The Mystery Man of Isaiah

The Mystery Warrior

The Babe of Isaiah 7:14: ( "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel" ), and born to rule as recorded in Isaiah 9:6: ( "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder . . . " ), is in Isaiah 63:1-6 depicted as the conquering Warrior:

"Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this one who is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength" – 'I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.'

"Why is your apparel red, and your garments like one who treads in the winepress? 'I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me. 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, and the year of my redeemed has come. . . . I have trodden down the peoples in my anger, made them drunk in my fury, and brought down their strength to the earth.'"

This Scripture would give the impression that the conquering Warrior is coming to claim that which is His by right, but which by some means has been violated. Before He can rule He must bring to judgement nations that have violated His inheritance, the delight of His heart.

The prophet introduces the scene as a spectator to the one who is coming towards Jerusalem from the south east. His is not the form of a staggering soldier. His is the stride of a conqueror. The picture presenting itself is both gruesome and awesome. The victor is blood-drenched in His garments. His clothes tell the story of the battle, He has been strongly resisted, such has been the hatred of the nations, in particular the one mentioned, Edom, for the Mystery Man and His people.

In reply to the prophet's question, the conqueror explains that the conflict was similar to treading the winepress. This is an allusion to the judgement of God upon the nations. It is the culmination of the Eternal, holy and merciful God's endurance with those who have slandered Him through defiling His Word and His land and His people.

The prophet must have looked amazed at the fact that the Mystery Warrior has no following army. For the conqueror states: "I have trodden the winepress alone." No doubt He would gladly have welcomed those committed to the cause to join Him in this battle – a tinge of sadness implied that there was no one willing to join Him: "From the peoples no one was with me . . . I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore my own arm brought salvation for me; and my own fury, it sustained me."

On one previous occasion the prophet was confronted with a similar distressing commentary on the lack of support for the Lord's purposes: "Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore his own arm brought salvation for him; and his righteousness sustained him" (Isaiah 59:15,16).

This Scripture goes on to describe the Lord as a warrior putting on His battle dress: "For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garment of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies."

What He is about to undertake is graphically called the "day of vengance" . Some would recoil from such a concept from their understanding of the God who loves, but the reality is that God is the Lord God of hosts, and He will execute judgement, and defend His honour and His people. And if we have responded to God, then there is no "day of vengeance" for us. But grace spurned is judgement earned.

It isn't too difficult to bring the two Isaiah Scriptures together to begin to see some clues as to who the Mystery Man and the Mystery Warrior really are. Right from the beginning it is apparent that this One is unique. As well as a special relationship with the Spirit of the Lord, His birth also tells us that He is out of the ordinary.

How it was possible to be the Passover Lamb as portrayed in Isaiah chapter 53, and yet prevail over such a death and the inherent disgrace is not mentioned; it is just assumed. And the only answer is resurrection. This means that the Lord of life is also the Lord over death.

Up until that conquest Death seems to be the master of the universe, and such a state of anarchy and tyranny could not be permitted to remain unchallenged by God. Thus we read in the Old Testament His plan to dethrone Death from the realm of man.

Isaiah reveals how the Lord was to do this – in and through the Mystery Man. Other Old Testament writers use different terminology, but they all link in with this fact. The Mystery Man is Emmanuel. This is more than a name; it is the revelation of His character. It is more than a title; it is the estimation of the Being who was to come and flesh out what Isaiah and others beheld of God's plan of redemption. 'Emmanuel' is truly saying that the Mystery Man, the Paschal Lamb, and the conquering Warrior are all one and the same – God with us.

Here we are faced with the most momentous insight into the person and purposes of the Eternal God. Over the years of his ministry, Isaiah must have wrestled with some of the concepts that God unveiled to him, for God often works in a manner quite incomprehensible to us.

No more so that in these ways of God we have had before us as we have sought to understand the clues presented concerning the Mystery Man. But in these days we have the end of the mystery – the Mystery Man is able to be recognized. His Name? He Himself said to the people as recorded in John's Gospel in the New Testament: "Search the Scriptures . . . they speak of me" (5:39).

He is Yeshua.

There is still the "day of vengeance" to come. And come it will. At this moment God is giving us the day of salvation, which might well be drawing to a close. Isaiah's closing presentation of the Mystery Man as the Conquering Warrior might well indicate that He is putting on His battle dress even as we read.