There is an ancient holy chorus that worships God while it reveals our sin. And when we enter heaven we will hear the same chorus.
We sometimes sing the Reginald Heber hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” in church, raising the anthem in worship as a congregation. We sing it as an almost rote praise to God.
For the prophet Isaiah, however, it stirred to him to realize his sinfulness.
In Isaiah 6:1-5 we read that when Isaiah entered into the tabernacle (the temple – the Holy of Holies) he heard the seraphim calling out, “Holy, holy, holy”:
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. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
(English Standard Version (ESV), Crossway Publishing)
Isaiah’s reaction was to see his sinful nature to such a degree he absolutely knew he could not be in the presence of God.
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!” (ESV)
Woe is to me! I am undone! Literally, “I am unraveled”. God’s holiness revealed to Isaiah his total depravity, his total unworthiness, his soul was unraveled like knitting exposing all that he really was.
The chorus “Holy, holy, holy” will be sung continuously in heaven. Fast forward to the Revelation to John where we read in Revelation 4:6–8:
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!” (ESV)
Unlike Isaiah, the response is not one of terror but one of pure worship. The 24 elders drop to their knees and toss the crown toward the throne of God every time the chorus is called out to praise Him:
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” (ESV)
What is your response to the realization that God is indeed the one and only holy God? Do you reel in despair because you realize that you have fallen short of God’s standard? If that’s the case you need Jesus Christ and I encourage you to seek us out to hear about the Gospel.
Or are you ready to rejoice in heaven with the elders and continuously worship the Lord our God?