â€œThis matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.â€ (Daniel 4:17)
Who are these mysterious â€œwatchersâ€ who are so concerned that we know that â€œthe powers that be are ordained of Godâ€ (Romans 13:1), sometimes even including the â€œbasest of men?â€ They are mentioned in the Bible only here in the fourth chapter of Daniel (see also vv. 13, 23), all three times evidently synonymous with â€œthe holy ones,â€ beings who come down from heaven. Such phrases could apply only to angels, created to serve the Lord and the â€œheirs of salvationâ€ (Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:14).
The word is used here in reference to Nebuchadnezzarâ€™s vision and period of insanity. Although it is used nowhere else in the Bible, it occurs frequently in such apocryphal books as â€œJubileesâ€ and â€œEnoch,â€ where it refers both to Godâ€™s holy angels and to the fallen angels, who have direct interest in people on Earth as they â€œwatchâ€ themâ€”even on occasion directly controlling events that affect them.
In any case, the Bible does indicate that â€œthe angels desire to look intoâ€ the outworking of the gospel in the hearts of men (1 Peter 1:12), and that â€œunto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of Godâ€ (Ephesians 3:10). Children, as well as adult believers, also seem to have guardian angels who â€œwatchâ€ them (Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:9-15).
This is a mysterious subject because we cannot see these â€œwatchers,â€ but we at least need to know they are there. In fact, we can praise God that â€œthe angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth themâ€ (Psalm 34:7). HMM