During the recent celebration of Independence Day, many patriotic songs were sung with great exuberance. One of the most popular was the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The words of this powerful song link the historical American Civil War with the great war of the future.
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.”
The Biblical background for this great song is found throughout the scriptures ending in the Book of Revelation. References are found as far back as the 9thcentury BC.
One of the great truths of the Bible is that Christ will return to earth and judge the nations, in addition to Israel.
“Come near, your nations, to hear; and heed, you people! …For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations…The sword of the LORD is filled with blood…For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance…” Isaiah 34:1, 2, 6, 8
The above passage confirms that Christ will, on the appointed day, return to earth and deal with the nations. The term ‘indignation’ signifies the righteous anger of Jehovah. Isaiah then tells that the LORD will return with a sword that will be filled with blood. The term ‘vengeance’ means revenge, retaliation, and/or punishment. Vengeance belongs solely to God. And then note God’s indignation is against all nations.
Isaiah subsequently reaffirms his message in more detail.
“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
Isaiah again speaks of the LORD’s anger in the day of vengeance. Notice that he also speaks of the LORD’s garments sprinkled with blood and likens that with the results of one who treads in the winepress.
Even several centuries before Isaiah, the Prophet Joel spoke of the same future events using similar descriptive language.
“Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe…for the winepress is full, the vats overflow – for their wickedness is great.” Joel 3:12-13
Joel used the metaphor of reaping with a sickle. The sickle was used when the crop was ready for harvest. He also used metaphoric language of the fullness of the winepress meaning the height of the nations’ wickedness.
Joel wrote nearly three millennia ago. The words of Isaiah and Joel are summarized by the Apostle John as he wrote of future events which gave birth to the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
“And another angel…cried… ‘Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.’ So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress…” Revelation 14:18-20
John then confirmed the words of Isaiah and Joel. The returning King would judge the nations resulting in an extremely bloody war. The power of His sword is His spoken word. Christ personally will execute God’s righteous judgment on the nations and then will rule them with a rod of iron.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood…Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations…He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Revelation 19:11, 13, 15
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah! His truth is marching on!
America, prepare to meet your God!