Mount Zion – A Hill of Jerusalem
Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City and is synonymous for Jerusalem and the Biblical land of Israel and stands at 2,533 ft. According to the Book of Samuel, Mount Zion was the site of the Jebusite fortress called the “stronghold of Zion” that was conquered by King David, becoming his palace and the City of David. Mount Zion, the highest point in ancient Jerusalem, is the broad hill south of the Old City’s Armenian Quarter. The City of David is Mount Zion and the names are synonymous with Jerusalem. Its location being on the hill south of the Old City in an area known as Ophel (meaning fortified hill) reveals its figurative name according of “David’s stronghold”. “Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward. for the whole city as it was called the stronghold of David.” (2 Samuel 5:9).
It is one of the holiest sites for Jews as the building on Mount Zion known as the Tomb of King David stands in honor of the warrior-king warrior king of Israel. “Then David slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David.” (1 Kings 2:10). There is discussion among historians and archeologists today that question the current location of “David’s Tomb” to being the actual burial place of King David. It was actually the Christian Crusaders who built the present Tomb of David with its large stone monument. Interestingly, three of the walls of the room where the monument stands are much older—and is believed to from a synagogue-church used by first-century Judaeo-Christians, commonly known as the Church of the Apostles.
Jpsephus, the Jewish Historian, describes Mount Zion as a hill across the valley to the west, which the western hill extending south of the Old City came to be known as Mount Zion as well. Today on Mount Zion is filled with history. The Abbey of the Dormition, a Benedictine community is located just outside the walls of the Old City near the Zion Gate. King David’s Tomb is located in the corner of a remaining Byzantine church and the room of the Last Supper is located in the same building. The Chamber of the Holocaust the precursor of Yad Vashem is located on Mount Zion as is a Catholic cemetery where Oskar Schindler, a Righteous Gentile, is buried. Other sites on Mount Zion are the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu the place where the Council of Jerusalem was held. (Acts 15:1-29).
In 1948, Mount Zion was linked to the Yemin Moshe neighborhood in West Jerusalem via a narrow tunnel. During the war, an alternative was needed to evacuate the wounded and transport supplies to soldiers on Mt. Zion. A cable car capable of carrying a load of 250 kilos was designed for this purpose. The cable car was only used at night and lowered into the valley during the day to escape detection. The ride from the Israeli position at the St. John Eye Hospital to Mount Zion took two minutes. The Mount Zion Cable Car is housed in a museum on Mount Zion. Mount Zion was conquered by the Harel Brigade on May 18, 1948.
Between 1948 and 1967, when the Old City was under Jordanian occupation, Israelis were forbidden access to the Jewish holy places Israelis would climb to the rooftop of David’s Tomb to pray. After the Six Day War (June 5 to June 10, 1967) Israel regained control of East Jerusalem and Israelis were allowed to pray on Mount Zion at the Western Wall “in peace” as is their custom.
Mount Zion is a represents a symbol of Jewish nationalism and culture. It stands in the hearts and minds of Israelis as a sign of a Jewish nation in territory defined as the Land of Israel given them by God and supported in scripture. In this hope. Mount Zion supports the Jews upholding their Jewish identify and advocates the return of the Jews to their “Promised Land”. It remains an unshakable beacon of light that provides strength against threats toward their very existence and allows Jews to worship at their Temple as they are accustomed.
Mount Zion a source of “joy” mentioned throughout scripture as the Temple Courtyard, God’s Holy mountain where He dwells, a place God chose to place His Name, a place where He commands His Blessing and a place that cannot be moved for out of Mount Zion comes the Word of the Lord that protects and guides.
“For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, And those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (2 Kings 19:31).
“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. Let Mount Zion rejoice, Let the daughters of Judah be glad, Because of Your judgments.” (Psalm 48:1-2,11).
“Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, the tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed—this Mount Zion where You have dwelt.” (Psalm 74:2).
“But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.” (Psalm 76:68).
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” (Psalm 125:1).
“It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:3).
“Many people shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3).
“Then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.” (Isaiah 4:5).
“Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel From the LORD of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.” (Isaiah 8:18).
“Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks. As yet he will remain at Nob that day; He will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 10:12,32).
“Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela to the wilderness, to the mount of the daughter of Zion.” (Isaiah 16:1).
“In that time a present will be brought to the LORD of hosts From a people tall and smooth of skin, And from a people terrible from their beginning onward, A nation powerful and treading down, Whose land the rivers divide—To the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, To Mount Zion.” (Isaiah 18:7).
“Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.” (Isaiah 24:23).
“It shall even be as when a hungry man dreams, And look—he eats; but he awakes, and his soul is still empty; or as when a thirsty man dreams, and look—he drinks; but he awakes, and indeed he is faint, and his soul still craves: so the multitude of all the nations shall be, who fight against Mount Zion.” (Isaiah 29:8).
“For thus the LORD has spoken to me: As a lion roars, And a young lion over his prey (When a multitude of shepherds is summoned against him, He will not be afraid of their voice Nor be disturbed by their noise), so the LORD of hosts will come down To fight for Mount Zion and for its hill.” (Isaiah 31:4).
“For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 37:32).
“O Zion, You who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” (Isaiah 40:9).
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7).
“Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 60:14).
“For there shall be a day when the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim, arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 31:6).
“So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again,” (Joel 3:17).
“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.” (Obadiah 1:17,21).
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.” (Micah 4:1-2,7).
“Thus says the LORD: I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.” (Zechariah 8:3).
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,” (Hebrews 12:22).
“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.”(Revelations 14:1).