Much of our free time is spent combing the endless amounts of fantastic information on the internet about what new things there are for us to experience and learn about. It doesn’t take too much effort for us to get interested in a story provided it has something unique or historical about it – we can geek out pretty easily. Imagine this scenario: It’s late at night, the world is asleep, and we are each sitting in our own home reading away. Suddenly, we get wide-eyed, reading faster and faster as the story one of us just found unfolds. We send an email to the other one with a subject line of only “DUDE!!” and a link to the website we discovered, in hopes the other hadn’t already found it themselves. Then we send a Facebook message, “DUDE!! You have got to see this! Add it to the list, we are going!” That’s precisely what unfolded when one of us discovered the story of Prophet Isaiah. This was a no-brainer, and we have been super excited for months to meet this man and get his story first hand, directly from him.
I got in touch with Fred Scruton, a photographer from Pennsylvania who did a great feature on his own blog about the Prophet. After seeing our blog, Fred assured me that the Prophet’s story would fit perfectly with what we explore, and gave me the Prophet’s contact information. I gave a call directly to his home and he answered. I told him what it was that Luke and I do, and asked if he would be alright with us coming out and spending some time with him to get his story. In between telling me that his end-time prophecy was about to come true, and exclaiming ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Praise God’ nearly every other sentence, he said to me, “Absolutely! I am always here for you!” I sent a message to Luke saying, “I don’t really know what just happened on that phone call, but we are definitely going to Niagara Falls and I have a feeling it’s going to be one of the coolest stories we’ve done so far.” After spending an afternoon of about four hours visiting with Prophet Isaiah and driving around to different places in Niagara Falls while he described the end of the world, I can confirm this is easily one of the most intriguing stories on this blog, and we’re super excited to share the experience.
Upon arriving in Niagara Falls, we stopped for a late breakfast at an old diner – greasy spoons are our favorite. While at the counter, a woman sat down next to Luke and they struck up a conversation. Luke asked, “Hey, we are here to see the Prophet Isaiah, do you know about him?” Her head tilted back a bit and she replied, “Oh! Everyone here knows about him, he’s crazy!” We all chuckled, and then I suspect she felt a little guilty and qualified her statement. She told us that most of the townspeople knew of him, and thought of him as the “crazy guy with the Candy-Land House”, but that he was incredibly nice and we’d have a good time visiting with him. We finished up breakfast and said our goodbyes and made our way over to meet the Prophet. We were a bit early, so we ended up chatting with a neighbor of the Prophet’s and asked him what he thought of the house. He concurred with our friend in the diner, the Prophet is thought to be a little crazy, but a good man and neighbors are cool with him being there. I suspect most neighbors though weren’t prepared for the endless number of cars that drive down their street specifically to glare and wonder about the colorful, folk-art gallery of shapes and symbols that make up the entire facade of the property. After only a few minutes, a truck pulled up that looked as though it would belong to a contractor with small, simple signs on the side advertising their business, but these signs said “The Scroll of the Prophet Isaiah”. Once parked, the truck door opened, and out stepped a dark man, in a dark suit with a couple gold chains and a long white beard. He seemed to already know who we were as he waved across the street smiling to us. An afternoon of having our minds blown by one of the most interesting people we have met was set to begin.
Isaiah Robertson was born on June 21, 1947 in Jamaica and raised as an Adventist. He told us that age the age of 7, his mother told him to give praise to God as much as possible, because the “more prayer dat goes up, da more blessings dat come down”. Dedicating himself to worship at an early age, he asked his mother about what occupation Jesus had while he was on Earth, and immediately set forth on learning the carpentry trade as additional form of worship to Christ. At the age of 24, Robertson emigrated to Canada and continued his self-taught trade as a carpenter for hire, and did contracting jobs for a steady income while establishing his life by buying a home and building a family. He soon found that just over the U.S. border in Niagara Falls, there were countless homes that he could purchase very inexpensively, fix up and rent out. He immediately bought up 7 homes (if you’re not keeping track, that’s the third time the number 7 has occurred in this story), and started renting them out.
Having already established his reputation for fine workmanship, the Mt. Erie Baptist Church contracted Robertson for a job. While I won’t delve too deeply into the history of the church, I do want to make a point of the fact that the church was founded in 1947, the same year Robertson was born, and, point out the fact that the number 7 just showed up again. The church contracted Robertson for a job that for $8,000 would have Robertson fix the entire front wall of the sanctuary and replace much of it with drywall. While Robertson isn’t exact in much of his remembering of dates and times, I’m guessing that the contract was accepted around early summer in 2003. While in the church and prepping the project, Robertson heard a voice, and the voice claimed that it was God, instructing him that the job shouldn’t be done in drywall, but rather in oak. Robertson cancelled the $8,000 contract, and told the church that he would be replacing the wall in oak, and that he’d be doing the work and supplying the materials at no cost to the church. Soon after the oak panels began to be put in place, Robertson realized his saws were beginning to cut odd and unique shapes, which were not conscious decisions of his own. The shapes began to take the form of religious symbols, and he began to place them up on the panels.
Over the course of the next three years or so, Robertson had bought out five different Home Depot locations of the oak, which was in low supply. He continued day in and day out to work as God instructed him, and he realized none of what he was doing could be anything manmade. The symbols to him obviously were a divine gift that God created simply by using Robertson as one of his tools.
Though we had met Robertson at his house, we spent the afternoon visiting different locations, and after spending some time at his home talking about the plan for the day, the church would be the first stop on our tour. He explained that it was during that three year time period while creating the sanctuary in Mt. Erie Baptist Church, he realized God was using him to share with the world the truth of how the world will end, and that it was Robertson’s job to create what God intended to be the relaying of this prophecy. From the point of this project at the church, he realized his new moniker was more appropriately to be Prophet Isaiah. He used a laser point to make us aware of some of the subtle symbols in the church. Many of the cutouts formed stories, and Prophet Isaiah read each of the stories around the church with his soft spoken Jamaican accent to us. His explanations usually included him pointing out a symbol and explaining what it represented, but every sentence of what he shared was punctuated with a “Praise God!” or a “Hallelujah” or a “Praise da Lord!!”. His excitement grew as he spoke of each of the symbols and how the inspiration to explain the prophecy came to him, and occasionally would seem to drift to another place and exclaim, “praise god, Praise God, praise GOD, PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD!!” and then quietly rejoin Luke and I to be sure we were following along with his stories.
When we first met back on the street in front of his house, the three of us introduced each other, and when Luke had done so, Prophet Isaiah’s face lit up with excitement, and he took Luke’s hand. He said, “My broddah! You are one of da chosen ones! Your holy name is written in da Bible!! Praise God!!” I’ll admit that standing literally in the middle of a street in Niagara Falls and finding out one of my closest friends was a “chosen one” kind of threw me for a loop (and don’t let Luke fool you, he was surprised too!) Throughout the day Prophet Isaiah continued to point this out to the extent that I was almost concerned about my own eternal future. But while we were walking throughout the church, Isaiah said to us, “Would you like to see da Virgin Mary while she was pregnant with Baby Christ?” I replied, “You mean like this?” and held out my forearm tattoo of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Isaiah’s face lit up and he showed that child-like toothy grin that I came to look forward to seeing all afternoon. He laughed and grabbed my arm and said, “My broddah! Oh my God in Heaven, yes!! Let me show you more!” and with his red laser pointer he outlined a design in a panel where the oak’s knots created a pattern. Luke and I immediately saw the outline in the knotwork of the panel to be a woman pregnant with child and both quietly confirmed the image with an out loud “whoa!” Isaiah smiled and said, “And you too have dis right on your arm, I don’t need to worry about either one of you!!”
After spending some time at the church reading the symbols and oak panels to us, Prophet Isaiah wanted to share with us the remainder of the prophecy: The end of the world will take place in 2014, and it will take place in a precise location with precise details right in Niagara Falls, NY. Before we got further into the story of how that would take place, we immediately asked why Jesus Christ would choose Niagara Falls of all places in the entire world to come back to Earth and rally his chosen people–surely there must be a more holy land than an outdated tourist trap…right? Prophet Isaiah chuckled, and with a smile, told us this was one of the wonders of the world, and there were only two rivers in the entire world that made such a sound like the Niagara; it was special.
He told us that after he completed the church prophecy, which took a few years, God began to use Isaiah’s hands to begin his second prophecy. Isaiah’s wife had decided she couldn’t be on board with this concept of the prophecy and requested a divorce. Further dedicating himself to the work of the Lord, Isaiah left a 6,000 sq ft home of beauty to his wife back in Canada, took his green card and moved in to the small home that is now the location of God’s work on Ontario Avenue. It started with a couple shapes and symbols and has grown over the last seven years or so (if you’re not paying attention, that pesky 7 just showed up again!) to what you see today while driving down Ontario Avenue.
Prophet Isaiah explained many of the symbols on the second prophecy and how they slowly have evolved over time and additions have been made. Be sure to check out the video we took of him explaining a few of them. What’s not in the video though, is the explanation of what this colorful, folksy, ‘Candy Land’ looking location really is. ‘Dis is da last cross da worl’ will eva see!’ On the final day of judgment, the entire world will walk along Ontario Ave under the direction of God, and this cross that bears the symbols of everything spiritual, will indeed be the last opportunity that each human will have to accept Christ into their hearts and to accept their fate of either eternal damnation or the everlasting Jerusalem. There literally are thousands of symbols and icons seemingly scattered at random across the entire facade of the building. It looks at first glance to be an amalgamation of something from the 1980′s “Rainbow Brite” cartoon and the painted bus that the Merry Pranksters of the 1960′s took acid and drove to Grateful Dead shows in. But with the Prophet’s soft spoken, soothing Jamaican accent, broken up with a ‘Praise God!’, it was easy to stand there and feel how real it was. Regardless of one’s spiritual beliefs, there was no mistaking the fact that his home was a work of art in and of itself, all created by one man’s hands. Think about it: when was the last time you dedicated every day of a decade to creating a work of art? That alone seemed a larger concept than I was able to grasp, sometimes I have a difficult time even writing a few hours of a blog post.
Prophet Isaiah knows the end of the world is coming, and for a few reasons. He solemnly explained that Barack Obama would be the last President the U.S. would have. He wasn’t joking, but he chuckled while he said, “A black mon in da White House?? Come on! Da black people did not put him into office, it was da white people!” and then quoted the scripture from Matthew 20:16 that says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last”–a forthcoming omen that the first black President of the United States of America can’t possibly be followed by another. It was here that he also spoke about another recent newsworthy prophecy. He told us about how everyone was worried that Syria and Russia would ultimately attack the U.S., but he assured us that couldn’t be possible because we are a protected land; in essence our divine protection is the result of being the final seat of judgment.
After walking past the house on Ontario Ave on Judgment Day, all of the humans of the world will proceed toward downtown Niagara Falls (I suspect down Robert Moses Parkway) and file on to Goat’s Island. The three of us went to the island and visited a place where the Prophet regularly comes to pray. There is a point at the Northern most tip of the island where the river splits, and a bench at this spot is where he often comes for spiritual inspiration and prayer. Just South of the parking area at this spot is an open grassy area; Luke and I followed the Prophet while he walked us to the center of the grassy area. He explained that Jesus Christ would be exactly in the center of this spot in the park, raised about 30 ft off the ground in his white chariot, and facing North. All of those whom had previously made their decision at the cross on Ontario Ave would now come face to face with their creator, and Christ would either direct us one by one to proceed right in to the new Jerusalem as sheep, or to the left as a goat into the Niagara River. He explains in another video, that the name for the island ‘Goat’s Island’ is no coincidence and quotes more scripture, from Matthew 25:31 that says, “He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” We hung out for a bit and walked around talking. The Prophet continued to find symbolism in nearly everything around him and while talking about the concept of coincidence and how it didn’t exist, he pointed to the ground at our three shadows and said, “Read this to me!” Luke and I realizing that we didn’t really have the divine gift of reading shadows shrugged quietly, unsure of how to respond. But he said it again and motioned with both of his hands, “Read this to me!” Like a child in a classroom wanting to appease a teacher who clearly was trying to inspire the coaxing of an answer from their quiet classroom, I said, “You mean, like, the Holy Trinity?” Prophet Isaiah’s face lit up brighter than it had all day and he raised his hand to give me a high-five while laughing at the enjoyment he found in my answer. “MY BRODDAH!! You did not know dis ansah! How could you possibly know what ansah I wa’seeking when I axed you to read our shadows!? It is God here wit us. I know I don’t have to worry aboud ider one of you. You are both Chosen Ones and you here to go on and share dis story with da worl’!”
The three of us had been together all afternoon visiting sites and talking. While walking through the park, he reveled at an apple tree and insisted Luke reach up (let’s face it, even with divine intervention I couldn’t reach a hanging apple) and get us each one. He climbed down to the river and washed the apples and we sat somewhat quietly, but still talking. It kind of felt as if the three of us sitting on the bench together were very much in the same place, but each of our minds were elsewhere. I know that Luke was doing the same as I was, trying to process all of this information and the experience and figuring out how to tell this story and what parts we believed and what parts we agreed with the Niagara Fallians on. There was however one other location that Prophet Isaiah had to show us before we could get back on the road home.
When we got to the Whirlpool State Park it occurred to me that living my entire 34 years of life just an hour or so away from the park, I had no memory of ever visiting. The whole point of this blog was to get us to see things of religious nature that we had never seen before. I had always considered most state parks to be secular in nature, but we already learned that Goat Island was sacred, and now we would learn that divine inspiration would be commandeering another popular tourist attraction. While we walked, I wondered if the sight of the cavernous gorge and swirling rapids of the river would hold the tourists’ attention over the two white, young, tattooed guys walking with an older black man in a full black suit praising God and shouting hallelujah while pointing out notable things in the park. We approached the railing and Prophet Isaiah got kind of quiet and solemn. He explained, “Dis my broddahs is where da Lake of Fire will be. And, da goats who did not choose to follow Jesus will end up here after tumblin’ over da falls, and der bodies churning up in da lava an’ fire.” It’s safe to say that one of the odder experiences I have had as the result of this blog is standing at a railing looking over to Canada, and trying to imagine any water now being a fiery, swirling pit of spiritual death and eternal damnation, and knowing that it was possible I could be tossed around in that very whirlpool within the year. We did break the mood a bit though to pose for a photo while a kind tourist snapped a picture of the three of us. We didn’t bother to explain to the man that we were on a quest to see all of the places where Judgment Day would be taking place, and that he’d better make the right choice or he’d be in that whirlpool the following year burning forever. Maybe he’ll read this blog and he’ll have all the information he’ll need to make the right choice while walking down Ontario Ave.
Afterword: There are a number of people who have called Prophet Isaiah a false prophet, and I asked him about what he thought of being called “crazy”. He told me it didn’t matter to him. The Bible says that a prophet is proven by his work and not by his word. The followers will believe, and the naysayers won’t. Jesus himself was put to death for being a false prophet, Joseph Smith was called a false prophet (and, actually, also killed by an angry mob) and both of their teachings have gone on to find millions of followers. And, really, when it comes right down to it, without the faith of the individual believer, all religions sound a little crazy don’t they? I won’t get into what our beliefs are about everything that the Prophet shared with us, cause they don’t belong here. This blog is a spot for us to share with you the experience of learning and being exposed to new ideas, it’s up to you to decide whether Prophet Isaiah is just a crazy old Jamaican or a true prophet.
There did seem to be quite a few coincidences pointed out to us that afternoon though. Remember at the beginning of the post where I kept point out the random popping up of the number 7? In Genesis 2:2, the Bible states that “...on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made“. It’s believed by many that this passage indicates that God used the number 7 as a symbol of completion, and it appears numerous times throughout the Bible. In addition, Prophet Isaiah was born in another part of the world and raised an Adventist. Somehow, he was drawn to settle and create the prophecy in Niagara Falls, which is just under 2 hours from the precise location where Adventism began almost 200 years ago, right in the heart of the Burned Over District. (You should’ve seen him light up when I told him that!) Whatever you come up with about this story though, there’s no one who can argue with the fact that his story isn’t intriguing and the fact that his works of art are some of the most unique and interesting in all of Western NY. Next time you’re in Niagara Falls, make it point to drive down Ontario Ave and scope out the spot that just may be the final cross you ever see.