In my last post, we examined Tziyon’s Restoration in Yesha’hayu 62:1-12. In this post, we learn about The Lord’s Day of Vengeance in Yesha’yahu 63:1-19.
Before the restoration of the kingdom, as seen in chapters 61 and 62 takes place, there must first come tribulation as seen here in chapter 63.
1 Who is this, coming from Edom, from Botzrah with clothing stained crimson, so magnificently dressed, so stately in his great strength? “It is I, who speak victoriously, I, well able to save.”
The verse opens with a question from the watchman, and God responds. The vengeance God will wreak on His enemies at Yeshua’s second coming is terrifying. Edom serves as an example of what will happen to the nations that reject Yeshua (Botzrah was one of its capital cities). The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, which means the Israelites were their brothers. Nevertheless, the Edomites were exceptionally cruel to the Israelites on their journey from Egypt to the promised land (see Num 20:14-21).
2 Why is your apparel red, your clothes like someone treading a winepress? 3 “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the peoples, not one was with me. So I trod them in my anger, trampled them in my fury; so their lifeblood spurted out on my clothing, and I have stained all my garments;
God responded to the watchman’s second question by describing His work of anger against the foes (identified in v. 6). He described His judgment as trampling the enemy underfoot as a winemaker tramples on grapes. Yeshua comes with glory and brightness, mighty to save. This speaks of His Second Coming. Revelation 19:11-13 describes this event very vividly. As seen there, as well as in the passage before us, blood will be on His garments. The question is, will you allow it to be His that was shed in love for you – or will it be yours as a result of His judgment upon you for your failure to accept the work He did on the Cross to set you free?
4 for the day of vengeance that was in My heart and My year of redemption have come. 5 I looked, but there was no one to help, and I was appalled that no one upheld Me. Therefore, My own arm brought Me salvation, and My own fury upheld Me. 6 In my anger, I trod down the peoples, made them drunk with My fury, then poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
Finally, the object of God’s warring anger is explicitly identified as the peoples who have failed to trust and obey. The description of the peoples as drunk with God’s wrath invokes the metaphor of the cup of God’s anger.
7 I will recall the grace of Adonai and the praises of Adonai, because of all that Adonai has granted us and His great goodness toward the house of Isra’el, which He bestowed on them in keeping with his mercy, in keeping with the greatness of His grace. 8 For He said, “They are indeed My people, children who are not disloyal.” So, He became their Savior. 9 In all their troubles, He was troubled; then the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and pity, He redeemed them. He had lifted them up and carried them throughout the days of old. 10 However, they rebelled, they grieved His Holy Spirit; so, He became their enemy and Himself fought against them.
Yesha’yahu looked to the distant past of Israel’s history and remembered God’s grace and compassion. These verses speak in general terms of God’s praiseworthy acts and Israel’s suffering. The Angel of His Presence saved them, most notably in the Exodus under Moshe. But since that was true, the exiles in Babylon might ask, “Why are we in this mess in Babylon?” Yesha’yahu answers on God’s behalf: they rebelled, they grieved His Holy Spirit. Therefore, God fought against them.
11 But then His people remembered the days of old, the days of Moshe: “Where is He who brought them up from the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit right there among them,12 who caused His glorious arm to go at Moshe’s right hand? He divided the water ahead of them, to make Himself an eternal name; 13 He led them through the deep like a sure-footed horse through the desert; 14 like cattle going down into a valley the Spirit of Adonai had them rest. This is how you led your people, to make yourself a glorious name.”
Even in this sizeable prophetic picture of judgment, Yesha’yahu remembers the mercies, the goodness, the kindness of God. If you can’t think of anything to be thankful for, be grateful that you’re not destroyed – for that’s what we all deserve.
Yesha’yahu remembers how God had shown mercy to his people in the past when he delivered them from the Egyptians and brought them to the promised land. He put His Holy Spirit right there among them, divided the water, and gave them rest. The faithful ones knew their history. He had done it before; he would do it again.
15 Look down from heaven, and see from Your holy, glorious dwelling. Where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds, Your inner concern and compassion? Don’t hold back, 16 for You are our Father. Even if Avraham were not to know us, and Isra’el were not to acknowledge us, You, Adonai, are our Father, Our Redeemer of Old is Your name. 17 Adonai, why do You let us wander from Your ways and harden our hearts so that we do not fear You? Return, for the sake of Your servants, the tribes who are Your possession. 18 Your holy people held Your sanctuary such a short time before our adversaries trampled it down. 19 For so long we have been like those You never ruled, like those who were not called by Your name! ~ Isaiah 63:1-19 (CJB)
The people asked for this deliverance even though they had to admit with embarrassment that they were so sinful that their ancestors Avraham and Isra’el (Yaakov, not the nation) would not acknowledge them. That is quite a statement considering what a deceiver Yaakov was until God straightened out his act. God’s people had gotten so bad that they had hardened their hearts, as Pharaoh had hardened his. No matter how many times God urged them through His prophets to repent, they pressed on in their idolatry.
In my next post, we continue to explore The Lord’s Day of Vengeance ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 64.