Who Cometh From Edom?
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to Isaiah, chapter 63. We are in the last half of the last section of the book. Things are reaching a consummation. In chapter 62, verse 1, God said:

Isaiah 62

1For 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.

In this same chapter, He urges those who are watchmen over Jerusalem not to give Him any rest until He brings about His ultimate purpose—that is, until He brings Israel back to the land, fully restored, in complete subjection to Him.

Because Isaiah believed God would do what He had promised, you will remember that in the last paragraph of chapter 62, Isaiah invited all the people to go through and go out and prepare a highway. They were to take up all the stones, make the way smooth so that the people who were returning to the LORD in Jerusalem would find it easy to do.

Closely related to the events concerning the regathering of Israel to its land is the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have suggested to you that though the regathering is literal, we would also suggest to you that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is a literal return. There is no more literal descriptive passage of Scripture in relation to this event than to this at which we will look.

If you were reading this in the original text, you would not find it divided up into chapters as we have it now, nor would you find it divided up into verses; but you would find it divided up into sections, in a sense, related to the context so that when we look at what is in chapter 63, we would find in verses 1-6 a very short poem, but beginning with verse 7 and going all through chapter 64, we would have a very long poem. The first short poem is a promise of the Lord's return, and the last poem, beginning with verse 7, is a long poem representing a petition to God to hurry the day when His Son will actually return. Follow in your Bibles as I read from Isaiah, chapter 63:

Promise of the Lord's Return

Isaiah 63

1Who 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.
2Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
3I 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.
4For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
5And 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.
6And 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.

We will stop our reading there, for that is the end of this short, dramatic poem.

Isaiah, looking down through the corridors of time with the spiritual telescope of prophecy, saw an individual coming from the land of Edom, the village of Bozrah. As he saw this individual approaching, he noticed several things about him. He noticed that he was marching in a majestic frame. This was not an ordinary peasant going on an ordinary journey. This was a king, yea, he was even more than a king. He was a commander of a mighty force. As he looked more closely at this approaching majestic figure, he noticed that his garments were dyed. That is, they were not white. They were not pale. There were spotted and mottled with some kind of stain. As he saw this individual approaching, he asked the question which he records for us in verse 1 of Isaiah, chapter 63: “Who is this?” Who is this individual who is approaching in the manner in which we have noticed?

He is not left long to wonder, nor is he left to use his imagination, for the individual about whom he asks has the question relayed to him, and he sends the answer out immediately in the last statement of verse 1:

Isaiah 63

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

Because you do not need a dissertation to know who would speak in terms such as that, you do not need a long analogy to understand that the individual who is speaking in this manner is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Isaiah accepted without any question His identity, he said, “I have another question to ask You. Wherefore art thou red in thy apparel?” Here we learn what the stains on His garments were. They were red stains. “Why do Your garments look like You have been treading in the winepress?”

Everybody living in Isaiah's day knew exactly what Isaiah had in mind, for the grapes were gathered and they were put in a great bin and the people took their sandals from off their feet and with their bare feet tromped on the grapes until all the juice was out. A little hole at the bottom of the vat would permit the juice to flow out, but you can understand that a deep wine vat with many grapes would mean much juice, and that juice could very easily splash up on the long robes of the individuals who were tromping out the grapes. When Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus Christ with His garments thus stained red, he said, “You look like you have been in a wine vat somewhere.” The Lord Jesus Christ answered, in verse 3:

Isaiah 63

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

Someone says, “I suppose that this means that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered in some fashion and His garments were stained with blood of which the grape was typical.” Yes, it means that the Lord Jesus Christ was engaged in some activity by Himself and His garments were stained with blood.

Now, listen carefully. Nearly every volume commentary, as far as I know, is amillennial or postmillennial in its interpretation. There has to be an explanation for this very plain statement of the Savior, so the commentators are quick to say, “Oh yes, this is a vision of Christ at the Cross. He trod over His enemies and His garments were stained with His own blood.” But, that is a careless exegesis of this verse of Scripture, which becomes apparent if you will look at it a bit more closely, for you will read, in verse 3:

Isaiah 63

3…for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; [notice now] and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment [with their blood] .

Had Isaiah kept questioning Him and had He not given His answer in its entirety as He does here, Isaiah might have said, “When is it? When is it that You will trample Your enemies beneath Your feet as men trample grapes in the wine vat? When is it that Your garments will be stained with the blood of Your enemies?” And in verse 4, He would answer: “In the day of My vengeance, and the year of My redeemed.”

You remember what was occurring in the previous chapters and you will know what He is talking about. You know that He said there would come a day when the whole world would turn against the nation of Israel, and He would stand it no longer. He would come storming out of Heaven to take vengeance upon those who had lifted their hands against God's anointed and against those who dared to throw His bands from them. He said that day would be the redemption of His people.

If you will look down at verse 5, you might find Isaiah saying to the Lord Jesus Christ, “But why did You come alone?” The answer is, “I looked. 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 upheld Me.”

“Lord Jesus, why did You come to the rescue of the nation of Israel?” “Because there was no one else to help them. That is why I came.” You will look at verse 6, where He said:

Isaiah 63

6And 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.

If there is any question in your mind that this passage of Scripture is talking about the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns the second time, if there is any question in your mind that this passage of Scripture is referring to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return with His sword unsheathed and blood is going to flow deep enough to stain His garments, I would suggest that you turn with me to Revelation and find a passage of Scripture given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John, which must certainly have its roots in this passage in the book of Isaiah.

May I say before we begin to read that this passage of Scripture, when it is interpreted relative to the rest of the book of Revelation, places you at the end of the Tribulation period, a seven-year period that is going to follow the Rapture of the Church, when this world will know tribulation as it has never known it before and when the nation of Israel will be persecuted in such a horrible way that all of the persecutions they have known in all the history past will seem like picnics in comparison to what they will suffer. Notice Revelation, chapter 14, verse 14:

Revelation 14

14And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

The Son of man is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. We notice that He had a sharp sickle in His hand. What do you use a sickle for? To reap the harvest. Look at verse 15:

Revelation 14

15And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

Pause there for a moment as I ask you a question that you may be facing in your minds. Have you asked yourself the question, “Why doesn't God do something? Why doesn't God do something about the evil? Why doesn't God do something about the wickedness? Why doesn't God do something about men who openly defy Him?” Here is your answer. “The harvest of the earth isn't ripe yet.” God doesn't put in His sickle until it is ripe. Of course, as we observe things today, it would seem to us that the sickle is ready to be used and the harvest is ripe, but that remains to be seen. Notice verse 16:

Revelation 14

16And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18And 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; [notice now] for her grapes are fully ripe.

Here the metaphor changes. Earlier you were talking about a harvest; now you are talking about a vintage. “The grapes are fully ripe. Put in your sickle. Cut the grapes. Cut them into the wine vats.” Now, look at verse 19:

Revelation 14

19And 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.

Immediately we know that we are not talking about ordinary grapes. Immediately we know that we are not talking about an ordinary vat or winepress. We realize that we have a picture; we recognize that the grapes are typical of the people and the winepress is typical of the wrath of God. Now, look at verse 20, where you read:

Revelation 14

20And 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.

I said that if you trod grapes in a wine vat, your garments would get spotted because the wine vats are deep and the grapes are many, but look at this Scripture and realize that the blood flowed for a thousand and six furlongs, bridle deep. Is it any wonder that the garment of the Lord Jesus Christ was stained with blood?

Will you notice, as we leave this passage of Scripture in Revelation, that the winepress was trodden without the city. Then go back with me to the book of Isaiah, chapter 63, and notice again what Isaiah said:

Isaiah 63

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

You see, to Isaiah this was not a spiritual thing. To Isaiah this was not a figurative thing; this was a very literal thing. He saw the Lord Jesus Christ marching in battle array from the village of Bozrah in the land of Edom. I want you to fix that in your minds as I tell you that Edom is just south of the city of Jerusalem and just north of the Red Sea. I remind you that this is only one of several passages of Scripture which give the exact physical places where the activities related to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will actually occur.

Second Coming is Literal

I want to disabuse you if you should still have the idea that the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is a spiritual thing. I want you to realize that it is literal, so turn in your Bibles to the book of Zechariah, which you recognize as the next to last book in the Old Testament. It is the prophecy of Zechariah, and I would like for you to notice with me chapter 14. An examination of chapter 14, in relation to the entire book of Zechariah, will prove beyond a doubt that we are talking about the end of the age, the end of the Tribulation, when the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is going to return. Notice verse 1:

Zechariah 14

1Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

Those of you who are familiar with prophecy know that the day of the LORD is a term to describe the Tribulation which culminates in the judgment of the great day of God, the Almighty. Notice the verse again:

Zechariah 14

1Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

This is God's warning to the city of Jerusalem. In verse 2, He said:

Zechariah 14

2For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle…

Are you letting that sink in? Are you watching with interest what you read in your newspapers concerning the Middle East? Are you realizing that it is already common talk for nations to be gathering against the city of Jerusalem?

Now, wait a moment. I am not suggesting to you that what you see in your newspaper is a fulfillment of this prophecy, for it is still some time away, but my own heart is thrilled when I read these things, because some thirty years ago, you would have never thought it possible, but now nations speak of marching against the city of Jerusalem, of invading the city. We read that someday God is going to gather all the nations of the world against Jerusalem to battle. Notice the rest of verse 2:

Zechariah 14

2…and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city [a little remnant will be left] .
3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

The LORD shall go forth from the right hand of the throne of God where He is to sit until God makes His enemies His footstools. Then He shall go forth and fight against those nations. All of the nations of the world will gather around the little beleaguered city of Jerusalem, and they will be smacking their lips, ready to devour what is before them. Then the Lord Jesus Christ will leave Heaven's glory and come to this earth.

Christ Returns to the Mount of Olives

Notice how practical and how literal the description is, for in verse 4, we read:

Zechariah 14

4And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal…

This is as far as we are going to read, because it is as far as we need to for our purpose at this time. You get the picture. When the Lord Jesus Christ leaves Heaven's glory, He is going to return to this earth, not at some place computed by scientists as an approximate area of earth entry, as must be done by our travelers in space today. He is going to come to the very same mountain from which He left.

Do you remember in Acts, chapter 2, it is recorded that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended from that mountain and the individuals gathered there said, “This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go.” This is a reference to the literal appearance because when He comes back this time, as soon as His feet touch the top of the mountain, the mountain is going to be split in twain from east to west.

The Mount of Olives is located just to the east of the city of Jerusalem, and it is only one of a number of mountains that completely circle the city, so individuals who were making a mad dash for home would find it exceedingly difficult to make the journey clambering over mountains. What does God do? His Son returns. His feet stand upon the Mount of Olives. Immediately it is rent asunder. A valley is made and they go right through the opening into the city. So remember this: The first place upon this earth to which the Lord Jesus Christ will return is the Mount of Olives.

Have you ever given that much thought? Have you ever thought, “What does He do? Does He stand there on the Mount of Olives much like a general might stand while everyone else does the fighting?” Not at all. That is why we again call to your attention Isaiah, chapter 63, and suggest to you that the Lord Jesus Christ, as soon as His feet light upon the Mount of Olives to the east of the city of Jerusalem, He goes on down south and a little to the west to the land of Edom and there He fights against the nations which are gathered in that particular area. When that battle is won, He is prepared to go somewhere else. We will look at that in a moment.

Judgment for Israel's Enemies

Have you ever wondered why He went from the Mount of Olives to the land of Edom? Have you ever wondered why Isaiah saw Him coming from Bozrah with His garments dyed red? If you are familiar with Edom, you will understand why. Edom was a name that was given to Esau when he sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, and the decendents of Edom harrassed the nation of Israel constantly all down through their history. When they went to them for help, they refused it. When they asked them for permission to go through their land, they denied it. God had made a promise to Abraham centuries before. He said, “I will bless them that bless you, and I will curse them that curse you, and through you shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” and if for no other reason, the Lord Jesus Christ went from the Mount of Olives down to Bozrah in Edom, fought a battle there, then began the journey from which Isaiah viewed Him when he asked the question, “Who is this that cometh from Edom?”

Where was He going? Let me suggest that you turn to the book of Joel and notice that which will be brought to your attention in this portion of the Word of God. The book of Joel tells a story that will be well worth all of our notice in relation to this portion of the Word in which we are going to look. Joel was a prophet and he spoke of this same period of time. He said, in Joel, chapter 3, verse 1:

Joel 3

1For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
2I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down [notice now] into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
3And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.
4Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;
5Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:

He goes on to emphasize all of the various things which these people had done to warrant His judgment. Then, in verse 11, we read:

Joel 3

11Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.
12Let the heathen be wakened, [notice now] and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
13Put 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.
14Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
16The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
17So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

What does Joel add to that which we have already noticed? Simply that the nations who have gathered against the city of Jerusalem for some reason, perhaps a military maneuver, will move down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, which is just south of Jerusalem, through which the Lord Jesus Christ must go as He comes from Bozrah in Edom.

Get the picture. When He returns, His feet stand upon the Mount of Olives just a little east of the city of Jerusalem. From the Mount of Olives, He goes down into the land of Edom, and He deals with the enemies of His people. Then He starts back up toward the city of Jerusalem, but He stops in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and there the great battle that settles all things is won. Then the Lord Jesus Christ moves on into the city of Jerusalem. This time He does not sit down upon the Mount of Olives, but on Mount Zion. From Mount Zion goes forth His law for 1000 years where men bow in obedience to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

This has been a brief dramatic poem, but I hope it has fixed firmly in your minds the blueprint of what God's plan is, and I hope it has reminded you that the Second Coming of Christ is as literal as any proof there is in the Word of God, and any man is foolish to try to spiritualize it out of existence.

Then, of course, as I said earlier, we should all rejoice as we realize that the stage is being set. Names that were one time found only in Bible atlases have become front page conversation. What a momentous time we live in, and how we should lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh!


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