Have You Said: “Here I Am! Send Me”?
1. When did the second fulfillment of the prophecy given to Isaiah at the temple take place, and how may the one be designated whom Jehovah raised up in that connection?
NUMEROUS prophecies of the Holy Bible have been found to have a triple fulfillment, this third and final fulfillment coming in our own twentieth century. This makes such prophecies of most vital concern to us, such as this prophecy given during Isaiah’s vision of Jehovah God at his holy temple. (Isa. 6:1-13) The second fulfillment of this highly important prophecy took place nineteen centuries ago, when Jehovah God raised up a second Isaiah, a Greater Isaiah. Who was this Greater Isaiah? We find out in Heb chapter two of the letter written to the Christianized Hebrews, as preserved for us in the Holy Bible.
2. What did Isaiah say regarding his children, and how was this quoted to identify the Greater Isaiah?
2 The original Isaiah had been a married man with two or three children by his Israelite wife, a prophetess. For the sake of prophecy, Isaiah was inspired to say: “Look! I and the children whom Jehovah has given me are as signs and as miracles in Israel from Jehovah of armies, who is residing in Mount Zion.” (Isa. 8:18) Almost eight hundred years later, a Bible writer wrote, in Hebrews 2:11-14, with reference to Jesus Christ: “For both he who is sanctifying and those who are being sanctified all stem from one [from God], and for this cause he is not ashamed to call them ‘brothers,’ as he says: . . . ‘Look! I and the young children, whom Jehovah gave me.’ Therefore, since the ‘young children’ are sharers of blood and flesh, he also similarly partook of the same things, that through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil.” This identifies Jesus Christ as the Greater Isaiah.
3. (a) Why did this Greater Isaiah not need a vision of Jehovah at his temple? (b) How did his human name go well with the title of his office?
3 Did this Greater Isaiah need a miraculous vision of Jehovah enthroned in his temple with seraphs attending upon him, such as the original Isaiah had had? No, for he had been the heavenly Son of God and had beheld “the King, Jehovah of armies,” on his heavenly throne itself, and enjoyed heavenly glory with Jehovah. (John 17:5, 11, 20-24) By laying aside his heavenly glory and by having his life force transferred from heaven to earth by Jehovah’s miraculous power, he had become the man Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:26-38; Phil. 2:5-11) The human name that Jehovah God commanded to be given his Son on earth was Jesus, which is the shortened form for Jehoshua. Its meaning corresponds with that of the name Isaiah, only in reverse order. Jesus (or Jehoshua) means “Jehovah Is Salvation,” whereas Isaiah means “Salvation of Jah (Jehovah).” This circumstance goes well with the fact that Jesus Christ is the Greater Isaiah. Before becoming a man, he as the heavenly Son of God had been with Jehovah at the time that He said to the prophet Isaiah in the temple vision: “Who will go for us?” that is, ‘for me Jehovah and for my only-begotten Son.’—Isa. 6:8.
4. When and where did Jesus, as it were, say: “Here I am! Send me,” and how was he commissioned as the Greater Isaiah?
4 Thus Jehovah God sent his obedient Son from heaven. But when did the Son of God on earth say in response to Jehovah’s invitation: “Here I am! Send me”? This was at the time that he presented himself to be baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, in the autumn of 29 C.E. It was then that, with an audible voice from heaven, Jehovah God announced his acceptance of his baptized Son Jesus. So Psalm 40:6-8 is quoted as applying to Jesus Christ at the time of his baptism, in these words in Hebrews 10:5-9: “Hence when he comes into the world he says: ‘ . . . “Look! I am come . . . to do your will.”’” There, after Jesus’ baptism in water, Jehovah God anointed him with holy spirit to be the Christ (Anointed One) and thus commissioned him to preach as the Greater Isaiah, to his own people, Israel.—Matt. 15:24; 10:5, 6.
5, 6. How did Jesus show whether he realized that he must give a further fulfillment to the commission given to Isaiah at the temple?
5 Isaiah fulfilled the commission that he received at the temple. Did Jesus Christ now realize that he was ordained by Jehovah to give a further fulfillment to the commission that Isaiah had received at the temple vision? Yes, Jesus showed this by the way he quoted and applied the words of that divine commission. Jesus did this in the year 31 C.E., after he had told to great crowds of his people the parable of the sower who scattered seed on various types of soil. Afterward, Jesus explained to his disciples why he spoke to the people in parables or illustrations, saying:
6 “To you it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted. For whoever has, more will be given him and he will be made to abound; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them by the use of illustrations, because, looking, they look in vain, and hearing, they hear in vain, neither do they get the sense of it; and toward them the prophecy of Isaiah is having fulfillment, which says, ‘By hearing, you will hear but by no means get the sense of it; and, looking, you will look but by no means see. For the heart of this people has grown thick, and with their ears they have heard with annoyance, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back, and I heal them.’”—Matt. 13:1-15.
7. What comment by the apostle John shows that the commission to Isaiah was also being fulfilled in Jesus Christ?
7 Two years later, and just four days before Jesus Christ was put to death at the urging of the Jewish rulers at Jerusalem, he spoke of himself as the Light of the world. Commenting with regard to this incident, the Christian apostle John says: “Jesus spoke these things and went off and hid from them. But although he had performed so many signs before them, they were not putting faith in him, so that the word of Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled which he said: ‘Jehovah, who has put faith in the thing heard by us? And as for the arm of Jehovah, to whom has it been revealed?’ The reason why they were not able to believe is that again Isaiah said: ‘He has blinded their eyes and he has made their hearts hard, that they should not see with their eyes and get the thought with their hearts and turn around and I should heal them.’ Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him.”—John 12:36-41; Isa. 53:1; 6:1-10.
8. What did most of the Jewish rulers not believe regarding Jesus, and so with what did they seek to interfere?
8 The most of the Jewish rulers did not believe in Jesus as being the Messiah (Christ) sent by Jehovah God and as being the spiritual High Priest like Melchizedek. (John 12:42, 43; Ps. 110:1-4; Heb. 6:19 to 7:28) So they schemed and worked to bring about his death, thinking to interfere thus with Jesus’ priestly duties and his offering spiritual incense to God, as pictured by Israel’s high priest on the annual Day of Atonement.—Lev. 16:12, 13.
9. (a) In what light to Jehovah’s eyes did this put those Jewish rulers, and what occurred evidently to indicate this? (b) How did they keep up their opposition to Jesus after he ascended to heaven?
9 This, of course, put the Jewish rulers in a bad light in the sight of Jehovah God. It was not without serious meaning, therefore, that, when Jesus died on the torture stake on Calvary, while the Jewish rulers derided him, there was a great earthquake at Jerusalem and the inner veil of the temple was ripped in two, from top to bottom. (Matt. 27:39-54; Luke 23:35-48; John 18:35; 19:15-21; Acts 3:17, 18) Even after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and his ascension to heaven, the Jewish rulers expressed their opposition to him by persecuting his disciples, who, by being anointed with holy spirit at Pentecost, had become spiritual underpriests to Jehovah’s High Priest, Jesus Christ.
SECOND FULFILLMENT OF TEMPLE COMMISSION
10. Why did the second fulfillment of Isaiah’s commission not end with Jesus’ death?
10 Fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophetic commission did not end with Jesus’ death, but from Pentecost of 33 C.E. onward the resurrected Jesus directed from heaven the fulfillment of the commission by means of his anointed disciples on earth. These disciples were foreshadowed by Isaiah’s children, whom, as Isaiah said, Jehovah had given to him as signs and miracles in Israel.—Isa. 8:18.
11. When writing to Rome about 56 C.E., how did Paul indicate that the fulfillment of Isaiah’s commission was still being carried forward?
11 So these spiritual “children” carried forward the commission that Jehovah God had given to the Greater Isaiah, Jesus Christ. That was why the Christian apostle Paul, when writing to the congregation in Rome, quoted words from Isaiah’s commission as given at the temple and wrote: “The very thing Israel is earnestly seeking he did not obtain, but the ones chosen obtained it. The rest had their sensibilities blunted; just as it is written: ‘God has given them a spirit of deep sleep, eyes so as not to see and ears so as not to hear, down to this very day.’” (Rom. 11:7, 8) Paul wrote that about 56 C.E., about twenty-three years after the Lord Jesus Christ, the Greater Isaiah, died and was resurrected.
12, 13. How did Paul later, in Rome itself, indicate that the temple prophecy of Isaiah still applied?
12 Still later, about the year 60 C.E., the apostle Paul found himself under house arrest with a soldier guard in Rome. Some days after he was put in custody there the “principal men of the Jews” and others came to speak with him, by appointment. After the discussion together, Paul again showed that the temple prophecy of Isaiah was still applying to the Jews, for we read:
13 “And some began to believe the things said; others would not believe. So, because they were at disagreement with one another, they began to depart, while Paul made this one comment: ‘The holy spirit aptly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your forefathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “By hearing, you will hear but by no means understand; and, looking, you will look but by no means see. For the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes; that they should never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn back, and I should heal them.”’”—Acts 28:17-27.
14. (a) In prophecy Jesus foretold that the Jews would persist in their bad condition—for how long? (b) When and how did his prophecy come true?
14 By that time the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple was drawing near. The Greater Isaiah, Jesus Christ, had foretold it, thus indicating that the Jews in general would continue in their blind, deaf and hardhearted condition—for how long? Till the worst came upon them, to correspond with what happened to Judah and Jerusalem and its first temple in 607 B.C.E. The worst did come upon the Jews of apostolic times in the year 70 C.E. Then, as Jesus foretold in his prophecy on the end of this system of things, Jerusalem and her temple were destroyed, the surviving Jews were led away captive, and the land of Judah was desolated by the Roman armies under General Titus.—Luke 21:5-7, 20-24.
15. (a) Did the Christianized Jews in Judea keep going there till the houses were without earthling man? (b) By their prompt course, what did they prove to be, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy?
15 Note this fact, however. The Christianized Jews did not stay in the land of Judah till the cities crashed in ruins, “to be without an inhabitant,” and the houses were without earthling man, and the land itself was ruined into desolation by the Roman legions. No, but after they saw the sign of doom for Jerusalem appear in the year 66 C.E., they followed Jesus’ counsel and got out of Jerusalem and all Judea at once and fled across the Jordan River into Perea. Thus they escaped the horrible destruction of the Jews in Judea in 70 C.E. as a second fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. (Isa. 6:11, 12) Thus those Christianized Jews who followed the Greater Isaiah were the “holy seed” that carried forward the pure, true worship of Jehovah God, which worship needs no earthly holy city and no earthly temple on Mount Moriah.—Isa. 6:13.
MODERN-DAY FULFILLMENT OF TEMPLE COMMISSION
16. (a) How is it that a final fulfillment of Isaiah’s temple commission can be carried out today? (b) In the midst of what national group is this taking place?
16 Since then nineteen hundred years have passed. The prophecy contained in the divine commission given to Isaiah at the temple is not yet completely fulfilled. The Greater Isaiah, the glorified Jesus Christ, is directing the third and final fulfillment of the prophetic commission. He has yet on earth a small remnant of those regarding whom he can say: “Look! I and the children whom Jehovah has given me are as signs and as miracles in Israel from Jehovah of armies.” (Isa. 8:18; Heb. 2:13, 14) Today these are in the midst, not of natural Israel with its little republic in the Middle East, but in spiritual Israel. On the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E., when the Greater Isaiah poured out holy spirit upon his faithful disciples in Jerusalem, a spiritual Israel was brought into existence whereas natural Israel as a nation was rejected.
17. How did a professed spiritual Israel come to exist alongside the true spiritual Israel?
17 About three and a half years after that, holy spirit began to be poured out also upon non-Jewish people who became disciples of the Greater Isaiah, Jesus Christ. (Gal. 6:14-16; Acts 2:1-42; 10:1 to 11:18) Three hundred years afterward Christendom was set up by Emperor Constantine the Great, the Pontifex Maximus of Rome, with the bishops of a corrupted Christian religion. Down to this day this Christendom has claimed to be spiritual Israel. In the midst of it, as well as outside of it, the true God-given “children” of the Greater Isaiah, Jesus Christ, are to be found.
18. However, what ones said to Jehovah at his temple: “Here I am! Send me,” and, in their case, what corresponds with Isaiah’s temple vision?
18 So, then, in the midst of all Christendom today, who are the ones that have said to Jehovah at his temple: “Here I am! Send me”? The spirit-begotten “children” of the Greater Isaiah have done so. These anointed Christians, not the religionists of Christendom, have discerned that the Lord God Jehovah is now at his spiritual temple, and this discernment of theirs corresponds with Isaiah’s vision of “the King, Jehovah of armies,” at the temple in the year that Judah’s King Uzziah died of leprosy.—Isa. 6:1.
19. When was the Lord’s coming to the temple impressively called to attention at a convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, and how?
19 Jehovah God has been present at his spiritual temple for a judgment work since the year 1918. This was impressively called to the attention of these “children” of the Greater Isaiah on Friday, September 8, 1922, the outstanding day of the second general convention of the International Bible Students at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A. The main convention address that day was on the theme “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17, AV) This address was later published in the November 1, 1922, issue of The Watch Tower, on page 334 of which, under the heading “Coming to His Temple,” and on page 336 of which, under the heading “Change of Work,” we find the pertinent information. It has since been confirmed from the Bible’s timetable and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy that Jehovah came to his spiritual temple in the spring of 1918, in a modern-day fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi 3:1-5.a
20. Whom did Uzziah king of Judah foreshadow, and why was Uzziah struck with leprosy?
20 In the year 1918 the impious conduct of the political rulers of Christendom reached a climax, as foreshadowed by the presumptuous conduct of King Uzziah of the kingdom of Judah. Uzziah was king but had no priestly functions or privileges. So he pictures the political ruling elements of Christendom, which claims to be spiritual Israel. When Uzziah had built up the nation to great strength in a military and economic way, he became presumptuous. He presumed to take to himself the office of priest in God’s holy temple and thus to brush aside Jehovah’s designated priesthood that had been established in the family of Aaron the brother of the prophet Moses. Evidently before Isaiah’s vision of Jehovah’s enthronement at the temple, King Uzziah of the tribe of Judah invaded the holy chamber of the temple to offer incense like an Aaronic priest of the tribe of Levi. High Priest Azariah and eighty priests protested. When King Uzziah became enraged with those faithful priests, Jehovah God struck with leprosy presumptuous King Uzziah. He had to relinquish “Jehovah’s throne” to his faithful son Jotham, and died in 774 B.C.E.—2 Chron. 26:1-23.
21. (a) What general measures did Christendom’s political rulers take to win World War I? (b) What stand did the God-given “children” of the Greater Isaiah then declare, and to what work did they decide to stick?
21 Like impious Uzziah, the ruling factors of Christendom displayed their great military advancement and might in the years 1914-1918. They brought all their economic resources into play to win World War I. They regimented the whole populations of the nations, only four out of twenty-nine nations embroiled in the war being no part of Christendom. However, the God-given “children” of the Greater Isaiah, Jehovah’s anointed witnesses, could not go along with the political rulers in their world war over the issue of world domination. Specifically in the January 1, 1916, issue of The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, pages 5, 6, under the heading “Militarism and Navalism—How Long?” this remnant of childlike disciples of the Greater Isaiah, Jesus Christ, declared their neutrality.b They recognized themselves to be the spiritual underpriests of Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s heavenly High Priest, as declared in 1 Peter 2:5-9. They recognized that the Gentile Times of the worldly nations had run out in 1914 and that God’s Messianic kingdom had come into power in the heavens. So they needed to stick to their spiritual priestly duties to God.
22. How did the political rulers of Christendom proceed to act like presumptuous King Uzziah?
22 Then the ruling factors of Christendom began to trespass upon the field of service of those who were or who professed to be the ordained ministers and priests of the Most High God. In order to enforce total regimentation, the political rulers, backed up by the military officials, tried to invade the ministerial, priestly office of God’s servants. They called upon them to pray in behalf of winning the war; they issued propagandistic war material for the preachers to use in their pulpits; they had the churches converted into war recruiting posts; they called upon ministers to serve as army chaplains; they painted up the fight as a “holy war” that obligated Christian ministers to support it. Thus, like King Uzziah of old, they invaded the holy chamber of the Christian ministry to offer up what they regarded as sweet-smelling to God.
23. What was the attitude of the clergy of Christendom toward the presumptuousness of the modern-day King Uzziah?
23 Did the clergy of Christendom, Catholic and Protestant, take the stand of High Priest Azariah and his eighty underpriests and object to this? No! They ‘presented arms’ and violated Christian neutrality and branded conscientious objectors as “cowards.” They fell right in line with the political rulers and militarists of Christendom. They chose Caesar as king rather than God.c
24. How did the political authorities of Christendom proceed against the priestly “children” of the Greater Isaiah because of their objections?
24 What the political authorities did to religious clergymen was impious and sacrilegious enough. But this modern-day King Uzziah acted even more presumptuously than that. Because the God-given “children” of the Greater Isaiah, Jehovah’s witnesses, refused to agree with such presumptuous conduct of the modern King Uzziah, they got enraged and persecuted these priestly disciples of the Greater Isaiah. Finally, with full approval and applause of Christendom’s clergy, the militarized political rulers banned the Bible literature of these witnesses of Jehovah God. They threw the president and secretary-treasurer and six other key members of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society into Federal penitentiary, sentenced to stay there for twenty years at least.d
25. What did the modern King Uzziah think thus to do, and what prophecies of the Greater Isaiah did he thus fulfill?
25 Thus the modern King Uzziah thought to silence forever these priestly witnesses of Jehovah who protested against the politically dictated style of worshiping God. They fulfilled what the Greater Isaiah said in Matthew 24:9 and what he had revealed about the blasphemous wild beast that came out of the abyss of the sea, in Revelation 11:7-10 and Re 13:7-12, 18.
26. With what was the modern King Uzziah then struck, and this in what sense?
26 Then it was that Jehovah God, present at his spiritual temple, struck the modern-day King Uzziah with spiritual leprosy.e Not just because the Gentile Times of earthly domination for these political rulers had run out in 1914, but now because they opposed God’s High Priest Jesus Christ and his underpriests, the political rulers become loathsome like lepers in Jehovah’s sight. They have no part in the Priesthood and Kingdom of God. Their offices of political rule over earth are doomed to destruction in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon.—Rev. 16:14, 16.
RESPONDING TO GOD’S CALL
27. (a) When and under what circumstances did Jehovah at his temple ask about whom to send to Christendom? (b) Who responded, and in what condition?
27 World War I ended November 11, 1918, and the following year the imprisoned officials of the Watch Tower Society and their companions were released. World wide the persecuted “children” of the Greater Isaiah were gradually freed from their restraints, especially restraints due to fear and trembling at earthling men. The postwar era of worldwide opportunity for preaching about God’s established kingdom opened up. Then, from 1919 onward, Jehovah God at his spiritual temple, began to ask whom he should send and who would go for him and his Greater Isaiah, to speak to the people of spiritually blind, deaf, hardhearted Christendom. Not the politically dominated clergy of Christendom, but the cleansed “children” of the Greater Isaiah, the anointed witnesses of Jehovah, responded with ancient Isaiah’s words: “Here I am! Send me.” With lips cleansed as by the “glowing coal” of God’s holy spirit, they held their first postwar general convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, September 1-8, 1919, and reorganized for expanded service.
28. When, with greater appreciation and enthusiasm, did they renew their request to be sent?
28 It was at the second convention of the International Bible Students at Cedar Point, Ohio, September 5-13, 1922, that these anointed “children” of the Greater Isaiah really got their eyes opened by means of God’s holy Word and spirit and his temple organization, and they appreciated that Jehovah had been present at his spiritual temple, not since 1878, but since a more recent time.f So with fuller appreciation and even greater enthusiasm they renewed their request to be sent on a mission like Isaiah’s.
29. Have others of the “children” of the Greater Isaiah responded since those Cedar Point conventions, and what must they now do?
29 Others of the anointed “children” of the Greater Isaiah who were not present at those two conventions of 1919 and 1922 at Cedar Point have since discerned Jehovah God as being at his spiritual temple since 1918 and have answered to His invitation to service, in effect saying: “Here I am! Send me.” A remnant of these are yet alive today. Are you one of these? Have you said: “Here I am! Send me”? If so, you must now fulfill your commission.
30. Who, particularly since 1935 C.E., have taken their stand with the “children” of the Greater Isaiah?
30 Particularly since 1935 C.E. many sheeplike persons have heard those anointed “children” of the Greater Isaiah speaking and serving as signs and miracles amidst Christendom, the nominal spiritual Israel. This “great crowd” of sheeplike people have shown that they have not shut their ears or pasted together their eyes or made their hearts unreceptive, as Christendom has done. Before the foretold destruction comes upon Christendom, these have taken their stand with the anointed “children” of the Greater Isaiah and rejoiced at the vision of Jehovah at his temple.
31. (a) To what invitation have this “great crowd” of “other sheep” said, in effect, “Here I am”? (b) What, then, should these keep doing, and why are they to be considered happy?
31 To Jehovah’s invitation to cooperate with this anointed remnant, this “great crowd” of “other sheep” has said, in effect: “Here I am! Send me.” (Rev. 7:9-15; John 10:16) Are you one of these “other sheep”? Have you, as such, said those words? Then keep on aiding the anointed “children” of the Greater Isaiah in carrying out their divine commission from the temple. Join them in speaking to the people of Christendom and warning these that Christendom’s “houses” will be left without man and her estate be reduced to a desolation because she persists in refusing to see, hear and understand. Happy are you because you see, hear and understand with your heart, and you also act accordingly. Thus you will escape her utter, everlasting ruin!—Matt. 13:13-16.
(More with regard to how the temple commission is being carried out world wide today by Jehovah’s witnesses will appear in the next forthcoming issue of The Watchtower, in a world report.)
a See the Book “Let Your Name Be Sanctified,” particularly chapter 16, entitled “The Promised Forerunner Prepares the Way,” pages 292 ff.
On the above-mentioned page 334, par. 8, the printed speech said: “We believe, therefore, that the day of preparation ended in 1914, and that in 1918, or thereabouts, the Lord came to his temple. This coming to the temple was for judgment, because judgment must first begin at the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17)”
b See pages 30-40, under the subheadings “The Churches Abandon Neutrality” and “The Preparedness Bandwagon,” in the book Preachers Present Arms, by Ray H. Abrams, Ph.D., the New York edition of 1933.
c See The Watch Tower, under date of September 1, 1922, page 334, last paragraph; then The Watch Tower, under date of January 15, 1918, pages 24, 25, under “Resolution.”
d See Preachers Present Arms, by Ray H. Abrams, pages 182-185, under the heading “The Russellites,” and page 219, paragraph 1.
f See the Watch Tower publication The Time Is at Hand (edition of 1889), pages 218-247, as to what the year 1878 was thought to mark. Later The Watch Tower under date of February 1 and 15, 1928, calculated the date 1918 as the time for the coming to the temple.