(Note to the Reader: please take a moment to read through Isaiah 6 first, and then ready yourself to review a few observations about this glorious Supernatural Manifestation.)
Nothing changes a ministry so much as a Sovereign Act of God, whether it is a revival, a miracle or a voice from heaven. Such experiences affect the person greatly. For instance, this one was an affirmation of Isaiah's life and ministry. It is one thing to prophesy about matters which rise up in one's spirit, while it is another to receive direct words from heaven in the person of the Living God. Throughout history these kinds of events have been both rare and treasured, and they offer several dynamics we can glean from them.
A. Supernatural Manifestations are life changing. (Review these seven venues.)
First, Supernatural Manifestations reveal how close heaven is to earth.
Second, they are displays which forever imprint the person, for the beholder is never the same.
Third, Supernatural Manifestations command a different type of response from the beholder. (Isaiah displayed a great sense of unworthiness and uncleanness. Supernatural Manifestations often overwhelm one's spirit.)
Fourth, they proffer an instantaneous, profound revelation, taking those who are involved to an immediate revision of their knowledge of God.
Fifth, Supernatural Manifestations change one's priorities and sever one's focus from a personal idea of reality, to a heavenly perspective.
Sixth, When Supernatural Manifestations interrupt life, a sense of awe and reverence overwhelm the recipient. A new level of worship develops and a powerful sense of holiness overshadows one's person.
Seventh, Supernatural Manifestations flavor every moment of a person's future life and is the consideration for all forthcoming actions and decisions in the personal and public arena.
B. Supernatural Manifestations demand a hearing among the saints: in other words, the prophet is obliged to pass to others the sacred trust afforded the encounter. Isaiah stopped and gave a record of this encounter right in the middle of ten chapters of prophecy.
(Revelation 12 does the same. It stops the action of the prophecy and overviews history.)
C. Supernatural Manifestations offer the person a steadfast platform from which to base all his/her words and actions. (No one could take away this revelation nor deter the force to deliver the whole testimony of God.)
D. Supernatural Manifestations propel immediacy to deliver what is given in the way of prophetic utterance. (Neither timidity nor fear of the subject or the designated recipient a consideration.)
E. Supernatural Manifestations altar the direction of one's ministry to God (Example: Peter's Sheet, Paul's Damascus Road).
F. Supernatural Manifestations emphasize the glory of God and offer a new dimension to the lost glory of man (Example: the Transfiguration).
ISAIAH (©) as portrayed by Guy T. Rowe
High and Lifted Up
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
After five chapters of prophetic words given him by the Lord, God causes an "action stop" and brings Isaiah into His Presence. It happened in the year King Uzziah died. The death of Uzziah was a major event. Why? Uzziah was a king who followed the Lord in righteousness for most of his years, but later exalted Himself before God by offering incense on the altar in the Temple. This duty was only to be performed by priests from the tribe of Levi, and Uzziah was not qualified, though King. Eighty priests rebuked him as an earthquake shook the Temple area. God struck Uzziah with leprosy, and he was forced to live in a separate apartment, away from the Palace and to make his son his emissary (whose mother was a Zadok [Read 2 Chronicles 25-27 for the account]).
Uzziah reigned for 53 years, and God had prospered him enormously and given him everything his heart could desire. The Lord gave him victory over his enemies, great treasures, much productivity in goods and even caused creative genius to surround him. His death was like "the end of an era."
Uzziah's death was a historical landmark for Judah and Israel.
Transition was in the making for Judah because of change in governmental leaders and officialdom. What greater time for God to reveal, "Who is on the real throne of command" than now? Without warning, He appears, not to the earthly governance, but to the prophet.
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
Though Isaiah was privileged to enter the courts of the Palace and interact with the splendor of Uzziah, he was not prepared by any past experience for entrance to the Splendor of the court of heaven. Exalted Power created a spectrum that caused all former scenes of glory to fade into insignificance.
Isaiah 6 has engendered many sermons and much verbiage over the years, but waxing eloquently about the splendor of God's court will not be the aim of this study. What we desire to discover is why, at this point in time, did God choose to reveal Himself fully? Since Adam and Eve's time, with the exception of Enoch and Job (and very few others), the Lord has more or less concealed Himself in some form or fashion.
Abram, for instance, encountered Melchizedek and paid Him tithes and on various other occasions heard God's voice and beheld His power. On one occasion the Covenant Flame came and passed through the halves (Genesis 15). In another time, instructions came to sacrifice Isaac and then to not. All these were substitute forms when compared to His full manifestation.
Moses saw a burning bush and it changed His life direction. On the mountain, he beheld the glory of God through a covering hand pressing him away from the full power of His Presence. Upon many other times, he received direction from the Most High, but never like the fullness of Isaiah.
Jacob wrestled with the angel and struggled to his hurt, but did not see the face of God.
Many people saw visions, dreamed dreams, experienced the hand of intervention, but did not see God face to face. However, after the Isaiah encounter, a door seemed to open and God allowed several of His saints to enter the portals of glory.
Ezekiel saw the heavenly Temple and was carried in the Spirit to behold the sins of the priests and prophets, but never with the display afforded Isaiah. Later in his ministry, God showed him the heavenly Temple and the place of His dwelling.
Zechariah, who also ministered during the life of Uzziah, was ushered into the judgment place of heaven and saw his filthy robes and the accusing finger of satan. There, He experienced a personal cleansing and fresh ministry robes for his service. His life was never the same.
Daniel experienced the Hand of God moving across the drawing board of Belshazzar, but not the face of God.
Peter, James and John were present at the Transfiguration where they heard the voice of God.
John the Baptist also heard His voice.
John, on the isle of Patmos, was taken into the court of heaven by Revelation.
Peter's sheet of disdain came down repeatedly, but still just His voice.
Paul's Damascus experience envisioned the very person of the Glorified Christ.
As in the case of Isaiah, once a person is ushered into the presence of the Most High, His life is never the same. Everything changes for that person, for every consideration of life revolves around that moment. Take each of the aforementioned men and see if their life was ever the same after their "meeting with the Most High."
( In the Song of Songs, when the Shulamite saw her lover riding on a palanquin carried by sixty armed warriors, accompanied by smoke and great power-she never viewed Him the same way. He was no longer the Shepherd Boy, but the King [Song of Solomon, Chapter 3]).
The interaction between Isaiah and the court of heaven bears reviewing. Note, not once did he call this a "vision." He was there by transport; he was a participant.
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
He saw the throne and all that surrounded it. The Splendor was enhanced by the Seraphim and their statements:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!"
(Why are the first words heard by the prophet a trilogy of Holiness? Without Holiness no one will see the Lord. His directive to "Be Holy as I am Holy," is not optional. Somehow, we must re-introduce the church to the God with whom they say they identify-Isaiah's God was not Jerusalem's God. Sadly, the church's god is not the God of the whole earth. Modern ecclesia hold, more often than not, to a form of Idol (conjured by humanizing the One for whom Kingdom and Power and Glory belong).
The songs of Zion have been lost, along with harps in the willows. Wouldn't the morning worship service get serious if Seraphim showed up? The jangle of choruses undulating to the beat of a drum would fall silent if smoke filled the sanctuary and the posts of the building shook with the words HOLY , HOLY, HOLY wafting across pulpit and pew. HOLY is a greater command call than "attention!" (Observe the difference in worshipers, should they hear the call to worship as "HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!" Instead of an altar call at the end of a sermon, there would be free falling confession and humbling of spirit and cries for mercy-then and only then would the remedy for our great national need be applied!)
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 my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.
This confession came from a prophet! (This came from a prophet who, for five chapters, had been faithful to deliver God's message.) This confession came from "a man of God," who all his life exemplified in character and lifestyle the highest form of Godliness. (What would your confession be? I assure you it would differ from the church's printed program. I dare say that until the audiences, that gather on Sunday, encounter the Living God, no such confession will be forthcoming.)
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.'
(Notice how personal this encounter is.)
The remedy for Isaiah's sins was applied by a messenger from the Throne. Remedy for us must come the same way, but not without repentance and humble contrition. The Messenger from heaven (Jesus) stands ready to apply the remedy to our need, but are we willing to fall before Him and cry out "I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell among people of unclean lips?"
Isaiah's confession did not stop heaven's action.
Cleansed people get called to service. Without contrition and cleansing there is no call. Herein lays the massive problem of the church: too little contrition and too many trying to answer a non-existent call! The airways are full of such; the bookshelves strain from piles of their useless diatribe; the proliferation of ministry organizations and non-profit endeavors is overwhelming.
Lost is the one ingredient necessary to have the God kind of success; it is humble contrition.
Jesus knew this and chided the Pharisees for their focus on legacy and looseness.
Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
"These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"
When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."
Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?"
But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."
The only one who can summon for service is on His throne. Far too many languish in a service that He did not commission! That, however, was not the case of Isaiah.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
Whether His call is a Macedonian vision or an Isaiah summons, it must be heard by a pure heart and responded to by the same (Note: the use of "us" in verse 8).
Nothing substitutes for the Divine Call. We have lost that element sadly. Mission work is more often based on humanitarian need rather than Divine Order. Social ministries crowd out God's work in most religious settings.
"Go Ye" was tempered by "tarry ye, until you are endued with power." (Now it is, "we must hurry or the window of opportunity may close." God can open a door no man can close.)
Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.' And He said, 'Go, and tell this people:'
Some say Isaiah volunteered. I say that the call was for Him and no other-He was the only one standing there and He knew it. He voiced his willingness and God gave him a message. When one preaches the message God gives, one gets the response God ordains. The problem is we have heard much preachment and very little of which God has given. The Lord was very specific with His message and its results. (No great crowds, high attendance or accolades would come from the message assigned.) When Isaiah asked, "How long?" the Lord gave no termination date-only an indicator --"until there is no one out there to hear it."
A God directed message will bring God kind of results. Isaiah's assignment demanded exactness and repetition.
'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed." Then I said, "Lord, how long?"
And He answered:
"Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate, The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. But yet a tenth will be in it, And will return and be for consuming, As a terebinth tree or as an oak, Whose stump remains when it is cut down.
So the holy seed shall be its stump."
(Notice, there will be a distant remnant, "the Holy seed." That should shout to us in these last days when so many are expecting the worst. Prepare for it, "Become Holy.")
Isaiah now had his platform for ministry. Not only did He have a new sense of the Sublime, he would never be deterred from his mission. He knew the end result would be rejection by his hearers, but his job was to make sure they heard.
If one will look now at Isaiah's prophecies which came after the illumination, a rather glowing difference appears. Undergirding every message he pronounced was the compact one God gave him. When God spoke, Isaiah listened and was careful to incorporate in every message those truths. He knew his audience would be held accountable, in the judgment, for every word spoken. God's commission compelled him.
Who, today, preaches with such urgency? Who is he that his very being is so wrapped in his message that he groans for those who hear it and fears only one thing: not completing his task. Who weeps for the condition of the multitudes? Who confronts sin and calls for God's Divine Order?
Look at this passage in Ezekiel to understand how important being invested really is. This scene is at the Temple in Jerusalem.
Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn at his side; and the LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it."
To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the temple. Then He said to them, "Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!" And they went out and killed in the city.
Isaiah's prophecies gave exact times, places and events, unlike the nebulous messages of modern "prophets." He didn't consult the news media or the popular opinions of his day, although he commented on politics, economics and government. Because he was faithful, God gave him insight to days yet to come. He was not politically correct, socially correct, verbally correct, but he was God correct!
No opponent could sway him: He had seen the Lord and heard His call! No weapon could threaten him; he had been commissioned by the King. No harassment could insult him: He knew their hearts in advance.
(Assignment: go back and review all the listed aspects delivered at the beginning of this study and seek to apply them. The Lord will greatly illuminate you.)
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 02.06.2014
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Thank to C. R. Oliver and the newsletter division of Zadok Publishing for allowing us to use his newsletters for this Study Book.