ISAIAH CHAPTER 6.
Vision of Jehovah in His Temple.
JEHOVAH REVEALED IN HIS GLORY. — V. 1. In the year that King Uzziah died, that is, in the last year of this king’s successful reign, 2 Kings 15, 1-7; 2 Chron. 26, in the year 758 B. C., I saw also the Lord, the All-powerful, sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, the prophetic vision, beyond the range of the normal ability of human senses, permitting the prophet to see the revelation of God, not face to face, -for God dwells in an inaccessible light, - but in a manner which uncovered the divine glory to his inner mind, and his train filled the Temple, that is, His kingly robe with its majestic train, fitting emblem of the divine glory, covered and filled the heavenly Sanctuary. V. 2. Above it stood the seraphim, heavenly spirits of the highest rank, ministers of the Lord serving as guardians of the throne. Each one had six wings, in accordance with their nature as heavenly beings; with twain he covered his face, for even the seraphim cannot endure the sight of the essential holiness of God, and with twain he covered his feet, for even the angels, with a proper feeling of humility and modesty, prefer to keep their forms covered before the eyes of the Most Holy One, and with twain he did fly, floating about the throne of the Lord. V. 3. And one cried unto another, in a wonderful antiphonal chorus, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, thrice holy not only on account of the supreme excellence of His essential holiness, but also on account of the Trinity of persons, each of which is the possessor of the divine holiness in its fullness and glory; the whole earth is full of His glory, literally, “filling the whole earth is His glory”; for all men on earth will see the revelation of His divine majesty, all His works, in creation, redemption, sanctification, will serve to magnify Him as the supreme and only God. Cp. Rev. 4, 8. V.4. And the posts of the door, the foundations of the sills, or thresholds, the heavenly temple with its portals down to the lowest foundation, moved at the voice of him that cried, the powerful sound of the entire chorus, and the house was filled with smoke, as from the incense of all the prayers of the saints, uniting with the angels above to give praise and adoration to the great Lord of heaven, Rev. 5, 8; 8, 3. 4. V. 5. Then said I, overcome with awe and terror at the tremendous impressiveness of the scene, Woe is me! for I am undone, lost, threatened with death and destruction, because I am a man of unclean lips, the feeling of his own sinfulness coming over him all the more strongly in view of the perfect holiness which he had just seen, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, descendant and member of a generation of sinners; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts, between whom and man is not only the gulf separating the Creator from His creatures, but the greater abyss between the holy God and the world of sinners. Cp. Ex. 33, 20. V. 6. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar, the altar of incense evidently being referred to; v. 7. and he laid it upon my mouth, he caused the glowing coal to come into contact with the prophet’s lips, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away and thy sin purged, atoned for. The act of the angel evidently had a symbolical meaning, first of all with reference to the atonement made in and through the person of Jesus Christ, the work of redemption carried out in accordance with the Triune God’s counsel. Not only, however, is the prophet, sinful man as he was, assured of the grace of God, but the Lord also imparts special strength to him and fits him to be the instrument of His inspiration.
THE MISSION OF THE PROPHET. — V. 8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, of the All-powerful, the great Ruler of the universe, saying, Whom shall I send? the call being for volunteers to proclaim the atonement set forth in the vision just vouchsafed the prophet. And who will go for Us? the persons of the Trinity here consulting together in this very important matter. Then said I, Here am I; send me. The prophet, in the spirit of voluntary service wrought by the Lord, a principal requisite for the proper and effective ministry of the Word, is ready to undertake the task. V. 9. And He said, Go and tell this people, to which He no longer refers as His people, but as strangers, in the third person, Hear ye indeed, constantly within reach of the Word of God, but understand not, the words making no impression upon mind and heart; and see ye indeed, namely, the great works of God by which He reveals Himself to mankind, but perceive not, not really grasping their significance or applying them to their own condition. The judgment of God is now proclaimed as carried out upon the Jews during eight centuries and more. V. 10. Make the heart of this people fat, insensitive to impressions for good, so that feeling, reason, and will would become callous, and make their ears heavy, the hearing of the mind becoming impaired beyond the possibility of understanding, and shut their eyes, namely, those of the spirit, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, that is, be converted, and be healed. Note that the members or organs spoken of are given in inverted order in the second part of the sentence, to increase its impressiveness. It is the judicial hardening, the judgment of obduration, which is here described, for if people deliberately and maliciously reject God’s offers of salvation, He may punish them in the manner here described, so that the message which otherwise works salvation becomes to them a savor of death unto death. Cp. 2 Cor. 2, 16; Matt. 13, 14. 15; Mark 4, 12; Luke 8, 10; John 12, 40; Acts 28, 26. 27. It is not that God works obduration, but He surrenders the godless to their evil will; He withdraws from their hearts with His Holy Spirit. V. 11. Then said I, Lord, how long? that is, how long would this hardening continue? And He answered, Until the cities be wasted, altogether desolate, without inhabitant, and the houses without man, without a protector, and the land be utterly desolate, literally, “made desolate a desert,” v. 12. and the Lord have removed men far away, by having them led away into exile, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. V. 13. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return and shall be eaten, literally, “And if there is yet in it a tenth, it will once more become subject to devouring”; as a teil-tree, a terebinth, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, a mere stump being left, when they cast their leaves, when they are felled, so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof, the stump or stem. Thus the obduration upon Israel would continue until the last wrath would come upon Israel, resulting in its destruction. And yet, after the trunk would be hewn down, the stump which remained would bring forth new shoots, a people consecrated to God. As in Israel, so in all the nations of the world the Lord has His holy seed, people who by His grace accept the Gospel and are saved.