In Chapter 28, Isaiah charged Jerusalem with making a covenant with death. In Chapter 29, Isaiah continues and pronounces a woe to Jerusalem.
Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Woe to Ariel [lit Lion of God], to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices.
Ariel is used various ways in scripture. In this context, Ariel is Jerusalem. Jerusalem is where the temple was, where they killed the sacrifices. Year to year was added, giving them more time to repent.
2 Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel.
It sounds like what God is saying through Isaiah is that He is correcting Jerusalem; when He is done they will as be the Lion of God (Heb Ariel).
3 And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee.
As Isaiah was speaking this oracle, the Assyrians were running roughshod over Israel. God says (through Isaiah) that He will eventually lay siege to Jerusalem as well. Sometimes, events that look like the work of evil individuals or evil nations are actually the work of God for a purpose. (Isa 45:7) For example, Jesus was persecuted by the Jewish religious leaders and crucified by the Romans, yet God said that it was He Himself who was behind it all. (Isa 53:4,10; Acts 2:23; Rom 8:32) Ezekiel called Jerusalem the bloody city (Ez 24:6,9). Yet, when God is through with them He will call Jerusalem the Lion of God. The judgments upon Jerusalem are given for a purpose.
4 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.
I believe that in verse 4 Isaiah is making a reference to Kabbalah. After the captivity in Babylon, some of the Jews who settled there eventually wrote something called the Babylonian Talmud. Later, something called the Zohar was written based on the Babylonian Talmud. The Zohar is the basis of Kabbalah.
5 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.
6 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.
God will provide a miraculous deliverance when the Assyrians lay siege to Jerusalem (Isa 37:36), but I believe this miraculous deliverance merely foreshadows the final fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy as outlined further in the following verses:
7 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.
When we get to Chapters 36 and 37 Isaiah will give the historical record of how this ended up playing out when the Assyrians attacked Jerusalem. Again, this will be a sneak preview of their deliverance from the multitude of all the nations that will fight against Jerusalem in what is commonly referred to as the Battle of Armageddon.
8 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.
9 Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.
The people in Jerusalem had a different kind of intoxication than the people of Ephraim did in Chapter 28. In Revelation 17, it says that MYSTERY BABYLON is drunk with the blood of the martyrs and the filthiness of her fornication. I think these two things (blood of martyrs and spiritual fornication) are exactly what Jerusalem was drunk on as well. Jesus said Jerusalem was the city that killest the prophets (Matt 23:37). Idolatry (spiritual fornication) was cited as the main reason for the Judgment of Jerusalem. (Jer 7 et al)
10 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.
11 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:
12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
13 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:
Jesus quoted this verse to rebuke the Pharisees in Matthew 15:8,9. In that day, the spiritual condition of the nation was exactly like Isaiah predicted. The rabbis did not speak with authority. They merely quoted other rabbis and followed their man-made traditions.
14 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.
There is still a blindness upon the nation today, a vail (KJV spelling) upon their heart when Moses is read in the synagogue. (2 Cor 3:15) In the notes on Isaiah 22, I mentioned Yitzhak Kaduri, the beloved Rabbi who identified Jesus as the Messiah posthumously. His wisdom was hid. The press loved to quote him while he was alive, but when he died his bombshell findings were ignored. Even the Israeli press barely mentioned it.
15 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?
Around one hundred years after Isaiah’s time, the prophet Ezekiel was shown how the religious leaders had formed a pagan secret society in the temple. (Ez 8) Like Isaiah, Ezekiel said they thought nobody could see them, but God sees all. (Ps 139:7-12)
16 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?
The apostles were accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6), but from God’s perspective they were turning things right-side up. The spiritual leaders in Judah had turned things upside down, so to speak. Isaiah said their works were like potter’s clay. Jeremiah expanded on this picture in Jeremiah 18:1-11; when a vessel is marred in the hand of the Potter as He fashions it on the wheel, He will cast away the vessel away and make a new one. Paul wrote, Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (Rom 9:21) We are all as clay in the Potter’s hands. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34b), and He is no respecter of nations either — or empires. The same fate that awaited Jerusalem is awaiting the New World Order, which is rising in our day. Daniel tells us the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (the New World Order) are made of potters’ clay mixed with iron (Dan 2:41).
17 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?
18 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.
19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
21 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.
The Pharisees tried to catch Jesus in his words. (Mk 12:13) The religious rulers of Isaiah’s day were doing the same thing, making a man an offender for a word. The term ‘political correctness’ was invented by Red China, but it is an old tactic. Isaiah was one who reproveth in the gate; according to tradition he was killed for it by Manasseh. There are still those in the world today with the spirit of Manasseh, who will turn aside the just for a thing of nought. Isaiah says that they, and the scorners, and all that watch for iniquity will be brought to nought and consumed, and cut off.
22 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.
Most commentators say the face waxing pale is a reaction of fear. In that day Jacob will not be afraid anymore. I think it may refer to their skin color being made like the Europeans who they intermingled with following the diaspora. In that day they will have darker skin.
23 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.
Nowhere in Scripture is He called the God of America. He is not the God of Galatia, Arabia, or Rome. He is called the King of nations (Jer 10:7), but there is no other nation specifically called by name as God’s own except for Israel. Therefore, to love your Bible is to love Israel. Hitler attempted to get around this with the German people by calling the Old Testament ‘the Jews’ little book of lies’, but he must have forgotten that the New Testament calls Jesus the King of Israel and the King of the Jews. God loves Israel. Scripture is clear on that. Jerusalem, the bloody city, will one day become the Lion of God. He is going to bring Israel back to Himself. That is how Chapter 29 ends:
24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
Dickens began his book A Tale of Two Cities with the line, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… I’ve often thought that is a good description of modern-day America. Economically, the outlook is good in 2019. The pro-life movement is gaining momentum. Jerusalem is now recognized as the capital of Israel, with the US leading the way; President Trump was the first world leader to take the initiative and move our embassy there. However, all is not well. Neither in the US nor in Israel. As a nation, America is deeply divided. Likewise, there are many in Israel turning to Messiah, but there are far more who are not. They are talking about plans to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, but according to the Bible, eventually the antichrist will sit in that temple and declare himself to be God. (2 Thess 2) The good news is the millennium is coming, but according to the Bible, it will get a lot worse before it gets better. The really good news is that you do not have to be here when it gets a lot worse. There is a way of escape for those who put their trust in Messiah. If you are ready to do that, say this prayer: Father in heaven, I am a sinner. I confess my sin and ask You to forgive me. Lord Yeshua, please come into my heart and take control of my life. Thank You for the precious blood You shed for me when You were crucified for me. I believe You rose again and I believe You are coming back. I pray this in your holy and precious name, the name above all names. Amen.