by Dr. Brad Black
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I was humming “Holy, Holy, Holy” the other day, one of my favorite hymns, and it got me to thinking of one of my favorite chapters in the Bible; Isaiah 6. “Holy, Holy, Holy” is written with this chapter in mind. Therefore, for today’s blog let me try to explain it.
Uzziah died in 740 B.C.
1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
First of all, Uzziah was a good king of Israel and Isaiah was in the temple praying about how someone was going to replace this Godly king. This is when Isaiah looks up and sees this vision of the Lord God. I want to try to give you a picture of this; the Mercy Seat, or the Ark of the Covent was in the Temple, as I pointed out in my blog about the Temple (insert picture of Ark of the Covent)
For those of you that have not read that blog, if you remember the first Indiana Jones movie, the Ark of the Covent is what they are chasing after for the entire movie. God said that He sat there in between the wings of the Cherubim on the Ark of the Covent. That was His throne on earth. The whole temple was to be an earthly version of Heaven. So if Isaiah was transported in sprit to the Temple in Heaven, or that God came and indwelled the earthly temple so Isaiah could have a vision of Him, we do not know.
Another word picture I want you to get is the verse that says God’s train fills the Temple. First, most ladies will pick up on the idea that the train is like the train of a fancy dress. One time when a train is important to a woman is on her wedding gown. This is the idea that is going on here, but the train is of God’s Royal Robe and it fills the temple. The Temple is no small place and the picture here is that God is so big that he takes up every little piece of the temple. It gives us the grandeur of God and the idea that He is big enough to be everywhere at once.
2Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
Now God adds to the picture. Let us first discuss Seraphim; most people would tell you that this is an angel and when they come to the word Cherubim, they would say that it is an angel, but there is more to it than that. These are both angelic beings, but have different functions. Seraphim, translated from Hebrew, means burning ones. This goes with every time you see an angel in the Bible, they describe it has having robes the glow or burn white. Seraphim are the angelic beings that deal with man. We see later that it is a Seraphim that takes a hot coal to Isaiah and burns his mouth to purge his sin. You see, the word Angel in Hebrew means messenger, therefore, the angel we see the most in the Bible is the Seraphim, because they deal with man.
Seraphim also do not look like the angels you see depicted in all the paintings, they have six wings. We also see the respect they have for God, the use two wings to cover their face, this is to shows that they do not even fell worthy to look upon God. With two they cover their feet, maybe a better translation of would be the lower part of there body to include what we would call private areas, if the angels have private areas. And the last pair they use to fly.
I would like to pick up were we left off last blog in Isaiah 6:3 it goes like this.
3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Here is where the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy gets it start from this verse. You again have a picture of the Seraphim singing Holy, back and forth like a round. This is one of the places where people get the idea of angelic choirs. Also, we again see the idea that God is everywhere with the words “the whole earth is full of His glory”
4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
You see the power and grandeur again that the voices of the angels shake the temple so much the doorpost shake. We also get a unique picture here; the temple is filled with smoke. Smoke is a symbol of the Holy Sprit therefore; you have a picture of God and the Holy Sprit together. This is like the train we talked about earlier, how it filled the temple to show that God was everywhere. This is one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit; to be everywhere so God can be omnipresent.
5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Isaiah is admitting that he is a sinner. I have seen where this has been used to say that Isaiah was cussing and this verse used to denounce cussing. I am not saying that cussing is right, but this means much more. Isaiah is convicted of all of his sins because of being in the presence of the perfect, sovereign Lord, not just cussing. This is hopefully how we are convicted of sin every Sunday when we come to church. The idea of unclean lips is more like how Isaiah has blastephimed (dishonored God) God in his words and actions. He admits that the Jewish people have also done this. Isaiah is also scared because he has seen the Lord God and even God says that man cannot see God’s face and live. This is one way we know that this is a vision, because Isaiah lives and does not die.
6Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Here we see the seraphim make atonement for Isaiah’s sin by burning his lips with the coal. As I pointed out earlier, this shows that the seraphim are the angelic beings that work with man. The angels are to help, guide, give messages, or just plan to urge us to do God’s will.
Another point that is overlooked here sometimes is that immediately after Isaiah confesses his sin, God has his sins immediately purged. We need to realize that God gets rid of our sins immediately; it is us that hold on to our sin, or the Devil that trys to get us to remember our sin and convict us of it again and again. We must realize that our sins are forgiven and God remembers them no more.
I would like to finish Isaiah 6 today by looking at the call of Isaiah and the parallels to our call by God to ministry for him.
8Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
I love this, we see after Isaiah confesses his sins and God forgives him, he is now ready for ministry. It is after Isaiah’s heart is right he is ready to work for God. This is Isaiah’s call to the ministry. I love that God asks him and he is ready to go right away.
9And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
Here God is telling Isaiah that it will not be easy. He says the people will hear but not understand. God says that people are fat and comfortable and are going to complain that his preaching will hurt their ears or is too long winded and they will shut their eyes and will not see the truth. To all my preacher and missionary friends out there, does this sound like what is happening in our churches every Sunday? Every time I preach or teach, at least one person will say I am too long winded.
11Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
12And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
13But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
In these last verses we see that Isaiah is a little discouraged by what God had to say and ask how long he has to do this. God’s answer is to the end. I want to put that this is just like God’s call on all of our lives. God is asking us to do something for him and people are not going to understand and will give you a hard time about doing God’s work. And as our Awana Commander says all the time, I have never seen retirement in the Bible; just like these verses say, we are in it till the end. I know a lot of my readers are senior saints and even now you have several more years of ministry for the Lord, as we all do, we must persevere till the end.
In vs.13 there is one last idea, and in it God says there will be a tenth that shall return. Isaiah is going to do all this work and preaching and he is only going to get a tenth of the people. Just like today, we preach and work with many people and only have a small amount of people commit their lives for the Lord in return, but just like Isaiah we are called by God to do it anyway for His Glory. We must persevere. I have a hard time with preachers who say everything will be rosy when you become a Christian, this verse shows us that this is not true, but we are to work until the end.
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