Thursday, May 28, 2015

Treading the Winepress

Isaiah 62:1-63:6

“For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.  And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.” (Isaiah 62:1-2)

Because God loves the Israelite people, and his love for the city of Jerusalem, He will never stop warning them of what is wrong until they finally turn and keep His law.  When they do their righteousness will shine forth and their salvation as a result will be apparent like a lighted lamp.  The unbelieving around them will see the results of their righteousness and God’s blessing.  They will be called by a new name God will give them. 

“Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.  Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.  For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” (Isaiah 62:3-5)

When they turn to God, Israel will become a crown of glory or a trophy in His hand a sign or victory though it was hard to win.  They will no longer be considered the as the one whose lover left them, and their land considered barren.  Instead they will be called His delight, and their land called husband, because God is pleased with them, and their land is like a husband providing the very best for his wife.  The descendants of Israel will cling to her and God will rejoice like a loving groom who has just been married.

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence.  And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7)

God placed watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem to warn her of her sin.  They were never to stop warning her or reminding her of the Lord.  Those same watchman would constantly remind God of his promises until his promise is fulfilled. 

“The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: But they that have gathered it shall eat it and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.” (Isaiah 62:8-9)

Because of their sin. God has allowed Israel’s enemies to steal the crops they have grown and the things they have produced, so that their labor has been wasted.  One day, that will no longer happen, but the ones who did the work will get to enjoy the benefits of their labor.   

“Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.  Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.  And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.” (Isaiah 62:10-12)

When the Lord returns and sets up his kingdom, he will prepare a highway for the Jews and people who migrate to Israel, removing the obstacles so they can come easily.  He will also set a standard, like a flag for the people to rally around on their journey.  God will announce his commitment to Israel and they will be called God’s chosen people.  Jerusalem will no longer be just a ruin, but a place where People want to go.

“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.” (Isaiah 63:1-4)

Who is this person who comes from the east, from Edom, in Saudi Arabia, and Bozrah in Iraq with such amazing clothing and obvious power?   Why is his clothing stained like he has been treading out the grapes in a winepress? 

The Lord answers that it is the righteous savior who is coming and that he has trodden out the judgment of the Lord on the peoples of the earth, exacting vengeance for the hurts they have done to his people.
Revelation 19:11-16 describes these events as well.  “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.  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.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  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.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

“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 63:5-6)

The Lord looked for someone to come to the rescue of God’s people, but no one did.  In anger against the world’s treatment of them, He stepped forward to bring them salvation.  He will destroy those who have despised his people, treading them down like weeds in path, leaving them bent every which way as if they were drunk and with the stalks broken so they can no longer hold themselves up. 

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