Jesus Plus Nothing Bible Studies
Knowledge of the Holy: Isaiah's vision of Jesus!
by I Gordon
Let's look at another encounter that someone had with
the Lord. This time it is the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah was given a tremendous
vision of the glory of God. Isaiah saw the heavenly throne room and more
importantly he saw the One that sat upon the throne. But what did he see? Who
did he see? And what impact did it have upon Isaiah's life? Let's have a look at
Why was King Uzziah's death mentioned?
Isaiah 6:1 In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the
Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe
filling the temple.
So we see straight away that this vision of God
occurred in the year that King Uzziah died... Why do you think Isaiah's vision
of the Lord occurred at the same time that King Uzziah died? Who was Uzziah?
Was he a good king? A bad king? Uzziah was by and large a good King but he became
proud in his later days and was smote with leprosy. He lived with leprosy in
a separate house until the day he died. His story can be read in 2 Chr 26.
But there is an important point that is being taught here and that is this:
Worldly leaders come and go but there is One that never changes, whose
throne is never left. That is what God was about to show Isaiah. And
whatever, or whoever, we lose in this world, we can always give thanks that
there is One that cannot be lost or removed. This is the emphasis of the
following verse and it was this truth that God wanted to teach Isaiah at
this important time.
Hebrews 13:5-6 Make sure that your character is
free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He
Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"
(6) so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE
AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?"
Isaiah also writes that he saw the Lord... But how
could Isaiah see Yahweh? Didn't Jesus say that no one has seen the Father?
So who was it that Isaiah saw? Who is this 'Lord' that was seated in heaven
on a throne, high and exalted? The answer to that is 'Jesus'. No man has
seen God Jesus said, but He has made God known. It isn't just speculation
that this is Jesus for scripture specifically says that Isaiah saw Jesus.
John 12:37-41 Even after Jesus had done all these
miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.
(38) This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has
believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
(39) For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says
elsewhere: (40) He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they
can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor
turn--and I would heal them. (41) Isaiah said this because he saw
Jesus' glory and spoke about him.
It is also worth pointing put that Isaiah saw Jesus
seated on a throne. There is a literal throne in Heaven. This obviously
speaks of authority and kingship for only kings sit on thrones. Our Lord
Jesus is high and exalted, above all. This throne was seen by other prophets
in the Old Testament. 1
It is an interesting fact that there are 47 mentions of 'throne' in the New
Testament and 35 of them are in the book of Revelation! Why would that be?
Because it is emphasizing, at a crazy time in human history, that God is
King of Kings and is on the throne! But most of our world doesn't want to
know about this. David Guzik writes well concerning man's approach to this
"The bottom line of atheism or materialism is that
they believe there is no throne; there is no seat of authority or power all
the universe must answer to. The bottom of humanism is that there is a
throne - but man sits upon it. But the Bible makes it clear that there is a
throne in heaven, and no fallen man sits on the throne, but the Lord GOD is
enthroned in heaven."
To that we could also add that the bottom line of
Satanism is that there is a throne but that Satan should be sitting on it
and that he should be worshipped. That is actually where this world is
heading when a man, whom Satan indwells, will take his seat in the temple
and declare himself to be God!
Some strange creatures!
Isaiah 6:2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings:
With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet,
and with two they were flying.
We also see that around the throne are some
unfamiliar creatures. 'Seraphs' are some type of angelic being. While only
mentioned by name here there seem to be the same as the living creatures
seen in Ezekiel's vision and by John in the book of Revelation. Although
there are some differences as well as the Serpahs are said to have six wings
and the living creatures Ezekiel saw had four.
Ezekiel 1:4-6 I looked, and I saw a windstorm
coming out of the north-- an immense cloud with flashing lightning and
surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing
metal, (5) and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In
appearance their form was that of a man, (6) but each of them had four faces
and four wings.
Revelation 4:6-8 Also before the throne there was
what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the
throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in
front and in back. (7) The first living creature was like a lion, the second
was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a
flying eagle. (8) Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was
covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never
stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is,
and is to come."
The name 'sereph' means 'fiery, burning ones' and
brings to mind the description of angels in Hebrews 1:7 which says
'And of the angels He says, "WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A
FLAME OF FIRE." Concerning their activity Ray Stedman writes:
Their characteristics are symbolized for us.
Each of them had three pairs of wings. With two they covered their faces, a
picture of reverence, of the impossibility of looking at the full glory of
God, just as it is impossible for us to behold the burning glory of the sun.
With two wings they covered their feet. The feet, in Scripture, are a
picture of earthly, personal activity. By covering their feet the angels are
testifying that their authority is a derived authority; it does not spring
from them, but from the One they worship and serve. With the other two wings
they flew, a symbol of ceaseless activity and swiftness in service. Thus the
seraphim are an angelic order concerned with the beauty and majesty of the
One whom they serve. They serve him in reverence and humility, eager to
carry out his work.
The threefold holiness of God
Isaiah 6:3-4 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his
glory." (4) At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook
and the temple was filled with smoke.
We see that the Seraph's cry out the same as the
living creatures in Revelation 4:8 above - "Holy, Holy, Holy" In Jewish
thought, a double repetition of a word emphasized the point2
- But the threefold repetition completes and confirms the matter. The Lord
God, Jesus, is complete holiness. He is set apart and there is none like
Him. He is not like anyone else. There are none that are His equal, none
that can be compared to Him. He is unique! David Guzik writes:
'What is the LORD set apart from? He is set apart
from creation, in that the Lord GOD is not a creature, and He exists outside
of all creation. If all creation were to dissolve, the Lord GOD would
remain. He is set apart from humanity, in that His "nature" or "essence" is
Divine, not human. God is not a super-man or the ultimate man. God is not
merely smarter than any man, stronger than any man, older than any man, or
better than any man. You can't measure God on man's chart at all. He is
Divine, and we are human.'
We see also that the whole earth is filled with the
glory of the Lord. We know from other prophecies that this will become
abundant and evident for all to see:
Habakkuk 2:14 "For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.
But if we have eyes to see, we know that the whole
earth IS full of His glory already. Study ANY aspect of this planet in
detail and you will see the glory of God. People who don't want to
acknowledge the presence of God think that the intelligence and beauty
displayed in creation is simply the result of 'random processes' but who has
ever heard of random processes producing coded systems with incredibly
complex and beautiful designs? Can chaos produce information? Can randomness
produce fine tuning? Can everything come out of nothing (without God?). And
what does this creation tell us about God and the glory of God? It speaks
His existence (for as mentioned creation demands
a creator and design demands a designer)
His power (for there has to be something or more
accurately someone, that holds all things together)
His perfection (for all of creation works
together perfectly. We need the ants, we need the bees, we need the
worms etc etc... Everything has a role and works in unison and
His care (even over minute details in both
creation and in our lives)
His knowledge (for who could start to create
even the smallest part of His creation? Could you make a flower? Man
might manipulate God's seeds but they can't come up with their own!)
No wonder the job of these Seraph's is to simply cry out
day and night 'holy holy holy!' This is Jesus that did all of this! And as the
Seraphs spoke there was shaking and smoke filled the temple. This again suggests
the awesome power and presence of God.
Isaiah's reaction to seeing Jesus
Isaiah 6:5 Woe to me! I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a
man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes
have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Woe is me! That is the reaction of the godly man
Isaiah in seeing Jesus Christ. The events were enough to completely shake
Isaiah! Here was a man who was God's servant. He heard directly from God. He
obeyed God and served Him with his whole heart. And yet faced with a vision
of the holiness of God his only thought was that he was undone!
Psalms 36:9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
In the light of God's glory we see light... and that
includes the light of seeing ourselves! The Apostle John, the one who leaned
on Jesus' bosom, saw the Lord in His glory in Revelation 1 and fell down as
a dead man! He saw the difference between himself and the Lord! And Isaiah
can only see himself in stark contrast to what he has seen in heaven. This
experience is quite common.3
All Isaiah can say is woe is me... I an undone!
Charles Spurgeon said that "God will never do anything with us till he
has first of all undone us." He also said that "Whenever God means
to make a man great, He always breaks him in pieces first." This is
what was happening to Isaiah. He can see that he is a man of unclean lips.
By why speak of the lips?4
What is so wrong with the lips? Obviously the lips are the exit of that
which lives in the heart for, as Jesus said, 'out of the overflow of
the heart the mouth speaks.' (Matt 12:34)
Lord's reaction to Isaiah's reaction
Isaiah 6:6-8 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a
live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7)
With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your
guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." (8) Then I heard the voice of
the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said,
"Here am I. Send me!"
So what would happen to this one with unclean lips
and an unclean heart when he comes into contact with the ruler of the
universe... the One who is perfect holiness? Would Isaiah be struck down,
scolded or judged? No... we find that there is atonement. A coal from the
altar touches his lips and his sin is atoned for. Praise God that He always
has a way of atonement ready for those that see their sin! But God not only
forgives Isaiah... He wants to use him! The voice of the Lord comes from the
throne saying 'Whom shall I send and who will go for us?' God is still
asking this question today. Hopefully those that have seen that their sin
has been forgiven respond in the manner Isaiah did - 'Here am I. Send me!'
It is love and gratitude towards the God of all grace that motivates the
heart to want to serve.
So what about you? Have you seen the Lord? Have you
glimpsed His holiness? Have you seen that Jesus is high and exalted above
all others? If so has it impacted how you live your life? For if all that we
have is theological truth that has no bearing upon our lives then we don't
have much do we? And what of your lips and heart? Have they been cleansed by
the blood of Jesus? Have you received forgiveness like Isaiah did? If so
then the simple normal response would be to do what Isaiah did... to say
'Here am I Lord. I will go. How can I be used?' We are often scared of that
thinking of the worse case scenario, that the Lord will send us off
somewhere we'd rather not go! But He isn't like that.