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In Isaiah 34:5-6 (niv) it is written,

5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed. 6 The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat.

What is the meaning of,

My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens?

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  • This is the beginning of the 6th seal where the rapture happens and wrath of God starts. Rev 6:13-14 matches Isa 34:4. The stars in Rev are angels and based on Isa 34:5, they are fallen angels whom have been defeated and thrown down to the earth. Oct 3, 2022 at 18:18

4 Answers 4

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Isa 34 is very rich in allusions and metaphors which include:

  1. Sword - the sword is one of the four instruments of God's judgement, namely, sword (= war), famine, beasts, plague. See Jer 6:12, 14:12, 21:7, 9, 24:10, 27:13, 29:18, 38:2, 42:22, Eze 5:12, 17, 6:11, 12, 7:15, 12:16, 14:21, Rev 6:8, etc, etc.

  2. "Drunk"/drink blood - is the metaphor for what the sword does - it drinks the blood of its victims and becomes "drunk" with blood. We see this many times such as Deut 32:21, 42, Num 23:24, Jer 46:10, Rev 17:6.

  3. Isa 34:4 is quoted by Rev 6:13, 14 and appears to have (at least some) eschatological significance in Revelation, ie, concerning events in the last days.

Thus, Isa 34:5's statement about the LORD's sword being drunk (with blood) in heavens is a direct allusion to V1-4 and the final judgement of the nations. This appears to be the allusion also in Rev 11:15-18.

The Pulpit commentary is helpful here:

In the present passage we must regard the Edomites as representative of the enemies of God's people generally (see the introductory paragraph). The people of my curse; i.e. "the people on whom I have laid a curse" - the Edomites. Esau was to "serve" Jacob (Genesis 25:23; Genesis 27:40), Edom to be "a possession" for Judah (Numbers 24:18). God had said of Edom, probably before Isaiah uttered the present prophecy, "For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof... but I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah" (Amos 1:11, 12).

"drunk its fill in the heavens"

As stated above, this is a direct reference to the sword of God and its work against the nation is the immediately preceding verses; but to understand this, we need to remind ourselves of the metaphor already employed.

  • note that V1-3 are discussing punishment against nations and peoples, and that "Their slain will be left unburied", etc.
  • the passage continues by suggesting that this punishment of nations and peoples is so great that it described as "dissolving the stars of heaven" (V4), etc.

Thus, V5 says that God's sword become drunk in the heavens. We see this in other places as well - the prophet using heavenly language to describe an earthly event, for example:

  • Isa 13:13 where Isaiah is describing the punishment against Babylon he says, "Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place". See also V10.
  • Isa 24 is similar and V21-23 using "cosmic" dimensions to describe the earthly punishment of the nations by saying: "In that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven above and the kings of the earth below." etc.
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  • @Gremosa - I have updated my answer with a fuller explanation.
    – Dottard
    Dec 3, 2022 at 20:11
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According to the New Testament, this is a prophecy about the Second Coming--compare Isaiah 34:4 with Rev. 6:14. The sword (and other weapons) is a symbol of God's justice--compare Isaiah 7:20 where God uses Assyria as a means of administering His justice.

In the previous verses Isaiah speaks of the signs & destructions in the heavens; now the focus turns to the destruction to be wrought on earth.

From Victor Ludlow:

It seems that Isaiah is prophesying about apocalyptic signs that will occur in the heavens during the last days...In his other writings, he mentions more of these cataclysmic events and gives further details (see Isa. 13:10; 24:23; 30:26; 50:3; 60:19-20; 65:17).

After describing the universal signs upon the earth and in the heavens, Isaiah narrows his scope and gives two pronouncements on Edom and its capital, Bozrah...The term "Edom" has a double meaning here. In addition to denoting the country located east of the Dead Sea, it means "the world" and especially "the wicked world." (*Isaiah - Prophet, Seer, and Poet p. 308)

Thus, the Lord will provide signs of destruction in the heavens and, having finished ("satiated"/"filled") that realm with signs of impending justice, He will release cataclysms on the world beneath.

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Every nation in the world has an angel prince/minister/prince up above in the sky. This angel represents them up in heavens. This concept is written explicitly in the book of Daniel:

“Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I am come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I go forth, lo, the prince of Greece shall come. But I will tell thee that which is inscribed in the writing of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me against these, but Michael your prince.” (Daniel 10:20-21, ASV)

(Btw the angel who speaks is Gabriel)

Michael is the angel of the Israelites. The angel of death is the angel of the nation of Esau/Edom, according to jewish tradition.

So, at the end of days, God is going to slaughter the angel of death and his fellows (all angel princes that are against the Israelites AKA the jews) in heaven, and then continue to the nation of Edom (and other nations that went against the jews), to judge them.

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  • Fine answer (+1). Moreover, this explanation fully agree with the argument exposed in Psa 82:1-7 (forgetting the non-existent equivalence aleim = earthly Israelite judges...). Sep 28, 2022 at 13:19
  • Oh but the word Elohim really mean earthly judges in many places(not all of them of course) in the Torah, and also in Psalm 82:1. Actually in Kabbalistic interpretation the word Elohim is tightly connected with judgement.
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 28, 2022 at 13:30
  • Sorry, but I have not found this link in Tanakh. Of what Bible passages you are speaking of? Sep 28, 2022 at 13:34
  • Exodus 22:8, is a good example
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 28, 2022 at 13:38
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When I read the question, the answer came simply as we draw our strength our might our protection from the Lord in the Heavens.

As our desire and relationship grows stronger we receive more and more. Isaiah was clearly a prophet and chosen of the Lord. Their relationship was stronger than most.

The sword made me think of how his words may have cut through to the heart of some as he unpacked the Lords message. For a time he was protected by the Lord until his work was finished. Most will think his slayer was his demise. If the Lord would that he remained longer there would be no one to contest Him. His word cannot return void.

Then his fill would not only strengthen him along his journey but would also bring him back home to our Father.

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