Sermon Notes

SBS    Sermons    Note 11/09

Zion...City of Peace & Holiness

Reading: Psalm 48

In ancient days Zion was a Jebusite citadel, a fortress which stood on one of the hills of Jerusalem. This fortress was later captured by king David and subsequently called the City of David. In Scripture when the word 'Zion' is used, it doesn't always mean the fortress hill in Jerusalem, but the entire city; and, more importantly, the Chosen People of the Almighty God of Israel.

2. Sam.5: 4: David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
5: In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.
6: And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.
7: Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.
Isa:51: 16: And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

Zion, the city of David, is also called the City of the Great King; that is, God Himself. The language in the following verses includes the new Jerusalem and the believers who will be privileged to live there.
Psa:48: 1: Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.
2: Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
Ps:132: 13: For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.

Sad to say, at the moment (1999) there are many blatant sinners in Zion. That is, in Jerusalem, Israel and also in the Christian church. Commercialised religion, sexual sin, a chronic disregard for divine law and a strange fascination to impress others are the sins which are rampant in the church and in modern Jerusalem. Consider these verses which compare Yahweh's people (and the Church) to a beautiful woman who, alas! has fallen in love with her good looks and spends most of her time and money beautifying and admiring herself.
Jer:6: 2: I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.
Isa.3: 16: Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
17: Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.
18: In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
19: The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
20: The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21: The rings, and nose jewels,
22: The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
23: The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.
24: And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.
25: Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.
26: And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.

Though this passage appears to concentrate on the vanity of women, it is in fact, at a higher level, pointing out the sins of all Zion's people, male and female: self-interest, pride and a craze to impress others.
Is not the Christian church in this pathetic bracket? It surely is. Fearsome punishment always follows such wantonness.

The work of every true preacher is to call people to repentance, faith and obedience. This call is especially directed at the people of Zion; that is to the members of Yahweh's church. The Almighty has promised that every one who heeds that call, who turns from sin and walks in the way of Truth, will be delivered.
Joel 2: 15: Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly...
Joel 2: 28: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30: And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32: And it shall come to pass, that WHOSOEVER shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
Zech:2: 7: Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.

Most certainly this is a call to repentance. A call to give up sin, to mentally move out of the Babylonian way of thinking and to return to the worship of God in the way He has commanded.

Sad to say the call to repentance, faith and obedience, for the most part, goes unheeded and punishment usually follows. History tells us that the city of Jerusalem was captured several times and the beautiful temple was burned to the ground. The citizens of Zion were scattered to the four corners of the earth and Jerusalem was taken over by Gentiles. Then began, what Yeshua calls, the 'Times of the Gentiles.'
Luke 21: 24: And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

All this is history and there are many prophecies which foretold the sad events.

Micah 3: 12: Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
Lam.4: 11: The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.
Matt.24: 1: And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2: And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the scattering of Israel has already happened. But the nation of Israel is now back in the Promised Land. Bible prophecy, however, tells us of yet another attack on Jerusalem, its final capture and its brutal domination by the Gentiles; a domination which will last 42 months and will end when the Messiah returns to deliver the city. I read:
Zech.14: 1: Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2: For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken.
        (More about this chapter later)
Rev.11: 1: And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2: But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

Nevertheless, Yahweh's love for His people and the city of Zion is everlasting. This love ensures that Satan is no more able to wipe out the church than he is to obliterate Jerusalem from the face of the earth. Both are protected by God and both will survive till Messiah's return.
Hitler's Final Solution,to rid the earth of the Jews, miserably failed. If anything it forced the world to give back to Israel the land God promised to Abraham near 4000 years ago. A curse was reversed and Israel became a nation again soon after the war.
Psalm 87: 2: The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
2 Chron.7: 15: Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
16: For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
Zech.1: 14:... Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.
15: And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.
16: Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
17: Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
Zech:8: 1: Again the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,
2:Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.
3: Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.

Yeshua the Messiah is Zion's King and Deliverer. On his first visit to Zion he paid the price for man's sin by dying on the cross at Calvary. But He arose from the grave and returned to heaven to receive power and authority to rule all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). On his return to earth he will deliver the city of Jerusalem from Gentile domination and set up his throne and government there.
Isa:31: 4: For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
Isa:51: 3: For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Joel 3: 16: The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
17: So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: THEN shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
Isa:62: 11: Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Zion (Jerusalem) is scheduled to be the capital city of the whole earth when Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah returns. Year by year representatives from all nations will then come to Zion to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Failure to do so will invite severe punishment.
Zech.14: 1: Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2: For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3: THEN shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4: And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5: And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
6: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
7: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
8: And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
9: And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one...

16: And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
17: And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
18: And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
19: This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Yahweh's Law
During the millennium Yahweh's law will be taught and obeyed throughout the world. People will then admit, most of them reluctantly, that the Almighty's laws are, after all, the best humanity has ever known. Incidentally, when in SBS literature we use the word millennium we do not mean the year 2000 A.D. Instead we mean the Messiah's 1000 Year Reign of Peace which will commence when He returns to earth.
Micah:4: 2: And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of ZION, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Isa.2: 3: And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house ofd the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of ZION shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Isa:35: 10: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isa:24: 23: Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

Many people refer to Rome as the eternal city. This is a big mistake. The eternal city is not Rome. The eternal city, according to the Word of God, is not New York, London, Frankfurt, Moscow or Tokyo - but Zion! One day Rome, along with all these other sin-ridden capitals of the nations will become a heap of rubble (Rev:16:19). But Zion is eternal. It cannot be removed; because according to Almighty God's Word Zion abideth forever! That is an important fact to bear in mind.
Isa:33: 20: Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.
Psa.125: 1: They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

It is, of course, easy these days to visit Jerusalem or join a church. But who will ascend the holy hill of Zion when the Saviour sits on his throne there? Bear in mind that mount Zion in Jerusalem is also a shadow of the high and holy place where Yahweh currently sits on His throne. That universal seat of government on high is scheduled to be moved to Jerusalem when Jesus Christ returns to earth. Think about that astonishing fact. Will you then qualify to visit Zion? This passage gives the answer.
Psa.24: 3: Who shall ascend into the holy hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4: He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5: He shall receive the blessing from the Lord...

'Clean hands' and a 'pure heart' mean those with righteous actions and pure minds. This redeemed host, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, and empowered to live holy lives by the Holy Ghost, will enter Zion with great joy and gladness. Then, at last, will Jerusalem live up to her name as the City of Peace, Holiness and Truth! No unbeliever - of whatever race - will be allowed to walk the streets of Zion when the Messiah returns. It will be a city free from sin: unbelief, strife, commercialism, paganism and vanity.
Isa:51: 11: Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
Isa:52: 1: Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Isa:52: 7: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Isa:60: 14: The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Joel:3: 16: The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
17: So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
Zech:2: 10: Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.

We can see from the above passages about Zion that she has a glorious future. The city of Jerusalem, though still to pass through a painful period, has a glorious future. In the same way the people of Zion, the true believers in the LORD God of Israel, have a glorious future. Nothing can alter these facts. Though the whole world were to gather against Zion and her People (wherever they currently live) the Word of the Almighty God of Israel will come to pass. First Zion, the city of God, will be captured and brutally dominated by the Gentiles for a period of 42 months. (Revelation 11: 2) After this period Zion will be rescued and cleansed. Zion will then be empowered by God Himself. Zion will be glorified. Zion's King is about make Zion the beauty of the whole earth. Have no doubt, all these things will come to pass as prophesied in the Scriptures.
Psalm 48: 8: As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
9: We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
10: According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
11: Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
12: Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
13: Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
14: For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. Selah
(Selah means, pause and take note)

Say Amen, Amen and Amen again to these verses. Because they summarise our dearest hopes and give us great confidence that Zion, the eternal city, the City of the Great King! is the one place in all space that, by His grace and mercy, we want to - and will - enter! Blessed be the LORD God of Israel!

SBS   Sermons     Israel, the Chosen of God

Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
February 1999