The arm of the LORD, the body of Christ, and the time of God’s redemption and vengeance

Isaiah 63:4 is a very thought-provoking sentence that mentions the words “the day of vengeance” and “the year of my redeemed”.

To begin with, the subject of this sentence is Jesus Christ, the Son of man. This is clear from Isaiah 63:1

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

Isaiah 63:1

Ruth of Moab is the great-grandmother of David (ref. Ruth 4:17), and so she is an ancestor of the Son of man, Jesus Christ (ref. Luke 1:31-32, 3:23-32; Matthew 1:5-16). Moab is essentially Edom, or at least it is nearby. It follows then that the Son of man does in a way come from Edom (ref. Isaiah 63:1).

Besides that, it is Jesus Christ that speaks in righteousness and is mighty to save (ref. Isaiah 63:1).

Furthermore, at his Second Coming, Jesus Christ will be clothed in red (ref. Isaiah 63:2), a vesture dipped in blood (ref. Revelation 19:13). The colour red represents the winepress of God (ref. Revelation 14:19-20).

Wherefore are thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

Isaiah 63:2-3

So, the Son of man will tread the winepress of the wrath of God, for the day of vengeance is in his heart, and that day is the time of his redemption.

For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

Isaiah 63:4

You might be wondering, what does it mean for Jesus Christ to be redeemed?

Throughout the Bible, Jesus Christ, who is “the Holy One of Israel”, is described as “the Redeemer” (ref. Isaiah 54:5, Isaiah 59:20, Luke 21:27-28, etc), for he will come back to the earth to “redeem” both the saints of Israel (ref. Revelation 7:1-8, Revelation 14:) and also the elect of the humans of Judah (ref. Matthew 24:22).

… and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand [saints of the 12 tribes of Israel], which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Revelation 14:3-4

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption [humans of Judah] draweth nigh.

Luke 21:27-28

Both the saints of Israel and the humans of Judah are members of “the body of Christ”, an expression that refers to all who belong to Christ collectively as the apostle Paul explained (ref. Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:12-13). The body of Christ is a body of which Christ is the head (ref. Ephesians 5:23), and a body that lives because of the crucified blood of the Son of man (ref. Revelation 1:5, Isaiah 53).

Of course, the body of Christ also includes Christians collectively. But technically Christians were redeemed by the blood of Christ through the crucifixion some two thousand years ago. In these last days, Christians can be saved through an understanding of the Bible, specifically through faith in the Resurrection. The redemption of Israel and Judah, however, is quite different.

Besides the body of Christ, there is also the metaphor of “the arm of the LORD”.

To my mind, “the arm of the LORD” is the saints, an army of the kingdom of God, together with Jesus Christ himself who commands the army and sits on right hand side of the Father (ref. Colossians 3:1).

In Isaiah 53:1, it is asked, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” After that, Isaiah 53 goes on to describe the life and crucifixion of the Son of man Jesus Christ – the one who is God’s “righteous servant”, the Lamb of God.

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground… He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief… yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed… He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Isaiah 53:1-12

This means, the arm of the LORD was revealed first to Jesus Christ. And then even though the Son of man spoke to many, preached the gospel of the kingdom and did several miracles, no one believed except those to whom the arm of the LORD was revealed by God the Father (ref. Matthew 16:15-17) or by the Holy Spirit (ref. Acts 2). Only the chosen ones such as the apostles at Pentecost, and individuals such as Paul, and others like them, believed. This also explains why the Son of man often spoke in parables. Yes, his mission was to form the Bible and set up the church generally, but he was sent also for “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (ref. Matthew 10:5-6), as in the saints particularly among the tribes of Judah, Levi and Benjamin.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 16:15-17

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 10:5-7

Further to this point is John 12:36-38.

While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

John 12:36-38

Psalms 98 also mentions God’s “holy arm” but now in the context of God’s victory over evil. So here, what comes to mind is an army of Israel.

O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel [think saints]: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Psalms 98:1-3

When Mary prophesied under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Luke 1 of the New Testament, she too associated “arm” with “strength”, bringing to mind something such as an army that can scatter the enemy.

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel [think saints], in remembrance of his mercy;

Luke 1:46-54

This army of the kingdom of God will be formed on the day of the LORD, for it is on that day and at the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the pouring of the seventh vial that the saints will be reaped (ref. Revelation 14:1-5, 14-16), being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. This is the reaping of the harvest. There will not be a rapture of the church as Protestant pastors have imagined: a translation of Christians generally that are alive at that time.

… thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel [the 144000 saints], Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

Isaiah 43:1

Fear not, thou worm Jacob [saints that die], and ye men of Israel [saints that are alive]; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 41:14

This redemption of Israel, also known as Jacob, explains why Isaiah 63:4 reads “the year of my redeemed”.

For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

Isaiah 63:4

It is not God himself that is being redeemed but rather the body of Christ and also his holy arm.

In regard to the latter, notice in the very next verse, it reads “mine own arm brought salvation unto me”. This especially makes the point that “the arm of the LORD” is more than the person of Jesus Christ, for the one speaking in Isaiah 63 is Jesus Christ.

And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

Isaiah 63:5

Isaiah 63:5 is a prophecy that the arm of the LORD, i.e. an army of the kingdom of God led by Jesus Christ, will save the world or humanity through war and conquest.

So, when the saints of Israel and the remnant of Judah are redeemed, it will be as if God himself has been redeemed, because both the arm of the LORD and much of the body of Christ will be realised. I say much because Christians collectively are also a part of the body of Christ: fellow citizens with the saints. The arm of the LORD will form at the time of the reaping of the harvest, the day of the LORD, which is also the time of the winepress, a time of wrath and vengeance.

All this explains the words of Isaiah 63:4

For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

Isaiah 63:4

The day of the LORD is the day of vengeance because the war, or the contest, is one between God and Satan.

The fact of the matter is that Satan and the angels that are with him have corrupted Israel and the world, so now is the time of vengeance.

The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.

Zephaniah 2:11

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

Luke 21:22