What is Zion

What is Zion

The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 60:14)

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, …….. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18, 22-24)

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (1 Peter 2:6)

“What is Zion? What is Mount Zion? What is the biblical meaning of Zion?”

Psalm 87:2-3 says, “The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God.” Occurring over 150 times in the Bible, the word “Zion” essentially means “fortification.” In the Bible, Zion is both the city of David and the city of God. As the Bible progresses, the word “Zion” transitions from referring primarily to a physical city to having a more spiritual meaning.
The first mention of the word “Zion” in the Bible is 2 Samuel 5:7:

“Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.” “Zion,” therefore, was originally the name of the ancient Jebusite fortress in the city of Jerusalem. “Zion” came to stand not only for the fortress but also for city in which the fortress stood.

After David captured “the stronghold of Zion,” Zion was then called “the City of David” (1 Kings 8:1; 1 Chronicles 11:5; 2 Chronicles 5:2).
When Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, “Zion” expanded in meaning to include the temple and the area surrounding it (Psalms 2:6; 48:2, 11-12; 132:13). “Zion” was eventually used as a name for the city of Jerusalem, the land of Judah, and the people of Israel as a whole (Isaiah 40:9; Jeremiah 31:12; Zechariah 9:13).
The most important use of the word “Zion” is in a theological sense. “Zion” is used figuratively of Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 60:14). The spiritual meaning of “Zion” is continued in the New Testament, where it is given the Christian meaning of God’s spiritual kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1). Peter refers to Christ as the Cornerstone of Zion: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6).

Coming to Mount Zion

by Ray Stedman

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, …….. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18, 22-24)

The writer is here speaking of that which motivates us in the Christian life. We are not to be driven by fear. Not by the Law with its demands upon us, Do this, or else. Not by self-effort, not by the gritted teeth and the clenched fist and a determination that we are going to serve God. If we serve because we are afraid, as the Law frightened Israel in the terrible scene on Mt. Sinai, we will lose something from God.

It is not fear that is our motive; it is fullness, it is what God has given us.

You have come not to this Mount Sinai, but to Mount Zion, the place of grace; and to the new Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come under a new government. And to angels. Angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who are to be the heirs of salvation, i.e., Christians. And to the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven.

This is those who are born in Christ, sharing his life with our names written in heaven. And to God, the judge of all, whether they are Christians or not. And to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

These are the Old Testament saints, men and women of God who lived in the days when the promise was given before the cross, who looked forward by faith and who are waiting now for us. And to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. A mediator is not someone up in heaven somewhere, in some distant reach of space; he is an indwelling Christ. He is available to us. He is right here to be our strength, our righteousness, our wisdom, whatever we need.

When Abel’s blood was shed it cried out for vengeance, as the book of Genesis tells us, but Jesus’ blood did not speak of vengeance — it speaks of access, of vindication, of the fact there is no problem between us and God that is not settled by his blood. There is no longer any question of guilt. We can come completely accepted in the Beloved.

Thus, with all this on our side there is no need to fail, is there? That is the point he is making. Certainly it gets rough, certainly it gets discouraging, surely there are times when the pressures are intense, but have you reckoned on your resources? Have you forgotten them?

Have we entered Mt. Zion, where joy and freedom from fear is our spiritual heritage? Is our worship and our works motivated by God’s grace, and His love which casts out fear ?

Gracious Father, we are so grateful that by grace you have led us to Mount Zion. Now help us to stand strong, and to be yours in every circumstance of life.

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