Woe to Ar′i·el,Ar′i·el, the city where David encamped!Continue year after year;Let the cycle of festivals continue.
Sometime before the fall of Samaria the capital city of the 10-tribe Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.E. ,28 centuries ago, Isaiah under inspiration composed a prophesy about the mysterious city of Ariel . A cryptic name possibly coined by Isaiah himself which, it may even had been part of the secret language of the prophetic schools of Isaiah’s days.
The 29th chapter of Isaiah’s prophesy starts with these words :”Woe to Ar′i·el” .It isn’t hard to see which city Isaiah had in mind as the verse continuous :”Ar′i·el, the city where David encamped!”. This was Jerusalem, David’s city, the one he captured and used as the capital of ancient Israel.
The use of the name Ariel for Jerusalem is very interesting as it seems to carry well two distinct interpretations. On one hand Ariel literally means “the lion of God” from the word “ari” which is for lion in Hebrew and “El” for God .On the other hand though, there is a more sinister interpretation as Ari-el could also mean “the hearth of God ,or an altar for burning of God”.(see Ezekiel 43:15-16).
It would seem that the prophetic choice of the name Ari-el to describe Jerusalem in the days leading up to the attack of the city from the Assyrian Army under the command of Sennaherib it was timely and crucial.
Isaiah further notes :” Continue year after year (Ar′i·el); Let the cycle of festivals continue.”(Isaiah 29:1b).The inhabitants of Jerusalem thought themselves like the “lion of God” confident in their belief that Jehovah will never abandoned their city .Nothing seemed to interrupt their festivals and daily life but this was a dangerous assumption. Having Jehovah’s temple and the altar for ceremonial sacrifices within the boundaries of the city didn’t make them immune from their impeding destruction .The book of Acts bears testimony to the fact that “God who made the world and all the things in it, being, as he is, Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade temples”(Acts 17:24)
It is then clear to see that the use “the lion of God” is used in a sarcastic way .Jehovah viewed the city of Jerusalem anything but his champion city. The repetition of the name (four times in two verses), and the context of God’s judgment against Jerusalem, suggest the idea that Jerusalem may have thought of herself as the Lion of God, but God didn’t share that lofty opinion of the city.
The reality was that the city was about to become “the hearth of God”. The city itself was soon to transform to an altar where the sacrifice and the fire would be the sacrifice of human life and the burning down of the city itself.
The attack of ancient Jerusalem from the Assyrian army as Isaiah prophesied serves as a warning for us today .Like modern day “unfaithful” Jerusalem all organised religion claiming to be Christian will turn to a “hearth of God”. There is one Christian organisation today though that has set itself up as the “lion of God” ,the reviver of all Bible truths in our times .A Christian organisation that teaches that they are granted immunity from Jehovah’s judgment .Let them speak for themselves as they describe who portrays the Apostate Jerusalem today .
The above quotation taken from the most resent analysis on Isaiah’s prophesy by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society exposes the hypocrisy of these false prophets .On one hand when things go well for them they are happy to associated themselves with heavenly Jerusalem ,God’s Organisation represented here on earth by the anointed underpriests, that they claim to be .On the other hand when judgement against the apostate Jerusalem is prophesied they conveniently shift the application of the verses to Christendom .Simply put ,there has never been a time that they were wrong or under judgment from the Almighty God. Like Jerusalem of Isaiah’s days they see themselves only like the “lion of God”.How hypocritical!
There was a time though when the Watchtower prophets applied Isaiah’s prophesy for the city of Ariel to themselves ,the next article show’s when and how this application came to be (see, Ariel speaks with the voice of a spirit medium)