What does Isaiah 6:3 mean?
ESV: And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"
NIV: And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
NASB: And one called out to another and said, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of armies. The whole earth is full of His glory.'
CSB: And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth.
NLT: They were calling out to each other, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!'
KJV: And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
NKJV: And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
Verse Commentary:
The moment Isaiah describes is one of complete wonder, terror, and awe. The Lord has caused Isaiah to see Himself, seated on a throne (Isaiah 6:1). Behind or above the Lord stand an unnamed number of angelic beings called "seraphim." (Isaiah 6:2)

Perhaps resembling something like fiery serpents or dragons, Isaiah describes these six-winged beings as calling out to each other in voices that shake the building. They are declaring the holiness of their Lord.

In the culture of this time, words were repeated to give them emphasis. They are saying, in essence, that the Lord of hosts is holy times three. Nothing in or about Him is not holy. They identify Him as the Lord of hosts, meaning that He holds authority over heaven's angelic beings, including themselves. He is their commander and ruler in all things.

What does it mean that the Lord is "holy?" The word means "set apart" and implies something unique and pure. In God's case, He is the absolute standard of perfected holiness. He is completely unto Himself and dependent on nothing else for existence, purpose, or character. In truth, then, "holy" is whatever and whoever God is. His nature and existence defines the entire concept of "holy."

To a lesser extent, God provides a way for things to become holy in the sense that they are set apart to become of and like Him. God's "holy people" are the ones set apart for His service. Believers are called to this ongoing transformation to become more like God (Romans 12:2). This is referred to as sanctification.

The seraphim are calling out that the world is filled with God's glory. Isaiah stands in this moment in awe of the glory of God inside the temple. The seraphim insist that His glory cannot be contained inside the temple. It is everywhere He is, and He is everywhere. The glory of God is inescapable (Romans 1:20).
Verse Context:
Isaiah 6:1–7 describes Isaiah's call to serve as God's prophet in response to a powerful vision. This vision takes place near the beginning of his ministry, which is also the same year that King Uzziah of Judah dies. In this vision, Isaiah sees the Lord on a throne in His temple. Angelic seraphim call out about God's holiness in voices that shake the building. The prophet is overwhelmed by his own uncleanness. One of the seraph touches his lips with a coal from the altar, pronouncing his sin paid for.
Chapter Summary:
Isaiah 6 describes the vision of God, experienced by Isaiah, which began his work as a prophet. He sees the Lord in royal robes sitting on a throne in the temple. There are angelic seraphim calling out to each other about His holiness. Isaiah is overwhelmed by his own uncleanness until one seraph touches his lips with a burning coal from the altar. With his sin symbolically atoned for, Isaiah volunteers to go to his people on behalf of the Lord. The message he preaches will not penetrate their dull hearts. Yet Isaiah must preach until the judgment comes.
Chapter Context:
Isaiah 6 seems to answer the question of why Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1) was qualified to speak of Judah's sin and the Lord's coming judgment. The previous five chapters have already been on this topic. Isaiah describes seeing God in the temple on a throne, while hearing seraphim calling out about the Lord's holiness. After his lips are cleansed, Isaiah volunteers to take the Lord's message to his people Judah. The Lord shows Isaiah that message will not be received and that he will preach until the judgment comes. Chapters 7 and 8 detail Isaiah's early prophecies, including a famous prediction about the Messiah.
Book Summary:
Isaiah is among the most important prophetic books in the entire Bible. The first segment details God's impending judgment against ancient peoples for sin and idolatry (Isaiah 1—35). The second part of Isaiah briefly explains a failed assault on Jerusalem during the rule of Hezekiah (Isaiah 36—39). The final chapters predict Israel's rescue from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 40—48), the promised Messiah (Isaiah 49—57), and the final glory of Jerusalem and God's people (Isaiah 58—66).
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