THE ONE COMING TO EXECUTE DIVINE VENGEANCE IS THE MESSIAH WARRIOR STAINED WITH BLOOD
People have a lot of questions about Divine Vengeance – about the wrath of God poured out on His creation. How could a loving God consign anyone to an eternal destiny of suffering in Hell? Aren’t blood and gore reserved for the God of the OT, not the loving Jesus of the NT? What’s the big deal about sin, about loose living – as long as I am a Christian what does it really matter how I live? So you have large mega churches today with leaders exercising no discipline or oversight over the blatant sinful lifestyles of their members. There is very little appreciation for the holiness of God and His hatred of sin. There is very little focus on Divine Vengeance.
But just because it is not a pleasant topic doesn’t mean that we should skip over it – that’s the benefit of preaching through a book of the bible paragraph by paragraph.
Remember: 2 aspects of the Lord’s coming: (Luke 4)
– to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord – chap. 61-62
– to proclaim the day of the vengeance of our God – chap. 63
David Thompson: When most think of Jesus Christ, they think in terms of a loving person who would never hurt anyone. What most neglect to realize about Jesus Christ is that His eternality means He was behind the destruction of the flood; He was behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; He was behind the destruction of Jericho. In fact, that night 185,000 Assyrian soldiers dropped dead; it was Jesus Christ who did it as “the angel of the LORD” (Isaiah 37:36). There have been lots of moments in history when Christ has demonstrated He is a God of wrath, but the ultimate demonstration is yet to come. . . Sometimes we sing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” but do not ever forget “What a Judge we have in Jesus.” Deep in the heart of Jesus Christ is a mindset that says there is coming a day when He will pour out God’s wrath.
John 5:27 “the Father gave the Son authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man”
Just as the Son of God was faithful in His First Coming to freely offer salvation to those who would trust Him; so He will be faithful in His mission at His Second Coming to execute Divine Vengeance – that is the picture we have in Isaiah 63
THE ONE COMING TO EXECUTE DIVINE VENGEANCE IS THE MESSIAH WARRIOR STAINED WITH BLOOD
I. (:1) QUESTION #1 — WHO?
WHO IS COMING TO EXECUTE DIVINE VENGEANCE?
(Beall: similar in theme to 59:15-20)
Parunak: The exchange is what one might expect from a watchman on the city wall, interrogating someone who approaches the city. The first question has to do with the identity of one who approaches. The second asks an explanation for the striking appearance of his garments.
Grogan: The oracle is most dramatic. The only OT passage that in any way resembles it is the account of Joshua’s encounter with the angelic captain of the Lord’s host (Josh. 5:13—6:5). There too, as here, there are two questions and two answers; and there is a similar anxious inquiry: “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
A. (:1a) Question Asked
1. Distinguished as Red
“Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,”
Something that catches that attention of the watchmen on the walls:
– Based on where this individual is coming from – Edom means red
– Based on how this individual looks – red stained garments
Delitzsche: Babylon and Edom are always to be taken literally, so far as the primary meaning of the prophecy is concerned; but they are also representative, Babylon standing for the violent and tyrannical world-power, and Edom for the world as cherishing hostility and manifesting hostility to Israel as Israel, i.e. as the people of God.
Beall: Judgment upon Edom was also mentioned in Isa 11:14 and especially in Isa 34:5-6 . . . Edom is singled out in a context that would seem to speak of universal judgment upon Israel’s enemies–perhaps because Edom was a perpetual enemy of Israel. Also, the name “Edom” means “red,” and fits well the imagery of blood that is used in these verses. The Lord is seen as coming from Bozrah (the capital city in Edom 20 miles southeast of the southern tip of the Dead Sea), a name which itself comes from a root meaning “grape-gathering,” also fitting quite well with the imagery of treading the winepress in vv. 2-3.
How can there be an enduring peace for Jerusalem as long as her enemies flourish? They must be dealt with decisively. Speaking of modern day Jordan – just south and east of the Dead Sea
Young: Bozra was the capital of ancient Edom [fortress city in north]. The Edomites were descended from Esau (Gen. 36:1, 8, 9) and were related to the Israelites. Throughout their history they displayed a vicious attitude toward Israel (cf. e.g. Amos 1:11-12). The Psalmist calls attention to their attitude (Ps. 137:7). Edom is mentioned as a representative of the powers that oppose God, and in its destruction we see their destruction.
Rev. 19:11-16 – much of the same imagery
2. Distinguished as Regal
“This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?”
Parunak: travelling in the greatness of his strength?–The verb is very rare, and seems to mean “tilting” or “bending.” In the context of glorious apparel and evident strength, “swaggering” would be appropriate.
Motyer: striding forward is used here of the natural swing of the body when walking energetically. There is no weakness in this figure but rather greatness/abundance of strength.
B. (:1b) Question Answered – The Messiah Warrior Who is Also Mighty to Save
1. Self Disclosure
“It is I”
Remember how God has revealed Himself to His people down through history:
– To Moses at the burning bush – Ex. 3:13-15
– To Manoah, father of Samson – Judges 13:17-23 name is really incomprehensible,
Awe-inspiring, majestic and wonderful
– The I am statements in the Gospel of John
2. Source of Truth and Righteousness
“who speak in righteousness,”
This one who comes is the Word, the Logos of John 1; the one who comes to reveal the righteousness of God as Paul writes in the book of Romans – 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
3. Sufficiently Powerful to Save
“mighty to save.”
Vengeance and destruction and judgment were not His first priority
He came the first time to bring salvation – as a light to the world; there was no limit to His capacity or sufficiency to save anyone who would repent of their sins and put their faith in Him
He is truly mighty to save
The one who came with the primary motivation of bringing salvation is the same one who comes in righteousness to perform God’s work of divine vengeance.
Parunak: The traveler considers this twofold claim of righteous speech and powerful action sufficient to identify himself. As Jeremiah later recognizes, this combination applies only to the Lord:
Jer 32:18 the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, 19 Great in counsel, and mighty in work
Only God can speak absolute truth, because only he has the power to carry out what he decrees. In particular, his promise of salvation is absolutely reliable, because he makes it happen.
David Thompson: I agree with Mr. Spurgeon who said the best proof you have that Jesus Christ is mighty to save is that he saved you (Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 3, p. 412). There is only One who can save you, who is mighty enough, and that is Jesus Christ.
II. (:2-6) QUESTION #2 – WHY?
WHY DOES HE LOOK LIKE HE LOOKS? GARMENTS STAINED WITH RED BLOOD
A. (:2) Question Asked
“Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?”
Messy business treading out grapes in the wine press; your garments end up all stained; don’t wear your Sunday best
Like the clothes you wear for painting – but this is far messier
B. (:3-6) Question Answered
1. (:3) His Mission of Vengeance
a) Accomplished in Surprising Isolation
“I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And from the peoples there was no man with Me.”
Parunak: this was usually a communal activity, but no one joined him in this activity. The reason is that they were the grapes! Rev. 19:11-16
John Martin: A winepress was usually a shallow pit with a hole on the side leading out to a container. As individuals trampled on grapes in the press, the juice flowed through the hole into the container. Obviously some juice would also splatter on the workers’ clothes.
Rev. 5:2 Who is worthy to open the book and break the seven seals? Similar question; chap. 6 when the seals are opened begin the judgments of the Tribulation Period
b) Accomplished in Determined Anger
“I also trod them in My anger,
And trampled them in My wrath;”
Couplet – parallel statements with the second one heightening the intensity of the first
Trod to trampled
Anger to wrath
c) Accomplished with Horrific Finality
“And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My raiment.”
Ken Wimer: So we have here the picture of garments that are covered in blood, basically. The picture here is of a warrior that goes forth to war and comes back victorious, his garments covered with blood. Do you see how that pictures the Lord Jesus Christ? I go back to the picture of the priest in the Old Testament. And I know when you look in story books they are pristine clean. They have got white garments and they just look like Mr. Clean. I really don’t believe that that is the way it was. When you think about what their job was, what their task was, think about the butchers that you find in the meat markets when you go in and they… I have yet to figure out why they wear white. Everybody you go back there and talk to the butcher, he has got his white coat on. But that thing is stained with blood. I don’t know whether they throw that thing out at the end of the day or if they really try to get those stains out or whether they don’t even worry about it. He just comes in the next day and puts it back on. I don’t know. I have thought about that. But their garment is stained with blood. They are around bloody meat day in and day out.
2. (:4-6) His Motivation of Wrath
a) (:4) Motivated by the Necessary Link Between Redemption and Vengeance
“For the day of vengeance was in My heart,
And My year of redemption has come.”
Grogan: God’s act of judgment against Edom is clearly conceived to be a putting right of the wrongs done to Zion (see 34:5, 8-15), especially when the Edomites took advantage of Judah’s weakness after the Fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians (Lam 4:21-22; Ezek 25:12-14; 35:1-15). Thus, as at the Exodus from Egypt and also at the return from Exile – preceded as it was by the judgment on Babylon through the Persians – judgment and redemption would be effected through the same events.
Matthew Henry: the day fixed in the eternal counsels for taking vengeance on them; this was written in his heart, so that he could not forget it, could not let it slip; his heart was full of it, and it lay as a charge, as a weight, upon him, which made him push on this holy war with so much vigour. Note, there is a day fixed for divine vengeance, which may be long deferred, but will come at last; and we may be content to wait for it, for the Redeemer himself does, though his heart is upon it.
Ken Wimer: There never has been redemption without his wrath having been poured out. Vengeance. That is why those two terms go together. Vengeance and redemption go all the way back to the fall when Adam and Eve first fell and they clothed themselves with those fig leaves in that garden, what did God do? He took away the fig leaves, killed an innocent animal. You talk about Adam and Eve watching blood shed for the first time, flowing out of an innocent victim and then God taking those skins and clothing them and giving by that a demonstration of what he would do thousands of years later. See, God can’t just overlook sin. He is just. He ever is just. His wrath must be against sin and the sinner.
Zep. 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior
b) (:5) Motivated by His Isolated Availability to Act
“And I looked, and there was no one to help,
And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;
So My own arm brought salvation to Me;
And My wrath upheld Me.”
The Lord acted alone on the Cross and He will act alone when it comes to executing divine vengeance
c) (:6) Motivated by His Determined Anger to Accomplish This Work of
“And I trod down the peoples in My anger,
And made them drunk in My wrath,
And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
Motyer: vivid way of saying that that particular living entity can never be reconstituted (cf. 2 Sa. 14:14). Thus, like the Servant’s work of price-paying and sin-bearing, the Anointed One’s work of vengeance is finished work.
James Barker: Sodom and Gomorrah no joke; God will judge America for homosexuality; so much wickedness; what happened to Say No to premarital sex; the wrath of the Lamb –
Rev. 6:16 — the same Lamb who came to take away the sin of the world;
2 Thess. 1:7 – pretty strong words in NT – not just the God of the OT