God Dwells in the City of Zion, Being in the Flesh
One of the things that all Christians, who hope for salvation and eternal life, must not overlook is to meet God. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
Through those words, we can understand that we are able to meet God only when God is near to us. Then, let’s find out when is the time God is near, where we can meet God, and how God makes us His people and gives us salvation.
The City of Zion – the true church where God dwells
Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode . . . There the LORD will be our Mighty One . . . the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us . . . the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven. Isa 33:20–24
This prophecy was the vision which Isaiah saw about what would happen in the future: People in the City of Zion would keep the feasts, God Jehovah would become the king of Zion, He would establish law in Zion and rule over the people, and the people in Zion would receive the forgiveness of sins. He saw these things and recorded them in the Bible.
Some people misunderstand these things and say that the City of Zion is the kingdom of heaven or Jerusalem in Palestine. The reason they say that is that they think, “Zion is the place where God Jehovah is king. Then shouldn’t it be the kingdom of heaven?” or “Since Zion is the place where the feasts are celebrated, shouldn’t it be Jerusalem?” However, these are merely man’s interpretations.
The City of Zion, which Isaiah recorded about through his vision, was a prophecy about the Church of God which would celebrate the feasts of the new covenant that God Jehovah Himself would establish by coming in the flesh in the future. In other words, it was a prophecy about the Church of God which would be established by God when He came in the flesh in the name of Jesus.
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zec 9:9
According to the records of the book of Isaiah, the king of Zion is God Jehovah. The prophet Zephaniah prophesied that God Jehovah would come, riding on a donkey when He came as the king of Zion. And Jesus proved that He was the king of Zion by entering Jerusalem, riding on a donkey.
. . . Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.” . . . This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Mt 21:1–9
Although it was not a ceremonial walk of a king in a royal palace with a white horse with the best saddle on it and gorgeous silks and satins, Jesus’ disciples treated Him as the king of Zion with exceptional respect by placing their cloaks on the road for God Jehovah who came to this earth in the flesh according to the prophecy. It was a humble coming, compared with that of the kings of the world, but Jesus came to this earth with one determination to save His children. Jesus is God Jehovah, the king of Zion, whom all the prophets in the Old Testament prophesied about.
The law of the new covenant established by God, the king of Zion
In Isaiah chapter 33, God Jehovah said He would establish the law. Then what law was it that He would build in Zion?
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah . . . This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jer 31:31–34
This was also a prophecy about the things that God would fulfill when He came to this earth in the flesh as the king of Zion. God Jehovah said that in the future when He came, He would establish the new covenant and would make people who came into the new covenant as His people, and He would be their God. By the way, the One who fulfilled the prophecy of the book of Jeremiah was Jesus.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” . . . They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover . . . And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them . . . saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Lk 22:7–20
Isaiah prophesied that Jehovah would establish the law in Zion, and Jeremiah prophesied that Jehovah would establish the new covenant. And Jehovah came in the flesh in the name of Jesus and established the new covenant. Then the law established in Zion must be the new covenant, right? Therefore, Jesus is God Jehovah, the king of Zion, whom all the prophets prophesied about.
And in Isaiah chapter 33, it was written that the sins of those who dwell in Zion would be forgiven. According to this prophecy, the forgiveness of sins was given through the law that Jehovah established in Zion, namely, the new covenant.
. . . So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover . . . While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Mt 26:17–28
God [Jesus] Himself came in the flesh, and established Zion and the new covenant through the Passover. And people, who are in the new covenant, receive the forgiveness of sins and become the people of God; and God becomes God of the people who are in the new covenant, in other words, the people who are in Zion.
All the blessings that are recorded in the Bible are promised only to the people who are in Zion. Thus, everybody can receive salvation only when they are in Zion, meet God who dwells in Zion, and live in the law of the new covenant which God teaches in Zion. This is the teaching of the Bible.
God in the flesh who establishes Zion
Many times, the prophets of the Old Testaments prophesied that Jesus would come and establish Zion.
Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High [God] himself will establish her.” Ps 87:5
You will arise and have compassion on Zion . . . For the LORD will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. Ps 102:13–16
For the LORD has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling: “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.” . . . How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there [in Zion] the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. Ps 132:13–133:3
Eternal life is the blessing that is only granted in Zion. By the way, what is the reason that the blessing of eternal life is given in Zion? It’s because God who came in the flesh dwells in Zion.
All the prophets in the Old Testament times such as David, who recorded the book of Psalms being moved by the Spirit of God, Isaiah, Jeremiah and so on wrote that God Himself would build Zion, establish the law and bring salvation, as the prophecy that Jesus would come in the future and establish Zion and teach the law of the new covenant.
People who accepted God and people who refused God
The apostles in the early Church realized that Jehovah, the king of Zion, who was prophesied in the Old Testament Bible came as Jesus.
. . . For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall . . .” 1 Pe 2:4–8
“A precious cornerstone in Zion” refers to Jehovah. When Jehovah came in the flesh to this earth as the king of Zion, He became the precious stone to people who accepted Him; and to those who did not believe in Him, He became the stone that caused them to stumble, and a pit and a snare.
The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured. Isa 8:13–15
It was clearly written in the Bible about Jesus, but the religious leaders in those days did not want to come to Jesus who is God. Seeing Jesus in the flesh, they persecuted Him and said, “How can a mere man be God?” They did not realize that Jesus whom they persecuted is God Jehovah, the king of Zion, whom they had feared and longed to meet so badly. They could have received eternal life if they had met Jesus and participated in the law of the new covenant which He taught, but they were captured in the human thought, “God can never come as a human” (cf. Jn 10:30–33).
To the Jews who criticized Him, Jesus said as follows:
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. Jn 5:39–40
The scribes and the teachers of the law in those days knew that eternal life written in the Bible [Old Testament] is the blessing given in Zion. However, they did not realize that they could reach eternal life when they accepted God who came in the flesh and received His teachings.
God whom all the prophets in the Old Testament had testified to and yearned for was God Jehovah who would give salvation in Zion. By the way, as Jehovah came to this earth in the humble human flesh, they could not recognize Him. Eternal life only belongs to God. Only God can forgive sins. If Jesus were not the LORD God, He could not give us salvation or eternal life.
The Second Coming Christ who would rebuild Zion
The prophet Isaiah saw Zion, the city of festivals, through a revelation. It is written that God Jehovah Himself would come in the flesh in the future and establish Zion and become the king of Zion. And God came in the name of Jesus and built the church that kept the feasts of the new covenant and led people to salvation. Therefore, God in Zion was the Christ who came in the flesh to this earth. The saints of the early Church and the apostles believed that Jesus who built Zion was the very God Jehovah.
After Jesus the king of Zion established the feasts of the new covenant and ascended, the gospel of the new covenant was preached to many people by the apostles. However, from the end of the apostolic age, lawlessness started to come into the church. So the Apostle Paul wrote as follows:
. . . Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose . . . For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way . . . 2 Th 1:1–12
After all the apostles passed away, the power of lawlessness infiltrated into the church and removed all the regulations and the laws of the new covenant which God Himself established, so the church was filled with lawlessness. The law of Zion, the gospel of the new covenant which God Himself established by coming in the flesh, disappeared from the earth. Zion was ruined.
When the apostle John saw a revelation on the island of Patmos, he saw what would happen to the Church of God established by Christ. He cried, seeing the sufferings of the saints and the laws of Zion being ruined. It was because nobody could receive salvation without the restoration of the law of Zion. However, he also saw that the ruined Zion would be built again by the Root of David.
“Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Rev 5:5
After a while, John saw an amazing revelation. He saw that Zion would be established again.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. Rev 14:1
Not only 2,000 years ago but also in this age, God is the king of Zion, who comes in the flesh to this earth and builds Zion and establishes the new covenant. People who want to receive salvation must meet God who dwells in Zion in the flesh. They can come to salvation only when they receive the forgiveness of sins through the law of the new covenant established in Zion.
2,000 years ago, when God came to this earth in the flesh as the king of Zion, He became a precious stone to people who accepted Him but became a pit and a snare to people who did not believe in Him. We must not forget the past mistakes by which people failed to receive salvation, being captured by man’s fixed idea, “God cannot come as a human.” We must receive salvation by meeting the king of Zion who has rebuilt Zion in this age and gives us eternal life.