12/31/2010

Bad things happen to [____] people

You might think I am crazy, that is okay. I think that bad things happen to all people because all people are fallen sinners who live in a fallen world. No one is inherently 'good': “There is none righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:10). Because of that reality, suffering is universal.

What is beautiful is that the story does not end there! The God that loves us offers grace and forgiveness and wants to help make us good. He offers the love and forgiveness to everyone: the oppressed, persecuted, the poor, the rich, everyone.... the question is : Will you accept it? God offers His grace to all, but many people reject it.

12/27/2010

God blesses Us for His Glory

We are blessed by God by and through his Grace for His glory.

Yeah I've been listening to David Platt as he reads his book Radical to me in my car.

This is not a new message to me. I've read Piper's Desiring God. In which Piper proves through Scriptures that the great business of life is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.

We can enjoy our blessings and life. God wants to make us happy but ultimately He is blessing us for His own glory. So we will share the Good News of God and tell others about the blessings from God. They are not to be selfishly absorbed but shared.

Does this make God selfish?
Yea, but would He really be God if His chief goal was to bring glory to something other than Himself? NO. Whatever He was bringing glory to would be a Higher, more important thing and therefore should be "God."

This is one key theological point that challenges our thinking but also our living.
It is weird to think about and kinda fun, but ultimately, now what?
Now with this truth processed we must live it!

When we are blessed and happy, let us not get complacent and focused in on living with our blessings, instead let us give God the credit and make sure to use these blessings to bring Glory back to the One who first loved and blessed us.

IT is so easy to live caught up in the American dream. It is easy to take the blessings and forget the One who has blessed us.
Isn't our faith a relationship? Are we sharing the Good News and the blessings and the ultimate Blessing with others?

12/13/2010

The gift-giving

I love it and hate it.
Of course I love receiving gifts, who doesn't?
But honestly I love giving gifts too because I enjoy making other happy.
What i hate is the fact that I am dirt poor.
I never have enough money to give good gifts to everyone who gives me good gifts, forget about anyone else I love and would like to get gifts for.

11/16/2010

Comfort in knowing God is in complete control

Earlier this week my pastor (and mentor) gave me some advice that has stuck with me and already changing the way that I am thinking and living.

He said that ultimately God is in control of all things, ultimately where you at is where God wants you to be....I'll spare you the details... (I am more reformed in thinking than my pastor, he is a free will baptist pastor! but ultimately we both agree that God has ordained things to be the way that they in the end will be....the "how" we get there details can vary depending on how you view free will issues)

So in ministry where ever you are at physically (a chaplain in the Army, a pastor of a church plant, an associate pastor of a long established church, a business person in a large corporation, a construction worker) is where God wants you to be.

He said we all have doubts sometimes...instead of living in the moment of emotion, we can live in the moment of the Spirit. We can stand firm in His Word and in His Sovereignty.

He was saying all of this to help prepare me for my calling into chaplaincy. Where ever the government sends me I will go. It will be exciting and an adventure. There will be things I will see that I have not ever seen yet before. There will be people hurting. There will be a lot of opportunities for love, service and ministry. There will be hardships and times of frustration and maybe even doubt.

While I am not there yet (in the Army) I am able to use this advice already! At UPS Freight, where I work, it is so easy to get so caught up in my work that I ignore people. I ignore the Spirit. I just live in my little "lala" land or I live in the emotions of work: not good. (There is a lot of anger and frustration there)

I told myself tonight at work, "God wants me here now. He has a reason and purpose for me to be here. I might be the only Jesus some of these men will ever see."

I tried today to be a leader. I tried today to love and listen to people. I tried to do all things at work for the glory of God. This is just practice for future ministry. I want to be living it now before I go off to the Army.

10/30/2010

What is legacy about anyways?

Think about it with me for a minuet.
The things we do to impress people...
like wearing certain clothing, buying a nice car, building a big house, working for the right company, planning a nice career, knowing the right people, etc...
The reality is that in a century (give or take a few decades), all of our generation will be dead. You (and myself) and everyone that knows/knew you as well. Eventually everyone who has ever have remembered you will pass away...for many people, that is all legacy is. A few memories. Far less will anyone remember your nice clothing, cars, homes, career, etc.
The few exceptions, the few people that have left a memorial legacy (you know the people who made it into the textbooks) are not in their, are not remembered by their things: clothing, homes, cars, etc....they are remembered by their actions. Besides, there are a lot of names in textbooks that people who read the books ignore...they say "who cares?" It is history.

Legacy, what will you be remembered by? And who will care? Who will remember you?

10/25/2010

Snapple cap facts

During my vacation car rides, I drank a lot of Snapple teas, which I really enjoy.
Here are some of the "facts" under the bottle caps:

It takes an interaction of 72 muscles to produce human speech.
Your skull is made up of 29 different bones.
All scorpions glow.
Wild camels once roamed Arizona's deserts.
More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in the USA.
New Jersey is the home of the world's first drive-in movie theater.
George Washington took the oath of office in New York City in 1789.
Before Thomas Jefferson took office people bowed to the president, rather than shaking his hand.
Until the nineteenth Century, solid blocks of tea were used as money in Siberia.
The first MTV video was "Video killed the Radio Star," by the Buggles.

8/31/2010

Impressions of Logos 4 Bible Software

Earlier this year I tested out Logos Bible Software. Long story short, I loved it so much I purchased the Scholar's Edition. There are several Editions to this Bible Software, depending on your needs and usage, there is something right for everyone (compare the editions here!)

In about a month Logs 4 for the Mac will be released. This fantastic software has been running strong on PCs for 25 years, it is now a new chapter in the company's life as they finally release editions for the Mac.They re so excited about the release to Macs, that they are giving away free prizes ( including an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, an iPod Nano, and an assortment of 100 gift cards from the Apple Store, iTunes, and Logos.com)

Their aggressive goal is to be the worldwide leader in electronic tools and resources for multilingual Bible study. Their mission is to serve the church. They do this by providing tools and resources that make studying the Bible easier and more accessible all over the world.

So what is Logos 4 Bible Software?

Logos 4 Bible Software is a mighty resource! In the Scholars' edition (http://www.logos.com/contents/scholars#001), which I own includes over 600 resources:
including 40 English Bible translation and interlinears,
over 65 Bible Commentaries,
nearly 50 volumes of grammars, lexicons, and original language resources,
texts in original language texts/bibles,
media resources including maps and charts
and some of my favorite resources: an unlimited library that includes theological resource books, ministry application books, small group study guides, Bible/church history books, exegesis books, books to help provide sermon illustrations, help me learn to teach/preach better and so much more!

1. One key is that these are electronic resources. I can take my phone or laptop anywhere and I have access to these books!
2. Imagine how much money all of these books would cost! And how much space 600 books would fill! Instead of spending around $20-$60 a book, I get them all much cheaper and all take up much less space in my hard drive.
3. My hard drive crashed less than month ago, but Logos had synced all my resources, prayer requests, memory verses and preferences in real time online, so I did not have any trouble when I downloaded Logos 4 again on my new hard drive, everything was exactly they way I had left it on my old hard drive!
4. Logos provides tons of free training and resources on their website, so everyday I learn something new about my software.
5. The Logos team is constantly updating and providing new tools and resources and improving the software. On their blog, they also provide updates on how I can better use their software! It is great!

So far having Logs 4 Software has been great and extremely useful. In Bible Studies I take my laptop with me, so I can read from multiple translation and also look up answers to questions using the commentaries, dictionaries, and other study tools!


The Portfolio edition includes over 1600 resources all in one!








7/15/2010

thought of the day

In American culture tolerance is a virtue and conviction a vice

7/09/2010

The Decision Episode 2

ESPN should make a series : "The Decision" staring LeBron James....
The next episode LeBron decides what ot eat for lunch

6/15/2010

I'm old school

I'm a young postmodern body but living in me is old school personlaity

I don't fit into my own generation. I am an ancient old school man living a culture of new and change.
Albeit not everything about me is old school, when my parents, grandparents, uncles need computer help they call on me. I love the conveniences and technologies we have but that is not really what I am talking about here.
I am speaking and thinking of the way I think, the way I live, the way I go about things, even ministry; I am old school.
I stick out like a cold sore.
This culture is fast paced, I am slow and patient. This culture knows the fastest short-cuts. I have to experience things myself first the hard way. Maybe I am just stubborn.
I preach truth straight from the Bible I don't focus too much on illustrations and stories.
I will tell you something from the Bible and sure there is room for personal experience and illustrations, that is fine.
For me though, I spent my time studying the Word. I will depend more on the Holy Spirit's help to communicate the message properly. He is better at that than I am! I am going to preach the Word

6/10/2010

Wanting

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1


If am left wanting something but have already prayed about it and supposedly already surrendered it to God; I should have no more longing for that desire, I should though have the continued longeing to draw closer to God but not for that want anymore.

Great Devotional for today

The next best thing to do

Seek if you have not Found. “Seek, and ye shall find.” Luke 11:9.

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” If you ask for things from life instead of from God, you ask amiss, that is, you ask from a desire for self-realization. The more you realize yourself the less will you seek God. “Seek, and ye shall find.” Get to work, narrow your interests to this one. Have you ever sought God with your whole heart, or have you only given a languid cry to Him after a twinge of moral neuralgia? Seek, concentrate, and you will find.
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” Are you thirsty, or smugly indifferent—so satisfied with your experience that you want nothing more of God? Experience is a gateway, not an end. Beware of building your faith on experience, the metallic note will come in at once, the censorious note. You can never give another person that which you have found, but you can make him homesick for what you have.
“Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” “Draw nigh to God.” Knock—the door is closed, and you suffer from palpitation as you knock. “Cleanse your hands”—knock a bit louder, you begin to find you are dirty. “Purify your heart”—this is more personal still, you are desperately in earnest now—you will do anything. “Be afflicted”—have you ever been afflicted before God at the state of your inner life? There is no strand of self-pity left, but a heartbreaking affliction of amazement to find you are the kind of person that you are. “Humble yourself”—it is a humbling business to knock at God’s door—you have to knock with the crucified thief. “To him that knocketh, it shall be opened.”

Chambers, O. (1993). My utmost for his highest : Selections for the year (NIV edition.). Westwood, NJ: Barbour and Co.


For me today, this really got me. I had been seeking and dreaming of the "next best thing." M dreams. Today I surrender those even to Him. It is a never ending process of seeking Him and His will, the daily journey of asking for His will....but not just asking for something....but really truely seeking Him with clean hands and clean hearts. Amen

5/28/2010

so simple in theory but impossible

The essence of our walk with Christ is in a word "Christ-likeness."

In a few more simple words it is holiness, righteousness, godliness, love and obedience.

Christ was all of those things so it is simpler to say "Christ-likeness." Our walk and relationship with Christ is so simple to summarize. When we do the things Christ did we are as we should be. We are to be obedient to the Word and to God. We are to be holy as He is Holy. We are to be the light and salt and strive for His righteousness. When we are doing all of these things we fulfill our duties as Christians.

That is it. That is all there is to it. Really it is so simple.
Aye, but difficult, albeit impossible without help.

And not just any help, but we have to have help from God. For we are fallen. We are man of depravity. We cannot accomplish true righteousness, true love, true godliness... not without God. We are not as we should be. We are fallen.


So first surrender.
Yes if we want the simple faith and the true Christ-likeness. We must first give up.
We must die to our own self, all our motives, dreams, desires and fall at His feat! We must give it all to Him who sits on the High Throne. We must give it all to Him who came to die so that we could learn to die to ourselves and so we could learn what true love really is and we could have it.

We surrender our will. We surrender our hearts. We surrender first in salvation. And even after we are surrendered to Christ as Lord of our lives....when we are no longer under the power and slavery of sin....we must still surrender daily. WE surrender constantly in prayer and in actions. we worship God in all things we do.

We learn to love. We learn to live in the Holy Spirit. We learn to be holy, but only when we are willing to let go of all we are and let God in. Let God be first. Let God have His will and His way.

So simple but profound. Nothing new but so difficult and true! Amen! Amen

now where Adam left you; know where the Spirit of God has placed you. Do not know either of these so exclusively as to forget the other. Spurgeon

5/27/2010

Where I am growing

I am growing towards a call to holiness and godliness. My heart cries out to God for holiness, obviously I am striving but not in the least perfect. I even cry a little as I remember how vulnerable and weak I am as a minister. I am to uphold these high standards for God and his glory yet I fail him. I must die to myself and surrender completely to God for this to even work. In my own power I am not strong enough to be holy yet I desire to be. It is by faith alone through the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not a work of myself but by the grace of God we are free. I just preached on this sort of integrity of the man of God. The holiness we are striving for.

I know I am guilty of slacking off here. I used to go out on walks just to see where the Holy Spirit would take me and talk to whoever He led me to talk to, for evangelism. Here now at our church we have been talking about ways to evangelize in our community now for a year or two but we have yet to actually take the initiative and do something! It should be our primary mission! And that is not entirely true because we do preach the Gospel and have special events highlighting the Gospel I just feel that I am slacking off personally sharing.

I feel that I am striving to have integrity and courage. I don't always have the kind of zeal. I want to be consumed with love for Christ. Sometimes I let my own feelings and plan and logic consume me instead. What a silly mistake. Sometimes I do die out in the routine work of every day. I do scatter myself and try to be good at all things. While I should do all things for the glory of God and with excellence I need to delegate and relax and just focus on laying everything at his dear feet who bled and died for me! Amen! When I surrender all to Him and focus on what he wants me doing, not only do I have enough energy to complete it well I have zeal also that He provides!

5/12/2010

Striving for excellence and godliness in all things

2 Pe 1:3–15 ESV:


3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the
knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

This passage has really hit home for me spiritually this past week.

I have been talking with God about my dislike for my job. But this is where He wants me right now. I am the only person demonstrating (or trying too) the characteristics of Jesus in their lives. It is a mission field, UPS Freight. I am to not only talk the talk and walk the walk, but I am to do all things with excellence. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, I am the salt and the light.

People are watching me. I am too be holy and godly. They ask me why I work hard, I get paid by the hour just like them. the work ethic has never been difficult for me. But sometimes I can take short-cuts or be lazy and that is where this passage really hits home. I ma to do things with excellence for the glory of God!

Today at work I made it a top priority. (Not to brag) but it was very relaxing, challenging at the same time and fun to do things right all evening. God blessed me for blessing Him. It was not as stressful as other night I think that my attitude to glorify God was a big factor, He took care of me. I hope I do not forfeit those blessing by posting this blog, for I mean not to take credit for this. In fact it was only through His help whom which I relied upon, that I could have done anything at all tonight. Thank you Lord. Amen

5/03/2010

Context, Conclusion and Bibliography for Isaiah 6

Names of Isaiah’s Children and Future Hope

It is important to scan the immediate context right after Isaiah six also to gain even more understanding of this chapter. Along with the foretelling of future prophecies, Isaiah also forthtold and preached about the past and of God’s already established Word. Isaiah seven begins a narrative, where Isaiah acts upon God’s calling. Isaiah is told to visit King Ahaz and speak against him. For King Ahaz trusted in man, worse is the fact that King Ahaz refused Isaiah’s warnings.

In this story Isaiah’s son, Shear-jashub, is mentioned. His name signifies "the remnant shall return.” Shear-jashub went with Isaiah to visit Ahaz. For Ahaz the name of Isaiah’s son would have meant that the threat in Judah would be reduced to a remnant and that small remnant would eventually leave and ‘return home.’ But in the much larger picture, Shear-jashub was meant to convey the promise of a remnant returning to Israel out of captivity.[1]

Later in chapter seven, verse fourteen there is the infamous mention of Isaiah’s second son, “Immanuel.” The name means “God with us.” This verse is used out of context a lot in order to refer to Christ. While it does seem to have a double Christological meaning this is not what Isaiah originally was speaking of. The meaning is not “God (Jesus) is with us,” rather “God with us.”[2] During the Assyrian conquest, God was with Judah.[3] Hezekiah had trusted God and God protected Jerusalem. The verse reads in English “a virgin” will give the birth of Immanuel. In Hebrew the word simply means, “young woman.”[4] This is not the same as the virgin (woman who has never had intercourse) – Mary- giving birth to Christ. This is a different word completely.

Isaiah’s third child was also a sign. His name was “Maher-shalal-hash-baz” (Isaiah 8:3). It signified “Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey” as Isaiah eight verse one clarifies. Similarly to “God with us,” The child’s named was referring to the Assyrian threat. They would soon (swiftly) be gone and destroyed. For the Angel of the Lord would destroy them.

Isaiah 6 in New Testament

Isaiah chapter six has even more meaning when examined within the broad context of the entire book of Isaiah as a whole. (This paper will not examine that full context.) Isaiah’s call to become a prophet is an essential to all of that follows in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah continues his story narrative. The teaching and foretelling of Isaiah builds on the actual history that takes place. A simple example is that of the naming of his sons, as mentioned above. God told Isaiah to name his sons those particular names for those particular reasons!

Also, as mentioned above Isaiah is one of the most quoted books from the Old Testament into the New Testament with sixty-six direct quotations and nineteen allusions to Isaiah.[5] (Again, this paper will be unable to examine all of the references and contexts of Isaiah in the New Testament.)

One of the most famous quotations from Isaiah six in the New Testament is that of Mark chapter four, where Jesus is speaking. Jesus was teaching parables and the disciples asked him what the purposes of these parables were. Jesus quotes Isaiah six , verse nine. Jesus says basically that the Pharisees have hardened their hearts and cannot understand the parables.[6] In fact, Jesus tells the disciples that the parables are intentionally ‘mysterious” to those outside (Pharisees, etc) “in order that” they may not understand.[7] Those who are not willing to repent will not be forgiven. This is a universal truth from Isaiah that applies in the New Testament and even in modern day.

Imagine for a second, Jesus probably felt like Isaiah, teaching things directly to people who were hearing but not understanding and seeing but not perceiving. Even the disciples themselves did not understand completely. Jesus had an amazing understanding of the Old Testament. He dedicated a lot of His time to understanding it.

Conclusion and Application for Today

Starting with the more obvious things, Isaiah teaches that sin has consequences. God is displayed as Holy. God is Holy. This has not changed. God is Holy and cannot have anything to do with sin. Sin is rebellion against God. If man hardens their hearts against God in rebellion. God will continue to harden man’s heart. He is Holy and cannot put up with man’s sin. Not only will God continue to harden man’s heart in the direction of rebellion, but also He must deal with this sin in judgment and punishment. However if man repents of this sin and rebellion, God is there to accept man. God desires to see man repent! Isaiah himself is the model for Israel to repent. Few men followed this model. Hezekiah was one who did and God temporary secured Jerusalem from Judgment because of Hezekiah and Isaiah’s faiths. Although later Babylonian and Roman judgment would follow because men continued to reject God. God is Sovereign, Holy and Good.

When one has tasted redemption and holiness, it is his duty to carry the word of God to the people around who have ears but do not ear, and have eyes but do not see. As mentioned above the inability of people to move from perception to comprehension exists today, also. The call of Isaiah to preach this message exists today, except for modern Christians; this message is in a new light: The light of Jesus Christ. Our message of sin and rebellion is followed with the hope of salvation in Christ, not in being the remnant of Israel, but the remnant of Heaven.

Bibliography:

Constable, Thomas. “Notes on Isaiah.” Sonic Light, 2008.

http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/isaiah.pdf#search='literary%20s
tyle%20of%20isaiah%206'

Copeland, Mark. Ministering Spirits.(2006.) Retreived from
http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/angel/angel_04.htm on 2/13/09.

Evans, Craig. Isa. 6:9-13 in the context of Isaiah’s Theology. JETS 29/2 (June 1986)
139-146
.

Evans, Craig. The Function of Isaiah 6:9-10 in Mark and John. Novum
Tcstamentum XXIV, 2 (1982)

Gill, John. John Gill exposition of the Bible. Public Domain. 1809.

Harvey, Barry. On Seeing: Isaiah 6:1-12 Review and Expositor, 97 (2000).

Hendriksen, William and Kistemaker, Simon. Baker’s New Testament Commentary, 12
Volume. Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker Publishing Group. 2001.

Henry, M. Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged
in one volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996.

Hill, Robert. ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM AS BIBLICAL COMMENTATOR:

SIX HOMILIES ON ISAIAH 6. St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 47:3-4 (2003) 307-22

HOUSE, PAUL. ISAIAH'S CALL AND ITS CONTEXT IN ISAIAH 1-6. CRISWELL
THEOLOGICAL REVIEW
6.2 (1993) 207-22

Kirby, Peter. "Ascension of Isaiah." Early Christian Writings. 2006. 2 Feb. 2006
.

LIEBREICH, LEON.THE POSITION OF CHAPTER SIX IN THE BOOK OF ISAIAH.
Hebrew Union College Annual, 1954

LOVE, JULIAN. The Call of Isaiah: An Exposition of Isaiah 6 Interpretation magazine,
1957.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 3, “Isaiah,” Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville,

TN 1982, p. 185.

New American Standard Bible (NASB). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999.

Ortlund, Raymond C., Jr. Isaiah: God Saves Sinners. Preaching the Word series.

Wheaton, Il.: Crossway Books, 2005.

STEINMETZ, David. John Calvin on Isaiah 6: A Problem in the History of Exegesis. The
Divinity School Duke University
.

Strong, James. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville:
Thomas Nelson, 1995.

The NET Bible, New English Translation Bible (1996).

The New International Version Bible (NIV), International Bible Society, 1984.

Secondary:
Dillard, Raymond B., and Longman, Tremper III. An Introduction to the Old Testament

(2nd ed.) Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006. ISBN: 9780310263417.

Klein, William, Blomberg, Craig, and Hubbard Jr, Robert. Introduction to Biblical
Interpretation.
Dallas, Tx : Word Publishing, 1993.



[1] Evans. Isa. 6:9-13 in the context of Isaiah’s Theology

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Strong.

[5] McGee.

[6] Hendriksen, William and Kistemaker, Simon. Baker’s New Testament Commentary

[7] Evans. The Function of Isaiah 6:9-10 in Mark and John

5/02/2010

Literary and Theological treatment of Isaiah 6

The Holiness of a Sovereign God

The Holy Lord upon His throne

Isaiah was able to peak into the throne of God! There is debate by scholars as to what temple Isaiah is referring to. Was Isaiah in an actual temple while this vision is occurring or is this literally the temple of God in Isaiah’s vision? If he was in a temple, does that mean he is already a priest before this episode? Also more questions come up. Is Uzziah’s death significant to the question of the temple and of Isaiah’s becoming a prophet? For example, Calvin explains that Isaiah was a prophet before this vision. In Isaiah 6 he is in an earthly temple, as prophets are allowed to be. Accordingly, the passage is not a call to ministry, rather Isaiah was so over-whelmed by this event he wrote about it.[1]

Other theories suggest that Isaiah was a ministering priest during Uzziah’s reign and that there was a ‘curse’ of sorts on Judah until his passing. Once Uzziah died, then Isaiah was more able to minister.[2] There are a lot of assumptions to these arguments and it may be best to use common sense when reading and interpreting this verse, instead of holding so many assumptions that do not have much evidence. The best most natural understanding is that Isaiah’s vision takes place in Heaven, not an earthly temple and that it is Isaiah’s call to ministry. If Isaiah is already in an earthly temple while this vision is occurring than that would add to the emphasis of the vision, but this is more unlikely.[3]

Peaking into the throne of Heaven, Isaiah sees some amazing and glorious things. The Hebrew word for Lord is “Adonay” which translates to “Sovereign Master.”[4] There are no English equivalents (or even Hebrew words) that suffice in explaining the word “glory” in verse three. It is almost impossible to imagine the splendor of the King on His throne! It is indescribable. The temple is trembling, the angels are worshiping, smoke is rising, and just the train or the hem of His [Almighty’s] robe fills the entire room with glory! Isaiah makes no mention of seeing anything else, no face or body part, but just the hem of His robe is so holy and glorious!

The Heavenly Seraphim around His throne

An interesting note about the differences between Seraphim (singular is ‘Seraph’) in Isaiah six and Cherubim mentioned in other places. The Seraphim serve as the caretakers of God's throne and continuously sing praises[5]: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the earth is filled with His Glory."[6] The term ‘Seraphim’ means "the burning ones." This is reflective of God’s glory. They have six wings. Two wings cover their face, two cover their feet, and two are used to fly. The Cherubim (singular "Cherub") are the guardians of light and of the stars.[7] They have four faces: one of each a man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle. The ox-face is considered the "true face" in Ezekiel chapter ten[8]. Cherubim have four conjoined wings covered with eyes, and they have ox's feet.

It is quite necessary that the Seraphim cover their eyes and face. The glory and light of God’s glory is so bright, the angels are protecting themselves. They could not successfully see God if they tried. They are covering their legs and feet demonstrating humility and their proper place subordinate to God. The last two wings for flying are also necessary so that the angels can physically fly near God and worship Him.[9] The Seraphim were designed purposefully by God in this way.

The Seraphim describe God as “Holy, Holy, Holy.” This is the only attribute of God in the third degree. It is not a mere attribute of God, but rather it is the essence of God. He is Holy![10][11] He can have nothing to do with anything that is not Holy.[12] God desires to see Israel become holy again. This is why it is absolute that God punishes Israel. Also the awesome Holiness of God is what breaks Isaiah down immediately, “Woe is me.”

The depravity of a sinful man

The Unclean Lips of the Prophet

An interesting observation is noted that the first pronouncement Isaiah makes even before being commissioned as a prophet is not against any nation or even against Israel, but is against himself. In verse five, Isaiah, in the presence of the Lord realizes that he is a sinful man and unworthy. He cries out, “Woe is me.” Gill acknowledges that “There's no woe to a good man, all woes are to the wicked…”[13] Isaiah is admitting that he is nothing more than a sinful, imperfect man.

This is the first shift in the story. Isaiah had been writing about God and His holiness. Isaiah enters the vision and immediately compares himself to the holiness of God. Isaiah uses both repetition and cause and effect to make his point clear. First, “woe is me.” Second, “I am ruined.” Thirdly, “my lips are unclean!” The cause is “woe is me…I am unclean.” The effect, “woe is me…I am ruined!” I am in the sight of the Lord and I am unclean, this cannot be good! The key to this verse is that Isaiah admits his sin.

Some scholars contend that Isaiah’s continual mention of “lips” in particular is because he struggled with sins dealing with lips, like foul mouth, gossip, etc. It is best to assume that Isaiah is speaking of being “unholy” and “unclean” in a general sense. The context gives no further knowledge regarding the particular sins.[14]

The Unclean people around the prophet

Realize for a moment that Isaiah acknowledged his own uncleanness first. He did not blame others or even begin by mentioning how unclean the entire nation was, but instead he dealt with his own sin first. Second recognize that Isaiah groups himself in with the unclean people. He understood that he was not exempt or special, he belong with the other sinful people. Isaiah really molds the correct attitude and actions for Israel and the future remnant of Israel.[15] If any of these unclean people repent as Isaiah did, they shall be forgiven and cleansed as Isaiah also.

The purification of a penitent prophet

A Seraph then comes over to Isaiah, after he admits his sin, with a hot coal pulled with tongs from the alter. Next the act of touching the coal to Isaiah’s mouth and lips is the turning point of this story. This act is significant in many ways. First it is important to identify what this means. This act is a cleansing not a punishment. God has heard Isaiah’s repentance and not only forgives but cleanses him of his “unclean lips” and sins. The coal had come from the alter, a place of sacrifice and atonement and forgiveness. The Seraph used tongs to pick up the coal not only because it was hot, but it was a ‘holy thing.’[16] “It does not hurt him [Isaiah], it heals him."[17] God cleanses Isaiah.

Also this event is significant because it reveals the character of God. God heard Isaiah’s plea. Isaiah admitted his sin and God forgave. God desires to forgive. God wants to save and redeem His children and the rest of Israel. But also God is holy. God will forgive when Israel repents. If they do not repent they will be purged. God will cleanse them the “hard way.” Third, this event is the turning point of Isaiah and the story. He has been made right and clean, now he is ready to serve. Finally, in a way the purification of Isaiah foreshadows the purification of Israel. Although Israel could have been purified and cleansed like Isaiah the “easy way” had they repented. They did not repent. Just as God purified Isaiah, God will still purify and purge Israel. God is Holy.

The commission of a sanctified prophet

The Submission of the consecrated prophet

The final shift in Isaiah six is a dialogue between God and Isaiah. Isaiah saw God in His holiness and majesty in the first section. The second section Isaiah entered the story and was cleansed. In the last section Isaiah is given a task by God. God asks who He should send, Isaiah responds saying, “Here am I. Send me!” Then God explains the details of Isaiah’s task and Isaiah asks God how long must he preach. God then responds. There are many comparisons to Israel’s desolation and the cutting and burning of the oak tree. Also an interesting compare and contrast observation is noting that verse one starts the chapter referring to a death, while verse thirteen the last verse, ends with seed of life.

After Isaiah is cleansed, God asks “whom shall I send and who shall go for Us?” Isaiah replies, “Here am I. Send me!” Note the balance between God’s sovereignty and human will and choice. [18] God needs and will send someone, but that someone needed to be willing to go. Another example, Isaiah repented, but God did the cleansing. There is this constant balance between these two factors.

Another note from this verse is the use of repetition. God asks in two ways, “who shall I send” and again “who will go for Us?” Then Isaiah responds similarly, “Here am I” and “Send me.” The repetition stresses both the importance of God’s sovereignty in the call and man’s choice in response. Both the question and answer were serious and not fickle.

The use of singular and plural forms of God in verse eight brings up a curious question. Is this a verse proving the “”Trinity” or is God is referring to Himself and the “angelic host community?” Many scholars decide on the latter because Septuagint and Arabic versions for this verse read, “unto this people.” This phrase possibly refers to the “angelic” people.

Other scholars use this verse to support the Trinity. The singular speaker, God, refers to Himself in plural. Logically, that would seem to refer to the Trinity. The original writer, Isaiah, would not have been familiar with any Trinitarian concept. Although Isaiah did not originally directly give this meaning to this verse, upon further study of God in Genesis and with evidence of other “Trinitarian” scripture, it is still a valid second meaning.

The Message of the sent prophet

The rest of this section, God lays out the details of Isaiah’s mission. God tells Isaiah what he is to say and what will become of the people. God told Isaiah that the people would keep listening but not understand. They would keep looking but not perceive. God hardened their hearts in response to their own hardening of their hearts. Instead of repenting, like Isaiah, the people of Israel hardened their hearts. Isaiah was to preach until they would “return and be healed.” Although it is clear, this is not going to happen.

God was going to punish an unrepentant nation. Although God used other nations (Assyria, Babylon, and Rome) to do his work, He claims the work of punishment. A remnant would be saved through which the seed of salvation was to be brought into the world. As history proves, God would have mercy and bring some of the Jews in Diaspora (because of the Babylonian conquer)[19] back from their captivity to live in the land of promise again. This is the meaning of the Lord removing men far away in verse twelve.

Upon this depressing news, Isaiah asks, “how long [shall I preach]?” If it were already not bad enough, Isaiah receives the devastating answer that he must continue on his course until all the cities of Judah are laid waste without inhabitant. So in other words, Isaiah is to preach until the full judgment of God is completed. This leaves many questions about what God’s judgment looks like, why God would do such a thing, and about remnant theories especially in relation to the seed and hope of verse thirteen.

What will God’s judgment look like? It is clear that God will destroy all of Judah according to verse eleven. While some scholars want to change the meaning, it is not possible. God did not want to have anything to do with the survivors living in Judah after the Babylonian conquer. God wanted to bring back the captive, authentic Jews and save them.[20] They are God’s true remnant not the survivors in Jerusalem.

Why did God allow for this kind of punishment? Why did God allow for total destruction? Why is Isaiah to preach that Judah cannot believe? Is this productive to God’s purposes and will? The people of Judah refused God. They hardened their hearts. God is holy and cannot have anything to do with these sinful, stubborn people who refuse Him. Yes, this fits God’s plan and purposes. An observation of verse ten is the structure. It is in the form of a Jewish poem. The form for such a poem is A, B, C, C, B, A. A is for the heart, B is for the ears, and C is for the eyes.

Tree Metaphor

Finally, the chapter ends on the note of hope. What exactly is the “tenth” referring to? Some scholars originally thought this was referring to the number of kings (ten) before being completely destroyed and ruined by Babylon.[21] But upon further study of history, it is believed that literary only one out of ten Jews would return from Babylonian captivity. It is possible that only one out of ten would return from not only Babylonian captivity but Roman captivity (much later) in history. Although, Roman attack could also be the “burning.” In any case, there is still a remnant, a stump, this “holy seed” who will survive all the enemies.

The NIV translation is a much clearer reading, “And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.” [22] The land will again be laid waste, by the Romans. The analogy is beautiful one because despite Babylonian and Roman conquers, God still allows a stump. The holy seed is the stump. Holy seed refers to the righteous Jewish offspring who remain faithful to God.[23] Isaiah continues talking about this future hope and judgments from both Babylon and Rome through-out the rest of Isaiah. Isaiah is able to see very far into the future as God provides him with prophecies.



[1] Steinmetz. John Calvin on Isaiah 6

[2] Ibid.

[3] Love. The Call of Isaiah

[4] Strong. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

[5] Copeland. Ministering Spirits.

[6] Isaiah 6:3 NASB

[7] Copeland.

[8] Eze. 10: 12-19 NASB

[9] Hill. ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM AS BIBLICAL COMMENTATOR

[10] Lev. 11:44

[11] Love.

[12] Hab. 3:11

[13] Gill. exposition of the Bible

[14] Henry. Commentary on the Bible

[15] Harvey. On Seeing: Isaiah 6:1-12

[16] Ortlund. Isaiah: God Saves Sinners

[17] Ibid

[18] Constable. Notes on Isaiah.

[19] Longman. Pg. 311-314

[20] Ibid

[21] Gill.

[22] Isa. 6:13 NIV

[23] House.