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Tuesday, February 28 2012

The Zion Prophecy

It is extremely difficult to correctly understand Holy Bible prophecy if one is unaware of, or simply disregards and ignores, the past as it is actually recorded. Millions of people have, in that way, deliberately (i.e. defiantly) or not, interpreted their "favorite" parts of the Bible to suit themselves, as though the people or the places in the Holy Bible are "really about us, where we happen to be." They hijack the Word of God to satisfy their self-idolatry by counterfeiting themselves as the people that are actually spoken of in the Word of God.

Mount Zion "Zion" or "Zionism" is a prime example. It is one of the most hated (by some people, usually anti-Semitic racists and bigots) or perverted (by some people, who claim their man-made religions to be "Zion," with their fantasy "temples" built in places far from Jerusalem; see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and Toy Bibles) subjects in the Bible. Ironically, as we will read, even the people of Judah ("Jew" is merely an abbreviation of Judah, one of the Israelite tribes, named after Jacob/Israel's son Judah; see Who Were The First Jews?) have reduced the actual Scriptural meaning and purpose of "Zion" and "Zionism" to mean only themselves; they have become as self-worshiping as the Christian-professing people who ignore what Jesus Christ actually taught, because it's the same LORD.

"Zion" and "Zionism" have always been about Jesus Christ. Abraham knew it (see A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem) before the people of Israel even existed. Moses, who was given to fulfill the Exodus prophecy given to Abraham (see The Exodus Prophecy), knew it:

"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ [see The Rock Of The Church]." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 KJV)

But what does the word "Zion" mean, and why was that meaning used in prophecy about the Messiah?

The English word "Zion" is a translated rendering of the Hebrew word, pronounced tsee-yone, which originally simply meant an elevated place, or height, with an applied meaning to be bright. Elevated places are naturally more exposed to sunlight and therefore are seen "shining" from lower elevations, but the meaning is also used in its ultimate purpose in such verses as "50:2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined" (Psalm 50:2 KJV).

In Jerusalem, "Zion" was the name given to one of the highest hills in Jerusalem. Mount Zion is slightly higher than Mount Moriah (the "Temple Mount"), while the nearby Mount of Olives is slightly higher still. It was, literally, a natural place for a ruler to be sited - just was, and is, the four-winds "threshing floor" that became the Temple Mount (which also was chosen for its Messianic prophetic significance; see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff).

Ancient Jerusalem The first specific mention of "Zion" in the Holy Scriptures was when King David took the city of Jerusalem, as directed by the LORD when David was still in Hebron (see Why Bethlehem, Hebron And Jerusalem? and A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David).

"5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel [see The Civil War Kings] to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 5:2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.

5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.

5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.

5:6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites [see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan], the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 5:7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.

5:8 And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. 5:9 So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward." (2 Samuel 5:1-9 KJV)

The LORD gave David a command, and a warning, about Jerusalem, and about Zion: "the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation." Notice carefully the "If" in "If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore," and that Zion was the habitation of the LORD "for ever." Zion is in Jerusalem, not anyone's imagination (i.e. image-nation - a counterfeit of God's true Promised Land that, as we will read, has yet to come).

"132:11 The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. 132:12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore. 132:13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. 132:14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it." (Psalm 132:11-14 KJV)

It was King David's son and successor, King Solomon (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Glory Of Solomon), who built the Temple (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Temple Of The LORD).

The Holy Place

"8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

8:2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. 8:3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. 8:4 And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels [see The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today] that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites [see Are Levites 'Jews'?] bring up. 8:5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.

8:6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims. 8:7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. 8:8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day. 8:9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb [see The Stones Of Mount Sinai], when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, 8:11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD." (1 Kings 8:1-11 KJV)

The kings of Israel, and then Israel and Judah after the division of Israel (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah), did not heed the warning that was given to King David and his successors (the "if" in "If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony" that we read above) and so they were brought down to ruin. The LORD however never surrendered His Zion to anyone. For example, when the Assyrians mocked and blasphemed the LORD of Zion, the LORD annihilated their army.

"19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 19:21 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him;

The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. 19:22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel." (2 Kings 19:20-22 KJV)

"19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 19:36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 19:37 And it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead." (2 Kings 19:35-37 KJV)

The Second Temple

Many regard what happened to the Assyrian army to be merely a historic event, but it moreover prophesied how the LORD will rule, with a rod of iron," from Zion. Even King David knew it in his own time.

"2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 2:5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." (Psalm 2:4-9 KJV)

"Zion" belongs to the LORD, the reason that He proclaimed "I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury." He is "jealous" of how "Zion" has been perverted and counterfeited - all of which will end when "I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth."

"8:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. 8:3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain." (Zechariah 8:2-3 KJV)

The return of the LORD to Zion will be in a day of great signs from the heavens in which His Power will be known, to those who have yet to take heed of it.

"24:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." (Isaiah 24:23 KJV)

"2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand" (Joel 2:1 KJV)

It will be the day when Truth begins to reign, over all of the Earth, from Zion.

Earth

"3:15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 3:16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

3:17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

3:18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim." (Joel 3:15-18 KJV)

It will be then that "out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem," so that the famous "he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (as found in both Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3) will be fulfilled. There won't be any make-believe "Zionists," Christian-professing or Jewish, on that day.

"2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:2-3 KJV)

Notice also that the people of Israel (the "lost ten tribes") and Judah (the Jews of today) will also "seek the LORD their God" at Zion, because they have "been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray."

"50:4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God. 50:5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.

50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace." (Jeremiah 50:4-6 KJV)

Fact Finder: What is the true "Gospel"?
See The True Gospel Of Christ; see also What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?


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This Day In History, February 28

202 BC: Liu Bang became Emperor Gaozu of Han, beginning four centuries of the Han Dynasty of China.

1066: Westminster Abbey opened. Originally an abbey church of Benedictine monks, it became a national shrine of Britain.

1525: Aztec King Cuauhtemoc was executed by the forces of Hernan Cortes.

1638: The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.

1692: The Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria began.

1759: Pope Clement XIII granted permission for the Bible to be translated into the languages of the Roman Catholic states - provided that it was read and "interpreted" only by Catholic priests.

1784: John Wesley of the Church of England established his "Methodist Church" (also known as "the Wesleyan faith" or "the Methodists").

1825: A treaty was signed between Britain and Russia settling the border between Canada and Alaska. Alaska was then a Russian province.

1843: The Great March Comet of 1843 made its closest approach to the sun, only 120,000 km., less than a tenth of the solar diameter. For a few hours that day, the comet outshone any comet seen in the previous 7 centuries. Burning in the daytime sky like a brilliant, tailed star less than 1 degree from the limb of the sun, the comet's astronomical magnitude may have reached -17, more than 60 times brighter than the full moon. The tail eventually reached a length of 68 degrees, 3 weeks after perihelion, estimated to have stretched 300,000,000 km. across the inner solar system. The last time a comet was seen that close to the sun was in 1106.

1844: On the Potomac River, the U.S. navy was demonstrating its new frigate Princeton when one of its guns exploded, killing Secretary of State Abel Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas Gilmer and some other government officials.

1917: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), total ships sunk for the month by German submarines: 212.

1922: Britain declared Egypt's independence (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire), while keeping control of the Suez Canal (see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1940: British Colonial Secretary MacDonald terminated all further land sales to Jews in "Palestine" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism). The move was officially intended to prevent arousing the Arabs, thereby destabilizing the region, which would have benefited Nazi Germany.

1940: The superliner Queen Elizabeth was launched in Britain.

1948: The last British troops left India which had then become independent.

1954: The U.S. detonated its second hydrogen bomb, at Bikini atoll. The expected yield of the weapon of mass destruction was 8 megatons; the actual yield turned out to be 15 megatons.

1969: A Los Angeles court refused Robert Kennedy's assassin Sirhan Sirhan's request to be executed.

1974: The U.S. and Egypt re-established diplomatic relations after 7 years.

1993: The siege at Waco, Texas, began after U.S. federal agents tried to serve an arrest warrant for weapons charges on Branch Davidian sect leader David Koresh.

1996: Russia entered as the 39th member of the Council of Europe.

1997: An earthquake in northern Iran killed over 3,000 people.





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