<<Zion, capital city of Israel>>
This very old city, considered sacred by Jews, Christians and Muslims is currently the centre of much dispute. “David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David” and established it as the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel about 1000 BC (2 Sam 5:6-9). It was here Solomon, his son, built the first temple. God declared, “It is the city I have chosen for my name to be exalted” (1 Kgs 11:36). The city has been besieged numerous times and destroyed twice: by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC (2 Kgs 25:8-10), then again in 70 AD. Although they claim it, Muslims have no legitimate claim to Jerusalem (Neh 2:19,20).
The city which is around 760 m above sea level has several hills and is protected on three sides by natural valleys. Significant places of interest include: the Temple Mount, the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Dome of the Rock, al-Aqsa Mosque.
In the OT Zion is used as a name for Jerusalem, the land of Judah, and the nation of Israel as a whole (Isa 40:9; Jer 31:12; Zech 9:13). In the NT Zion refers to God’s spiritual Kingdom (Heb 12:22; 1 Pet 2:6). As a geographical area, the day is coming when Zion will be solely the Lord’s and the city and nation will be restored (Isa 52:1, 60:14). Mount Zion is the highest hill in the ancient city, located on the SW side of the city. It rises some 150 m above its surroundings. (Previously Mount Zion referred to what is now called the Temple Mount). The Mount of Olives (to the E), was where Jesus often prayed and it was here He was betrayed in the garden of Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion.
The Bible says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps 122:6-9). This will result in our being blessed too, as God promises He will “bless those who bless you [the descendants of Abraham] and curse those who curse you” (Gen 12:3). Israel and Jerusalem are places of significance in the closing stages of the ‘last days’ in which we are currently living. The Lord will return to earth on the Mount of Olives situated just east of Jerusalem (Zech 14:2-5).