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Isaiah 6:1

ESV In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
NIV 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.
NASB In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
CSB In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple.
NLT It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.
KJV In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

What does Isaiah 6:1 mean?

Isaiah's book takes a sudden turn in chapter 6. After the previous five chapters of prophecy and judgment, the author suddenly stops to give his credentials. It's as if he's answering the question, "What makes you qualified to tell us that the Lord's judgment is coming?"

Some scholars speculate this chapter was originally meant to be the introduction to the book. Others suggest that Isaiah had been preaching for a while before the Lord officially called him to be a prophet. Many commentators, though, insist that Isaiah 6 fits well both as a conclusion to Isaiah 1–5 and as an introduction to Isaiah 7–12.

Whether or not Isaiah had started preaching before this moment may be uncertain. But this verse makes it clear that his ministry began within a year or so of the death of King Uzziah. Uzziah, also called Azariah, became king of Judah at the age of 16 in 792 BC (2 Chronicles 26:1). He was a godly, effective, and well-respected king and reigned until his death around 740 BC.

We don't know if Isaiah was literally, physically in the temple when he saw what is described in this chapter or if he was elsewhere. In truth, it doesn't matter. His encounter with the Lord and His angels was genuine and set the course for the rest of his life.

The vision is of God, seated on a throne, raised up in the temple. The Lord's kingly garb fills the space. In these times, the longer the train of a royal garment, the more important the one who wore it. Isaiah's description symbolically identifies God as the greatest of all possible kings.

Scripture suggests that those who directly, personally see the Lord God would drop dead. God Himself said so to Moses in Exodus 33:20, "Man shall not see me and live." It was the common understanding of people throughout the Old Testament. Having said that, several people came face-to-face with the "angel of the Lord" throughout Israel's history (e.g., Genesis 16:9–13; Exodus 24:9–11; Judges 6:11–24). The difference seems to be that these appearances were made by God the Son in the form of a human being or angel. Theologians call them "theophanies." This term means appearances made by Christ before He was born as a baby to Mary. Some scholars read John's references to this passage (John 12:38–41) to indicate that Isaiah saw Christ on the throne of heaven in the form of a vision—not a literal face-to-face encounter. This would be why he was spared from death that would come from seeing the full glory of the Godhead with his naked eyes.

It seems significant that the Lord reveals Himself as the king to Isaiah in the year that Uzziah dies. God seems to be emphasizing to Isaiah that He is the one true king of all, no matter who sits on the throne of Judah. Isaiah served as God's messenger to Judah during the times of four of her kings (Isaiah 1:1)
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