Isaiah 63


‘Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendour, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.” Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.” Isaiah 63:1-6

God’s Day Of Vengeance And Redemption

This chapter speaks of Jerusalem in her desolate state.

De Hoff, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In this chapter, in highly figurative speech we have a picture of the warrior returning from the conflict with Edom, Israel’s perpetual foe. He returns as a conqueror with the battle over and the victory won. This poem briefly pictures the dream of divine vengeance.’

The chapter begins by describing the destruction of Zion’s enemies, which is the work of the Messiah. Edom is used figuratively because the ancient enemies of Israel dwelt there, Isaiah 45:19-24 / Hebrews 12:16. Bozrah is Edom’s capital.

The trampling of Edom was representative of all those nations who had fought against Israel throughout her history. The words, ‘red garments’ suggest one who had trod the winepress, would have his garments stained with the juice of grapes, Isaiah 51:17 / Psalm 75:8 / Jeremiah 25:15 / Revelation 14:18-20. Here, Christ is pictured as having overcome His enemies but shedding His blood in the process.

The ‘year’ of redemption shows the purpose of the bloodstained garments. No man had a part in making atonement for our sins. Christ fought this battle alone but those who refuse to repent will be punished. Jesus, the King over all things, has trampled down the nations for the sake of the church, John 16:11 / Revelation 19:11-16.

Archer, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Divine judgment will be executed upon the world-power. Edom here, as in Isaiah 34:5ff, typifies the rebellious world as implacably hostile to God’s people. Christ’s garments stained with blood are red by the blood of God’s enemies to be slain at Armageddon, Revelation 19:13. The scene here is the same as in Revelation 14:18-19. A Christ-rejecting, Gospel-spurning world leaves the Lord no other alternative but to send terrible and fearful destruction when the time of his longsuffering is past.’

Praise And Prayer

‘I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us—yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. He said, “Surely they are my people, children who will be true to me”; and so he became their Saviour. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.’ Isaiah 63:7-10

God has been faithful to His people despite their unfaithfulness. Isaiah pictures the great love which God has for those people whom He had blessed so much in the past.

The Bible clearly teaches that wicked people will be punished. When God’s people are distressed, so is God Himself, Genesis 15:13 / Exodus 1:8.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the angel.

‘Inasmuch as Christ accompanied Israel in the wilderness, 1 Corinthians 10:4, and is the ‘image of God’, 2 Corinthians 4:4 / 2 Corinthians 4:6 / Colossians 1:15, and ‘the effulgence of his glory’, Hebrews 1:3, the angel of God’s presence here is probably the Word of God that became flesh, John 1:1.’

God is the enemy of those who work against His work, Lamentations 2:3-5 / Hebrews 10:31. It also discusses the lovingkindness of the Lord in the past as proof that He will extend such mercy in the future if sinners will repent Deuteronomy 6:3 / Jeremiah 7:23 / Ezekiel 11:20.

Young, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The Lord is not uttering a vain hope that His chosen ones will not deal falsely, but is declaring that they are not to do so.’

Israel rebelled and was punished, God worked against them with discipline in order to preserve a remnant that would remain in the land until the coming of the Messiah.

‘Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people—where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them, who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses’ right hand, who divided the waters before them, to gain for himself everlasting renown, who led them through the depths? Like a horse in open country, they did not stumble; like cattle that go down to the plain, they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name.’ Isaiah 63:11-14

God, who led Moses out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, will lend aid to all who trust Him. When people remember what God has done in the past, it makes it easier to repent.

Moses and Aaron were Israel’s shepherds and when God delivered Israel by bringing them out of the Red Sea and He sustained them by the Holy Spirit who worked within them.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In these chapters, we have the angel of God’s presence, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit, and God Himself, the three persons of the Godhead, all working on behalf of Israel, their rebellion, therefore, was against the total Godhead.’

He defended them by bringing the waters of the Red Sea upon the Egyptian army and He did all this in order to give evidence to the world that He was the only God and that Israel was His people, Exodus 9:16. God led Israel safely through the wilderness for 40 years in order to bring them to the land of promise.

‘Look down from heaven and see, from your lofty throne, holy and glorious. Where are your zeal and your might? Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us. But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. Why, LORD, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes that are your inheritance. For a little while your people possessed your holy place, but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary. We are yours from of old; but you have not ruled over them, they have not been called by your name.’ Isaiah 63:15-19

Here read of a call for God’s mercy. The call is for God to behold the condition of His children, Psalm 33:13-14.

As in the days when God with a strong arm delivered Israel out of Egyptian captivity, he asked that God deliver them again out of the danger in which they were at the time these words were written. As fathers, we may forget our children, especially those who go off the rails, but God won’t forget His children of Israel.

God redeemed Israel out of Egyptian captivity, He was their Father, and so, the closest relative who would have the responsibility to redeem them, or purchase them out of slavery, Job 19:25 / Psalm 19:14 / Psalm 73:35.

The words, ‘why do you make us wander from your ways’, literally means, ‘why did you permit us to wander from your ways’, Psalm 119:10. Man hardens their own heart when they rebel against the will of God.

Lowth, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The Israelites were saying, ‘Not only have our enemies taken possession of Mount Sion, and trodden down thy sanctuary, even far worse than this has befallen us. Thou hast long since utterly cast us off, and dost does not consider us as thy peculiar people.’

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