What is the biblical significance of Zion? What is Zion? What is Mount Zion?
The first instance of the word Zion in the Bible is in 2 Samuel, and says, "David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David" (2 Samuel 5:7). We can gather from this and other similar verses (1 Kings 8:1; 1 Chronicles 11:5; 2 Chronicles 5:2) that Zion and the City of David are meant to be synonymous. The Davidic Covenant, which prophesies the greatness of Solomon's rule, also prophesies that an Eternal Kingdom will come from David's line (2 Samuel 7:12-16). When Zion is mentioned in subsequent passages, it carries a spiritual, eternal meaning—just as King David was a temporal version of the eternal King, Jesus Christ, the "city of David" was a temporal shadow of the eternal and spiritual city, Zion, where Christ will reign.
Zion is described in the Psalms as "the City of our God" and a place that belongs to Him. Situated on a high mountain, it is called "the joy of all the earth" and "the perfection of beauty" (Psalm 48; 50:2). It is the city that God will "establish forever" and from which the kings of other nations will flee in panic (Psalm 48:4-8). Because of these descriptions, it is rational to assume that Zion is the location of Christ's rule on earth during the millennial kingdom (Revelation 12:5; Revelation 20:4-6; Psalm 69:35). Repeatedly, when the nation of Israel is favored or promised future glory, Zion is mentioned (Psalm 102:16; Psalm 99:2; Psalm 126:1; Psalm 128:5). Zion is the place from which "the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore" (Psalm 133:3). Zion can be thought of as the spiritual and future eternal Jerusalem (Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 33:20). "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10).
Zion is contrasted with Babylon, the place of exile (Psalm 137:1) where their captors taunted them, saying "sing us one of the songs of Zion!" (Psalm 137:3). Just as Zion is both a real and a spiritual place, Babylon is its opposite: a real place that has a symbolic, spiritual counterpart as the persecutor of God's people and a city of evil (Revelation 18:1-24). Mount Zion, the physical place, is on a hill just outside of Jerusalem's wall. It has been associated with the Temple Mount, but also with the western hill. The entire land of Israel has also been referred to as Mount Zion.
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