The Earlier and the Later Redemption
Isaiah 63:1-6
Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel…

The energetic and graphic language of the text applies only in part to that Messianic kingdom to which the prophet makes such frequent reference. It obviously relates, primarily and principally, to the deliverance wrought by Jehovah in favour of his people Israel, and is concerned with the redressing of their political wrongs. But the expressions used are strongly suggestive of a far greater redemption, in which all the children of men are vitally interested. We look at -


1. The employment of the outwardly impressive. "This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength." Something, if not much, of the stately, the striking, the magnificent, of that which was fitted to awe and overwhelm belonged to the older dispensation - to the theocracy and the divinely permitted monarchy. Under Christ it is not so. He himself "came not with observation" (ostentation); he was a "King that came, meek," devoid of all the shows and trappings of royal state. And it is his will that his Church should shrink from rather than secure the dignities and majesties of the earthly kingdoms (Matthew 20:25-28).

2. The use of violence. "With dyed garments ... Their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments" (vers. 1, 3). Jesus said, and surely still says in respect of all efforts to advance his kingdom, "Put up thy sword into the sheath" (John 18:11).

3. The manifestation of Divine Haler. "The day of vengeance is in mine heart" (ver. 4). Contrast with this, "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:17; John 12:47; Luke 9:56).

II. THE FEATURES WHICH ARE COMMON TO BOTH, but are most strikingly characteristic of the later redemption.

1. The manifestation of Divine power. "Mighty to save." Great as were the deliverances accomplished in Egypt, in the wilderness, in Canaan, in Assyria, these were small and insignificant compared with "the redemption of the world by Christ Jesus," the rescue of a guilty and degenerate race and its reinstatement in the favour and the likeness of God. Hence is by far the noblest exhibition of Divine power.

2. The illustration of Divine faithfulness. "I that speak in righteousness." By his interposition God fulfilled his word of promise, and showed himself a covenant-keeping Lord. But in the granting of his "great salvation," and in all the outworkings of it, both collectively and individually, there are more abundant reasons for exclaiming, "God is faithful" (1 Corinthians 1:9).

3. The completeness of the Divine work. The picture here is, throughout, one of victorious strength. It is the return of a warrior who has thoroughly accomplished his work, by whom his enemies have been utterly subdued. He has "brought down their strength to the earth" (ver. 6). The work of Christ was perfected. He finished the work the Father gave him to do (John 17:4; John 19:30). He offered himself "without spot" to God (Hebrews 10:14). He has prepared for mankind a "common salvation;" as exquisitely adapted to the most cultured intelligence as it is fitted for the most barbarous and savage peoples. He is working out the redemption of the race, and will not rest until humanity has been redeemed and restored.

4. The single-handedness of the Divine Conqueror. "I have trodden the wine-press alone' (vers. 3 and 5). Though God did use the instrumentality of his people, it was the presence of his overcoming arm which made all the difference between victory and defeat. And there were occasions when he thought well to dispense with human agency altogether; e.g. the destruction of the Egyptians under Pharaoh, and of the host under Sennacherib. Although the Lord Jesus Christ did not disdain, and does not refuse to employ his disciples in his cause, yet was there a very deep and real sense in which he was alone in his redemptive work (see Robertson on 'The Loneliness of Christ').

(1) He was of such spiritual stature that none could walk with him.

(2) He was engaged in a mission of such deep and lofty character that none could then enter into his great design.

(3) He came to make a sacrifice of himself in the offering of which none could join. Here are reasons why we, as Christian men and as workers with Christ, should

(a) look back with deepest gratitude;

(b) submit under disappointment with ready acquiescence;

(c) anticipate with full assurance the triumph which is in the future. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this who is glorious in his clothing, marching in the greatness of his strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."

The Conqueror from Edom
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