Monday, March 30, 2015
Warning To Ariel
“Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel. And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.” (Isaiah 29:1-4)
Ariel, “the lion of God” is a symbolic name for Jerusalem. It was the place David had chosen as capital, the site of the temple and center of the Jewish religion. Even when they had turned completely away from God, they continued to offer at least some of the annual sacrifices, but merely continuing the rituals was not satisfying God. He will cause their enemies to besiege and defeat them until they are like somebody who has been captured, lying in the dust, answering their captors with their face in the dirt, barely able to make themselves heard.
“Moreover the multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away: yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly. Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision. It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion. ” (Isaiah 29:5-8)
About a hundred seventy five years later, Ezekiel would prophesy about the nations of the earth attacking Israel, in Ezekiel 38:14-17. Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?”
Matthew 24 and several passages in Revelation give additional details about the attack. Revelation 11:13 tells about the earthquake at that time. “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Jerusalem’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, and again by the Romans in 70 AD only provide a minor hint of the threat but do not fulfill the prophecy.
“Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” (Isaiah 29:9-12)
God sent a number of prophets including Isaiah, but the Jews refused to listen, and Isaiah says they are like a bunch of drunks staggering around, unwilling or unable to comprehend the warnings the prophets have given. Because they are not interested or willing to learn, god has given it to them like a sealed book. Some of them aren’t willing to break the seals and others say they don’t know how to read.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (Isaiah 29:13-14)
A person who is interested in knowing what God says would break the seals if given the opportunity and a person who couldn’t read can find someone to teach him if he wants to know. That they don’t bother makes it clear that their pretensions of interest in what God says and their ritual behaviors are meaningless. They are more concerned with what other people think than with what God wants. As a result, God will act in a way that will get their attention and make their traditions and ideas seem foolish.
“Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” (Isaiah 29:15-16)
God’s judgment will be on those who try to hide what they are doing from God and convince themselves he doesn’t see what they are doing. their efforts to change the rules and make everything will turn out like a lump of potters clay, trying to resist the potter’s actions to shape it. The clay has no power to make itself and cannot take credit for what is produced nor can it refuse because the potter doesn’t know what he is doing. It is equally ridiculous for people to decide God messed up and made them wrong or doesn’t know what he is doing. Their rebellion will not make a significant difference.
“Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.” (Isaiah 29:17-21)
When the Lord returns, the deserts of Lebanon will be turned into rich farmland and the present day farmland will form a rich forest. The deaf and blind will be cured of their ailments, and those who have been ignored and downtrodden will experience the blessing promised by Jesus in Matthew 5, rejoicing that he has been made king. The wicked and rebellious will be destroyed, along with those who have spent their time making regulations in order to get control of other people, deliberately trying to entrap those who warn others of danger.
“Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” (Isaiah 29:22-24)
In that day, the children of Israel will no longer be ashamed of being Jews or afraid of being attacked. As they see how god blesses, they will sanctify his name and learn to respect and trust him. They will finally understand what the has tried to teach them for thousands of years.