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Go to Bible: Isaiah 6
|Isa 6:1||- (top)|
|Isa 6:2||- (top)|
“Holy, holy, holy.” This triple repetition of “holy” is used by some people as evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity, but that is not the case. It is simply a triple repetition for emphasis, as is found in a few other places in the Bible (Jer. 22:29; Rev. 8:13; cp. 2 Sam. 18:33).(top)
“house.” The Temple was the “house” of God, and was often just called “the house.”
“was filled with smoke.” The Temple in heaven was filled with smoke. Smoke is sometimes associated with the presence of God, as it is here. In Revelation 15:8 God was in His temple in heaven surrounded by his “glory,” the brilliant and often multi-colored light that surrounded Him, and from His glory came smoke that filled the Temple. When God came down on Mount Sinai shortly after the Exodus from Egypt, the top of Mount Sinai was enveloped in smoke (Exod. 19:18). [For more information on the glory of Yahweh, see commentary on Ezekiel 1:28].(top)
“Woe is me! For I am ruined.” Even the best humans are far below the holiness of God, and when a humble person sees God in His glory and holiness they immediately become conscious of how wretched they are and how short they are of God’s standard of holiness. When Isaiah saw God, he exclaimed he was ruined. When Abraham spoke with God, he referred to himself as being “dust and ashes” (Gen. 18:27). Similarly, when God confronted Job, Job took back what he had said and said he repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:6). When Paul spoke of his inability to live a completely godly life he said, “Wretched man that I am!” (Rom. 7:24).
God knows how short of His holiness humans really are, and He extends grace and mercy, just as He did to Isaiah, so that we can be near Him and work together with Him. It is not humility but pride that says, “I could never work with God.” Pride has two sides: considering oneself better than one really is, and not considering oneself to be as good as God has made us in Christ. Both sides elevate human opinion above the truth. God made Christians acceptable and accepted in His sight through the work of Jesus Christ, and the humble person graciously accepts that and gets to doing the work God has called them to do. Isaiah accepted God’s cleansing and accepted God’s call for his life. We should too.(top)
|Isa 6:6||- (top)|
”your sin forgiven.” The coal came from the altar of sacrifice. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), but God has always been merciful and allowed for a substitutionary sacrifice to atone for people’s sin, ultimately waiting for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice can fully atone for human sin. That Isaiah’s sin was forgiven after he was touched with a coal from the altar of sacrifice points to the necessity of having our sin forgiven via sacrifice and points to the necessity of the sacrifice of Christ.(top)
“who will go for us?” Who God is speaking to is not specifically stated in this verse. God wanted to send someone to help Israel, so He asked for advice. Isaiah writes: “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom should I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!’” (Isa. 6:8). We should first notice the interplay between the “I” in “Whom shall I send,” and the “us” in “…who will go for us?” The text is showing that God is in charge, but He is supported by, and asking advice from, others.
The context shows that God is appealing to others who support Him in His desire to help Israel, and so the “others” in this context cannot be the full assembly of spirits, because some of them did not support Him. Given what we know about God’s divine council from other places in Scripture, it is logical that God is speaking to His divine council and asking them about who He could send to do His work. [For more information on God’s divine council, see commentary on Genesis 1:26].
We must also note that God is asking for someone to go, not picking someone and telling them to go. Believers have freewill and to be of true service to God must desire to serve Him. God wants us to love God and want to serve Him; He does not want unwilling or even half-willing servants. People should want to serve God, after all, He is our creator and sustainer, but people are selfish and self-centered, and mostly want only what makes them happy at the time. But for those that do have a heart to serve, God will bless them now and reward them richly in the next life. [For more on rewards in the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ, see commentary on 2 Cor. 5:10, “good or worthless”].(top)
“hear, yes, hear...see, yes, see.” This is a translation of the figure of speech polyptoton that occurs in the Hebrew text (cp. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible). The Hebrew reads more literally, “Hear! Hear but not understand. See! See but not perceive.” The figure emphasizes the fact that the proud and arrogant people were in fact hearing the truth and seeing God work, but were so hardhearted that they would not (indeed, some of them could not) really hear what they were hearing or see what they were seeing.
Isaiah 6:9-10 is a very solemn section of Scripture and a stern warning to those who value things in this life so much that they ignore or defy God. This prophecy occurs in whole or in part five more times in Scripture, for a total of six times (Matt. 23:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:26-27), and this repetition greatly emphasizes how serious in God’s eyes it is when people continue in their stubborn refusal to believe and obey God. The Bible is clear that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and God does not want anyone to die (Ezek. 18:30-32; 33:11), but wants all people to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). Nevertheless, if people choose death, God will honor their choice and allow them to die in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:13-15). [For more on polyptoton and the way it is translated in this verse, see commentary on Genesis 2:16].(top)
“Make the heart.” An important thing to keep in mind when reading verses that say things such as God hardened someone’s heart, or covered their ears, or blinded their eyes, is that the people actually did those things to themselves: God does not harden someone’s heart and then punish him for having a hardened heart. That would be totally against the loving nature of God. Verses that say things like God hardened someone’s heart are written using standard Hebrew language and customs, and are using the Semitic “idiom of permission.”
The “idiom of permission” is a name given by scholars to the particular Semitic manner of speaking in which someone is said to actively do what he only allowed to be done. For example, God did not reach into Pharaoh’s heart and harden it, but He allowed Pharaoh to harden his own heart (actually, Pharaoh had free will and God could not stop him from hardening his heart). God asked Pharaoh over and over again to let His people go. Pharaoh refused. The more God asked, and the stronger God’s plague-warnings became, the more stubborn Pharaoh became and the harder he had to make his heart to resist God. So God was only hardening Pharaoh’s heart in the sense that Pharaoh had to harden his heart harder and harder to resist God’s appeals.
The same is true of the Jews. Through the centuries God sent prophet after prophet to Israel, and Israel suffered consequence after consequence because of their unbelief. The more prophets God sent, the more Israel hardened itself against them. So in the Semitic idiom, God is said to have hardened Israel’s heart, closed her ears, and blinded her eyes. [For more on the idiom of permission, see commentary on Rom. 9:18].
“fat.” Here, “fat” is an idiom for insensitive, unreceptive. dull. Israel was “fat” when it came to the things of God. They were insensitive and unreceptive.(top)
|Isa 6:11||- (top)|
|Isa 6:12||- (top)|
|Isa 6:13||- (top)|