Isaiah\’s Vision

He\’s the whole kit and caboodle. That\’s my two cents, anyway. For an upcoming worship committee meeting pastor has us reading a vision of the prophet Isaiah, recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
\”Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.\”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
\”Woe to me!\” I cried. \”I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.\”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, \”See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.\”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, \”Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?\”
And I said, \”Here am I. Send me!\”

We get a glimpse of heavenly worship here (yo, funky six winged angels, the LORD on His throne, smoky temple, thunderous voices, reverberations), yes, but the key to the whole scene is Jesus, even though this is Old Testament (pre-Jesus walking the earth) days. He\’s the One seated on the throne, because we know that when Lord is all in caps that it stands for YHWH, which is Jesus (most theologians agree, here). Plus Isaiah refers to Him as \”King\”…Jesus is King. So, walaa, He\’s the One on the throne…that is the easy, no brainer conclusion here.

Looking closer though, we see that the temple has doorposts and thresholds, there are entryways into the temple. Jesus refers to Himself, in the New Testament, as the doorkeeper, the gate, the Way, the One who provides entrance to Himself, to God, to the Father.

Upon entrance, Isaiah has immediate awareness of his unholiness/unworthiness and the unholiness/unworthiness of those he comes from, his people. He quickly plunges into confession of as much. Upon entering Jesus\’ presence, overwhelming awareness of sin and guilt sprouts and leads to confession. Jesus rattles the conscience.

Then we see an angel take a burning coal off the altar and put it to Isaiah\’s lips, to cleanse him, to atone for his sin, to remove his guilt. Well, dare we posit to say that Jesus is that love offering on the altar, that He is the burning coal that atones for sin and removes guilt? Of course He is.

What happens next? Jesus immediately asks for a volunteer to serve Him, to do His bidding. Isaiah immediately jumps at the chance to go.

So, we see Jesus bringing Isaiah into His temple (being the Doorkeeper), we see Jesus being worshiped as King, we see Jesus bringing awareness of sin/guilt, we see Jesus atoning for sin and removing guilt, we see Jesus making Isaiah ready for service (by cleansing him), we see Jesus inviting Isaiah to serve him. Isaiah\’s big task of the day was to say \”send me\”. I\’m thinking this is the usual pattern of finding God: entrance into the presence of an utterly holy God, awareness of sin, confession of sin, forgiveness and atonement for sin, cleansing, invitation to serve, service.

I have a question though…the temple, who or where is the temple? Is it in some ethereal place? Could the temple be in a place completely \’other\’, like in heaven? I think so, seems so. Alternately, in the New Testament Jesus refers to Himself as the temple, so I think it is safe to say that Jesus very well could be the temple in this vision. The New Testament also says (1 Corinthians) that Christians are the temple of God…yep, our bodies, all the way down the depths of our being, our hearts, are temples. So, could Isaiah have been given entrance into his heart, into his own personal temple, into the place where God\’s Spirit lives, where Jesus reigns, where worship is unending? If so, do we have a scene like Isaiah experienced happening within us 24/7? Are we being perpetually given entrance to awareness of Jesus as King, to awareness of sin, confession of sin, atonement for sin, cleansing, invitation to service with the possibility of \”Send me!\” at the end?

Do we, like Isaiah, take close note of those funky winged seraphs who call to one another in unending praise:
\”Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.\”
Do we hear what they say; can we even begin to apprehend these words? Do they thunder through us with reverberation and billowing smoke? Can we contain such a wonder and dare to join in? I\’m guessing \’yes\’, but only if He is on the throne, only if He is on the throne…

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