First published: Winter 2013
Just before her early death, when he was twelve years old, Isaiah Henry Robertson’s mother received a vision that the Lord had special plans for her son. As a young man in Jamaica, she had taught him to pray for Salvation, and, following Jesus’ example, he became a carpenter and built his first house without having been trained in carpentry.
Born in 1947, Isaiah Robertson emigrated to Canada at age 24, and worked primarily in the construction trades. Surprised by the low cost of fixer-up housing stock across the border in Niagara Falls, he moved there from Ontario in 2004, and began to renovate and resell houses. Having never been artistically inclined, Robertson left behind an unremarkable residence in Canada with no hints of his near-future undertakings.
A few blocks from his Niagara Falls, New York State home, Robertson is a parishioner – not a preacher – at the Mount Erie Baptist Church, and its three-storey sanctuary is the site of his “first prophesy” – that The Jubilee (a year of forgiveness and redemption) began in 2006. Originally hired by the church to simply sheetrock and panel the walls, he recalls that a guest speaker at an outdoor spiritual revival event could sense there was a person with the gift of prophecy in their midst, and, not long after, he covered the sanctuary walls with an architectural inlay of interlocking stained wood panels.
Using a laser pointer, he shows where apparently accidental grain-cut patterns in the oak plywood are actually biblical messages. God had directed Prophet Isaiah to use oak, and the golden-brown hues provide a rich ground for numerous applied wood cut-outs.
Often appearing abstract and decorative, Robertson can explain the meaning of each shape. A simplified form with straight and curved lines, for example, represents the Lamb of God. To celebrate the first day of The Jubilee in the summer of 2006, Prophet Isaiah placed and lit over 1000 candles around his Ontario Avenue home and property.
Prophet Isaiah’s “second prophecy”– that The Rapture (the second coming of Christ and the ascension of the Saved) would occur in 2014, began with symbolic bead patterns on the floors, and candle placements inside his house.
A dedicated “Holy Room” stays locked when not being used for prayer, but an overflowing of candles and beads can be seen throughout the house. Containing and outlining the patterns are lines of purple beads that represent the path to Salvation. Later, directed to announce his message and offer a source of healing to the world, Prophet Isaiah built a 25-foot wooden cross at the head of his stone driveway, and soon covered it and his home with additional wooden cut-outs as well as signs, numbers, and symbols from this second prophecy.