Isaiah 6:1 (ESV) In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. (6:4) And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. (6:5) And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" (6:8) And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here I am! Send me."
Outline. Isaiah's calling in the throne room of God is considered by most scholars (though debated) to chronologically precede chapters 1-5 of Isaiah's work even though it appears in chapter 6. The messages in chapters 11-5 of rebuke and promise, commonly referred to as the “great arraignment,” combine dire threats, urgent calls to repent and gracious offers of forgiveness and blessing to Israel and the nations. Chapters 7-12 introduce the prophecy/sign of Immanuel and His coming Kingdom. Assyria is depicted as a tool of God's that will be punished as the remnant of Israel is preserved. From this remnant God will sent forth the Messiah to establish the Kingdom of God.
Historical Context. King Uzziah's death in all likelihood occurred simultaneously with the end of his reign, which is dated to 740BC. It wasn't long after that Uzziah's grandson Ahaz became king of Judah and denied the sign of Immanuel (the promised coming of Israel's true king) in favor of support from Assyria in the Syro-Ephraimite War (which resulted in the end of Syria and Israel at the hands of Assyria). Thrones in the Ancient Near East were physical representations of power and authority, which were obviously reserved for conquering kings. The footstool often depicted vanquished foes, as ancient kings literally sought to make their enemies their footstools. Yahweh's divine throne is described as a living entity of amazing creatures which can traverse the heavens (Ezekiel 10:1, Psalm 18:10, 2 Samuel 22:11). Isaiah later describes Heaven as God's throne and Earth as His footstool (Isaiah 66:1). This description is also used of the Temple and Jerusalem.
Message Summary. The creator of Heaven and Earth is King of all and sits on His throne in Heaven while all events transpire under His power and authority according to His sovereignty.
Dominant Theme. Since this scene is depicted in Heaven, God's transcendence is immediately noted. His commissioning of Isaiah to preach to Israel and the nations, while making their hearts dull and ears heavy (Isaiah 6:9-10), further reveals God's transcendence over culture and people's own free will. The answer to Isaiah's question “how long, O Lord?” in vs. 11-13 reveal God's absolute control over history and all of time. These in addition to the fact that God is depicted as a King on His throne in Heaven governing all things clearly support the Kingdom of God theme.
OT & NT Correlation. Isaiah's dating to King Uzziah readily refers back to the Old Testament's accounts of his rule in Judah in 2 Kings 15:7 and 2 Chronicles 6:22. As mentioned above, many other references to God's throne fill the Old Testament whether as a mobile chariot or a stationary throne. In the New Testament Jesus Himself picks up the motif that Heaven is the throne of God (Matthew 5:34, 23:22; Acts 7:49). Jesus also declares that when the Son of Man comes in glory (referring to Daniel 7) He will also sit on a glorious throne (Matthew 19:28, 25:31). The author of Hebrews depicts the Son acknowledging God's throne and His everlasting rule (Hebrews 1:8). The throne is then described as a “throne of grace” that humans are to approach to receive mercy and grace in times of need (4:16), for Jesus is our high priest seated at the right hand of God's throne (8:1; 12:2). Strikingly, John's Revelation alone (perhaps since it is set in Heaven) has over 40 references to God's throne. From the throne all the pronouncements and trumpets for the destruction of the Earth are made and subsequently carried out. Ultimately the throne of God is shown triumphant as it demolishes the throne of Satan and his beast. What is described as “a Great White throne” then sets the stage for the judgment of all the dead “great and small” according to what they had done. Furthermore, multitudes, elders, angels and living creatures all surround the throne and worship God and the Son of God. In the end, a new Heaven and a new Earth are formed, but God's throne and His kingdom are carried over into the perfect world.