In Isaiah’s day, the nation of Judah found themselves in dire straits. They were surrounded by enemies. Food was scarce. Many were hungry. Instead of looking to Jehovah for help in dealing with these hardships, however, they started to “call down evil” on their king and on their God. Yes, they blamed Jehovah for their problems. If we are beset by tragedy or personal problems, might we likewise say in our heart, ‘Where was Jehovah when I needed him?’ Because of not having all the facts, the Israelites in Ezekiel’s day felt that Jehovah’s way was “not adjusted right.” It was as if they had set themselves up as judges of God, relying on their own limited understanding of events. If we at times do not fully understand a Bible account or the way events develop in our own life, could we perhaps feel in our heart that the way of Jehovah is unfair, “not adjusted right”?
In the days ahead the Watchtower will find itself in virtually the same situation as Judah, as recorded in the prophecy of Isaiah.
As the world is engulfed in war, famine and pestilence in the near future, signaling the beginning of the actual presence of Jesus Christ, the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be thrown into great confusion. They will not be able to come to terms with what went wrong. Due to their having promoted a delusion regarding the parousia and their limited understanding of the Scriptures, they will call down evil on God for having allowed them to have been so misled.
Here is today’s verse in context: “When they do not speak according to this word, they have no light. And each one will pass through the land afflicted and hungry; and because he is hungry and indignant, he will curse his king and his God as he looks upward. Then he will look to the earth and see only distress and darkness, obscurity and hard times, gloom and no brightness.”
In truth, the prophecy of Isaiah, though set in ancient times, actually speaks to the ultimate coming of Christ. That is evident by the fact that in the 2nd chapter of his letter to the Hebrews the inspired apostle quoted verse 18, applying it to Christ and those who belong to him — “the young children.” And specifically the subject matter has to do with bringing his Firstborn into the world again — or as Paul said in the 9th chapter: “the second time he appears.”
Not only that, but Isaiah 8:14-15 states: “He will become as a sanctuary, but as a stone to strike against and as a rock to stumble over to both houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Many of them will stumble and fall and be broken; they will be ensnared and caught.”
The language above is quite similar to that which appears further on in Isaiah 28:16, which reads: “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: ‘Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a tested stone, the precious cornerstone of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will panic.’”
There is no doubt that Christ is the tested cornerstone and it is his coming that will be a trap and a stumbling block for many. Did not Christ himself foretell that “many will be stumbled”?
Now consider Isaiah 8:18 in context, which states: “And if they say to you: ‘Inquire of the spirit mediums or of the fortune-tellers who chirp and mutter,’ is it not of their God that a people should inquire? Should they inquire of the dead in behalf of the living?”
Surely, Jehovah’s Witnesses would never resort to necromancy for guidance. But, consider this: From Jehovah’s standpoint those who are not spiritually alive are dead, even though from the standpoint of humans they are alive. At the powerful presence of Christ the Watchtower will no longer function as Jehovah’s earthly mouthpiece. At that point it will become a trap and a snare for those who continue to look to it for guidance. Although it is certain to cease as a publishing concern early on in the post-parousia world, evidently it will still function in some capacity — as if chirping and muttering from beyond the grave. And from Jehovah’s point of view those who inquire of it then are no different than persons who resort to spirit mediums and witches.
As if to confirm that this is the fate of God’s spokesman, Isaiah the 29th chapter addresses “Ariel” with these words: “I will encamp on all sides against you, and I will besiege you with a palisade and raise up siegeworks against you. You will be brought low; from the ground you will speak, and what you say will be muffled by dust. Your voice will come from the ground like the voice of a spirit medium, and your words will chirp from the dust.”
Jesus foretold that Jerusalem will be surrounded with a fence of pointed stakes, a palisade. Of course, his words were literally fulfilled in 70 CE. But the tribulation upon the holy place and that which is symbolized by Jerusalem is to occur during the great tribulation, which is coming upon the whole world. It is during that tribulation when the formerly robust voice of God’s spokesman will be brought low and instead of uttering anything remotely like “good news,” the voice will emanate as if from the grave — requiring the services of a spirit medium to give it voice.