Isaiah: The Winepress of God’s Wrath.

“Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” Isaiah 63:2–6 (ESV)

The Prophet Isaiah described the LORD as warrior who was mighty to save in Isaiah 63:1. He then posed a question regarding the mighty warrior’s appearance. “Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress?” (Isaiah 63:2)

The mighty warrior’s clothing, which are spattered with blood, will appear red as if He had been in a winepress. The Hebrew word for “Red” is āḏōm. It is a wordplay on “Edom” (’ěḏôm). In Israel, 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 individual’s clothes. The warrior’s garments were red from the blood of those he had judged. The imagery parallels Revelation 14:18–20 and 19:1-3.

Take note of the strong symbols and language of God’s wrath and judgment contained in vs. 3-6.

  • I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me;
  • I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel.
  • For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come.
  • I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me.
  • I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “As the Lord will fight and defeat the nations (cf. 34:2) in the Battle of Armageddon (cf. Zech. 14:3; Rev. 16:16; 19:15–19), He will take vengeance on them (cf. Isa. 34:8; 35:4; 61:2) in His anger and wrath. God’s wrath is also pictured as being like a winepress in Revelation 14:19–20. Though that day will bring doom to the Lord’s enemies, it will mean deliverance (redemption and salvation, Isa. 63:4–5) for those of His covenant people who turn to Him.”

Dr. R. C. Sproul comments that, “The full redemption of God’s people necessarily includes judgment of His enemies, though the New Testament reveals that there is a chronological separation between the Messiah’s coming to bring salvation and His coming to bring judgment.”

People often speak of the LORD as a God of love (John 3:16; I John 4:7-11), and so He is. However, He is also the God of wrath (Romans 1:18) who will punish sin. Have you been delivered from God’s wrath by the substitutionary atonement provided solely by Jesus Christ? If so, rejoice. If not, repent and receive the imputed righteousness of Christ in place of your sinfulness.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

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