In Isaiah 6, Isaiah saw the Lord seated on His throne. In this vision, Isaiah had been ushered into the most holy place of the temple; it was not the earthly one but the heavenly one. Isaiah realized that since he was in the Lord’s presence, he was at risk for being struck dead like Nadab and Abihu had been; after all, the Lord had once told Moses that a human being couldn’t look at His face and remain alive.[i] Isaiah knew he was a sinful man and that he dwelled among others who were sinful. Fortunately for Isaiah, the Lord showed mercy to Isaiah; a seraph flew to him with a live coal from the altar of incense and touched Isaiah’s mouth with it in order to take away his iniquity.
During this vision, Isaiah heard the Lord say he desired to “send someone” but initially we don’t know to whom, to where, or for what. Without an answer to this mystery, Isaiah volunteered. In Isaiah 6:9-10, Isaiah was instructed to, “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” NIV
We don’t know how long it was before Isaiah responded. He could’ve stood there thinking about what the Lord had said for only a moment for a few minutes. Isaiah must have been concerned by what he had heard and pondered the message he was supposed to deliver to his people because then Isaiah asked, “Lord, how long?”
In Isaiah 6:11-13, the Lord answered, “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. 13 And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.” NIV
The book of Isaiah is evidence that Isaiah did as the Lord commanded. His message was also passed on to future generations.
Many may be quick to assume the description of the land being desolate lasted only until the end of the Babylonian captivity; however, whenever the Jews have been outside the land, it has been desolated by its inhabitants. The period of blindness and deafness which was mentioned by Isaiah extended even into Jesus’ day. We know this is the case because Jesus said this was the reason He spoke in parables; the people could see and listen to Jesus but they could not spiritually hear, see, understand, repent, and be healed. Jesus told His disciples, “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Obviously, some would be able to see and hear where others would not be blessed to do so.
Over the millenniums, people have continued to be spiritually deaf and blind to the Lord. The mysteries of the kingdom of God have not been given to everyone but only to the ones that have been chosen. The gospel is in plain sight but spiritually, peoples’ eyes and ears are closed to truth. Their ears are closed to the truth that the wages of sin is death and their eyes are blind to the fact that Jesus was the Passover Lamb who died and rose from the dead to take away sin and guilt so that those who have faith in Jesus can have eternal life.
Only those who have eyes and ears to spiritually see and hear are supposed to spiritually see and hear. Many who we would expect to have such ability don’t and others we would never expect to have this ability do. No matter who they are, they are also expected to choose life. Unfortunately, most people are like many of the religious leaders and people of Jesus’ day who rejected the Lord when He was made flesh and lived among them. They are choosing death.
Since the first part of this prophecy is still in effect, it seems the rest of the prophecy is for the future as well. Although the land is productive now, the land will eventually become desolate once again. Daniel 9:27 indicates “the prince of the people who will come” will make the land desolate until the very end. Right now, only a small number of Jews believe Jesus is the Messiah but as the time of desolation approaches and the Antichrist rises to power, a remnant of the Jews will begin to spiritually see and hear. At some point, the Lord will hide, protect, and nourish them for 1260 days and the land will be desolated. The Lord will deal with Israel’s enemies when all hope is lost and He will bring His people from the four corners of the earth back to Israel in His time and not before.
For now, I am convinced that man can not accomplish the gathering of the Lord’s people; it is an act of the Lord. Many are making aliyah or ascent to Israel and encouraging others to do so. It’s seen as a sign that the Lord is at work among His people. Eventually, the holy seed (Jews) won’t be safe anywhere in the world and they will be targets for their enemies until the Lord hides them. As it is, I pray daily for their protection where ever they are throughout the world. I suppose at some point, it’s not going to be safe for Jews or Christians to live anywhere; the way technology is today, there’s nothing we can do about it except rely on the Lord and His plan for our lives. Even now I try to prepare my children for what may come in the future by reminding them of Matthew 10:28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Anyway, for believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and this should give us peace in the midst of what is coming in the future.[ii]