The Sword of the LORD is Bathed in Blood

34: 5-8

    DIG: Edom was a strange target, for Edom and Israelites were blood brothers. What is the object lesson taught to Edom, representing all nations, for having refused to willingly offer sacrifice to the LORD? Why does He return to Edom? Who is leading the charge? What kind of battle will it be?

   REFLECT: As a believer, what is encouraging about this scene? God is a promise keeper. What promises has He kept in your life? Does this slaughter seem out of character for the LORD in your mind? Does the Bible describe Jesus Christ as a righteous warrior? What will be His title when He returns the second time?

    God is a patient King, but He is also a warrior and here we meet His sword. My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens (34:5a). The LORD is angry and will do battle with all the armies of the nations that are gathered together in the far eschatological future at the end of the Great Tribulation. Not all the people of the earth will be destroyed, but their armies will be destroyed. But He pinpoints the specific place where He will destroy all these armies of the world. See, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed (34:5b).

    ADONAI swings His sword from heaven and finds its mark in Edom. Isaiah uses Edom as an example of God’s judgment against the world. The Edomites were descendants of Esau and throughout the Old Covenant, Edom is treated as the antithesis to Israel. And as such, is typical of those nations that insisted upon their own ways in opposition to those of the LORD. It is as if Isaiah was saying, “You can choose Edom’s way or God’s way, but these are the results.”

    Today Edom is southern Jordan. The armies of the world gather in the Valley of Jezreel near Mount Megiddo or Armageddon in Galilee. Armageddon stands for Har Mageddon, the mountain of Megiddo. But believers today call the entire valley Armegeddon. The Battle of Armegeddon is a misnomer. First of all there is no battle, it is a slaughter. Secondly, the Bible gives us a name for this final conflict but no one uses it; it is the Battle on the Great Day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:14). The armies of the world, under the direction of the antichrist will come south, take Jerusalem and proceed south to Edom. As for the Edomites, they are the people of God’s curse; they too are a people devoted to destruction according to the book of Obadiah. While Amon and Moab have a surviving remnant in the Millennial Kingdom, Edom will not.

    When Jesus Christ returns a second time, He returns to Bozrah (see Kg – The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Bozrah). At that time, the sword of the LORD will be bathed in blood, it will be covered with fat – the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams (34:6a). These were the parts of the slaughtered sacrifices that belonged only to God (Leviticus 3:16-17, 7:23-27). Messiah is the commander of the LORD’s army (Joshua 5:15), with His military triumphs being celebrated in the Book of the Wars of the LORD (Numbers 21:14). When He came the first time, John tells us that He is the Lamb of God (John 1:29), but when He returns a second time, he records: Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed (Rev. 5:5)!

    For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in Edom (34:6b). The slaughter of the nations is viewed here as a massive sacrifice of God (Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 39:17-20; Zephaniah 1:7-8; Revelation 19:17-18). But here Isaiah not only pinpoints the nation, he also points out the specific city. That city is Bozrah, or by its Greek name, Petra (Jeremiah 49:13-14), the fabled “red city.” It is modern-day Buseirah, about 25 miles southeast of the southern end of the Dead Sea. In the time of Christ, the Nabateans built the impenetrable fortress of Sela there, carving it from sandstone rocks. Visitors can see how these ancient people used the natural rocks of Edom for their protection. A narrow passage of steep rocks leads to Petra (Bozrah), and many of the caves they hollowed out and ornately decorated are well-preserved to this day.119 But there is an important principle here that we must not miss. Judgment is not merely God vindicating Israel. Sacrifice to the LORD is recognizing who He is and giving Him His due. Judgment is not a judicial act, nor is it a military act. It is a religious act. It is ADONAI claiming the honor due to Him as Creator and Ruler of the world. And those who do not offer sacrifice, become the sacrifice.

    Why are all the armies of the earth gathered there? Because that is where the believing remnant is gathered (Micah 2:12). Remember the reason for the gathering of the armies of the world is for the final destruction and annihilation of the Jewish nation once and for all. Since the major body of Jews are in Bozrah, that is where the nations, the vultures of Matthew 24, gather together.

    And the wild oxen will fall with them, the bull calves and the great bulls. The Gentile unbelievers will certainly not be using the Old Covenant sacrificial system at the end of the Great Tribulation so this cannot be taken literally. This is probably a reference to the leaders who were trying to kill every last Jew remaining on the earth. They will fall with the common people. None will be spared. Their land will be drenched with blood, and the dust will be soaked with fat (34:7). There will be a slaughter of great sacrifice that will permanently affect the land (34:1-4).

    Edom is not representative of all the nations in the world, but of all the enemies of Israel. Once we understand that, we can discern the purpose of God’s judgment. It is to uphold Zion’s cause, for the LORD has a day of vengeance, and a year of retribution (34:8). A day of vengeance and a year of retribution are both Old Covenant names for the Great Tribulation. These phrases in the Hebrew are in the plural form pointing out its intensity. All indignities against Israel will then be avenged. And for Israel’s vengeance, all the armies of the world will be destroyed. And especially for Israel’s retribution, the land of Edom will become a burning wasteland throughout the Millennial Kingdom. The vengeance and retribution, which this involves, are expressions of God’s commitment to those He has chosen to be His people.

 

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