‘Those Leaving Jehovah Will Perish’
In the time of the prophet Isaiah, many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the land of Judah were unfaithful to Jehovah their God. They were steeped in idolatrous practices. It was, therefore, against them that Jehovah directed these words through Isaiah: “Those leaving Jehovah will come to their finish. For they will be ashamed of the mighty trees that you people desired, and you will be abashed because of the gardens that you have chosen.”—Isa. 1:28, 29.
In the gardens or sacred groves the people would offer sacrifices and burn incense to false deities. (Isa. 65:3; 66:17) “The mighty trees” also played a role in such idolatry. At the time for the executing of Jehovah’s judgments, the sacred trees and gardens would prove to be a cause for the idolaters to be ashamed. The deities whom they had served would be unable to shield them or protect them from the day of wrath.
The prophecy of Isaiah continues: “For you will become like a big tree the foliage of which is withering, and like a garden that has no water.” (Isa. 1:30) Thus transferring the figure of the “big tree” and the “garden” to the idolaters, the prophecy showed how the unfaithful people would ‘wither’ from the heat of God’s anger, drying up as a garden in a season of drought. “And” the prophecy goes on to say, “the vigorous man [the idolater] will certainly become tow [like the combustible, broken, coarse parts of flax], and the product of his activity [the idol] a spark; and both of them [the idolater and the idol] will certainly go up in flames at the same times with no one to do the extinguishing.” (Isa. 1:31) What a strong warning this is against idolatry! Unquestionably, ‘those leaving Jehovah will perish.’