Isaiah 6 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Isaiah 6 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 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.

BOM: 2 Nephi 16:1-13
"I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne."
Can God be seen?
Yes, God can be seen. He walked on this earth for 33 years, Mark 1:1. That is, God the Son has been seen. But God the Father has not been seen, John 6:46. But God also has promised that we will see God the Father after this life, Rev. 22:4.
Also, a verse like 1 John 4:12 is about seeing God with our eyes in this life. But this vision was not with the eyes of flesh, but with the eyes of understanding

2 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.

3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

5 Then said I, 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 mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

"Woe is me! for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Can God be seen?
See verse 1. And John Gill comments:

It was not because of his sight of Christ he reckoned himself undone; but because of the impurity of himself, and those among whom he dwelt, which he had a view of through his sight of Christ: his sight of Christ is given as a reason of his view of his impurity, and his impurity as the reason of his being undone in his apprehension of things. The prophet, in these his circumstances, represents a sensible sinner, under a sight and sense of his sinfulness and vileness; as the seraph in the following verses represents a Gospel minister bringing the good news of pardon, by the blood and sacrifice of Christ.

6 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:

(6:6-7) An angel touches Isaiah's lips with a live coal.
This is not “real”, although it has a real meaing. It is all part of the vision (verse 1) Isaiah is experiencing. See also the comments by John Gill mentioned in the previous verse (verse 5). The seraphim is the minister of the Gospel and the coal is:

the word of God, comparable to fire, and to a burning coal of fire, Jer. 23:29 for the light and heat which it gives both to saints and sinners, and for its purity and purifying nature

The coal was taken from the altar

of burnt offering, where the fire was always burning; which was a type of Christ, and his sacrifice

7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

God will prevent people from hearing and understanding "lest they ... convert and be healed."
I'm somewhat baffled by the injustice icon the author of the SAB displays here. So it is just if God converts people? That should happen? As an atheist he believes that God doesn't exist, therefore God can't do these things anyway, so no injustice is done.
But perhaps the author of the SAB calls this unjust because God is ascribed something that he should do. But why should God give conversion and healing? Because God can, it does not mean he has to. Because Bill Gates can give me a billion, doesn't mean he has to.
Although God has no obligation to give anything, in this case there is even a cause why conversion is withheld: the people in these verses are not innocent. As we can read in the previous chapter (Is. 5:4):

What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

So God had given them already all good. But what was the result (Is. 5:7): “and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.”
This chapter then is part of their punishment: they had rejected God, and now God had rejected them. But God would still keep in their midst some (verse 13) that would proclaim his name: “But yet in it shall be a tenth.” The seed of Jacob will never be utterly annihilated.

11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,

12 And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.