Isaiah 63:1

Isaiah 63:1

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from
Bozrah?
&c.] These are not the words of the angels at the time of Christ's ascension to heaven; or of the people of Israel; but rather of the prophet, or of the church he represents; by whom this question is put, not concerning Michael the archangel returning from fighting the king of Persia, for what has Edom and Bozrah to do with Persia? nor concerning Judas Maccabaeus, in whose times it seems a victory was obtained over the Edomites: the description is too grand and august to agree with any mere man; rather therefore it is to be understood of God himself taking vengeance on the wicked, many of the characters agreeing with the description of him in ( Isaiah 59:16-18 ) though it seems best of all to interpret it of the Messiah. Aben Ezra observes, that there are some that say this is the Messiah; others that it is Michael; but, says he, it is right that it respects the glorious name, that is, Jehovah himself; the first sense he gives is most correct. Several Jewish writers, ancient as well as modern, interpret this of the Messiah, whom they yet expect to come from Rome to the land of Israel, which they suppose is meant by Edom. So says one F14 of their writers,

``when the King Messiah shall come, he will be clothed in purple, beautiful to look at, which in colour shall be like to wine for the clothing of the King Messiah shall be silk, red as blood; and it shall be worked with the needle in various colours, and he shall be the Head of Israel; and this is what is said in ( Isaiah 63:1 ) "wherefore art thou red in thy apparel?"''
And, say others of their ancient writers F15, the Ishmaelites or Turks shall fight three battles in the latter day; one in the forest of Arabia; another in the sea; and a third in the great city Rome, which shall be greater than the other two; and from thence shall spring the Messiah, and he shall look upon the destruction of the one and of the other, and from thence shall he come into the land of Israel, as it is said, "who is this that comes from Edom?" &c. So Abarbinel F16 asserts, that the Ishmaelites or Turks shall come against Rome, and destroy it; and then shall be revealed the Messiah, the son of David, and shall complete the redemption of the Lord, according to ( Daniel 12:1 ) and then quotes the above passage of their wise men; and upon it observes, that from thence it appears that Messiah, the son of David, shall be of the Jews that are in the captivity of Edom (or Rome), for so they explain ( Isaiah 63:1 ) "who is this that comes from Edom?" &c.; and so Kimchi interprets the prophecy of time to come: but though the Messiah is intended, this is to be understood not of his first coming, which was out of Zion, out of the tribe of Judah, and out of Bethlehem Ephratah; nor of his ascension to heaven, after his bloody sufferings and death, and the victory he had obtained over all our spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, the world, death, and hell; for that was from the land of Judea, from Mount Olivet, near to Jerusalem, the place of his sufferings and death; but of his spiritual coming, which is yet future, to take vengeance on antichrist, and all the antichristian powers. It is usual in Scripture for the enemies of the church and people of God in Gospel times to be expressed by such who were the known and implacable enemies of the people of Israel; and such were the Edomites, the inhabitants of Idumea, of which Bozrah was a principal city; see ( Psalms 137:7 ) ( Ezekiel 25:12 Ezekiel 25:13 ) ( Amos 1:11 Amos 1:12 ) ( Obadiah 1:10-14 ) and were a lively emblem of antichrist and his followers, for their relation to the people of Christ, their cruelty to them, and contempt of them; from the conquest and slaughter of which Christ is here represented returning as a victorious and triumphant conqueror; see ( Isaiah 34:5 Isaiah 34:6 ) hence he is said to come from thence "with dyed garments", or "stained" {q}; that is, with the blood of his enemies; so Jarchi interprets it dyed in blood, or dipped in it; to which agrees the apparel of Christ in ( Revelation 19:18 ) , where he is said to be clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; which chapter is the best commentary upon this passage, referring to the same time and case: it follows, this that is glorious in his apparel;
for though it was thus stained and discoloured with the blood of his enemies, yet was glorious to himself, having gotten such a complete victory over all his and his church's enemies, and so was glorious to them to behold; and especially, since on this vesture, and on his thigh, is a name written, "King of kings, and Lord of lords", ( Revelation 19:16 ) : travelling in the greatness of his strength?
marching in great stateliness and majesty at the head of his victorious troops, he nor they having nothing to fear from their enemies, being all vanquished and destroyed. Strength, and the greatness of it, may well be ascribed to Christ, who is the mighty God, yea, the Almighty; the mighty man, made strong by the Lord for himself; and the mighty Mediator, having all power in heaven and earth: he travelled in the greatness of his strength from heaven to earth, by the assumption of our nature; while here he went about continually doing good; with the utmost intrepidity he went forth to meet his foes, and death itself, at the proper time, and without fear passed through the valley of the shadow of death; when raised again, in his ascension to heaven, he marched through the territories of Satan, the air, in great triumph, dragging him and his principalities and powers at his chariot wheels; and when he had poured down his Spirit plentifully, he went forth into the Gentile world in the ministration of the Gospel, conquering and to conquer; and in the latter day he will come and take vengeance on all the antichristian states, and return in triumph, to which this passage refers; see ( Revelation 17:14 ) ( 19:14 ) ( 11:17 ) the answer to the question follows, I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save;
these are the words of Christ describing himself, by his speech and by his power, by his word and by his works: he "spoke in righteousness", at the making of the covenant of grace in eternity, some things by way of request for his elect, others by way of promise for them; all which he has faithfully and righteously performed: under the Old Testament dispensation, he spake many things in righteousness by his prophets, and by his Spirit in them; yea, he often appeared in a human form, and spoke to the patriarchs and others: when here on earth, he spoke "in" or "of righteousness" F18; of the righteousness of God he came to declare; of his own righteousness he came to bring in; and of the happiness of those who sought it, and were justified by it; and of the insufficiency of man's righteousness to bring him to heaven: here it seems to have a more especial respect to the promises made to the church, of her salvation from her enemies, and of the destruction of them; which will now be accomplished, and appear to be the true and faithful sayings of Christ, ( Revelation 19:9 ) ( 21:5 ) ( 22:6 ) and that he is "mighty to save" appears from the spiritual salvation of his people he has already wrought out: God laid help on one that is mighty, and he being mighty undertook it, and has accomplished it; and which work required strength, even almighty power, since sin was to be atoned for by bearing it, the law to be fulfilled, justice to be satisfied, the wrath and curse of God to be endured, and innumerable enemies to be engaged with; and of such a nature was that salvation, that neither angels nor men could ever have effected it: and this his power to save will be further manifest, when the beast and false prophet, antichrist, and all the antichristian powers, shall be destroyed by him, and his people entirely delivered out of their hands, ( Revelation 11:18 ) ( Revelation 19:20 Revelation 19:21 ) . The Targum of the whole is,
``who hath said these things that shall bring the blow upon Edom, the strong vengeance on Bozrah, to execute the vengeance of the judgment of his people, as he hath sworn unto them by his word? he saith, behold I appear as I spake in righteousness, much power is before or with me to save''
see ( Revelation 18:8 ) .
FOOTNOTES:

F14 R. Moses Haddarsan in Bereshit Rabba in Gen. xlix. 11. apud Galatia. de Arcan. Cath. Ver. I. 8. c. 13. p. 579.
F15 Pirke Eliezer, c. 30. fol. 32. 1.
F16 Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 44. 1, 2.
F17 (Uwmx) "contaminatus, maculatus vestibua", Gataker.
F18 (hqdub) "de justitia", Piscator, Vitringa; "Ioquor justitiam", V. L. Sept.
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