RECONCILING ALL THINGS THAT BELONG TO GOD IN CHRIST

Believers find newness in Christ. Old things pass away. They float by. There is newness in all things and this is not based on our sight or other sense. The new things, all of them, have come. They exist and this is where reality’s dimensions poke us. There is a brand new world in Christ and we will not see it if we are not in Christ. Reconciliation calls for new eyes.

To reinforce this new world, Paul asserts that

… all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Cor. 5:18)

God is reconciling the world (same as John 3:16, kosmos) to Himself, so the all things are not (a) not as we would like them, that is, they are not our personal preferences (b) not as God wishes them, this is why all need reconciliation.

OUR PROBLEM WITH NEWNESS

  1. thinking that there are things (people, places, things, relationships) that were just fine before we entered Christ.

  2. not embracing the fact that all things are new once Christ becomes our refuge

  3. confidence that some part of our lives do not need Christ

Imagine the insult that “You all must be born again” represents to a Jew.  At least the Jew is in the dark because rebirth is not a Mosaic concept.  A child who has been subject to all his life to the Laws of Moses, Christian or Jew, is not a child of God.  Imagine the insult to Christ that “you must keep the law” represents when people proclaim that the purpose of salvation is obedience, or that the only way to be happy is to keep the Law.  Reconciliation with God calls for all things to be surrendered because what Christ offers is both new and incomparable.  New is to old what east is to west.  The new is not a remixed old.  If we have not believed that, alas.

Who is Moving to Jerusalem?

Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel. Says who? The Bible and secular history.  It is not the number of states with embassies in Jerusalem that decides the viable status of Jerusalem.  The area north of Bethlehem has always been the centre of the kingdom, right up to the division into the Northern Israelite (ten tribes) and and Southern Judahite kingdom (two tribes).  Within the State of Israel-Palestine we will find the centre of the globe! We will find the centre of the universe! The apple of Yahweh’s eye! These are not pipe-dreams or theories. Whether our list of is topped by spiritual beliefs or not it is difficult to conclude otherwise.   For the patriarchs of the Hebrew people Canaan was the land of pilgrimage so it is perfectly in order to find movement. The patriarchs lived in tents, and David honoured the pilgrimage theme as one of the finest Israelite traditions by building a tent for the Tabernacle’s highly-esteemed Ark of the Covenant.  In the best traditions too we find that Hebrews are expected to visit Jerusalem, the place of the Name, three times annually.  This makes any program to settle people by force in the sacred place highly questionable and antagonistic to Jerusalem’s peace, and a little late.  It is Zion, the veiled, princess, who God calls the apple of his eye, an eye that is being touched inappropriately by the apathetic and godless.

Jews are moving to Jerusalem. They come from everywhere: from Israel and abroad. Their interest is somewhat divorced from the realities which are the absence of a temple, no king and royal family. They want to assert Jewish priorities over what has never been a place of peace and has always had a Gentile component. Palestinians (and Arabs) are not strangers in Canaan. The world winked at xenophobia when the Balfour Declaration floated into view as a framework for the protection and perseverance of the Jewish people. In anyone’s name or for any cause, barriers to God is most obnoxious. The Bible condemns injustice to foreigners. It also holds up generosity to strangers as a noble and rewarding lifestyle.

We are past anger and rhetoric. Let us remember that people have died in defence of their attachment to Jerusalem. There is no politics or religion that has cornered the road-map for Jerusalem’s peace. Is that not why she sits bloodied and veiled? No great capital has withstood the follies of human inventions. Zion is a king’s city. Let that king decide, if we are willing to follow the evidence. A great capital awaits us because neither Jewish, nor Islamic, nor Christian statutes or maxims can furnish this royal city. All of our political models are useless. We can pray for her peace and know that both the unthinking and the deliberate people who have tried to lift the Zion-stone will not receive a slap on the back. There will be no medals or prizes for those who build with blood. Here was David’s coming of age. Bloody hands cannot build an adequate residence for God. From David’s tent of curtains and Solomon’s temple of cedar we get a glimpse of Zionite life. Only a glimpse, that tells us that human hands cannot craft either curtains or cedar that can contain the Holy One. That project is on a different scale and pallet.

And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. (1 Chr. 15:1)

So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. (1 Chr. 16:1)

David had compared with dismay his cedar residence with Yahweh’s curtains, and was most enthusiastic about personally building a cedar palace for Yahweh. David’s passion, his vow, his discovery of the chosen location, and his transmission of his discovery are all recorded in Psalm 132.

  • DAVID’S PASSION. Psalm 132:1 (KJS) A Song of degrees. LORD, remember David, [and] all his afflictions:

  • DAVID’S VOW. Psalm 132:2 (KJS) How he sware unto the LORD, [and] vowed unto the mighty [God] of Jacob; Psalm 132:3 (KJS) Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; Psalm 132:4 (KJS) I will not give sleep to mine eyes, [or] slumber to mine eyelids, Psalm 132:5 (KJS) Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty [God] of Jacob.

  • DAVID’S DISCOVERY. Psalm 132:6 (KJS) Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.

  • DAVID’S BROADCAST. Psalm 132:7 (KJS) We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.

Yahweh redirects the building project to Solomon, David’s son. At the inauguration of Solomon’s magnificent temple Yahweh explicitly puts his “Amen” stamp on the project with a glory display (fire and thick darkness) that physically disabled the priests. The temple has had two remakes and it is quite clear that the status of Jerusalem and Zion remains a scramble by Jews to put their fingers everywhere possible in order to dominate where only divine excellencies are of any consequence.

A massive cover up is in play and the sources, including theological commentaries, are woefully in the dark about the facts of how the facts have been manipulated in favour of Jewish priority. A dark cloud has descended on the simple truth: there is a place where God expects to be worshipped without barriers. The public needs to know and we will better understand who is moving to Jerusalem and be inspired with the prophecies regarding the heritage of the future capital of the galaxy.

They Do Not Leave When its Cleaving Time

Look at the scramble to keep people safe and you see a cover story for twisted coexistence theories. Look at the resistance movements across the globe and you see a trail of fragile alliances.   Churches struggle to preserve unity and mutual comfort between the saved and the unsaved, and most have realized that separating friends from disciples is risky and offensive. Despite well publicized innovations in law the mindset is still an agent of insularity and crude nationalism.  Discrimination is the partner to failed marriages and marrying people to David’s Zion is near impossible.

No matter how old you think your civilization is or how widespread your culture seems to be it would be great to remember that donkey-powered well buckets cannot be improved upon as planet-friendly and neither can us-them doctrines hold out any hope for viable cosmopolitan communities.

The Palestinian marriage to Zion is not happening soon.   The Jewish marriage to Zion is not happening soon.   Mohammed and Moses are the persistent enemies of Zionist fellowship.  Their madness is confirmed as they argue that the city of the great king is a place for Jews and Muslims.  If the Jewish and Palestinian residents of the City of David are not covered with shame today they never will be.  Their traditions have strangled them.  The bride is waiting and the wannabe grooms have proven themselves unwilling to leave their own families for Zions sake.

Revisiting Zion-Salem (2017)

The Jewish people can feel satisfied that the 45th president of the United States has pledged to move its embassy to Jerusalem but they cannot forever violate the Bible’s vision and call for the state of Israel to take the destiny of Jerusalem into the heavyweight division.  In 2009 this writer examined the history of Jerusalem and discovered Zion (Tsiyyon, tsee-YONE) and Melchisedec and a new appreciation of David. The  following are excerpts from my research paper.

In Palestine today there is a drama unfolding that escapes the casual observer. At the centre of the decades-long violence bereaving the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, is a forgotten element of the divine plan and reality. The State of Israel and its allies, as custodians of the supreme piece of real estate, have been creating barriers to the creation of the inevitable legitimate manifestation of God’s glory in Jerusalem. As this document is being prepared for publication, there is a literal wall, a crushing blow to decency, dividing the people of Palestine. Civil societies everywhere are expected to have the capacity to allow peoples, tribes and families to live together. Of all the places on earth, one would expect to see the best display of the spirit and commitment to human unity Jerusalem would top the list. There is so little being done about the crushing of the inalienable and long-denied rights of the Palestinian people that we can hardly deny that we need a defining biblical model for the civic entity that emerges from the darkness of the Palestinian Problem: a barrier-less, cosmopolitan and international society. The Jewish state has set its priorities in lock-step with religious fanatics – both Gentiles and Jews – who claim that descent from Abraham gives title to the land of Canaan.i That barely scratches the surface of the issues at stake. The problem with this popular view is that there is a madness to the goals of the Jewish State and its supporters because the destiny of both Canaan and Jerusalem is not assigned to Abraham’s descendants. Jerusalem has little credibility as a unique piece of real estate if one is to digest either the popular Jewish, Islamic, and Christian religious beliefs, or western political propaganda. What makes Jerusalem, and more precisely, the capital of the state, unique is its Davidide foundation. The mere discussion of the Palestinian Problem can become inflammatory. Sometimes even the mere mention of it can send people scurrying into silence or vocal barrages. The sad truth is that the few men who have dared to honour Jerusalem by peacemaking have died by assassination. One Hebrew prophet predicted that Jerusalem will become a “cup of reeling” and a dangerously “heavy stone” (Zechariah 12:2ff). In his Burden Of The Word Of The Lord Concerning Israel Zechariah predicts a day when Jerusalem will become

  • a cup of reeling for all the surrounding peoples;
  • against Judah also in the siege against Jerusalem. Zech. 12:2
  • a heavy stone for all the peoples;
  • the cause of shall grievously hurt to all who lift it
  • besieged by all the nations of the earth allied against it. Zech. 12:3

The Davidide Dignity

The difference between Judah and Jerusalem is evident in the Judeans’ recognition that Jerusalem’s people are strong through YHWH SEBAOTH.

Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.” Zech. 12:5

Zechariah goes on to describes Jerusalem’s unique destiny: opposite the dangerous and devouring Judean fires, Jerusalem will be a lived-in place.

On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot on a pile of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. Zech. 12:6

Finally, the prophet shows how Jerusalem’s final destiny rests with the Davidide dynasty. Judah’s honour is restored when she gains priority over the Davidide Judah in the victory.

And the LORD will give victory to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be exalted over that of Judah. Zech. 12:7

However, David’s house gives strength to the character of Jerusalem’s inhabitants. Messiah rules! Yahweh seeks the destruction of the alliance.

On that day the LORD will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, at their head. Zech. 12:8

And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. Zech. 12:9

This city, above all, deserves out attention because of the high stakes to all who would venture into the cause of Jerusalem’s peace. To this end we pray. To capture the panorama of this great city it is essential to review the origins, progress, and perceived destiny from the pages of the Sacred Texts. David’s connection with the city will be of the utmost interest because it points the way to the fullest expression of Jerusalem’s character. David’s relations with the city that became “the City of David” can hardly be recognized without the contributions of the Jebusites. These Jebusites have been at the centre of the City of David, and their involvement brings to light the spark of excellence in ancient civic life. A capital must exemplify the nation.

We are full of hope even though the world rulers have discarded several civic landmarks in deference to both ancient and modern innovations. Zion calls out for a solid consensus, without which, we will have opted for unnecessary anxiety and bloodshed.

Zion’s Origins

There is however a great deal more to Zion than the two cryptic entries, and the lessons we can gather are of global implications.

Salem, Shalem (<l@v*) appears twice in the Hebrew Bible: in Genesis 14:18 and Psalm 76:3. The earliest reference to the sacred site introduces us to a thriving Canaanite spirituality. Shalem was the home, pastorate and realm of Melchizedek.ii The second informs us that GOD has a booth (is) a sok), a dwelling (typically a tent, but any lean-to is possible, and even if it is celebratory) and His refuge (his den, hn*u)m=) in that location.

And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. (Gen. 14:18)

In Salem also is his tabernacle (booth), and his dwelling place (refuge) in Zion. Psalm 76:2

The centuries between the Abraham-Melchizedek encounter and the song leaves a lot unsaid. We meet happily, in that encounter, a man whose connection to God gets little attention even though he gets the highest rating possible of any priest in history. Melchizedek’s priesthood is of an order to which all others submit, and that includes the Levitical priesthood.

And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. (Heb 7:9) For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. (Heb 7:10)

A temple that is of the Mosaic economy is obviously out of date when consider what David did with the Ark in Zion and Solomon’s preparations for the temple.

Jerusalem: the names of Zion

One hears the name Zion (Hebrew /oYx! tsee-YONE) and Jerusalem rushes to mind, with its temple mount and sacred sites. Even Scripture seems to cooperate with this synonymy, despite the fact that the first reference to Zion names the location “City of David”, and this reference (occurring over 40 times), in turn, identifies two different sites at least 5 times (1 Kings 3:1, 8:1, 2 Kings 9:28, 14:20, 2 Chr. 5:2). The specificity is riveting

  1. And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. (1Kgs 3:1)
  2. Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. (1Kgs 8:1)
  3. And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David. (2Kgs 9:28)
  4. And they brought him on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David. (2Kgs 14:20)
  5. Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. (2Chr 5:2)

Shalem – Canaanite Holy City

Mention of this city calls up the records of Melchizedek, Adonizedek, the first listed as “King of Salem”, the second, king of Jerusalem (Gen. 14:18, Josh 10:1, 3). Throughout the book of Joshua, this same city is called Jerusalem (10:5, 10:23, 12:10, 15:8, 15:63, 18:28).

This Melkitsedeq was also priest of el elyon (God Most High, /wy)lu# la@)The writer of Hebrews takes this combination of the priestly and the royal into one person as a distinct signal of the Messiah. The city receives mention in Judges (1:7, 8, 21, 19:10) and most notably in the Psalms where we see a sobering celebration of Zion as the residence of YHWH, EL the great king.

The name SHALEM (Hebrew (ml)@v*) means peace, well-being and completeness.

 

From the dialogue between the two men we learn that ‘EL `ELYON (/wy)lu#-la@) is the name of the God of the Shalemites and the God of Abraham. This is the very name by which all the patriarchs knew their God and this name appears in all sections of the Bible. EL or ELOHIM appears in the Pentateuch more than 40 times, in the Prophets 44 times, and in the Writings, 134 times.

 

Examples of the Divine Name in the Pentateuch

EL-GADOL, the Great God/EL (Deut. 10:17)

EL-ROY, the EL-who-sees-me (Gen. 16:13)

EL-SHADDAY – EL – ALMIGHTY/OF THE MOUNTAIN (Gen. 17:1)

EL-BETEL – EL – of the house of EL

EL (Gen. 46:3)

EL QANO) – Jealous EL (Deut. 6:15)

 

Examples of the Divine Name in the Prophets

EL HAY, THE LIVING EL (Josh 3:10)

ELOHIM-QADOSH & EL QANO) A holy elohim & a jealous EL. (Josh 24:19)

EL-DE(OT – EL OF KNOWLEDGE (1 Sam. 2:3)

EL-TAMIM – perfect EL (2 Sam. 22:31)

EL-GIBBOR – mighty EL (Isaiah 9:6).

 

Examples of the Divine Name in the writings

  1. And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God (EL THE GREAT AND AWESOME), that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: (Nehemiah 1:5)
  2. Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? (Job 8:3)
  3. If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; (Job 8:5)
  4. He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see [it]. (Psalm 10:11)
  5. [It is] God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. (Psalm 18:33)
  6. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou [art] God. (Psalm 90:2)
  7. For the LORD [is] a great God, and a great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:3)

The identical name used in the Salem encounter, EL-ELYON, appears only five times.

  • And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. Gen. 14:18
  • He blessed him and said, “”Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; Gen. 14:19
  • and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything. Gen. 14:20
  • But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD, God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, Gen. 14:22
  • They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. Psalm 78:35

Evidently, the use of the name EL did not change because of the revelation of the name YHWH to Moses. The critical issue here is that the worship of God in Salem persisted to the extent that the city was included in the Israelite occupation and was spared the torching that is recorded in Joshua of other cities.

Shalem – Hebrew Holy City

The second and final reference to SHALEM tells us about the perception of SHALEM as a chosen location. Salem – here spoken of in the times of the kings – may well be addressing the celebration of David’s tent in Zion. The Ark resided in Zion in a tent before Solomon built the temple

And [David] made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. (1 Chron. 15:1)

Zion acquired a holy status beyond that of Jerusalem (the northern portion of the holy hill). In this next reference, we see that Solomon deemed Zion too holy for the Egyptian princess to reside, but clearly moved her to the northern portion of the hill where David had built palaces.

And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because [the places are] holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come. (2 Chr. 8:11)

 

There should be no surprise that the songwriter celebrates Salem/Zion as ELOHIM’s dwelling place, the nearest antecedent. (vs. 1)

 

In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. (Psalm 76:2)

This dwelling of the deity is something other than the Ark of the Covenant. Where the ark appears (10 times) we find it with lha (‘ohel) tent, but two different nouns appear in Psalm 76:2; hks (sukah) tent/booth) and hnwum (mònah refuge).iii This indicates an attempt to distinguish Zion-Salem from the temple site.

Summary of Shalem

This Canaanite city over which God placed Melkitsedeq was spared from capture by the Israelites to declare His Messianic purpose for all the people of the land. It stayed in Canaanite hands until the messianic line was ready to take the throne.

The name Jerusalem most likely came from negotiations with the Jebusites as to what to call the city.

The choices were Salem, Yebus, and Zion. Of course it would always be City of David, but needed an official name that would more fully represent all the interests.

Jebus – Jebusite stronghold

The Books of Joshua and Judges help us identify three significant facts about Jebus-Shalem. First, the Israelites under Joshua failed to capture Jebus. Second, that the Israelites lived with the Jebusites, and third, the place first called Jebus is also called Jerusalem.

 

Failure to capture and co-residence

As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day. (Josh 15:63)

And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day. (Judges 1:21) See also 1 King 9:21

 

The Bible refers to this city (yeBUS) four times and its people (yebuSI) 39 times. Of these, 10 references are in conjunction with the name Jerusalem or Zion.

 

 

Yebusi territory Described as Jerusalem

 

  1. [t]hen the boundary goes up by the valley of the son of Hinnom at the southern slope of the Jebusites (that is, Jerusalem); and the boundary goes up to the top of the mountain that lies over against the valley of Hinnom, on the west, at the northern end of the valley of Rephaim; (Josh 15:8)
  2. But the people of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so the Jebusites live with the people of Judah in Jerusalem to this day. (Josh 15:63)
  3. But the people of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so the Jebusites live with the people of Judah in Jerusalem to this day. (Josh 15:63)
  4. But the Benjaminites did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived in Jerusalem among the Benjaminites to this day. (Judg 1:21)
  5. Zela, Haeleph, Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath-jearim -fourteen towns with their villages. This is the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin according to its families. (Josh 18:28)
  6. But the man would not spend the night; he got up and departed, and arrived opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him. (Judg 19:10)
  7. When they were near Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites, and spend the night in it.” (Judg 19:11)
  8. The king and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, even the blind and the lame will turn you back”-thinking, “David cannot come in here.” (2 Sam 5:6)
  9. But when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented concerning the evil, and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” The angel of the LORD was then by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. (2Sam 24:16)
  10. David and all Israel marched to Jerusalem, that is Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. (1Chr 11:4) (same as #8)

 

Again we see that Yebus has an unbreakable relationship with the people of God. Jerusalem is acknowledged as “Jebusite” by Bible writers and by people in the accounts. The survival of the Jebusites until and past the time of David serves as a stern reminder to all about the enduring nature of Yahweh’s relationships with Melkitsedeq and the succeeding generations of Salemites.

Summary of the names of Zion, city of David

Three names distinguish the city of David: Zion, Shalem and Jebus. Zion is David’s invention, while Shalem and Jebus are Canaanite names that persisted from ancient times to the time of the monarchy. We have also seen that the city enjoyed the protection and presence of the True God.

Synonymy

There is little doubt that the writers of Hebrew Scripture came to see Tsiyyon and Jerusalem as one and the same. For many writers, Jebus was Jerusalem. That’s just fine if one is dealing with a statement like the following: an explanation of the names.

 

But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which [is] Jerusalem; and [there were] with him two asses saddled, his concubine also [was] with him. (Judges 19:10)

This amounts to saying, “…Jebus, which we [now] call Jerusalem.” It is easy to see that they are talking about the same place: different names.

On the other hand looking for synonymy can be like looking for hay in a haystack. Often when Zion and Jerusalem appear together one assumes parallelism and it can be shown that one is being treated differently. It is important then to find the meaning of the difference between Zion and Jerusalem. We will examine word order and the distribution of complex phrases.

If Jerusalem were to be connected with the divine name at the same rate as Zion it would appear 372 times. The name Zion precedes Jerusalem 80% of the 45 times they appear together. Zion also appears with either more or different language. In the text then we see the difference between Zion and Jerusalem even more clearly. True synonymy is in the undisputed minority.

 

Here are three samples of obvious synonymy or at least parallelism.

  1. This is the word that the LORD has spoken against him: “`The Virgin Daughter of Zion despises you and mocks you. The

Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. (2 Kings 19:21)

  1. Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, (Psalm 51:18)
  2. Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zech. 9:9)

On the other hand we have not only geographical discreteness but also a host of linguistic additions to the phrases relating to Zion.

Zion is different

The ark moves from Jerusalem to Zion

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 1 Kings 8:1 (cf. 2 Chr. 5:2)

The two cities are listed

So the angel who talked with me said to me, Proclaim this message: Thus says the LORD of hosts; I am very jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. (Zech. 1:14)

Discrete Predictions

In this set of expressions the writer treats each identity differently.

  • for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out,
  • and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (2 Kings 19:31 cf. Isa. 37:32)

Here band of survivors is a worse fate.

Here Zion gets pampered.

So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

  • I am jealous for Jerusalem
  • and for Zion with a great jealousy. (Zech. 1:14 (KJS)

Zion gets called “daughter” and is not in the dust, but is in bonds nonetheless.

Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem;

loose the bonds from your neck, ……….O captive daughter Zion! (Isaiah. 52:2)

 

In this next reference the law (hrwt) comes from Zion, and the name ELOHIM connects with the house of Jacob, not the mountain.

Many peoples shall come and say,

“”Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD (YHWH),

to the house of the God of Jacob; (ELOHE)

that he may teach (Wnr}y{w+) us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction (hr`ot),

and the word (DABAR) of the LORD from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3 and Micah 4:2

So you shall know that I,

the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy mountain.

And Jerusalem shall be holy,

and strangers shall never again pass through it. Joel 3:17

Poetic divides

In these texts the poet uses popular language to simultaneously be diverse and synonymous as he celebrate the two cities.

Yahweh and Elohim

Praise the LORD YHWH), O Jerusalem!

Praise your God (ELohim), O Zion! (Psalm 147:12)

Here the writer pens the names of the God of each city. He uses YHWH for Jerusalem, and EL for Zion. This is no coincidence. The name Yahweh is the newcomer, introduced in the covenant making with Moses. EL is a much older name, used by the Canaanites and the patriarchs.

The very appearance of YHWH in early text is itself misleading. Even though there was no revelation of the name YHWH to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we have the text of Genesis saying that the patriarchs “called on the name of YHWH”. (Gen. 4:26, 12:8, 13:4, 16:13, 21:33, and 26:25)

and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty (yD*v& la@ EL SHADDAY) but by my name Jehovah (hwhy YaHWeH) I was not known to them. (Exodus 6:3)

For I will defend this city to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. (2 Kings 19:34)

What can I say for you, to what compare you, O daughter Jerusalem?

To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter Zion?

For vast as the sea is your ruin; who can heal you? (Lam. 2:13 )

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:

Do not fear,

O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. (Zeph 3:16)

A telling distinction is made in Psalm 147:12 and 117:1

Praise (shabach) the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise (halal) thy God, O Zion.

O (halal) praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise (shabach) him, all ye people.

Later texts also show that the people of Israel did not forget either the name of the city or the fact that they had not captured Jebus.

And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which [is] Jebus; where the Jebusites [were], the inhabitants of the land. (1Chr 11:4)

[And] all the people [that were] left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which [were] not of the children of Israel, (1 Kings 9:20)

Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day. (1 Kings 9:21)

Zion: the city of David

This name, Zion, too has its problems. It appears 44 times in the OT and twice in the New Testnament. Yet it is Bethlehem, where our Lord Messiah was born that springs to mind when one hears of the city of David. Zion is first related to David’s capture of the fort on the southeastern corner of the hill. We will examine the geography of Zion later as we try to establish the difference between Zion and Jerusalem.

Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same [is] the city of David. (2 Sam. 5:7)

 

The name Salem (<lv) appears in the notable meeting between Abram and Melkitsedeq, in a Psalm celebrating the divine residence, and in the Book of Hebrews.

 

  1. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God. (Gen. 14:18)
  2. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. (Psalm 76:2)
  3. For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; (Hebrews 7:1)
  4. Hebrew 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; (Hebrews 7:2)

The following 10 references are to Zion with only the divine name ELOHIM (Psalm 50:2, 53:7, 65:2 , 69:36, 84:8, Isa. 40:9, 52:7, Jer. 31:6, 50:28, Joel 2:23)

History

History of Jebus

Our first contact with Jebus was the Abraham-Melkitsedeq meeting. This narrative introduces us to the fact that the God of the Hebrews had His followers among the Canaanite people. It opens up a world that we had thought did not exist, at lest not in Palestine where the Canaanite people were destined for annihilation. It also delivers a stiff rebuke to the notion that Palestine was going to be an exclusively Hebrew homeland. We will see that Abraham accepted the inclusion of Palestine’s many nations

The people of Jebus

Jebusites are Canaanites, and therefore Hamites (Gen. 10:16). David made his sacrifices at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite (1Chr 21:28), and we find Solomon building on property bought from a Jebusite named Ornan (2 Chron. 3:1).

Moses lists the Jebusites among the seven nations who at Israel’s entry would be more populous and mighty than Israel. ( Deut 7:1). It is these people who lived there with Melkitsedeq when the places was called Salem. These were the people that David met in full control of the home of Abraham’s great friend Melkitsedeq (2 Sam. 5:6), even though the place is called Jerusalem in the text. David goes on to take wives and concubines, who bore him children out of this place, still referred to by the writer as Jerusalem again. This site was entirely Canaanite. So these unions were with Jebusite women.

It is clear that the northern portion of the hill was agricultural. Ornan had his threshing floor there. So both portions of the sacred mount – the site of the temple and the Zion proper – were in Jebusite hands.

The name “East Jerusalem” has been used to conflate Zion with the Temple Mount. All nations are interested in East Jerusalem – the city of David. Jews and Muslims resort to Temple Mount. Without Davidide esteem Jerusalem has no character. It is a recognition of the priest-king character of not the Mosaic priesthood , that makes East Jerusalem the distinct piece of real estate. The hidden anguish is the seizure of homes, Palestinian homes, in east Jerusalem. Observers have been distracted, and many Christians have been distracted by a Sunday School understanding of the geography and history of the City of David.

We now have to address the meaning of the historic meeting between Abraham and Melkitsedeq in the light of the numerous statements (Psalm 110:4, Heb. 5:6, 5:10, 6:20, 7:1, 7:11, 7:15, 7:17, 7:21) about the Melkitsedeqite Priesthood. When we add to this the late capture of Jebus we are confronted with the superfluity departure from the idea that the Yahwistic religious group that Moses helped to establish was the ultimate plan for the city.

We can only conclude that more central to the plan was the divine access that Abraham and Melkitsedeq shared. It was this access to God that David embraced in his inclusion of the Jebusites his capital. In pursuit of this religion Solomon established ties with the Tyrians and the Egyptians. These were the moves his father left for him to complete. A Zion without these connections is unthinkable (1 Kings 3 and 5).

Abraham’s Society

A definite cosmopolitan character can be seen in the life of Abraham. This observation begins with the people in Abraham’s household, where we see a Syrian and an Egyptian. The rest of Abraham’s life is spent in building relationships with the king of Salem, setting the record straight with the king of Sodom, fostering friendships with various other Canaanite natives and the Egyptians. It must be noted that Abraham was not limited by the later Mosaic laws about interactions with foreigners.

Ornan the Jebusite

The role of Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite is pivotal in the development of Tsiyyon.

Angelic appearance at the threshingplace of Araunah; the plague ravaging Judah (Israel?)

And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite. 2 Samuel 24:16

Prophetic instruction from prophet Gad for David to purchase the threshingplace of Araunah

And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. 2 Samuel 24:18

King David arrives the threshingplace of Araunah; Araunah pays respects

And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. 2 Samuel 24:20

The conversation between King David Araunah; David’s intentions to purchase the land for an altar, to end the plague

And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people. 2 Samuel 24:21 1 Chronicles 21:22

Araunah invites King David to use his property

And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. 2 Samuel 24:22 1 Chronicles 21:23

Araunah acknowledged as King – giving gifts to King David, pronounces David as accepted by Yahweh

All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee. 2 Samuel 24:23

David insist on buying the property

And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. 1 Chronicles 21:24

King David buys Araunah’s property

So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. 1 Chronicles 21:25

King David sacrifices at the threshingfloor

At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. 1 Chronicles 21:28

King Solomon builds the sacred palace (temple) at the threshingfloor, identified as Mount Moriah

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2 Chronicles 3:1

There are saving and healing elements of national life in the entire saga. Gentiles were not excluded, which means that the later Mosaic distinctions have been exploited in a crass and apathetic manner. The life of the nation in every aspect was to be united in a single person. The Hebrew people sadly have ignored this direction. Even in the face of historical record of gentile inclusion is evident throughout their history. It begins with the Abraham-Melchizedek encounter, and we cannot avoid the fact that the rest is about Abraham’s descendants in the Land of Canaan.

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; (Heb. 7:1)

Heb 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; (Heb. 7:2)

The Land of Canaan

Canaan was the land God promised to Abraham and his descendants. There is no question that the land had inhabitants who did not see themselves as pilgrims. There was a sense of ownership. This reflected in the text at least thirteen times.

 

  1. And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. Exodus 3:17

  2. And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. Exodus 13:5
  3. And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, Exodus 13:11
  4. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: Exodus 13:17
  5. Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. Numbers 21:31
  6. Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. Deuteronomy 1:7
  7. And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. Deuteronomy 2:19
  8. Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the LORD our God forbad us. Deuteronomy 2:37
  9. Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh? Deuteronomy 11:30
  10. From the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that is beside the Sidonians, unto Aphek, to the borders of the Amorites: Joshua 13:4
  11. And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. Joshua 17:15
  12. Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. Amos 2:10
  13. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. Zephaniah 2:5

 

We see in these references that the land is “land of the Amorite”, “land of the Philistines”, “land of the Perizzites”, and “land of the Canaanites”. We find nowhere in Scripture ” land of the Israelites”. Since the land belongs to God He has the right to transfer stewardship and He fulfills His promise to Abraham and the patriarchs spectacularly.

And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land. Deuteronomy 2:31

However, like the promise of rest we see that there remained a further inheritance of the land after the Hebrew people had entered and settled.

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. Psalm 37:29

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. Isaiah 60:21
Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, are possessors of the land and Moses affirms the dependence of the divine oath.

And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” (Gen 15:7)

May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” (Gen 28:4)

Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” (Exod 32:13)

The question of ownership seems to be the sole Jewish interest, but the Palestinian problem cannot resolved by answering questions of ancient biblical promises and Jewish ownership. It is David, not Moses, who defines governance, and it is an out of Zion government. There is no welcoming government or instruction from the temple. This reveals the curiosity of evangelicals supporting the Zionist goal of a rebuilt temple. It shows distraction strategy.

It must be slight of hand when attempts to broker a solution in the Palestinian problem. Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital is going to be decided by whose embassy is in Jerusalem. Jerusalem as capital is not for Israel or the UK to decide. Embassies in Tel Aviv is witness to the considerable investment there is in deciding the fate of Jerusalem’s justly.

But where is Zionism going? The concept of a homeland and first city is in the DNA of every one. It is in the hertage of Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. We should demand that Zionism find its ground in Zion-Salem. Zion is, after all, King City. Its reputation is marred, swept under the rug by centuries of violence, murders of innocent, and a stream of rebellion to Moses.

If Jerusalem is not cosmopolitan it has no claim to peace. If the city of David is not recognized as superior to temple site we know that the state of Israel and the Palestinians are not dealing with the facts. Zion is not intended to be a symbol of land acquisition – remember that David bought it. Zion-Salem cannot be sold and divided.

Zion is the heritage of all of earth’s peoples. This piece of real estate is where the King has welcomed all of the families of the earth. Just think what it means for a temple of Mosaic to be built anywhere on Temple Mount. More barriers. We seem to have more barriers than bridges, and it is only superficially that our Jewish brothers can be comfortable in the mosque, or that Christians can be comfortable in the synagogue, or that Muslims can be comfortable in the church. The “people of the Book” are not quite as homogeneous as we are led to believe. Yet David dreamed of a literal Zion that is loved more than all of the Israel’s cities, a Zion where the nations were welcome and could claim birthright, a Zion where, Egypt and Babylon have honourable mention. David’s friends the Philistines are there. Solomon’s allies from Tyre are there. Ethiopians are there. This is where the born-there heritage lands.

Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.

I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.

Zion’s fame is that it stands in a city-state relation to the people as a president (non-partisan) stands in relation to a prime minister (partisan). The heavy stone is going to hurt really badly as the distraction about whose capital Zion really is continues and a crudely-informed US president promises to move his nation’s embassy move to Jerusalem, thereby giving the Israeli State a diplomatic boost and the entire region a hiccup and a case of nausea. No photo opp, or tweet, or presidential declaration should mask the fact that there will be pain. The stone of Zion is too much for mere humans. It is God’s city. Its destiny is in the hands of God, even as its present disposition is dire and its struggle brief.

Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. (Isa. 66:8)

The City of God

The Zion that the world needs is the one that David founded, the one begun on the holy mountains (Ps 87:1), the one loved more than all the dwellings of Jacob (Ps 87:2), the one of whom glorious things are said (Ps 87:3), the one whose neighbours are insiders.

Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre,

and Cush —

each one was born there.” (Ps 87:4)

Notes

iThe author uses the proper name of the land to avoid confusing it with the Jewish State. See History of Jebus

ii Melkitsedeq (qdx-yklm) my-king [is] righteousness

iiiTen occurrences of the ark with lha (‘ohel tent) Exod 30:26, 31:7, Num. 7:89, Josh. 3:14, 2 Sam 6:17, 1 Kings 8:4, 1Chr 15:1, 16:1, 2 Chr 1:4, 5:5