Isaiah 63 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
[The thought continues from the previous chapter.]

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.
2 Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel,
and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
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.
4 For the day of vengeance [is] in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed
{HB=ga'al} is come.
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.
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 tenderness of the preceding chapter is suddenly shattered by the approach of the One who yearns over His people (62:1). Those who observe are startled by the contrast...
Who is this...? - The voice is that of Israel, for they do not yet know the approaching One.
The events described in this chapter precede the blessings which Jerusalem will realize when the King is present (62:10-12).
...that cometh from Edom... from Bozrah? - These places are to the east of Jerusalem.
This is consistent with other prophecies of Christ's second coming. He will approach from the east. The Mt. of Olives is east of Jerusalem. Zech 14:4
...that is glorious in his apparel... in the greatness of his strength? -
I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save {HB=yesha, to deliver}.-
The Messiah identifies Himself.
  • At His first coming, these two things were also true of Him: He came in righteousness, and He came to save.
  • But at that time, He appeared in meekness and humiliation, to deliver through His own death (Isa 53:2,3; Heb 2:14,15).
  • He will come the second time, manifested in astonishing beauty, majesty and power, to deliver His people by destroying their oppressors. The glory of His Person will be made known. The veil will be taken away from Israel at His Apocalypse {the title of the book of Revelation, meaning: uncovering, revealing, Rev 1:1; 2Cor 3:14-17}.
Wherefore {why} art thou red in thine apparel...? - Why would He soil such glorious garments?
I have trodden the winepress alone... in mine anger... in my fury... and their blood... will stain all my raiment.-
The winepress of God's wrath is trodden at the close of the Tribulation. Rev 14:19,20; 19:15,16
for the day of vengeance is in my heart...-
This phrase links this passage unmistakably to the second coming, as Christ Himself made the distinction at His first coming. cp. Isa 61:1,2; Luk 4:18-20 (See the Notes at Isa 61:1-3.)
and the year of my redeemed {HB=ga'al, those pertaining to the kinsman redeemer} is come...-
This phrase links this passage to the preceding chapter (62:12), and the yearning of the Messiah for His people, and for His Kingdom.
     In order to establish righteousness in the earth, He must first purge away sin. The blessings of chapter 62 cannot come until He exercises the judgment described in these opening verses of chapter 63. The remainder of the chapter will speak of His lovingkindness toward His people.
I have trodden the winepress... I will tread them in mine anger...- (v.3)
Notice the mixed tenses. The passage foretells events that are future (from the perspective of Isaiah, and also from the editor's time). Yet, from the perspective of those asking the question of v.2, this event will be past...
The Messiah approaches Jerusalem, having already exercised judgment.
Where is He coming from? from the winepress. From Edom and Bozrah...
  • Edom and Adam both mean 'red.'
    Both terms refer to the natural man, who though his sins are as scarlet, refuses the salvation offered by the LORD (Isa 1:18), just as Esau (who is also called Edom) despised his birthright for momentary fleshly satisfaction.
  • Bozrah means 'sheepfold' or 'fortress.'
    It symbolizes the unity of natural men who gather together and fortify themselves in rebellion against the Messiah. They are not His sheep (Joh 10:26). Because they adamantly refuse to follow Him, and actively rebel against Him, He will crush them at His second coming (Rev 16:13-16; 19:19-21).
their blood shall be sprinkled {or, splattered} upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.-
Some teach that this is a picture of Christ's work of redemption on the cross, where He shed His blood for our sins. But, here, the blood splattered upon His garments is not His, but "their blood." Those that He tramples in judgment have no part in His salvation, for they have rejected Him and persecuted His people. cp. Joh 8:24
alone... none with me...-
...mine own arm... (a reference to Christ, Isa 52:10; 53:1) -
He accomplished the work of salvation alone, without assistance from anyone. Heb 1:3
He will finish the work of judgment alone. Joh 12:31-33; 2The 1:6-10; 2:8(b)
I looked and there was none to help... I wondered {ie., was appalled} that there was none to uphold...-
During the time of Jacob's Trouble (the great Tribulation), no nation will stand with Israel or support her. Even today, the often repeated promises, that our country is a steadfast friend of Israel, have an increasingly hollow sound. But in that day, even Israel's closest allies will cast her aside as a political hot potato. Zech 12:2,3; Dan 9:27
I will tread down the people in mine anger...
...I will make them drunk in my fury...- cp. Isa 51:17,21-23; Psa 75:8; Jer 25:26,27
...and I will bring down their strength {HB=netsach, blood} to the earth.-
This is the judgment of the nations at Armageddon, in the Day of the LORD. cp. Isa 34:1-17; Rev 19:11-21
     Though religious people disapprove and recoil at the idea of the Messiah exercising such severe judgment, the fact remains that He is coming to judge the world. The world has rejected Him. They are in rebellion against Him. He will need to deal harshly with His enemies, if He is to bring the world into subjection to Himself.
     Some say that harsh judgment is characteristic OT teaching and runs contrary to NT love and grace. But the NT is also clear that judgment is coming. (For example, consider Rev 16:1-10.) Though the biblical prophets were not afraid to warn of coming judgment, the Lord Jesus Himself spoke more frequently than any of them concerning the ultimate judgment of hell (eg., Mark 9:42-48).
     His 'fury' {ie., indignation} is righteous indignation (v.1). It is poured out upon those who deserve it.

C. Restoration secured through Israel's glorious King (The King of Peace), ch. 58-66
  1. Israel's false worship contrasted with true worship, 58:1-14
  2. Israel's confession of sin, and the Redeemer's remedy, 59:1-21
  3. Israel's radiance and peace in the Light of the Redeemer, 60:1-22
  4. Israel's joy in the completed Gospel of the Anointed One, 61:1-11
  5. Israel's complete restoration; the Lord's complete destruction of her enemies, 62:1-63:6
  6. The Remnant's prayer (enabled by their Shepherd's intercession) for Divine intervention, 63:7-64:12
    1. The LORD's lovingkindness; the Shepherd's intercession (63:7-15)
    2. The Remnant's prayer (63:15- 64:12)
      • Look down (63:15)
        • Father (63:16)
          • Sin (63:17)
            • Desolation (63:18-19)
      • Come down (64:1-7)
        • Father (64:8)
          • Sin (64:9)
            • Desolation (64:10-12)
        [bullet point divisions above, are as suggested by GWms]

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.
8 For he said, Surely they [are] my people, children [that] will not lie
{ie., deal falsely}:
so he was their Saviour.
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
{HB=ga'al} them;
and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit:
therefore he was turned to be their enemy, [and] he fought against them.
I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD...-
Here is another sudden startling change of scene, from angry judgment to lovingkindness. For, in wrath the LORD remembers mercy, for those who are His. Hab 3:2
     The LORD is the same in OT and NT. He is holy and must judge sin. Yet, He is loving and merciful, offering salvation to all who will sincerely turn to Him in truth (Ex 34:5-7; Lam 3:22).
     As a relative measure of His grace compared to His wrath, notice that the LORD offers salvation for a "year," whereas He has reserved a "day" for vengeance (v.4; 61:2).
For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie {ie., deal falsely}: so he was their Saviour.-
The LORD called Israel to be His people (eg., Ex 6:7; 19:5), but they dealt treacherously with Him (Isa 48:8). Yet, when they sincerely turn to Him, He will be their Savior, and they will be His children, like Him, never turning from the truth. cp. 1Sam 15:29; Joh 1:47
in all their affliction he was afflicted...- (v.9)
Some well regarded manuscripts read: "in all their affliction he was not afflicted."
     Both are true. The LORD felt their pain and grieved for their sorrows, which they brought upon themselves through sin. But He, being holy, was not afflicted by the consequences of sin.
     Here is an illustration of this concept: When Israel sinned in the wilderness, and the LORD sent fiery serpents among them, He was not bitten. Neither did He leave them to suffer their deserved fate. He stood by them in the pillar of cloud and fire, watching over them in their suffering, and waiting for them to turn to Him in their distress. When they turned to Him, He provided the remedy for their condition.
the angel of his presence saved them... bare them... carried them...-
This "angel" is elsewhere referred to as "the Angel of the LORD." This is the pre-incarnate Christ, the Rock that followed Israel in their wilderness journeys (1Cor 10:4), who preserved them, led them, and brought them safely into the land of promise... not because they deserved it, but because of His love and pity {ie., compassion} for them.
but they rebelled...- Such was their reward to Him for all His lovingkindness.
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?
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?
13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness,
[that] they should not stumble?
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.
then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people saying...-
The 'he' who remembered is 'the angel of His presence.' It is He who yearned to see His people on the path to righteousness and life, and entering into the things which the LORD has prepared for them (Isa 62:1). Therefore, He made intercession for those who had forgotten their Shepherd, and gone astray.
Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock?-
In the days of Moses, the LORD shepherded His people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and through the wilderness into the promised land. Moses, as an under-shepherd, was enabled by the Spirit of the LORD, to fulfill the Great Shepherd's purpose (Ex 33:12-15). Here (in v.7-14), the Messiah intercedes for Israel, recalling the LORD's historic lovingkindness and power toward His people, and requesting Him to move again in their behalf, so that He, as their Shepherd, would make known His matchless Name {ie., Reputation} (cp. Isa 51:9,10).
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?
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.
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.
18 The people of thy holiness have possessed [it] but a little while:
our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.
19 We are [thine]:
thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
Here (in 63:15- 64:12), the believing Remnant prays...
Look down from heaven...- They appeal to the One who is above all.
He is not bogged down in their problems. He is separate from sin and sinners.
Yet, He is aware of their need, and of their oppression. cp. Ex 3:7-9
He is superior to their oppressors, and powerful to deliver, if He wills to do so.
O LORD, Thou art our father...- They appeal based on the LORD's covenant relationship with the nation.
NT believers are accustomed to thinking of God as our personal Father (eg., Mat 6:9). But this was not the OT concept. The LORD was the Father of the nation of Israel, just as Abraham was father of the nation (but not of each individual Israelite, cp. Isa 51:2; Joh 8:39). They appeal to Him to take ownership of the nation that He formed for Himself. cp. Luk 1:72-75
O LORD, why hast thou made us to err... and hardened our heart...?-
Do not misunderstand. They are not blaming Him for their willful departure.
These lines can be rendered: "Why hast thou allowed us to err from thy ways, and allowed our hearts to be hardened?"
They desire to be done with their wandering hearts, and to be drawn back to Him, to be led and kept in His ways.
The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while... our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary...-
The Remnant laments the destruction and wasting of their land and of the Temple, due to the sin of the people (Israel) which the LORD had set apart for the purpose of displaying His holiness and glory. Their plea, for national restoration, is that the LORD's name be glorified in the people and place that He had chosen, despite the fact that they have failed Him.
[This prayer of the Remnant continues into the next chapter (64:1-12).]

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