THE WORD "ZION" is mentioned over 160 times in the Scriptures. That's more than the words faith, hope, love, and countless others... And since Zion is a poetic form of the word Jerusalem, the number of occurrences swells to nearly 1,000! Since it's the most frequently occurring place name in all the Scriptures, it's no overstatement to say that God Himself is a Zionist.... "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth" (Psalm 50:2). "The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O City of God" (Psalm 87:2-3).
Tragically, many of today's church leaders regard the ideal of Zion and its great hope as something "quaint," perhaps even a little bit naive. Many of today's Evangelical teachers, for example, seem to regard the reestablishment of the modern State of Israel as an historical accident, without any theological significance. They do not regard the Jewish people's regathering to their ancient homeland as a miracle, nor do they regard it as a sign that we are beginning to see the prophesied period known as acharit hayamim – "the End of Days" (Deut. 28:64; 30:3-5).
Ultimately what you believe about Israel and Zion will affect
ALL other areas of your theology...
Zion represents the rule and reign of God in the earth and is therefore synonymous with the Kingdom of God. The entire redemptive plan of God – including the coming of the Messiah Himself and our very salvation – is wrapped up in it (1 Pet. 2:6). It is the "historiography" of God – His philosophy of history, if you will. And this perhaps explains why the world system (and its agency, the devil) routinely mischaracterizes and condemns "Zionism" as a form of racism or injustice.
Friends, how can we forget Zion, "the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22)? Is she not "our mother" (Gal. 4:26)? Are we not her citizens, indeed, her exiles in this age? As the psalmist said, "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!" (Psalm 137:5-6). Of course we are instructed to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6), but we are further told to "badger" the LORD until he makes Zion "the praise of the earth" (Isa. 62:7).
God loves Zion since it symbolizes His redemptive program in human history. In a sense, Zion is the heart of the Gospel message and the focal point of God's salvation in this world. "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch" (Isa. 62:1). Zion represents our eschatological future – our home in olam haba (the world to come). Even the new heavens and earth will be called Jerusalem – Zion in her perfection (Rev. 21).
Yeshua called Jerusalem the "City of the great King" (Psalm 48:2; Matt 5:35). It is the place where He was crucified, buried, resurrected, and from whence He ascended to heaven. It is also the birthplace of kehilat Mashiach (i.e., the "church") and the aim of human history. One day (soon) Yeshua will physically return to Zion as Mashiach ben David to restore the throne in the City of David. At that time, all the New Covenant promises given to ethnic Israel will be literally fulfilled as the Kingdom of God is manifest upon the earth (Luke 1:32-33; Zech. 8:3, 12:10-14; Micah 4:2-4; Rev. 20:2-6).
May His kingdom come speedily, and in our day. Amen.