Isaiah wrote more about the kingdom of God than any other prophet; his word pictures are beautiful. Here are ten facts about God’s Kingdom from Isaiah:
- One day all the nations will realize this majestic God is the one true God. (Isaiah 2:3)
- God will judge between the nations, and there will be peace. (Isaiah 2:4)
- He will shatter the burdensome yoke. (Isaiah 9:4)
- God will hold a banquet for all the nations on His mountain – tender meat and choicest wine. (Isaiah 25:6)
- He will swallow up death forever. (Isaiah 25:7)
- God will take away the shame of His people from all the earth. (Isaiah 25:8)
- The blind, deaf, lame and mute will be healed. (Isaiah 35:5-6)
- There will be a highway running through the garden, the city of God, for the redeemed. (Isaiah 35:8 – 10)
- There will be joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the sound of singing. (Isaiah 51:3)
- God will create a new heavens and new earth, creating a new Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. (Isaiah 65:18)
The narrative of Isaiah’s commissioning is particularly remarkable. I often think about God as my friend, impressed by His immanence, so it does my heart good to read passages about God’s transcendence.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.Isaiah 6:1-4
King Uzziah had been a strong king, an effective king. We note that although a good king died, the Sovereign Lord is still on His throne. Notice how the phrase “high and exalted” and the description of the train of His robe elaborate on God’s supremacy. This Sovereign Lord is seated, the posture of executing justice.
Present with God on the throne are seraphim. Seraphim imply burning ones and represent justice. The root word making up the word seraphim is the same word used to describe the fiery serpents that bit the Israelites in the wilderness.
In Isaiah, seraphim are guardians of the holy and cover their eyes because they cannot look at God. As created beings, their feet represent uncleanness, and they hide them. The seraphim are worshiping loudly because the doorposts shake at the sound of their voices. They describe God’s unbounded, limitless, and far-reaching holiness – the whole earth is full of His glory. Notice Isaiah describes God’s expansiveness repeating the idea of “filling” three times – his train and smoke, the visible presence of God, filled the temple, and His glory filling the earth.
In this passage, we see God’s unspeakable majesty and glory. This vision of God is marvelous, too much for Isaiah (and us) to comprehend, overwhelming. And it is this God that the Israelites have disobeyed. God gives Isaiah a message of destruction. BUT Isaiah also speaks of a tender shoot that will arise, the hope of a coming King, who would restore peace in the land. Destruction is never God’s last word.
The prophecies of a child, a servant King are familiar passages, ones we celebrate during the Advent season. This servant King will fulfill the covenant with Abraham – to be a light to the nations. We first meet this servant in Isaiah 42 as chosen and obedient, one who executes justice.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching, the islands will put their hope.Isaiah 42:1, 3b, 4
It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.Isaiah 49:6
We know that Jesus read from the book of Isaiah in his hometown synagogue. When He rolled up the scroll, He gave it back to the attendant and sat down. Everyone was looking at Him. And then He stunned the people by revealing that He is the Servant King from the words of Isaiah. This Servant-Messiah will set His people free from sin and guilt!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.Isaiah 61:1-3
Jesus is our great deliverer and the coming King!
He alone is worthy of our worship!
O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread thro’ all the earth abroad
the honors of your name.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease,
’tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’tis life and health and peace.
He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.
To God all glory, praise, and loveCharles Wesley, 1739
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above,
the Church in earth and heaven.
**This post is inspired by our pastor’s sermon last Sunday. If you want to listen to the sermon, check it out here.