Summary: All vain-glory, ambition, ignorance, and pride, would be done away by one view of Christ in his glory. This awful vision of the Divine Majesty overwhelmed the prophet with a sense of his own vileness. We are undone if there is not a Mediator between us an
Opening illustration: Story of a passionate British underground evangelist in Salalah, Oman.
Introduction: In this figurative vision, the temple is thrown open to view, even to the most holy place. The prophet, standing outside the temple, sees the Divine Presence seated on the mercy-seat, raised over the Ark of the Covenant, between the cherubim and seraphim, and the Divine glory filled the whole temple. See God upon his throne. This vision is explained, John 12: 41, that Isaiah now saw Christ’s glory, and spoke of Him, which is a full proof that our Savior is God. In Christ Jesus, God is seated on a throne of grace; and through him the way into the holiest is laid open. See God’s temple, his church on earth, filled with his glory. His train, the skirts of his robes, filled the temple, the whole world, for it is all God’s temple. And yet he dwells in every contrite heart. See the blessed attendants by whom his government is served. Above the throne stood the holy angels, called seraphim, which means “burners;” they burn in love to God, and zeal for his glory against sin. The seraphim showing their faces veiled, declares that they are ready to yield obedience to all God’s commands, though they do not understand the secret reasons of his counsels, government, or promises. All vain-glory, ambition, ignorance, and pride, would be done away by one view of Christ in his glory. This awful vision of the Divine Majesty overwhelmed the prophet with a sense of his own vileness. We are undone if there is not a Mediator between us and this holy God. A glimpse of heavenly glory is enough to convince us that all our righteousness is as filthy rags. Nor is there a man that would dare to speak to the Lord, if he saw the justice, holiness, and majesty of God, without discerning his glorious mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. The live coal may denote the assurance given to the prophet, of pardon, and acceptance in his work, through the atonement of Christ. Nothing is powerful to cleanse and comfort the soul, but what is taken from Christ’s satisfaction and intercession. The taking away sin is necessary to our speaking with confidence and comfort, either to God in prayer, or from God in preaching; and those shall have their sin taken away who complain of it as a burden, and see themselves in danger of being undone by it. It is great comfort to those whom God sends, that they go for God, and may therefore speak in his name, assured that he will bear them out.
How to burn for God?
1. What is their character? (v. 2)
• Here it is applied to Yahweh; see also Psa_114:7, where it is also so applied; and see Isa_8:7, and Job_28:28, where Yahweh calls himself “Adonai.” The word does not itself denote essential divinity; but it is often applied to God.
• That Isaiah evidently meant to say that it was Yahweh who appeared to him. He is expressly so called in Isa_6:5-8, Isa_6:11.
• It is equally clear, from the New Testament, that Isaiah saw the messiah. John quotes the words in this chapter, Isa_6:10, as applicable to Jesus Christ, and then adds Joh_12:41, ‘these things said Esaias when he saw his glory, and spoke of him.’
• The most holy place only is intended. The large, full, magnificent robe seemed to fill up the entire holy of holies. Apparently we are the temple today and God desires it to be holy as He is.
• The Lord - The Divine Majesty as he subsisted in three persons. His train - His royal and judicial robe; for he is represented as a judge.
• The Seraphim are, in many respects, in contrast with the Cherubim, though both are expressive of the divine holiness, which demands that the sinner shall have access to divine presence only through a sacrifice which really vindicates the righteousness of God.
• Ezekiel’s vision of the living creatures and wheels; and this appears by their name "seraphim", which signifies "burning", and so Ezekiel’s living creatures are said to be "like burning coals of fire", Eze_1:13 and the ministers of the Gospel are so called, because of their ministerial gifts, compared to fire, as the gifts of the spirit of God.
• The saint shall be cleansed before serving. (Gen_3:22-24) illustrates the first; (Isa_6:1-8) the second. The Cherubim may be said to have to do with the altar, the Seraphim with the laver.
• This is designed, doubtless, to denote the “reverence and awe” inspired by the immediate presence of God. And if the pure and holy seraphim evinced such reverence in the presence of Yahweh, with what profound awe and veneration should we, polluted and sinful creatures, presume to draw near to him!