Isaiah was a prophet of God who lived about 700 years before Christ came to earth in the flesh. He lived about 120 years and preached about 85 of those years. He was a prophet in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah-kings of Judah.
(Vs. 1) "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord." Is there some connection between the death of King Uzziah and Isaiah's vision of God's holiness? Perhaps! Uzziah was a great and successful king whom Isaiah probably admired (II Chron. 26:22). He did many great and notable things, but he became proud and presumptuous. His pride led him to the temple to offer incense to God, not through God's priest but by his own hand. This is a denial of the holiness of God and the work of Christ, our great High Priest (II Chron. 26:16-20). Christ is God's priest (typified by the Old Testament priesthood), and not even a king can come to God except through Him (John 14:6). God judged Uzziah and he died a leper. When Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the Lord.
1. Isaiah saw the supreme GLORY of Christ. It was the enthroned Christ, the sovereign Christ of all authority and glory; for John wrote of it in John 12:41, "When Isaiah saw HIS GLORY, he spoke of Him."
2. Isaiah saw the VICTORIOUS Christ, for He was SITTING on a throne. Men and nations rush to and fro; we pace the floor and fret and worry. He sits amid complete order and purpose (Isa. 46:10-11; Psalm 110:1).
3. Isaiah saw the INFINITE glory of Christ, for "He is HIGH and lifted up." His name and throne are above every name and throne. "None can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest thou?" (Phil. 2:9-11).
4. Isaiah saw the UNIVERSAL glory of Christ. His glory and presence "filled the temple." "Christ is all and in all." Every revelation of God to human eye, ear, or heart is Jesus Christ (John 1:18). Isaiah saw Christ, the Lord, exalted King of kings and Lord of lords!
(Vs. 2) Around the throne Isaiah saw the serapbims. Who are these seraphims? There are many opinions, such as heavenly creatures, or angels, or perhaps (in figurative language) the true ministers of Christ.
1. They cover their faces in MODESTY and HUMILITY before the Lord; for they are less than the least, unworthy to be ministers, and the chief of sinners.
2. They cover their feet, conscious of the imperfection of their walk, conduct, and ways. "O wretched man that I am."
3. With two wings they did fly in haste to declare the truth of His glorious person and work.
(Vs. 3-4) What is their cry? "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts." The chief attribute of God is His holiness. God is love, God is just, God is merciful; but "holy and reverend is His name." All that God is and does must be in agreement with His holiness. Nowhere is the holiness of God revealed more than at Calvary, when His holiness demanded and carried out the death of His Son to redeem a people (Rom. 3:25-26). The whole earth is His; all that is in it and all creation shall serve His glory (Rev. 4:11).
(Vs. 5) What was Isaiah's response to this revelation of God's presence and holiness?
1. He saw HIMSELF. "I am undone and ruined; I am a sinful man; I am reduced to silence." A man may look at OTHERS and say, "I thank Thee, I am not like other men." He may look at the WRITTEN LAW and say, "I am blameless." But when a man is exposed to the absolute holiness and righteousness of God, he must cry, "Woe is me."
2. He saw the EVIL OF HIS HEART AND MOUTH. Unclean lips speak from an unclean heart. The lips are the outlet of the heart.
3. He saw the TOTAL RUIN OF THE HUMAN RACE (Rom. 3:10-19; Psalm 14:2-3).The two-fold cry of the word, of the gospel, of those who have seen the Lord is, (a) "All flesh is grass" and (b) "Behold your God" (Isa. 40:6-9). The sinfulness of sin, the inability of the flesh, and the need of sovereign mercy are only discovered in the light of God's holiness. Job experienced this (Job 42:5-6) and so shall all whom God is pleased to bring to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.
(Vs. 6-7) God revealed to Isaiah, the sinner, His mercy and grace. When he saw the holiness of God, realized his corruption and evil, and confessed his sinfulness and inability, there follows the application of mercy and grace in Christ. Self-judgment always precedes forgiveness (I John 1:8-10). Grace is only for the guilty; Christ died only forthe ungodly (I Tim. 1:15; Rom. 5:6-8).
1. The SERAPHIM which came to him is the minister of the gospel, who comes to men sent of god (John 1:6-7). God sent Philip to the eunuch (Acts 8:29-30).
2. The LIVE COAL in his hand is the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus ChristHis word of grace, the good news of mercy (Rom. 10:13-15; Eph. 1:13). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16-17).
3. The ALTAR OF FIRE from which the live coal was taken is the sacrifice of Christ, our Lord. The passover lamb was roasted on the altar of f ire as our Lord Jesus (who is our passover) was sacrificed for us. He endured the fire of God's wrath for our sins (II Cor. 5:2i). The pardon of sin,the cleansing, the power of God to redeem come from the blood of Christ at Calvary (Heb. 10:12-17).
4. He LAID IT ON MY MOUTH. That cleansing, purging fire of Calvary, the blood of the Son of God, actually met our sins, came in contact with all our iniquity, engaged to purge, burn out, and eradicate all our transgressions (Isa. 53:4-6). "He bore our sins."
5. "Your INIQUITY IS TAKEN AWAY and thy SIN PURGED." Your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven. God said, "I will remember their sins NO MORE." How can this be? Only in Christ, our substitute! God can be holy, just, and righteous and justify us in Christ only. He obeyed the law, giving us a perfect righteousness (Rom. 5:19); and He died (the just for the unjust) to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18). "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace kiss at Calvary" (Psalm 85:10).
(Vs. 8) "Who will go with the message of substitution and satisfaction through the person and work of Christ?" Only the man whose lips have been touched by experience with that fire from the altar. "Here am I, send me." I know, have experienced, and love that gospel.
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