Isaiah 63

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 30, 2000

Introduction

We’ve been looking at some descriptions of the return of Jesus Christ with the Jews whom He has rescued.  Isaiah 62 ended with a kind of plea to the city of Jerusalem to get ready for it’s King to come back.

(Isa 62:10-11 NIV)  Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations. {11} The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.'"

Before we get into today’s section, I want to look briefly at another description of the same events we’ll look at in Isaiah 63, the return of Jesus Christ.

(Rev 19:11-16 KJV)  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. {12} 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. {13} And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. {14} And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. {15} 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. {16} And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

When Jesus returns, He’ll have on a robe that is stained with blood.  Whose blood is it?  How did it get stained?  Those questions are answered in Isaiah 63.

:1-6  Jesus returns

:1  Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?

dyedchamets – to be leavened

Edom ‘Edom = “red”; the land that Esau settled in, in southern Jordan.

BozrahBotsrah = “sheepfold” or “fortress”, but it’s related to a word that can be translated “grape gatherer” (batsar, #01219).  It is the modern Jordanian city of Buseirah.

There’s a couple of play-on-words here with “red” and “grape gatherers”.

As you can see, this is the same picture of Jesus returning.  Specifically, He’s returning to rescue the Jews and set up His throne in Jerusalem.

Isaiah says He’s returning to Jerusalem from “Bozrah”.  Bozrah was one of the ancient cities of the Edomites and is very close to the ancient rock city of “Petra” (remember “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”?  It was the city at the end of the film where they had to ride through a narrow canyon to get there.).  See map.

We believe that during the Tribulation period on earth (seven years, God’s wrath, antichrist), the Jewish people will be greatly persecuted, and as the antichrist reveals himself to be the antichrist with the “abomination of desolation” (Matt. 24:15-16), some of the Jews will do what Jesus said and “flee to the mountains”, crossing the border into the wilderness (Rev. 12:6, 13-16) of modern Jordan, and hide out in the ancient city of Petra (Isa. 16:1,2).

When Jesus returns, I believe He may be returning first in the air (Acts 1:10-12)f Jordan to rescue the Jews in hiding, and then He will march to Jerusalem.  Then, when He reaches the Mount of Olives, the mountain splits (Zech. 14:1-4)

:1  this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?

glorioushadar – to honour, adorn, glorify, be high

travellingtsa‘ah – to bend, incline; to travel stately; literally, “throwing back the head”

greatnessrob – multitude, abundance, greatness

strengthkoach – strength, power, might

:1  I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

Jesus answers the question. righteousness[email protected] – justice, righteousness

mightyrab – much, many, great; abounding in; abundant, enough

to saveyasha‘– to save, be saved, be delivered

Jesus is mighty to save.

:2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel …, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?

red ‘adom   red.  Same word is used for “Edom”.

winefatgath – winepress, wine vat

Wiersbe – The ancient wine press was a large, hollowed rock into which the grapes were put for the people to tread on them. The juice ran out a hole in the rock and was caught in vessels. As the people crushed the grapes, some of the juice would splash on their garments.

:3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me:

winepresspuwrah – winepress

people ‘am – nation, people.  The word here is plural, “nations” or “peoples”.

The idea is that no nations in the world will want to help the Jews who have been fleeing from antichrist.  Jesus alone will come and rescue them.

:3  for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury;

anger ‘aph – nostril, nose, face; anger

trampleramac – to trample.  The word is used to describe the man who Elisha spoke to during the famine in Samaria who was trampled by the crowd at the gate as they found out that there was food in the Syrian camp (2Ki. 7:20).  It is used to describe how Jehu trampled Jezebel under foot as she was thrown out the window and he drove his chariot over her (2Ki. 9:33).

furychemah – heat, rage, hot displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath, poison

Lesson

God’s anger isn’t like our anger.

I think one of the difficult things to understand about God’s anger, or wrath, is the confusion we can make with our own anger.
When God gets angry, it’s ALWAYS for the right reasons.
(Rom 1:18-19 NIV)  The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, {19} since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
(Rom 2:5 NASB)  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
It is possible to have anger and not sin.
(Eph 4:26 KJV)  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
But the problem we have is that often our “wrath” is mixed in with other things that are not right, and so we are told to put anger away from us.
(Eph 4:31 KJV)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Notice all the other things that get mixed into our “wrath”.

Our anger can go beyond what is proper.  Simeon and Levi received a curse from their father Jacob because their anger went too far.  When their sister Dinah was raped (Gen. 34), they killed all the men of an entire city in revenge.
(Gen 49:5-7 KJV)  Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. {6} O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. {7} Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
James tells us that man’s kind of anger does not produce things that are pleasing to God.
(James 1:19-20 KJV)  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: {20} For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

(James 1:19-20 NLT)  Dear friends, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. {20} Your anger can never make things right in God's sight.

Sometimes our anger just makes us look foolish.
Illustration

During the final days at Denver’s old Stapleton airport, a crowded United flight was cancelled. A single agent was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced  travelers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the  desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said,  “I HAVE to be on this flight and it has to be first class.” The agent replied, “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll be happy to try to  help you, but I’ve got to help these folks first, and I’m  sure we’ll be able to work something out.” The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the  passengers behind him could hear, “Do you have any idea who I am?”  Without hesitating, the gate agent smiled and grabbed her public  address microphone. “May I have your attention please?” she  began, her voice bellowing throughout the terminal.  “We have a passenger here at the gate WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS.  If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to the gate.”  With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man  glared at the United agent, gritted his teeth and retreated as the  people in the terminal applauded loudly.  Although the flight was  cancelled and people were late, they were no longer angry at United Airlines.

(Prov 14:29 NLT)  Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes.

Lesson

One day, God is going to get angry.

And God’s anger is no mistake.  If He’s angry with you, He’ll be angry for the right reasons.  And you’ll be in trouble.
God’s wrath will be terrible.  It will ultimately result in a person spending eternity in hell.

(Luke 13:27-28 KJV)  But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. {28} There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth…

But there’s a way to avoid God’s anger.  The secret is to take away His reason for being angry with you.  That means you have to do something about your sin.  That can only happen through Jesus.
(Rom 5:8-9 NIV)  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
When we come to accept Jesus’ death for our sins, we move from the place of being enemies of God, to being friends with God, so we can claim with Paul,
(1 Th 5:9 KJV)  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

:3  and their blood … sprinkled … will stain all my raiment.

bloodNetsach – juice; juice of grapes; blood, gore (fig.)

sprinklednazah – to spurt, spatter, sprinkle

stainga’al – to defile; (Hiphil) to pollute, stain

A pretty potent word picture here.  Rated “R” for graphic violence. Jesus doesn’t have His robe stained with grape juice, but the blood of His enemies as He’s crushed them beneath His feet.

:4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart,

dayyowm – day, time, year

heartleb – inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding

When Jesus began His ministry (Luke 4:17-19), He read part of Isaiah 61:

(Isa 61:1-2 KJV)  The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me …

But Jesus stopped before He got to the phrase

…and the day of vengeance of our God

That part was reserved for His Second Coming.

:4  and the year of my redeemed is come.

yearshaneh (in pl. only), – year

redeemedga’al – to redeem, act as kinsman-redeemer, avenge, revenge, ransom, do the part of a kinsman.  The idea is that this is the year that the Lord will rescue His people from their enemies.

Contrast between day/year.  God’s vengeance will be for a day, but His redemption will be for a year.

Keep the balance between wrath and grace accurate.  God’s wrath is for a “day”.  God’s grace is for a “year”.

: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.

lookednabat – (Hiphil)  to look; to regard, show regard to, pay attention to, consider

to help ‘azar – to help, succour, support

wonderedshamem (Hithpolel)  to cause to be desolate; to be appalled, be astounded

to upholdcamak – to lean, lay, rest, support, put, uphold, lean upon; sustain

salvationyasha‘– to save, be saved, be delivered

furychemah – heat, rage, hot displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath, poison, bottles

upheld – camak – to lean, lay, rest, support, put, uphold, lean upon; sustain

Because no one else would help the Jews, Jesus will step in and rescue them.

:6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger,

tread downbuwc – to tread down, reject, trample down

the people ‘am – nation, people

anger ‘aph – nostril, nose, face; anger

:6  and make them drunk in my fury,

Those who will experience God’s wrath will stagger and fall as if drunk.

:6  and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

strengthNetsach – juice; blood.  Same word used in verse 3

earth ‘erets – land, earth

:7-10  Israel fell away

: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.

Who is speaking here?  Possibly Isaiah.  Possibly Israel.

mentionzakar – to remember, recall, call to mind

lovingkindnessescheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

praises[email protected] – praise, song or hymn of praise

goodnesstuwb – goods, good things, goodness; fairness, beauty, joy, prosperity, goodness (abstract)

merciesracham   womb; compassion

Keep the distinctions clear.  We can get a little too focused on the word “wrath” and forget that part of the reason for God’s wrath is because these people are hurting His children. God’s wrath is aimed at God’s enemies.  And part of the motivation for His wrath is His love for His people.

:8 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.

lieshaqar – to do or deal falsely, be false, trick, cheat

Saviouryasha‘– to save, be saved, be delivered

This is talking about when God came to take Israel out of Egypt.  You get the idea that God expected them to be honest with Him.

:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted,

afflictiontsarah – straits, distress, trouble; vexer, rival wife

afflictedtsar – narrow, tight; straits, distress; adversary, foe, enemy, oppressor; hard pebble, flint

Lesson

He cares.

(Isa 63:9 NLT)  In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.
This is talking about the exodus out of Egypt and wandering in the wilderness.
He feels your pain.
Jesus knows what you’re going through.
(1 Pet 5:7 NIV)  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

:9  and the angel of his presence saved them:

angelmal’ak – messenger, representative; angel; the theophanic angel

presencepaniym – face; in front of, before, to the front of, in the presence of, in the face of

Or, “the angel from before His face”.  This is “the angel of the Lord”, which was none other than the Lord Himself, Jesus.

:9  in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

love ‘ahabah – love; human love; God’s love to His people

pitychemlah – mercy, pity, compassion

barenatal – to lift, bear, bear up

carriednasa’ – to lift, bear up, carry, take

:10 But they rebelled

rebelledmarah – to be contentious, be rebellious, be refractory, be disobedient towards, be rebellious against

:10  and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy,

vexed ‘atsab – to hurt, pain, grieve, displease, vex, wrest

he was turnedhaphak – (Niphal)  to turn oneself, turn, turn back; to change oneself; to be turned, be turned over, be changed, be turned against

:10  and he fought against them.

fought againstlacham – to fight, do battle, make war

Be careful about being enemies with God.  You’ll lose.

:11-14  How Israel comes back

:11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying,

rememberedzakar – to remember, recall, call to mind

days of old – same expression as in verse 9

I think the NAS is best here …

(Isa 63:11 NASB)  Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? …

It’s possible that these thoughts of verses 11-14 are going to happen when the Jews are being persecuted by the antichrist.  They will look back to the days of Moses and wonder if God will rescue them again.

:11 Where is he that brought them up out of the sea

brought them up ‘alah – (Hiphil)  to bring up, cause to ascend or climb, cause to go up; to bring up, bring against, take away

Bringing the people through the Red Sea.

:11 with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?

shepherdra‘ah – (Qal)  to tend, pasture; to shepherd; of ruler, teacher (fig)

: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?

glorioustiph’arah – beauty, splendour, glory

dividingbaqa‘– to split, cleave, break open, divide, break through, rip up, break up, tear

Parting the Red Sea.

:13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?

deep[email protected] – deep, depths, deep places, abyss, the deep, sea

stumblekashal – (Niphal)  to stumble; to be tottering, be feeble

: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.

beast[email protected] – beast, cattle, animal

caused him to restnuwach – (Hiph)  to cause to rest, give rest to, make quiet; to cause to rest, cause to alight, set down; to lay or set down, deposit, let lie, place; to let remain, leave

:15-19  A Prayer of returning (63:15 – 64:12)

This now becomes the prayer of God’s people wanting Him to come back.

:15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory:

habitation[email protected] – exalted, residence, elevation, lofty abode, height, habitation

:15  where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels

zealqin’ah – ardour, zeal, jealousy

strength[email protected] – strength, might; valour, bravery; mighty deeds (of God)

soundinghamown   (Qal) murmur, roar, abundance, tumult, sound

bowelsme‘ah – internal organs, inward parts, bowels, intestines, belly; place of emotions or distress or love (fig.)

(Isa 63:15 NLT)  … Where are your mercy and compassion now?

:15   and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?

are they restrained ‘aphaq – (Hithpael)  to restrain oneself, refrain; to force, compel oneself

: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 if Abraham and Jacob disowned the nation, God would not.

David wrote,

(Psa 27:10 KJV)  When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Lesson

God will never let you down.

I know that as soon as I say this, some of you are thinking, “But He’s let me down”.
No He hasn’t.
You may not like all that God has done in your life, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad and that He has let you down.

I think it’s interesting that God is called our “father” and we’re His “children”.  Because sometimes we act just like children.  There are time when children don’t like what their parents are asking them to do, or they don’t like choices that their parents have made for them.  But that doesn’t make the choices wrong.

:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?

made us to errta‘ah – (Hiphil) to cause to wander; to cause to err, mislead (mentally and morally)

hardenedqashach – (Hiphil)  to make hard, make stubborn; to treat hardly, treat roughly

(Isa 63:17 NLT)  LORD, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants and your special possession.

We may feel like God is leading us down the wrong path, but the truth is, He doesn’t do that.

(James 1:13-15 KJV)  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: {14} But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. {15} Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

We are the ones to blame for our “hard hearts”.  We are the ones who harden our hearts.

:17  Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

Returnshuwb – to return, turn back

This is a plea for Jesus’ return, to return for the sake of the tribes.

:18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.

trodden downbuwc – to tread down, reject, trample down.  Same word used to describe God treading down His enemies.  They will get what they’ve given.

sanctuarymiqdash – sacred place, sanctuary, holy place

Right now, the Temple Mount is under Muslim control.

:19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.

barest rulemashal – to rule, have dominion, reign

nameshem – name

(Isa 63:19 NASB)  We have become like those over whom Thou hast never ruled, Like those who were not called by Thy name.

:11 Then he remembered the days of old

or, “Then His people remembered the days of old” … leading them to pray for Jesus’ return.

Lesson

The first step back: Remembering

The people had known God’s love and kindness, but had turned their back on Him.  Then they began to know some tough times as they found themselves fighting with God.
But all it takes is for a heart to look back at how it used to be and ask for help.
The church at Ephesus had a great start.
They really got off the ground as the apostle Paul spent three years there.  It was his longest time staying in any one place.  God used Ephesus as a base of operations to reach all of Asian Minor.

(Acts 19:10 KJV)  …so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

But after thirty years, some of the passion for the Lord had begun to die down.  Jesus wrote a letter to Ephesus through the apostle John:

(Rev 2:2-5 KJV)  I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: {3} And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. {4} Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. {5} Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

They had done great things at one time.  But they had stopped doing things out of a love for Jesus.

Jesus said the road home started with “remember”.

Was there a time in your life when you were more in love with Jesus than you are now?  If so, you are backslidden.

The Christian life isn’t some kind of peak that happens once and then you coast downhill for the rest of your life.  It’s supposed to be a continuous uphill climb, closer and closer to Jesus.

Perhaps you need to “repent”

Perhaps there are things in your life that have taken you away from Jesus.  Do you need to turn around?

Are there things in your life that you’ve stopped doing?  Like reading your Bible?  Like praying?  Like loving and worshipping the Lord?  Like talking to your friends about Jesus?  Do the first works.