The Zion of the Bible is a place of great importance. It is a place appointed by the Lord where his people can live and serve God. It is a witness to many Biblical events that go way before the birth of Jesus Christ and refers to the “city of holiness” and the “city of refuge,” where the Lord protects his people.
The name “Zion” pertains to more than one place. There are times when this name is used in a more general sense than a specific location. Hence, there is confusion as to what Zion alludes to. One wonders if Zion is a place or if it could have meant something more to us as followers of Christ.
What Is The Meaning Of Zion In The Bible?
There are more than 150 mentions of the word “Zion” in the Bible. Each time this word was mentioned, it was used in a different context, so there can be some confusion as to what Zion really is about.
The word “Zion” has been referred to most of the time as a “fortification.” It is more like a bastion or a wall of defense that protects anyone behind it from any attack.
We can go to the very first citation of the word “Zion” in the Bible, which is in 2 Samuel 5:7. The Scripture says that David “captured the fortress of Zion.” This ancient Jebusite fortress was then named the “City of David.”
The City of David is only a piece of a mountainous region in Jerusalem. Although on many occasions Zion is described as the city of Jerusalem itself, at times the name is also used to refer to the entirety of Israel. Therefore, many people use the names “Zion,” “Jerusalem,” and “Israel” interchangeably as they all pertain to the same place.
Another hint from the Old Testament is that Zion should not be confined to a high mountain or a piece of land in Jerusalem. It is not just a place that David conquered to be the center of Israel’s power—Zion refers to the Kingdom of God, or the “heavenly Jerusalem,” which encompasses heaven and everything else here on Earth.
What Is The Biblical Significance Of Zion?
Even though the first mention of Zion in the Bible is during David’s conquest of the southern region of Jerusalem, its biblical meaning goes a long way before that.
The hills of this sacred land served as witnesses to the miraculous deeds of our Almighty Father before it was called Zion. It was in the City of David that God spoke to Abraham to test his faith. Abraham agreed to sacrifice his only child—the child that he and his wife had long prayed to conceive.
Abraham bound his son, as God instructed him to do. He exhibited his unwavering faith that God would show mercy and accept a lamb as an offering instead of his own son.
It was also in the place that would be called Zion that Jacob had a dream that he was permitted to climb to the heavenly kingdom. According to the Old Testament, his dream was God’s reassurance to Jacob that his effort to lead the Israelites to the promised land would be rewarded.
After King David captured the Citadel of Zion, it became the site of his atonement for his sins. He offered oxen as a sacrifice so that God would hear him. Later on, during the reign of Solomon, the new king of Israel would build a great temple to become the house of the Lord and a place where people could worship God.
What Is Mount Zion?
Zion is known as the City of David, where the people of Israel reside. Mount Zion was the name given to the fortified city on the lower part of ancient Jerusalem’s Eastern Hill.
However, the western hill found in this region was referred to as the modern Mount Zion. Formerly known as Mount Moriah, it is the same hill where Solomon built the temple of worship for the Almighty Father.
From here, we can see how it can be confusing that the word “Zion” is used to name both a lone hill and an old city, although Mount Zion has become the primary representation of the land of Israel.
It should be noted that Mount Zion, as the Israelites’ homeland, deserves a much deeper context. The subsequent mentions of Mount Zion in the Bible after Solomon suggest that it is no longer just the city of David or the city of Jerusalem. Mount Zion is already the Kingdom of God itself.
What Does Mount Zion Symbolize?
The sacred Scripture provides the details as to what Mount Zion really signifies. Revelation 1:8 states that in this place, the children of God will have a glimpse of the holy appearance of the Almighty Father, “as He was, as He is, and as He will be.” In this verse, we are informed that Zion signifies the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the New Testament, “Zion” refers to the heavenly city of Jerusalem. By dwelling in Mount Zion, we are given a preview of what it is like to live in the heavenly kingdom. Our faith in the Lord is tied to the hope that one day we will live in eternal paradise together with our Creator.
However, there are many challenges that stray us away from Zion. These challenges can make even the most faithful question the existence of the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is where our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, enters the picture. Jesus is the chosen and precious cornerstone of the heavenly kingdom and the metaphorical equivalent of Mount Zion itself. He is our connection to the Almighty Father, making sure that our path to Mount Zion is secured.
The teachings of Jesus serve as the Christian’s spiritual foundation to access the heavenly kingdom. The words of Christ parallel the stones that formed the very foundation of the temple Solomon built on top of Mount Zion.
Why Is Mount Zion Important?
The place where Mount Zion stood is now a historical and cultural landmark, where hundreds of thousands of tourists flock every year. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience indeed to explore the temple mount, where the Almighty Father spoke to his prophets.
However, one does not need to stand in the exact place where David and Solomon stood to experience the presence of God. Mount Zion’s significance extends beyond its physical manifestation—the existence of what is known as “spiritual Zion.”
The spiritual importance of Zion is what matters the most, for it is there that we can truly dwell in the presence of our Lord. As Christians, we are given this privilege and honor to reside in the Kingdom of Heaven, and it is only through our faith in God that we can achieve this.
Thanks to the body and blood of Christ, which He freely offered on Calvary for our salvation, we are given the chance to walk on the holy mountain. This is only a preview of far greater things that we will experience in heavenly Jerusalem or eternal Zion. One day, we will enjoy its paradise and finally meet our Almighty Creator “face to face.”
True to the definition of the word “Zion,” our living God is the stronghold standing against the worldly forces that seek to destroy us. We can take refuge and be forever protected in the Kingdom of Heaven.
This protection is not exclusive to the descendants of the Jews, but it is offered to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ, the precious cornerstone of Zion, as their Lord and Savior. By truly believing in Him, we could inherit Zion as our spiritual fortress.
We are constantly reminded to follow the example of Christ, the literal cornerstone of the spiritual Zion. We must also understand that Zion is more than a physical entity or place. Knowing its biblical meaning is key to determining our path toward eternal salvation.
The spiritual meaning of Zion is a testament to God’s promise that whoever believes in Him will live a life forevermore in paradise. To dwell in Zion is to believe in Jesus and all His teachings. He is the only way that we can be a part of the New Jerusalem.
The Bible teaches us that all of God’s people, including the non-believers, are always invited to participate in the future glory of eternal Zion. God loves all of His children so much that we are given an equal chance to enter His heavenly kingdom, as long as we repent for our sins and accept Him fully as our Creator.