And he laid it upon my mouth - Margin, ‹And he caused it to touch my mouth.‘ This is the more correct rendering. It was a slight, momentary touch, sufficient merely to be a “sign or token” that he was cleansed.
Thine iniquity is taken away - That is, whatever obstacle there existed to your communicating the message of God to this people, arising from your own consciousness of unworthiness, is taken away. You are commissioned to bear that message, and your own consciousness of guilt should not be a hinderance. To understand this, it should be remembered that “fire,” among the orientals, has been always regarded as an emblem of “purifying.” Thus the Sabeans, the followers or Zoroaster in Persia, worshipped “fire,” as the emblem of a pure divinity; see Malachi 3:2-3; compare Matthew 3:2. Every minister of the gospel, though conscious of personal unworthiness and unfitness, should yet go freely and cheerfully to his work, if he has evidence that he is called and commissioned by God. “Is purged.” Is purified, is removed - תכפר tekupâr from כפר kâphar “to cover, to overlay;” then to make an atonement for, to expiate, to cover sin, to pardon it, to affect or to procure forgiveness; and then to purify in general, to make whole; compare the note at Isaiah 43:3. This does not mean, that the fire from the altar had any physical effect to purify him from sin, but that it was “emblematic” of such a purifying; and probably, also, the fact that it was taken from the altar of sacrifice, was to him an indication that he was pardoned through the “atonement,” or expiation there made. The Jews expected pardon in no other mode than by sacrifice; and the offering on their altar pointed to the great sacrifice which was to be made on the cross for the sins of human beings. There is here a beautiful “union” of the truths respecting sacrifice. The great doctrine is presented that it is only by sacrifice that sin can be pardoned; and the Messiah, the sacrifice himself, is exhibited as issuing the commission to Isaiah to go and declare his message to people.
“To whom then will ye liken God?
Or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? ...
Have ye not known?
Have ye not heard?
Hath it not been told you from the beginning?
Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He that sitteth above the circle of the earth,
And the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;
That stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain,
And spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in....
To whom then will ye liken Me? ...
Saith the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who hath created these,
That bringeth out their host by number;
He calleth them all by name;
By the greatness of His might, and for that He is strong
Not one is lacking. MH 432.1
“Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel,
My way is hid from Jehovah,
And the justice due to me is passed away from my God?
Hast thou not known?
Hast thou not heard?
The everlasting God, Jehovah,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Fainteth not, neither is weary;
There is no searching of His understanding.” MH 432.2
Isaiah 40:12-28, A.R.V. MH 432Read in context »
From the representations given by the Holy Spirit to His prophets, let us learn the greatness of our God. The prophet Isaiah writes: 8T 281.1
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and His train filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 8T 281.2Read in context »
When God was about to send Isaiah with a message to His people, He first permitted the prophet to look in vision into the holy of holies within the sanctuary. Suddenly the gate and the inner veil of the temple seemed to be uplifted or withdrawn, and he was permitted to gaze within, upon the holy of holies, where even the prophet's feet might not enter. There rose before him a vision of Jehovah sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, while the train of His glory filled the temple. Around the throne were seraphim, as guards about the great King, and they reflected the glory that surrounded them. As their songs of praise resounded in deep notes of adoration, the pillars of the gate trembled, as if shaken by an earthquake. With lips unpolluted by sin, these angels poured forth the praises of God. “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts,” they cried; “the whole earth is full of His glory.” [See Isaiah 6:1-8.] GW 21.1
The seraphim around the throne are so filled with reverential awe as they behold the glory of God, that they do not for an instant look upon themselves with admiration. Their praise is for the Lord of hosts. As they look into the future, when the whole earth shall be filled with His glory, the triumphant song is echoed from one to another in melodious chant, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts.” They are fully satisfied to glorify God; abiding in His presence, beneath His smile of approbation, they wish for nothing more. In bearing His image, in doing His bidding, in worshiping Him, their highest ambition is reached. GW 21.2Read in context »
18-23 (1 Peter 3:1-5). Beauty of Soul a Standing Rebuke—In the third chapter of Isaiah's prophecy mention is made of the prevailing pride of the “daughters of Zion,” with “their tinkling ornaments, ... the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, ... and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.” Verses 18-23. How different this picture from that portrayed by the apostle Peter of the God-fearing woman, who, estimating at its real value the “outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel,” chooses rather to cultivate beauty of soul, “even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” It was “after this manner in the old time” that “the holy women ... who trusted in God, adorned themselves”; and their “chaste conversation coupled with fear” (1 Peter 3:1-5), as revealed in daily life, was ever a standing rebuke to their sisters who followed after folly (The Review and Herald, March 4, 1915). 4BC 1138.1Read in context »
Skeptics may sneer at the thought that a glorious angel from heaven should give attention to a matter so commonplace as caring for these simple human needs, and may question the inspiration of the narrative. But in the wisdom of God these things are recorded in sacred history for the benefit, not of angels, but of men, that as they should be brought into trying positions they might find comfort in the thought that heaven knows it all. Jesus declared to His disciples that not a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of the heavenly Father, and that if God can keep in mind the wants of all the little birds of the air, He will much more care for those who may become the subjects of His kingdom and through faith in Him may be the heirs of immortality. Oh, if the human mind were only to comprehend—in such measure as the plan of redemption can be comprehended by finite minds—the work of Jesus in taking upon Himself human nature, and what is to be accomplished for us by this marvelous condescension, the hearts of men would be melted with gratitude for God's great love, and in humility they would adore the divine wisdom that devised the mystery of grace! 5T 749.1
*****Read in context »