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The Holy One of Israel

Isaiah calls God “the Holy One of Israel” more than any other book of the Bible.

One of the most notable features of Isaiah is his frequent use of the phrase “The Holy One of Israel.” As a matter of fact, this title of God is used 31 times in the Old Testament and 26 of those occurrences are in the book of Isaiah alone (the other five occur in Psalms and Jeremiah). Isaiah also uses other variations of this title for God such as “The Holy One of Jacob” (29:23) and simply “The Holy One” (10:17, 40:25, 43:15, 49:7).

Clearly, says George Knight, “The holiness of God is one of the major themes of the prophet Isaiah. At the beginning of his ministry, Isaiah had a vision of God in the temple. He was sitting on His throne, and winged seraphim (angelic messengers) were singing His praises: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory’ (Isaiah 6:3).”[1]

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

Revelation 4:8

While this threefold expression—“holy, holy, holy”—could be understood as a reference to God’s triune nature, in Hebrew thought, triple repetition expresses the highest degree of something. In this case God’s holiness. That’s why, “This vision of the Holy One made Isaiah [very] aware of his sin and unworthiness. But God seared his lips with a hot coal carried by one of the seraphim. This symbolized God’s purging of the prophet’s sin (see Isaiah 6:5).”[2]

Like Isaiah, we too should be deeply troubled by our sinful state realizing that we also are unworthy to stand before a completely holy God (Romans 3:23). This humble attitude is that good and Godly fear and sorrow that the Bible talks about which brings us to repentance which leads us to salvation and forgiveness (2 Cor. 7:10, Prov. 1). Because just as Isaiah’s sins were purified through the burning coal, so too are our sins purified by Jesus Christ the “Refiner’s Fire” (Malachi 3:2) when we turn to Him.

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] George W. Knight, The Names of God, P.36.
[2] Ibid.

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