12:00 – 3:00 am.
This watch covers the darkest part of the night. This is time at midnight known as “the witching hour,” and is the hour which witches try to control and to take advantage of. It is a time for witchcraft to plant the seeds of the enemy as they wrestle to hijack this watch from God and His people. Prayer warriors and intercessors on this watch require to be stable and well trained and well versed in the ways and wiles of the enemy. During this watch, it is certain that the demonic realm will strike, both pre-emptively, strategically and reactively in response to the prayers and intercessions of God’s people. It is not a time for novices.
Fourth Watch: 3:00 – 6:00 am.
It was on the fourth watch that Jesus walked on water, as we read in Matthew 14:25-33
“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea……”
This is the watch where we pray for the activities of the day ahead and establish them in the spiritual, before we establish them on the flesh. We release covering in the spiritual, before we seek to work in the natural. We bind the enemy in the spiritual before he can establish his plans and wreck ours in the natural. This is the time to pray for our prosperity in Christ for the day ahead. In prosperity, we do not mean financial gain, for that is not the purpose of the work. As Christians, we are called to do all work as a love offering to God. Prosperity, is the blessings of bountiful praise offering to God and in return for us, which we measured by the fruit of the spirit.
Amen and Amen.
The above “The Watches of The LORD” is based generally on and around the teachings of Apostle Kimberly Daniels in her book “Give it Back – God’s weapons for turning back evil to good – break though the enemy’s barriers to reclaim what is yours.” See also Kimberly Daniels Ministry International at KDMI
The Romans did not have weekdays in the same sense as our Monday, Tuesday, etc., however, they did have a defined markers within each month. Originally, the month and the markers were based on the moon.
Days of the Roman Week
|Roman Day||Rough Translation||Modern Day||Modern Source|
|Dies Saturni||Day of Saturn||Saturday||Direct passage from Latin|
|Dies Solis||Day of the Sun||Sunday||Direct passage from Latin|
|Dies Lunae||Day of the Moon||Monday||Direct passage from Latin|
|Dies Martis||Day of Mars||Tuesday||Originally Tiwesdaeg ‘The day of Tiw’, from the Norse Tysdagr.|
|Dies Mercurii||Day of Mercury||Wednesday||Originally Wodnesdaeg ‘the day of Woden’ (Odin), from Norse Odinsdagr.|
|Dies Jovis||Day of Jupiter||Thursday||Originally Thursdaeg ‘the day of Thor’, from Norse Thorsdagr.|
|Dies Veneris||Day of Venus||Friday||Originally Frigesdaeg ‘the day of Freya’, from Norse Freyjasdagr.|
In 44 BC Julius Caesar changed the name of the month Quintillis to Julius, after himself. The following year he decided (based on the advice of an astronomer) to use a purely solar calendar with 365 days. This calendar is known as the Julian calendar in his name and the calendar we still use today.
Months of the Roman Year
|Roman Month||Origin||Days in Republican Calendar||Days in Julian Calendar|
|Januarius (January)||The God Janus||29||31|
|Februarius (February)||From the Februa festivals which were celebrated at the end of the Roman year.||28||28|
|Martius (March)||The God Mars||31||31|
|Aprilis (April)||The Etruscan God Aprilis||29||30|
|Maius (May)||The Goddess Maia||31||31|
|Junius (June)||The God Juno||29||30|
|Julius (July)||Named for Julius Caesar, originally named Quintillis (the 5th month).||31||31|
|Augustus (August)||Named for Augustus Caesar, originally named Sextilis (the 6th month).||29||31|
|September||The 7th month.||29||30|
|October||The 8th month.||31||31|
|November||The 9th month.||29||30|
|December||The 10th month.||29||31|
The first reform of the calendar was attributed to Numa Pompilius, the second of the seven traditional Kings of Rome. He is said to have reduced the 30-day months to 29 days and to have added January (29 days) and February (28 days) to the end of the calendar around 713 BC, and thus brought the length of the calendar year up to 355 days.
Early Roman Calendar
|Number of days in the month||Months with 31 days||Months with 29 days||Month with 28 days|
|Martius, Maius, Quintilis, October||Aprilis, Junius, Sextilis, September, November, December, Januarius||Februarius|
|Latin names of days|
|2||Ante Diem VI Nones||Ante Diem VI Nones||Ante Diem VI Nones|
|3||Ante Diem V Nones||Ante Diem III Nones||Ante Diem III Nones|
|4||Ante Diem IV Nones||Pridie Nones||Pridie Nones|
|5||Ante Diem III Nones||Nones||Nones|
|6||Pridie Nones||Ante Diem VII Ides||Ante Diem VIII Ides|
|7||Nones||Ante Diem XVI Ides||Ante Diem VII Ides|
|8||Ante Diem VIII Ides||Ante Diem VI Ides||Ante Diem VI Ides|
|9||Ante Diem VII Ides||Ante Diem V Ides||Ante Diem V Ides|
|10||Ante Diem VI Ides||Ante Diem IV Ides||Ante Diem IV Ides|
|11||Ante Diem V Ides||Ante Diem III Ides||Ante Diem III Ides|
|12||Ante Diem IV Ides||Pridie Ides||Pridie Ides|
|13||Ante Diem III Ides||Ides||Ides|
|14||Pridie Ides||Ante Diem XVII Kalends||Ante Diem XVI Kalends|
|15||Ides||Ante Diem XVI Kalends||Ante Diem XV Kalends|
|16||Ante Diem XVII Kalends||Ante Diem XV Kalends||Ante Diem XIV Kalends|
|17||Ante Diem XVI Kalends||Ante Diem XIV Kalends||Ante Diem XIII Kalends|
|18||Ante Diem XV Kalends||Ante Diem XIII Kalends||Ante Diem XII Kalends|
|19||Ante Diem XIV Kalends||Ante Diem XII Kalends||Ante Diem XI Kalends|
|20||Ante Diem XIII Kalends||Ante Diem XIKalends||Ante Diem X Kalends|
|21||Ante Diem XIIKalends||Ante Diem X Kalends||Ante Diem IX Kalends|
|22||Ante Diem XI Kalends||Ante Diem IX Kalends||Ante Diem VIII Kalends|
|23||Ante Diem X Kalends||Ante Diem VIII Kalends||Ante Diem VII Kalends|
|24||Ante Diem IX Kalends||Ante Diem VII Kalends||Ante Diem VI Kalends|
|25||Ante Diem VIII Kalends||Ante Diem VI Kalends||Ante Diem V Kalends|
|26||Ante Diem VII Kalends||Ante Diem V Kalends||Ante Diem IV Kalends|
|27||Ante Diem VI Kalends||Ante Diem IV Kalends||Ante Diem III Kalends|
|28||Ante Diem V Kalends||Ante Diem III Kalends||Pridie Kalends|
|29||Ante Diem IV Kalends||Pridie Kalends||–|
|30||Ante Diem III Kalends||–||–|
~ Angus MacKillop