|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-8 In this figurative vision, the temple is thrown open to view, even to the most holy place. The prophet, standing outside the temple, sees the Divine Presence seated on the mercy-seat, raised over the ark of the covenant, between the cherubim and seraphim, and the Divine glory filled the whole temple. See God upon his throne. This vision is explained, Joh 12:41, that Isaiah now saw Christ's glory, and spake of Him, which is a full proof that our Saviour is God. In Christ Jesus, God is seated on a throne of grace; and through him the way into the holiest is laid open. See God's temple, his church on earth, filled with his glory. His train, the skirts of his robes, filled the temple, the whole world, for it is all God's temple. And yet he dwells in every contrite heart. See the blessed attendants by whom his government is served. Above the throne stood the holy angels, called seraphim, which means burners; they burn in love to God, and zeal for his glory against sin. The seraphim showing their faces veiled, declares that they are ready to yield obedience to all God's commands, though they do not understand the secret reasons of his counsels, government, or promises. All vain-glory, ambition, ignorance, and pride, would be done away by one view of Christ in his glory. This awful vision of the Divine Majesty overwhelmed the prophet with a sense of his own vileness. We are undone if there is not a Mediator between us and this holy God. A glimpse of heavenly glory is enough to convince us that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Nor is there a man that would dare to speak to the Lord, if he saw the justice, holiness, and majesty of God, without discerning his glorious mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. The live coal may denote the assurance given to the prophet, of pardon, and acceptance in his work, through the atonement of Christ. Nothing is powerful to cleanse and comfort the soul, but what is taken from Christ's satisfaction and intercession. The taking away sin is necessary to our speaking with confidence and comfort, either to God in prayer, or from God in preaching; and those shall have their sin taken away who complain of it as a burden, and see themselves in danger of being undone by it. It is great comfort to those whom God sends, that they go for God, and may therefore speak in his name, assured that he will bear them out.
Verse 7. - He laid it upon my mouth; literally, he caused it to touch my mouth; i.e. "he touched my mouth with it." He brought it into contact with that part of him which the prophet had recognized (ver. 5) as the seat of impurity. Thine iniquity is taken away. By the contact the prophet's impurity is purged, and he is freed from it. The symbolical net showed
(1) that sin could be purged;
(2) that the highest angelic nature could not, alone and of its own force, purge it; and
(3) that the purging could come only from that fire which consumes the incense that is laid upon the altar of God. Dr. Kay suggests that this fire is "the Divine love."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he laid it upon my mouth,.... Because he had complained of the impurity of his lips, and that his mouth might take in by faith this comfortable doctrine of pardon, and it might be filled with praise and thankfulness; it denotes the ministration of the Gospel, as a means of the application of pardoning grace:
and said, lo, this hath touched thy lips; this coal, as a symbol of the word; the particle "lo", or "behold", is prefixed to this declaration, as requiring attention to a matter of importance, and as expressing something wonderful, and declaring something sure and certain; all which the pardon of sin is, and which is spoken of without a figure in the next words:
and thine iniquity is taken away: which was abominable in his sight; a burden to him, and the cause of his distress; even all his iniquity, and particularly the iniquity of his lips he had been mourning over, and confessing; this was taken away, as by the sacrifice of Christ, from the sight of God, so from his own conscience, by the application of pardon:
and thy sin purged; or "atoned for", or "covered" (q); which is done meritoriously, only by the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and in a way of application by the Spirit of God, through a promise, and by the ministry of the word; which latter is here meant. The Targum is,
"and he disposed "it" in my mouth; and said, lo, I have put the words of my prophecy in thy mouth, and thine iniquities are removed, and thy sins are expiated, or forgiven.''
(q) "expiatur", Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius; "expiabitur", Montanus, Piscator; "proprie tegere". Forerius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. mouth … lips—(See on Isa 6:5). The mouth was touched because it was the part to be used by the prophet when inaugurated. So "tongues of fire" rested on the disciples (Ac 2:3, 4) when they were being set apart to speak in various languages of Jesus.
iniquity—conscious unworthiness of acting as God's messenger.
purged—literally, "covered," that is, expiated, not by any physical effect of fire to cleanse from sin, but in relation to the altar sacrifices, of which Messiah, who here commissions Isaiah, was in His death to be the antitype: it is implied hereby that it is only by sacrifice sin can be pardoned.
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