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I Am Zion: Unleash the Power of God's Glory in Your Life
by John Eckhardt
Learn More | Meet John Eckhardt
THE STRONGHOLD OF ZION
Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.
—2 Samuel 5:7
The city of Zion was a stronghold, a fortress, held by the Jebusites, and David conquered this stronghold and made it his city, the base from which he led the nation of Israel. From this point on Zion would take a central role in the nation of Israel.
Before David captured the city, the Jebusites taunted him, saying the blind and lame would keep him from entering their citadel. They considered it impenetrable. Nevertheless David took their stronghold by sending men through the water tunnel to infiltrate the city. (See 2 Samuel 5.) The conquest became the first in a series of victories for David, and it signaled a turning point in the young king’s life, as it solidified his rule and reign over the region.
Through this victory Zion was transformed from being the fortress of the Jebusites to being David’s fortress. As I mentioned previously, the old covenant is a series of types and shadows of the new covenant we have through Christ. And so with Israel’s possessing this new territory comes the foundational types and shadows of the gospel and the kingdom of God. David is a type and picture of Christ, as Jesus is called the son of David (Matt. 1:1). And the city of David, as it is called in the verse above, is a type and picture of the city of God. The Scriptures have much to say about the city of God. It is where God dwells—the place of His rule and reign and the seat of His dominion and power. It is God’s fortress. The psalmist declared:
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
Zion is “beautiful for situation.” This means literally that it is beautiful for elevation. Zion is an elevated place, which represents its preeminence and prominence. As the previous passage points out, Zion is “on the sides of the north.” When we think of north, we point or look up. Zion is up on the north side, signifying its loftiness and distinction. Zion is above all other cities.
As we understand that the spiritual nature of Zion dwells in us, we gain a more complete revelation of our spiritual position in Christ. The physical Zion was situated in a lofty place, and we, the spiritual Zion, are seated in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 2:6). We have been exalted through Christ above principalities and powers. We are not under the rule of Satan; we are to rule over him. Zion people are people of power and authority.
In the Book of Psalms Zion is described as having towers, palaces, and bulwarks.
Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
Palaces, in this passage, is literally referring to citadels.1 A citadel is a fortress, typically on high ground, protecting or dominating a city. Towers and bulwarks are symbols of strength, power, and fortification. Fortify means “to strengthen and secure (a place, such as a town)” with defensive works such as forts or batteries so it will be protected against attack.2 We see a clearer picture of the strength of Zion’s bulwarks and towers in The Message Bible’s paraphrase of Psalm 48:12–14: “Circle Zion, take her measure, count her fortress peaks, gaze long at her sloping bulwark, climb her citadel heights.”
Zion was fortified by its towers. These are elevated places of defense and safety that were used by watchmen. Although the towers around the physical Zion were made of stone, an individual can also be a tower and a fortress. Intercessors and prophets stand on the watchtower, serving as guardians and protectors, as we see in the following scriptures:
I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.
—Jeremiah 6:27And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
You Are a Stronghold for God
Do you consider yourself Zion? Do you consider yourself a tower? Do you consider yourself a stronghold? As you come into the revelation that you are Zion, you will understand that you are also a stronghold for God. You are a strong tower through Christ. You are a fortress, a guardian, and a protector.
A bulwark is a solid wall-like structure—strong support or protection.3 Zion is well defended because of its towers and bulwarks, and this is how we should see the church and the individual believer. You are a city set on a hill that is well defended with towers and bulwarks. You are a strong city through Christ. Begin to see yourself this way. Confess this with your mouth. You are not weak. You are strong in Christ. You are built up through the Word and the Spirit.
Zion is built upon Christ. He supports and holds it up, meaning He supports you and holds you up. Isaiah prophesied:
Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
Zion no longer has a physical foundation. Jesus is the foundation of Zion, and He is the foundation of your life and of the church. God declared in Isaiah 51:16:
And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
Zion, which was a physical place, is now a people. God is more concerned about people than physical places. The physical in the old covenant was a type and picture of something spiritual under the new covenant. Zion becomes the new creation, the church. Zion is the believer, the new creature.
The foundation supports the structure. The larger the structure, the greater the foundation. Zion is a great city. Psalm 87:3 says, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.” The Good News Translation says it this way: “Listen, city of God, to the wonderful things he says about you.” God does great things in Zion, and He does great things for you.
I have a passion to speak about the glorious truths of Zion because they apply to the believer. There is greatness in Zion, and you possess greatness as a believer in Christ. God commands us to open our ears and listen. God is speaking to us. He wants us to hear the glorious and wonderful things He has to say about us.
Psalm 48 says in verses 4–6:
For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
This is what the enemy feels when he sees Zion. The enemy marvels. The enemy is troubled. The enemy runs away in fear, and pain comes upon him as of a woman in travail.
Other translations say the kings were astonished and awestruck when they saw Zion. When they looked at the great city, they froze with fear and fled in terror. The Passion Translation says when the mighty kings who united to oppose Zion “saw God manifest in front of their eyes, they were stunned. Trembling, they all fled away, gripped with fear. Seized with panic, they doubled up in frightful anguish like a woman in the labor pains of childbirth” (Ps. 48:4–6).
You Are the Strength and Beauty of Zion
In the description from Psalm 48 Zion is a picture of strength and beauty. According to Psalm 50:2, Zion is the perfection of beauty. As Zion dwells in you, you too have the strength and beauty of God.
God is a God of beauty. It is an attribute of His glory. David desired to “behold the beauty of the Lord” (Ps. 27:4), and we worship in the beauty of holiness (Ps. 96:9). God’s beauty is upon us (Ps. 90:17). God is our crown of glory and diadem of beauty (Isa. 28:5). God gives us beauty for ashes (Isa. 61:3), and strength and beauty are in God’s sanctuary (Ps. 96:6). Job 40:10 says, “Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.” A loss of beauty is a loss of glory (Lam. 1:6). Zion is told to put on beautiful garments (Isa. 52:1), and as the spiritual dwelling place of Zion, you wear the beauty of the Lord.
Like the earthly Zion, heavenly Zion also is pictured with attributes of beauty. Revelation 21:18–20 says the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with precious stones, which again represent glory and beauty:
And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
Zion, the city of the King, is adorned in beauty, and the King rules and reigns from this place of glory and strength. David ruled from the physical Zion, and the King of kings, Jesus, rules and reigns in your life.
With Jesus as the head, Zion can’t help but be victorious. All who attack Zion experience defeat because Zion cannot be defeated. This is how you must view yourself. Zion is a picture of the kingdom, and Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Don’t allow the enemy to intimidate you. You are victorious. You are a fortress. You are a citadel. You are the city of God—the city of the great King. God defends His city, which means He defends you.
The Lord is great in Zion. Its enemies tremble before Zion, and it “breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind” (Ps. 48:7). The ships of Tarshish represent a fleet or an armada, which are symbols of strength and power. The enemy’s power is broken through Zion, meaning the enemy’s power is broken through your life.
Put on the Strength of Zion
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Zion is a strong city, and the Zion believer is also strong. Zion has walls and bulwarks of salvation. Zion sings the new song. The Zion believer has a circumcised heart, and the uncircumcised and unclean cannot enter.
Because Zion sings strength and you are Zion, you sing strength.
In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; we have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
You have the river of God flowing from your life. The river is filled with gladness.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
We give God great praise in the city of God. The Names of God Bible translation of Psalm 48:1 says, “Yahweh is great. He should be highly praised.”
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
Zion is the city of the Lord of hosts (armies).
As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
—Psalm 48:8Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.
Receive the Shalom of Zion
Zion is the place of shalom, the peace of God. It is the stronghold of God, where there is no hurt or spiritual abuse. The wolf and the lamb dwell together. Jews and Gentiles are made one in Christ. People from all nations come to Zion to live in peace and enjoy undisturbed composure.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
—Isaiah 11:9The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.
As Zion, the dwelling place of God, the peace of God resides in your heart and mind (Phil. 4:7). Nothing that is unlike God is allowed in Zion. As it was for the physical Zion, no strangers shall pass through our spiritual Zion. Only kingdom citizens can live in this city and maintain a heart after Zion.
So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
Zion is heavenly. Zion is a heavenly people living on the earth. The kingdom is heaven coming to the earth. The mountain of the Lord fills the earth.
And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
Let the Redemption of Zion Come Into Your Life
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Zion went into mourning because of disobedience. But Jesus came to redeem Zion and give beauty for ashes, which represent defeat and sorrow. The glory restores beauty. Zion is beautiful because the glory of the Lord is there. You are Zion, and that means you are beautiful.
The glory also restores joy. In Zion we receive joy and gladness instead of depression and defeat. We receive the garment of praise and display the splendor of the Lord. Isaiah 61 says we would be called “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” We receive the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. Zion is the place of joy and gladness. As we take on a Zion identity, God will deliver us from depression and defeat. We will receive the garment of praise.
In this verse we also learn that as Zion believers we are trees of righteousness. We are the planting of the Lord. Isaiah 60, which I call the glory chapter, speaks about trees. The glory is typified by Lebanon. Lebanon is a nation of magnificent trees. God is glorified in Zion because He is glorified through us. We are Zion.
Now that we understand what and who Zion is, let’s go deeper into understanding how it has become God’s choice, His desire, and His dwelling place or habitation forever.
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