Who is this who comes from Edom? . . . “I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? . . . For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. (Isaiah 63:1–4).
In this glorious hymn, Thomas Kelly captures the theme of the Lord Jesus Christ as a mighty warrior, engaged in battle with His enemies. Building upon Isaiah 63, Kelly presents Christ, the victorious Conqueror, in regal pomp and circumstance, returning from the battlefield and soaked with the blood of His enemies. Edomites were a sworn enemy of ancient Israel, and in this figure their utter defeat was accomplished by one Man.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us of the two-fold work of our Savior in both judgment and redemption. This is His work. Redemption is both accomplished and applied, and judgment is consummated.
The text’s description of the Conqueror is gripping to say the least, and it brings to mind John’s description of Christ’s return depicted in Revelation.
He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. (Revelation 19:13–14)
He is so much more than the anemic “gentle Jesus meek and mild” so often portrayed in the modern pulpit. This is the Savior’s heart, full of resolve to accomplish His Father’s will. Notice that in this picture only the armies of heaven are clean and unstained. This is emphatically a one-man operation. He is the victorious and conquering “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).
Pay close attention to the words of this hymn and contemplate whether your view of Jesus matches the descriptions found in the biblical accounts referenced in the song.
Who is this that comes from Edom, all His garments stained with blood;
To the slave proclaiming freedom; bringing and bestowing good;
Glorious in the garb He wears, glorious in the spoils He bears?
’Tis the Savior, now victorious traveling onward in His might;
’Tis the Savior, O how glorious to His people is the sight!
Jesus now is strong to save, mighty to redeem the slave.
Why that blood His raiment staining? ’Tis the blood of many slain;
Of His foes there’s none remaining, none the contest to maintain:
Fallen they are, no more to rise, all their glory prostrate lies.
Mighty Victor, reign forever, wear the crown so dearly won;
Never shall thy people, never cease to sing what Thou hast done;
Thou hast fought Thy people’s foes; Thou wilt heal Thy people’s woes.1
Today’s big idea: Jesus Christ is the “Mighty Victor” who reigns forever.
What to pray: praise God for His victory over evil.