Isaiah the Prophet was the son of Amoz and an unnamed prophetess. His name means "Yahweh is Salvation." He lived in Jerusalem (7:1-3, 37:2) and was married to a prophetess, with whom he had two sons, who were given prophetic names, "Shear-Jashub, and Maher-shala-hash-baz." (7:3, 8:3,) He prophesied in Jerusalem during the reigns of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. He was called to the prophetic ministry in 739 b.c., the year that King Uzziah died. The vision which Isaiah saw when he was, as is said of Samuel, established to be a prophet of the Lord (1 Sa. 3:20), was intended to confirm his faith, that he might be abundantly satisfied of the truth of those things, which should afterwards be made known to him. It is noteworthy that Isaiah dates the vision, as having taken place "in the year that king Uzziah died," and not in the 16 year reign of Jothan which was commencing. Uzziah's reign brought peace, security and prosperity to Judah. His rule which was lengthy, some 52 years, from 809-758, was the longest of any of the kings in the Southern Kingdom. (2 Ki. 15:2, 2 Chron. 26:3)
Uzziah had been a popular young king, who ascended the throne at age 16 in the place of Amaziah his father. (2 Chr. 26:1). He did that which was right in the sight of God, and as long as he sought the Lord and obeyed Him, God prospered him. Uzziah waged war against the Philistines. He constructed strong fortifications and dug many wells. He loved farming, and had herds of cattle and grape fields. His well-equipped army consisted of over 250,000 soldiers. He built special machinery to launch arrows and hurl stones at the enemy. (2 Chr. 26:15-16) "When he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction…" King Uzziah went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the golden altar, a sacred place and duty reserved for only the priests. This priestly duty took place twice a day, but was a priviledge reserved only for the sons of Levi. Burning incense by someone, even a king, who was not of the descendants of Aaron, was a breach of Levitical law punishable by death. (Num. 3:38). When the priest rebuked the king, Uzziah became very angry. Leprosy immediately broke out on his forehead. The Lord judged him for presumption. Uzziah remained a leper to his death. The Prophet Zechariah states that there was a great earthquake in the days of King Uzziah. (Zech. 14:5)
"And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee."
1) Isaiah's Vision of the Lord (v. 1-4)
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. 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. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. (Isa 6:1-4 RSV)
Isaiah the Prophet was given a prophetic vision of Almighty God in His holy Temple, which exalts the Lord as "The Holy One of Israel." He was seated on His throne. The Lord's majestic robe flowed down so that filled the inside of the Temple. Isaiah saw the angels who are called "seraphs," or "burning ones," who appear to be associated with divine judgment upon sin, which is one of the aspects of God's holiness. The name is derived from the Hebrew verb saraph ("to consume with fire"), and this etymology is very probable because of its accordance with Isa., vi, 6, where one of the seraphim is represented as carrying celestial fire from the altar to purify the Prophet's lips. Many scholars prefer to derive it from the Hebrew noun saraph, "a fiery and flying serpent", spoken of in Num., xxi, 6; Isa., xiv, 29, and the brazen image of which stood in the Temple in Isaiah's time (IV Kings, xviii, 4); but it is plain that no trace of such serpentine form appears in Isaiah's description of the seraphim.
When the seraphs spoke to one another, crying "Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh." Holy, Holy, Holy, the posts of the door in he Temple moved, and smoke filled the inside of the Temple. The word translated as "Holy," is KADOSH in Hebrew. It means, "set apart." One of the seraphs took a live coal from the altar and touched Isaiah’s lips. In doing this, God was showing Isaiah that there was a need for purging in his own life. Then, Isaiah would be ready to go out and tell others about God. God asked Isaiah whom He could send to tell them about Him. And Isaiah answered, "Here am I. Lord send me!
a) The Lord's Position (v. 1)
The particular scene here is that of God as King of the Universe, surrounded by attendants. He is represented as seated upon his throne above the ark, in the most holy place, where the glory appeared above the cherubim, surrounded by his attendant ministers. This is called by God himself "the place of his throne." "A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary," said the Prophet Jeremiah. (Jer. 17:12) And the place of the soles of his feet," Ezek. xliii. 7. 12. The very posture of sitting is a mark of state and solemnity:
b) The Lord's Purity (v. 2-3)
The vision given Isaiah instills in the Prophet a deeper revelation of the holiness of the Almighty than ever before. Many things would transpire in the lives of the people of Israel, which would be authored by God because of His holy nature. Things of which Israel would be tempted to say: Why did God do this? Or why has that befallen us? God's revelation to Isaiah as the Kadosh or Holy One, residing in spotless purity, is significant for this is tied to the fact that He is the Perfect and the Just One. The prophesies of Isaiah carry this stamp of distinction, that God is "The Holy One." The title "Holy One" occurs throughout the book of Isaiah.
c) The Lord's Power (v. 4)
God has the unrestrained ability to accomplish what he wills. (Job 12:13) The earth was created by His power, (Jer. 10:12) and he reigns forever by His power.
2) Isaiah's Vision of Himself (v. 5-8)
a) Isaiah's Confession (v. 5)
Isaiah 6:5 "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."
Here is the definition of "undone": undone, damah, daw-maw', Hebrew 1820; a primitive root; to be dumb or silent; hence to fail or perish; trans. to destroy :- cease, be cut down (off), destroy, be brought to silence, be undone, × utterly.
b) Isaiah's Cleansing (v. 6-7)
God used a vision to communicate revelation to the Prophet Isaiah's life. He administered His divine will through the seraphim:
One of the heavenly beings which had been hovering around the Lord, worshipping His holiness. The creation of angels is found in Psalm 148:2-5. When exactly the seraphim were created, we do not know. The angels were present at the creation of the world, and shouted for joy! (Job 38:7) As to their appearance, seraphim, like cherubim are winged. (Dan. 9:21) Angels are described in scripture as an order of supernatural or heavenly being, whose business it is to act as the messengers of God, and to carry out His divine will. These are termed kedhoshim,or "holy ones." (Psalm 89:5-7) ir, irim,meaning "watchers." (Daniel 4:13, 17, 23) In the New Testament the only possible equivalent of the seraphim is "the living ones." ("beasts" of the King James Version) in Revelation 4; 5, etc. Here, as in Isaiah, they appear nearest Yahweh's throne, supreme in praise of God's holiness.
1. Their position (6:2a)
What Isaiah meant by the seraphim standing above the throne, is inferred from the use of their wings. The angels "as flames of fire."
2. Their wings - 6:2b
Because of God's holiness and unveiled glory, the wings covering their faces signify humility.
The scriptures differenciate between seraphim and cherubim, although each are mentioned in proximity to the throne of God. A cherubim guarded the way to the tree of life. They are represented in the Tabernacle and Temple. The cherubim in Ezekiel carry the chariot of the divine throne, when we see God moving from place to place. The seraphim hover on both sides of the throne, singing antiphonally of the Lord's holiness. Seraphs belong to a catagory of judging angels, sometimes called destroying angels. When David numbered Israel, an angel destroyed them by pestilence. (2 Sam. 24:16) In 2 Kings 19:35, such an angel destroyed the Assyrian army, killing 185,000.
3. The Seraph's praises - 6:3
The seraph flew to the altar of burnt offerings before the door of the Temple, on which the fire that came down at first from heaven was perpetually kept burning, and was never extinguished. (Lev. 9:24, 2 Chron. 7:1,Lev. 7:12-13) And took from off the altar a ritzpah, or red hot stone, or radafe, a red-hot coal. Radafe meaning "to scatter sparks, sparkle, or glow. This was removed with a pair of tongues. He flew to Isaiah and touched his lips with it, and immediately there was a response on the part of the Prophet, of a sense of his own uncleanness.
The "burnt offering" was a sacrifice required by the Law in which an animal was consumed by fire. It was not an offering for a specific sin, but rather for the sinful heart or sin-nature which required atonement for the worshipper to have access to God. It symbolized total commitment of the worshipper to the Lord.
B) Purged of His Sin
Taken away -- purged. Iniquity is the sin deep within that is at the very heart, and is an essential part of our sinning and stains us in God’s presence. This was taken away, removed, got rid of. ‘Sin’ is the actual outworking of iniquity in wrongful action, and that too was purged, covered, atoned for. There was now no barrier between Isaiah and God. The result was that from complete self-despair he came to a place of being able to listen to the voice of the Lord God. For us there is "something better" than even this "live coal," for we may see Yeshua/Jesus Who was the one sacrifice for sin for all time, and we may call on Him knowing that, if we admit to Him our sin and look to Him, the blood of Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1.7).
Through the vision from God, Isaiah was given a revelation of the Lord which was vitaly necessary for his own life as well as his ministry as a Prophet of God. The vision clarified some necessary things for the prophet, concerning his own standing before God in the office of a prophet, the nature of the mission God was sending him on, and the success of the mission. The revelation given to him was the means by which God purged his own life, prior to service. The Lord reveals that there is a need for a messenger to speak on God's behalf to the people. The Prophet volunteers to go. God send him on a divinely appointed mission to the nation of Israel.
c) Isaiah's Calling (v. 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, Lord send Me."
6:9 And he said, "Yes, go and tell this people. "You will hear my words, but you will not understand. You will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning."
"Go say unto this people, Hear on, but do not discern. See on but do not perceive. Stupify thou the heart of this people, and their ears make thou heavy. And their eyes overspread, lest they see with their eyes, and with their ears should hear, and with their heart should discern and come back, and they be healed." (Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)
3) Isaiah's Vision of the Holy Remnant
"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." (v. 13)
6:10 Harden the hearts of these people. Close their ears, and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn to me for healing."
The term for "Shut their eyes, is the Hebrew "hasha," which means "shut or close up." It speaks of a closing of the eyes so that they cannot see, as if spreading matter upon the eyes. The root word, shava signifies the "plastering" of a house.
"Then I said, "Lord, how long must I do this?"And he replied, "Until their cities are destroyed, with no one left in them. Until their houses are deserted and the whole country is an utter wasteland. And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land."
The Assyrians destroyed the Northern Kingdom approximately 17 years later. The Southern Kingdom fell to Babylon some 150 years later.
And a tenth shall be left in it, and they shall be burnt up again: like a terebinth and like an oak, which appear to be dried up when their leaves fall, though they still retain their moisture to preserve a seed from them: so the exiles for Israel shall be gathered together, and shall return to their land; for a holy seed is their plant. (Isaiah 6:13)
In his vision, the Prophet Isaiah sees that God shall indeed bring forth a holy remnant. They will be like a terebinth. As a teil-tree and as an oak, whose substance is in them even when they cast their leaves, so this remnant, though they may be stripped of their outward prosperity and share with others in common calamities, shall yet be renewed as a tree in the spring, and flourish again. Though they fall, they shall not be utterly cast down, as scripture states. "There is hope of a tree, though it be cut down, that it will sprout again." Job 14:7. (4.) This distinguished God's remnant. Although through the dealings of God, there would be these repeated dispersions, (by the Chaldeans, Romans, &c.,) yet a small remnant would be preserved as a seed from which God will raise up a people to exalt His holy name, and through whom He will fulfilled all the Divine promises. The incorruptible holy seed of God's word within the soul is the substance of the man or woman of God. It's that principle of grace reigning in the heart which preserves life there. "He that is born of God has his seed remaining in him." (1 Jn. 3:9.) So the holy seed in the land is the substance of the land, keeps it from being utterly exterminated. This seed becomes the supporting pillars of the new thig God does. (Ps. 75:3, ch. 1:9)
Some read the preceeding verses: "As the support at Shallecheth is in the elms and the oaks, so the holy seed is the substance thereof; as the trees that grow on either side of the causeway (the raised way, or terrace-walk, that leads from the king’s palace to the temple. (1 Ki. 10:5) At the gate of Shallecheth, (1 Chron, 26:16) These majestic oaks support the highway leading to the palace of the king by preserving the ground, which would otherwise dissolve away. So the small residue of God's holy praying people, are the salt of the earth. To you I say by the word of the Lord: "Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people." (Isaiah lxii. 10)
In a primary sense, the holy seed is Messiah, in whom God robed Himself, or "prepared Himself a body," so His own arm could bring salvation. The Jewish nation was saved from utter ruin because out of it, as concerning the flesh, Christ came from the stump of it. (Rom. 9:5) Destroy it not, for that blessing is in it (ch. 65:8); and when that blessing had come, it was soon destroyed. Though the greater part would perish as a result of their own unbelief, yet to some, the word of the Lord in the mouth of the Prophet would be a savour of life unto life.
In I Chronicles 14:14, the Terebinth tree is called "balsam" (NIV), and "mulberry." It is perhaps better known to some as the Pistacia tree, (Terebinthus Anacardiaceae) which produces the pistachio nut, and is similar to the familiar "pepper tree. "The terebinth of Mamre, or its successor, remained from the days of Abraham till the fourth century of the Christian era. This tree "is seldom seen in clumps or groves, never in forests, but stands isolated in a bare ravine or on a hill-side where nothing else towers above the low brushwood."
Gideon was standing by a large terebinth tree when called by God. (Judges 6:11). David faced Goliath in the Valley of Elah, or Valley of the Terebinth. (I Samuel 17:2) These trees symbolize abiding strength and longevity. Some 2 dozen varieties of oaks are found in Palestine. (Is. 2:13, Ams 2:9, Zech. 11:2.