February 11, 2023: Haftorah - Isaiah 6:1-13
This week's Haftorah reading is from Isaiah 6:1-13. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he describes a powerful glimpse of the spiritual realm that Isaiah saw, in a very difficult moment in his life, and how this pivotal vision encouraged Isaiah to keep going!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah gives a glimpse of the spiritual realm, a wonderful vision granted to Isaiah by Elohim. Isaiah 6:1-4, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the L-rd sitting upon a throne high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the Temple. Above Him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the L-rd of hosts; and the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of Him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.”
In this haftorah, Isaiah sees Elohim-here referred to with the name Adonai- sitting on the throne, and Seraphims are praising Him. This text is perhaps the turning point in Isaiah’s own life. This vision of Elohim’s holiness gave him the ability to persevere in his ministry, despite the promise of little success.
This event happened at a crucial point in Isaiah’s life and ministry. It was “in the year that King Uzziah died”. While he was in mourning over the king, Elohim broke through to reveal to him that, although Uzziah was no longer in the throne, Elohim still was on the Throne!
What a powerful moment! Every time we have a crisis, situation, or devastating circumstances, we can know that Elohim is still on the Throne. Isaiah saw “the L-rd.” The Hebrew word used here is not the name of YHVH, but the Hebrew title “Adonai”, it means “Sovereign Master”. The title reveals that Elohim of the Bible is the “absolute sovereign” always seated on His Throne. Let this be a reminder to us that regardless of the political landscape, corruption of government officials, or the flagrant disregard of the Torah running rampant in our country or Kehillahs, Elohim is still on the Throne. When all hell as broken loose in your life and your outlook is bleak, we need to look up and know that our Abba is still on the Throne.
Elohim was not only seated on the Throne but “the train of His robe filled the Temple.” Elohim’s glory is portrayed here as royal robes, which completely filled the space. There was no space in the Throne room for another. Elohim utterly fills the space of sovereignty. He alone is sovereign! The angels praised Him, saying “Holy, holy, holy.” In addition to the ascription of holiness to Elohim Himself, Isaiah frequently recognizes as holy anything that Adonai claims as His own.
This holy Elohim will show Himself to be holy by His righteous deeds (Isa. 5:16). He is the holy One, the holy One of Ya’akov, who must be regarded as holy (Isa. 10:17; 29:23; 8:13). His name, His Ruach, His Sabbath day, and His arm (the symbol of His power and action) are holy (Isa. 57:15, 63:10-11; 58:13; 52:10). As a consequence, the place of His dwelling is holy. Jerusalem, the sanctuary, the holy mountain is also holy and even the road leading to Zion is characterized as a “highway of holiness” (Isa. 35:8,10).
However, Elohim is not only holy- He is three times holy. He is holy to the 3rd degree which is of great significance. The repletion is a form of emphasis…To mention something three times in succession is to elevate it to the superlative degree, to attach to it emphasis of super importance. While there are a handful of terms in Scriptures that receive the treatment of dual repetition, only one characteristic of Elohim is mentioned three times in succession in Scripture.
He is holy, holy, holy! The significance cannot be overlooked. Holiness is the sum of who and what Elohim is. Whether love, goodness, faithfulness or even wrath, it is holy. Holiness is the separation between Elohim and His creation, between the holy Elohim and all evil. Let’s face it…if angels must cover their faces for the glory of Elohim, how much more should we fall down before our holy Adonai. Elohim’s holiness is simply His Yah-ness in all His attributes, works and all His ways.
What does it actually mean that Elohim is holy? The Hebrew word for “holy” is “Kodesh,” literally means “to set apart”, “to make distinct”, or “to put at a distance from.” It speaks of separateness. Elohim is holy because He is entirely separate from His creation. He is distinct, one of a kind! Nothing and no one equals Elohim! A.W.Tozer wrote, “We must not think of Elohim as the highest in an ascending order of beings, starting with the simple cell and going up from the fish to the bird, to the animal to man to angel to cherub to Elohim. Elohim is as high above an archangel as above a caterpillar, for the gulf that separates the archangel from the caterpillar is but finite, while the gulf between Elohim and the archangel is infinite.” Elohim is unmatched by anything in His creation, His attributes are likewise unmatched by any attributes of His creatures. Our ability to emulate many of Elohim’s attributes are but a shadow of their reality in the person of Elohim.
Let’s understand the significance of this vision to Isaiah and to those of his generation. The angels were not merely making a theological statement about Elohim’s holiness or stating a fact about the character of Elohim. Uzziah, had reigned for fifty -two years and had done right in the sight of Adonai, for the most part. He was sixteen years old when he began his reign. He wasn’t perfect because in the latter part of his reign he usurped the office of priest and was rendered by Elohim as a leper for the remainder of his life. Another problem was he never destroyed the high places and the people still sacrificed and made offerings on these high places. The Temple in Jerusalem was the place of sacrifice yet the people constructed various altars around the land as their own places of sacrifices. Sacrifices at the high places-even to Elohim- was not authorized by Adonai. By neglecting to destroy the high places, Uzziah created a religious mix in Judah. While he had the power to outlaw idol worship- and did so- he did not have the power to change hearts. The presence of the high places created a sense of convenience in worship.
The people could sacrifice to the True Elohim, but they believed they could do it on their own terms. They didn’t have to travel to Jerusalem to sacrifice at the Temple. So, what was created was a people who maintained a veneer of orthodoxy, but their hearts were far from Elohim. They claimed to worship Elohim, but they did not do so sincerely. They carried out religion, but without reverence. Simply put, they didn’t recognize Him as holy. They continued to affirm the traditional faith, but Elohim Himself became unreal to them.
Isaiah’s vision served to remind the people that Elohim was holy, and that He would not accept shared worship. Stop…we must realize the same! We can’t just attach Elohim as a part of our life; He demands complete devotion. We so easily bring things into our lives alongside the presence of Elohim. Giving our allegiance to Elohim as just one of many commitments. Adonai as one of many we seek to please. However, He does not accept shared sovereignty!
Everything we do- worship, employment, recreation, parenting, relationships- must be defined in relation to Elohim. If we do anything that contradicts the character of Elohim, we have embraced shared sovereignty. If we trample the courts of Adonai with careless feet, or simply fall into the trap of doing things out of routine, we need a vision of the holiness of Elohim! To partake in the Kingdom of Elohim in an unthinking ritualistic fashion is dangerous.
The Seraphims declared, “the whole earth is full of His glory”, and glory is the outworking and the manifestation of holiness. “Glory is that in which holiness comes to expression”. The phrase literally reads, “the fullness of the whole earth is His glory.” Everything Elohim has created, small and large is in some way an expression of Elohim’s glory. Nothing is just ordinary but a continuous explosion of the glory of Elohim. What is Elohim doing? He is making this earth into an extension of His Throne room in Heaven…He desires His Kingdom to come, His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. The Kingdom is expanding, spreading in your direction. Heaven is taking over! YIELD!
Are we willing to yield to Elohim’s will in heaven being done in your life on earth? Are we praying for this to be a reality in our world? When we worship our King…” the foundations of the thresholds shake at the voice of Him who called, and the house is filled with smoke.” Are we ready for our foundation to be shaken and the fragrance of His Ruach to enter our house? Are we ready to serve Adonai…will we say, as Isaiah said, “Here am I, Send me.”
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Have a blessed Sabbath! Worship Him in spirit and in truth! Let the train of Adonai filled the House. Honor the One who is Holy, holy, holy!
Let us gather to worship the King and see you at the altar!