Is. 63:1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
Is. 63:2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
This chapter starts off with a description of the coming of Messiah to defeat the armies of the Antichrist and establish His Kingdom. Point is made that He is coming from Edom/Bozrah to Jerusalem.
Edom was located in the area today known as Jordan. Bozrah (an enclosure, sheepfold), the ancient capital of Edom, was located about 30 miles southeast of the Dead Sea. The city was noted for its weaving industry and export of dyed garments. Petra was the capital city of the Nabateans who eventually ruled Edom (in the 6th century) and is located about 20 miles further south. (From chapter 11, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will by Done” by Ron Graff and Lambert Dolphin.)
When I began a personal in-depth study of prophecy, this verse was confusing to me. I think I was hung up on the expectation I had established in my mind of the LORD returning in glory with His first touch being on the Mount of Olives. As I considered the scripture and began to research, I realized that understanding to be flawed. I credit Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s article, “The Campaign of Armageddon,” with giving me a clearer understanding of the events comprising this campaign.
Zechariah tells us that there will be a remnant of at least 1/3 of the Jews that will come through the tribulation and come to saving faith in the Lord.
Zechariah 13:8-9 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
These verses in Isaiah, along with the following verses in Micah and Daniel, point to many Jews being spared in Bozrah or today’s Jordan.
Daniel 11:41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
Micah 2:12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
Moab (descendants of Lot) and Edom (descendants of Esau) were neighboring countries. In Isaiah 16:4 the people of Moab were urged to be kind to the outcasts of Israel.
Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.
Again, Moab, Ammon and Edom were all located in what is today known as Jordan.
The last two verses of Isaiah 26 reference a time when the LORD is calling His people to a place of refuge and safety while He exacts His vengeance on planet earth.
Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Is. 63:3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
Is. 63:4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
This chapter of Isaiah speaks of the LORD coming from Edom/Bozrah. This makes a lot more sense when we realize that He is coming in vengeance and defense of His people who have been sheltered there. He is so covered in blood that His garments appear to have been dyed red or soaked in the juice of the grapes from the winepress. Isaiah 34:5-6 indicates that the LORD will have a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Isaiah 34:5-6 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.
Note: Idumea = Edom
We know that this is the LORD because in verse 1 He identifies Himself as the One that speaks in righteousness and is mighty to save; only the LORD can be identified as inherently righteous. We (Christians) are righteous only because He has imputed His righteousness to us. Also, verse 4 speaks of His day of vengeance, and vengeance belongs to the LORD according to scripture.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Another identification is made of the LORD in verse 4 as the Redeemer who is identified as the LORD many places in scripture.
Isaiah 47:4 As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 60:16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
Confirmation of His identity is given in the book of Revelation where a description is given of His return to planet earth as King of kings.
Revelation 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
The Father has assigned all judgment to the Son, and in verse 3 He makes it clear that it is He alone who has the right to respond with righteous anger (see quote from Revelation above).
John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son….
The reference to a day and a year indicate a specific point in time according to God’s specific plan.
Is. 63:5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
Is. 63:6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
The LORD is still speaking. The Hebrew for the word help was enlightening—to surround, protect or aid. Uphold means “to prop, stand fast or sustain.” Obviously, it is not the LORD needing help or sustenance. He is amazed that there is no one willing to aid and sustain His people. In His own strength the LORD steps in (as He always does in behalf of those that are His) and saves and sustains His people. (Note: The word me is not in the Hebrew at either point in verse 5.)
Who is the LORD treading down? Those who are His enemies; those who comprise the armies of the Antichrist.
Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
“bring down their strength” – Strength is a reference to their blood, according to the Hebrew, and scripture tells us that the life is in the blood.
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
I believe this is the “supper of the great God” referenced in Revelation.
Revelation 19:17-18 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
Is. 63:7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.
After revealing this message of God’s deliverance of His people, the prophet Isaiah begins to speak in praise of all God has done for His people. The word mention means “to remember, think on, recount.” The Hebrew for lovingkindnesses is from a root that means “to bow, to be kind, to reprove, to be merciful, to put to shame.” In other words, lovingkindness sometimes involves correction and exposing to shame. Isaiah is reminding the people that the LORD’s goodness to them has been great/abundant. His goodness has been according to His mercies/compassion that scripture tells us never fails.
Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Is. 63:8 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.
I liked the way that JFB (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown) explained this verse: “Not that God was ignorant that the Jews would not keep faith with Him; but God is here said, according to human modes of thought to say within Himself what He might naturally have expected, as the result of His goodness to the Jews; thus the enormity of their unnatural perversity is the more vividly set forth.”
As God’s chosen people, Israel would experience the chastening and judgment of God necessary to bring about their repentance and restoration to fellowship. Due strictly to God’s Sovereign choice, He would be their Savior—their avenger, defender, deliverer, preserver (all from the Hebrew).
Is. 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
Every time the LORD’s people were mistreated by the nations, He felt their anguish and sorrow. The Hebrew for the word presence references “the face.” This seems to identify the angel as Jesus, the Son, who is the express image of the person of God.
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high….
The Hebrew for the word pity includes “commiserate, spare, compassion, merciful.” God had such a compassionate heart for His people that He redeemed them through the obedient, willing sacrifice of His Son.
“he bare…all the days of old” – This is a statement of God’s faithfulness despite the unfaithfulness of His people. When Israel remembered her past, studied her history, she would find no basis whatsoever to justify rebellion from such a loving and merciful God.
Is. 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
But rebel they did, and in doing so they vexed (to worry, pain or anger: —displease, grieve) His Holy Spirit. In verses 9 and 10 we seem to have a reference to the triune God—Father, Son and Spirit. Though He is tremendously loving and merciful, God is also holy. A holy God must punish sin and apply the rod of correction according to His word. Israel had been warned of the consequences of turning away from Him.
Deuteronomy 11:16-17 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.
From the time that the nation entered the “promised land,” the LORD allowed times of famine and the withdrawal of His protective hand against the nations as He exacted punishment with the intent of producing obedience to Him.
Is. 63:11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?
Is. 63:12 That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?
Is. 63:13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?
The times of judgment were always tempered by God’s mercy and His rememberance of the times they obeyed Him in faith and praised Him for His deliverance. I understand that more clearly now as a mom of many years. The years pass and your memories are more concentrated on the good times rather than the bad—the times when your children were obedient and respectful instead of the times that they were disobedient and hurtful.
During the time of Moses, the nation of Israel was yet young—a people without a land. God delighted in working mighty miracles on their behalf and establishing an everlasting name on earth and in heaven as THE MIGHTY GOD OF ISRAEL.
Is. 63:14 As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.
I like the wording of the CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) for this verse: “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.”
This reminds of the words of David in Psalm 23—“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters….I will fear no evil for thou are with me.”
Again, emphasis is made that God’s purpose through His dealings with the nation of Israel has been to “make thyself a glorious name.” We have referenced the jealousy with which God protects His name many times in our study of Isaiah. I am sure I have repeated these verses many times throughout this study as well, but these verses are so very important to know.
Leviticus 19:12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Isaiah 48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
Malachi 2:2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
Is. 63:15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?
The prophet turns His words towards the LORD on behalf of his people at this point. I like the wording of the NLT for this verse: “LORD, look down from heaven and see us from your holy, glorious home. Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf? Where are your mercy and compassion now?”
Is. 63:16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
Even as he questions God, Isaiah never questions God’s love for the Jewish people; he never questions God’s continued faithfulness to them. He is aware that Abraham and Jacob (Israel) would not be pleased to acknowledge the nation as their descendants at the time that Isaiah is prophesying in particular. He realizes that Israel’s relationship to God is according to God’s sovereign plan. They may become rebellious, but they will still be God’s chosen people, and He will be a faithful Father and Redeemer. The Hebrew for name states “a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character.” The reference to God’s name is a reference to His character and His uniqueness, which are never changing.
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Is. 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
Isaiah was aware of God’s truth. He understood the truth declared by Paul of God allowing people to be given over to their own lusts and desires as exampled in the life of Pharaoh and the nations of Canaan.
Romans 1:21-26 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections….
Isaiah begins to intercede for his people. He pleads for his people in much the same way that Moses pleaded—according to their position before the nations as His chosen people.
Exodus 32:11-12 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
Is. 63:18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.
Is. 63:19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
Isaiah prays from a position of believing the message the LORD has given him concerning the future captivity of the nation and destruction of Jerusalem. The nation of Israel had only been privileged to house the temple of God for a few hundred years at this time. (The temple was completed in 1005 BC according to Archbishop Ussher’s “The Annals of the World.” Isaiah began prophesying around 760 BC.) Isaiah pleads the position of his people as those belonging to God. Their enemies are God’s enemies; their enemies are not identified with God’s name. The glory of God’s name is connected to the nation of Israel according to God’s own plan.
There are great principles from this chapter that apply to the church, those of us who are called by God’s name today. He does not take it lightly that we profane His name by how we live. His faithfulness as a Father to punish and chastise is just as sure to us as it has been to the Jewish people. Though we may sometimes feel like God is withholding His mercy and compassion from us, we can be sure that He will never change—His mercy and compassion are never ending and are new every morning. What we need to do during those times is to look inward and examine ourselves to identify the sin in our lives and then turn in confession and repentance of that sin before the Lord. He gives a glorious promise in 2Chronicles.
2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.