Other Old Testament prophets continued to have an expanded vision of Zion’s purposes not only in the last days but also into the Millennium. Micah and Isaiah both prophesied that Mount Zion would be exalted to lead and teach the nations. We read, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off…nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more…so the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.” –Micah 4:1-3 & 6-7.
This prophecy can speak of how the Lord will exalt His Church in the last days, but its complete fulfillment will be during the millennium. In Psalms 2 and 110, we can further read how King David prophesied that the Messiah would reign from Zion. Just as King David ruled over his great international empire from Zion; even so the Lord Jesus, the Son of David, will rule the world from Zion during the millennium. The nations of the earth will send their delegations every year to Jerusalem to worship the King of kings, the Lord Jesus, Zech.14:16-17.
So we can see throughout the Old Testament that Zion was the place where authority (the throne of the king) and God’s worship and glory (the ark of God) were revealed. This authority and glory from Zion were prophesied to be spread throughout the world through the Church. Then during the millennium, it will continue to be revealed to the nations from Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where the King of kings will rule and be worshipped.
THE HEAVENLY ZION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
As we go on to study the New Testament, we find that the vision of Zion is lifted much higher. From the heights of world dominion in the Old Testament, Mount Zion is revealed in the New Testament as the heavenly center of God’s presence and glory!
In Hebrews 12:22-24 we read the following about the heavenly destination of the Christian: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”
Here we see that there is a heavenly Mount Zion and Jerusalem, just as there is an earthly Mount Zion and Jerusalem. This heavenly Jerusalem is described for us in Revelation chapter 21. Just as there is a location in the earthly city of Jerusalem called Mount Zion, where the throne of the king and the worship of God was located, we find this is also true of the heavenly city. In Revelation 14:1-3 we read, “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.”
This scripture reveals that those who will stand with the Lamb on the heavenly Mount Zion will be singing their worship before the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders. This clearly shows us that the heavenly Mount Zion is at the throne of God Almighty as described in Revelation chapter 4. So just as the earthly Zion is the place of the throne and of worship, we find that the true Zion in heaven is at the throne of God and is the center of worship.
Many people have had visions and dreams of the various parts of heaven. There are the floral gardens and forested areas of the outer paradise. There is also the heavenly city, with many streets, people, and places where various events take place. But the most wonderful place of all is at the throne of God where His glory, power, and worship are fully revealed. This is the heavenly Mount Zion!
When new converts or ‘babes in Christ’ go to heaven, they first arrive at the outer edges of paradise. The beauty and joy that they partake of there are overwhelming, and they may stay there for a long time to get adjusted to these lesser glories of heaven.
Other saints may be ready to enter the heavenly city when they die. They find that this city has twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Israel, Rev.21:12-13. These gates also speak of the various spiritual experiences that the Israelite tribes had entered into. According to their own spiritual experiences on earth, the saints will find entrance into the various parts of the heavenly city where they will be with others of similar calling and development.
However, the highest place of authority and glory will be given to those who are around the throne of God. Not everyone will be prepared or will qualify for this level of experience. We can study in the Scriptures how the resurrected saints will each be filled with varying amounts of glory, just as the stars, moon, and sun shining in the sky (see 1 Cor.15:41-42 & Dan.12:2-3). The saints will each be ready for different levels of authority, such as kings, governors, and mayors (study Rev.2:26-27; Jer.30:9; Mt.19:28; and Lk.19:11-17). And as we have already considered with the parallel of the ancient nation of Israel, we can remember that only some of the Israelites lived in Jerusalem, and fewer still lived near the throne on Mount Zion.