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Who are the two seraphims in Isaiah’s vision? March 20, 2008

Posted by mercedescoleen in God.
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I love to read Isaiah’s vision of chapter 6, but I was shown some truths related to the seraphims that I had never seen before:

  1. Isaiah wrote about the seraphims as if they were previously known to the reader

Isaiah referred to the seraphims using the pronoun THE. According to factmonster.com, this pronoun is “used, especially before a noun, with a specifying or particularizing effect, as opposed to the indefinite or generalizing force of the indefinite article a or an”.

Here is the supporting evidence from Isaiah 6: 2 and 6:

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

This is an important distinction which was adhered to in previous writings to distinguish between the two cherubims above the ark and those engraved into the vail and the walls of Moses’ and Solomon’s temple (Ex 36: 35; 1 Kings 6: 32). The latter were referred to in a more  general manner.

2. Who are therefore these  seraphims?

I believe that these seraphims to whom Isaiah’s referred distinctly were the cherubims who covered the ark. In other words, I believe that they are the  Two Anointed Ones who stand in the Presence of God since Isaiah’s writings referred to them as the seraphims

3.  Evidence from the general patterns in scripture

1. The location of the cherubims

There are some patterns in scripture which cause me to believe that these two seraphims are Princes Michael and Gabriel. This is supported by the pattern in Moses’ and Solomon’s tabernacles. The cherubims faced each other centrally, looking at each other and the Mercy Seat which rested on the Ark. Their wings spread over and covered the ark (Ex 25: 20).

Isaiah saw the Lord “sitting upon a throne” with the seraphims standing above it (Isa 6: 1, 2). This is consistent with the pattern in Moses’ and Solomon’s temple.

2. The place from which God spoke

Secondly, God told Moses that He would speak with him “from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony” (Ex 25: 22). This verse  implies  that God would speak to Moses from two locations – above the Mercy Seat (Jesus) and through the two cherubims. Here are supporting evidences: 

Numbers 7: 9 said that when Moses went into the sanctuary, that “… he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims”.

Isaiah heard the two seraphims speaking to him in the vision of chapter 6.

We also know in other scriptural examples that the cherubims are not silent and uninvolved, but speak to humans as well.  Zechariah’s visions show that these seraphims are the two anointed ones (Zech 4) and that Prince Michael resists the devil on the behalf of  God’s people (Zech 3). Their involvement in human affairs are also revealed in Daniel’s visions, as well as Prince Gabriel’s appearances to Priest Zacharias and Mary. 

3. The significant role of the seraphims in Isaiah’s visions

The seraphims are revealed as worshippers (Isa 6: 3). Their great might, power and anointing caused the posts of the temple door to move as they cried “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa 6: 3).

Even more significant is the fact that the seraphims played a role in the forgiveness of Isaiah’s sins. Following the Prophet’s confession, one of the seraphims voluntarily flew to him, placed a coal on his lips and purged him. This shows that God has power in heaven to forgive sins  when they are confessed (1 Jn 1: 9).  The scribes became offended when Jesus later used His authority to do so on earth:

And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house (Lk 5: 21, 24).  

4. Isaiah also heard the voice of the Lord asking for a messenger to go for us

Following his cleansing, Isaiah said that the Lord asked for a messenger speak His word. The Lord referred to the One who sat on the throne. The Lord’s style of speaking, progressing from the use of the singular to plural pronoun,  indicates that the Lord was speaking on the behalf of the heavenly persons in the vision:

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isa 6: 8).

5. Conclusion

God reveals Himself in different forms in scripture. If seek Him we will receive the revelation of His truth.  I am not sure why God revealed Himself to Isaiah in this way when King Uzziah died. Isaiah was  a notable Prophet and one generally would believe that Prophets know God in this way. This is not always the case. Is it possible that one can possess the gift of prophecy without really seeing the Lord in the way that He desires to reveal Himself?

This is indeed a troubling thought. Gifts do not take the believer into the presence of God. The one who sees God is the one who seeks Him. Let us keep this in mind as we pursue this race. Blessings and have a great day.

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