Casting Out the Bondwoman--Final
Aug 10, 2009
In my booklet, The 1986 Vision of the Two Gulf Wars, I told of a vision that I had of being taken to Saudi Arabia, where an angel described two Gulf Wars that were to come. The first one occurred in 1991, and we are now in the second. The ultimate purpose of the second was to destroy Jerusalem.
In my view, the destruction of Jerusalem in our day--like in 70 A.D.--is God's way of casting out the bondwoman. Yet this aspect of prophecy has occurred more than once in history already, and it still awaits a "final" fulfillment, because Jeremiah 19:11 says it will not be repaired (rebuilt).
But today I want to end with a study of Isaiah 29, where we see in graphic detail the type of destruction that Jerusalem is to experience. The chapter begins,
"Woe, O Ariel! Ariel the city, where David once camped. Add year to year, observe your feasts on schedule."
Ariel is a poetic reference to Jerusalem, the city of David. Its primary meaning is the lion of God,from the Hebrew word arieh, "lion." But Ariel can also be translated "altar-hearth of God," as Dr. Bullinger points out in his notes. In fact, Bullinger does not even mention "lion of God" as a possible translation, so certain is he that it is a reference to a hearth or fireplace or altar.
Jerusalem was called to be the place of the throne of David, "the lion of Judah," but the sin of the people had turned it into a place of fiery judgment--the "hearth of God." And the reference to the "feasts" may possibly hint that Jerusalem will be destroyed on one of those particular days, perhaps the feast of Trumpets of some year.
(2) And I will bring distress to Ariel, and she shall be a city of lamenting and mourning; and she shall be like an Ariel [altar-hearth] to Me.
Note especially that God is the one speaking. He is the "I" of this entire prophecy. And when He speaks of "you," he is specifically addressing Jerusalem. So it is God Himself who says, "I will bring distress to Ariel," for as we shall see, God Himself intends to fight against Jerusalem.
(3) And I will camp against you encircling you, and I will set siegeworks against you, and I will raise up battle towers against you."
Of course, God will not do these things personally, for He always raises up men to do His work. yet God takes full credit for it as if He were doing it Himself. The point is that men will encircle Jerusalem and lay siege to the city, and God is on their side directing the war.
(4) Then you shall be brought low; from the earth you shall speak, and from the dust where you are prostrate, your words shall come. Your voice shall also be like that of a spirit from the ground, and your speech shall whisper from the dust."
In other words, the city will be destroyed and brought to ruins. God's siege against Jerusalem will be successful, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not succeed in resisting God or the army that He has raised to do this work.
(5) But the multitude of your enemies . . ."
Remember that God is still speaking to Jerusalem. "Your" is a reference to Jerusalem, the city of David. But who are the "enemies"? They are the ones who have occupied Jerusalem as enemies of David and enemies of God. Can we say they are enemies of Jesus Christ, the Yahweh of the Old Testament? It is easy to switch gears and assume that these "enemies" are the ones laying siege to Jerusalem, but God is the one laying siege to Jerusalem. The rest of the verse cannot possibly describe God . . .
(5) But the multitude of your enemies shall become like fine dust, and the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; and it shall happen instantly, suddenly.
God is not going to become like fine dust. No, the previous verse says that when Jerusalem is brought low, its inhabitants (the enemies of God occupying the city) will speak "from the dust." Verse 5 is merely an explanation of this, telling us that the ones speaking from the dust are the city's "enemies" from the divine standpoint. They are enemies because David had intended for Jerusalem to be the city of peace and righteousness. When men break God's covenant and violate His law, and treat God with "hostility" (Lev. 26:40-42, NASB), they become God's enemies. Isaiah 63:10 tells us this in reference to Israel's history,
(10) But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore He [God] turned Himself to become their ENEMY; He fought against them.
In this case, the "enemy," the inhabitants of Jerusalem are pitted against God who is laying siege to the city. God's siege is successful, and they "shall become like fine dust." Then Isaiah 29:6 says,
(6) From the Lord of hosts you [Jerusalem and the "enemies"] will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, with whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire.
This is "the altar-hearth of God." The prophet knew nothing of nuclear weaponry, but he could see the characteristics of a nuclear explosion: a loud noise, a great tempest, the shaking of the ground, and above all "the flame of a consuming fire." I do not see how an Old Testament prophet, ignorant of nuclear weaponry, could have described such a catastrophic event more accurately.
Then the prophet sees the army that God has raised up to do this work on His behalf.
(7) And the multitude of all the nations who wage war against Ariel, even all who wage war against her, and her stronghold, and who distress her . . ."
So here we move from God distressing Ariel to "the multitude of all the nations . . . who distress her." Although the vision seems to change, the change is not a contradiction, but an enhancement and further explanation of the prophecy. It is clear that this "multitude" is God's army, because God has already taken credit for directing the siege against Jerusalem. He is the Lord of hosts (i.e., Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces).
(7) . . . shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
Here we are given prophecy concerning God's armed forces. Their fate is somehow "like a dream." How?
(8) And it will be as when a hungry man dreams--and behold, he is eating; But when he awakens, his hunger is not satisfied, Or as when a thirsty man dreams--and behold, he is drinking, but when he awakens, behold, he is faint, and his thirst is not quenched. Thus the multitude of all the nations shall be who wage war against Mount Zion.
This "multitude" obviously is "hungry" to take Jerusalem and wants to displace those occupying it. They want the land for themselves. That is their personal motive. And certainly, they will succeed in taking the land. But it will prove to be like a dream, where you eat to the full, but when you wake up, you are still hungry.
If Jerusalem is destroyed by a nuclear device, then we could see how this "victory" could turn out to be quite hollow. The fact is, with nuclear fallout in the area, NO ONE could occupy or use the land when the dust settled. So the "multitude" wins the war but loses their personal objective at the same time. Hence, it is like feasting in a dream, only to wake up and find that you are left hungry and thirsty.
God uses people to accomplish His purposes. In this case, His army has a different agenda, for they do not know the mind of God. God's ultimate purpose is to cast out the bondwoman and to give the true inheritance to the son of the freewoman.
This is the final part of a series titled "Casting Out the Bondwoman." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones