I saw Jehovah sitting on a lofty and elevated throne, and the skirts of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were standing above him; each had six wings. Each covered his face with two and covered his feet with two, and each of them would fly about with two. And one called to the other: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The whole earth is filled with his glory.” And the pivots of the thresholds quivered at the sound of the shouting, and the house was filled with smoke. —Isaiah 6:1-4
Imagine you knew nothing about God other than he is up there, somewhere. Basically, that is as much as the ancients knew about him. Naturally, ignorant people imagined the powerful, radiant sun was a god. The beautiful and mysterious moon was even looked up to as a goddess. Numerous heavenly bodies, which we now know to be orbiting planets in the solar system and stars and constellations light-years away, were all worshipped as gods. Fortunately for us, it is God’s will that we know about Him. Best of all the ultimate revelation of Christ, who is the exact image of God, is the culmination of it all; but to that end, the prophet Isaiah was the first human to be entranced in a rapturous vision of Jehovah’s residence. Later Daniel, Ezekiel, and the apostle John had heavenly visions too.
Of course, seraphim and cherubs do not have wings. Wings would be of no use —there is no atmosphere in heaven. No gravity either. Neither is there such a thing as fire in heaven. They have higher forms of energy. And to be sure, God does not wear a flowing, majestic robe. The images that were impressed upon the visionaries are merely aids to help us visualize what is otherwise humanly incomprehensible. Heaven is another world. It is not even part of the measurable, physical dimension we call the universe. The only thing in heaven that would be familiar to us is intelligent persons who think and communicate —albeit on a higher plane.
It has been written that God made man a little lower than the angels. Conversely, that means heaven is a little higher. Jehovah said as much through Isaiah: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55)
Actually, heaven is much, much higher. God was being gracious.
Again, by means of Isaiah, Jehovah helps us get an approximation of our relative stature in comparison to the invisible God: “He who sits over the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the sky like a gauze and spreads it like a tent to live in; who reduces potentates to nothingness and makes judges of earth equal to zero…” —Isaiah 40:23 Byington
Given the comparison, how much higher are you compared to a lowly grasshopper?
After being made aware of the certainty of the expression of God’s anger against his fellow countrymen Isaiah is privileged to see a vision of Jehovah himself and seraphs ministering to him in his temple. Isaiah was overawed and feared for his life due to his being aware of his uncleanness and unworthiness in the midst of God’s holy presence. But a seraph flies to Isaiah with a lump of glowing coal that the angel had taken with tongs from off the fiery altar and he touches Isaiah’s lips with it, saying to him: “Look! This has touched your lips, and your error has departed and your sin itself is atoned for.”
Next Jehovah speaks and poses the question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” To which Isaiah promptly responds: “Here I am! Send me.”
In view of the fact that the Law and the Prophets were a preview of various facets of what has now been given to the holy ones in Christ, Isaiah’s symbolic presence before God in heaven was a foregleam of the position anointed individuals occupy in Jehovah’s spiritual temple. As Paul said, though formerly anointed Christians were dead in God’s sight, through God’s undeserved kindness, together with Christ, they have been seated in the heavenly places. And their sins have been atoned, as portrayed by the seraphim touching Isaiah’s lips with the purifying coal.
However, the drama played out by Isaiah does not seem to typify all anointed Christians, in that, Isaiah volunteers to go for Jehovah and the unnamed Christ (“who will go for us?) to the unresponsive people of God.
One striking feature of the book of Isaiah, even a reoccurring sub-theme, is the impenetrable blindness of those whom God calls “my people.” For example, in the 42nd chapter of Isaiah the blunt question is posed: Who is blind as the servant of Jehovah?
So, it is because of the spiritually blind condition of God’s people that Jehovah asked for a volunteer to represent Heaven’s interests to them; the commission being set forth at Isaiah 6:9-10: “Go, and you must say to this people, ‘Hear again and again, O men, but do not understand; and see again and again, but do not get any knowledge.’ Make the heart of this people unreceptive, and make their very ears unresponsive, and paste their very eyes together, that they may not see with their eyes and with their ears they may not hear, and that their own heart may not understand and that they may not actually turn back and get healing for themselves.”
Reasonably, if the Watchtower Society is to be the object of God’s denunciation in the near future, as the case is here being made, then who serves as a modern Isaiah?
Just as Isaiah answered the call to go to the covenanted people of God and layout before them Jehovah’s issues, in recent years I have served in a similar capacity relative to the Watchtower Society. After receiving a heavenly calling almost 25 years ago that involved a gradual opening up of the meaning of the prophecies, such as Isaiah, I have also unequivocally responded positively to an implied invitation: “Who will go for us?”
Over the past two decades through massive mail-out campaigns to thousands of kingdom halls and the more modest distribution of the first edition of Jehovah Himself Has Become King among dozens of branch offices of the Watchtower Society and various individuals and offices of Bethel, and via the constant global reach of the Internet and electronic mail, the words of Isaiah’s prophecy have been fulfilled, in that, I too have gone “again and again” to an unreceptive and unresponsive people of Jehovah.
As an indication of the Governing Body’s unresponsiveness, several years ago I used a special program to harvest all emails associated with a particular domain. Hence, I acquired about 150 emails on the jw.org uniform resource locator (url). That included all of the GB and their helpers and everyone in the Legal Department. I did not abuse them. I only emailed two Kingdom Bulletins over the course of several months. Apparently, though, that was more than they could tolerate. As a result, all of the jw.org emails were dissolved. Imagine a corporation with a valuable and recognizable email domain ditching all their executive email accounts because someone sent them an unwanted message! God is my witness. I have delivered the message. They have resolutely refused to consider it.
Many local kingdom halls have likewise removed their physical mailboxes from the premises —at least in the United States. That became evident after my first massive mailing campaign to every kingdom hall in the USA had only a very small percentage of mail returned as undeliverable. However, with subsequent mailout campaigns over the years, the numbers grew dramatically as more and more congregations took down their mail receptacles. I suspect circuit overseers quietly advised the congregations to yank their mailboxes and instead use the home address of an elder or ministerial servant for mail delivery. Again, Jehovah knows.
Although the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses boasts of having unique spiritual insights into prophecy, as Christ said of certain anointed individuals in Revelation: ‘You do not know that you are pitiable and blind and naked.’ Certainly, the Society’s doggedly clinging to their invisible parousia is exactly the sort of blindness Jehovah is addressing in Isaiah.
Next, Isaiah asks: “How long, O Jehovah?” The response being: “Until the cities actually crash in ruins, to be without an inhabitant, and the houses be without earthling man, and the ground itself is ruined into a desolation; and Jehovah actually removes earthling men far away, and the deserted condition does become very extensive in the midst of the land. And there will still be in it a tenth, and it must again become something for burning down, like a big tree and like a massive tree in which, when there is a cutting down of them, there is a stump; a holy seed will be the stump of it.”
The “cities” in this instance are not to be understood as being the literal cities of the nations, but rather, the city-like congregations and houses of worship. As presented in the previous article, the similarities between this portion of Isaiah and Joel are inescapable. And in Joel, it is evident that the prophecy betokens the crash of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But if the sub-theme of Isaiah is an indictment of the blindness of God’s people, in keeping with the very meaning of Isaiah’s name (Salvation of Jehovah), the overriding theme is the complete accomplishment of God’s purpose in connection with those who are blind prior to the unveiling of God’s judgments. How is that? As the closing words of the 6th chapter reveal, although the nation-like tree is destined to be burned down, a holy seed and stump will remain –-the holy seed and stump representing the chastened chosen ones who will ultimately become the seed of the woman –-the very Kingdom of God.