The Study of Last Things

by WordExplain

2 Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?  3 "I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment." Isaiah 63:2-3

The Warrior with the
Blood-Stained Robe

Isaiah 63:1-6

    This is an OT passage, written in Hebrew. As such, it does not, of course, employ the Greek word for "coming" (parousia, 3952). Nevertheless, it does describe Christ's Second Coming, I believe. Furthermore, it undoubtedly describes the retributive aspect of Christ's Second Coming. What is the context of this violent paragraph? The immediately preceding chapter (Isa. 62) describes the inevitability of Israel's Millennial glory. The question might well be asked, "How can the triumph of Israel come about when it is beset by surrounding enemies?" (so Thomas Constable.) The Biblical answer is that Yahweh Himself will defeat Israel's enemies! That is the theme of Isa. 63:1-6.

    (1) The prophet (Isaiah) sees a majestic warrior marching from Edom (modern day Jordan) and from Bozrah (Edom's capital city, possibly Buceirah or Buseirah, south of the Dead Sea and half way between the Dead Sea and Petra). The Warrior is marching in great strength (Isa. 63:1). He is apparently marching toward Israel, the vantage point of the prophet. The prophet asks who this one is who comes marching from Edom and from Bozrah.

    (2) The warrior himself replies. He identifies Himself as one who speaks "in righteousness" and one who is "mighty to save" (Isa. 63:1). The traits of ethical speech and powerful deliverance (save = yasha, 3467) are a rare combination in the history of warfare. This is an exceptional warrior. Presumably, the nation of Israel is the object of his salvation.

    (3) The prophet asks a second question. He addresses the warrior. "Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the wine press?" (Isa. 63:2).

    (4) The warrior gives a devastating explanation. He said, "I have trodden the wine trough alone." It turns out He was using a figure of speech. He went on to explain, literally, what he meant. He had tromped on people in his anger, and trampled on them in his wrath. Their life blood (literally "juice") was sprinkled on his clothes, and this was how his garment had become stained (Isa. 63:3).

    (5) The warrior went on to explain further, that a day of vengeance was on his heart, and, conversely, his year of redemption had come (Isa. 63:4). It is not difficult to perceive that this warrior had trampled down, can I say, "killed" the enemies of Israel. This was what was necessary to redeem the nation of Israel. It would seem that the warrior's extermination of the Edomite (Jordanian) enemies of Israel was necessary to save the physical and spiritual lives of the people of Israel. And, it seems, the Edomite enemies of Israel were simply a representative sample of all of Israel's enemies throughout the globe. Let us see if the remainder of this paragraph will reinforce that interpretation.

    (6) The warrior rehearses and amplifies what he has already said. His task of avenging Israel's enemies and redeeming her found no help whatever among the race of humans. "I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold" (Isa. 63:5). Nevertheless he remained undisuaded from his objective. "So my own arm brought salvation to me, and my wrath upheld me" (Isa. 63:5). And now, it appears, the warrior expands his account from merely vanquishing the Jordanians, to conquering all Israel's enemies across the globe with lethal force: "I trod down the peoples in my anger and made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth" (Isa. 63:6).

    What does this breath-takingly vengeful, yet redemptive paragraph mean? Who is the warrior? Keil and Delitzsch surmise that Judas Maccabeus was the initial fulfillment, followed by his nephew John Hyrcanus and, finally, John's son, Alexander Jannaeus. But the fact that K&D cite three individuals bears its own refutation. The warrior explicitly stated that he and he alone achieved vengeance and provided redemption. Furthermore, whatever vengeance and redemption the three aforementioned Jewish liberators brought was short-lived. The language used in Isaiah 63:1-6 is much more global and final.

    This Warrior must be identified with Jesus of Nazareth at His Second Coming in Power and Retribution. For too long, God's people, and in particular, God's chosen nation, the Nation of Israel, will have suffered the brunt of the world's discrimination and wrath. For too long the international community will have vented their ire on Israel and killed Israeli citizens. But when the Warrior King returns, the shoe will be on the other foot. Jordan, symbolic of the nations as a whole, will suffer devastating defeat and loss of property and life at the speech of Jesus, the Warrior with the Blood-Stained Robe. This passage is to be compared with the description of Jesus as The Rider on the White Horse (Rev. 19:11-21).

(Scripture quotation taken from the NASB.)

Published initially, August 5, 2014

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