Isaiah 6

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Home > The Old Testament > Isaiah > Chapter 6

Subpages: Verses 6:1-4  •  6:5-7  •  6:8-13

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  • Isa 6: On the textual location of Isaiah's call.
Emphasis on God's perspective. It would seem more natural for the prophet's call to come at the beginning of the book of Isaiah, rather than here in chapter 6 (cf. Jeremiah's call in Jer 1:1-10. However, the fact that the book of Isaiah begins with God's arraignment of Israel in chapter 1 may be important as a means of emphasizing that the book of Isaiah is written from God's perspective. That is, the sequence of events from God's perspective started with Israel first rebelling then, only subsequent to this event, did God need to call a prophet. If the prophet's call were the first event to be related, it might shift the focus of the text to the prophet's call rather than the God's purpose in calling the prophet.
Chronology of revelations. It is probably also a mistake to assume the visions were received by the prophet in the same order that they were received. Indeed, most scholars believe that the vision of the prophet in this chapter preceded the visions related in chapters 1-5. Similarly, the arrangement of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants does not follow the chronological order they were received in. This non-chronological ordering of the visions may suggest a divine theological purpose that transcends a simple chronological history of events or revelations. Furthermore, this suggests that the book of Isaiah should not be read as a time-specific prophesy. That is, the prophet is not primarily writing about human events, but heavenly things, and heavenly things should not be limited to the typically linear temporal perspective of mortals. Other scriptures attest that God's course is "one eternal round (1 Ne 10:19; Alma 7:20; 37:12; D&C 3:2; 35:1; cf. D&C 38:2, "all things are present before mine eyes"). The prophet's writings, therefore, should be taken as pertaining to all of mankind in all time periods, not just the prophet's contemporaries. Indeed, divine truths can be taken as transcending time and location—thus Isaiah's poetic teachings may be applied to anyone and everyone, regardless of when or where they live. (Notice this is the approach advocated explicitly in First and Second Nephi: 1 Ne 19:23; 2 Ne 6:5; 2 Ne 11:2, 8.)
Chiastic center between 2-5 and 7-14. Another reason for the placement of Isaiah's call narrative in chapter 6 is that it seems to serve as a chiastic center-piece between the judgments pronounced on Judah (chapters 2-4) and Israel (chapter 5) and the redemption of Judah (the destruction of Assyria in chapters 7-12) and Israel (the destruction of Babylon in chapters 13-14).

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