In the year 739 B.C., Isaiah had the vision of God’s throne where he saw angels surrounding that ultimate source of rule and authority. And those angels had one declaratory message:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.” (Is 6:3)
More than 800 years later, the apostle John also had a vision of heaven, and he too saw the celestial throne. And he saw those same angels surrounding the throne. And he heard them make virtually the same declaration:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” (Rev. 4:8)
Yet notice that John adds an editorial comment about the message of the angels: “day and night they do not cease to say…” That is, the one message that these angels ever declare is the holiness of God. For nearly a millennium between the visions of Isaiah and John, they joyfully exalted God with a singular message of His holiness. And, it seems, this was and is their eternal occupation. I suspect that when we enter glory and approach the throne for the first time, we will observe the same sight seen by Isaiah and John.
While it is tempting to venture into a theological discussion concerning the nature of God’s holiness — a definition of it, its purposes, its evidences and manifestations, and its absolute standard — something more basic is needful from this passage.
Notice that at God’s throne, the angels never tire of God’s holiness. They are ever satisfied with a single message. They delight to meditate on and rehearse its fulness. They see His holiness because it is immediately before them and they are overwhelmed with delight in speaking of it.
Here we are tempted to boredom with God’s holiness within minutes. In part, this is because we do not comprehend. We cannot see it because we are removed from His presence by time and space. And we cannot see it because of our own unholiness and lack of final redemption (which was Isaiah’s fear in Is. 6:5). But we are also bored with it because we do not take the time to meditate on it. We pass over words in Scripture quickly, as if finishing our reading first or faster is an indication of comprehension. That’s rarely true in taking school tests and it’s rarely true about our time in meditation.
If the angels who see God at all times do not cease to think and talk of God’s holiness, is that truth not worthy of more of our intentional attention and meditation as well?