This chapter portrays Jesus coming from Edom to deliver Jerusalem. His clothes are stained red from the blood of his enemies whom he has slaughtered. It then changes to a prayer by lost Israelite tribes for God to intervene and deliver them also.
Jesus in Red, Israel's warrior king
Near the end of the previous chapter (62:11), God announces to the whole earth, "Say to Daughter Zion, 'Look, your deliverer comes!''. As Christians, God commissions us to tell Israel the good news that her Messiah is coming. However, when Jesus arrives at the battle of Armageddon to liberate Jerusalem at the end of the Great Tribulation, his appearance is such that many of today's Christians might fail to recognise him. Chapter 63 begins with the people of 'Daughter Zion' asking one another, "Who is this who comes from Edom, dressed in bright red, coming from Bozrah? Who is this one wearing royal attire, who marches confidently because of his great strength?" (v1a). To understand verses 1 to 6 of this chapter, we must first understand what is meant or implied by 'Daughter Zion', by 'Bozrah', and by 'Edom'. Only then can we understand why he is 'dressed in bright red'.

1) 'Daughter Zion' represents Jerusalem's end-time Jews who survive in Jerusalem under Antichrist's occupation. According to Zechariah 14:2, when Jerusalem falls to the Antichrist, half the population remain in the city. The other half flee into exile.
2) Bozrah was the ancient capital of Edom, just to the south of the Dead Sea, in what is today southern Jordan. However, Bozrah means literally a 'sheepfold'. According to Micah 2:12-13, God, like a shepherd, will one day gather Israel, his flock, into a 'Bozrah-sheepfold'. From there, he will break them out, and advance before them as their king. This Bozrah-sheepfold likely equates with 'the place of safety in the desert', described in Revelation 12:6. It also equates with the 'open field' in 'Babylon' in Micah 4:10, where 'Babylon' figuratively refers to Arabia. The half of Jerusalem's Jews who escape Jerusalem in Zechariah 14:2, end up in a 'Bozrah-sheepfold' somewhere in Edom which is synonymous with Arabia.
3) Edom was originally the region around the mountains of Seir, extending from the southern tip of the Dead Sea, down to Aqaba at the northern tip of the Red Sea. It was settled by Esau and his descendants (Genesis 36:8 and Joshua 24:4). According to Ezekiel 25:13, by the sixth century BC, Edom was seen to extend south into Arabia as far as Dedan (modern-day Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia), presumably because the Edomites had by then spread that far south. So here in Isaiah, Edom should be understood as synonymous with Arabia, which Isaiah figuratively calls 'Babylon' in chapter 21, and which Revelation 17-18 calls 'Mystery Babylon'. Various prophecies describe God's end-time judgment of Edom, (e.g Psalm 137:7-9, Jeremiah 49, Isaiah 34, and Habakkuk 3:3). The bible seems to present Edom as an archetypical example of a nation that is hostile towards Israel, and will be judged in the end times, along with many other nations (e.g. Jeremiah 25:15-26)

Putting all the above together, by the time Jesus comes to liberate Jerusalem, he has already liberated the Jews from the Bozrah-sheepfold in Arabia. In the process, he has slaughtered Israel's enemies who have resisted him in Arabia. His battles in Arabia are portrayed in further graphic and gory detail in Habakkuk 3:3-15.

As the Jews in 'Daughter Zion' see Jesus approaching, he is a strange sight. He is clothed in royal attire (literally 'glorious in his apparel'), but his clothing is covered in bright red stains. They ask one another, "Who is this…?" Jesus answers this question (v1b), "It is I, the one who announces vindication, and who is able to deliver (literally 'mighty to save')!" In other words, he is their Messiah, their Saviour. But now that they know who he is, they still wonder why his clothing is stained red. They ask, "Why are your clothes red? Why do you look like someone who has stomped on grapes in a vat?" Jesus again answers their questions. He explains that he has indeed been stomping grapes in a winepress, not stomping literal grapes, but rather Israel's enemies. Their blood has splashed all over his clothes as he stomped them in his anger. This is Jesus on the 'day of vengeance' (v4). At his first coming, he announced 'the year of the Lord's favour', but at his second coming, Jesus announces 'the day of vengeance of our God' (Isaiah 61:2).

In the New Testament, we see this same second-coming portrayal of 'Jesus in Red' as he approaches Jerusalem to fight the Battle of Armageddon. Revelation 19:13 says, "He is dressed in clothing dipped in blood, and he is called the Word of God". 'Dipped' is the Greek word 'bapto' from which we get 'baptised'. His clothing has been 'baptised' in blood.

In verse 5, Jesus expresses shock that there was no-one to help and offer support. This implies that after the fall of Jerusalem, the international community does nothing to help the Jewish refugees in Arabia. So Jesus delivers them by his own right arm (mighty power). In verse 4, the phrase translated 'then payback time arrived' means literally that he acts as their kinsman-redeemer. If an Israelite was murdered, kidnapped or injured, it was the responsibility of a close family member to redeem them and take vengeance on their enemy so that justice was done. In the absence of the Jewish refugees receiving assistance from the international community, Jesus steps in as their kinsman-redeemer. Consequently, he fights his Arabia battles alone. This is in contrast to the battle of Armageddon, in which he is accompanied by heavenly armies for his liberation of Jerusalem (Revelation 19:14).

At what point do the armies of heaven join him, and who are these armies of heaven? Are they angels or are they resurrected and raptured believers? My understanding is that Jesus makes a brief appearance at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, when he divides the Mount of Olives and facilitates the escape of the Jewish refugees fleeing Jerusalem. (Zechariah 14:3-5a and Revelation 12:5-6). He is then caught back up to heaven while the Jews make good their escape to a place of safety in the desert, where they spend the next 1,260 days of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 12:6 and Micah 2:12). This is the first stage of Israel's end-time exodus, back into the wilderness where God comforts her (Hosea 2:14). Jesus then returns in glory at the last of the seven trumpets (Revelation 11:15). Believers are resurrected and raptured to meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Daniel 7:13-14). Some time after that, when 1,260 days of the Great Tribulation have passed, Jesus announces the day of vengeance and goes to war against Edom (Arabia). He single-handedly tramples Edom, breaks Israel out of Bozrah, and then leads them in his advance towards Jerusalem (Micah 2:13), which is the second stage of Israel's end-time exodus. At that point, it is possible that he will be joined by an army of resurrected and raptured believers (search tags: Jesus musters an army) for the battle of Armageddon to liberate Jerusalem (Revelation 19:11-21). Zechariah 14:5b-8 also describes his liberation of Jerusalem in a single day, and all his 'holy ones' are with him.

Prayer for Divine Intervention
Having observed Israel's end-time deliverance by this great warrior king, from the perspective of 'Daughter Zion' at the end of the Great Tribulation, Isaiah's perspective suddenly changes in verse 7 to that of another group of exiles from Israel. It is not immediately obvious which group of exiles is primarily in view here, or to what time period of Israel's history or future they belong. Their prayer for God to intervene begins here in verse 7 of chapter 63, and continues until the end of chapter 64. Although Isaiah ministered from about 740 to 680 BC, I like to think of him as 'the time-traveller prophet'. In chapter 53, he is able to travel forward prophetically in time and to view the crucifixion of Jesus from the perspective of end-time Israel when they repent and put their faith in him. In other words, he was able to view an event that was still 700 years into the future, and to look back on it from the perspective of people living 2,000 years or more after it. Given that Isaiah demonstrates such an ability to travel prophetically in time, there are various possibilities as to which group of exiles is in view in 63:7 to 64:12. Their reference in verse 18 to the holy sanctuary being knocked down places them some time after the Jerusalem temple is destroyed. If the Babylonian destruction of the first temple is in view, they could be a group of exiles after 586 BC. If the Roman destruction of the second temple is in view, they could be exiles some time after 70 AD, up to the present day, and even an end-time group of exiles in the future. Verse 16 contains another important clue, "For you are our father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognise us. You, Lord, are our father; you have been called our protector from ancient times", and in verse 17 they describe themselves as "the tribes of your inheritance". They are clearly exiles from the tribes of Israel, but why does Abraham not know them and Israel not recognise them? This suggests that they are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. After the northern kingdom of Israel was exiled to Assyria in 722 BC, they never returned to the land, and assimilated into the nations where they were scattered. They lost their identity as descendants of Abraham, and as tribes belonging to Israel. In 27:13, Isaiah tells us about them, "At that time a large trumpet will be blown, and the ones lost in the land of Assyria will come, as well as the refugees in the land of Egypt. They will worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem". This is one of many verses which prophesy the restoration of the lost tribes to Israel, in addition to the restoration of the Jews who are descendants from Judah. So verse 7 onwards appears to be a prayer of these lost tribes, praying for God to intervene and restore them. But how do they know that they belong to the lost tribes? According to Revelation 7, after the sixth seal judgment, angels will mark the foreheads of 144,000 people. 12,000 are sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. So it is possible that they know who they are because they have had an angelic encounter. Today, it is likely that most of the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel are Muslims. According to 2 Kings 17:5-6 and 1 Chronicles 5:26, they were settled along the River Habor, and among the cities of the Medes. The River Habor is known today as the Al-Khabour River and is a tributary of the River Euphrates, in north-eastern Syria. The Medes were an ancient Iranian people group, located on the east side of the River Tigris, from whom today's Kurds trace their descent. So the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel are most likely concentrated around Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, all of which are predominantly Muslim. But God is able to reveal himself to Muslims. When he does so, it is often through dreams and visions.

In verses 7 to 8, these lost Israelite descendants recall God's faithfulness to Israel, and his commitment to her as his people. Verse 9 says, "Through all that they suffered, he suffered too. The messenger sent from his very presence (literally 'the angel of his presence') delivered them. In his love and mercy he protected them; he lifted them up and carried them throughout ancient times". At many times in their Old Testament history, Jesus, in his pre-incarnate form, revealed himself to Israel as the 'Angel of the Lord' (e.g. Exodus 19:4 and Deuteronomy 1:31). But because they rebelled and offended God, this same God became their enemy and fought against them (v10). Jeremiah 29:14 tells us it was God (not Nebuchadnezzar) who carried Israel into exile in 586 BC, and by implication, it was therefore also God who carried the northern tribes into exile in 722 BC. As they think back to the exodus and remember the crossing of the Red Sea, these exiles ask where this God is now (v11-13). God gave his people rest, and in the process earned himself an honoured reputation (v14). They cry out to God to look down from heaven and intervene once again (v15). In verse 16 they cry out to God as their father, though Abraham no longer knows them and Israel does not recognise them. A second time in the same verse, they affirm that Jehovah is their father, and protector (literally 'kinsman-redeemer') (v16). They lament that God allowed them to stray, to become stubborn and disobedient (v17). They lament that they only possessed the land for a short time before their enemies trampled God's temple (v18). They stress that they existed from ancient times (i.e. as God's people), in contrast to their enemies who were never God's subjects.

Although, for the reasons above, I conclude that the exiles in view here are primarily the end-time descendants of Israel's lost tribes, this prayer has surely been one that Jewish and Israelite exiles have related to throughout the last 2,700 years of history.
Places: Israel, Edom, Bozrah, Jordan, Saudi Arabia
Symbols: Winepress, Arm of the Lord
Tags: Jesus fights muslim nations, Lost tribes of Israel, Armageddon, Jesus treads the winepress, Jesus in Red, Grapes of wrath, Day of vengeance, Jesus as a mighty warrior, Jesus fights alone, Arm of the Lord, Prayer for deliverance, Lost tribes pray for deliverance, God as Father
The Victorious Divine Warrior
1 Who is this who comes from Edom, dressed in bright red, coming from Bozrah? Who is this one wearing royal attire, who marches confidently because of his great strength? “It is I, the one who announces vindication, and who is able to deliver!”
2 Why are your clothes red? Why do you look like someone who has stomped on grapes in a vat?
3 “I have stomped grapes in the winepress all by myself; no one from the nations joined me. I stomped on them in my anger; I trampled them down in my rage. Their juice splashed on my garments, and stained all my clothes.
4 For I looked forward to the day of vengeance, and then payback time arrived.
5 I looked, but there was no one to help; I was shocked because there was no one offering support. So my right arm accomplished deliverance; my raging anger drove me on.
6 I trampled nations in my anger, I made them drunk in my rage, I splashed their blood on the ground.”

A Prayer for Divine Intervention
7 I will tell of the faithful acts of the Lord, of the Lord’s praiseworthy deeds. I will tell about all the Lord did for us, the many good things he did for the family of Israel, because of his compassion and great faithfulness.
8 He said, “Certainly they will be my people, children who are not disloyal.” He became their deliverer.
9 Through all that they suffered, he suffered too. The messenger sent from his very presence delivered them. In his love and mercy he protected them; he lifted them up and carried them throughout ancient times.
10 But they rebelled and offended his holy Spirit, so he turned into an enemy and fought against them.
11 His people remembered the ancient times. Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea, along with the shepherd of his flock? Where is the one who placed his holy Spirit among them,
12 the one who made his majestic power available to Moses, who divided the water before them, gaining for himself a lasting reputation,
13 who led them through the deep water? Like a horse running through the wilderness they did not stumble.
14 Like an animal that goes down into a valley to graze, so the Spirit of the Lord granted them rest. In this way you guided your people, gaining for yourself an honored reputation.
15 Look down from heaven and take notice, from your holy, majestic palace! Where are your zeal and power? Do not hold back your tender compassion!
16 For you are our father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, Lord, are our father; you have been called our protector from ancient times.
17 Why, Lord, do you make us stray from your ways, and make our minds stubborn so that we do not obey you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance!
18 For a short time your special nation possessed a land, but then our adversaries knocked down your holy sanctuary. 19 We existed from ancient times, but you did not rule over them; they were not your subjects.