Today in the Songs of Ascent the Israelites sing blessings over Zion:
- “The Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life” (Psalm 128:5).
- “Let those who hate Zion be put to shame and turn back” (Psalm 129:5).
- “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for his dwelling place” (Psalm 132:13).
- “The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!” (Psalm 134:3).
The word Zion is used over 150 times in the Bible. Zion was first mentioned in 2 Samuel 5:7 when David captured the Jebusite fortress in Jerusalem – “Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.” And after Solomon built the temple for the Lord, Zion was mentioned in many psalms to include the temple location. The prophets also expand the use of the word Zion to refer to Jerusalem, the land of Judah, and the nation of Israel.
Later in the story, Paul will use the name Zion to refer to God’s spiritual kingdom – “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering” (Hebrews 12:22). And Peter will quote Isaiah when he refers to Jesus as the cornerstone of Zion, the spiritual kingdom – “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:4-10).
At the end of the story, John will use the name Zion while describing a vision of Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb, standing on God’s holy hill in heaven before the final judgment – “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion” (Revelation 14:1). This story ends in victory for Jesus Christ over Satan and all evil. And after Jesus defeats Satan and casts anyone not found in the Book of Life into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), He will create a new heaven and earth for those who trust in Him as their Savior – “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:1-4).
We can be assured that the Lord is still in control and that His plans will ultimately prevail, from the time when Zion was first mentioned in the Kingdom Era to when Jesus will stand on Zion during the End Times / New Beginning Era. Therefore we can praise the Lord as the psalmist does today in Psalm 135 – “Your name, O Lord, endures forever, Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations. For the Lord will judge His people, and He will have compassion on His servants… Bless the Lord, O house of Israel! Bless the Lord, O house of Aaron! Bless the Lord, O house of Levi! You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord! Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 135:13-21).
Tomorrow we finish the Psalms, so keep reading! (Psalms 128-130, 132, Psalms 134-135)