Category Archives: Isaiah 6

The Gospel of Isaiah

As my study of Scripture continues, my Gospel-Centered approach is evermore strengthened particularly in the Old Testament.

Generally speaking, every act of God consists of all three members of the Trinity. Each member participates- different roles in the same action. An obvious statement, yes; but a statement that must be presented again. The Triune God acts in such a way that the action is from the Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit. We see this even at the creation of the universe (Colossians 1:15-19). We know, then, that because all acts of God are through the Son, He, that is Christ, fulfills His role as Mediator.

We also know that Jesus Christ Himself is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4), therefore, He is the face of God. One passage which conveys this thought is John 1:18 which explains, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” In other words, any time God is seen by a man (this would include anytime in the Old Testament), Christ is the One Who is seen because it is the Son Who reveals Him. Further, we have Jesus’ own words that “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” No one has directly seen the Father, except through the Son. As an example, John 12:40-41 tells us that when Isaiah saw the Lord, he was seeing Jesus (Isaiah 6:1-4).

6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.

This amazing vision displays Christ as reigning on high with the train of His robe, signifying his glory, filling the whole temple. This, in turn- I believe, is pointing to the presence of God among people. Christ, whose body being the true temple of God, is filled with all the glory of God and in turn, the presence of the glory of God dwells in believers among men (Colossians 2:9, 2 Peter 1:3-4).

Isaiah 6:2 further describes the scene the prophet saw. “Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.” Significance abounds in particular to these angels who are set apart for worshiping Christ. They too, however perfect and holy they may be, can not look God in the face- face to face as it were. There is a sense of humility these angels possess indicated by the wings which cover their faces, as well as the wings covering their feet and the wings with which they flew.

We are told in Exodus 33:17-23, “And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

We must note that Moses was not allowed to see God face to face otherwise he would die. Colossians 2:9 explains that, “in Him, that is Christ, the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…” This is why Moses (and any human) would die if he were to look God in the face because the fullness of God’s glory dwells in Christ. In fact, no created being, however high, could of its own power and by its nature, behold God. None but God can, of himself, see God. Hence, this is why the angels who are set apart to worship Christ can not behold the fullness of God’s glory lest they die. And even more so, because of sin, mankind can not see God face to face lest they too die.

This theme of God’s holiness continues in verse 3, “And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

The holiness of God is such that of the highest degree, the whole earth is full of His glory; not just the temple. Along with the Seraphim, we are created for Christ’s glory and everything we do must proclaim His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). But to see God in all of His glory, that is, face to face, death is most assured.

Further, as a creature proclaims God’s holiness the very foundation of the temple begins to shake: “And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.” After seeing this vision, Isaiah is wrought with inadequacy and begins to understand the depth of his sin before a holy and righteous God and says, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for 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, the Lord of hosts!”

But how much mercy and grace pursues the prophet, “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” The altar, signifying Christ’s self-sacrifice on the cross, is even far reaching and sufficient for Isaiah! (Hebrews 13:10).

This same atoning work of which Isaiah experienced is also the same atoning work we experience. As John explains, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he, that is Christ, appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” Christ’s atoning work on the cross covers our sin by transforming us into the image of Christ thereby releasing us to do God’s work.

“Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!” Even the holiest of beings can not look Jesus in the face, but we who are lowly and sinful will be glorified, and we will be like Him because we shall see him as He is; we shall see God face to face.

What Christ accomplishes on the cross is the pinnacle of His fulfillment as Mediator. By His work in creation, all of creation declares the glory of God. And by His work of redemption, humanity, once again, declares the glory of God in Christ. As Paul says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ …to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” This is why the writer of Hebrews can say, “Therefore he, that is Christ, is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

This is our joy! This is our hope! This is our saving grace. This is our Savior.