What did Isaiah see?

Isaiah 6:1-13


God the Holy Spirit tells us in John 12:41 that the revelation given to Isaiah that is recorded in this 6th chapter of his prophecy was a revelation of the glory of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. But what is that? What did Isaiah see, when he saw Christ’s glory?

  1. Isaiah saw God in His true character, as He really is, in His glorious sovereignty and infinite holiness (vv. 1-4).
  2. Then he saw himself as a guilty, helpless, doomed, damned, lost sinner before the holy Lord God, “a man of unclean lips” (v. 5).
  3. Seeing God as He really is and himself as he really was, Isaiah saw the complete depravity of all Adam’s fallen race, “a people of unclean lips” (v. 5).
  4. By the goodness and grace of God, Isaiah saw and experienced the complete forgiveness of sin by blood atonement (vv. 6-7).
  5. Then, when he saw the Lord’s glory, Isaiah saw the purpose of the triune God perfectly fulfilled by Christ, Jehovah’s righteous Servant (vv. 8-13).


Gospel Preachers


These verses may have reference to Isaiah and his calling as God’s prophet. God’s servants are all called of God and all are volunteers in the service of Christ, being constrained by His call and His grace (v. 8). God’s servants are all sent men, sent of God to preach the Gospel (v. 9). God’s servants are to some a savor of death unto death (vv. 10-12), and to others a savor of life unto life (v. 13).


Christ our Surety


But Isaiah 8:6 begins with the words, “Also I heard,” as if to indicate a change. It seems to me that this last section of the chapter refers not to God’s servants (Gospel preachers), but to God’s righteous Servant, our Lord Jesus Christ.


In the first seven verses of the chapter Isaiah tells us what he had seen and heard in a special relation to himself. Here he tells us what he was witness to regarding the accomplishment of our blessed Savior as the Surety of the covenant and the fulfilment of God’s everlasting purpose of grace in Him. The Lord God favored His prophet with a clear revelation of His covenant mercy and “the covenant of peace” held between the Persons of the eternal God (Zechariah 6:13; Psalm 40:7-10; Isaiah 50:6-9) before the world began.


The terms and conditions of redemption were proposed: — Mercy and truth must meet. Righteousness and peace must kiss each other. Righteousness must be established for the chosen by the obedience of a man of infinite worth. Justice must be satisfied by a man who is God being made sin and punished for all the sins of God’s elect, fully punished, that the holy Lord God might be “a just God and a Savior” (Isaiah 8:20). When those terms and conditions of redemption were proposed, Isaiah heard the triune God say, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then he saw our Divine Surety, the Son of God, step forward for us and say, “Here am I, send Me!

Question Answered

In verses 9-12, Isaiah, as if struck with what he had seen and heard, raises a question: “How long shall Satan, the enemy of our souls triumph? How long shall fallen man remain under the influence of that wicked one? How long shall Satan work havoc in God’s creation?” Hear what the Lord’s answer is in verse 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.”

O for grace to bless the eternal Spirit for such a revelation! Now we see why it is that God preserves fallen humanity. There is one that stands by and looks on, and while to our eye there is nothing to be seen. As we see things, the whole race is like the withered, blighted branch of the vine; everything is hopeless, and dead, and lifeless. Yet, there is in it “a tenth,” “the holy seed, God’s elect, who must and shall be saved. Therefore, the Lord Jesus says, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it” (Isaiah 65:8). Because He is longsuffering toward His chosen, an elect remnant, “the holy seed,” who must be saved, the Lord God spares the world (2 Peter 3:9). The purpose of God shall be accomplished. Christ will save His people (Romans 8:28-30). That is what Isaiah saw, when he saw Christ’s glory.









Don Fortner



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