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Saturday, July 28 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Zion
"David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David"
Jerusalem was a foreign city to the Israelites until after the Civil War between Saul and David (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Saul and David and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War). When David was proclaimed king over all of Israel, the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?) commanded him to move his capital from Hebron to "Jebus," or "the Jebusite city," as it was then known.
"5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jacob's Family and Where Jacob Became Israel] 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.
"Zion" is a translation of the Hebrew word, pronounced tsee-yone, which originally meant an elevated place, or height, with an applied meaning to be bright. Elevated places are naturally more exposed to sunlight and therefore are often seen "shining" from lower elevations, but the meaning is also perceived 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 (see the map below). It was, literally, a natural place for a ruler to be sited - just was, and is, the nearby four-winds "threshing floor" that became the Temple Mount (see David's Altar).
"5:6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, 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.
David then established his throne and his family at and in "Zion" - the very place, as we will read, where David's Messianic descendant will rule, not just Judah or Israel, but all of the world.
"5:11 And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house. 5:12 And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake.
King David understood the prophetic significance, not only of "Zion," but of himself. Notice also that David was aware of one of the most well-known prophecies of the Book of Revelation (written by the apostle John over 1,000 years after David lived i.e. "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Psalm 2:9 KJV), which is reiterated (not merely repeated) in "2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father" (Revelation 2:27 KJV).
"2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
"I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation"
While it was his father King David who purchased the site where the Temple would be built (see David's Altar), it was Solomon who built the Temple. Notice carefully that the Temple Mount is adjacent to Zion.
"8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel [see What Did The Elders Of Israel Do?], 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.
The Temple built by Solomon (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Temple Of The LORD) was destroyed because they had become corrupt. That did not however affect the prophecy about Zion, or about the Temple - nor did it affect it when the people of Judah again rejected the Messiah when He was born as a man. The LORD Himself was the "precious corner stone, a sure foundation" of Zion.
"28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone [see From The Foundation Of The World], a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 28:17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 28:18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. 28:19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. 28:20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. 28:21 For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. 28:22 Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth." (Isaiah 28:16-22 KJV)
While many regard "Zionism" as being merely about a people possessing, or returning to, the physical place called Zion, it was always about the Messiah, not merely the line of humans who were created for the purpose of conveying a Messianic "seed" from Abraham (see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac and What Did Jesus Christ Say About Abraham?).
"33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 33:16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. 33:17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off." (Isaiah 33:14-17 KJV)
"Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the LORD"
"9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass" (Zechariah 9:9 KJV) is one of the most famous "New Testament" verses that was actually a quote of the "Old Testament." The Messiah's famous "triumphal entry" into Zion:
"21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 21:2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 21:3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
The Church at the time of Christ's first coming understood that "Zion" was about the future reign of the Messiah, as the LORD God, Who was recorded throughout the "Old Testament" (see Who Is The LORD?). The LORD hasn't changed. "Zionism" has always been about the LORD, not mere humans.
"12:18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 12:20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain [see Mountains Of The Messiah], it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 12:21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
"For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem"
The reality that true Zionism is about the coming of the LORD to reign over all of the Earth is found throughout the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments. The Messiah's return will be to Zion (the King James Version renders it "Sion" in the KJV New Testament).
"14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion [see The Seals Of Prophecy and The Two Signs Of Christ's Return], and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
The Messiah came to Zion the first time to be Sacrificed; He is returning to Zion to rule - regardless of what humanity decides to try to do about it. For those who prefer the "Babylon" to continue, the Wrath of the LORD will persuade them to repent.
"24:21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth [see What Is The Day Of The LORD?]. 24:22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. 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 24:21-23 KJV)
The result is described in verses that are also some of the most well-known of the Holy Bible - "he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law" 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." War is a dying profession, now, because of the carnage that backwards-thinking humans (i.e. to many, a "hero" is someone who is "good" at destroying life, rather than saving life) lust to inflict upon other humans, but later because war itself is going to be put to death.
"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 [see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God], and the word of the LORD [see Who Is The LORD? and What Does Word of God Mean To You?] 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 2:2-4 KJV)
Fact Finder: How has man's definition of "zionism" affected the history of Jerusalem, through the past century, to the present day?
This Day In History, July 28
1364: The Battle of Cascina between forces of the Republic of Pisa and those of the Republic of Florence.
1540: King Henry VIII of England married Catherine Howard, his fifth wife.
1586: The first potatoes arrived in England from Colombia. They were brought by English astronomer Sir Thomas Harriot (who was the first man to makes sketches of the moon as viewed through a telescope).
1615: French explorer Samuel de Champlain discovered Lake Huron on his seventh voyage to the New World.
1656: The Battle of Warsaw in the First Northern War began when Charles X of Sweden invaded Poland.
1771: During a plague outbreak, Ambrose, archbishop of Moscow, was murdered by a mob after he removed an "Christian" idol that he realized was somehow a source of the plague; the people who were coming to pray to the idol to end the plague, became sick of the plague themselves. The people's kissing and touching of the idol, as well as their close gathering around it, was in fact spreading the plague.
1794: Maximilien Robespierre was guillotined with four political allies. Known as "The Incorruptible," he played a leading role in the French Revolution and launched the "Reign of Terror."
1809: The British under Sir Arthur Wellesley defeated the French under Marshal Victor at the Battle of Talavera, southwest of Madrid.
1821: Peru declared itself independent of Spain.
1835: King Louis Napoleon of France survived an assassination attempt by Giuseppe Maria Fleschi, who rigged 25 guns together and fired them all with the pull of a single trigger.
1858: The first use of fingerprints as a means of identification was made by William Herschel of the Indian Civil Service at Jungipur in India. He took the print of Rajyadhar Konai on the back of a contract.
1914: Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after the June 28 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. This led to further declarations of war, leading to the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1932: The "Bonus March" protest in Washington D.C. by destitute U.S. Army war veterans was crushed by active-duty troops under the command of George Patton and Douglas MacArthur, both of whom became famous during the Second World War (1939-1945) after the U.S. entered the war in 1941.
1941: During The Second World War, 30,000 Japanese troops invaded French Indochina.
1945: A U.S. B-25 bomber, lost in clouds and fog, slammed into the side of the Empire State Building in New York City. The "skyscraper" building withstood the powerful impact. 14 people were killed.
1958: NASA was established. With the ending of the Space Shuttle program in July 2011, the U.S. has become dependent upon Russia to get U.S. astronauts into space.
1976: A magnitude 7.9 earthquake completely destroyed the city of Tangshan in China; it killed an estimated 242,000 and injured more than 150,000 - the highest quake casualty toll of modern times.
1981: Prince Charles married Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in a ceremony televised around the world and watched by an estimated 700 million people. It was called "the stuff fairy tales are made of." They separated 11 years later in 1992, and were divorced 15 years later in 1996. Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997.
2005: The "Provisional Irish Republican Army" proclaimed an end to their thirty-year old terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland.