How long, O Jehovah?
Isaiah wanted to know for how long God’s nation would remain unrepentant. God’s answer? “Until the cities crash in ruins without an inhabitant and the houses are without people and the land is ruined and desolate.” Isaiah received his commission in the last year of King Uzziah’s reign, or about 778 B.C.E. He continued his prophetic service for some 46 years until after 732 B.C.E., well into the reign of King Hezekiah. That was 125 years before Jerusalem’s destruction in 607 B.C.E. Thus, ample advance notice of what was going to happen to their nation in the future was given to God’s people. Today, Jehovah has also had his people give ample notice of what lies ahead. For 135 years, from its very first issue, The Watchtower has called on its readers to be awake to the fact that Satan’s wicked rulership will soon end and be replaced by the Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ.
If you have a moment and are so inclined read the entire sixth chapter of Isaiah, from where the daily verse was taken. The portion of prophecy relates a vision that Isaiah had, in which he saw Jehovah and they spoke. It was on that occasion that God asked: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” to which Isaiah responded: “Here I am! Send me!”
God then commissioned Isaiah, saying to him: “Go, and say to this people: ‘You will hear again and again, but you will not understand; You will see again and again, but you will not get any knowledge.’ Make the heart of this people unreceptive, make their ears unresponsive, and paste their eyes together, so that they may not see with their eyes and hear with their ears, so that their heart may not understand and they may not turn back and be healed.”
Notice, please, Jehovah sent an individual to speak to a nation of people – God’s people.
In the context of that exchange Isaiah then asked: “How long, O Jehovah?” In other words Isaiah wanted to know how long the people would be blind and deaf to God’s voice. The answer was: “Until the cities crash in ruins without an inhabitant and the houses are without people and the land is ruined and desolate; until Jehovah removes men far away and the deserted condition of the land becomes very extensive.”
Only God’s strong hand can bring the needed correction. That, in fact, is what the entire prophecy of Isaiah is all about. That the blindness and deafness afflicts God’s people is made evident throughout the prophecy as well. For example, Isaiah 42:16 states: “I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know and cause them to tread on unfamiliar paths. I will turn the darkness before them into light and turn the rugged terrain into level land. This is what I will do for them, and I will not abandon them.”
Isaiah 35:4-5 similarly says: “‘Be strong. Do not be afraid. Look! Your own God will come with vengeance, God will come with retribution. He will come and save you.’ At that time the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.”
Note that the eyes of the blind are not opened until Jehovah comes with retribution. The retribution being warranted for the desolation that is to come upon God’s people.
The 29th chapter of Isaiah makes plain that it is the leaders who are themselves blind and who impose their blindness upon those whom they teach: “Be stunned and amazed; blind yourselves and be blinded. They are drunk, but not with wine; they are staggering, but not from alcohol. For Jehovah has poured a spirit of deep sleep on you; He has closed your eyes, the prophets, and he has covered your heads, the visionaries.”
Today the prophet-class and visionaries associated with the Watchtower are intoxicated with their own importance. They betray that it is they who are spoken of in prophecy who are blind and asleep by their inability to decipher the message of Isaiah or any other recorded vision. It is as though they are illiterate when handed a book containing God’s judgment message. That is why the next verse in the 29th chapter states: “Every vision becomes for you like the words of a sealed book. When they give it to someone who can read, saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ he will say: ‘I cannot, for it is sealed up.’ And when they give the book to someone who cannot read, saying: ‘Read this, please,’ he will say: ‘I cannot read at all.”’
Only the coming of Christ and his brightness will remedy the pitiable condition, as verses 18-20 go on to say: “In that day the deaf will hear the words of the book, and out of the gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. The meek will rejoice greatly in Jehovah, and the poor among men will be joyful in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant will be no more, the boaster will come to his finish, and all those keeping alert to do harm will be destroyed…”
Returning to the 6th chapter the very last verse indicates that the desolation to come is with respects to God’s organization, Christ’s congregation—not Christendom. That is evident from the fact that the wreckage of the organizational oak leaves a holy stump. Or are we to expect something holy to arise from Christendom’s demise? Indeed, how long, O Jehovah?
I have written a series of articles on Isaiah covering the first half of the book.