29:1 “Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt!
Add year to year;
Let feasts come around.
2 Yet I will distress Ariel;
There shall be heaviness and sorrow,
And it shall be to Me as Ariel.
3 I will encamp against you all around,
I will lay siege against you with a mound,
And I will raise siege works against you.
4 You shall be brought down,
You shall speak out of the ground;
Your speech shall be low, out of the dust;
Your voice shall be like a medium’s, out of the ground;
And your speech shall whisper out of the dust.
This is fascinating to me. It is the only place in all of Scripture that Jerusalem is referred to as Ariel. We know it is Jerusalem because it is the city of David. Also later in this chapter this place Ariel is called Mount Zion, another name for Jerusalem.
Any Hebrew word that has 'el' in it should jump out at you. El is God. Elijah means Yahweh is my God. Daniel means God is my judge. Ariel means the lion of God. Does that ring any bells for you? Who is the lion of God?
In Revelation 4 and 5, the disciple John is taken in vision into the very throne room of God. While he is there he sees a scroll in God's hand. It is sealed with seven seals. No one can be found in the entire universe who is worthy to open the scroll. John seems to sense how vital it is that this scroll be opened and when no one can be found he falls down weeping in despair. I will let the Bible describe what happened next:
4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain... 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne."
The Lion of Judah is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world.
Are you seeing it now? Are you seeing why here and only here in the entire Bible Jerusalem is called Ariel? Jerusalem means city of peace. It was God's intention for this city and her citizens to bring peace to and be a blessing to the entire world. They were to represent Him to the nations just as Jesus came and showed us the Father. They were to be the Lion of God. They failed miserably. Not only did they not bring peace to the nations, they had no peace within their own walls. Injustice prevailed. Oppression of the poor and vulnerable was commonplace. Ariel was about to go down.
Now I want you to especially note verse 2. Ariel (Jerusalem) will be distressed. There will be heaviness and sorrow. It will be to Me as to Ariel...
May I remind us again that Jesus said the entire Book is about Him? The coming suffering of Ariel, of Jerusalem, of God's lion is a foreshadowing of the coming suffering of God's true Lion of the tribe of Judah, of the Lamb who takes away the sin of the whole world. What is about to happen to Ariel is but a taste of the heaviness and sorrow that came to Jesus, sorrow so deep that he had blood coming from His pores. He held onto the ground for support. Every human support left Him. His own Father never answered Him.
Behold Ariel. Look and live. Love that will not let us go. He who for the joy that was set before Him (having us back Home) endured the cross, despising it's shame and is sat down at the right hand of the Father. The only One worthy to open the scroll.
Whatever is causing you heaviness and sorrow, don't weep. The Lion is coming.