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If you have seen the word Zion when you read the bible and not fully grasped its significance...read on. It is not just a nice-sounding catchphrase, or something with an obscure reference to the church, which it is of course, but it is something that is very dear to the heart of God.
I will not get into too much end time bible prophecy at this point, other than to say that...if we really want to see the Lord’s return as He promised, we need to look up...for our redemption draweth nigh. Jesus said this in Luke 21:28 when He spoke on such matters.
Notice the word begin in the text. This simply means that it is but the beginning, not the be all and end all. Here and in Matthew 24 in particular, the Lord spoke of several different things, some of which include end time events. They are not all the same and they do not refer to everyone or to the same periods of time. We need always be mindful that God deals with three differing groups of peoples, namely the Jew, the Church and the Goyim or heathen.
God has more than two covenants with man.
When God has said something, it behooves us to find out what He is actually saying, to whom He is saying it and under what circumstances and conditions.
If God said something about Zion, we would do well to investigate it.
I shall hopefully show you some things on this page that you might not have seen before that could change your life.
Many Christians consider the Church to be “Spiritual Zion”. I am not going to debate that, but a problem emerges when it is thought that the church has “replaced” Israel. It has not. We should never forget the Jewish heritage on which it is built and that Jesus was a Jew. After all, He came to His own people (first) and as I have often said, the “Jews” did not crucify Him—the Romans did that. The religious leaders orchestrated it because He threatened them and their control over the ordinary people.
When we think of Zion, there is much to consider—something of deep significance.
Because of what Jesus did, you and I can now come boldly into God’s presence when we have personally applied that blood by faith the moment we are reborn, without the need for any other intermediary.
What then of Zion? Well, Zion is mentioned often in scripture as we shall see. Doubtless, you have heard of the conflicts that exist in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem when certain Arabs contend over the land, often violently. It is not their land and never was. To be blunt, Palestine never really existed as a nation. The covenant promises that God made were to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants. The land was promised to them and the Dome of the Rock was not really a sacred site at all. In fact, if you look deeply into the whole affair, Muslims do not really pray there as they purport. They pray towards Mecca!
This is all a spiritual issue whereby the enemy is attempting to undermine God’s authrority and negate His promises that are not only towards Jews but to you and to me. David said-
Somewhere down the line, we fit into this. I have to ask myself, “Am I one of his brethren? Am I one of his companions?” If you and I link up in some way with David and with Jesus, surely we have to associate somehow with this. I felt challenged when I saw this. We tend to think of ourselves often but here the Psalmist referred to “my brethren and companions’ sakes” and “because of the house of the Lord”. We think of “my ministry” or “our church, but should be Kindgom minded. If you and I are not praying accordingly, are we being disobedient somehow? It was a sobering thought. Please notice also the reference to Set thrones of judgment and the house of David.
Zion is located on the eastern-most of the ridges on which Jerusalem is built. The Canaanites thought that the assembly of the gods met there in the far northern part, so it was a religious center then, just as it is now to the whole world. Ezekiel said that Zion was the navel of the earth (Ezekiel 38:12), but the “holiness” of the place does not depend on any of those things, but in the fact that God eventually chose to dwell there. The numerous religious shrines are merely man-made objects that sadly have become venerated to the extreme almost to the point of idolatry, regardless of their supposed significance—places where churches and monuments are erected as memorials where something happened and we are not really sure if they are the actual places anyhow. Such places have no intrinsic holiness at all, but if I visited Israel (which I would like to do) I would also visit them.
Other than a reference to Mount Moriah where Abraham offered Isaac (see Genesis 22:2, 14; 2 Chronicles 3:1). Zion does not appear until David’s time when he captured it in 2 Samuel 5:7. It then became known as the city of David, but it was still just a “place”... a piece of real estate. The place where God really revealed Himself was in the Tabernacle and especially in the ark of the covenant.
I urge you to read chapter seven carefully, where David expressed his desire to build a permanent home for God, proclaiming the goodness and greatness of God. God responded by declaring that there would be an heir of David and that this heir would establish a kingdom and rule forever. We now know that such statements here and elsewhere referrred to Jesus.
Zion is thus linked forever with Jerusalem and with the Church. Interstingly, it might never have “started”
If we regard Zion as a type of the Church, we can say that we are like that and God can say that He is married to us. But in the context of the words of Jeremiah, the relationship is far from perfect. Some of God’s language is strong saying that some of us have committed spiritual adultery. How can this be? Well, how powerful is our love relationship? Have we allowed something else to take more priority in our lives, relegating Him to second place? Is our worship pure and from the heart or cold and formalized? Have we lost our first love—that joy and freshness and excitement we had when we were first saved? Is reading the word of God a chore and praying an annoyance or something done mechanically? We are called to be disciples of Jesus and there is something “magical” (for want of a better word) about having such a degree of personal intimacy that we are the apple of His eye.
This intimacy I mentioned is often seen in scripture, especially when God likened Himself to a husband to Israel as we have seen. The scriptural description of marriage is that a man leaves his parents’ home, cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh. The unique closeness we can enjoy with the Lord is supposed to be in closeness like that.
There is something Jesus said that I would like you to consider.
In John 17, Jesus prayed for us...and This...is the Lord’s Prayer, not the “our Father” that is religiously quoted repetitively as if it were a poem without effect. what He said is something extroardinary-
That word “know” is ginōskō and it describes the deepest form of intimacy possible between two individuals. The bible uses such terms to describe intimacy as in marriage when “Adam knew his wife and she conceived”. Religion as such can never create this intimacy because it puts God in a different position as if He is far distant from us, that we can never experience such closeness, that we have to serve Him, adhere to certain practices, beliefs and rituals and the like. God wants to walk with us and relate with us in such personal intimacy we can call Him “Daddy” as seen in Romans 8:15-17. Having said that, we must not become too “familiar” and forget that He is still...God!
In John 17, Jesus spoke in terms like I am in You and You are in Me and that We can be in Them (you and me). We can be in Him... all intertwined and if we are all one. If you think I am being a little over the top here, think of what Paul said about Christ being In us...the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). These kinds of things Paul spoke about in Colossians and elsewhere are mysteries or treasures that are hid in Christ, but God wants them to be revealed.
I hope that you can see this. It is far more important than we often realize especially if we link it with Zion.
God’s plan was for all mankind to come into relationship with Himself and it has taken on several aspects. It is a progressive and unfolding revelation that started with the Jews, but was not meant to be restricted only to them.
Let me bring this to a close now by looking again at Israel, Jerusalem and Zion.
In everyday life then we can rest assured that this relationship, regardless of conditions, situations and circumstances, this relationship is never broken, but God wants all men to know this. How can they know if we do not tell them? How can they know if they do not see it in us? Even when things are not going well, we can have Jesus’ peace and others around us can see it. What does someone else see and hear when they encounter us? What are our words and actions like? Some people will never own a bible but they can read us! Some folk will never enter a church, little realizing that we are the church. You know what I mean here and I speak to myself also. Isaiah said-
He desires a personal relationship, not a distant one. We see references to Moses...My servant and Abraham...My friend. Jesus could say, Robert...My brother!
How does He regard you?
I could share much more along such lines, but I think I have painted the picture.
God wants everyone to know Him and to now the truth that, as Jesus said, shall be a liberating force within, but someone has to tell the story.
The good news...the news about what Jesus did and who He is must be declared. This declaration...the word of the Lord emanates from people like you and me... spiritual Jerusalem or Zion. If we don't say it, who will?
I hope this has been a blessing and especially hope that it has stirred your heart...
One day, we shall be literally in a New and Heavenly Jerusalem! See you there.