Who did Isaiah see upon the throne?

A verse that is sometimes used to prove that Jesus is God is Isaiah 6-1. Isaiah the prophet had a vision and saw the Lord sitting upon the thrown.

Isaiah 6-1 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.

Many people believe the Lord that Isaiah saw on the throne in his vision was Jesus and so claim that this is scriptural evidence of the trinity.

They get this from John chapter 12 where John quotes from this vision.

John 12- , 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

This quote is from verse 10 of Isaiah’s vision in chapter 6

Isaiah 6-10 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.

John then refers to Isaiah seeing his GLORY and having spoke of him in verse 41

John 12-41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

It is understood that John here is again referring to the vision of Isaiah in chapter 6 of the book of Isaiah where he states that the whole earth is full of his glory.

Isaiah 6-  2Above 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.

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

The Glory that John refers to being linked to the glory that Isaiah says filled the whole earth. 

So it is assumed that Jesus is the one that Isaiah saw upon the throne.

Isaiah very clearly identifies the one that he saw as YHWH. The word LORD here is translated from the Hebrew tetragrammaton.

This is further clarified in verse 5 where Isaiah again specifically says he saw the LORD, YHWH

Isaiah 6- 5Then 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.

There is no doubt here. Isaiah saw YHWH in his vision sitting upon the throne and YHWH’s glory filled the whole earth.

John however is very clearly talking about Jesus. If we go back a few verses we see that John refers to the miracles of Jesus that he did during his lifetime and that many did not believe on him .

John 12-37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

So trinitarians believe that the Lord that was seen by Isaiah sitting on the throne who is clearly identified as YHWH is being quoted by John and applied to Jesus. Therefore they conclude that the Lord that Isaiah saw sitting on the throne is Jesus. Proof therefore that Jesus is in fact YHWH.

The NIV even goes so far as to change the pronoun HIS in John 12-41 to the name JESUS 

John 12-41 saiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. NIV

The BSB, NLT, GNT and CEV all include the name Jesus here as well. 

Now this all seems well and good, BUT, the simple fact is that they have completely misrepresented the vision of Isaiah and John’s reference to the vision of Isaiah. When we investigate the passage in John we will see that there is more being stated, and in fact being quoted than there would seem at first glance. 

We already know that Isaiah saw YHWH on the throne. There is no doubt who Isaiah saw.

However When we go back to the passage in John we will see that after John mentions the miracles of Jesus, and so is clearly referring to Jesus, John then states why they did not believe. So that the saying of Isaiah maybe fulfilled.

John 38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

That the saying of Isaiah might be fulfilled.

So we see that Isaiah said “who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

However this is actually a quote from Isaiah chapter 53

Isiaah 53- 1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Isaiah 53- 2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Talking about the life of JEsus on earth. Isaiah saw the rejection of Jesus.

53- 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah did not just prophesize about seeing YHWH on the throne, he also prophesied about the rejection of Jesus which is what John quotes in verse 38

John was not only quoting from Isaiah chapter 6

Then in verse 39 John says and Isaiah said AGAIN.

John 12-39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

and it is here that John then quotes what Isaiah AGAIN said in chapter 6. They could not believe because God had blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts

John 12- , 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

John makes a clear distinction between verse 37/38 and verse 40. John very clearly quoting from 2 chapters of Isaiah not just from chapter 6. There were 2 reasons that Isaiah stated why they couldn’t believe.  

Verse 41 further illustrates this, when Isaiah said these THINGS. When he saw his glory.

John 12-41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

Now the glory that John is referring to is NOT the glory of YHWH in chapter 6 but the glory of Jesus. 

The glory that Jesus manifested when he began to do miracles.

John 2- 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

This is what John had referred to back in verse 37

John 12-37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

Again John refers to the glory of Jesus, that they beheld. 

John 1-14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Isaiah saw the earthly ministry of Jesus and his rejection which Isaiah wrote about in chapter 53.

While John does quote chapter 6 it is only in fact 1 verse that is referred to in order to support his quotation of chapter 53. 

It is YHWH on the throne in chapter 6 but it is the earthly ministry of Jesus that Isaiah refers to in chapter 53. 

When we understand this passage in John and correctly analyse it we see that it does not in fact  offer support for the trinity.

 

 

 

 


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