Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 6:1

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

In the year - This naturally denotes a period after the death of Uzziah, though in the same year. The mention of the time was evidently made when the prophecy was composed, and it is to be presumed that the death of Uzziah had occurred at the time when the prophet saw this vision. If so, it is clear that this was not the first of his prophecies, for he saw his visions ‹in the days of Uzziah;‘ Isaiah 1:1. The Chaldee, however, reads this: ‹in the year when Uzziah was smitten with the leprosy;‘ and most of the Jewish commentators so understand it; 2 Chronicles 26:19-20. The rabbis say that the meaning is, that he then became “civilly” dead, by ceasing to exercise his functions as a king, and that he was cut off as a leprous man from all connection with the people, and from all authority; see the Introduction, Section 3. This is, doubtless, true; but still, the more natural signification is, that this occurred in the year in which he actually died.

I saw - That is, he saw in a “vision;” see the Introduction, Section 7. (4). A similar vision is described by Micaiah; 1 Kings 22:19; see also Amos 7:1; Amos 8:1; Amos 9:1; Daniel 7:13, …

The Lord - In the original here the word is not יהוה yehovâh but אדני 'ădonāy see the notes at Isaiah 1:24. Here it is applied to Yahweh; see also Psalm 114:7, where it is also so applied; and see Isaiah 8:7, and Job 28:28, where Yahweh calls himself “Adonai.” The word does not itself denote essential divinity; but it is often applied to God. In some MSS., however, of Kennicott and DeRossi, the word Yahweh is found. We may make two remarks here.

(1) That Isaiah evidently meant to say that it was Yahweh who appeared to him. He is expressly so called in Isaiah 6:5-8, Isaiah 6:11.

(2) It is equally clear, from the New Testament, that Isaiah saw the messiah. John quotes the words in this chapter, Isaiah 6:10, as applicable to Jesus Christ, and then adds John 12:41, ‹these things said Esaias when he saw his glory, and spake of him.‘

An inspired man has thus settled this as referring to the Messiah, and thus had established the propriety of applying to him the name Yahweh, that is, has affirmed that the Lord Jesus is divine. Jerome says, that this vision was designed to represent the doctrine of the Trinity. In John 1:18, it is said, ‹No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.‘ In Exodus 33:20, God says, ‹Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me and live;‘ see also 1 Timothy 6:16. These passages may be reconciled with what is here said by Isaiah, in the following manner:

(1) Isaiah does not say that he saw the Divine Essence; and all that his words fairly imply, is, that he saw a manifestation, or vision of Yahweh - some striking symbolic representation of him.

(2) It was the manifestation of Yahweh in the person of the Messiah, of the ‹only begotten Son who hath revealed or declared him,‘ that he saw Such manifestations of God have been made often, and all that the declaration of Isaiah implies, of necessity, is, that he had a vision of God incarnate seated in glory, from whom he now received a new commission to go out and proclaim the truth to that wicked and rebellious generation.

Sitting upon a throne - God is thus often represented as a king, sitting on a throne; 1 Kings 22:19; Ezekiel 43:7; Jeremiah 17:12.

High and lifted up - That is, the “throne;” an indication of state and majesty. “And his train.” The word “train” שׁוּליו shûlāyv properly signifies the skirt of a garment, or a robe; Exodus 28:33-34. Here it is evidently designed as a representation of a large, flowing robe, that filled all the most holy part of the temple. The Orientals regarded such large robes as indicative of grandeur and state. The Messiah was seen seated on a throne as a king; clothed in a large, loose, flowing robe, in the manner of oriental monarchs, and surrounded by his ministers. The design of this magnificent vision was not only to impress the prophet with a sense of the holiness of God, but also to give additional weight to his commission, as having been derived immediately from the divine majesty; compare Isaiah 6:9-10. It is remarkable that Isaiah attempts no representation of Yahweh himself. He mentions his robes; the throne; the seraphim; but mentions no form or appearance of God himself. In this there is great sublimity. There is enough mentioned to fill the mind with awe; there is enough concealed to impress as deeply with a sense of the divine majesty. It is remarkable, also, that it is not the “usual” appearance of God in the temple to which he refers. That was the “Shekinah,” or visible symbol of God. That was on the mercy-seat, this was on a throne; that was a cloud, of this no form is mentioned; over that the cherubim stretched forth their wings, over this stood the seraphim; that had no clothing, this was clad in a full flowing robe.

Filled the temple - Probably, the most holy place only is intended. The large, full, magnificent robe seemed to fill up the entire holy of holies. Some have supposed that this vision was represented as appearing in the “heavens.” But the expression here evidently implies, that it was seen in the “temple” at Jerusalem.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
In this figurative vision, the temple is thrown open to view, even to the most holy place. The prophet, standing outside the temple, sees the Divine Presence seated on the mercy-seat, raised over the ark of the covenant, between the cherubim and seraphim, and the Divine glory filled the whole temple. See God upon his throne. This vision is explained, Joh 12:41, that Isaiah now saw Christ's glory, and spake of Him, which is a full proof that our Saviour is God. In Christ Jesus, God is seated on a throne of grace; and through him the way into the holiest is laid open. See God's temple, his church on earth, filled with his glory. His train, the skirts of his robes, filled the temple, the whole world, for it is all God's temple. And yet he dwells in every contrite heart. See the blessed attendants by whom his government is served. Above the throne stood the holy angels, called seraphim, which means "burners;" they burn in love to God, and zeal for his glory against sin. The seraphim showing their faces veiled, declares that they are ready to yield obedience to all God's commands, though they do not understand the secret reasons of his counsels, government, or promises. All vain-glory, ambition, ignorance, and pride, would be done away by one view of Christ in his glory. This awful vision of the Divine Majesty overwhelmed the prophet with a sense of his own vileness. We are undone if there is not a Mediator between us and this holy God. A glimpse of heavenly glory is enough to convince us that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Nor is there a man that would dare to speak to the Lord, if he saw the justice, holiness, and majesty of God, without discerning his glorious mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. The live coal may denote the assurance given to the prophet, of pardon, and acceptance in his work, through the atonement of Christ. Nothing is powerful to cleanse and comfort the soul, but what is taken from Christ's satisfaction and intercession. The taking away sin is necessary to our speaking with confidence and comfort, either to God in prayer, or from God in preaching; and those shall have their sin taken away who complain of it as a burden, and see themselves in danger of being undone by it. It is great comfort to those whom God sends, that they go for God, and may therefore speak in his name, assured that he will bear them out.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Lord - Fifty-one MSS. of Kennicott's, and fifty-four of De Rossi's, and one edition; in the 8th verse, ( Isaiah 6:8;); forty-four MSS. of Kennicott's, and forty-six of De Rossi's, and one edition; and in the 11th verse ( Isaiah 6:11;); thirty-three MSS. of Kennicott's, and many of De Rossi's, and one edition, for אדני Adonai, "the Lord" read יהוה "Jehovah," which is probably the true reading; (compare Isaiah 6:6;); as in many other places, in which the superstition of the Jews has substituted אדני Adonai for יהוה Yehovah . One of my own MSS., a very ancient and large folio, to which the points and the masora have been added by a later hand, has יהוה Yehovah in the 1st and 8th verses, in the teeth of the masora, which orders it in both places to be read אדני Adonai .

Ellen G. White
Sons and Daughters of God, 51

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Matthew 22:37. SD 51.1

He who has the love of God shed abroad in his heart, will reflect the purity and love which exist in Jehovah, and which Christ represented in our world. He who has the love of God in his heart has no enmity against the law of God, but renders willing obedience to all His commandments, and this constitutes Christianity. He who has supreme love to God will reveal love to his fellow-men, who belong to God both by creation and redemption. Love is the fulfilling of the law; and it is the duty of every child of God to render obedience to His commandments.... SD 51.2

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 23.3

Drawing aside the veil which conceals the glory of God, it shows Him in His place, high and holy, and lifted up, not in a state of solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy, happy beings, every one waiting to bear the message, to do His bidding—all heaven is in active communication with every part of the universe through a variety of channels, and that holy One is actually stooping, bending from His throne, listening to every sound uttered, observing the movements of every earthly power. It is the highest Being condescending to the lowliest, approving or condemning every action which is developed. UL 23.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 150.3

Christians are to be God's noblemen, who will never grovel in bondage to the great adversary of souls, but will bind themselves to God, catching inspiration from Him whom they love, who is high and lifted up. The soul that loves God rises above the fog of doubt; he gains a bright, broad, deep, living experience, and becomes meek and Christlike. His soul is committed to God, hid with Christ in God. He will be able to stand the test of neglect, of abuse and contempt, because his Saviour has suffered all this. He will not become fretful and discouraged when difficulties press him, because Jesus did not fail or become discouraged. Every true Christian will be strong, not in the strength and merit of his good works, but in the righteousness of Christ, which through faith is imputed unto him.29 TMK 150.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 101.1

He is exposing his corruption to the view of the Majesty of Heaven. He who is high and lifted up, and the train of whose glory fills the temple, sees and knows even the thoughts and the intents and purposes of the heart of the transgressor who is debasing himself in the sight of the pure, sinless angels, who are recording all the acts of the children of men. And not only is his sin seen, but it is marked by the recording angel. TSB 101.1

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