Many have seen the glory of God, while others had encounters with His glory at different times. Abraham saw the glory of God in Mesopotamia (Acts 7:2). Stephen saw the glory of God at the point of death (Acts 7:55). Moses equally saw the glory of God at different times in the wilderness. Peter, James and John saw the glory of God on the Mount (Luke 9:27-36). So, also did Isaiah see the glory of God. The effects of the glory on all these men differ in degree and impacted their lives and ministries in ways that could hardly be fathomed.
Assyrian records indicate that Uzziah reigned for 42 years (783–742 B.C.). Other sources say Uzziah reigned for 52 years terminating in 739 B.C. Something significant, however, happened in the year Uzziah died; the veil dropped off the eyes of Isaiah and he saw the Lord sitting on his throne of majesty.
Uzziah’s death marked a new beginning in the life of the prophet Isaiah. The prophet saw the Lord sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple. This refers to the Lord’s glorious robe that filled the temple.
Isaiah also saw celestial beings called the seraphim, each having six wings; and each covered their faces with two wings and their feet with two wings and they flew with two wings. They covered their faces because they could hardly look to behold the glory of God. Habakkuk reminds us that God is of purer eyes than to behold evil. None can stand before his royal majesty.
The seraphim chanted words that describe the very nature of God similar to the chanting of the angels in heaven. John heard similar chants from the angels in heaven. They cried day and night about the holiness of God (Revelation 4:8).
“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!” (Isaiah 6:3 – NLT). If the whole earth was filled with the glory of God then, what about now? God has sworn that the knowledge of his glory would cover the whole earth. God’s ultimate desire is echoed by the prophet Habakkuk thus, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14; Num.14:21 NKJV).
This vision of God’s holiness vividly reminded the prophet of his unworthiness which deserved judgment. “And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:4-5 – NKJV). Both Job (Job 42:6) and Peter (Luke 5:8) and many others came to the same realization about themselves when confronted with the presence of the Lord (cf. Ezek. 1:28—2:7; Rev. 1:17).
Isaiah’s encounter with the glory of God was life-changing. He was transformed and re-commissioned for service at the same time.
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
(Isaiah 6:6-7 – NKJV). May we be so transformed by his glory.