Isaiah's famous vision of the throne room of God.In verse 6:1, It says; "In the year of king Uzziah's death...." In 2nd Chronicles 29, we get the story of King Uzziah.
He became King when he was 16. He followed the Lord until his pride became too great. One day he tried to enter the temple and do the priests job. The temple priests banded together to stop him.When he became enraged, his forehead broke out in leprosy in front of every one in the temple. He quickly rushed from the temple once he realized that the Lord had struck him with leprosy. Unlike Miriam, Moses's sister,(Num.12. Read this it's a very eye opening account of the closeness of the Lord when the people were in the wilderness.) he was not healed of his leprosy, he lived a secluded life until he died. His pride had swallowed up his very existence. The Lord held him accountable for his pride and his sin.
**side note **According to Zech. 14:5, there was a major earthquake during the reign of Uzziah. The prophet, Amos, (Amos 1:1) uses the earthquake to date his visions. Geologists have found evidence of a major earthquake, (8.2) which took place 760BC, (plus or minus 25years) in the ruins of ancient Israel. I Love it when we have parts of the bible proven by historical facts!
**side note to the side note** Tradition and Josephus, say that the earthquake happened in conjunction with Uzziah's attempt to disregard the Lord's rules for sacrifice in the temple.
|Throne behind the altar, St Peters Basilica, Rome|
The rest of verse 6:1 starts to describe the incredible vision that Isaiah lived through. He says he saw the Lord sitting on His throne, lofty and exalted, lifted up. (kings in those days would build their thrones at the top of a high platform that would have stairs leading up to them. It would put them above everyone else even when they were sitting down and would make them appear larger than their subjects below.) and the train of His robe filled temple. (Per Eerdmans, a better translation of the word temple would be palace).
In Verses 6:2-7,We get a glimpse into the eternal. It starts with a description of the Seraphim (fiery ones). With the description given to us by Isaiah, it is hard for us to imagine what he was actually seeing. I did a search on Google Images of Seraphim. The pictures that people have drawn are all very different from eachother.
People describe what they see through the lens of their own finite memory. Isaiah, although allowed and inspired by the Holy Spirit, is no different. John's description of his vision of the throne room of God in Rev. 4:2-9 is similar but with more detail. The angels are doing the same thing. They are crying "Holy, Holy, Holy",( 3 times for the trinity) "is the Lord God almighty". In Isaiah it says they say" heaven and earth are full of your glory". In Rev.4, they say "who was and is, and is to come"
Verse 6:6 is particularly interesting. One of the Seraphim flew to him with a burning coal in his hand. The Lord makes sure that we know that the Angel used tongs to remove the burning coal from the fire. The fire was real and possibly, too hot or too holy for the Seraphim to touch with his bare angel hand. Compare this to Rev.8:3-4. The angel in this passage is holding a golden censer (also not touching the hot coals with his bare hands). He takes the prayers of the saints and a large amount of incense and mixes them together. (I envision him kneading them together like bread dough) He takes the mixture and adds it to the burning coals from the altar that is ,"before the throne of God". He then uses the censer, which is in his hand, to hold the incense mixed with the prayers of the saints and the burning coals from the altar, to present the beautiful aroma which rises before our Lord. In the reality of eternity, our prayers are tangible, touchable, able to be mixed with eternal incense and heated with the fire of heaven. (Psalm 141:2)
All of this brings up some very important considerations about our eternal destination. We tend to think of heaven and our eternity in the light of what we consider a spirit world. We think of our eternity and the place where God dwells as a foggy, misty, ghostly place that if we were to enter with our fleshly bodies we would fall right through vapory streets and walk through substance-less walls but that's not what the scripture teaches. I think the problem is that we, with our finite minds, have difficulty imagining another reality that is just as tangible as the one our human flesh can experience.
Scientists have felt for a long time that there are other dimensions, other spatial realities that we can't comprehend. We, as Christians, know that there is more to life than what our eyes can see. While scientists are not equating any of their findings to proof that God and heaven do exist, they are now willing to admit that something else is going on.
I found this article on the NOVA website. This is a "briefed up" version of the article:
IMAGING OTHER DIMENSIONS
- By Rick Groleau
- Posted 10.28.03
"For most of us, or perhaps all of us, it's impossible to imagine a world consisting of more than three spatial dimensions. Are we correct when we intuit that such a world couldn't exist? Or is it that our brains are simply incapable of imagining additional dimensions—dimensions that may turn out to be as real as other things we can't detect?
String theorists are betting that extra dimensions do indeed exist; in fact, the equations that describe superstring theory require a universe with no fewer than 10 dimensions. But even physicists who spend all day thinking about extra spatial dimensions have a hard time describing what they might look like or how we apparently feeble-minded humans might approach an understanding of them. That's always been the case, and perhaps always will be".
The scripture teaches that we are not going to a vapory place when we die. The description of the millennium in Zechariah 14, talks about celebrating the Feast of Booths and the bells of the horses being inscribed with "holy is the Lord". All the cooking pots (cooking pots?) will be holy to the Lord.
The beginning of that chapter talks about Jesus's feet standing on the Mount of Olives. It goes on to describe the actual transformation of Jerusalem, describing places that we can go see now with our inferior human eyes that we will see transformed when we are in our perfected state.
The description of where we will live for all eternity in Rev.21, is full of very familiar objects and ideas. We are also given concrete measurements of heaven. I believe this is by God's very design to convince us of the tangibleness of where we will be when we go to be with Him.
The gold and jewels are described in great detail. The appreciation of gold and jewels for their beauty is universal among human beings.
I believe that this desire to own and gaze upon what the world would describe as "precious", is a God given desire in the heart of man. We are all desiring heaven. We are born desiring to live forever on the streets of gold surrounded by the walls of jewels. The Lord did not decorate heaven to satisfy our desire for jewels. Rather, He put the desire for heaven in our hearts.
Those rocks, oyster coated specks of sand and ,bright yellow dirt are so beautiful to us because God says they are beautiful. He has built His GLORIOUS city out of the heavenly version of these earthly substances.
I have thought a lot about the next part of this passage. In verse 6:7, it says Isaiah's mouth was touched with the burning coal and his iniquity was taken away. I still have a lot of questions about this but the one thing that has impressed me regarding this verse is that, Isaiah was touched and cleansed in the very area that he felt most vulnerable and sinful. Remember in verse 6:5, he says "Woe is me, I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips," And now this would be the part of him that the Lord would use to fulfill his calling as the Lord's prophet.
I have always loved verse 6:8. The Lord says "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (notice the Lord doesn't say Who will go for me? He speaks of Himself in the plural, Father, Son and Holy Spirit) He speaks this almost the way that a Father might speak a question out loud to get an expected response from a child. And, Isaiah, presumably being the only human around, responds as a young boy would.
"Here I am, send me". The Lord then gives him his marching orders; He tells him to go and challenge them in their own behavior.
In verse 6:9 The Lord says, "Tell them keep on listening but do not perceive. Keep on looking but do not understand." The Lord Himself explains this to the disciples in Matt.13:14.
Verse 6:10, says; Render or make (by his preaching) the heart of the people Insensitive,
Their ears dull, (lit. heavy) and their eyes dim (lit. be-smeared). The point here is that the Lord is saying, that the people would find a way to become even duller and more insensitive to Him. The very preaching of this prophet will drive the people farther away instead of calling them closer. Even still, Isaiah was to fulfill his calling.
Then, verse 6:11, Isaiah innocently asks how long is he to preach this warning to them.
The rest of this chapter the Lord once again speaks of the devastation that will come upon Jerusalem and the people. The last verse contains the message of hope in the promise of the coming devastation.
As in chapter 5, the fire is promised again. The fire that in a strange way will cleanse, leaving a stump which is the Holy seed. In Isaiah chapter 11, we are told that "a shoot will spring from the root of Jesse (Jesse was king David's father), and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.
Read Jeremiah 23:5-6. It also ties all of this information together.
Chapters like this one give us an incredible look into eternity. It is a place where our prayers are tangible, fire is too holy to touch and the angels are mighty male beings, not chubby babies or beautiful women. God's word is so amazing. We just have to keep reading. Time for chapter 7.
God bless you ladies. I'm praying for all of you........