ALSO “MOUNT ZION” or “MOUNTAINS OF ZION”
This study, (by Suzanna), is a personal one in that it has been put together without reference to other writers or commentators. It is therefore, an INTRODUCTION to the subject; in order to form a base for your own further study. This means that the conclusions may be open to question, but in so far as I have sought the Holy Spirit’s help, and have brought years of study background to this subject, it has come to me this way...
MY PRAYER WOULD BE, THAT LIKE EVERY MEDITATION OF GOD’S
WORD, IT WILL LEAD US TO YESHUA/ JESUS - AND A PRAYERFUL
CHALLENGE TO A DEEPER LIFE WITH HIM...
The actual meaning of the word ‘ZION’ seems vague - but it gains meaning in context. It is often, but not always linked to ‘Jerusalem’.
Approximate number of times mentioned in Scripture = 125.
The first reference is in 2 Samuel 5:7, i.e. not until the time of the Davidic reign, (very significant as shown later).
The last reference is in Revelation 14:1. (But this needs to be thought about in the light of conclusions regarding the name ‘Jerusalem’ and the Heavenly City).
Throughout this meditation on Zion, wherever we use Scripture we use purple italic print in recognition of the Royal Word of God, and in reverence for God's name: 'LORD' for ADONAI.
TO ME, THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ZION IS VERY MUCH - THE SACRED, SPRITUAL MEANING, above the literal, physical meaning.
IT IS A DELIBERATELY CHOSEN PLACE OF SIGNIFICANCE.
Psalm 132:13 - “The LORD has chosen Zion, He has desired it for HIS dwelling. This is My resting place forever and ever, here will I sit enthroned, for I have desired it”. Then ADONAI explains the reason why in verses 15 - 18! Also in Isaiah 14:32 we read, “The LORD has established (i.e. founded), Zion...”
A CHOSEN SITE for EL SHADDAI - GOD'S OWN CITY!
1. ZION IS SYNONYMOUS WITH JERUSALEM IN THE SPIRITUAL SENSE.
Because I believe that
every word of the original Scriptures were totally inspired under the
Holy Spirit, I also believe that the use of words, and especially
significant words and names, cannot be interchanged “loosely”.
For example, we know that the city of Babylon spoken of in the
Tanakh/Old Testament was a literal, physical city and yet in some
cases the ‘Babylon’ spoken of, (as in Revelation), is not
only a physical city but is representative of an evil worldly system.
The same concept is true for ‘Zion’ and ‘Jerusalem’.
Zion can be and is a representation of the city of Jerusalem where
and when God’s presence entered into the Temple, but Zion
is not completely and only Jerusalem.
ZION represents God, Himself.
Because Jerusalem was a normal city of people with streets, houses, animals etc, and because like any city it had sewerage problems, ‘finance’ problems, sickness, suffering and death, the Scriptures use the name of the Earthly city of ‘Jerusalem’ when speaking of the physical city.
By contrast, in many cases where the Scriptures are speaking of Jerusalem as the sacred City of God, the word ‘Zion’ is often used with the name Jerusalem, or in place of it. The significance is in the fact that 9 times we read it was “ Chosen by God!”
We read in Psalm 2:6 “I have set My King on ZION, My holy hill”.
This is a clear Messianic Psalm. Later in Psalm 147 the reasons for praising God are gathered up and focused on verse 12,
the LORD O Jerusalem, praise your God O ZION”.
Our first conclusion: Jerusalem in Israel, is ZION, the HOLY City of the Royal Divine KING!
2. ZION IS SYNONYMOUS WITH GOD’S PRESENCE.
So it is also
regarded as a Holy place, synonymous with - His Holy Temple
Yet we know that the literal, physical Temple became a place of shame, (Ezekiel ch. 8), was deserted by God, (as described in ch. 10), and destroyed twice. So again the words ‘Zion’ and ‘Temple’ are not loosely interchangeable. But we understand that wherever GOD is - there is ZION and worship is in the 'TEMPLE OF HIS PRESENCE", because God is 'Omni-Present'. Yeshua /Jesus said to a devout Gentile, woman in the City of Samaria, "A time is coming... when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth" Not always a 'Place'! [Jn 4]
Here are some verses, which show the connection between Zion and God’s presence and His Kingship over the Earth.
Even enemies will one day recognise ZION and God!
a) The prayer in Psalm 74:2 says, “Remember.... Mt Zion where you dwelt”. (Compare with Ps. 48, where 4 times it is called, "the City of our God the LORD Almighty.”
b) Psalm 99:2, “Great is the LORD in Zion, He is exalted over all the nations”. Only the Almighty -'El Shaddai' - can make that happen!
c) Isaiah 60:14 “...will call you 'the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel'.” Finally - a City with NO evil in it, a Holy City!
d) In Psalm 9:11 “Sing praises to the LORD enthroned in Zion...”.
This Psalm speaks of God’s overall Kingship over all the Earth. The ‘nations’ are mentioned seven times and the term ‘the World’ is also used. Finally, ZION - Jerusalem will be the Capital City of the entire world!
Our second conclusion is that Zion’s Spiritual significance becomes international!
(This is something very precious for us wherever we live in this world!)
3. ‘ZION’ IS SYNONYMOUS WITH ‘GOD’S PEOPLE’.
[See three sub-sections A, B, C, about this, below.]
The wonderful truth is that we do not worship a God Who is separate and remote ~ far away ~ from His true Believing People. First and foremost ADONAI was in His chosen People, called 'ISRA'EL'.
For some centuries after the Flood, God Who had always
wanted to make Himself known through loving, obedient People, finally
chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants who became
> Gradually Gentile Believers were permitted to become part of them as they totally accepted the worship of ADONAI and His standards of life.
> Lastly, through the wonderful grace of God, through His Son Yeshua/ Jesus, Gentiles who also committed themselves totally to God and His Way of Life, could also be called the ‘People of God’!
> In Psalms they are often called ‘those who feared the LORD’.
[This in no way makes them ‘Jewish’ but they are now part of the spiritual ‘Israel of God’ until Yeshua Messiah returns at His second Coming; making all Believers in Yeshua at the first resurrection, 'ONE' - in every way, literally sharing the whole inheritance of Promised Blessings!]
> Psalm 25 describes God’s People- “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount ZION, which cannot be shaken but endures for ever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His People both now and forevermore. The sceptre of the wicked, [many in the past as well as the present and future] will not remain over the Land allotted to the righteous, for then [they] might¡ do evil.”
> Acts 15: 16-18 could be a reference to the two thoughts that God is Present in a certain Place, but also in people. “After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the LORD and all the Gentiles who bear My Name.”
meant, the literal Temple in Jerusalem, also the "Temple of
God's Presence”, Isaiah 56: 7.
"A place of prayer for all nations.”
Third conclusion: it is a privilege to be ‘God’s People’ but there are Responsibilities!
Sub-section A. ZION - THE PEOPLE - FORSAKEN AND JUDGED.
Being part of
God’s People has a good and happy element, but a serious
There are seven references in Lamentations, (written by Jeremiah), which are ALL sad!
Perhaps we should read and pray over these more - in these testing days we live in?
In Jeremiah chapter 8:19 he laments as if from exile, “Listen to the cry of My people from a land far away; ‘Is the LORD not in ZION”?
How can a King be a king if he has no people to be the king of?
This was the question for Jeremiah and for Ezekiel too. If the people were taken away from Jerusalem as slaves, did that mean GOD was ‘no longer God’ and that ‘ZION’ was non-existent?
This makes Ezekiel’s visions and messages all the more special and interesting, because even in Babylon, God was real!
To show the lack of the “people presence” element of ZION, look at these references.
> Isaiah’s prayer in chapter 64: 10 says, “... even Zion is a desert, Jerusalem a desolation...”
Not only was the physical Jerusalem destroyed but also the absence of God’s people there made Zion, a ‘desert’, and this was foretold, before it had happened!
> Jeremiah prays the same way in chapter 14:19, “...Have You rejected Judah completely? Do You despise Zion? Why have You afflicted us so that we cannot be healed...”?
But the reason is in verse 20, “We have indeed sinned against You.”
> Jeremiah 26:18, “Zion will be ploughed like a field, Jerusalem... a heap of rubble, the Temple hill a mound overgrown...”. (Quoting a prophecy of Micah).
> See Micah chapters 1 & 2 to verse 11, & especially 3:12. Note the words, “because of you (people)”. chapter 1: 5 & 13, also 2: 3, because of false prophets.
> Amos added his voice in warning, chapter 6: “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion...”
Isaiah 33:14 explains why! Where GOD IS - IS JUSTICE... and just judgement!
conclusion: God punished His own people
because He hated the cruelty, injustice in trade, and treatment of
the poor and so much more that besmirched His Name and Character, and
‘broke His heart’.
Sub-section B. ZION - THE PEOPLE - RESTORED AND FORGIVEN!
In Micah 4:7
there is part of a glorious vision of final spiritual restoration
climaxing with the words,
“The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever”. To my understanding this is a time, which has not, happened yet for Isra'el AS A NATION, so it is a day we must pray for to come and it will, soon we believe. See Psalms 72 and especially: 76, Isaiah Ch. 8:17-18, & Ch. 18:7 and especially Isaiah 62!
So we also find that Deliverance for ZION the people, will also mean JUDGEMENT for her enemies.
We read in Jeremiah 50:28, “Listen to the fugitives and refugees from Babylon declaring in ZION how the LORD our GOD has taken vengeance, for HIS TEMPLE”. See also Isaiah 10: 12,
“When the LORD has finished all His work against Mt Zion and Jerusalem, He will say, ‘’I will punish the king of Assyria’ “
Jeremiah 30:17 then says, “But I will restore YOU to health and heal your wounds, says the LORD, because you are called an outcast, ZION for whom no one cares”. See also Isaiah 30:18 &19:
“O people of Zion who live in Jerusalem you will weep no more.”
This also reinforces the idea that just as ‘ZION’ represents God; His Holiness, His Holy presence and His Holy people, the exact opposite is represented by ‘BABYLON’ which is Satan’s Earthly realm, the cruel worldly order and monetary system and evil people who delight to do evil. That is why God’s people are told to “come out of her.” Jer.51: 45. Yet Jeremiah [50: 4&5] gave an even more amazing picture of the Jewish People praying in Babylon! " 'In those days, at that time' declares the LORD, 'the people of Israel and ...Judah, together, will go in tears to seek ADONAI their God. They will ask the way to ZION and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting Covenant, that will not be forgotten'." See ch. 50/ 51!
Fourth conclusion: people, by their collective beliefs and actions can make a city, (or a nation or the world) what it is, - sadly - mostly evil...
But we are waiting for that better City from Heaven! Rev. ch. 21!
WHAT SHOULD OUR ATTITUDE AND MESSAGE BE TO ZION - JEWISH ISRAEL
- THE ‘PEOPLE OF ZION’ - TODAY?
By PROCLAIMING! Bringing this message to the chosen ones of Israel, wherever in the world they are! Isaiah 52:7 “who proclaim peace...who proclaim salvation who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’. “ Isaiah 62:11, “The LORD has made a proclamation to the ends of the Earth: [even N.Z.] Say to the Daughter of Zion, See, you Saviour Comes!” And furthermore this message was given to the Gentiles, to share. In Acts 10:34 -36 Peter brought this message to Gentiles. Also Paul spoke not only of messengers to the chosen of Israel, but in Ephesians 3: 14 -19 prays for the Father’s blessing to be: "Together with all the saints" (like you and me!) This wonderfully fulfils Isaiah chapter 56: 1-8, which although it does not use the word Zion - means it! In other words, God’s Messages of Salvation, peace and blessing through Yeshua/ Jesus should be made known to the entire world! As very unfair and plain cruel methods are being used to defame Israel, and even efforts to undercut the economics of Israel by various Groups (even so called 'Christian' groups), wherever we are we can rebuff and correct these.
Our part is to PRAY for promised Blessings to come to ZION. Isaiah 62:1, “For ZION’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn”. (Please read and pray the whole chapter) Psalm 84:7, that “... they will go from strength to strength till each appears before God in ZION”.
4. EXPECTING A TIME WHEN TRUE ‘ZION’ WILL BE RESTORED!
This is how
our praying for Israel should be linked to the wonderful arguments of
Paul in Romans chapters 9 to 11. How about you? What a goal and
assurance we have!
> Psalm 102: 12-22, “You will arise and have compassion on Zion ~ the time has come.”
> Isaiah 24: 21-23, 52: 1-10, 59: 20 and climaxed in Ch. 60: esp. 14-16
> Zechariah 8: 1-23.
'ZION', LIKE SO MANY WORDS FROM OUR PRECIOUS LORD HAS SO MANY FACETS OF BEAUTIFUL TRUTH LINKED INTO IT, THAT IT IS A DELIGHT TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON SOME OTHER AREAS OF MEANING.
5. YESHUA/ JESUS IS THE PERSONIFICATION OF ZION!
This is a great
mystery, just as it is a mystery how Yeshua/ Jesus can be both our
Priest and our sacrificial Lamb. We find many great mysteries within
Scripture, that our small human minds struggle to understand, but we
can accept by loving faith!
The following are some Scriptures, which beautifully describe Yeshua/Jesus as the most precious element of Zion.
> Isaiah 28:16, “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See I lay a Stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious corner stone for a sure foundation...” In the New Testament 1 Peter chapter 2:6 explains that this ‘precious corner stone’ is Yeshua/ Jesus. Also Romans 9:33:
“See I lay in Zion a Stone and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”
> Isaiah 46:13 says, “I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and My salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, My splendour to Israel”. As I see it, this is Yeshua/ Jesus bringing salvation to people who are chosen, and is the whole message of 1 Peter 2: 4-10!
> Isaiah 14:32, “The Lord has established Zion, and in her His afflicted people will find refuge”:
A place of refuge in a person ¨Yeshua/ Jesus. This is so beautiful!
> Isaiah 61 is well known as one of the ‘Servant passages’ and in verse 3 the theme of comfort, healing, salvation, beauty, oil of joy, and release - is gathered up in the phrase, “For those who grieve in Zion”. In Luke 4:16-21, and Matthew 11:5, Yeshua/ Jesus applied these words to Himself.
> In Romans 11:26, Paul wrote that, “The Deliverer will come from Zion”, quoting from Isaiah and summarising those wonderful chapters 42-45. Also, Isaiah chapter 59:20 is a climax that Paul has picked up on, “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins”.
may like to look at our study on ‘Symbols
& Word Pictures’.]
6. IT IS NO SURPRISE TO SEE THAT IT IS FROM 'ZION' THAT GOD’S WORDS GO FORTH AND HIS WORKS ARE SEEN!
God’s precious messages are from a Person and a
The Place - where the Person: Yeshua/ Jesus, literally taught, died, was buried, rose to resurrection Life and ascended up to Heaven was the literal City of Jerusalem in Israel in the first few years of a new millennium, from which the dates A.D. are noted. Our Faith and Scriptures are from well documented, historical, archaeological sources. For anyone who has genuine doubts about these facts we recommend you research them carefully. Here are some Scriptures that give real promises to us.
> Micah 4:2, “The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem”.
> Isaiah 2:3, also says this. “The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem”.
> Psalm 102:21, “So the Name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and His praise in Jerusalem when the peoples assemble to worship the LORD.” See vs. 13 & 16 also.
> Joel 2:1 & 15 & 32, “Blow the trumpet in Zion... for there will be deliverance...”
> Joel 3:16, “The LORD will roar from Zion... but the LORD will be a Refuge for His People, a stronghold for the people of Israel”. There will be a great revival there!
> Jeremiah 51:10, “Come let us tell in Zion what the LORD our God has done”.
> Isaiah 10:12, “When the LORD has finished all His work against Mt Zion...” Spring-cleaning?
Our God is a perfect Administrator, using Zion as a ‘base’ for His work.
> Psalm 14:7, “Oh that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion”!
It has and will for all Believers, if you see Joel 2: 28 - 32 still to happen!
> Obadiah vs. 17 & 21, “But on Mt Zion will be deliverance”. And, “Deliverers will go up on Mt Zion... and the Kingdom will be the LORD’S”.
Sixth conclusion: God knew we needed clear guidelines to understanding His Truth, so He HAS given them to us in His Word.
7. WHAT DOES IT MEAN BEING, “BLESSED OUT OF ZION”?
whatever ‘Zion’ represents of
God’s blessings in His Presence, or Personal representative in
Yeshua/ Jesus, and His Word, and His true People, can be
ours now, spiritually by faith, too!
> Psalm 14:7, “O that salvation for Israel would come out of Mt Zion”. It has, in the death of God's Son Who took the punishment for my sin!
> Psalm 20:2, “May the Name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the Sanctuary, and grant you support from Zion”. A lovely prayer - if prayed in the Name of Jesus!
> Psalm 110:2, To the Messiah, “The LORD will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion; You will rule in the midst of Your enemies.” No-one needs to be God’s enemy.
> Psalm 53:6,“O that salvation for Israel would come out of Mt Zion”. Again - and for all who accept Yeshua's sacrifice on the cross by faith!
> Psalm 128:5, “May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life”. Eternal Life with no more fear of death, as we trust in Jesus!
> Psalm 134:3, “May the LORD, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, bless you from Zion.” Every blessing of forgiveness, prayer, comfort... is ours.
Any prayer repeated in Scripture must be a precious word of blessing!
> Psalm 135:21,“Praise be to the LORD from Zion, to Him Who dwells in Jerusalem.”
8. AND WE MAY ALL, JEWS AND NON-JEWS, BE PART OF ZION!
Hebrews 12:22 says
“but you have come to Mount Zion,
to the Heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the Living God”! Vs.
23, “You have come to GOD - to Jesus the Mediator.”
In Joel 3:17 we have words of assurance for the exiles: “Then you will KNOW that I, the LORD your GOD, dwell in Zion, My Holy hill, Jerusalem will be holy...” And in the last sentence of the last verse - 21 - “THE LORD DWELLS IN ZION”. Compare this with the last sentence in Ezekiel, “and the name of the city from that time on will be: The LORD is there”. (Hebrew: ‘YAWEH SHAMAH’) A Spiritual reality on this Earth!
our final conclusion must be, that
ZION is where GOD, ADONAI Shaddai ~ is, and He even desires us to be
What a wonderful thought!
Isaiah tells us this in chapter 57:15,
“For this is what the High and Lofty One says - He who lives forever,
Whose name is Holy: “I live in a high and holy place...
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit”.
We pray that all who read this anywhere in this world will prove this.
Here are the words of a famous sacred song, by a man called John Newton.
[The ancient forms of English have been changed for modern speakers of English.]
Beautiful thoughts gathered up into the verses as described above:
~ THINGS SAID ABOUT ZION ARE GLORIOUS, ETERNAL, TRUTHS! ~
things of you are spoken,
Zion, City of our God!
He Whose Word cannot be broken
Formed you for His own abode.
On the ‘Rock of Ages’ founded,
Who can shake your sure repose?
With Salvation’s walls surrounded
You can smile at all your foes!
See the streams of Living waters,
Springing from Eternal Love ¨
Well supply your sons and daughters,
And all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a River,
Ever flows your thirst to aswage,
Grace, which like the LORD, the Giver,
Never fails from age to age!
Round each habitation hovering,
See the cloud and fire appear,
Full of Glory and a Covering ¨
Showing that the LORD is near!
He Who gives the daily manna,
He Who listens when we cry,
Let Him hear the loud ‘Hosanna’s’
Rising to His Throne on high.
Saviour, if of Zion’s City
I through grace a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in YOUR Name
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show...
Solid joys and lasting treasure
NONE but ZION’S Children know!
Thank you for reading this study, may it really encourage and thrill you, as it has for me (the writer.) Please share it with others, and by our PRAYERS we can all be part of the 'Re-building of ZION, for the spiritual salvation of "all Israel" and the GLORY OF GOD. AMEN!