Q. The Church of God is called Zion. Is there a reason?
A. The name of the church that Christ established on this earth 2,000 years ago is the Church of God (1 Co 1:2; 11:22; Gal 1:13). The Church of God is also called Zion (Heb 12:22; Rev 14:1). When we find out what kind of place Zion is, we can understand why we call the Church of God Zion.
Zion was the name of a small mountain in Jerusalem. After the ark of the covenant of God was placed there, the term “Zion” was used to represent not only Jerusalem but also Israel (1 Ki 8:1). To understand the reason that the Church of God is called Zion, we need to understand the relationship between King David and Jesus first.
King David and Jesus
Jesus came to the world as the prophetical King David (Isa 9:6-7).
Lk 1:31-32 “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David . . .”
There is a reason King David, among many figures in the Old Testament, represents Jesus. The work of King David in the Old Testament times was a shadow of what Jesus would do in the New Testament times.
Among many achievements of King David, the most remarkable one was the establishment of Zion. The Israelites, who came out of Egypt and entered the land of Canaan, took possession of most of the land of Canaan from the time of Joshua. However, they could not conquer Zion for more than 400 years, and Zion still belonged to the Jebusites.
After David became king, he conquered Zion, the central region of Canaan and built buildings and facilities inside the fortress to make it stronger. Then he made Zion the capital city of Israel and ruled over the people in Zion. By this, David became the first king who built Zion and reigned in Zion. That’s why the fortress of Zion was called the City of David. Like this, David and Zion is inseparable and closely related.
2 Sa 5:7-10 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David . . . David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the supporting terraces inward. And he became more and more powerful, because the LORD God Almighty was with him.
The fact that Jesus came to this earth as the prophetical King David means that Jesus established Zion and became king reigning over people in Zion. Zion that Jesus built and reigned over was not the physical Zion but the spiritual Zion.
The spiritual Zion was established by Jesus
The spiritual Zion is the dwelling place of God for ever and ever. It is the place where the blessing of eternal life is given to the people who are destined to die.
Ps 132:13-14 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.”
Ps 133:3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
Eternal life was the blessing which could be granted only when Jesus came (Jn 10:10). The words, “People receive eternal life in Zion,” were a prophecy that Jesus would come to this earth and establish the spiritual Zion. Therefore, we must go to Zion if we want to meet God and receive the blessing of eternal life in the time of the New Testament. The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the spiritual Zion where God dwells and where the forgiveness of sins is given is the place where the feasts are celebrated.
Isa 33:20-24 Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken. There the LORD will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them, no mighty ship will sail them. For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us . . . and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.
The aforementioned Zion refers to the same spiritual Zion which Christ, who comes as King David, establishes and dwells in and reigns over as it is prophesied in the book of Psalms. Zion is described as the place where the feasts are celebrated, which means that Jesus as King David establishes the church that keeps the feasts of God. In actuality, Jesus established the feasts of the new covenant for our salvation.
The Church of God is Zion where the feasts are celebrated
The prophecy in the book of Psalms, “The blessing of eternal life will be given in Zion,” and the prophecy in the book of Isaiah, “The forgiveness of sins will be given in Zion where the feasts are celebrated,” are all fulfilled by the Passover which Jesus kept with His disciples.
To receive the blessing of eternal life, we must eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood (Jn 6:53-54). Jesus said that the Passover bread and wine are His flesh and blood, through which He promised us the forgiveness of sins. Through God’s feast called the Passover, God has given the blessing of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, which people who are destined to die want the most.
Mt 26:17-28 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” 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.”
The greatest gift that Jesus gave to the church after His ascension was the “Holy Spirit.” By the power of the Holy Spirit, a great revival occurred in the early Church. And the Holy Spirit was given to the saints who prayed earnestly from the Day of Ascension and kept the Day of Pentecost.
Ac 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Also, Jesus promised people the water of life, keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. He granted the water of life, which is desperately needed for thirsty souls, through the feast called the Feast of Tabernacles.
Jn 7:2 But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near . . .
Jn 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Moreover, Jesus kept the weekly feast, the Sabbath day, according to His custom, and set the example for us to realize God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them (Lev 23:2-3; Ex 31:13; Eze 20:21).
Lk 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.
Jesus granted the blessings which are absolutely needed to the saints such as the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, the Holy Spirit, the water of life and so on, through the feasts of the new covenant. Christ, who came as the spiritual King David, established the spiritual Zion where the feasts of the new covenant are celebrated. This spiritual Zion established by Jesus 2,000 years ago is the very Church of God (1 Co 1:2; 11:22; Gal 1:13).
God has established Zion again in the last days
Talking about the Church of God excluding Zion means that they don’t know exactly what kind of place the Church of God is, which was established by Jesus. By the way, why do many churches mention Zion but do not know the feasts of the new covenant? It is because the devil sowed weeds, that is, lawlessness, in the world to hinder Christ’s gospel work which is described as spiritual farming in a parable.
Mt 13:25 “But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.”
Mt 13:39-42 “. . . the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire . . . they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace . . .”
The prophet Daniel too prophesied that the devil who speaks against God would change the feasts which God established for the salvation of our souls.
Da 7:25 “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws . . .”
To our sadness, the aforementioned prophecy was fulfilled; Zion was destroyed and ruined (Isa 51:3). It means that nobody could receive the blessing of eternal life. However, God, who had already known about the hindrance, promised that He would come again into this world as King David and rebuild Zion (Lk 18:8; Jn 10:16; Ps 102:16; Eze 37:24).
Mic 4:1-2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
The Bible prophesied that many nations and peoples would stream to Zion which would be rebuilt in the last days, and that they would receive the teachings of God. According to this prophecy, Zion, where God Himself dwells and the blessing of eternal life is granted, has been restored in this age. Heavenly Father and Mother have come and rebuilt Zion where God’s feasts are celebrated. That is the Church of God.
God’s children who long for eternal life, the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit and the water of life from all over the world are streaming to the Church of God where the feasts of the new covenant are celebrated. We, who have come to Zion in advance and are receiving the blessings through God’s grace, should preach the joyful news, “God has restored Zion where the feasts are kept according to the prophecies of the Bible,” more and more to the world.