This is another talk given to a group of Christadelphians in December last year. The reading to introduce the subject was Isaiah 63. It deals with the prophecy of Bozrah in this chapter and looks at the subject in other places in scripture.
Isa 63:1 “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?”
This is where our subject for this evening is taken from. Let us first skim through the chapter verse by verse to take a high-level overview of what the chapter is saying, to give us context to our focal verse. Before then going and looking at some of the details of this prophecy, and how they intertwine with other verses throughout Scripture.
Who is this that cometh? The Hebrew word ‘Ba’, actually conveys the idea of coming into, entering in, rather than just coming towards in the general direction of the observer. Looking back at the previous chapter, chapter 62, we can say that the place entered into is in fact Jerusalem; the gates are opened and the saviour enters in. Therefore the subject of this prophecy is a journey from Edom to Israel, and then an entering in through the gates of Jerusalem.
We will look at Edom and Bozrah in more detail later, for the moment let’s move on quickly to get the context first.
The answer to “Who is entering in?”, is “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save”. The word “save” there is a play on the name of Christ, Yahshua which means saved of Yahweh. Indicating that it would be Yahshua, Jesus, who would be entering into Jerusalem.
Verse 2 to 3 explained that Christ’s garments are dyed with the blood of the Edomites, showing that there will be a military campaign in Edom, using the analogy of treading the wine press… which will look at it later.
Verse 4 talks of this day as being a day of vengeance. In Isaiah chapter 34 in verse eight we find the parallel chapter adds “for the controversy of Zion”. So this vengeance has something to do with the controversy of Zion, Jerusalem. We are also told that it is part of the year of recompense. The word recompense there is ‘Ga’al’ which is used in Leviticus 25 which describes the redeeming of land and people. If plots of land that Yahweh had given as an inheritance to his people were sold to other owners who would not naturally inherit that land, then on the year of the Jubilee, that land was given back to ensure that the inheritance to the promises of Abraham were preserved.
So we see that the controversy with Bozrah and the Edomites is about Jerusalem, Zion, and lands taken from their rightful owners who should inherit the land according to the promises given unto Abraham their father.
Who is Edom?
Who is Edom? The answer goes back to Genesis 25 where Esau sells his birthright for some red pottage.
Gen 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom (Which means red).
:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
The Edomites are descended from Esau, who gave up his birthright to the promises of Abraham. His descendants lived on the east side of the bank of the River Jordan, underneath the Moabites and the Ammonites. Throughout their history they were envious of their brother Jacob and his blessings, working mischief to have the upper hand.
By the time the Romans occupied the land of Israel, the Edomites had expanded the territory around South of Israel in the Negev. Under the rule of the Romans, the Edomites wheedled their way into upper society, taking advantage of the oppression of the Jews: Herod the great was one such character.
We read of these people in Obadiah and verse 1,
Obadiah :1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith Adonay (my lord) Yahweh concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.
The ‘her’ here is a reference to Israel, as the nations gather themselves upon her in battle. While this passage is initially referencing the Edomites plundering Jerusalem after the Babylonians had taken it’s people captive, these things repeated themselves again in the time of the Romans, and will again in the time of Gog’s Invasion. The Edomites, will once again, stand in the way to stop the Jews fleeing from the invading armies, and will deliver them up to captivity or death.
In verse 17 of Obadiah the dispute between Jacob and Esau is alluded to,
:17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
The house of Jacob will posses the inheritance that they were promised, Esau will not be allowed to take it from them! In fact the rest of Obadiah, from verse 18 onwards, promises that the house of Jacob will be given the land of Edom for their possession as well… because of the wickedness of the Edomites, they will lose the posession that they had been given.
Edom & Edomites is this day
In this day and age there is a people that answers to exactly the same description to the historical Edomites. A people who call themselves Palestinians, which is a name that the Romans gave the Jews in the land of Israel when they ejected the people from their land. The Romans called the Jews Palestinians, and their land Palestine. Now there is a faction of Arabs who recently adopted the name Palestinians as a way of dissociating the Jews from their land, and replacing them.
So where did these people come from? There is a clue in the name they call their land, “the West Bank”. The West Bank of what? Is the West Bank of the River Jordan, the East bank being Jordan itself. In 1967 the state of Jordan crossed the bank of the Jordan and took much of the mountains of Israel, and they called the land the West Bank. Today the Arabs that live there speak Arabic in a Jordanian dialect, and many of the people that call themselves “Palestinians” have Jordanian citizenship… Including Machmud Abbas, the president of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organisation).
A few weeks ago two Palestinian Arabs entered the synagogue in Jerusalem and butchered for Orthodox Jews in the middle of their morning prayers. The two Arabs were shot at the scene by the Israeli police, and one of the policeman died of gunshot wounds. Despite having a peace agreement with Israel, and supposedly being more moderate than some of the nations around, the Jordanian parliament stood and observed a two-minute silence for the two murderers. Meanwhile hundreds of people in the Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem could be found giving out sweets to celebrate the death of four Jews. This is not surprising when you realise that Palestinian Arab kids are brought up to hate Israel, acting out terrorist attacks in school plays, singing songs about martyred terrorists.
Today there are many tribe like Arab groups, each with their own leaders and elders, continuously fighting with one another… Joined only in their hatred of Israel. These I would suggest are the Edomites of our day! Some living amongst the Jews as citizens of the state of Israel, some even MK’s (members of the Knesset) actively working against the state of Israel from its very heart, the Knesset (the equivalent of the Parliament in the UK, or the Senate in the United States). Just as in the last days before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, so it is now… the Edomites are part of the political system of the state, and the Jewish leadership is breaking up through infighting.
Moving our minds back to Isaiah 63. We now understand who the Edomites are and why they will be punished… because they think to take the possession of Israel from the Children of Israel, to take the land promised to them by Yahweh.
Why is Botzra mentioned in this prophecy? Botzra is first mentioned in Genesis (36:33) as the home city of one of the Edomite kings, Yovav. This showed that the city existed before the time when Israel became a kingdom. In Jeremiah (49:13) Botzra is a greater city which consists of several other cities, one of which seems to have been in the territory of the Moabites (Jer 48:24).
The suggested location is Busaira of Jordan, located halfway between Petra and the dead sea, high up in the mountain valleys right on the edge of the decent into the Jordan valley. The land around seems to have been used for grassing cattle while the rocky outcrops provided a formidable fortress for what would seem to be the Edomite capital city at the time of the kings of Israel and Judah. It is similar to the Edomite stronghold built by Herod the great only a few miles away on the other side of the Jordan rift valley – Masada.
Meaning of the name Botzra
As we have said, the word Botzra comes from a root word with the root idea meaning ‘to cut’. However there are several ways this cutting action is applied within the pages of Scripture, wrapping up together some very interesting and directly relevant themes that the divine mind is pointing us to.
Cut off access
The first of these contexts to Batzar we will look at is “to cut off access”, to make inaccessible. The first occurrence of this root word is in Gen 11, where the sons of Men gathered themselves together to make their own city and tower to reach to heaven – as they saw it.
Gen 11:6 And Yahweh said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained (Batzar) from them, which they have imagined to do.
The people had let the lusts of their own bodies take over and rallied together as one against Yahweh and his plan and purpose. Left on their own, they would be free to do as they pleased, so Yahweh Batzar (constrained them) so that a remnant of them might turn back to him.
When we come to Numbers (13:28) and Deuteronomy (1:28, 3:5, 9:1) the word is used for the fortifications of the cities of the nations in the land of Israel before it was given them by Yahweh. The walls and the natural defences of the cities are called Batzurot, cutting off all access in the eyes of the spies that Joshua sent into the land to seek it out. One of these cities that they would have seen if they had journeyed up the Jordan valley from Elat would have been Botzra, the city cut off from all access (which is what it’s very name means).
Looking again in Obadiah and verse 3,
Ob :3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
Both the cities of Botzra and Masada are testament to this verse. Instead of trusting in Yahweh, the Edomites rejected him and set up their own kings over themselves, and built their own inaccessible place, their own fortress… trusting in their own strength.
Brethren and Sisters, do we put our trust in the creator of the Universe, or do we put our trust in the strength and the works of our own hands?
It says in Hosea,
Hos 8:14 For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced (Batzur) cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.
The children of Israel were influenced by the nations around them, they saw their kings and asked for a king… they saw their walled cities, and made walled cities. The most high who rules in the kingdoms of men sent the Assyrian king to show that the “Inaccessible” cities of men could not be trusted in.
We read in,
2Kgs 18:13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced (Batzur) cities of Judah, and took them.
Only Jerusalem was saved… when Hezekiah put his trust in Yahweh, that city was mightily saved. Yahweh encamps around them that fear him, what is man before the almighty, but as the clay before the potter. In the words of Job,
Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden (Batzer) from thee.
Let us heed the words of the Psalmist,
Ps 4:5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in Yahweh.
And also there will come a time when Yahweh will protect his people and none shall be able to break through,
Jer 15:20 And I will make thee unto this people a fenced (Batzur) brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith Yahweh.
:21 And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.
Now moving on, another sense of the word is the “cutting/gleaning of grapes”. As in Lev 25:5,11 and Deut 24:21 describing the laws of harvesting the grapes and leaving a remnant for the poor.
The house of Israel is described as a vineyard in Isaiah 5.
Isa 5:7 For the vineyard of Yahweh of Armies is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
Yahweh protected his vineyard from the beasts outside the hedge of his protection; but when he saw that the grapes were wild grapes, no different from the grapes outside, he breaks down the hedge and allows the wild animals to devour them.
Similarly in Jeremiah 6 the Babylonian armies are described as grape gatherers in their invasion of Israel.
Jer 6:9 Thus saith Yahweh of Armies, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer (Botzer) into the baskets.
Equally the wild grapes of the nations around are also described as grapes:
Isa 1:8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city
Israel is besieged by the wild grapes of the Babylonish vineyard. Another example of our word is in Judges 9, where the grapes represent the fruits of human lust poured out unto the gods they worship.
Judg 9:27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered (Batzar) their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.
The resulting wine is the apostate doctrines of the Babylonish religions. Yahweh allows it to exist, that he might separate out the light from the dark… to make plain those who will not listen to him and to direct the nations to purge his people.
Jer 51:7 Babylon hath been a golden cup in Yahweh’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
In contrast the true vine is Christ, as we read in John 15,
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Now before we tie up all these threads and see them interwoven in the prophecies concerning Edom in the latter days, there is one final sense of the word that we will mention. The Batzar of the flock, cutting of access to sheep, protecting them from their predators… as alluded to in Micah 2.
Destruction of Botzrah the crown of the Edomites
Both the vineyard and the flock are types of the Ecclesia, and yet both these types are also used to describe the apostate Ecclesia of Babylon.
Botzra the vineyard
Going back to our chapter in Isaiah 63, we read that Botzra, that great symbol of Man’s strength, will be trodden as the winepress.
Isa 63:3 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.
Though they gather themselves together to make a name for themselves and try and plunder the vineyard of Yahweh, they themselves will be cast down and the name of Yahweh will be glorified to all who see.
In Obadiah we read,
Ob :5 If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes?
Botzra the sheepfold
There is another prophecy in Isaiah that talks of the same events, bringing in the other aspect of Botzra, that of the sheep fold – those “sheep of Bozrah” (Micah 2:12). Sheep that go after the Gods of the Edomites, and in their pride trust in there own fortifications. For the controvercy of Zion they are taken away.
In Isaiah 34 we read of their destruction, described as flocks offered up in sacrifice.
Isa 34:5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgement.
:6 The sword of Yahweh is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for Yahweh hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.
When is Botzra destroyed?
So when do these prophecies take place? Can we find more details explaining the context to these events.
The symbols of the Vineyard and the Flock are combined in Yahweh’s condemnation of Edom (also known as Teman) in Jeremiah 49:7-22. When we come down to verse 9 Edom is described as a vineyard, and verse 19 alludes to the flock aspect and their shepherds.
19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan against the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?
Notice here Yahweh is described as bringing a Lion into the flock of Botzrah to destroy the Edomites. Who could this be, other than the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Christ?!
Back in Genesis 49,
Gen 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
:9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
It is Shiloh, Christ, who would bring this victory against the Edomites… as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, King over Israel. So we know this will happen after the return of Christ to this earth again… surely very soon Brethren and Sisters!
March of the Rain-bowed Angel
Come with me to Deuteronomy 33 please. Here we see Moses blesses the people in Deuteronomy chapter 33, and in doing so he describes the current progress on the Journey of the Israelites from Egypt. Or does he? In fact he describes the Journey of Yahweh, and that Journey starts from Sini. What does this mean, did it not start from Egypt? When we consider that Yahweh was the name used to describe the nation manifesting his name, then it makes sense. It was at Sini where the Law had been given, where the priesthood had been established, the ark built, and tabernacle erected, so from there the Journey commenced.
In verse one we read,
Deut 33:1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of the Elohim blessed the children of Israel before his death.
2 And he said, Yahweh came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
Here the goodness and severity of Yahweh is demonstrated. Notice the Yahweh “came in”, and that’s the same word used in Isaiah 63. “Came in”, or “entered into” where? …the borders of the promised land of Israel! This is the same journey as mentioned in Isa 63, and is typically pointed forward to by the first exodus journey from Sini. Michael the great prince shall stand up for his people, for the controversy of Zion, and the invasion by the king of the North (Dan 11:40). The saints are raised (Dan 12:2) and come with Yahweh from Sinai, having being formed as the tabernacle of our day.
Notice, verse 2, the Journey passes via Seir, which is Edom. Historically, Yahweh avoided the land of Edom because the time was not right, but this time he will not, as we have seen. More details are given to us in Habakuk 3 and verse 3,
Hab 3:3 Elohah (The Mighty one, Christ), he will come from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.
:4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.
:5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.
The burning coals of the feet link in so many visions throughout scripture, the Cheruvim in Ezk 1 & 10, the Seraphim in Isaiah 6, and the rainbowed angel of Apocalypse 1 & 10. All describing the military work of Christ and his father in purging Israel with a northern invader, quashing that northern invader, and then going out to quell all those who seek to oppress the people of Yahweh.
There are many patterns between the Exodus of old and the one to come in the next few years. In Deuteronomy 32 verse 14, Moses says of Israel, as they go forth and conquer their enemies,
Deut 32:14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
They were given the upper hand over the typical Edomites of the day. Yahweh was glorified before all. And yet in the next verse it continues,
:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook Eloah which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
Let us not become satisfied with the things of this life, but constantly thankful for what we have been given.
The true Botzra
There is another Botzra mentioned in Micah 2 and verse 12. This time the word is used to describe Christ’s protection of his purged people, the remnant of Israel.
12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and Yahweh on the head of them.
Those purged by the Cherubic fire of the later day Assyrian, the nation falls at his feet with no strength, they are as dead. Christ enters into Jerusalem, as in Isaiah 64 after a great slaughter of the Edomites in their Botzra, their fortress, which is nothing but the arrogant facade of their own strength.The remnant of the children of Jacob are gathered together, the children of Joseph, who have been nourished in a land not their own, are now called Israel; they are raised up again to national and spiritual life by those comforting words… “Son of Man, stand upon thy feet”. Their Messiah, their Anointed has arrived at last!
Although the breaker comes up upon them, they will break out of their Botzrah with Christ at their head, their King, Yahweh at their head. They fly as the Seraphim, purged by the coals, upon the Edomites their enemies and quieten the nations around, as fire among the stubble, to burn them up as the chaff. By this the rocks are cast out of the highway, the way is free from Assyria to Egypt, and the remnant will be a third with Israel.
These wonderful days are described in Isa 11… lets turn there! Isaiah 11 and verse 11:
Isa 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Yahweh shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
15 And Yahweh shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
This is the second stage of the destruction of Edom, where Christ leads the children of Israel against those who tried to kill them; also described for us in Obadiah :19-20, and Jeremiah 49:22.
So as we see the nations gathering about Jerusalem to battle, the world getting more and more violent and anti-Semitic; we know what is going to happen to those who go against Yahweh and his anointed. Let us uphold the Truth, and not give credence to the lies of the Edomites. Let us distance ourselves from the violence of mankind, and take on the gentle nurturing characteristics of our father, helping prepare each other for the events that will soon come.
Psa 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise ye Yah. Praise ye Yah.