Blood, Wine, and Vengeance

     Recall, when God’s vineyard brought forth wild grapes, He pronounced His righteous response.
     “I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.  I will lay it waste…” Isaiah 5:5b-5a
       The Hebrew word for ‘hedge’ has several meanings including fence, wall, and protection.  God would withdraw His hand of protection and let the gentiles have their way.  And so it was.
     “You have broken down all his hedges; You have brought his strongholds (fences for protection) to ruin.  All who pass by the way plunder him…”  Psalm 89:40-41a
     Northern Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC, and Southern Judah and Jerusalem was besieged and overrun by Babylon beginning in 605 BC.
     “Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions.” 
2 Chronicles 36:19
     God’s choice vineyard will, however, be restored in due time.  Those who plundered Israel will suffer the same consequences that He allowed those to do to His vineyard.
     “In that day sing to her, a vineyard of red wine!  I, the LORD, keep it, I water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day…Who would set briers and thorns against Me in battle?  I would go through them, I would burn them together.”  Isaiah 27:2-4
     ‘Red wine’ in the above has many synonyms including ‘delight,’ ‘goodly,’ ‘pleasant,’ ‘delectable,’ ‘precious,’ and ‘beauty.’
     Referring back to Jacob’s prophecy for Judah:
     “His eyes shall be red with wine…”  Genesis 49:12a KJ
     Now let’s focus on blood, wine, and vengeance as it applies to Israel’s enemies.
     The judgment of Edom, and one of its cities Bozrah, is described by the prophet Isaiah.  The following passage describes their judgment in terms of wine and vengeance.  The judgment will be administered by the ‘colt’ first mentioned in Jacob’s prophecy about Judah.
     Recall the ‘colt’ was tied to the choice vine.
     “…and his donkey’s colt (was tied) to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.”  Genesis 49:11
     Now consider Jacob’s words fulfilled.
     “Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?  ‘I have trodden the winepress alone…for I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes.  For the day of vengeance is in My heart…’”  Isaiah 63:2-4
     ‘Winepress’ in the above means ‘to crush,’ ‘break,’ or ‘bring to naught.’
     ‘Tread, trodden, and trample’ means to crush under foot.
      ‘Blood’ in the present context means the brilliant juice of grapes while depicting a scene of grapes being trampled in the winepress.  Interestingly, it comes from a base word meaning splendor, glory, and power eternally.
     ‘Vengeance’ means ‘revenge,’ ‘retaliation,’ and/or ‘punishment.’  As such, vengeance belongs solely to God.
     Approximately a century prior to Isaiah’s prophecy, Joel spoke of God’s judgment of the nations using the analogy of the full winepress.
     “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.. for the harvest is ripe…the winepress is full, the vats overflow – for their wickedness is great.” Joel 3:12-13
     ‘The winepress is full’ means the completion of something, or the termination of a set period of time.
     What nations will be judged for their wickedness?
     “Come near, you nations, to hear…let the earth hear, and all that is in it…for the indignation of the LORD is against all nations…The sword of the LORD is filled with blood…”  Isaiah 34:1-2, 6a
     And remember, ‘blood’ in the above is also used to describe the juice of grapes.
     “For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me (Jeremiah): ‘Take this wine cup of fury (wrath) from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.’”  Jeremiah 25:15
     No nation will be exempt from the righteous judgment of Almighty God.
     The final installments of this series will be taken predominantly from the Book of Revelation.

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