Yeshayahu Six: Visions of God

We have another marker of time. “In the year of the death of King Uzziah, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and His lower extremity filled the Temple (Isaiah 6:1).” Does that mean that Isaiah saw a physical representation of God? With all of the prohibitions against such an idea, it seems inconceivable to even think about. But in this vision, God is on the throne, and angels stand above him. They sing to each other. “And one called to the other and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3).'” These are the words we say every time we recite the Amidah, which is central to the three daily prayer services. It’s a dramatic scene. God, angels, and a smoke-filled Temple. According to the account, Isaiah then speaks to God.

“And I said, ‘Woe is me for I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and amidst a people of unclean lips I dwell, for the King, the Lord of Hosts have my eyes seen (Isaiah 6:5).” One of the angels touches his lips with a glowing coal, which wipes away his sins. God gives him instructions, telling him to go to the people to tell them that they don’t understand all that they need to. He will repeat this message to the people until their eventual exile and destruction. What must it be like for Isaiah to have such an intimate encounter with God in such a personal way? So many people try to comfort themselves with the reassurance that their actions and choices are part of God’s plan, so how amazing must it be to know that it’s really the case?

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