Last time we ended by reading a passage from Isaiah 63, that described Mashiach in quite brutal fashion, in fact it describes Him coming from a battle where He slaughtered a lot of people and has their blood all over His clothing. He also described His behaviour as being the day of vengeance and the day of redemption. This is quite a contrast from the ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ image we have.
Isaiah 63:1-4, ‘Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colours from Bozrah, this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength? “It’s I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? “I’ve trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come.”’
In case you think the picture can’t possibly be Jesus our Messiah, look at this passage.
Revelation 19:11-16, ‘I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse and He who sat on it is called ‘Faithful and True,’ and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He’ll rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”’
That sounds very much like the passage from Isaiah where Messiah is making war and bringing violent judgment on the nations of the world when He returns.
Did you notice that it says Messiah will rule the nations with a rod of iron? Why would the Messiah need to rule the nations with force with the threat of punishment if all the world is going to be peaceful and loving and sweet and gushy?
If you read all of Zechariah 14, it describes Messiah coming back, standing on the Mt of Olives when it splits in half from and earthquake and He enters Jerusalem and establishes His throne from which He’ll rule and govern the earth. Sounds dramatic, and it is. You’d think that such an entrance would confirm once and for all that Jesus is God, He is Mashiach, all the rumours about His life, death and resurrection are true and so everyone around the world should be rushing to bow before Him and worship Him. That’s what you’d expect, right?
Apparently not. Zechariah 14 goes on to explain that God is going to make war, a plague of sorts, that will strike all the people from the nations that attacked His people Israel, fighting over the Holy City of Jerusalem. It also says that the wealth of those nations will go to His people Israel, and that every year that Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles – will be celebrated in Jerusalem, and the nations of the world will be expected to participate…but if they refuse…this is what will happen.
Zechariah 14:17, ‘It will be that whichever of the families of the earth don’t go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.’
In other words, every nation that rebels against giving honour to the King – the Messiah – the Lord of hosts – will suffer drought. As Australian’s we understand strongly the consequences of drought.
I learn several things from that verse.
- There are going to be nations on earth, while Jesus is reigning as King, who are going to rebel against Him.
- The King – the Messiah – is equated as being the Lord of hosts. This verse right here declares that Messiah is God. He is Divine…settling the dispute definitively.
- Every nation that refuses to participate in the Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot – and worship King Jesus as He should be, as He deserves to be, will be punished by drought.
What happened to gentle Jesus meek and mild? It would be true to say that this picture of Jesus as a warrior meeting out violent justice is unsettling, mostly because it’s contrary to the compassionate Jesus of the Gospels, teaching us to turn the other cheek, and ‘blessed are the peacemakers.’
But Scripture boldly proclaims that Mashiach ben Da’vid, a Warrior Messiah will come, and when He gets here, He’ll be wielding a sword. So my preferences and assumptions have to be put aside, and I have to align my heart and mind to that of Scripture…not the other way around.
Next time we’ll look at why Messiah is coming back as a warrior and why war will be part of His mission.