Isaiah 6:1-13

Isa 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.


King Uzziah died approximately 750 B.C.  Uzziah’s name was Azariah which means “he that hears the Lord” and he was a leprous individual.  Yet he was the fourth good king which ruled over Judah. Then Isaiah goes on to state what he saw as this chapter was the official commissioning of Isaiah as prophet to Judah.  Whether Isaiah was transported to Heaven or seeing this in a vision is not clear.  Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon his throne.  That throne was high above any other which existed in Heaven.  It was high and lifted up which means that the throne was above all the others.  Just like Ezra who had a pulpit which was above the people, the Lord’s throne is higher and exalted because of who he is.  And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (Revelation 4:4)  In Revelation it speaks about 24 thrones in Heaven which were the thrones of the elders but the Lord’s throne would have been much higher than theirs.  In John 12, John has a section in which he speaks of Isaiah’s vision.  These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. (John 12:41)  The train would have been the long flowing robes which a person of high rank would wear.  Sometimes the Lord appeared to people in a fashion like a man as he is here appearing to Isaiah. 


Isa 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.


The Seraphim were special creations which comes from the words “to burn or fiery” which fits their personality perfectly.  They were used of the LORD to execute vengeance and had a fervent zeal for God’s service and glory.  They had six wings.  Two covered their face which represented their humility in that they would no look upon the glory of the Lamb.  With two they covered their feet representing the fact of their unworthiness to carry out the orders of the Lord.   Then two were used to fly which means they were ready to carry out the orders of the LORD wherever he would send them.  Seraphim were never called angels.  There were thousands of angels in Heaven as John saw them.  And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (Revelation 5:11)


Isa 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.


Probably the greatest attribute of God is his holiness and they cease not day and night to repeat to each other the holiness of God.  This is why the believer is commanded to live a holy life, separated as far as they can from sin.  15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16)  The whole earth is full of glory not just the little land of Judah.  The true gospel will go out to all the world and those who have become saved, no matter what their country, will see the glory of God.  One can see the glory of God in creation, salvation, emotional attributes such as love or even discipline. 


Isa 6:4

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


The posts of the door moved which carries with it the meaning of “shaken or wavered.”  This may have been the time when the earthquake struck in the time of Uzziah and the temple doors were not yet repaired.  The house being filled with smoke could be the anger of the LORD which was kindled against Judah as we read in Isaiah 5:25.  There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. (Psalm 18:8) 


Isa 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.


Then when sinful man stands in the presence of holiness, there comes a realization that no matter how good we think we are, we will never equal the holiness of God unless his holiness is imputed to us.  Then Isaiah makes a complete confession.  He pronounces a woe upon himself just as he did to Judah.  He realizes that he is undone, that is, he stands in a state of unbelief or ruination because of his spiritual condition.  He admits he is a man of unclean lips which means what comes out of his mouth is normally what represents what is in his heart and he then expands that by stating he dwells in the midst of the same type of people, those who have unclean lips because their words and actions have indicated what is in their hearts.  He makes these statements because he has seen the LORD in all his exalted glory and in comparison Isaiah is just a man who has a sin nature and is in need of cleansing of the soul.


Isa 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:


Then one of the Seraphim seeing that Isaiah was in a state of consternation because of his sinful nature flies over to the altar with a tong and picks off a live coal which would have meant that the coal was burning since the altar was a place of fire or judgment and brings it to Isaiah.


Isa 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.


Then he took the coal and laid it upon the mouth of Isaiah and then pronounces that his iniquity is taken away and his sin purged.  The coal represents the true gospel as Isaiah was given the true gospel and that gospel had removed his iniquity and purged his sin.  The sins of Isaiah were not just atoned for but were removed which meant he had a clean soul.  Isaiah writes about the complete cleansing which the gospel brings.  I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isaiah 44:22) 


Isa 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.


Then once Isaiah had been cleansed of all his sins and received the true salvation of the LORD, he then hears a conversation between God the Father and God the Son, just as they did back in Genesis 1:26 when they discussed the creation of man.  They asked the question “who will go for us?”  That is who will we dispatch to the kingdom of Judah that has not been infected by all the sin and evilness they were involved in.  Then Isaiah responds to the question and volunteers to go to Judah for the LORD.  Notice the order, first Isaiah was saved then he was commissioned to go.  There are many unbelievers today who think they are doing the work of the LORD but their hearts are filled with sin and therefore are living lives of deception.  16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. (Psalm 50:16-17)


Isa 6:9

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


This has to be one of the most difficult commissions yet it is the commission given to every true believer.  The words “this people” means there is disdain for them plus God does not refer to them as “my people.”  Isaiah was to go to the people of Judah and declare their sins to them but they will hear his indictments and will not understand.  The spiritually dead cannot understand spiritual things so they will reject the message.  When they see the LORD beginning to judge them they will still not understand the situation they are in.  LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them. (Isaiah 26:11)  The same thing happened to the Lord Jesus Christ when he was here.  He performed many miracles and especially his biggest one in the raising of Lazarus and yet when they saw this miracle they did not understand who he was.  The LORD even used parables because of their spiritual condition.  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (Matthew 13:13)


Isa 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.


Here will be the result of Isaiah’s ministry.  Instead of their hearts being turned to flesh and hearing the message and responding they will become callous and hardened to the message.  Their ears will become heavy which carries with it the meaning of dull or to be stuck shut.  They will also shut their eyes to the realty of the fact they are living apart from the law of God and have become comfortable in their sins.  Then it seems almost like the LORD is claiming that they could hear the message and see the situation and would then be healed.  What is in view here is not a full repentance of sin nor is it salvation.  They might fix things to look good and not be sincere in the partial repentance and it would lead to further judgment as they would, one hand, looking like they reformed and no the other would still be living in sins.  God wanted full repentance and a return to the keeping of the law with a sincere heart. 


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. (Matthew 13:15)  The Lord Jesus Christ faced the same situation.  The people that Jesus was speaking to in parables were just that way. Their hearts were hardened by the teaching of the Pharisees for many years and that band of fat around their heart was made very thick. By themselves, they would be unable to know their lost spiritual condition unless God opened their hearts to the reality of it and then saved them. This is what Jesus did. He took many of the Jews and caused them to be saved and the rest were left in their hardened state. They would not be able to look at others who became saved in Christ and be jealous and desire to be like them on their own. They would have to be regenerated from the outside by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the doctrine of election at work. By themselves, they could not save themselves but by Christ opening their hearts to their lost spiritual condition, they would then know of their need for a Savior.  The Lord wanted people who were divinely transformed by him not self-reformed by themselves.


Isa 6:11

Then 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,


Then Isaiah asks the Lord how long will this ministry be to people who are hardened in their hearts toward the Lord and that would mean how long they would have hard hearts toward Isaiah.  Then the Lord answers Isaiah that his ministry will continue until the time  the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem and Judah which would come after his death.  However, even though Isaiah would no longer be alive, they would have his writings and the warnings they contain.  Then the ultimate destruction will come when the Romans completely decimate Jerusalem and Judah in 70 A.D.  Then they will have all the prophets both major and minor with all their warnings.


Isa 6:12

And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.


According to the records of Sennacherib he took away 200,150 people from Judah when they came in the three attacks beginning in 605 B.C.  He removed them far away to Babylon which was about 600 miles (966 KM) east of Jerusalem.  When the Romans removed the Jews from Judah, if they shipped all the prisoners by boat they would have taken them about 1200 miles (1931 KM) west.  If they marched them by land it would have been almost double the distance.  Then while the people of Judah will be in Babylon, the promised land will be forsaken and that will mean that there will be no more agriculture nor any production in any of the cities.  Forsaken land would be grown over with weeds and would also be a place for wild animals to live.  All the walled cities of Judah were broken down and left to deteriorate further till there would be a return to the land 70 years later.  Then in 70 A.D. the land would lie fallow until 130 A.D. when Emperor Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as an outpost for the Roman army. 


Isa 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.


Then Isaiah switches to those who will be the believing remnant of Israel.  The tenth represents the remnant.  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5)  The remnant of Israel will be those who were left behind as many conquerors would not allow a land to be totally desolate and that is why they left behind people to care for it.  They normally left behind the weaker, non-violent ones so there was no chance of an uprising.  The teil and the oak trees have leaves in summer but in winter they are barren which means there is still life in them as the roots begin to soak much needed nutrition waiting for the time they begin to bloom in the Springtime.  The sap is still inside the trees which means there is life in them.  The holy seed would be the substance of the tenth, that is, the holy seed being the Lord Jesus Christ who give salvation to his people.  Though Judah will be in a quandary for the next seventy years, the substance of the true believers will never leave them nor forsake them.  It is just like with the Christians, they may be in troubles like the 10 Roman persecutions or the persecutions of the Roman Catholic Church yet the Lord Jesus Christ never forsook them but gave them the strength to endure persecutions.  Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)  The temptation James is speaking about can be understood as trials.  The next seventy years would be a great testing program for the true believer.