Isaiah Chapter 6 – Isaiah’s Experience Represents Last-Day Church

 

THEOLOGICAL THEMATIC:

The Son, the only way to the Father

This is one of those peculiar chapters in the Bible that appears out of blues and introduces a story without a context. I have ever wondered why God had to spell out the year of King Uzziah’s death and his death in particular. This is a story that is lifted from 2 Kings 15:5 and 2 Chronicles 26:16-21

 

2Kings 15:1 In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign.  2 Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Jecholiah of Jerusalem.  3 And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done;  4 Save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.  5 And the LORD smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house. And Jotham the king’s son [was] over the house, judging the people of the land.  6 And the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  7 So Azariah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.

 

The book of Chronicles adds more detail to why the King was struck with leprosy till he died. From a little success, he got lifted up, read on

2Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to [his] destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense. 17 And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, [that were] valiant men:  18 And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, [It appertaineth] not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither [shall it be] for thine honour from the LORD God.  19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and [had] a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.  20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he [was] leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.  21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, [being] a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son [was] over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.  22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.  23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which [belonged] to the kings; for they said, He [is] a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead. 

 

So now we come to Isiah 6

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.  4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  5 Then said I, 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.  6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, [which] he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:  7 And he laid [it] upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.  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; send me.  9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.  11Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,  12 And the LORD have removed men far away, and [there be] a great forsaking in the midst of the land.  13 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.

 

The children of Israel were given the sanctuary to show forth the glory of God in the plan of redemption but they had resorted to heathenism and doing as they pleased. Instead of being a light to the heath, they corrupted themselves to heathenism until at the end there was no remedy and God took them to captivity:

 

2Chronicles 36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:  16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till [there was] no remedy.  17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave [them] all into his hand.  18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all [these] he brought to Babylon.  19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.  20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:  21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: [for] as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

 

Isaiah is said, in the general title of his prophecies, to have prophesied in the time of Uzziah, whose acts, first and last, he wrote, 2Ch 26:22; which is usually done by a contemporary prophet.

 

In this vision the ideas are taken in general from royal majesty, as displayed by the monarchs of the East; for the prophet could not represent the ineffable presence of God by any other than sensible and earthly images. The particular scenery of it is taken from the temple. God is represented as seated on 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, and the place of the soles of his feet,” Eze 43:7. “A glorious throne exalted of old, is the place of our sanctuary,” saith the prophet Jeremiah, Jer 17:12. The very posture of sitting is a mark of state and solemnity. John, who has taken many sublime images from the prophets of the Old Testament, and in particular from Isaiah, hath exhibited the same scenery, drawn out into a greater number of particulars; Re 4:1-11.

 

The veil, separating the most holy place from the holy or outermost part of the temple, is here supposed to be taken away; for the prophet, to whom the whole is exhibited, is manifestly placed by the altar of burnt-offering, at the entrance of the temple, (compare Eze 43:5, 6,) which was filled with the train of the robe, the spreading and overflowing of the Divine glory. The Lord upon the throne, according to John (Joh 12:41,) was Christ; and the vision related to his future kingdom when the veil of separation was to be removed, and the whole earth was to be filled with the glory of God, revealed to all mankind: which is likewise implied in the hymn of the seraphim.

 

There is something exceedingly affecting in the complaint of Isaiah. I am a man of unclean lips; I cannot say, Holy, holy, holy! which the seraphs exclaim. They are holy; I am not so: they see God, and live; I have seen him, and must die, because I am unholy. Only the pure in heart shall see God; and they only can live in his presence for ever, Reader, lay this to heart; and instead of boasting of thy excellence, and trusting in thy might, or comforting thyself in thy comparative innocence, thou wilt also be dumb before him, because thou hast been a man of unclean lips, and because thou hast still an unclean heart.

 

In Isaiah 6:13, the passage, though somewhat obscure, and variously explained by various interpreters, clearly when Nebuchadnezzar had carried away the greater and better part of the people into captivity, there was yet a tenth remaining in the land, the poorer sort left to be vine-dressers and husbandmen, under Gedaliah, 2Ki 25:12,22, and the dispersed Jews gathered themselves together, and returned to him, Jer 40:12; yet even these, fleeing into Egypt after the death of Gedaliah, contrary to the warning of God given by the prophet Jeremiah, miserably perished there. Again, in the subsequent and more remarkable completion of the prophecy in the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dissolution of the commonwealth by the Romans, when the Jews, after the loss of above a million of men, had increased from the scanty residue that was left of them, and had become very numerous again in their country; Hadrian, provoked by their rebellious behaviour, slew above half a million more of them, and a second time almost extirpated the nation. Yet after these signal and almost universal destructions of that nation, and after so many other repeated exterminations and massacres of them in different times and on various occasions since, we yet see, with astonishment, that the stock still remains, from which God, according to his promise frequently given by his prophets, will cause his people to shoot forth again, and to flourish.

 

The vision of Isaiah was and is a lesson of a God who will not share his glory with anyone but also a God who is ready to heal. The Israelites were by signification of Isaiah being touched by the coal not far gone that their backsliding could not be healed.

 

(2 Kings 15:5). Success Must Not Lift One Up.–[2 Chronicles 26:16-21 quoted.]. The case of Uzziah the king reveals how God will punish the sin of presumption…. The Lord has ordained men to certain positions in His church, and He would not have them step out of the places to which He has appointed them. When the Lord gives them a measure of success, they are not to become lifted up, and think themselves qualified to do a work for which they are not fitted, and to which God has not called them (RH Aug. 14, 1900).

 

Just in line with Revelation 4:8, 9. In Isaiah 6, there is the story of Uzziah beholding the glory of God. Isaiah says “Lord” that’s “Adonay” which we normally but not all the time apply to Jesus unlike “LORD” that’s “Jehovah” which mostly applies to the Father. Now looking at some two quotes by EGW, one is like Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus and the other the glory of the Father. One can argue that the glory of the Father is reflected to the Son then Isiaah so no contradictions, which I agree but EGW says he saw “cloud of glorious light” covering the Father [EW 54.2]. It seems to me that the glory of the father can be seen but not his form as EGW reports. That again leaves with the question whose glory did Isaiah see. It is a none issue but sheds light Revelation 4:8, 9 that maybe the person that was seen on the throne was Jesus and the appellations there is what he has inherited from the Father as even Isaiah saw the glory of the Son that he had received from the Father.

 

Application to the Son

John 12:37 But though he [CHRIST] had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

 

Let us look at and study the sixth chapter of Isaiah: “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD OF HOSTS; the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” {RH, February 18, 1896 par. 1} LORD OF HOSTS in Joshua 5:14 refers to Jesus. Emphasis mine.

 

This was a revelation of the GLORY OF CHRIST’S DIVINITY. Note the humility of the seraphim before him. With their wings they veiled their faces and their feet. They were in the presence of Jesus. THEY SAW THE GLORY OF GOD,–the King in his beauty,–and they covered themselves. And what effect did this view of the Lord’s glory have upon the mind of the prophet? “Then said I, 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. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 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; send me.” {RH, February 18, 1896 par. 2}

 

Beholding the GLORY OF THE SON OF GOD caused the prophet himself to appear very insignificant. He felt nothing but contempt for himself. “I abhor myself! Woe is me, for I am undone.” The more closely we view the Lord Jesus in his purity and loveliness, the less will we esteem self, the less will we strive for the mastery, or even for recognition. WHEN THE LIGHT OF JESUS REVEALS THE DEFORMITY OF OUR SOULS, there will be no desire to lift up ourselves unto vanity. The appearance of self is most unpleasing. The more continuously the sinful man looks upon Jesus, the less he sees in himself to admire, and his soul is prostrated before God in contrition. {RH, February 18, 1896 par. 3}

 

So many have this self satisfied feeling, and manifest this inclination to uplift self unto vanity, thus giving evidence that they are clothed with the filthy rags of their own self righteousness. If they do not seek most diligently for the heavenly anointing, THEY WILL NOT, CANNOT, SEE JESUS. Neither can they see their own poverty. Their spiritual defects are hidden from their eyes. They have a name to live, but give not the slightest evidence that THEIR LIFE PROCEEDS FROM GOD. THE TRUE SPIRITUAL LIFE IS A REFLECTION OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST. The meekness and lowliness of our Saviour are apparent in the daily lives of his true disciples. The gentleness of Christ is revealed. Such a life is constantly speaking of his love, and telling of the power of his grace. In beholding Christ, there is a continual change wrought in the human agent; his conversation is made fragrant with divine grace. {RH, February 18, 1896 par. 4}

 

Application to the Father

In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah was permitted in vision to look into the HOLY PLACE, and into the HOLY OF HOLIES in the heavenly sanctuary. The curtains of the INNERMOST SANCTUARY WERE DRAWN ASIDE, AND A THRONE HIGH AND LIFTED UP, towering as it were to the very heavens, was revealed to his gaze. An indescribable glory emanated from a PERSONAGE ON THE THRONE, and his train filled the temple, AS HIS GLORY WILL FINALLY FILL THE EARTH. Cherubim were on either side of the MERCY-SEAT as guards round the great king, and they glowed with the glory that enshrouded them from the PRESENCE OF GOD. As their songs of praise resounded in deep, earnest notes of adoration, the pillars of the gate trembled, as if shaken by an earthquake. These holy beings sang forth the praise and GLORY OF GOD with lips unpolluted with sin. The contrast between the feeble praise which he had been accustomed to bestow upon the Creator and the fervid praises of the seraphim, astonished and humiliated the prophet. He had for the time being, the sublime privilege of appreciating the spotless purity of JEHOVAH’S EXALTED CHARACTER. While he listened to the song of the angels, as they cried, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory,” the glory, the infinite power, and the unsurpassed majesty of the Lord passed before his vision, and was impressed upon his soul. In the light of this matchless radiance, that made manifest all he could bear in the revelation of the divine character, his own inward defilement stood out before him with startling clearness. His very words seemed vile to him. {RH, October 16, 1888 par. 8}

 

Thus when the servant of God is permitted to behold the GLORY OF THE GOD of heaven, as he is unveiled to humanity, and realizes to a slight degree the purity of the Holy One of Israel, he will make startling confessions of the pollution of his soul, rather than proud boasts of his holiness. In deep humiliation Isaiah exclaimed, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts.” This is not that voluntary humility and servile self-reproach that so many seem to consider it a virtue to display. This vague mockery of humility is prompted by hearts full of pride and self-esteem. There are many who demerit themselves in words, who would be disappointed if this course did not call forth expressions of praise and appreciation from others. But the conviction of the prophet was genuine. As humanity, with its weakness and deformity, was brought out in contrast with the perfection of divine holiness and light and glory, he felt altogether inefficient and unworthy. HOW COULD HE GO AND SPEAK TO THE PEOPLE THE HOLY REQUIREMENTS OF JEHOVAH, who was high and lifted up, and whose train filled the temple? While Isaiah was trembling and conscience-smitten, because of his impurity in the presence of this unsurpassed glory, he says, “Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 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; send me.” {RH, October 16, 1888 par. 9}

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Isaiah’s Experience Represents Last-Day Church.–[Isaiah 6:1-4 quoted.]

As the prophet Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord, he was amazed, and, overwhelmed with a sense of his own weakness and unworthiness, he cried, “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.” Isaiah had denounced the sin of others; but now he sees himself exposed to the same condemnation he had pronounced upon them. He had been satisfied with a cold, lifeless ceremony in his worship of God. He had not known this until the vision was given him of the Lord. How little now appeared his wisdom and talents as he looked upon the sacredness and majesty of the sanctuary. How unworthy he was! how unfitted for sacred service! His view of himself might be expressed in the language of the apostle Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

 

But relief was sent to Isaiah in his distress. [Isaiah 6:6, 7 quoted.]

The vision given to Isaiah represents the condition of God’s people in the last days. They are privileged to see by faith the work that is going forward in the heavenly sanctuary. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” As they look by faith into the holy of holies, and see the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, they perceive that they are a people of unclean lips,–a people whose lips have often spoken vanity, and whose talents have not been sanctified and employed to the glory of God. Well may they despair as they contrast their own weakness and unworthiness with the purity and loveliness of the glorious character of Christ. But if they, like Isaiah, will receive the impression the Lord designs shall be made upon the heart, if they will humble their souls before God, there is hope for them. The bow of promise is above the throne, and the work done for Isaiah will be performed in them. God will respond to the petitions coming from the contrite heart (RH Dec. 22, 1896).

 

Isaiah had a wonderful view of God’s glory. He saw the manifestation of God’s power, and after beholding His majesty, a message came to him to go and do a certain work. He felt wholly unworthy for the work. What made him esteem himself unworthy? Did he think himself unworthy before he had a view of God’s glory?–No; he imagined himself in a righteous state before God; but when the glory of the Lord of hosts was revealed to him, when he beheld the inexpressible majesty of God, he said, “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. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a living coal in his hands, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar, and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” This is the work that as individuals we need to have done for us. We want the living coal from off the altar placed upon our lips. We want to hear the word spoken, “Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged” (RH June 4, 1889).

 

Christ Himself was the Lord of the temple. When He should leave it, its glory would depart–that glory once visible in the holy of holies over the mercy seat, where the high priest entered only once a year, on the great day of atonement, with the blood of the slain victim (typical of the blood of the Son of God shed for the sins of the world), and sprinkled it upon the altar. This was the Shekinah, the visible pavilion of Jehovah. It was this glory that was revealed to Isaiah, when he says, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” [Isaiah 6:1-8 quoted] (MS 71, 1897).

 

In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah was permitted in vision to look into the holy place, and into the holy of holies in the heavenly sanctuary. The curtains of the innermost sanctuary were drawn aside, and a throne high and lifted up, towering as it were to the very heavens, was revealed to his gaze. An indescribable glory emanated from a personage on the throne, and His train filled the temple, as His glory will finally fill the earth. Cherubim were on either side of the mercy-seat, as guards round the great king, and they glowed with the glory that enshrouded them from the presence of God. As their songs of praise resounded in deep, earnest notes of adoration, the pillars of the gate trembled, as if shaken by an earthquake. These holy beings sang forth the praise and glory of God with lips unpolluted with sin. The contrast between the feeble praise which he had been accustomed to bestow upon the Creator and the fervid praises of the seraphim, astonished and humiliated the prophet. He had for the time being the sublime privilege of appreciating the spotless purity of Jehovah’s exalted character. While he listened to the song of the angels, as they cried, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory,” the glory, the infinite power, and the unsurpassed majesty of the Lord passed before his vision, and was impressed upon his soul. In the light of this matchless radiance that made manifest all he could bear in the revelation of the divine character, his own inward defilement stood out before him with startling clearness. His very words seemed vile to him.

 

Thus when the servant of God is permitted to behold the glory of the God of heaven, as He is unveiled to humanity, and realizes to a slight degree the purity of the Holy One of Israel, he will make startling confessions of the pollution of his soul, rather than proud boasts of his holiness. In deep humiliation Isaiah exclaimed, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips: . . . for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts.” This is not that voluntary humility and servile self-reproach that so many seem to consider it a virtue to display. This vague mockery of humility is prompted by hearts full of pride and self-esteem. There are many who demerit themselves in words, who would be disappointed if this course did not call forth expressions of praise and appreciation from others. But the conviction of the prophet was genuine. As humanity, with its weakness and deformity, was brought out in contrast with the perfection of divine holiness and light and glory, he felt altogether inefficient and unworthy. How could he go and speak to the people the holy requirements of Jehovah, who was high and lifted up, and whose train filled the temple? While Isaiah was trembling and conscience-smitten, because of his impurity in the presence of this unsurpassed glory, he said, “Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 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; send me” (RH Oct. 16, 1888).

 

The seraphim before the throne are so filled with reverential awe in beholding the glory of God that they do not for an instant look upon themselves with self-complacency, or in admiration of themselves or one another. Their praise and glory are for the Lord of Hosts, who is high and lifted up, and the glory of whose train fills the temple. As they see the future, when the whole earth shall be filled with His glory, the triumphant song of praise is echoed from one to another in melodious chant, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts.” They are fully satisfied to glorify God; and in His presence, beneath His smile of approbation, they wish for nothing more. In bearing His image, in doing His service and worshiping Him, their highest ambition is fully reached (RH Dec. 22, 1896).

 

Let every soul who claims to be a son or a daughter of God examine himself in the light of heaven; let him consider the polluted lips that make him “undone.” They are the medium of communication. [Matthew 12:34, 35 quoted.] Then let them not be used in bringing from the treasure of the heart words that will dishonor God and discourage those around you, but use them for the praise and glory of God, who has formed them for this purpose. When the cleansing coal is applied from the glowing altar, the conscience will be purged from dead works to serve the living God; and when the love of Jesus is the theme of contemplation, the words coming from human lips will be full of praise and thanksgiving to God and to the Lamb. How many words are spoken in lightness and foolishness, in jesting and joking! This would not be so did the followers of Christ realize the truth of the words, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

 

Harsh and unkind words, words of censure and criticism of God’s work and His messengers, are indulged in by those who profess to be His children. When these careless souls discern the greatness of God’s character, they will not mingle their spirit and attributes with His service. When our eyes look by faith into the sanctuary, and take in the reality, the importance and holiness, of the work there being done, everything of a selfish nature will be abhorred by us. Sin will appear as it is,–the transgression of God’s holy law. The atonement will be better understood; and by living, active faith, we shall see that whatever of virtue humanity possesses, it exists only in Jesus Christ, the world’s Redeemer (RH Dec. 22, 1896).

 

Isaiah had a message from the God of heaven to give to the backsliding people of Israel, and he gave them this message. He knew what elements he had to deal with; he knew the stubbornness and perversity of the heart, and how hard it would be to make any impression upon them. As he stood in the portico of the temple, the Lord revealed Himself to him. The veil of the temple was withdrawn, the door lifted, and he had a view of the holy of holies within the veil. He saw the God of Israel before the throne high and lifted up, and the train of His glory filled the temple. As Isaiah senses his own sinfulness, he cries out, “I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” And there was seen the hand that took the live coal from off the altar, and touched his lips, and bade him be clean. Then he was ready to go with the message, and he said, “Send me”; for he knew that the Spirit of God would be with the message. To those who are engaged in the work of God, in the conversion of souls, it would seem as though it was impossible to reach the obdurate heart. This is how Isaiah felt, but when he saw that there was a God above the cherubim, and that they were ready to work with God, he was ready to carry the message (RH May 3, 1887).

 

The live coal is symbolical of purification. If it touches the lips, no impure word will fall from them. The live coal also symbolizes the potency of the efforts of the servants of the Lord. God hates all coldness, all commonness, all cheap efforts. Those who labor acceptably in His cause, must be men who pray fervently, and whose works are wrought in God; and they will never have cause to be ashamed of their record. They will have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their reward will be given them,–even eternal life (RH Oct. 16, 1888).

 

White like Snow

In beholding his God, the prophet had not only been given a view of his own unworthiness; there had come to his humbled heart the assurance of forgiveness, full and free; and he had arisen a changed man. He had seen his Lord. He had caught a glimpse of the loveliness of the divine character. He could testify of the transformation wrought through beholding Infinite Love. Henceforth he was inspired with longing desire to see erring Israel set free from the burden and penalty of sin. “Why should ye be stricken any more?” the prophet inquired. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” . The God whom they had been claiming to serve, but whose character they had misunderstood, was set before them as the great Healer of spiritual disease. {CC 235.3}

 

The heart of Infinite Love yearns after those who feel powerless to free themselves from the snares of Satan; and He graciously offers to strengthen them to live for Him. “Fear thou not,” He bids them; “for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” {CC 235.4}

 

Have you, reader, chosen your own way? Have you wandered far from God? Have you sought to feast upon the fruits of transgression, only to find them turn to ashes upon your lips? Return to your Father’s house. He invites you, saying, “Return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” “Come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live.”  {CC 235.5}

 

For Everyone

Throughout his ministry Isaiah bore a plain testimony concerning God’s purpose for the heathen. Other prophets had made mention of the divine plan, but their language was not always understood. To Isaiah it was given to make very plain to Judah the truth that among the Israel of God were to be numbered many who were not descendants of Abraham after the flesh. This teaching was not in harmony with the theology of his age, yet he fearlessly proclaimed the messages given him of God and brought hope to many a longing heart reaching out after the spiritual blessings promised to the seed of Abraham. {CC 236.2}

 

Often the Israelites seemed unable or unwilling to understand God’s purpose for the heathen. Yet it was this very purpose that had made them a separate people and had established them as an independent nation among the nations of the earth. Abraham, their father, to whom the covenant promise was first given, had been called to go forth from his kindred, to the regions beyond, that he might be a light bearer to the heathen. Although the promise to him included a posterity as numerous as the sand by the sea, yet it was for no selfish purpose that he was to become the founder of a great nation. “I will bless thee,” Jehovah declared, “and make thy name great;  in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” {CC 236.3}

 

No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple courts, that every soul may have free access to God. His love is so broad, so deep, so full, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan’s influence those who have been deluded by his deceptions, and places them within reach of the throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow of promise. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free.  {CC 236.4}

 

As a church which has drifted into Laodicea, the greatness of God is presented to us once again as it was to Isaiah. We can turn to him and be healed or his glory will consume us when we see him while still having unclean lips. The vision applies to us today. When we shall comprehend the exalted glory and character of God, we shall repent in ashes and desire to be touched by the coal from the altar that we may die to self. Until this happens, we cannot be send, and if we go, then it will be without the glory and presence of God and we shall be beaten and chased with demons like the sons of Sceva. Maye these things engross our minds as we near the end.

 

Blessings

 

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