The word Zion, which is translated Sion in the King James Version, literally means “fortification” and “raised up.” This definition fits in perfectly with the first mention of Zion in the Bible. In 2nd Samuel 5:6-7 (NKJV) we read, “And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, ‘You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,’ thinking, ‘David cannot come in here.’ Nevertheless, David took the STONGHOLD of Zion (that is, the City of David).” This was David’s first military conquest in his war with the Jebusites. He knew that in order to defeat them he must take control of their mighty fortress on Mount Zion. From that point on Zion became known as the “City of David.” The name Zion then refers to both “a Hill in the city of Jerusalem” and to “the City of Jerusalem itself.” It also came to refer to the “Nation of Israel” as we see in Zechariah 9:13, “For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion.” In time, Solomon built the Holy Temple of God on Mount Zion and thus the meaning of Zion included “the Temple itself.” There are many verses that confirm this meaning. Here are a few of them from the book of Psalms:

“Yet I have set My King on My HOLY HILL of Zion” (2:6).

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His HOLY MOUNTAIN. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King” (48:1-2).

“For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for His DWELLING PLACE” (132:13).

These passages clearly teach that the Temple on Mount Zion was “God’s DWELLING PLACE,” which is why it is called His HOLY HILL. Jeremiah prophesied saying, “Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God” (Jeremiah 31:6). In a coming day Zion will once again be God’s dwelling place and all men will come up to Zion to worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the true King of Israel and the King of all the earth (see Isaiah 24:33; 60:14; Micah 4:2, 7).

So, Zion was a literal hill with a literal fortress and a literal temple, yet the name Zion also has a SPIRITUAL meaning in Scripture. In Hebrews 12:22 we read, “But you have come to MOUNT ZION and the city of the living God, the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, to an unnumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.” Just as Jerusalem/Zion is a literal city on earth, this passage speaks of Mount Zion as a heavenly city in heaven, which will be the home of God the Father, the Lord Jesus, angels, the saints that make up the church of God, and all Old Testament believers as well. It will be “the capital of heaven” while Mount Zion on earth will be the “capital of the earth.” This is the city that Abraham looked forward to: “For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Abraham and his children of faith “all died in faith” (verse 13) and it is said of them that “they desire a better, that is, a HEAVENLY COUNTRY. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has PREPARED A CITY FOR THEM” (verse 16). And dear fellow-believer, we too are on our way to “Mount Zion and the city of the living God” and thus we read in Hebrews 13:14, “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” Praise God for building this heavenly city for us and praise be to the Lord Jesus for dying for us on the cross in order to prepare the way to this heavenly city. We will close with Jesus’ words in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”  (DO)  (557.1)