In the natural, we understand that many who live in the capital of a nation have higher social standings than those who live out in the remote countryside. This is because a capital is not only the political center of the nation, but is often an economic, educational, and military center. Furthermore, if you live or work at the national palace or the ‘White House,’ you could hold a very high position.
We find a similar spiritual parallel in the Scriptures. Psalm 76:1-2 tells us, “In Judah God is known, His name is great in Israel. In Salem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion.” Here we can see a greater spiritual knowledge as we are brought into the geographical center of God’s people. On the outside, among all the Israelites, God’s name is great. As the focus shifts to the most important province, we find a higher level of spiritual awareness: “in Judah God is known.” This is a higher spiritual level, as there are many people who know that God’s name is great, yet they do not personally know the Lord. Then as we narrow down the search to examine the center of the nation, we come to the capital. Here in Jerusalem, we find a much higher spiritual experience, for Jerusalem has God’s tabernacle, and on Mount Zion, in particular, is God’s dwelling place.
All the Israelites were God’s people, who could prepare for an eternal reward in heaven. Some were offered higher callings than others, such as the tribe of Judah that gained the kingship. Yet the people who lived on Zion were in the very center of the action because the throne of David and the worship at the ark was there.
Accordingly, Zion became synonymous with the high calling of God that was available to God’s people in the Old Testament. Those born in Zion were given high honor, Ps.87:1-6. Mount Zion was a place of joy and safety, the city of the great King, Ps.48:1-14. The people will see God in Zion, Ps.84:7. There the Lord will appear in glory, Ps.102:16.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ZION IN THE CHURCH AGE
Many of the Old Testament prophets went on to see the growing spiritual significance of Zion in the time of the Church Age. In Amos 9:11-12 it was prophesied that the Tabernacle of David (on Zion) was going to be rebuilt. The early Church leaders understood that this would be spiritually fulfilled in the Church (study Acts 15:14-17).
Isaiah saw that revival in the last days would come to Zion. He declared, “When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering,”Is.4:4-5. A generally accepted interpretation of this prophecy is that it will be fulfilled in the Church of the last days. Those who accept the purging and dealings of the Holy Spirit will be prepared for glorious revival!
Obadiah had a further revelation about Zion. He saw that the conflict between the descendants of Jacob and Esau would be brought to final victory on Mount Zion. This is prophetic of the conflict between the ungodly and the righteous in the last days. The final victory of the righteous is described in this way, in verse 21: “Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” These ‘saviors,’ also translated as ‘deliverers’ in many Bible versions, do not singularly speak of the work of Christ at the end of this age. It speaks collectively of the overcoming saints, the sons of God whom the world is waiting to see revealed, Rom.8:19-21.