We begin this week with Isaiah 6:1-5
It is through prophecy that we can learn a great deal about the nature and character of G-d. In many ways, Isaiah 6 is an overview of the work that G-d was going to bring about through Messiah.
v1: King Uzziah: See 2 Chronicles 26. King Uzziah became proud and rebellious. Even though he was not a Levite and was not authorised to burn incense to the L-rd, on the altar of incense, he went ahead and burnt it anyway. Because he was king, he thought he could do whatever he wanted to do. He did not recognize the authority of G-d, and nor did he submit to His instruction. As a result, he was struck with leprosy – bringing physical uncleanness and spiritual impurity into his life. This leprosy side-lined him, to the degree that he was even unable to rule his kingdom, his son ruling in his stead. Leprosy was a badge of shame and dishonour. It was when Uzziah died that a change happened in the kingdom – Isaiah received his call to be a prophet.
- I saw: Isaiah saw.
- L-rd: Master.
- High (exalted) and lifted up: This speaks about the glory and superiority of G-d. He transcends all things. He is over all things – not only on Earth but also in the heavens.
- Temple: This is a word that more specifically relates to the sanctuary (the Holy of holies). Oftentimes, prophetically, when we deal with the Kingdom of G-d the emphasis is not on the temple in a general sense but on the Holy of holies. The throne of G-d is related to that most holy place. The Holy of holies is an image of the holiest place within creation.
v2: Above it: Above the throne in this Holy place.
- Seraphim: This is a word which means ‘to burn up’. The tradition in Judaism is that these beings that paid glory to G-d would burn up as they praised. As a result, more would be created, so that these beings are being constantly created. From the rabbi’s standpoint they see this as a picture of G-d’s creation being temporal and the purpose of His creation is to exalt, glorify and praise Him.
- Six wings: Six is a number related to grace. Forgiveness only comes about through G-d’s grace.
- Covered his face: They cover their faces so as not to look upon G-d.
- Covered his feet: This shows modesty.
v3: Holy, holy, holy: The fact that ‘holy’ is repeated three times has caused some to interpret this as a revelation of G-d as three-in-One (Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three persons, but One G-d. Each One is G-d, but there is only One G-d and not three).
- The whole Earth is full of His glory: This is something yet future.
v4: The posts (pillars) of the door (threshold) were shaken: It was the voice of the one who called out that caused these pillars of the Heavenly temple (Ps 11:4, Heb 8:5, 11, Rev 11:19) to shake.
- House: Referring to the temple.
- Smoke: Used frequently (especially in the book of Revelation) in regard to G-d’s judgment. G-d’s glory is manifested through this smoke. In the last days this smoke is going to manifest G-d’s righteous judgment.
v5: I said: Isaiah, seeing the shaking of the pillars, hearing the voice and seeing the smoke responds to this manifestation of G-d’s glory.
- Woe: How awful it will be for me…
- I am undone: Literally: I am going to come to an end. The word used here refers to coming to an end, a failing, a destruction – like having heart failure and one’s heart just stops. Isaiah, reflecting on his own personal condition, his natural state in light of the glory of G-d, realises that if the whole world is going to be filled with G-d’s glory, he (in the state that he is in), cannot be a part of it as there is nothing glorious about him.
- I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: Isaiah is left with the understanding that G-d’s glory is going to fill this earth, but in doing so (without miraculous intervention and salvation), it is going to bring a cessation to all of humanity, as all are unclean.
- My eyes have seen the King: Isaiah knew that death occurred to those who looked upon G-d (Ex 33:20) and he now believed that he was going to die, he was going to be silenced, he was going to come to his end.