The Grapes Of Wrath… Isaiah 63 pt 5

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.  Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 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. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come 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. 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.( Isaiah 63:1-6)

The Messiah is given two main tasks, according to previous passages in Isaiah, He is to inaugurate the “Acceptable year of the LORD”, and He is also to come as the executioner of the “Day of Vengeance”. Notice that salvation is described as a “year” whereas Judgment is but a day.

But both are entrusted solely to Messiah. He had to come alone, to suffer and die as a propitiation for the sins of all mankind. No one could assist him. He was the only one qualified to come and do this for us all. The “Volume of the book was entirely written of” Him.

Jesus is the only one qualified to execute God’s wrath also. No one is qualified to execute divine judgment, we are all liable to it, saving for the intercession of Jesus on the cross.

We who have received the grace of God, know that we have no right to ever finally judge anyone, nor should we ever indulge in Anger and Wrath against anyone. We are redeemed sinners, and recipients of grace that has abounded towards us in the Savior.

Perhaps this is why most of what we know about Hell, Judgment, the Lake of fire, comes from Jesus’ words. It is as though God could only entrust to the one who weeps over sinners, and who travailed for them when they were his enemies, the Divine revelation of the sheer terror and depth of God’s wrath.

Think about it, where do sayings such as “there shall be Weeping and gnashing of teeth” and that some would be “cast out into outer darkness” ,and “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!” come from?

All of these revelations come from the mouth of the One, who loves sinners so much He was willing to suffer and die to save us from our sins!

The Revelation warns of the day of “the wrath of the Lamb”,

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?( Revelation 6:15-17)

There are two prophetic motifs of the Harvest in Prophetic scripture; The Wheat harvest and the Grape Harvest.

The Wheat harvest is good, God wants to bring in His sheaves, and put the wheat in his barn, after separating the wheat from the chaff. All of this is a metaphor for the salvation of men.

they that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.(Psalm 126:5-6)

The Grape Harvest on the other hand, refers to Divine Judgment. The Image of Ancient Grape workers, trampling the harvest to make blood red wine, which overflows the Vats, us prophetically applied to the Messiah in his work of Judgment.

In the United States we have a song which was written at the time of our terrible Civil War, which is drawn from Isaiah, Joel and Revelation. and is called “The Battle hymn of the Republic”,

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on, His truth is marching

The Prophet Joel also employs this vivid imagery,

Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3: 13-14)

The entire third chapter of Joel takes place in the days of the “return of the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem”, ie post 1948. The Nations are called to “the valley of Jehoshaphat” because the LORD has a Lawsuit to press on them, for the way they have treated his people. (Jehoshaphat is a name which means “Jahweh shall Judge”).

The four counts of the indictment read thus,

  • They have scattered my people(Israel)
  • They have parted my Land
  • They cast Lots for my people(Votes for or against in the UN
  • They have sold out the innocent for a Harlot.
  • God is angry and calls upon the nations to fight Him! He even inverts his own scripture, “They shall turn their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks”.

Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. (Joel 3:10-11)

The book of Revelation draws on the imagery of the Winepress as well,

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.( Revelation 14:17-20)

Many commentators on Revelation 19, which says that the clothes of Jesus are “dipped in blood”, say that the blood spoken of , is the blood of Jesus. Isaiah 63 , from which Revelation 19 draws from, contradicts the notion , that when Jesus comes his clothes will be stained with His own blood, as some kind of a reminder of his sacrifice.

When Jesus came the first time, he shed his own blood, purchasing those who will receive him, from the wrath and judgment of almighty God. The next time, He comes to make war, particularly on certain nations, but ultimately on all that is evil, twisted and hateful and false.

People want to imagine Jesus only as a very mild and gentle savior.

They just cannot bring themselves to see that the same Lamb who bore the marks of Slaughter, is coming back in such a way, that the Kings of the earth and mighty men will pray for the Rocks and stones to fall on them, rather than to have to face Him in his wrath.

Jesus is coming to Judge the world in Righteousness! Seek you the LORD while He can be found and call upon him while he is near! Let the wicked forsake his ways and the unrighteous his thoughts, there is still a chance (as of this writing) to seek peace with God through Calvary. Tell God you are sorry and ask him to forgive your sins for Jesus sake. In the simplicity of turning, God can still be found….

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3 Responses to The Grapes Of Wrath… Isaiah 63 pt 5

  1. wvbalrog says:

    Very informative Pastor Bill.

  2. Deemar says:

    This thought just came to me:

    The Word of God is a “double-edged sword”…
    just as Jesus (the Word Himself) is merciful and good to those who love Him,
    but also full of wrath and ultimate condemnation for those who have rejected the salvation that He has so freely and graciously offered to them.

    HOW then will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?? We will not.

    Lord, help us to be fishers of men during these final days while there is still time.

    • Yes, love these thoughts. The way I see it Jesus’ sword is like a surgeons scalpel refining those who remain in the vine of Christ– and restoring us and removing our sins and constantly sanctifying us! But for those who refuse to cling to the vine of Christ, the sword is something else entirely.

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