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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Isaiah 6

 

 

Verses 1-13

Isaiah's Divine Commission - We often find a divine commission at the beginning of the story of God' servants in the Scriptures. We see in the book of Genesis that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob each received their commissions at the beginning of their genealogies which divide the book of Genesis into major divisions. We also see how Moses received his divine commission near the beginning of his story found within Exodus to Deuteronomy. Joshua received his commission in the first few verses of the book of Joshua. Also, we see that Isaiah , Jeremiah and Ezekiel each received a divine commission at the beginning of their ministries. The book of Ezra opens with a divine call to rebuild the Temple and the book of Nehemiah begins with a call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which callings Ezra and Nehemiah answered. In the New Testament, we find Paul the apostle receiving his divine commission in Acts 9:1-22 at the beginning of the lengthy section on Paul's life and ministry.

Each of these divine callings can be found within God's original commission to Adam in the story of Creation to be fruitful and multiply. For these men were called to bring the about the multiplication of godly seeds. The patriarchs were called to multiply and produce a nation of righteousness. Moses was called to bring Israel out of bondage, but missed his calling to bring them into the Promised Land. Joshua was called to bring them in to the land. Esther was called to preserve the seed of Israel as was Noah, while Ezra and Nehemiah were called to bring them back into the Promised Land. All of the Judges , the kings and the prophets were called to call the children of Israel out of sin and bondage and into obedience and prosperity. They were all called to bring God's children out of bondage and destruction and into God's blessings and multiplication. The stories in the Old Testament show us that some of these men fulfilled their divine commission while others either fell short through disobedience or were too wicked to hear their calling from God.

Isaiah's vision and commission is recorded in Isaiah 6:1-13. This commission reflects the atoning work of Christ in that the prophet's call to pronounce Israel's sins is rejected by his people in the same way Jesus' atonement will be rejected by the Jews centuries later. In contrast, Jeremiah's commission reflects the office and ministry of God the Father's divine plan of redemption in that the prophet is set over nations to "root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, build and plant."

One of the unique features of Isaiah's vision and commission is that it does not come in the opening chapter of his book, as does the commissions of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Perhaps the reason for Isaiah's calling coming after two recorded prophecies is the fact that a person can give a prophecy without standing in the office of a prophet. For example, we read about King Saul laying on the ground all night prophesying, but this event did not make him a prophet ( 1 Samuel 19:24). Isaiah may have given a number of prophecies before his vision and calling in Isaiah 6:1-13.

1 Samuel 19:24, "And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?"

Isaiah 6:1-13Isaiah's Divine Commission (The Vision of the Throne of God) - David ( Psalm 2; Psalm 110:1-7), Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 1:1-28), Stephen ( Acts 7:55-56) and John the Apostle ( Revelation 1:9-20; Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 5:14) also had visions of the glory of God and of His throne.

Isaiah 6:1 In 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.

Isaiah 6:1 — "In the year that king Uzziah died" - Comments- King Uzziah ( עֻזִּיָּה) or ( עֻזִּיָּהוּ) (H 5818), or Azariah ( עֲזַרְיָה) or ( עֲזַרְיָהוּ) (H 5838), reigned over Judah for fifty-two years beginning at young age of sixteen (792-740 B.C.). See 2 Kings 15:1-7 and 2 Chronicles 26:1-23 for the story of his reign.

We are told in the opening verses of the book of Isaiah that the prophet ministered during the reign of King Uzziah. Therefore, if the prophecies in the book of Isaiah follow some pattern of chronological order, it is possible that the first two prophecies recorded in Isaiah 1-5 were given to him during this king's reign.

Isaiah 6:1"I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne" - Comments- God was still ruling and in control during the most difficult times of our lives. Even though the earthly king of Judah had died, the heavenly king was still in control. When we look to Prayer of Manasseh , we find him as mortal and limited and some times failing. But we know that God will always be there for us.

Isaiah 6:1 — "high and lifted up" - Comments- In Africa, when a king is seated at a local function or event, his chair is set up higher than all other chairs around him. Even his wife, the queen, is seated in a chair placed lower than the king"s chair. Thus, the higher and larger this throne the greater the person who sits upon it. This is why God has the highest throne of all.

Isaiah 6:1"and his train filled the temple" - Comments- The length of robe measures magnitude of greatness. Song of Solomon , God's robe shows that he is the greatest.

Isaiah 6:2 Above 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.

Isaiah 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Isaiah 6:3 — "And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts" - Comments- Why do the angels cry, "Holy, holy, holy!"? Jesse Duplantis said that when he visited heaven and saw these angels crying these words, he found out that every time the angels behold God Almighty in all of His glory, they see a new aspect of His being. Therefore, this continuous revelation of God moves them to cry these words. Benny Hinn replied to Jesse Duplantis by saying that the Lord once spoke to him that the angels cry out, "Holy, holy, holy!" because of the revelation they are receiving from God. 21]

21] Jesse Duplantis, interviewed by Benny Hinn, This is Your Day (Irving, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California, July 16, 2002), television program.

Scripture References- Note a similar verse:

Revelation 4:8, "And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and Isaiah , and is to come."

Isaiah 6:3 — "the whole earth is full of his glory" - Comments- Rick Joyner writes, "I could not understand how they could say, ‘The whole earth is filled with His glory,' when the whole earth seemed to be filled with wars, disease, child abuse, treachery and evil on every side. Then the Lord spoke to me one day and said, ‘The reason that these cherubim say that the whole earth is filled with My glory is because they dwell in My presence. When you dwell in My presence, you will not see anything but glory.'" 22]

22] Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1999), 38-9.

Isaiah 6:4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Isaiah 6:5 Then 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 6:5Comments- After declaring eight woes upon the nation of Israel, Isaiah then sees himself in the presence of God. This experience brings a woe upon himself as he sees himself as unrighteous in the presence of God's holiness.

In the presence of God, we feel so unclean and small, but when we are around people of this world we feel comfortable in our sins. This is because in God's presence we see the true wickedness of our own hearts and minds in this corrupt body. Isaiah has experienced a true encounter with Almighty God. His response is similar to the words of others in the Scriptures when they had an encounter with God.

Gideon felt this way in his encounter with an angel:

Judges 6:22, "And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face."

Samson"s father felt this way in his encounter with an angel:

Judges 13:22, "And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God."

Job had an encounter with God and felt this way:

Job 42:5, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

Agur, the author of Proverbs 30 had an encounter with God and felt this way:

Proverbs 30:2, "Surely I am more brutish than any Prayer of Manasseh , and have not the understanding of a man."

The apostle Peter felt this way in his realization of the divinity of Jesus Christ:

Luke 5:8, "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus" knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful Prayer of Manasseh , O Lord."

The apostle John had an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ and felt this way:

Revelation 1:17, "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:"

Isaiah 6:5Illustration- In 1990 I was sitting in my apartment meditating. I had just finished lunch, and was about to go back to work. I worked at the apartment complex as a maintenance man. I suddenly saw in a vision, the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ descending upon the Mount of Olives. I then felt the fear of God come upon me. I began to shake and tremble inside. All I could say was what Isaiah said in this passage, "Woe is me." I then cried out "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty."

In the years before, I had experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit coming in my room as a sweet anointing, a place where one would want to enjoy the presence of God. But in this experience, the uncomfortable fear of God was filling my room and my heart. I finally got up and went back to work, but the presence of God continued with me for several hours before completely lifting.

Isaiah 6:6 Then 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:

Isaiah 6:7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Isaiah 6:8 Also 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.

Isaiah 6:8Scripture References - Note similar statements made later in the book of Isaiah:

Isaiah 42:18-20, "Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD"S servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not."

Isaiah 44:18-19, "They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?"

Isaiah 6:9-10 — Prophecy of Israel's Blindness - The prophecy in Isaiah 6:9-10 regarding Israel's blindness is quoted five times in the New Testament. It is quoted within the parallel passages of the Parable of the Sower ( Matthew 13:14-15, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10), when the Jews rejected Paul's message in Rome ( Acts 28:26-27), and when the hearts of the disciples of Jesus were blinded ( John 12:40). When we ask the question of why this prophecy is given to Isaiah during his divine commission to preach to the nation of Israel, we find the answer in referring to the underlying theme of the book of Isaiah , which is a book of prophecies about the First Coming of the Messiah and how the Jews will reject His Gospel. This is exactly what this prophecy in Isaiah 6:9-10 is saying. This is the context within which it is quoted in the New Testament.

Matthew 13:14-15, "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people"s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

Mark 4:12, "That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

Luke 8:10, "And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand."

Acts 28:26-27, "Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

John 12:40, "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."

Isaiah 6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Isaiah 6:9Comments- The Jews hears Jesus' teachings and they saw His miracles, and yet they did not believe in Him as the Son of God.

Isaiah 6:10 Make 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.

Isaiah 6:10Comments- Isaiah 6:10 tells us that God will speak to His people in three ways. He will give them visions and dreams to see into the heavenly realm; He will speak to them prophetic words that they can hear; and He will give them spiritual discernment in their heart. I have had dreams and visions in which I saw into the heavenly realm; I have also had the Lord speak to me with words, whether personal, or for someone else; and I have had the gifts of the word of knowledge or word of wisdom imparted into my spirit so that I knew things supernaturally.

It is possible that this 3-fold method of divine revelation is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 29:29, where Samuel is called a "seer" ( רָאָה) (H 7200), which literally means, "to see," but figuratively means, "to discern, perceive" (Strong); Nathan is called a "prophet" ( נָבִיא) (H 5030), which means, "a prophet, inspired man" (Strong); and Gad is called a "seer" ( חֹזֶֶה) (H 2374), which means, "a beholder in vision" (Strong).

1 Chronicles 29:29, "Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,"

Isaiah 6:11-13 — Israel's Blindness- Isaiah asks how long this blindness will be upon the nation of Israel ( Isaiah 6:11). The Lord replies that the nation of Israel will first be utterly destroyed and scattered far away among the nations ( Isaiah 6:11-12). Then, a remnant will return and the nation will be reborn. The rebirth of the nation of Israel took place on 14May 1948. 23] This rebirth will precede the Second Coming of Christ, at which time Israel's blindness will fall off of their eyes when they see their Messiah in His glory coming in the clouds with a host of angels. At this Second Coming the Jews will accept their Messiah ( Isaiah 6:13), having rejected Him at His First Coming.

23] Bernard Reich, "Israel," in The World Book Encyclopedia, vol 10 (Chicago: World Book, Inc, 1994), 487.

Isaiah 6:13 But 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.

Isaiah 6:13Comments- Note two modern English translations of Isaiah 6:13 :

ASV, "And if there be yet a tenth in it, it also shall in turn be eaten up: as a terebinth, and as an oak, whose stock remaineth, when they are felled; so the holy seed is the stock thereof."

NIV, "And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leaves stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."

If we follow the readings of the ASV and NIV, then we can say that some trees, such as the teil tree or the oak, can be cut down to the ground and its stump will sprout new growth. Other trees, such as the pine tree, will die if they are cut close to the ground. Thus, Isaiah 6:13 means that the nation of Israel will be utterly and entirely destroyed, yet a remnant of the nation of Israel will sprout up after it has been cut down and it will produce a nation again in the future. We saw this in the rebirth of Israel in 1948.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Isaiah 6:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/isaiah-6.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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