Applied Theology

by WordExplain


"The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob." Psalm 87:2




























Is God a Zionist?

By James T. Bartsch

WordExplain


Talk about a loaded question… To even begin to answer this question, we must first ask some related questions.

What is Zion?

From a historical basis, Zion, so-called, was the fortified city within Jerusalem containing the residence of the Jewish king and the Mount on which it was situated. Before that, however, it was the major fortified area of a city-state called Jebus, whose invasion-resistant inhabitants were called Jebusites. The Jebusite people are identified with Jerusalem (Josh. 15:8, 63; 18:28; Judges 1:21; 2 Sam. 5:6; 24:16; 1 Chron. 11:4; 21:15; 2 Chron. 3:1).

Jebusites were identified in early Post-Flood history as being descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, the son of Noah (Gen. 10:1, 6, 15-16). In Jewish Patriarchal history, Yahweh unilaterally covenanted with Abraham to give to his descendants the entire land extending from the River of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates (Gen. 15:7-18). This land was further identified as being inhabited by the Kenite, the Kennizites, the Kadmonite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Rephaim, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Girgashite, and the Jebusite (Gen. 15:19-21). It was within God’s Sovereign right to grant the land of Canaan to whatever nation He chose. But morality played a significant role. Elohim predicted to Abram that his people would be enslaved in a country for four hundred years, but that in the “fourth generation” they would return to the land of Canaan, for, God said, “the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete” (Gen. 15:13-16). Doubtless, God eyes the evil and sin of a nation. When that nation or group of nations reaches a certain threshold of evil, God will send in an enemy nation or nations to destroy and conquer it or them as a judgment. This is precisely what happened when God authorized Israel to conquer Canaan initially. This has always been true and will continue to be true until the Prince of Peace quells all rebellion on the earth (Isa. 9:1-7; 11:1-16).

Repeatedly in the era of Moses, God authorized Israel to invade and conquer the territory of the Jebusites and other Canaanite peoples (Ex. 3:8, 17; 13:5; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11; Num. 13:29; Deut. 7:1; 20:17). When Israel entered Canaan, Joshua expected to conquer the Jebusites along with the other Canaanite landholders (Josh. 3:9-10). Understandably, the Jebusites, in league with other Canaanite nations, resisted Israel’s advance (Josh. 9:1-2; 11:1-5). While the sons of Israel, with God’s aid, largely succeeded in dislodging the inhabitants of Canaan (Josh. 12:8; 15:8; 18:16, 28; 24:11), they were at first unsuccessful in evicting the Jebusites from Jerusalem proper (Josh. 15:63; Judges 1:21; 3:5; 19:10-11).

With so much success in resisting Israel’s previous advances, the people of Jebus were cocky, confident of their ability to ward off any efforts of King David (2 Sam. 5:6). Notwithstanding, David and his men successfully entered the city through a water tunnel and captured it. David occupied the stronghold of Zion (the fortress of the now conquered Jebusites), and it became known as the city of David. Clearly the LORD God of hosts (troops) was with David in this entire venture (2 Sam. 5:7-10). The passage of 2 Samuel 5:6-10 is important because it ties together in one narrative the terms Jerusalem, Jebusites, and Zion.

From the time of David onward, Zion has been essentially a reference to Jerusalem. The Old Testament refers to Zion on several levels:

1) It refers to a mountain, Mount Zion, 2537 feet in elevation (Dictionary of the Bible by William Smith, Horatio Balch Hackett, Ezra Abbot, pp. 1276-1277) (Psalm 2:6; 48:1-2, 11; 74:2; 78:68; 87:1-2; 125:1).

2) It refers to a city, Jerusalem (Psalm 48:2, 12-13; 51:18; 69:35; 87:2-3, 5; 102:21; 128:5; 135:21; 147:12).

3) It refers to the dwelling place of God. Though the Temple Mount is actually on Mount Moriah, to the east and lower than Mount Zion, the general area and Jerusalem are said to be the city of God and His dwelling place (Psalm 9:11; 20:2-3; 74:2-3; 76:2; 78:68-69; 84:7; 87:2-3; 132:13-14; 134:1-3; 135:21).

4) In an even broader sense, Zion refers to the tribe of Judah (Psalm 48:11; 69:35; 78:68) and even the nation of Israel as a whole (Isa. 60:14; Zech. 9:13).

5) In its ultimate sense, according to the New Testament, Zion refers to the city of New Jerusalem, presently located in heaven (Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 14:1), but in eternity, the capital city which comes down out of heaven to New Earth (Rev. 3:12; 21:2, 10). It is my belief that New Jerusalem is so high in elevation (Rev. 21:16) because it contains heavenly Mount Zion.

What is Zionism?

Zionism, as an ideology, is the belief that Jewish people have the right to a national homeland, the land of Israel (Heb. Eretz Yisra’el).

Zionism, as a political movement, gained momentum when the Austrian Jewish publisher Nathan Birnbaum coined the term “Zionism” circa 1890. The 28th Zionist Congress met in Jerusalem in 1968 and adopted five points as the aims of Zionism. They are as follows:

1)    The unity of the Jewish people and the centrality of Israel in Jewish life;

2)    The ingathering of the Jewish People in its historic homeland, Eretz Israel, through Aliyah from all countries;

3)    The strengthening of the State of Israel which is based on the prophetic vision of justice and peace;

4)    The preservation of the identity of the Jewish People through the fostering of Jewish and Hebrew education and of Jewish spiritual and cultural values;

5)    The protection of Jewish rights everywhere.

Here is my own definition of Biblical Zionism, based upon my understanding of the Bible.

1)    Jewish people have the God-given right of their own national homeland. The foundation of this truth is the promise God made to Abram (later Abraham) and his descendants (Gen. 12:1-3). God reaffirmed His commitment to Abraham and his descendants on several occasions (Gen. 13:14-17; 15:11-21; 17:1-27; 18:18-19; 22:16-18).

2)    This land is the Old Testament land of Canaan. Its boundaries, as promised to Abraham by God in His unilateral, unconditional covenant with Abraham in regard to his descendants in Genesis 15:7-21, stretch from the River of Egypt in the Southwest clear to the Euphrates River in the Northeast.

3)    God gave the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants as an everlasting possession (Gen. 13:15; 17:8).

4)    The particular descendants of Abraham that inherited the promises and the eternal covenant God made to him, including the land, are Isaac and his descendants (Gen. 17:18-21; 21:12; 26:2-5) through his son Jacob and his descendants (Gen. 26:21-23; 27:27-29; 28:1-4, 10-15; 35:10-12).

5)    When Jewish people obey God, He has promised to bless them in their land (Deut. 28:1-14).

6)    When Jewish people do not follow God, He has promised to disperse them from their land, amidst great suffering, throughout the world (Deut. 28:15-68).

7)    Jesus, the greatest Prophet, predicted that “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24). That condition exists to this very day, as is evidenced by the fact that another religion, Islam, has wrested control of Israel’s holiest site from her. A Muslim shrine and mosque now sit atop the Temple Mount, and Israel is powerless to build her own temple, lest she incur the wrath of the Arab world and the collective rage of the United Nations.

8)    In the future, God will gather the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from the four corners of the earth back to the land of Israel (Deut. 30:1-6; Psa. 53:6; 106:47; Isa. 11:11-16; 27:12-13; Isa. 43:5-7; 56:8;  60:4, 9; Jer. 3:14, 18; 12:15 - this last Scripture applies both to Israel and her Gentile opponents; Jer. 23:3; 24:6; 29:14; 30:3, 10; 31:8-12; 32:37; Ezek. 11:16-20; 20:34, 38, 41-42; 28:25-26; 34:11-13, 16; 36:8, 22-38; 37:12; 21; 39:25-29; Joel 3:1;  Amos 9:11-15; Micah 4:6-7; Zeph. 3:10, 19-20; Zech. 10:8-10). (Matt. 24:30-31 applies to the elect of both Israel and the Gentiles.)

9)    I believe that, for over a century, God has already begun his “regathering” of Israel. The Jewish people as a whole do not yet believe in their Messiah, but the day is coming when they will (Zech. 12:10-13:1). At that time Yahweh will defeat all the nations who have invaded Judah and Jerusalem (Zech. 12:1-9), and He will destroy all false religious influences in the land (Zech. 13:2-6). The Deliverer, Jesus Christ, will come from Zion, and He will remove all ungodliness from Jacob. And so it will be that all Israel will be saved (Isa. 59:20; Rom. 11:26).

What is God’s attachment to Zion?

Doubtless, God has a strong attachment toward Zion. According to Psalm 87:1, the foundation of Yahweh’s dwelling is in the holy mountains, referring to the upraised area(s) around Mount Zion, as the rest of the psalm bears out.

Zion is Yahweh’s favorite place in all the land of Israel (Ps. 87:2)! He loves the gates of Zion more than all the other population centers of Jacob. Here Zion refers to the city of Jerusalem, which encompasses Mount Zion, proper. This is borne out by the psalmist’s use of the term “city” (Ps. 87:3). This is telling. Of all the cities of Israel, Zion is God’s favorite city. It is, in fact, the city of His residence. Why should it not be His favorite city?

Not only is Zion the foundation of His dwelling; not only is it Yahweh’s favorite city; but Zion is expressly the “city of God” – the city of Elohim (Ps. 87:3). Zion is the earthly city of the Elohim who created all of heaven and earth (Gen. 1:1)!

The Book of Psalms, Israel’s hymnal, is filled with references to Zion. The Psalms contain 39 references to Zion. Thus, it is impossible to worship God from the complete book of Psalms and not encounter Zionism. The references to Zion are listed below according to the five books of the Psalms.

Book 1, Psalms 1-41, 5 instances: Psalm 2:6; 9:11, 14; 14:7; 20:2.

Book 2, Psalms 42-72, 8 instances: Psalm 48:2; 11, 12; 50:2, 51:18; 53:6; 65:1; 69:35.

Book 3, Psalms 73-89, 7 instances: Psalm 74:2; 76:2; 78:68; 84:5, 7; 87:2, 5.

Book 4, Psalms 90-106, 5 instances: Psalm 97:8; 99:2; 102:13, 16, 21.

Book 5, Psalms 107-150, 14 instances: Psalm 110:2; 125:1; 126:1; 128:5; 129:5; 132:13; 133:3; 134:3; 135:21; 137:1, 3; 146:10; 147:12; 149:2. 

We learn the following about God’s attachment to Zion both from the book of Psalms and also from other, largely prophetic, books of the Bible. While this list is extensive, it is not exhaustive:

1.     God has chosen Zion.

a.     Psalm 78:68. Adonay did not choose to place His sanctuary in the land belonging to Joseph (Ephraim), but He rather chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, as the place of His habitation. Just so, He also chose David as the head of the line from which the Messiah would be born (Psa. 78:67-70).

b.     Psalm 132:13. He wants to live there. He does not presently live there, for His temple has been destroyed. But it will be rebuilt (Ezek. 40:1-46:24), and God will once again live there. (See author’s Analysis of Ezekiel’s description of the Millennial Temple, pp. 21-25).

2.     God is the One responsible for founding and building Zion.

a.     Isaiah 14:32. Yahweh has founded Zion as a refuge for His people.

b.     Psalm 102:16. Yahweh has built up Zion and there displayed His glory. This statement, in context, addresses both the past and the future.

c.     Isaiah 28:16. God is so involved in founding Zion that He Himself is laying in Zion a costly chief cornerstone that cannot be dislodged.

3.     God loves Zion.

a.     Psalm 78:68. He chose Zion as the place of His Temple.

b.     Psalm 87:1-3. Yahweh “loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwelling places” in Israel. That is why He chose to live there. There are many wonderful things spoken about Zion, which is God’s city. (Yahweh does not presently live in His own city here on earth, but He inevitably will again.)

4.     God is jealous on behalf of Zion.

a.     Zech. 1:14. God has punished Jerusalem, but He is exceedingly jealous on behalf of Jerusalem and Zion. His jealousy is coupled with fierce anger at nations who were overzealous in meting out his controlled anger at Israel for her disobedience. He will revisit Jerusalem with compassion, will comfort Zion, choose Jerusalem, and bring prosperity to the cities of Israel (Zech. 1:12-17). This prophecy was fulfilled initially when a portion of Israel returned to her homeland following the Babylonian exile. But it has begun to be fulfilled again in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. And its greatest fulfillment is yet to come.

b.     Zech. 8:2. Yahweh of Troops is exceedingly jealous on behalf of Zion, and His jealousy is mixed with great wrath. He will once again return to live in Jerusalem, and it will be called the City of Truth. Yahweh’s mountain will be called the Holy Mountain. Old people and small children will live safely in Jerusalem and Israel. Yahweh of Troops will bring His people from the farthest points of the globe and they will live in the middle of Jerusalem. They will be His people and He will be their God in truth and righteousness (Zech. 8:1-8). This passage can only be fulfilled completely in earthly Jerusalem, for there will be no children or elderly people in heavenly Jerusalem. New Jerusalem will be filled only with people eternally in the prime of their lives, there being no marriage or reproduction following the resurrection (Matt. 22:29-30; Mark 12:24-25).

5.     God has lived in Zion. This was so after David moved the ark of the covenant there, housing it in a tent, and, as well, after Solomon built the Temple there.

a.     Psalm 9:11. Yahweh dwells in Zion. David instructed that praises are to be sung to Him there and His works are to be proclaimed among the peoples of the world.

b.     Psalm 20:1-2. David prayed that Yahweh might answer the people of Israel in the day of their trouble, sending them help and support from the sanctuary in Zion.

c.     Psalm 74:2. This psalm was evidently written by an Asaph who lived during the Babylonian exile. He lamented the destruction of the temple and remembered that God had formerly dwelt in Mount Zion (Psalm 74:1-7).

d.     Psalm 76:1-2. According to Asaph, Elohim’s tabernacle is in Salem (ancient name for Jerusalem) and His dwelling is in Zion.

e.     Psalm 78:68-69. Asaph affirmed that God chose the tribe of Judah and Mount Zion, which He loved. It was there that God built His sanctuary, the place of His abode.

f.      Psalm 99:1-2. The anonymous psalmist announced that Yahweh reigns, enthroned above the cherubim (on the ark of the covenant). Therefore peoples should tremble and the earth should quake. Yahweh is great in Zion, and He is exalted above all the peoples (of the entire earth)!

g.     Psalm 128:5-6. Yahweh is seen as situated in Zion. It is from there that the psalmist requests that Yahweh might bless the worshipers, and that prosperity and peace might be upon Jerusalem and Israel for years to come!

h.     Psalm 132:13-14. The psalmist affirms that Yahweh has chosen Zion, desiring it for His own eternal habitation: “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.” In the days of David, Solomon, and Godly kings of Judah, God did indeed live in Mount Zion. But He left during the Babylonian exile. There has been no temple in Jerusalem for centuries, but when Jesus returns, a Millennial temple will be built (Ezek. 40:1-46:24), where God will dwell (Ezek. 43:1-7; 44:4). Ultimately, there will be no temple in eternity, for God and Jesus will sit as co-regents on their throne upon Mount Zion in New Jerusalem in the eternal kingdom (Rev. 22:1-5).

i.       Isaiah 8:18. Isaiah stated that Yahweh of Troops “dwells on Mount Zion.”

6.     Zion is the place of the King.

a.     Psalm 2:6. Despite all rebellious international protests, God will install His King on Mount Zion anyway! See the author’s Analysis of Psalm 2 entitled, “Yahweh’s Installation of His Anointed King on Zion to Vanquish the Revolt of the Nations.”

                                                                        i.     Though earth’s nations rebel against God and His anointed King (Messiah), Adonay laughs in heaven (Ps. 2:1-4).

                                                                       ii.     He has determined to install His King, Jesus, on Zion, His holy mountain, anyway (Ps. 2:5-6)!

                                                                     iii.     The Messiah, Yahweh’s Son, will one day ask for and be granted the nations of the earth as His possession. He will rule over them with a rod of iron and shatter the rebels among them like clay pottery (Ps. 2:7-9). For this reason earth’s kings and judges had better show discernment and embrace the Son. If they don’t He may become exceedingly angry with them and kill them. All who take refuge in Jesus are blessed immeasurably (Ps. 2:10-12).

b.     Psalm 48:2. Mount Zion is beautiful, and it is the joy of all the earth. It is the City of the Great King.

                                                                        i.     At the time of writing, Israel so viewed Jerusalem and Mount Zion. In fact this whole psalm describes “Israel’s Worship of Yahweh Elohim as the Eternal Guardian of Beautiful Zion, His City!

                                                                       ii.     The future fulfillment of this psalm awaits the reign of King Jesus from Mount Zion during His Millennial Kingdom (Zech. 14:9; Rev. 19:11 – 20:6).

                                                                     iii.     The ultimate fulfillments awaits the Co-Regency of God and Jesus from lofty New Jerusalem orbiting around New Earth (Rev. 21-22).

c.     Psalm 110:2. Yahweh will one day authorize Jesus, the Messiah, seated on His throne in Zion, to rule over His enemies.

                                                                        i.     The Messiah, Jesus, is instructed to sit at the right hand of Yahweh, there waiting until Yahweh makes Messiah’s enemies a footstool on which He can rest His feet (Ps. 110:1). Following Jesus’ ascension to heaven after His resurrection, that is precisely what Jesus has been doing. That is not all He has been doing, of course, but He is doing that.

                                                                       ii.     Jesus is presently serving eternally as a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4).

                                                                     iii.     At some time in the future Yahweh will stretch forth Messiah’s scepter from Zion on earth and command him, “Rule in the midst of your enemies.” The context must be Christ’s political kingdom on earth, for He will have been authorized to “rule in the midst of” His enemies (Ps. 110:2).

                                                                     iv.     Israeli people will volunteer to join Him in combat (Ps. 110:3). Messiah will shatter kings and conquer nations, leaving their corpses littering the countryside (Ps. 110:5-6). Messiah will relentlessly pursue His adversaries, pausing only long enough to drink from a brook. Finally, He will be successful in eliminating them, and He will raise His head in victory (Psa. 110:7)!

                                                                      v.     As the context of this entire psalm reveals, Mount Zion must necessarily include Christ’s political reign on earth, for in heavenly Mount Zion in eternity, his enemies will have been forever vanquished outside the New Cosmos in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15; 21:8, 27; 22:15).

d.     Psalm 146:10. Yahweh will reign forever. Zion’s God will reign over all generations.

                                                                        i.     It is useless to trust in mortal man, but the one who trusts in the God of Jacob is immeasurably blessed.

                                                                       ii.     Not only is God the Creator, but He is the supporter of the defenseless and He thwarts the wicked. Yahweh is King forever. For all these reasons one should praise Yahweh (Psalm 146)!

                                                                     iii.     See the author’s Analysis of Psalm 146 entitled, “Praise to Yahweh Elohim for His Support of the Afflicted and the Down-Trodden.”

e.     Psalm 149:2. In an act of worship, the sons of Zion are instructed to rejoice in their Maker and King.

                                                                        i.     It is appropriate for Israel to praise Yahweh with a new song and accompaniment because Yahweh takes pleasure in His people and will save them, His afflicted ones (Psalm 149:1-4).

                                                                       ii.     As they praise God, they are instructed to execute God’s vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples. They are to bind kings with chains and nobles with fetters. It is an honor for God’s Godly people to execute judgment on the nations (Psa. 149:5-9).

                                                                     iii.     See the author’s Analysis of Psalm 149 entitled, “Israel Urged to Praise Yahweh, Her Creator King, for Using Her in Holy War to Judge Rebellious Nations.”

f.      Isaiah 24:23. After the catastrophic events of the Great Tribulation, “Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders.”

                                                                        i.     This text refers, initially, to the glorious reign of Jesus Christ for a thousand years on earth.

                                                                       ii.     Ultimately it refers to His eternal Co-Regency with God from their throne in New Jerusalem, the orbiting capital of New Earth. The glory emanating from God and Jesus will be so great that the huge city of New Jerusalem will cast light on New Earth below and the nations will walk and work by the light of the City. This light will be so great it will render the light of the moon and sun superfluous (Rev. 21:10-11, 23-26; 22:5).

                                                                     iii.     The over-all topic of Isaiah 24 is “The Coming Destruction of the Heavens and the Earth” (see the author’s analysis of Isaiah 24 on p. 15).

1.     Yahweh will despoil earth completely because of the evil of its inhabitants (Isa. 24:1-6).

2.     Revelry will cease (Isa. 24:7-13).

3.     There will be world-wide praise of Yahweh (Isa. 24:14-16a).

4.     Yahweh will execute staggering judgment of the earth (Isa. 24:16b-22).

5.     Jesus will reign in glory on Mount Zion (Isa. 24:23).

g.     Isaiah 33:20-22. After a time of judgment by God in a foreign land among unintelligible speakers, Israelis will look on Zion undisturbed and inviolable. Yahweh will be their King.

                                                                        i.     They will see the King, the Messiah in His beauty (Isa. 33:17). He will be their Judge, their Lawgiver, and their King (Isa. 33:22).

                                                                       ii.     Note that there will be no separation of powers as it is supposed to be in America today. The Judicial, the Legislative, and the Executive Branches will all cohere in One Person, Jesus the Messiah.

                                                                     iii.     See the author’s Analysis of Isaiah 33 on pp. 18-19.

h.     Isaiah 52:7. Though Israel has been taken captive on various occasions, the time will come when a messenger announces good news to Zion, “Your God reigns!” The Jewish people will shout for joy and see with their own eyes that Yahweh will restore Zion and comfort and save His people (Isa. 52:8-10).

i.       Obadiah 1:21. The time will come when deliverers “ascend Mount Zion” “and the kingdom will be the LORD’s.”

j.       Micah 4:7. The time will come when Yahweh will regather outcast Jewish people from all over and reign over them eternally in Mount Zion.

k.     Zephaniah 3:14-18. Yahweh, Israel’s King and victorious Warrior will be among them. Therefore Zion should not be fearful.

                                                                        i.     There will come a time when the people of Israel will no longer be deceitful. They will live in their land peacefully, unafraid (Zeph. 3:12-13).

                                                                       ii.     The daughter of Zion (the people of Zion) will shout for joy because Yahweh has taken away her judgment. He has cleared away her enemies (Zeph. 3:14-15).

                                                                     iii.     Yahweh, the King of Israel will be among them in the person of Jesus the Messiah as a victorious warrior, so Zion no longer needs to fear (Zeph. 3:15-17).

                                                                     iv.     Yahweh will restore Israel’s fortunes before their very eyes (Zeph. 3:20).

7.     Worship is connected with Zion. It is impossible to divorce Israel, Jerusalem, or Zion from the worship of Yahweh. Central to this whole discussion is the recognition that the Law required a Central Sanctuary in the land of Canaan. This basic law was first spelled out in Deuteronomy 12. (See the outline of Deuteronomy 12 on page 6.) Zion is the place that God chose to dwell, and Zion is the place where God must be worshiped. It is impossible to separate Zionism from the worship of Yahweh in Zion, the prescribed site of the Central Sanctuary. Right now Mount Zion, in particular the Temple Mount, cannot be the place where God resides. The shrine of the Dome of the Rock occupies the place of true worship for Israelis. But Israelis are forbidden to set up places of worship other than the central sanctuary, which God has designated as Zion. The day is coming when there will no longer be Islamic mosques or shrines on the Temple Mount. Only the Jewish temple will exist there, and true worshipers of Yahweh in Israel will, out of necessity, be Zionists. They will joyfully come to Zion to worship Jesus, the Messiah in the designated place of worship, the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount. But, the future Temple on Mount Zion will not be a house of prayer for Jewish people. It will be a House of Prayer for all nations (Isa. 56:7; Mark 11:17)! So all Arab peoples who worship Jesus as their Messiah will come to Mount Zion, and it will be their temple also!! The following psalms and one passage from Jeremiah illustrate that worship of Yahweh is tied in with Zion. Most of these psalms were written, of course, while neither Jerusalem nor the temple mount were occupied by foreigners.

a.     Psalm 65:1. “There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God, and to You the vow will be performed.” This psalm (Psa. 65) was written by David, and in it he offers “Praise for Elohim’s Power in Salvation and Creation.” Presumably, he wrote this psalm after he had moved the Ark of the Covenant from its temporary residence in the house of Obed-edom to a tent he had erected for it in the City of David (1 Chron. 15; 2 Sam. 6:12). So David, in Psalm 65:1, envisioned contemplative silent meditation, vocal praise, and fulfillment of vows made with God – all in Zion. Here Zion refers to the place of worship on the Temple Mount, here designated as Zion. It probably also refers more generally to Jerusalem as the seat of God’s residence. Zion thus was the place where all Israel came to worship God.

b.     Psalm 84:7. Psalm 84 is entitled, “Passion for, Pilgrimage to, and Prayer in the House of God.” It is a psalm of the sons of Korah. The unnamed author first describes his passion for the House of “Yahweh of Troops” (Psa. 84:1-4). Next, he describes his pilgrimage to worship Elohim in Zion (Psa. 84:5-7). He states that he and other pilgrims are strengthened as they arrive successfully in Zion: “They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion” (Psa. 84:7). The point of this verse, for our purposes here, is to demonstrate that Jewish residents of Israel make a pilgrimage to Zion, the capital of Israel, there to worship God.

c.     Psalm 102:21. Psalm 102 is “A Prayer of the Afflicted, Reassuring Himself in Yahweh’s Eternal Compassion for Zion.” The historical background for this psalm may be the time of the Exile, caused by Babylon’s destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. It sounds as though the city is in a ruined condition (Psa. 102:14). In this psalm, the unnamed, “afflicted” author pleads with Yahweh for a quick response to his prayer (Psa. 102:1-2). He feels horrible (Psa. 102:3-7) because of the reproach of his enemies (Psa. 102:8-9), because of Yahweh’s indignation (Psa. 102:10), and because of his own mortality (Psa. 102:11). And yet he finds assurance for himself in Yahweh’s eternal compassion for Zion (Psa. 102:12-14). Yahweh is eternal (Psa. 102:12), and surely the time has come for Yahweh to have compassion on Zion (Psa. 102:13). If Yahweh’s servants, devout Jews, felt compassion for the apparently ruined city’s stones and dust, surely now it was time for Yahweh to feel the same (Psa. 102:14). With an eye of faith looking to the future, the author is convinced that Yahweh’s compassion on Zion will result in enormous benefits for the Kingdom of God (Psa. 102:15-17). First, there will be successful international evangelism, so that the nations of the earth will fear Yahweh’s name, and earth’s rulers will submit to His glory (Psa. 102:15). This will happen when Yahweh will have built up Zion, appearing in His glory (Psa. 102:16). This stunning development will occur first in the Millennium, inaugurated by the Second Coming of Christ, and ultimately, in eternity in New Jerusalem in connection with New Earth. This will all come about through Yahweh’s answer to the prayers of those who are “destitute” (Psa. 102:17).

d.     Psalm 128:5. Psalm 128 speaks of “The Blessings of Those Who Fear Yahweh.” It is one of the psalms categorized in the text as a “Song of Ascents,” meaning it is a pilgrim song to be sung by Jewish worshipers ascending to Jerusalem to worship God. The first verse speaks of the acquisition of Yahweh’s blessing. One receives blessings by fearing Yahweh and walking in His ways (Psa. 128:1). The next section conveys the evidences of Yahweh’s blessing – personal well-being and domestic bliss (Psa. 128:2-4). The last section is, frankly, nationalistic (Psalm 128:5-6). In a few brief words, ascending worshipers call out blessings in song to one another. They first implore Yahweh’s blessing upon one another from Zion. The national sign of that blessing is that they may each “see the prosperity of Jerusalem” all their lives (Psa. 128:5). There is a heritage attached to these blessings – may their fellow-worshipers each see their grandchildren. The closing is, again, a nationalization of Yahweh’s blessing – indeed, may “Peace be upon Israel!” (Psa. 128:6). Thus, at the close of this psalm, Zion, Jerusalem, and Israel are all three mentioned.  Again, it is impossible to divorce Israel, Jerusalem, or Zion from the worship of Yahweh.

e.     Psalm 135:21. Psalm 135 is “A Call to  All Israel to Praise and Bless Yahweh, the Supreme God.” The psalm concludes with a call to Israel, priests, and Levites to bless and praise Yahweh (Psa. 135:19-21). The specific place from which all are commanded to bless Yahweh is Zion, the place of Yahweh’s residence in Jerusalem.

f.      Psalm 147:12. Psalm 147 is a nationalistic psalm. It calls for “Praise to Yahweh for His Restoration of, Provision for, and Revelation to Israel.” The third stanza of this psalm calls for Zionistic praise to Yahweh for protecting Israel and for speaking to control precipitation and to reveal His laws to Israel (Psa. 147:12-20). At the beginning of this stanza, Jerusalem is specifically commanded to praise Yahweh, and  Zion is specifically commanded to praise her God (Elohim) (Psa. 147:12).

g.     Psalm 149:2. In Psalm 149, “Israel (is) urged to Praise Yahweh, Her Creator-King, for Using Her in Holy War to Judge Rebellious Nations.” In the second verse, Israel is to “be glad in his Maker,” and “the sons of Zion (are to) rejoice in their King” (Psa. 149:2). The nation of Israel is specifically identified as “the sons of Zion.”

h.     Jeremiah 31:6. The Book of Jeremiah was written concerning the following topic: “God’s Justice Forewarned and Experienced: The Fall of Jerusalem.” The chapters in which this verse is found (Jer. 30-33) constitute a “message to Judah and Israel – Future restoration despite judgment” (see the author’s outline, pp. 16-19). Jer. 31:1-6 anticipates Yahweh’s restoration of all the families of Israel (outline, p. 16), “For there will be a day when watchmen on the hills of Ephraim call out, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God” (Jer. 31:6). Zion is here seen as the residence of Yahweh as well as the capital city (Jerusalem) of Israel; it is the place where Yahweh is to be worshiped.

i.       Prayer to God for Zion.

                                                                        i.     Psalm 51:18. Psalm 51 is “A Prayer for Cleansing” which David prayed after his sordid affair with Bathsheba. David prayed for cleansing from sin (Psa. 51:1-2), acknowledging his guilt before a holy God (Psa. 51:3-6). He asked for restoration (Psa. 51:7-12), and vowed to praise God (Psa. 51:13-15). He acknowledged that God was pleased with the sacrifices of a broken heart and a contrite spirit (Psa. 51:16-17). He concluded (Psa. 51:18-19) by asking that God would bless Israel’s capital city: “By your favor do good to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem” (Psalm 51:18). Then God would “delight in righteous sacrifices” and in all manner of offerings upon His altar (Psa. 51:19). Today Israel’s heart is not right with God, and it is impossible for her people to offer sacrifices, for she has no temple. When the Messiah returns (Zech. 14:1-5), Israel will be granted contrite hearts (Zech. 12:10-13:1), and true worship in a new temple complete with sacrifices will be restored (Ezek. 40:1-46:24) in a restored land (Ezek. 47-48) under the peaceful reign of Davidic King Jesus (Zech. 14:6-11).

                                                                       ii.     Psalm 126:1-6. Psalm 126 constitutes “An Exuberant Acknowledgment of the Return of Israel to Her Promised Land.” This psalm is a “Song of Ascents,” sung by Jewish pilgrims ascending to Zion to worship there in the temple. The first three verses constitute an exuberant acknowledgement of Yahweh’s return of Jewish captives from their Babylonian exile (Psa. 126:1-3). The anonymous author, apparently one of the returned exiles, states, “When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream” (Psa. 126:1). Here Zion is a reference to the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the entire nation. The next section amounts to a plea to Yahweh to restore even more exiles (Psa. 126:4). In the final two verses the ascending worshipers express faith in the long-term success of Israeli repatriation (Psa. 126:5-6). Here, in a psalm for worshipers ascending to Jerusalem, there is an explicit statement acknowledging historical Zionism, that God has brought exiles back to the promised land, termed Zion. And there is the implicit expression of future Zionism, that, though Israel endures many hardships, the success of the repatriated nation will become a joyful reality. It is impossible to separate worship in the psalms from Biblical Zionism.

j.       Prayer for shame and failure for the haters of Zion.

                                                                        i.     Psalm 129:5. Psalm 129 is another “Song of Ascents,” to be sung by Jewish pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem to worship in the temple. I have entitled it, “Israel’s Acknowledgment of Yahweh’s Deliverance from Haters of Zion.” The first four verses are “A Call to Israel to Acknowledge Yahweh’s Deliverance from Wicked Enemies” (Psa. 129:1-4). The worshipers first acknowledge perpetual persecution (Psa. 129:1-2). There follows a brief description of Israel’s persecution from the author’s analysis of the psalm, p. 1:

From Israel's youth and onward, the nation has been persecuted. Growing up in Egypt, the breadbasket of the world, the young nation was reduced to slavery. Throughout Israel's history, Jewish people have been subjected to intense hatred, persecution, and anti-Semitism. True, some of that has come as a Divine judgment for forsaking Yahweh and His commands, the Torah. But as a whole the ferocity

and irrationality of the antipathy toward Israel can only be attributed to a supernatural hatred inspired by the Devil himself. The world typically despises those whom God has chosen (Psalm 2:1-3; John 15:18-19, 23-25; 1 John 3:13). The world has yet to vent its fiercest hatred against the Jewish people (Zech. 13:8 - 14:2; Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24:15-22; Rev. 12:13).

The worshipers briefly describe the persecution (Psa. 129:3), then speak of their release from persecution (Psa. 129:4). In the second half of the psalm the worshipers “call for the demoralization and premature demise of the haters of Zion” (Psa. 129:5-8): “May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward,” they pray (Psa. 129:5). They further request that all haters of Zion (may) be as transient and as unblessed as rooftop grass (Psa. 129:6-8). Some day these worshipers’ prayers will be answered: initially, when Jesus, upon His return to earth, destroys His and Israel’s military enemies in battle (Zech. 12:1-9; 14:1-9, 12-15; Rev. 19:11-21); following which He will judge all the nations of the world in His World Court and then destroy those who had not come to the aid of His “brothers” during the time of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 25:31-46). Second, their prayers will be answered when fire blazes down from heaven and consumes countless hordes, Gog and Magog, who have gathered to revolt against the King and His administration in Jerusalem at the end of His one-thousand-year reign (Rev. 20:1-9). Ultimately, their prayers will be answered when Jesus judges all rebels and consigns them to the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10-15) prior to His establishment of New Heavens and New Earth, in which exists only righteousness (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-4). New Earth will be graced by New Jerusalem, from both of which are excluded all the wicked of all ages (Rev. 21:8, 27; 22:15).

Pursuant to this discussion, allow me to conclude the following. (1) This is an eternal verity – that God will bless those who bless Abraham, and He will curse those who curse Abraham (Gen. 12:3). (2) It is Biblical to pray for the untimely demise of those who hate Zion (Psa. 129:5-8). (3) It is biblical to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” in this manner: “May they prosper who love you” (Psa. 122:6). (4) One day the entire New Universe will be rid of all who hate Zion. (5) All are urged to “Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him” (Psa. 2:12)!  

                                                                       ii.     Psalm 132:13-18. Psalm 132 is a remarkable psalm. It is a “Song of Ascents,” which means it was one of those psalms composed for Jewish worshipers to sing as they ascended the roads to Jerusalem to worship in the sanctuary. It speaks of “Yahweh’s Revelation, in Response to Prayer, of His Choice to Reside in Zion, Blessing It Through His Davidic Messiah.” The psalm begins with a prayer to Yahweh to remember David’s passion, despite opposition, to build Him a house (Ps. 132:1-5). The next section underscores the peoples’ resolve to worship at the house of Yahweh, asking His blessing on the nation, its worship, and its leaders (Ps. 132:6-10). The third section rehearses Yahweh’s dynastic oath to David (Ps. 132:11-12). This refers to the Davidic Covenant. It speaks of Yahweh’s irrevocable oath to seat David’s sons on his throne (Ps. 132:11). The next verse speaks of the conditional nature of that oath – if David’s sons keep Yahweh’s covenant, their sons would sit on David’s throne forever (Ps. 132:12). Of course, only one of David’s sons would be able to keep Yahweh’s covenant perfectly. That son was and is Jesus, the Messiah (Matt. 5:17). He will one day reign over the house of Jacob forever, seated on David’s throne (Luke 1:26-33). The fourth and final section is of particular interest to us in the context of our present discussion. It speaks of Yahweh’s choice to dwell in Zion, to bless Zion, and to rule from Zion through His Davidic Messiah (Ps. 132:13-18). The first subset speaks of Yahweh’s choice to dwell in Zion eternally (Ps. 132:13-14). The ascending worshipers sing, “For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for His habitation” (Ps. 132:13). They then quote Yahweh: “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it” (Ps. 132:14). The second subset quotes Yahweh’s choice to bless her (meaning Zion) with food and with righteousness (Ps. 132:15-16). The third and final subset (Ps. 132:17-18) quotes Yahweh’s resolve to establish His Davidic Messiah there (meaning in Zion). He will install the Davidic Messiah: “There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for My anointed” (Ps. 132:17). He will defeat Messiah’s enemies: “His enemies I will clothe with shame” (Ps. 132:18a). And He will honor Messiah’s reign: “…but upon himself his crown shall shine” (Ps. 132:18b). As Jesus Himself said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46). In summary, we have here a psalm in which Zion is an integral part of worship. Here Biblical worship acknowledges that God has chosen Zion, and that He has determined to live there forever. He will bless and provide for the people of Zion; Zion is the focal point of authentic priestly ministry and Israeli joy; and it is the place from which the anointed Messiah (Jesus) will shine forth. Messiah’s enemies will be shamed, but His crown will shine.

8.     Sadly, the people connected with Zion have historically frequently rebelled against God and have neglected to serve Him and worship Him.

a.     Isaiah 1:8. Because of her sin and rebellion against Yahweh, the daughter (people) of Zion is reduced to being a mere watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, and is like a besieged city. Yahweh’s sons have revolted against Him (Isa. 1:2). Though an ox knows its owner and a donkey knows the hand which feeds him, Israel does not know its Master and her people do not understand Him (Isa. 1:3). Israel is a sinful nation, filled with iniquity. Her people are corrupt sons who have abandoned Yahweh, despised Israel’s Holy One and turned away from Him in rebellion (Isa. 1:4-5). It is this rebellion that has brought Yahweh’s judgment. The land is desolate, Israel’s cities have been burned with fire, and invaders devour her fields (Isa. 1:7).

b.     Isaiah 33:14. There are godless sinners in Zion. They are terrified of Yahweh’s consuming fire of judgment (Isa. 33:8-14).

c.     Lamentations 4:22. The iniquity of Zion had brought about her exile.

d.     Micah 1:13. Lachish was “the beginning of sin” and rebellion to the daughter of Zion (people of Israel).

e.     Micah 3:10. The rulers of Israel “build Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with violent injustice”. The sins of Zion’s rulers are catalogued in the verses preceding and following (Micah 3:1-12). They do not know justice (Mic. 3:1).  They “hate good and love evil” (Mic.3:2). They devour the flesh of Yahweh’s people (Mic. 3:2-3). They practice evil deeds (Mic. 3:4). Her prophets lead the people astray. If someone feeds the prophets, they cry out “Peace.” But if someone does not feed them they wage jihad (Mic. 3:5). Jacob is guilty of rebellious acts and Israel of sin (Mic. 3:8). The nation’s rulers “abhor justice and twist everything that is straight” (Mic. 3:9). They “build Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with violent injustice” (Mic. 3:10). Zion’s leaders adjudicate court cases for a bribe. Her priests teach from the law “for a price and her prophets divine for money,” all the while telling the people that Yahweh is among them and that therefore calamity will not befall them (Mic. 3:11). Yet it is for their iniquities that Zion will be plowed as a field,” and “Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins” (Mic. 3:12).

9.     For this reason God has brought judgment upon Zion. This judgment will continue even more harshly in the future. Indeed, Jesus predicted that “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).

a.     Isaiah 64:9-12. Decades before Judah was conquered by Babylon, Isaiah wrote a prayer that Jewish people would pray in exile. They would pray that Yahweh would not be interminably angry with them, for “Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised You, has been burned by fire….”

b.     Jeremiah 4:6. God would bring judgment against Zion from the north (Babylon).

c.     Jeremiah 4:31. This judgment would bring a cry of anguish from the people as they were murdered by the Babylonians.

d.     Jeremiah 6:2. Through Babylon, God would cut off the “daughter of Zion” (the inhabitants of Jerusalem).

e.     Jeremiah 6:23. The warriors of Babylon would be merciless against Zion.

f.      Jeremiah 8:19. Exiled in Babylon the Jewish people would cry out, “Is Yahweh no longer in Zion? Is He no longer King there?” To which Yahweh would reply, “Why have they provoked me with their carved images and foreign idols?” (author’s paraphrase).

g.     Jeremiah 9:19. Because the people of Israel had forsaken Yahweh’s law, He would scatter them among the nations, and there would be wailing in Zion (Jer. 9:13-19).

h.     Jeremiah 14:19. Yahweh would send the sword and famine upon Zion. Jeremiah wondered aloud if God had completely rejected Judah or if He loathed Zion (Jer. 14:1-19).

i.       Jeremiah 26:18. The prophet Micah of Moresheth had stated  that Yahweh of Troops had revealed Zion would be plowed like a field and Jerusalem would be ruined (Mic. 3:12).

j.       Joel 2:1, 15. Sound the alarm trumpet in Zion because the sinister “Day of Yahweh” is coming!

k.     Amos 1:2. Yahweh will roar in judgment from Zion, withering both Israel and surrounding nations. Amos 1:1-3:8.

l.       Amos 6:1. Woe to those at ease in Zion and Samaria! Judgment is coming!

m.   Micah 1:12-13. Disaster is coming upon Zion because of her rebellion.

n.     Micah 3:9-12. The leaders of Zion are evil; therefore Zion will become like a plowed field and Jerusalem “a heap of ruins.”

o.     Micah 4:9-10. Agony has gripped the daughter of Zion (inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea) like a woman in childbirth. In her great pain she will be driven into exile in Babylon, later to be rescued.

p.     After Jerusalem and Judah had been invaded by the Babylonians and the city and the temple had been destroyed, Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations, lamenting the misery and destruction of Jerusalem and Zion. He acknowledges that Yahweh brought on this devastation to Zion because of her rebellion and sins.

                                                                        i.     Lamentations 1:4. The roads of Zion were in mourning because they were empty of people.

                                                                       ii.     Lamentations 1:6. All majesty had departed from the daughter of Zion (the people).

                                                                     iii.     Lamentations 1:17. Zion stretched out her hands for help, but there was none to comfort her.

                                                                     iv.     Lamentations 2:1. God is angry with Zion.

                                                                      v.     Lamentations 2:4. God has poured out His wrath on Zion like fire.

                                                                     vi.     Lamentations 2:6. God has destroyed the temple and put an end to religious observances in Zion.

                                                                   vii.     Lamentations 2:8. Yahweh has destroyed the wall of the daughter of Zion.

                                                                  viii.     Lamentations 2:10. The elders of Zion are silently bowed in grief.

                                                                     ix.     Lamentations 2:13. The devastation of Zion is unspeakable and inconsolable.

                                                                      x.     Lamentations 2:18. The tears of the daughter of Zion run down like a river.

                                                                     xi.     Lamentations 4:2. In the siege of Jerusalem, the vigor and value of the sons of Zion, once like gold, has now been diminished to the value of common pottery as their life forces ebbed away.

                                                                   xii.     Lamentations 4:11. Yahweh has vented his wrath and anger against Zion by kindling a fire in her.

                                                                  xiii.     Lamentations 4:22. The punishment for Zion’s iniquity has been completed.

                                                                 xiv.     Lamentations 5:11. Women in Zion were raped by the Babylonian soldiers.

                                                                   xv.     Lamentations 5:18. Mount Zion is so desolate foxes prowl among the ruins.

10. Consequently there is weeping in connection with Zion.

a.     Psalm 137:1. Jewish people exiled in Babylon wept when they remembered Zion.

b.     Isaiah 30:19. The time will come when the people of Zion will no longer weep.

c.     Isaiah 61:3. The Spirit of God is on someone because Yahweh has anointed him to bring good news to the afflicted, redress the broken-hearted, proclaim freedom to captives, proclaim Yahweh’s favor, proclaim God’s vengeance, and comfort all those who mourn in Zion (Isa. 61:1-3). Jesus fulfilled a portion of this prophecy at His First Advent (Luke 4:16-21). He will fulfill the rest of it at His Second.

d.     Jeremiah 9:17-22. Yahweh of Troops instructs the people to call for the wailing women. A voice of wailing will be heard from survivors in Zion because so many have left the land, fleeing because their homes had been destroyed by the enemy, and because death had destroyed children and adults alike.

e.     Jeremiah 50:4-5. The time will come when the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah alike will return to Israel weeping as they go. They will ask for directions to Zion so they may seek Yahweh and join themselves to Him in an eternal covenant.

11. There is to be an Everlasting Covenant in connection with Zion. Jeremiah 50:4-5. The time will come when the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah alike will return to Israel weeping as they go. They will ask for directions to Zion so they may seek Yahweh and join themselves to Him in an eternal covenant.

12. In the future God will again dwell in Zion.

a.     Isaiah 60:14. Zion is the city of Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel.

                                                                        i.     Isaiah 60 is a magnificent passage outlining the glorious future of Israel. There are portions of this passage which refer to the return of Jewish people from around the world to take part in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. Other portions can only refer to the Eternal State in New Jerusalem. Other portions apply to both.

                                                                       ii.     The people of Israel are commanded to arise and shine, for the glory of Yahweh has risen upon them and will appear to them. Israel’s glory will be so great nations and kings will gather to behold and partake of her glory (Isa. 60:1-3). This glory will manifest itself preliminarily in Jesus’ reign from Jerusalem during the Millennium, but ultimately in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23-26; 22:5).

                                                                     iii.     Jewish people, exiled all over the world, will come from afar and return to the promised land of Israel (Isa. 60:4).

                                                                     iv.     Israel will become very wealthy as the earth’s nations bring tribute to her and her King, Jesus. This wealth will include a prodigious harvest of fish from the sea, and of camels, gold, frankincense, and silver. Flocks of sacrificial animals will be brought from Kedar to be sacrificed as a memorial in the Millennial Temple (Isa. 60:7, 13; cf. Ezek. 40:1-46:24). Israel’s sons will come from afar back to the land, bringing “their silver and gold with them” (Isa. 60:9).

                                                                      v.     Foreigners will assist Israel in rebuilding her walls, and kings of foreign nations will serve Israel. There will be peace throughout the land, and Jerusalem’s gates will be open for transit day and night. Israel will enjoy international supremacy. The wealth of the nations will be brought into Jerusalem with their kings in subservience. Any nation or kingdom which will not serve Israel will find itself ruined (Isa. 60:10-12).

                                                                     vi.     All who have opposed Jewish people and Zion in the past will come and bow before the soles of Israeli feet. They will freely admit that Jerusalem is the city of Yahweh, that it is Zion of the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 60:14)!

                                                                   vii.     Whereas Zion in the past has been forsaken, hated, and desolate, Yahweh will make her an eternal pride, nourished and provided for by the kings and nations of earth (Isa. 60:15-16).

                                                                  viii.     At that time, the Jewish people will know that Jesus is Yahweh-come-in-the-flesh, their Savior, Redeemer, and the Mighty One of Jacob (Isa. 60:16).

                                                                     ix.     Yahweh will bless Israel with prosperity, peace, righteousness, and praise (Isa. 60:17-18).

                                                                      x.     Zion will exude great glory, for Yahweh will be her light. Mourning will end, her people will possess the promised land forever, and Israel will be a mighty nation (Isa. 60:19-22). This last paragraph will be most completely fulfilled in New Jerusalem in connection with New Earth (Rev. 21:1-4, 23-26; 22:5).

b.     Jeremiah 31:6. The day will come in the future kingdom “when watchmen on the hills of Ephraim call out, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.’” This will be true because Yahweh will again dwell there.

                                                                        i.     This will be the time when Yahweh declares, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people” (Jer. 31:1), when “The people who survived the sword” of the Tribulation (Zech. 13:8-9) will have “found grace in the wilderness” of judgment (Ezek. 20:33-44).

                                                                       ii.     Yahweh has loved Israel with an everlasting love and drawn her with loyal love (Jer. 31:3). Therefore Yahweh will build Israel and she will indeed be rebuilt (Jer. 31:4-5)!

                                                                     iii.     The people will return to Zion to worship Yahweh their God (Jer. 31:6). They will be commanded by Yahweh to “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,” the “chief of the nations,” and as an act of praise to plead, “O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel” (Jer. 31:7).

                                                                     iv.     And Yahweh will respond. He will gather His people “from the north country” and “from the remotest parts of the earth” (Jer. 31:8). A “great company” will return to the land of promise “with weeping” (Jer. 31:8-9). “He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps His flock” (Jer. 31:10).

                                                                      v.     Yahweh will ransom and redeem Jacob, and the Jewish people “will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion” (the Temple Mount) (Jer. 31:11-12). “They will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD,” “…and they will never languish again” (Jer. 31:12). Yahweh “will turn their mourning into joy,” and His people “will be satisfied” with His goodness (Jer. 31:13-14).

c.     Joel 3:17. There will come a time in the future when the people of Israel will know that Yahweh is their God who dwells in Zion, His holy mountain. At that time Jerusalem will be holy, unsoiled by strangers. (Yet God will graciously grant “born in Zion” status to countless Gentiles. See the author’s Analysis of Psalm 87.)

d.     Joel 3:21. “…Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem for all generations.” Yahweh will avenge the blood of His people and He will dwell in Zion (Joel 3:20-21).

e.     Zechariah 2:10-12. The time is coming when Yahweh will again dwell in Zion. Many nations will join themselves to Him and become His people. Yahweh will again choose Judah and Jerusalem!

f.      Zechariah 8:3. Yahweh will return to Zion and live in Jerusalem. Jerusalem “will be called the City of Truth,” and Yahweh’s mountain will be called “the Holy Mountain.”

13. Zion will one day be redeemed, restored, and healed.

a.     Isaiah 1:27. “Zion will be redeemed with justice and her repentant ones with righteousness.”

b.     Jeremiah 3:14. Though the Jewish people are faithless, Yahweh will ultimately bring selected individuals back to Zion.

c.     Jeremiah 30:17. Yahweh will ultimately restore outcast, uncared for Zion back to health and heal her of her wounds.

d.     Jeremiah 31:6, 12. One day, watchmen will urge Israelis to travel to Zion to worship Yahweh. The redeemed of Israel will shout for joy on Zion, exulting in Yahweh’s blessing. Indeed, by means of His New Covenant, Yahweh has guaranteed Israel’s forgiveness and restoration to fellowship (Jer. 31). Israel’s existence is as eternal as the universe. One day this universe will explode, but God will make a brand new one, free from sin and its ravages (2 Pet. 3:7-13; Rev. 21:1-22:5).

e.     Micah 4:6-8. Yahweh will gather His outcast people from all over the world and will personally reign over them in Mount Zion.

                                                                        i.     In the last days, the mountain of the house of Yahweh will be established as chief of all the high seats of power throughout the earth. People will come from all over the world to mount Zion to learn of His ways (Mic. 4:1-2).

                                                                       ii.     There, Jesus will be enthroned as the God-King and will render decisions as the International Supreme Court. Global peace will prevail (Mic. 4:3).

                                                                     iii.     Jewish people will sit fearlessly on their own private property without fear of invasion or theft (Mic. 4:4).

                                                                     iv.     Yahweh will assemble the outcasts and the lame and make them a strong nation, Israel. Jesus the Messiah will reign over the nation from Mount Zion and Zion’s rightful dominion will be restored (Mic. 4:6-8).

f.      Micah 4:10. Though the daughter of Zion (people of Judea) was captured and imprisoned in Babylon, ultimately she was rescued. The way God has restored Israel in the past aptly illustrates that which He will accomplish in the future.

g.     Micah 4:11-13. Yahweh will grant Israel the power to pulverize anti-Zionist nations.

                                                                        i.     Throughout time many nations have gloated over the demise of Zion (Mic. 4:11).

                                                                       ii.     In the last days Yahweh will again draw them to attempt to destroy Zion. Unbeknown to them, they are merely straw to be trampled underfoot on the threshing floor. Zion will thresh them and seize from them their unjust wealth and devote it to the service of Jesus, King of all the earth (Mic. 4:12-13).

h.     Zephaniah 3:14, 16. The daughter (inhabitants) of Zion and the daughter (inhabitants) of Jerusalem and the people of Israel are to shout for joy because Yahweh will cease judging her and remove her enemies. Zion will no longer need to be fearful (Zeph. 3:14).

                                                                        i.     Yahweh, Jesus, King of Israel, will be among them and they will need no longer fear disaster. Jesus will be a victorious warrior among them (Zeph. 3:15-17).

                                                                       ii.     Yahweh will save the lame and gather the outcast of Israel. He will restore their fortunes, and He will “turn their shame into praise and renown” … “among all the peoples of the earth” (Zeph. 3:19-20).

i.       Zechariah 1:16-17. Yahweh will return to Jerusalem with compassion, and He will build His house in it. Yahweh of Troops announced that His cities, i.e. the cities of Israel, would again “overflow with prosperity.” Yahweh “will again comfort Zion and again comfort Jerusalem.” This prophecy was fulfilled preliminarily after Israel’s Babylonian exile. It will again be fulfilled at Christ’s Second Coming and the commencement of His Millennial Kingdom.

14. In the past, Zion has been a source of joy. Psalm 48:2. This psalm reveals “Israel’s Worship of Yahweh Elohim as the Eternal Guardian of Beautiful Zion, His City!” (Analysis of Psalm 48.) “Psalm 48 oozes Zionism. Mount Zion is named in 48:2,11, and Zion in 48:12; there are two references to the city ** ('iyr) of our God in 48:1 and 8, one reference to the city ** ('iyr) of the LORD (Yahweh) of hosts (troops) in 48:8, and one reference to the city **(qiryah) of the great King, a reference to God Himself (Elohim) as the reigning Monarch, in 48:2-3” (see Analysis of Psalm 48, footnote 1, page 1). Of particular interest is the fact that the sons of Korah, authors of this psalm, stated that Mount Zion, the city of the great King, is the joy of the entire earth! (Ps. 48:1-2)! Here I would agree with Vern Steiner (unpublished notes) of Miqra Institute that this psalm is particularly eschatological. In my view, this statement (in 48:1-2) will be fulfilled when Jesus Christ reigns from his throne in the temple on Mount Zion during His Millennial Kingdom (Isa. 2:1-4; Ezek. 43:1-7; Zech. 14:9). It will be supremely fulfilled when Jesus and God the Father sit as Co-Regents on their throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-22:5). For the present (the day in which the sons of Korah wrote this psalm), the authors urged Mount Zion to be glad, and the daughters of Jerusalem to rejoice because of God’s judgments – his decrees and statutes contained in the Torah, the Law (Ps. 48:11).

15. In the future there will again be joy in Zion.

a.     Isaiah 12:6. Isaiah prophesied (Isa. 11-12) about “Israel’s Millennial Kingdom” (Analysis of Isaiah, pp. 9-10). In order, Isaiah discussed “the character of the King” (Isa. 11:1-5), “the nature of the Kingdom” (Isa. 11:6-9), “the international politics of the Kingdom” (Isa. 11:10-16), and “Israel’s Hymn of Joy in the Kingdom” (Isa. 12). Note the repetition of the phrase “in” or “on” “that day” (Isa. 11:10, 11; 12:1, 4). The first half of the hymn focuses on the thanksgiving of the remnant (Isa. 12:1-3), while the latter half focuses on the grateful testimony of the remnant to the nations of the earth (Isa. 12:4-6) (see the appropriate comments on this passage in John Martin’s commentary on Isaiah, The Bible Knowledge Commentary). Commenting on Isa. 12:4-5, Thomas Constable writes, "In the eschatological day, the remnant would give thanks to Yahweh, pray to Him because of His character revealed in His behavior, and tell the Gentiles about His deeds” (Dr. Constable’s Notes on Isaiah, 2009 Edition, p. 62). In that great day in the future, the prophet Isaiah urges, “Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel” (Isa. 12:6). On that great day, God’s presence will be personified in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the resurrected and reigning King of Israel and the world. His reign and the conditions He engenders in Israel and the world will result in exuberant outbursts of joy in Zion!

b.     Isaiah 35:10. Isaiah spoke (Isa. 34-35) of “End-time Judgment and Blessing” (Analysis of Isaiah, p. 19). The  prophet predicted judgment” (Isa. 34), including “World-wide cosmic disturbances in the Tribulation” (Isa. 34:1-4) and “Judgment on Edom” (Isa. 34:5-17; see also Isa 63:1-6; Rev. 19:11-21) that will ultimately turn out to be Yahweh’s “day of vengeance” and “year of recompense for the cause of Zion” (Isa. 34:8). This judgment on Edom, now Jordan, will serve to illustrate more locally God’s judgment on the entire earth during the Tribulation. The subject (Isa. 35) jumps from the carnage and devastation of the Tribulation to the blessing for Israel during Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom. Israel will “be encouraged with Millennial healing, bounty, and holiness” (Analysis of Isaiah, p. 19). There will be healing: “the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy” (Isa. 35:5-6). There will be bounty: “The wilderness and desert will be glad” (Isa. 35:1); “waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah” (Isa. 35:6). There will be holiness: There will be a highway called “the Highway of Holiness,” and “the unclean will not travel on it … But the redeemed will walk there” (Isa. 35:8-9). This speaks of redeemed Israelis who are believers in Jesus as their Messiah and who have miraculously survived the devastations of the Tribulation. They, the “redeemed,” will walk on the “Highway of Holiness” and return to Zion as “the ransomed of the LORD.” They will come to Zion with “joyful shouting” and “everlasting joy.” “They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isa. 35:10). This will be fulfilled in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. But its ultimate fulfillment awaits the descent of New Jerusalem to New Earth (Rev. 21:1-2). It is my belief that a “Highway of Holiness” will extend from New Earth to New Jerusalem. God Himself will dwell in New Jerusalem among His people, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Rev. 21:3-4).

c.     Isaiah 51:3, 11; 52:8. Isaiah 51:1-52:12 comprises a unit in Isaiah which discusses “The Scope of the Salvation” (Analysis of Isaiah, p. 25) that the Servant (Christ) will ultimately provide the remnant of Zion. Part of this salvation will accrue in the return of exiles from Babylon back to Israel. But some of the language is couched in terms that can only be fulfilled in the Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom, and ultimately only in the Messiah’s Eternal Kingdom in New Jerusalem.

                                                                        i.     Yahweh appealed to the righteous remnant, reminding them that He had blessed Abraham and Sarah, their forebears (Isa. 51:1-2). Then the prophet reminded them, “Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of melody” (Isa. 51:3). Though Yahweh did indeed comfort the remnant that returned from the Babylonian exile, the utopian language here is most likely yet to be fulfilled in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

                                                                       ii.     The prophet Isaiah reminded Yahweh of His past deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian army through the Red Sea (Isa. 51:9-10). He likens that past deliverance to a yet future, end-time deliverance. Then, “the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, and everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isa. 51:11). This future joy was in evidence when the remnant returned from Babylon. But that joy later ended. The joy here is described as “everlasting.” The next installment will be the return of Israel to Zion at the Second Coming of the Messiah. But the ultimate fulfillment will be the migration of redeemed Israel to her eternal home, New Jerusalem, and the eternal kingdom.

d.     Jeremiah 31:12. Yahweh, who scattered Israel, will gather Israelis from afar from those stronger than they. They will again shout for joy on the height of Mount Zion, exhilarating in the prosperity and blessing of Yahweh (Jer. 31:10-12). This prophecy looks ahead to the time when, at Christ’s Second Coming, Yahweh will gather Jewish people from all over the world to return to Zion (Jer. 31:8-9). The Jewish returnees to Zion will be “radiant over the bounty of the LORD,” and “they will never languish again” (Jer. 31:12). “Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance.” Yahweh “will turn their mourning into joy”; He “will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow” (Jer. 31:13). Yahweh can predict this because He will institute a New Covenant “with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” unlike the Mosaic Covenant which they repeatedly broke. In this New Covenant Yahweh will write His laws on their heart, forgiving their sin. They will all know Yahweh, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (Jer. 31:27-34). This joy and amity with Yahweh has never been fully realized, even with the Jewish return from exile in Babylon. Its next great fulfillment awaits the return of Jesus the Messiah to reign over the earth. Its final fulfillment awaits the ascension of redeemed Jews to the future Mount Zion, situated in the glorious and prodigious city of New Jerusalem. ** 

e.     Zephaniah 3:14. The prophecy of Zephaniah consists largely of judgment. The first three-quarters of the prophecy (Zeph. 1:1 – 3:8) outlines “Yahweh’s angry, judgmental destruction of all nations” (Analysis of Zephaniah, pp. 1-3). Zephaniah 1 paints a devastating picture of “the day of the LORD” (Zeph. 1:7, 14). “The near fulfillment of the ‘Day of the LORD’ was the judgment of Judah by Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. The ultimate reference is to the Tribulation” (Analysis of Zephaniah, p. 1, footnote 1). Indeed, Zephaniah predicts that, “On the day of the LORD’S wrath,” “all the earth will be devoured in the fire of His jealousy, for He will make a complete end, indeed a terrifying one, of all the inhabitants of the earth” (Zeph. 1:18)! Yahweh will “gather nations” and “assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My indignation, all My burning anger; for all of the earth will be devoured by the fire of My zeal” (Zeph. 3:8). But then Zephaniah’s tone abruptly switches! In the remainder of his prophecy he describes “Yahweh’s joyful, millennial reign over purified nations” (Zeph. 3:9-20). He predicts the nations’ (Gentiles’) worship and service of Yahweh (Zeph. 3:9-10), Yahweh’s refinement of Israel (Zeph. 3:11-13), and the causes for Millennial rejoicing” (Zeph. 3:14-20) (Analysis of Zephaniah, pp. 3-4). Yahweh will leave a righteous remnant in Israel who “will do no wrong and tell no lies,” and none of their enemies “will make them tremble” (Zeph. 3:12-13). Therefore the “daughter of Zion” is urged to “shout for joy,” and the “daughter of Jerusalem” is urged to “rejoice and exult” with all her heart (Zeph. 3:14). Why? Because Yahweh has taken away His judgments against her and cleared away her enemies. “The King of Israel, the LORD,” will be in her midst, and she “will fear disaster no more.” So “in that day it will be said to Jerusalem, ‘Do not be afraid, O Zion’ …” (Zeph. 3:15-16). There has never yet been a time in Israel’s history since her return from Babylonian exile when she has not been surrounded by enemies. The long-term fulfillment of this prophecy awaits the return of Jesus Christ to sit as “King of Israel, the LORD” (Zeph. 3:15) on His throne in Jerusalem during His Millennial reign. Then the nations of the earth will stream to Mount Zion “the mountain of the house of the LORD” so that King Jesus may teach them concerning His ways. The earth’s nations will “hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isa. 2:2-4). The next great fulfillment of Zion’s joy will emanate from the peaceful rule of Jesus Christ over the earth during the Millennium. The ultimate fulfillment will be His reign with His Father in New Jerusalem in the eternal kingdom.

f.      Zechariah 2:10. Zechariah is the prophecy about “Israel’s Prophetic Future” (Analysis of Zechariah). Zechariah 1:7 – 6:15 consists of a series of visions and symbolism (Analysis, pp. 1-4). In his third vision the prophet witnessed a man with a measuring line (Zech. 2:1-13). The vision speaks of a “Return to Safety and Joy!” (Analysis, p. 2). As with many prophecies, there is at least a dual time referent. In the short-term, the prophecy anticipates a return from Babylonian exile (Zech. 2:7). That return has been fulfilled. But the prophecy employs language that has not yet been fulfilled. Let us examine some of these instances.

                                                                        i.     An angel instructed another angel to tell Zechariah that “Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls.” The reason will be that Yahweh Himself “will be a wall of fire around her,” and He “will be the glory in her midst” (Zech. 2:4-5). It has been centuries since Yahweh lived in Zion. But when Jesus returns to earth to reign from Zion, there will indeed be glory in Zion (Isa. 24:23; 58:8; 59:19; 60:1-2, 19; 62:2; 66:18-19). Some of these passages speak of Jesus’ reign from Jerusalem on the present earth, while others speak of an ultimate fulfillment in New Jerusalem in the Eternal Kingdom. Note in particular God’s fiery protection of Jerusalem upon this present earth after Christ’s one-thousand-year reign (Rev. 20:1-9). Note also passages in Isaiah which find their parallel in the eternal New Jerusalem in connection with New Earth (Isa. 24:23; 60:19-20, cf. Rev. 21:23-25; 22:5).

                                                                       ii.     Yahweh exhorted, “Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion, for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst” (Zech. 2:10).   Must place WordExplain links from here on.

1.     We know that Yahweh filled Solomon’s temple with His presence upon its completion. As soon as the priests had finished placing the ark of the covenant inside the holy place, the cloud of the glory of the God of Israel filled the house of Yahweh and the priests “could not stand to minister” (1 Kings 8:6-11).

2.     Centuries later Ezekiel recorded his vision of the abominable idolatry of the people of Judah (Ezek. 8:1-16). Because of their treasonous insurrection, Yahweh promised He would deal with them in His wrath without pity (Ezek. 8:17-18). In one of the saddest passages of Scripture, Yahweh withdrew His presence from the temple and from the city of Jerusalem.

a.     The glory of God went up from the (model) cherub to the threshold of the temple (Ezek. 9:3; 10:4).

b.     The glory of God departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the (real) cherubim and their “chariot.” God was preparing to move out of the city (Ezek. 10:18)!

c.     The (real) cherubim departed and stood at the edge of the temple and the glory of Yahweh hovered over them (Ezek. 10:18-19).

d.     The cherubim, accompanied by the glory of the God of Israel, departed from the city and stood over the mountain east of the city (Ezek. 11:12-13). This would most likely be the Mount of Olives. It is no accident that Jesus departed from this world from the Mount of Olives to ascend to His Father. Or that angels at Jesus’ ascension told the gazing apostles that Jesus would return just as they had seen Him go (Acts 1:9-12). Or that the prophet Zechariah (Zech. 14:3-4) predicted that the Messiah would descend from heaven to the Mount of Olives to rescue Israel from her international adversaries! (Charles Dyer, Ezekiel, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Vol. 1).

3.     That which Ezekiel witnessed in visions actually came to pass. God did withdraw His presence from Solomon’s temple. The Babylonians destroyed both the temple and the city of Jerusalem in 586 BC. Even though the book of Ezra records the rebuilding of the post-exilic temple, there is no record of God’s presence entering that temple (Ezra 6:14-18). In the Gospels there is no evidence that God’s glory was ever displayed in Herod’s temple. Jesus Himself appeared in the temple on several occasions, but whereas He displayed His authority, He did not display His glory, and He certainly did not dwell there (Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-17).

4.     It appears that Yahweh’s exhortation to the daughter of Zion to sing for joy because He will dwell in her midst (Zech. 2:10) will not be fulfilled until Jesus resides in Jerusalem and the glory of Yahweh once again fills the Millennial Temple (Ezek. 43:1-5). Note that the temple Ezekiel witnessed in his vision (Ezek. 40:1-46:24) cannot possibly refer to a temple in New Jerusalem, for none will ever exist there. The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb will constitute the temple in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22). That leaves only the Millennium as a suitable era for Ezekiel’s temple.

                                                                     iii.     “Many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. The Lord will possess Judah as His people in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation” (Zech. 2:11-13). This prophecy looks to the future when the following conditions will be true in Zion:

1.     “Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle in within it” (Zech. 2:4). This cannot refer to New Jerusalem, where an enormous wall with twelve gates is an outstanding feature of the city (Rev. 21:12-21, 25).

2.     It will be a time when Yahweh is a “wall of fire around her” and “the glory in her midst” (Zech. 2:5). This cannot refer to any time subsequent to Israel’s return from the Babylonian exile, for Jerusalem has routinely come under attack and God’s glory has never appeared there. Neither can it refer to New Jerusalem, for no enemies will exist there.

3.     Yahweh of Troops (the LORD of hosts) will have sent the (Messianic) speaker against the nations who plunder Israel (Zech. 2:8). The Messiah has not returned and rendered judgment against Israel’s plunderers.

4.     The nations who plundered Judah will themselves become plunder for Judah (Zech. 2:9). Israel’s plunderers have not become a plunder for Israel.

5.     This will cause Israel to know that Yahweh has sent the speaker (Zech. 2:9). Israel does not yet know her Messiah.

6.     The daughter of Zion is to rejoice because the speaker will come to dwell in her midst. (Zech. 2:10). Jesus, the speaker, does not yet dwell in Zion.

7.     The speaker identifies himself with Yahweh (Zech. 2:10). Jesus is both God and man at the same time. He will fill this requirement, but He has not yet reappeared.

8.     “In that day” many nations will attach themselves to Yahweh, the God of Israel and will become His people (Zech. 2:11). Though many nations have today attached themselves to Yahweh and become His people, Yahweh is not presently dwelling in Israel’s midst.

9.     The speaker will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel (Zech. 2:11). Jesus is not presently dwelling in Jerusalem.

10. Israel will know that Yahweh of Troops has sent the speaker to Israel (Zech. 2:11). Israel does not know Yahweh has sent Jesus.

11. Yahweh “will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem” (Zech. 2:12). Though in the last sixty plus years Israel has become a nation, it is extremely questionable whether Judah is Yahweh’s portion and whether Yahweh has again chosen Jerusalem. This is questionable because many Gentiles presently occupy Israel’s land and Israel cannot even build her own temple for Yahweh; also because Israel does not presently believe in Jesus as her Messiah.

12. When will these conditions be fulfilled?

a.     The only person who can fulfill the role of the speaker is the Messiah, Jesus.

b.     Israel does not know that Yahweh has sent her Messiah. So Christ’s present reign in heaven cannot fulfill this prophecy.

c.     Other nations are still plundering Israel and will do so even more until Jesus returns (see Zech. 12:1-9; 13:7-9; 14:1-5).

d.     New Jerusalem cannot fulfill all the features of this prophecy because an enormous wall will be a distinctive feature of that city  (Rev. 21:12-21, 25), while this passage states there will be no wall (Zech. 2:4).

e.     At Christ’s Second Coming, all these conditions will be met. Jesus will return to the present earth and will destroy those who are plundering Israel (Zech. 2:8-9; 14:3-4, 9; Ezek. 39:17-29; Rev. 19:11-21). The wealth of the nations will come to Israel (Isa. 60:5, 11; 61:6; Hag. 2:7; Zech. 14:13-14). The land will be holy to the Lord (Zech. 2:12; 14:20-21), and Jesus will reign as King of the entire earth (Zech. 14:9). He will be a glory in Jerusalem (Isa. 60:1, 19-20); He will dwell in Jerusalem, and there will be great joy and gladness in Jerusalem (Zech. 2:10).

f.      So the best explanation of all these features is to say that there will be joy and gladness in Jerusalem during Christ’s Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:1-6) prior to the destruction of the existing cosmos and the creation of New Heaven and New Earth, the eternal cosmos, which will feature New Jerusalem as its capital city (Rev. 21-22).

g.     Of course the ultimate fulfillment of many of the features mentioned above will take place in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-22:5).

16. Yahweh will roar from Zion.

a.     Amos 1:2. Yahweh roared from Zion and brought judgment on surrounding nations and on Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom) alike (Amos 1-2).

b.     Joel 3:16. Yahweh will draw all the nations of the world into the land of Israel, where He will destroy them for their wickedness as He roars from Zion (Joel 3:1-16). After that massive victory, the people of Israel will know that Jesus is Yahweh come in the flesh, dwelling in the Temple on Mount Zion, His holy mountain in the holy city of Jerusalem (Joel 3:17).

17. Vengeance is to be levied against the enemies of Zion. Vengeance is decreed upon Babylon, Edom, and Greece. The vengeance against Babylon was fulfilled historically with the invasion of Babylon by the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C. However, there is a future judgment against Babylon that is yet to be fulfilled (Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:1-6, 16-18; 18:1-19:4).

a.     Isaiah 34:8. Yahweh “has a day of vengeance” and “a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.”

                                                                        i.     Yahweh’s indignation and wrath will lash out at all the earth’s nations and their armies. The earth’s armies will be slain on the mountains, and the sun and the stars will convulse in the heavens (Isa. 34:1-8). The time frame is the great Tribulation (see Rev. 6:12-13; 14:14-20; 16:12-16).

                                                                       ii.     Yahweh’s sword will specifically target Bozrah and Edom, a city and region presently comprising a portion of the modern day nation of Jordan. The land of Edom will be utterly ruined and uninhabited by man from generation to generation (Isa. 34:9-17).

b.     Jeremiah 50:28-29. Because of Babylon’s arrogant mistreatment of Israel, Yahweh pronounced terrible judgment on her. In fulfillment of this prophecy, Yahweh would wreak vengeance on Babylon on account of Zion and His temple, which the Babylonians had destroyed. As Babylon had done to Israel, so it would be done to Babylon.

                                                                        i.     This prophecy was fulfilled historically in the demise of Babylon at the hands of the Medes and the Persians (Dan. 5:1-31).

                                                                       ii.     It serves as a perpetual reminder that all who oppose Zion are doomed to destruction.

c.     Jeremiah 51:8-11. Judgment is decreed upon Babylon. Jewish people will declare in Zion that Yahweh has vindicated Israel because of His destruction of Babylon. God will use the Medes to destroy Babylon.

d.     Jeremiah 51:24, 35. Yahweh will repay Babylon and the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have committed in Zion. The inhabitants of Zion will say, “May the violence committed on us return on you, O Babylon” (author’s paraphrase).

e.     Joel 3:16-21. Yahweh will roar from Zion against all the nations that have invaded Israel, for He dwells in Zion. All will come to know this. Egypt will become a waste and Edom a desolate wilderness because they have shed innocent blood. But Judah and Jerusalem will be inhabited forever. Yahweh will avenge Jewish blood spilled, for He dwells in Zion! This refers to the time following the catastrophic events of the Tribulation (Joel 3:1-15).

f.      Zechariah 9:13. Yahweh will stir up the sons of Zion against the sons of Greece.

g.     God will wage war to protect Zion.

                                                                        i.     Isaiah 31:4-5, 9. As a lion devouring a sheep is undeterred by the cries of the shepherds, so Yahweh will not be deterred from waging war on Mount Zion to protect its citizens. The invading Assyrians would fall by the sword of God, not man, for Yahweh’s fire is in Zion and His furnace is in Jerusalem! This was fulfilled historically when the Angel of Yahweh smote 185,000 Assyrian troops preparing to invade Jerusalem (Isaiah 36-37).

                                                                       ii.     Isaiah 34:1-8. Yahweh is indignant against all nations of the world and their armies. He will slay their armies and drench the mountains with their blood. He will cause great disturbances among the stars in the heavens. He will single out Bozrah and Edom (in the modern day country of Jordan) for a great slaughter. This will come to pass because Yahweh has a day of vengeance and a year of recompense for the cause of Zion! This prophecy will be fulfilled ultimately in the Tribulation period.

                                                                     iii.     Joel 3:16-17. Yahweh will roar from Zion, and He will be a refuge for His people. Then Israel will know that Yahweh is her God, and that He dwells on Zion, His holy mountain!

h.     The doom of all nations who wage war against Zion.

                                                                        i.     Isaiah 29:5-8. Yahweh will punish Ariel (Jerusalem) with invading enemy nations (Isa. 29:1-4). But Yahweh of Troops will pulverize and dismay the multitude of nations who wage war against Mount  Zion (Isa. 29:5-8).

                                                                       ii.     Isaiah 34:1-8. Yahweh is indignant against all nations of the world and their armies. He will slay their armies and drench the mountains with their blood. He will cause great disturbances among the stars in the heavens. He will single out Bozrah and Edom (in the modern day country of Jordan) for a great slaughter. This will come to pass because Yahweh has a day of vengeance and a year of recompense for the cause of Zion! This prophecy will be fulfilled ultimately in the Tribulation period. It also looks at the demise of the nations who rebel against Jesus and His administration at the close of the Millennium, after Satan has been released from the Abyss (Rev. 20:7-10).

                                                                     iii.     Micah 4:11-13. There are many nations who have gloated over the demise of Zion. But they do not understand that Yahweh will draw them to Israel that the “daughter of Zion” might pulverize them like straw on the threshing floor! Then Israel will devote the conquered nations’ wealth to the service of Jesus, the Lord of all the earth!

18. God will be supreme in Zion over the nations of the Earth.

a.     Psalm 99:2. Yahweh is great in Zion and He is exalted over all the peoples of the earth! They are to praise His great and awesome name (Psalm 99:3)!

b.     Psalm 102:15-16. The time will come when all the nations of the earth will fear the name of Yahweh, and earth’s kings will be humbled before His glory. This will be true because the time will come when Yahweh will have built up Zion and Jesus will have appeared in all His glory! Yahweh will free the prisoners and men will praise the name of Yahweh in Zion and Jerusalem. This will take place when the earth’s kingdoms and peoples are gathered together in Jerusalem to serve Yahweh and King Jesus (Psalm 102:19-22).

c.     Isaiah 60:14. “The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”

                                                                        i.     Foreigners will build Zion’s walls and their kings will serve her. Zion’s gates will be open around the clock so that people may bring the wealth of nations into her, their kings led in subservient procession (Isa. 60:5, 10-11).

                                                                       ii.     Nations who do not serve Zion will perish, utterly destroyed (Isa. 60:12).

                                                                     iii.     Zion will be an everlasting pride, and will extract the wealth of nations and their kings from around the world. And so, the people of Zion will know that Jesus is their Redeemer and Savior (Isa. 60:15-16).

d.     Obadiah 1:15-21. The “Day of Yahweh” will draw near on all the nations. See the author’s Analysis of Obadiah, entitled, “The Downfall of Edom.”

                                                                        i.     Just as all nations have defiled Yahweh’s holy mountain, so it will be done to them. They will become as though they had never existed (Obad. 1:15-16).

                                                                       ii.     Yet there will be Jewish people who survive on Mount Zion, and it will be holy. A fire will come from Jacob and consume the house of Esau in Edom (a portion of modern day Jordan) (Obad. 1:17-18).

                                                                     iii.     Israelis will possess the mountain of Esau (a portion of modern day Jordan), the Gaza strip, all of the “West Bank” and the northern territory of Canaan (Obad. 1:19-20).

                                                                     iv.     “The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the kingdom will be the LORD’s” (Obad. 1:21) because Jesus will reign from Mount Zion over the entire world.

e.     Micah 4:2, 7-8, 10-11, 13. Zion will be the World Capital and Zion’s enemies will be pulverized.

                                                                        i.     In the last days the Temple on Mount Zion will be established as the Chief Seat of Government of all the capitals of the entire world. Peoples and nations from all over the world will stream to the House of God on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and ask God-King Jesus to teach them His ways so they can walk in His paths. The ultimate Law will go forth from Mount Zion and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem (Mic. 4:1-2).

                                                                       ii.     Jesus will judge between many peoples and make international decisions for distant nations. So effective will His regime be that the nations around the world will dispense with military budgets, and citizens will live without fear on their own private property (Mic. 4:3-4).

                                                                     iii.     Yahweh will assemble Israeli outcasts from around the world and forge them into a strong nation, and Jesus will reign over them forever on Mount Zion (Mic. 4:6-8).

                                                                     iv.     Though in time the inhabitants of Zion have been punished for their sins and deported to foreign countries such as Babylon, Yahweh will inevitably redeem Israel from her enemies (Mic. 4:9-10).

                                                                      v.     Woe to the nations who gloat over Zion’s temporary demise – the daughter of Zion will thresh them and their wealth will be devoted to Jesus, the Lord of all the earth (Mic. 4:11-13).

19. Jesus is vitally connected with Zion.

a.     God will lay in Zion a cornerstone.

                                                                        i.     Isaiah 28:16. Adonay Yahweh will lay a costly cornerstone in Zion. There is a lengthy section of Isaiah pronouncing woes against Israel and Judah, the Northern and Southern Kingdoms (Isa. 28-35), but these woes are tempered with blessing. The first chapter in this section (Isaiah 28) pronounces woe against the proud ruling drunkards of Ephraim, meaning Samaria (Analysis of Isaiah, beginning p. 16). The sub-section of Isa. 28:9-22 amounts to a “judgment against the mocking rulers in Jerusalem: As the people mock Isaiah’s words, so God will mock Israel with tongues (words) of foreign speech.” Tucked away in that sub-section is this wonderful prophecy given to Isaiah from Adonay Yahweh: “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed’” (Isa. 28:16). Jewish people of Isaiah’s day could deduce several things: 1) Adonay Yahweh would one day do something in Zion, meaning Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. 2) He would firmly lay a cornerstone for the very foundation of the nation itself. 3) This cornerstone would come at great cost to someone, here unnamed. 4) It would be necessary for people to place their faith in this cornerstone. 5) Those who place their faith in this cornerstone will remain undisturbed. Presumably those who do not exercise faith in this cornerstone will be disturbed. With the hindsight of 2700 years, we can detect what or who this cornerstone is. What do the writers of the New Testament say?

                                                                       ii.     Romans 9:33. God would lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. He who believes in Him will not be disappointed.

1.     In Romans 9:30-33, Paul wrote that the Gentiles, while not pursuing righteousness, “attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why, because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in him will not be disappointed.’” In his OT quotation, Paul combined texts from both Isaiah 28:16 and 8:14.

2.     When Paul spoke of this “stone,” to whom was he referring? In the next section (Rom. 10:1-4), he prays to God for Israel’s salvation. He acknowledged their zeal for God, but said that it was a zeal without a sufficient knowledge base. They did not know about God’s righteousness, and they endeavored to establish their own. In so doing, they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God. The truth, he wrote, is that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4). Clearly Paul understood that costly cornerstone to refer to Jesus Christ. The Jewish people have largely stumbled over that stone. But everyone who has placed his faith in Him has not been disappointed, whether he is Jewish or Gentile. For an overview of the flow of thought (Romans 9-11), see the author’s Analysis of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, pp. 32-46.

                                                                     iii.     1 Peter 2:6. In the second chapter of his first letter (1 Pet. 2), Peter spoke of his readers as coming to the Lord “as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet. 2:4). Using that same metaphor, he refers to them as “living stones” who “are being built up as a spiritual house,” one in which they as “a holy priesthood” could offer up “spiritual sacrifices” which God would accept through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5). He then documents the correctness of the theology in his metaphor by quoting from the Old Testament: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed” (1 Pet. 2:6). Peter quoted from Isaiah 28:16. Clearly Peter identified Jesus Christ as the costly corner stone that Adonay Yahweh had predicted He would lay in Zion. Peter went on to point out that, for all who believe in Jesus, the Stone, He becomes a precious value (1 Pet. 2:7a). But for those who refuse to believe in Him, “the stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,” and it became a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence” (1 Pet. 2:7b-8, quoting from Psa. 118:22). Clearly, for the nation of Israel, this is exactly what happened. Israel as a nation rejected Jesus as her Messiah, but God has made Him the chief cornerstone anyway. But those who have believed in Him have not been disappointed!

b.     A redeemer will come to Zion and will remove sins.

                                                                        i.     Isaiah 59:20-21Isaiah speaks of the criteria for God’s blessing (Isa. 58-59). He states that, if Israel is to be blessed, the nation must deal with its sin (Isa. 59). In Isaiah 59:15b-21 he outlines Yahweh’s own plan to bring justice and salvation. Since no man was able, Yahweh Himself would bring salvation (Isa. 59:15-17). “A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD. “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever” (Isa. 59:20-21). That Redeemer is none other than Jesus of Nazareth, God-come-in-the-flesh. His people rejected Him, and He died to pay for their sins. When He returns to Zion, many Jewish people will repent, turn to Him, and be saved from their sins (Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rom. 11:26-27). It is the New Covenant that guarantees this.

                                                                       ii.     Romans 11:26-27. In the dispensational portion of his letter, Paul vindicates God’s righteousness in setting aside national Israel in order to save the earth’s other nations (Gentiles) (Rom. 9-11). (See author’s Analysis of Romans, pp. 32-46.) In the last chapter of the section (Romans 11) Paul praises God’s merciful wisdom in temporarily casting away National Israel to save the nations (see Analysis, p. 39-46). (a) In this chapter he first notes the incompleteness of national Israel’s being cast away – there has always been a remnant (Rom. 11:1-10). (b) Next, he states the dual purpose of national Israel’s being cast away – Gentile salvation and Jewish jealousy (Rom. 11:11-16). (c) Then he delivers a warning to the nations in light of national Israel’s being cast away (Rom. 11:17-22): if God did not spare national Israel in her unbelief, He certainly won’t spare the nations in their unbelief, either! (d) Next, in the paragraph of particular interest to us (Analysis, pp. 43-45), he predicts a reversal of national Israel’s being cast away – total national salvation (Rom. 11:23-32)! In this paragraph Paul declares “that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25). By this he meant that the Gentiles – nations of the world – will maintain their dominant influence over the world for a length of time until God terminates their influence. We are presently living in that era. (Jesus Himself stated that Jerusalem would be “trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Even though Jewish people now reside in Jerusalem, they meet international resistance when they build settlements in their own capital city. Furthermore, the Temple Mount is occupied by a Muslim shrine and mosque.) But then Paul states a glorious truth – after “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25), “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26)! Paul then documents his assertion from Scripture, quoting from Isaiah 59:20-21: “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins” (Rom. 11:26-27). Historically, Jesus the Christ did die for the sins of Israel (and the world) in Zion. But national Israel remains in unbelief. Doubtless the time is coming when Jesus will return to Zion (Zech. 14:4) and will bring repentance to Israel (Zech. 12:10-13:1). He will gather all Israelis together from all over the world (Isa. 11:11-16; 14:1-2; 43:5-6; 49:22-23; 60:4, 9; Ezek. 20:33-34, 41-44; 36:24-36; Hos. 3:4-5). He will remove the rebels (Ezek. 20:33-38). There will be national repentance and national salvation (Ezek. 16:60-63; 20:43-44; Zech. 12:10-13:1), and redeemed Israel will assume its God-ordained role as leader of all the nations (Isa. 60:10-14; 61:5,7-9; 66:23) under the global rule of Messiah Jesus (Isa. 2:1-4; Zech. 14:9; Rev. 19:11-20:6; 21:1-22;5)! What a glorious time that will be!

20. There will be a return to Zion.

a.     Isaiah 37:32. In the fourteenth year of the reign of King Hezekiah over Judah, Sennacherib, King of Assyria, seized fortified cities of Judah and threatened to capture Jerusalem (Isa. 36:1-22). King Hezekiah took his dilemma to God and prayed in the temple (Isa. 37:1-20). Through the prophet Isaiah, Yahweh revealed that He would repulse the attack by Assyria (Isa. 37:21-35). Tucked away in this diatribe against Assyria is a prediction about a remnant of Judah. There would be a surviving remnant in Judah. A remnant would “go forth” out of Judah, and there would be survivors out of Mount Zion. The zeal of Yahweh of Troops would perform this (Isa. 37:31-32). This prophecy has been fulfilled historically (Isa. 37:33-38). But I also believe there are prophetic overtones for the future. There will be a yet future return to Zion.

b.     Isaiah 46:13. God will grant salvation in Zion and His glory in Israel. In the face of impending Babylonian captivity, Isaiah belittled the gods of Babylon, who must be carried about from place to place (Isa. 46:1-2, 6-7). Yet God Himself would carry the “house of Jacob,” “the remnant of Israel” (Isa. 46:3-4). The incomparable God (Isa. 46:5, 8-10) would call “a bird of prey from the east,” Cyrus, King of Persia, who would defeat Babylon and “grant salvation in Zion,” and bring about God’s “glory for Israel” (Isa. 46:11-13). Isaiah wrote his prophecy between 740 and 680 B.C. Yet, by means of supernatural revelation from God, he twice identified Cyrus by name more than a century before his appearance (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). Cyrus defeated Babylon in 539 B.C., and it was Cyrus who, in the first year of his reign (538 B.C.), issued the edict authorizing Jewish exiles to return to Israel and rebuild the Jewish temple (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-11). God did indeed display His glory in this mighty return from captivity (Isa. 46:13), but once the foundation of the temple was laid, older exiles wept (Ezra 3:7-13) because the glory of the reconstructed temple did not live up to the glory of Solomon’s temple (Hag. 1:14 – 2:3). Yet Yahweh instructed Zerubbabel, Joshua the high priest, and the people of the land to take courage. In a little while, Yahweh of Troops will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea, the dry land, and all nations (Hag. 2:4-7). (Yahweh seems to refer to the massive upheavals of the Tribulation period, Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Isa. 13:6-13; 24:1-6; 26:20-21; 34:4; Jer. 30:5-7; Ezek. 32:7-8; Dan. 9:27; Joel 2:10, 30-31; 3:12-15; Matt. 24:15-29; Rev. 6-18).) Yahweh will “shake all the nations” so that they bring their wealth to subsidize the Millennial Temple with silver and gold that belongs to Yahweh anyway! Then the “latter glory” of the Millennial Temple (Ezek. 40:1-46:24) will far exceed the former glory of Solomon’s Temple. There will be peace in Israel and peace in the entire world (Hag. 2:7-9; cf. Isa. 2:1-4; 9:6-7; 11:1-10; 66:10-13). So the “salvation in Zion” and the “glory for Israel” (Isa. 46:13) still await more magnificent and complete fulfillment, the thousand-year, peaceful reign of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. The complete fulfillment of Isaiah 46:13 requires a yet future return of the Jewish people to Israel and the rebuilding of a yet future temple whose glory will exceed the minimal glory of Zerubbabel’s temple.

c.     Isaiah 52:1-12. Captive Zion will be redeemed and purified from the uncircumcised and the unclean. Zion will be beautified, holy, and empowered. Jewish people will be redeemed from captivity, and in Zion it will be said that “Yahweh reigns!” All nations from all over the globe will see the salvation of the God of Israel. This passage is an emphatically Zionist passage in the prophecy of Isaiah, for the name Zion appears four times in just a few verses (Isa. 52:1, 2, 7, 8). In the first six verses (Isa. 52:1-6), Yahweh urges Zion, here a synonym for Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city (Isa. 52:1-2), “to clothe herself with strength preparatory to her release from exile among God-blaspheming nations” (Analysis of Isaiah, p. 25). Historically, this return from exile took place following the Babylonian captivity. But that was merely a partial return. Then as now, most Jewish people remained dispersed around the world. Ultimately, as the rest of this passage suggests, that Babylonian return was a down-payment on a yet larger and more significant return – a return in connection with the Second Coming of the Jewish Messiah. This is borne out in the next section, which anticipates the yet future time when there will be a “beautiful proclamation upon the mountains of the good news of God’s redemptive, salvatory reign in Zion” (Isa. 52:7-10) (see Analysis of Isaiah, p. 26). When the proclaimer of good news says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isa. 52:7) – he is describing the yet future time when Yahweh, in Jesus, “will be king over all the earth,” and Yahweh’s supremacy will be unchallenged (Zech. 14:9). This will be the time of ecstatic joy when Yahweh restores Zion (Isa. 52:8) and redeems Jerusalem (Isa. 52:9). This will be the yet future time when God supremely flexes His mighty and holy arm “in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God” (Isa. 52:10). This prophecy of the restoration and empowerment of Zion cannot possibly have been fulfilled completely at any time in the past. It awaits a yet future fulfillment, when no longer will there be any uncircumcised or unclean who desecrate the holy city of Jerusalem (Isa. 52:1-2). This passage anticipates the near-at-hand Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, and the more remote perfection of New Jerusalem in connection with New Earth. That future perfection will have been preceded by the sacrificial, atoning sacrifice of the Jewish Messiah, the Servant of God, immediately prophesied in graphic detail in the next section of Isaiah (Isa. 52:13 – 53:12). This was fulfilled in Jesus at His first Advent, when He came to die to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:18-21) and the world from their sins (John 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:6-10; 7:9-14).

d.     Jeremiah 3:14. Yahweh will bring a remnant of Jewish people back to Zion. In this chapter (Jeremiah 3) Yahweh brought a charge of treachery and harlotry against both the house of Israel and of Judah (Jer. 3:1-11, 20). Yahweh pled with the sons of Israel to return to Him (Jer. 3:12-14). “Return, O faithless sons,” declares the LORD; “for I am a master to you, and I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you back to Zion” (Jer. 3:14). So Yahweh promised that, when the faithless sons of Israel begin to return, He will bring a remnant back to Zion. Ultimately, they will return (Jer. 3:15-18). Yahweh anticipated a time when He would give them “shepherds” (rulers) “after My own heart” (Jer. 3:15), language that speaks of a bona fide descendant of David (1 Sam. 13:13-14; 2 Sam. 7:16; Luke 1:31-33). The people will multiply and increase in the land of Israel, and they will no longer miss the ark of the covenant of Yahweh (Jer. 3:16). That will be true because “they will call Jerusalem ‘the throne of the LORD’” (Jer. 3:17). So at that future day all thought of the ark of the covenant, formerly hidden in the temple, will be a forgotten memory. Why? Because Yahweh Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, will be sitting on His throne in the Millennial Temple, and He “will dwell among the sons of Israel forever” (Ezek. 43:1-7; Zech. 14:9; Luke 1:31-33; Rev. 20:4-6; 21:2-3; 22:3-5). All the nations of the earth, moreover, will be gathered to Jerusalem to worship Jesus, whose name means “Yahweh is Salvation” (Isa. 2:1-4; 56:7; Jer. 3:17; Micah 4:1-3; Zech. 14:9, 16-19; Luke 1:31-33). The Gentiles, along with the sons of Israel, will no longer walk in “the stubbornness of their evil heart” (Jer. 3:17). And in those days, the house of Israel and the house of Judah will be united, and they will return to the land of Israel, the land that God had given to their fathers as an inheritance, from the north (Jer. 3:18). One can easily see that not nearly all these conditions have been realized in past history. Therefore this return is still future.

21. God will comfort Zion.

a.     There was a time when there was no comfort for Zion

                                                                        i.     Lamentations 1:17. The Babylonian army laid siege to Jerusalem in 588 B.C. They finally breached the wall and conquered the city in 586 B.C., deporting most of the survivors to Babylon. Jeremiah the prophet witnessed this and wrote the Book of Lamentations as a sad memorial. Though Zion searches for comfort, none can be found. Jerusalem has become an unclean abomination among her adversaries as commanded by Yahweh Himself.

                                                                       ii.     Lamentations 2:13. The name Zion appears seven times in the second chapter (Lamentations 2), more than in any other chapter of the book. Yahweh has angrily covered the daughter (people) of Zion with a cloud (Lam. 2:1). Like an adversary, Yahweh has poured out his wrath like fire in the tent of the daughter of Zion (Lam. 2:4). With His destruction of the temple at the hands of Babylon, Yahweh has caused feast days and Sabbath days to be forgotten in Zion (Lam. 2:6). Yahweh determined to destroy the wall around the perimeter of the daughter of Zion (Lam. 2:8). The elders of the daughter of Zion sit silently on the ground in great grief (Lam. 2:10). Jeremiah tried in vain to comfort the virgin daughter of Zion, but he could not, for her ruin was as vast as the sea (Lam. 2:13). So the broken wall encompassing the people (daughter) of Zion was urged to let its tears run down like a river day and night (Lam. 2:18).

b.     Isaiah 30:19. There will come a time when the people of Zion, the inhabitants of Jerusalem will weep no more.

c.     Isaiah 51:3. Yahweh will yet comfort Zion and her waste places. He will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of the LORD. Joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and the sound of music will once again be heard in her.

d.     Isaiah 61:3. The final seven chapters of Isaiah (Isa. 60-66) comprise a marvelous section in Isaiah predicting “The Glory of the Kingdom” (Analysis of Isaiah, pp. 27-30). The first part of that section (Isaiah 60) speaks of “The Glory of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom” (Analysis, pp. 27-28); the next chapter (Isaiah 61) outlines “The Blessings of the Messiah” (Analysis, p. 28); and the next (Isaiah 62) underscores “The Inevitability of Israel’s Millennial Glory (Analysis, p. 28). Isaiah 61:1-3 speaks of “the anointed Messiah in His First and Second Advents” (Analysis, p. 28). In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus read aloud Isaiah 61:1-2a and applied it to Himself (Luke 4:16-21). It is obvious that the following lines applied to Jesus and His ministry at His First Advent: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD” (Isa. 61:1-2a). Jesus broke off the reading in the middle of a sentence. Why? Because the next few lines of the prophecy in Isaiah apply to His Second Advent: “…and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified” (Isa. 61:2b-3). It will be at Jesus’ Second Advent that, anointed by the Spirit of God, He will help execute “the day of vengeance of our God” (Rev. 19:11-21; Matt. 25:31-33, 41-45; Rev. 20:7-15); He will “comfort all [those believers, even Gentiles] who mourn,” and He will “grant those who mourn in Zion” the following: “a garland instead of ashes,” “gladness instead of mourning,” “praise instead of … fainting” (Isa. 61:2-3; cf. Isa. 25:6-8; 57:18; Jer. 31:13; Matt. 5:4; Rev. 21:1-4).

e.     Zechariah 1:17. Because of the idolatry and rebellion of the Jewish people, Yahweh of Troops was indignant for seventy years with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah (Zech. 1:12). Yet Yahweh of Troops stated His jealousy for Jerusalem and Zion (Zech. 1:13-14). He would “return to Jerusalem with compassion”; His house (temple) would again be built in it; His cities would again “overflow with prosperity,” and Yahweh would “again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem” (Zech. 1:16-17). This prophecy was fulfilled when the exiles returned from Babylonian captivity and rebuilt the temple and the city. But from AD 70 to 1948, the nation of Israel, for all practical purposes, vanished from the promised land of Canaan. The nation has been resurrected now for over sixty years, but the people still cannot build their own Temple on their own Temple Mount, and they do not recognize their own Messiah. It will not be long before Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives, vanquishes Israel’s enemies, reigns upon His throne in Zion, rebuilds His Temple, and brings comfort to His people and to all who place their trust in Him (Zech. 14:1-9; Isa. 2:1-4; 11:1-11; Isa. 25:6-8; Ezek. 40:1-46:24).

Conclusion.

So is God a Zionist? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Zion is His favorite city, Mount Zion is His favorite mountain, and the people of Zion are His chosen people. God has plans to draw the people of Zion back to the land. He will weed out the rebels among them and the rest will mourn over their Messiah, whom they have pierced. When Jesus, the Jewish Messiah returns, the Jewish people will anoint Him as their King. He will establish Zion as the world’s capital. All peoples will stream to Zion to learn of Jesus’ laws and to implement His great wisdom. God has been a Zionist for millennia, and He will continue to be a Zionist into eternity in New Jerusalem. He has banished His people from their homeland for centuries because of their rejection of Him and His Messiah. But God will bring about an overwhelming return of His people in repentance, to Zion.

It is my position that God has sovereignly used both secular and religious movements and people to begin this process of drawing Jewish people back to the land of Israel through the process of immigration. God has used such Jewish people as Nathan Birnbaum, Theodore Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, and David Ben Gurion to re-establish the state of Israel together with the assistance of devout Christians such as  Arthur James Balfour, David Lloyd George, General Sir Edmund Allenby, and of nominal Christians such as Sir Winston Churchill. God used the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate of Palestine, and the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 for the Partition of Palestine to establish the State of Israel and recreate a homeland for the people of Israel, a homeland that God irrevocably bequeathed to them millennia ago.

I am not here to defend everything that Israel does. But I am here to state that the land belongs to Israel. God has given it to His chosen people. And He has begun a mighty work of drawing the Jewish people back to their perpetual homeland in preparation for the events of the Great Tribulation and for the subsequent return of His Son Jesus.

Yes, God is a Zionist, and because He is, so am I.


Is God a Zionist?

By James T. Bartsch

WordExplain.com

Originally published June 8, 2010.


(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.)


Updated July 19, 2016

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