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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
Isaiah 6

 

 

Introduction

Chapter 6 Isaiah’s Vision of God and His God-given Commission.

Having learned in chapters 1-5 of the doom approaching for Judah and Jerusalem we now learn of the credentials of the one who had declared that doom. And yet they are not just credentials, they rather explain how this man was able to see into the very heart of Israel. For in this chapter we learn of Isaiah’s remarkable vision of God, a vision that seemingly came at the beginning of his ministry, and which is immediately followed by the commission which he received. In it He sees the exalted holiness of God, and becomes aware as never before of the One with Whom He is dealing. As a result of this he is made aware of his own utter sinfulness before Him, and of the utter sinfulness of the people. Then, on responding to God’s call, he is commanded to go and witness to these very people, and to go on witnessing, even though they will not hear. Finally he is promised that after trials which will decimate their numbers, there will be further trials, until in the end a holy remnant, but only a holy remnant, will be preserved.

Thus this chapter explains to God’s people why he has the right to speak as he does, and how it is that he can see their true state rather than the outward appearance that they confidently present to others. It will be followed by reference to specific historical incidents and will connect these with the general message that has gone before.


Verses 1-4

The Vision of God (Isaiah 6:1-4).

At the heart of Isaiah’s ministry lies this vision of God. In it he sees the glory of God, and yet he makes no attempt to describe God Himself, probably because what he saw was indescribable. So instead he is satisfied with describing all that surrounded Him, leaving the impression of what he saw to our imagination.

Analysis of Isaiah 6:1-4.

a In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple (Isaiah 6:1).

b Above Him stood burning ones (seraphim), each one had six wings. With two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet and with two he flew (Isaiah 6:2).

b And one cried to another, and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

a And the foundations of the thresholds were moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke’ (Isaiah 6:4).

In ‘a’ he says that he saw Yahweh sitting on His throne, high and lifted up, and in the parallel the Temple is shaking, and is filled with smoke. The whole picture is reminiscent of Mount Sinai, with God being revealed and yet hidden (Exodus 19:18). In ‘b he sees the ‘burning ones’ (seraphim) and in the parallel the ‘burning ones’ cry to one another and declare His utter holiness.

Isaiah 6:1

‘In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.’

It is unusual for Isaiah to date his prophecies, or for a regnal year to be defined in terms of death, (but compare Isa 15:28) and we are therefore probably justified in seeing in these words some kind of implication. The year would be 740/739 BC. King Uzziah had been a good king, favoured by God, but he had been very foolish in the matter of burning incense before Yahweh, a practise forbidden to all but priests (2 Chronicles 26:16-18) and had been punished for his folly with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:19-21). He had thus become a recluse, an isolated leper king, with his son Jotham reigning as regent (2 Kings 15:5) and was probably at this time seen to be approaching death with his leprosy still affecting him. But there was no doubt that his death would be a great blow to the people.

It was at such a time that Yahweh visibly revealed Himself to Isaiah in order to demonstrate that there was a yet more powerful King Who was sat upon the throne, One Who was over all, One Who, far from being a leper, was the essence of purity itself, (‘the Holy One of Israel’), and who far from dying was the very essence of life (‘the living God’). These two kings were in total contrast. The one sinful, frail and temporary, and despite the glory that had been his, passing away a helpless leper, and the Other holy, glorious, Almighty, permanent, unchanging and everlasting.

In view of what follows we are probably justified too in considering that Isaiah saw in the state of the king a picture of the spiritual condition of Judah and Jerusalem (see for example Isaiah 1:6). For just as Uzziah was seen to be approaching his end after being smitten by God, so were they. The whole combined nations of Israel and Judah were leprous and doomed and awaiting their end.

Note that here God is called ‘the Lord’, the One Who is Sovereign over creation. At the time that this occurred Isaiah was in the Temple, aware that in ‘the Holiest of All’ (the Holy of Holies), the inaccessible inner sanctuary, Yahweh’s earthly throne was hidden behind the great Veil, set over the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh. But now he was to see something that was beyond this, something which filled him with awe. For he saw a heavenly throne on which was seated the exalted, glorious and holy Lord. And the sense that he had was of the whole Temple being filled by this glorious figure, seated in majesty and purity, for the whole Temple appeared to be filled by His swirling train. It was a sight that filled him with an awe beyond anything he had ever known. Indeed it made him cry out with awe. For now he knew as never before that God was Lord indeed.

We do not have to ask how he could see One Whom no man can see and live. We must as always accept that the heavenly vision was in some way partially concealed so that he as frail man could bear what he saw, as previously in the case of Moses (Exodus 33:21-23), so that while he saw God, it was not all that was God (1 Timothy 6:16). But it was more than enough, and the sense of His presence alone would have been sufficient to prostrate him on the ground.

Isaiah 6:2-3

‘Above him stood burning ones (seraphim), each one had six wings. With two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet and with two he flew. And one cried to another, and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.” ’

It is noteworthy that Isaiah does not try to describe the glory of the Lord. Rather he seeks to bring out His glory by the description of His throne and temple-filling train, by the description of Him as ‘high and lifted up’ (compare Isaiah 57:15), and here by the vision of the burning ones, winged flames of fire, and yet presumably in human form having both faces and feet, that hovered around and over Him.

We are probably to see them as representing the heavenly cherubim, but in different form and shape from the earthly cherubim in the temple (Revelation 4:8 seems to combine the two). This is no earthly vision. And so holy was the presence of the One on the throne that these glorious beings shielded their faces and feet before His awesome ‘otherness’, their faces because they could not look on His glory and total purity, and felt unworthy to see His face, and their feet because such were seen as contaminated by the touching of some inferior, or earthly, thing. We are not told what they stood on but it was clearly sufficient to defile them by its contact in the light of the awesome presence of the One Who was totally separate, and totally holy. We can consider how the feet of the priests had to be washed continually when they entered the sanctuary or approached the altar to sacrifice, for the same reason (Exodus 30:19-21; Exodus 40:31).

And the cry and attention of these holy beings is centred only on the Lord. Compared with Him they recognise their own nothingness. And they proclaim His holiness in a threefold cry, a sign of His complete and absolute holiness. He is the holy of holy of holies. Indeed so much so that the whole earth is full of His glory.

So the earth also is seen here as manifesting His glory. All creation speaks of His creative power (compare Revelation 5:13; Psalms 145:21; Psalms 150:6; Romans 1:18-20), and none more so than the earth with its wonderful God-given provision for man, its living creatures into which God had breathed life and finally man himself, who had received life from God of an even more wonderful kind, made with a heavenly nature, even though now a sadly fallen one, God’s ‘image’ on earth. That is why all Nature also cries out to proclaim His glory, and to wonder at man’s sinfulness (Isaiah 1:2-3).

The word ‘holy’ is central to Isaiah’s awareness of God. He is the Sovereign Lord, He is the Mighty God, He is Yahweh of Hosts, but above all He is ‘the Holy One’. Distinct, unique, set apart from all else in being and purity, He is the One compared with Whom there is no other.

Isaiah 6:4

‘And the foundations of the thresholds were moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke.’

At the words of each of these mighty beings as they declared the glory of Yahweh, the very foundations of the Temple shook, and every entranceway responded, vibrating vigorously to the voice of the seraphim (a reminiscence of Sinai - Exodus 19:18). And at the same time ‘the house was filled with smoke’ as a result of the presence of the glory of God and of His power (Revelation 15:8), revealing, while at the same time concealing, the figure on the throne. Such smoke was reminiscent of theophanies , and especially of the theophany at Sinai (Exodus 19:18; Deuteronomy 4:11; compare Exodus 13:21; Exodus 40:34).

The glory, and the smoke, and the shaking could hardly have failed to remind Isaiah, steeped in his nation’s holy writings, of the original giving of the covenant (Exodus 19-20). And now here was the covenant God come in a similar way to call His people to account.


Verses 5-13

Yahweh’s Call To Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5-13).

As Isaiah stood, or possibly prostrated himself, before the wonderful vision of resplendent holiness, it was all too much for him as he was made aware of his own sinfulness. But God arranged for his cleansing preparatory to calling him to the task that he has in store for him, the proclaiming of God’s message to an ungrateful people, with the promise that it would finally result in a holy seed.

Analysis of Isaiah 6:5-13.

a Then I said, “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 my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Hosts (Isaiah 6:5).

b Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar, and he touched my mouth with it, and said, “Lo, this has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged” (Isaiah 6:6).

c And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

c And He said, “Go, and tell this people, ‘Hear you indeed, but do not understand, and see you indeed, but do not perceive.’ 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 turn again and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10).

b Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered, “Until the cities be waste without inhabitant, and houses without man, and the land become utterly waste, and Yahweh has removed men far away, and the forsaken places be many in the midst of the land (Isaiah 6:11-12).

a And if there be yet a tenth in it, it will again be eaten up. As a terebinth and as an oak whose stump remains when they are felled, so the holy seed is its stump” (Isaiah 6:13).

In ‘a’ we have the sense of the uncleanness of this holy man, who was separated to God and seeing the King, and in the parallel we have a description of the ‘holy seed’ who will survive as those who are separated to God. In ‘b’ we have the description of how God cleanses His messenger, and in the parallel how He will go about the process of cleansing the land. In ‘c’ we have Isaiah’s response to the call of God, and in the parallel what it will involve in heartache and disappointment

Isaiah 6:5

‘Then I said, “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 my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Hosts.” ’

Isaiah’s response is one of terror, and awareness of his own total unworthiness. Like Job he saw himself as totally unfitted to see God, and unfit for His presence. We have here a parallel thought to that of Job, ‘Now my eye sees you for which reason I abhor myself and repent in sackcloth and ashes’ (Job 41:5-6).

‘Woe me.’ Woe was the word that supremely declared the deserts of those who came under God’s anger, and later Isaiah would declare God’s woes on those whose behaviour angered God (Isaiah 5:11-24). But at this time he sees that woe as directed against himself. Indeed it is only because he has seen this that he can be permitted to declare God’s woe on others. For the man of God does not stand as judge, he stands as one of the accused who has found mercy, speaking on behalf of the Judge. And at this moment Isaiah could see no hope for himself at all.

In the previous chapter we have seen God’s six woes declared. Are we to see in this the seventh woe in the series? Isaiah’s recognition that he too is subject to woe?

‘For I am undone (destroyed, ruined).’ As a result of what he was experiencing he could only visualise disaster for himself. He was devastated in the fullest sense. He was appalled at his own state. For he recognised that only one thing was now fitting, his own total destruction. All hope that he had had of being a minister to God’s people was now come to an end. The word ‘undone’ contains within it the idea of being silenced by disaster, sorrow or death, and by all that is most devastating.

‘Because I am a man of unclean lips.’ Here was the cause of his ruin, for what a man is, is revealed through his lips (Matthew 12:37). And he knew that his lips were not worthy to say ‘holy, holy, holy’. Rather they were only fit to be silenced and doomed. They demonstrated him as fitted for destruction. With them he had sworn fealty to Yahweh. But with them he had also spoken that which was contrary to all that Yahweh is. Thus they were ‘unclean’, barred from God’s presence, not fitted to speak of God, excluded from referring to holy things. Approach to God was totally out of the question. Like the dying king he could only wait for the death that he deserved. He was a spiritual leper.

Such an experience of awareness of sinfulness, of self-abhorrence, of feeling totally unworthy can be the experience of every godly person in times of spiritual exaltation, although possibly not in the intensity with which it struck Isaiah, because as we become aware of the glory and holiness of God it contrasts with what we ourselves are. For in ourselves we too are often people ‘of unclean lips’, saying but not doing, and when we come into the presence of God it can make us very much aware of it. But thankfully there is for us too a ‘burning coal’ that contains within it all the essence of sacrifice, for ‘if we walk in the light as He is in the light --- the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin --- if we openly admit our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7; 1 John 1:9).

‘And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.’ He knew also that what was true for him was also true for his people. They also were without hope. They were excluded from God. They were no longer the people of the covenant, a prospective holy nation. They were rather under sentence. And any hopes that he had entertained of being God’s representative to them were now gone. For he knew that he was not fit, and that they were not fit. They were unclean. They had proved unfaithful to the sworn covenant, the covenant which their lips had sealed but their lives had denied. Their sins and their iniquities had thus totally separated them from God.

With their mouths they had sought or declared what was unjust, voiding justice, they had lied and deceived in life and business, they had encouraged lust or expressed it, they had arranged theft, and even encouraged murder, they had expressed envy, they had revealed hatred, they had dishonoured the Sabbath, and above all they had treated God lightly in the way that they maintained the cult, going about their activity apathetically, and even denying Him by giving to their idols the honour due only to Him. They were utterly unclean. All this has been expressed in chapters 1-5 preparatory for these words.

The words bring new meaning to the words ‘in the year that King Uzziah (the isolated leper king) died’. He was dying an isolated leper. And now Isaiah was aware that he himself was spiritually a leper, and that the people too were lepers, and thus isolated from God, and that they too were worthy only to die as the king had died, repulsive and spurned.

‘For my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Hosts.” ’ And this was because his eyes had seen the King, Yahweh of Hosts. And yet not his eyes only. It had pierced into his heart and his whole moral being. For the first time he had seen Who and What God really is. And once he had seen Him all else was unworthy, and nothing more so than sinful, disobedient man. Note that it is as ‘the King, Yahweh of hosts’ that he speaks of God (compare Deuteronomy 33:5). Splendid, glorious, all-powerful, The One Who on Sinai had adopted His people for Himself and declared Himself Overlord over their hosts. Here was the One with Whom Israel had confirmed covenant, and Whom they had subsequently so miserably neglected and spurned. No wonder that he did not feel that his lips were clean enough to swear fealty to such a One. And it was from this vision that would be born his favourite title for God, ‘the Holy One of Israel’.

We too may have made many promises to God in the past, especially in times of crisis. But deeply mistaken, are the ones who can say that they have fully kept them all. For ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of the Holy One’ (Romans 3:23). And we too must thus cry out in the presence of the Holy One, ‘I deserve woe. I have broken my promises. I have not loved Him as I should. I am unclean.’

Isaiah 6:6-7

‘Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar, and he touched my mouth with it, and said, “Lo, this has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged.” ’

‘Then’, as Isaiah watched in total despair, he saw one of the seraphim fly to the altar and, with the holy tongs, pick up a live coal from the altar, from among the coals on which the blood of many sacrifices had fallen. And as he watched the seraph flew to him and touched his lips with it. That coal represented in itself the consuming of all the offerings and sacrifices of Israel. in their being offered to God. It represented all that was good in the sacrificial system. It represented the God-provided means of atonement. And when Isaiah later condemned the Israelite perversion of the sacrificial system (compare Isaiah 1:10-15), it was not this that he condemned. This represented the good side, the God provided side, of that system. He realised that he was covered by the shedding of blood, by the death of a thousand substitutes offered on his behalf, but all pointing ahead to the One great Substitute Who would be offered for the sins of many (Isaiah 53:5; Isaiah 53:12; Romans 5:25).

That the seraph flew at God’s command is not stated but can be assumed, for in His presence none would dare to move except at His command, whether expressed or unexpressed. There He was all prevailing.

‘A live coal from the altar.’ Its glowing ‘life’ represented its immediacy in connection with the recent offerings and sacrifices. It had helped to consume the current sacrifices. Thus it represented present atonement. The thought is not of fire purging, but of the sacrificial significance applied, as the words of the seraph reveal. By it his sins would be ‘covered’, atoned for. He could thus once more look upwards to God with hope.

‘He touched my mouth with it, and said, “Lo, this has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged.’ It was his ‘lips’, his mouth, that Isaiah had declared to be the proof of his utter sinfulness, and so it was his mouth that was symbolically cleansed. His unclean lips were now touched by the God-provided means of atonement. His iniquity was taken away, his sin was purged. Rightly used and approached the sacrifices were still effective for atonement to those who truly sought God, until One would come Who would Himself be the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world (Isaiah 53). Then all would need to look to Him.

‘Taken away -- purged.’ ‘Iniquity’ is the sin deep within that affects our very ‘hearts (our inward beings), and is an essential part of our sinning, staining us in God’s presence. But now for Isaiah this was taken away, removed, got rid of. ‘Sin’ is the actual outworking of iniquity in wrongful action, and that too was ‘purged, covered, atoned for’. There was now no barrier between Isaiah and God. The result was that from a position of complete self-despair he came to a place of being able to listen to the voice of the Lord God.

For us there is better than even this live coal, for we may see Jesus Who was the one sacrifice for sin for all time, and we may call on Him knowing that, if we admit to Him our sin and look to Him, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

Isaiah 6:8

‘And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

The plural ‘us’ reveals that God is talking to the seraphim. They were His support in the work of salvation. Or it may be a plural of majesty. We can compare it with the ‘us’ spoken at creation (Genesis 1:26). But the question was really intended for Isaiah. It was the voice of the Sovereign Lord seeking for a messenger. Any one of the seraphim would have been delighted to be the messenger, but it is a sign of how Isaiah had been transformed by his experience that he steps into the conversation and offers himself to be the messenger. Filled with gratitude and awe he cries, “I am here, send me.”

We should recognise from this that any true experience of God will do the same. Once we have truly known God we cannot but speak of those things which we have seen and heard.

Isaiah 6:9-10

‘And he said, “Go, and tell this people, ‘Hear you indeed, but do not understand, and see you indeed, but do not perceive.’ 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 turn again and be healed.’ ”’

God does not want Isaiah to be deceived into thinking that his ministry will be gloriously successful. The message that he as messenger will have to bear will not be an easy one. He is called to go to a stubborn people, and most would remain stubborn to the end.

Some ministries are much harder than others, and outward success is not the only criterion of the genuineness of a man’s calling. Some sow, and others reap (John 4:37-38). The words did not describe literally all he had to say (his whole prophecy indicates how wide ranging his message was), but they were the essence of what would be achieved. As he proclaimed God’s truth and saw the people’s negative reaction, (and that, God stressed, is what he must mainly expect), he would be driven to point out to them what was happening. They were hearing, but they were not accepting with understanding, they were outwardly seeing, but not inwardly perceiving. Thus the more they heard the more they would become hardened to his words because their hearts were closed. Yet let them but open their hearts and they would both see and hear.

But he knew that most would not. The result of his words would only be that their hearts would become fat (clogged up, inactive), their ears heavy, their eyes closed. They would refuse even more to see, they would refuse even more to hear, they would refuse even more to understand. Like Pharaoh they would harden their hearts, and become hardened, and all through God’s activity in seeking to reach perverse hearts.

There is a slight sarcasm in the final phrases. By constantly preaching to them he will be finally ensuring that the vast majority do not respond and be healed. And the more he proclaims God’s word the more certain it will be. Thus paradoxically by preaching to them he is making their turning to God theoretically less likely because they will have hardened themselves further. It is not that God does not want them to turn, He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. It is rather that He sees their hearts, He knows what their response will be and how they will react. How by their hearing they will be even more hardened. How by their obstinacy they will destroy themselves. Thus He knows that His very act of seeking to help them will result in their condemnation. By pleading with them He will be hardening their hearts. And yet they must be given the opportunity.

But what if He had left them alone? Would they have turned? Of course not. Their hearts were so set that turning was not for them. It was only a theoretical possibility, not a practical one. They would simply become theoretically ‘less reachable’. Previously it was certain from God’s viewpoint that most would not respond, after the preaching it will be even more certain. The hardening will have taken place. Even the theoretical possibility will have been removed. Then why preach to them? Firstly because it gave them every chance to exercise the theoretical possibility. Once they had heard His word they could blame no one but themselves. God’s justice and fairness would be revealed. Up to that point they could have said, ‘if only we had known’. After it they had no excuse. And secondly because some few would respond as God worked in grace on their hearts. There would be ‘a holy seed’ (Isaiah 6:13). God’s purpose for the few would be carried through in the hardening of the many.

We can compare how when Jesus preached to the antagonistic among the Pharisees His words hardened them. Instead of responding they became more antagonistic, and so much so that He had to warn them that they were in danger of ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’, that hardening against the Spirit that guarantees that no response can be even theoretically possible. And He knew that this would happen, but He still gave them their opportunity. They would not come because they were not of His sheep, given to Him by the Father (John 10:26; John 10:29). Yet through His words some among the Pharisees did come. The hardening of the many had to be, for the sake of the few.

We have here specifically expressed the mystery of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. Man is ever free to choose, but his freedom is limited by what he is. God is sovereign over all and in the end it is His purposes that will be worked out. And He knows what the consequences of what He does will be. And so, in a real sense, He is responsible for all. When He allowed Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened by Pharaoh himself in the time of Moses, He knew that by His continued actions He was hardening Pharaoh’s heart. When He arranged for a messenger to these people, He knew that He was bringing about the consequences described, that He was bringing about the sealing of the ears, the closing of the eyes, the hardening of the heart. And yet it was they who were responsible for their own response. It came because of what they were. No blame could be attached to God. Thus does He carry through His purposes.

Isaiah 6:11

‘Then I said, “Lord, how long?” ’

We can understand Isaiah’s misgivings. How long must he engage in this thankless task? What will be the limit? He is ready to obey but wishes for a limit to be put on what he has to do. But he has to learn that there is no limit. He must go on to the end. God has purposed judgment and he must go on until that judgment is fulfilled. There is no let up in the work of God.

Isaiah 6:11-13

‘And he answered,

“Until the cities be waste without inhabitant,

And houses without man,

And the land become utterly waste,

And Yahweh has removed men far away,

And the forsaken places be many in the midst of the land.

And if there be yet a tenth in it, it will again be eaten up.

As a terebinth and as an oak whose stump remains when they are felled,

So the holy seed is its stump.” ’

Apart from a few details the whole of Isaiah’s message is contained in these words. From the moment of his calling he was informed that one day first Israel, and then Judah and Jerusalem, would be invaded, would be taken over, and would be carried into exile. It was the inevitable consequence of the fact that they would not hear. The cities would be wasted. The houses emptied of occupation. The land would become a wilderness. The inhabitants would be removed far away, either by captivity or flight Few would remain. Only a ‘tenth’ would be left. But would this be a new beginning? No. For even for them would come judgment, for the land would be ‘eaten up’ again. And then finally after all the felling there would be a stump left. The holy seed would be the stump (Isaiah 4:3).

This then was God’s purpose. Although He would yet spare and delay, the end was inevitable because of what men were. The whole would be whittled down to a tenth (a small proportion). But this tenth was not the Lord’s, and they would refuse Him even that tenth. So that tenth would be whittled down even further. The land was doomed because the covenant which gave them the land was broken. Yet out of all of it would come a stump. And that stump was the holy seed that He continually promised, the final remnant. Only God could populate Heaven from a stump!

The terebinth and the oak were both symbols of Israel’s sin (Isaiah 1:29-30; Hosea 4:13). Thus the thought includes the hewing down of idolatry out of which would spring the holy seed.

Note. While Assyria were the initial rod of God’s anger (Isaiah 10:5), Isaiah was to learn later that this would not be just by Assyria. Thus when the Babylonians came on the horizon he knew in his heart, guided by God, that they also would contribute to Judah’s downfall (Isaiah 39:5-7), and would later learn and recognise, again by God’s inspiration, through whom initially deliverance would come, the house of Cyrus I of Persia (Isaiah 44:28 to Isaiah 45:1). Thus he knew the essence of what was coming, without the detail, and could give due warning. He was a prophet not a fortune teller. End of note.

 


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Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 6:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/isaiah-6.html. 2013.

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