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Isaiah’s Seventh Woe

Then I stammered and said, “Woe is me! I’m destroyed[a]—doomed as a sinful man! For my words are tainted and I live among people who talk the same way.[b] King Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies! My eyes have gazed upon him!”

Then out of the smoke, one of the angels of fire flew to me. He had in his hands a burning coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See? The burning coal from the altar has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away; your sin is blotted out.”[c]

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  1. Isaiah 6:5 The Hebrew word nidmêti can be translated “finished, cut off, pierced through, devastated, destroyed, doomed, undone, silenced, ruined.” See also Judg. 13:22; Job 42:5-6. Isaiah pronounces his seventh woe upon himself.
  2. Isaiah 6:5 Isaiah was a prophet who made his living from speaking, yet he calls himself a man with unclean lips. He declares himself a sinner who has offended with his words. He has offended others, and he has offended the holiness of God. Polluted with sin, his words (and ours) are “unclean” (foul, defiled, polluted, contaminated).
  3. Isaiah 6:7 Or “Your sin is atoned for.” Instead of the seraph throwing him out of the sanctuary, he brought God’s cleansing coal. It was a coal, for when God judged sin, only coals of fire were left; it speaks of a finished sacrifice. The fires of wrath were spent on Christ. The word for “coal” is ritzpah and means “ceremonial stone.” In the temple, incense was poured upon the ritzpah stone. Then the stone was placed in the fire, creating the fragrance of the burning sacrifice of the Lamb of God. This white-hot stone that was placed on Isaiah’s lips is perhaps the “shining white stone” given to the overcomers (Rev. 2:17).

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