Holy, Holy, Holy
Key Verse: “One cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.”
THE VISION of Isaiah recorded in the verses of our lesson is highly symbolic. Verse 1 clearly indicates that the vision centered on God himself. It is he who Isaiah, in vision, saw “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up,” in the temple—his symbolic dwelling place. Isaiah further saw “seraphims,” each one with six wings—two wings covering their faces, two covering their feet, and two with which to fly.
At the crying of the seraphim, the temple in which Isaiah saw the Lord in vision seems to come alive. “The posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” (vs. 4) The moving of the posts of the temple door and the house being filled with smoke seem to represent the fact that the nation of Israel, because of unfaithfulness, was soon to be moved out of its place of favor with God, and that their view of him was clouded, as if with smoke.
We cannot be certain as to what the seraphim actually were that Isaiah saw, but the word itself has the thought of something fiery or burning. In Isaiah’s vision, seeing a fiery, burning object or being of some kind, was a detail he would likely remember and focus his attention on. Such is the case here, for in our Key Verse, Isaiah notices the seraphim crying aloud to each other, proclaiming the holiness of God—he being the subject of the vision. In symbol, the seraphim seem to represent God’s cardinal character attributes of wisdom, justice, love, and power—all of which speak, or cry out, concerning his holiness.
As Isaiah’s vision continues, he realizes, by contrast, his own unrighteous condition compared to the superlative holiness of God. He says, “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.”—vs. 5
In vision, one of the seraphim then comes to Isaiah with a “live coal in his hand,” taken from the temple altar. He lays it upon Isaiah’s mouth, and says, “This hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” (vss. 6,7) We believe that this symbolically represents how God’s attribute of justice—one of the symbolic seraphim of the vision—cleanses his people from sin by faith in the shed blood of Jesus. Paul said, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”—Rom. 5:1
As Isaiah’s vision concludes—he now having been purged of sin—the voice of God comes to him, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah responds, “Here am I; send me.” (Isa. 6:8) Here we see that in order to be “sent” in the service of God, one must first be cleansed, or justified—made right in his sight. For those thus made righteous in God’s sight, it is his desire to send them to further service in his name and for his cause.
For the consecrated footstep followers of Jesus during this present Gospel Age, we have been invited to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1) By the processes of first recognizing our undone condition, being made holy by the cleansing blood of Jesus, and our complete heart-consecration to God, we are able to join Isaiah in answering God’s call, and say with him, “Here am I; send me.”