The life and times of seraphs are taken up with song. They cry out day and night as they gaze upon the LORD. They ping-pong praise between them with antiphonal cries. Three things are true of seraphs which never seem to change: these creatures ever flame, their lyrics never vary, their larynx never strains, while they pour out whole-souled praise. Uniquely created, fitted, gifted and appointed to this purpose. It proves that proper meditative sight and contemplation of seraphs contains all the noblest, finest ingredients that satisfy pure hearts – the sight abundantly sufficient to ignite loving spirits with sheer eternal, unending, delight! All this joy oozes from the call-to-prophesy vision of Isaiah in Chapter 6.1-8
The reason for their song is not hard to unearth – this choir of flawless angels dwells before the throne of the awesome Most High King. Immense majesty and God’s glory exhaust descriptive powers. All this even though they refuse, never dare or are not sanctioned, to gaze past their first God-ordained pair, of adoring, veiling wings. Forever in their right minds, if only we could share their thoughts, they blaze with loving worship. The Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the Holy One the Redeemer, draws forth tri-fold ascriptions of divine transcendent otherness.
It really is quite impossible for these sinless creatures to draw near to the Supreme Governor of the Cosmos and not gasp in wonder to laud out loud the LORD. The content of the ‘Trisagion’, though profound, amazed and reverent, is neither intricate or complicated. ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ no doubt, as Revelation 4-5 shows, ascribes to all Three Persons, of the Covenant Head of State, what is evident from creation, namely the superlative, transcendent, brilliant, eternal otherness of the Trinity.
Is all the Temple hem? Seraphs hover till he beckons? Instantly, when commanded to take the coal to cleanse the prophet, their keenness is apparent. Seraphic obedience is eager, willing, swift and glad to relieve the curse-claiming desperation of the woe-filled prophet with full royal pardon granted. If sin was the excuse, or rather the barrier to song, atonement is both motive and fitness now to bless.
It won’t then come as any earth-shattering surprise, to discover in John’s Gospel, 12.41-45, that the 4th Evangelist identifies Jesus, the pre-incarnate Word, with the King who fills the gap, left vacant on the throne of the dynastic realm of David. This loving, grace-filled King, the Eternal God the Son, the not-yet-bodied Logos, had not thus far taken to Himself our flesh to suffer in that body. This is but a temporary, visionary, appearance in human form, not the uniting in one person of the two natures of God-man; yet it previews in advance, the corpse prepared for Him, and His love for men like us and His committment to our flesh.
Soon, within three chapters, both a child conceived in, and delivered by, a virgin, and a wonderful, divine, everlasting governor is predicted and pledged. Winding forward the lesson to Isaiah 52, we see God-Man exalted to the highest realms of heavens, that by His substitution He might sprinkle many nations. Exalted, then we learn, after suffering rejection, bearing the sins of His people, this King will rescue sin-stray sheep by His scourging stripes that heal.
The location of this song must not be left in heaven. It really makes you gasp forgiven earthlings don’t sing out more gladly. Perhaps if we gaze more prayerfully and diligently, the stream of dried up praise will return with surging floods or tidal waves in souls. What never stops above should never cease below – if seraphs praise upstairs then the family in the basement must “sing to one another” four-part or unison, antiphonal or harmoniously (may devotion drown debate) “in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts” with parallel choirs to Christ.
What if singing at the moment seems a chore? The solution seems quite simple – you’ve dropped your gaze off Jesus! Even in grief, distress, pressure and persecution (for this vision kept the prophet singing while being sawed in two), His sovereignty, sanctity, sorrows and sinner-sprinkling for salvation will cheer the heart. This pre-incarnate vision contains no wounds or scars – how much more should the redeemed make music to the Lord.
Perhaps again today you and I need to bow, all with unveiled faces, before the Glory of the Lord – behold the thrilling vision, fuelled by pardoning grace, insufflated by the Spirit, filled with grateful gladness, to sing with made-fit lips. Not just for one weekend – this song must never cease! All cries that sound below, quite soon with tireless voice, will stand in heaven’s choir-stalls and resound throughout all ages.