ZION has different definitions.  It is considered the historic land of Israel; a symbol of the Jewish people; and a place regarded as sacred by God.  It has been used as a name for the city of Jerusalem, or a part of it.  It sometimes is referred to as Mount Zion, a name for the City of David; or even more generally, the chosen people of Israel (2 Sam. 5:7; Isa. 51:16; Mic. 4:7- 8; Joel 3:7).  It is used in the Psalms to refer to God’s holy city out of which God will come forth (Psa. 50:2; Psa. 102:16,21; Psa. 132:13; Psa. 135:21).

From a prophecy standpoint, ZION sometimes refers to God’s people, who are believers in Christ under the New Covenant of the spiritual Kingdom of God.  This includes believing Jews and believing Gentiles.  His special people, a holy spiritual nation (Isaiah 52:7-8; Isa. 59:20; Isa. 62:11).  Christ said that His coming in the first century AD was a fulfillment of prophecies about the Messiah (Matt. 21:5; Rom. 9:33; Rom. 11:26; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 14:1).

4COMING TO HIM as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in ZION a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’” (1 Pet. 2:4-6; Isaiah 28:16). 

Zion:  The Christian church in her impregnable and triumphant character.

     Note: The symbols given here are prophetic symbols and are not to be applied to every reading where the word is found, only where figurative language is used.  We might wonder why the prophets used such language?  To this there are two answers.

  1. The prophets spoke the language of God.
  2. Prof. W.K. Mound says, “The Hebrew language possesses a facility to present pictures of events narrated.  The Hebrew thought in pictures, and consequently his nouns are concrete and vivid, there are no such things as neuter gender, compound words are lacking.”  Essentials of Bible History, rev. ed. P. 307.

Geisler and Nix also stated, “Linguistically, words are necessary for the full expression of thought.  If God in any meaningful sense expressed himself to the prophet, He had to use words.  Words are the clothes of ideas, and a naked thought is a very nebulous entity at best.  The desire for clarity in revelation would scarcely be consonant with the ambiguity of non-symbolized ideas.  In fact, an idea without symbol to express it is an unexpressed idea, and an unexpressed idea is scarcely a revelation or communication.”  Geisler and Nix, Introduction to the Bible, p.31.