Zion is a place where God dwells, according to the book of Psalms. Zion theology begins with David after conquering Jerusalem and bringing the ark of the covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was a symbol of God’s presence and was significant to Israelites as they associated it with Yahweh’s presence (Laato, 2018). The Psalmist also talks about Zion as a place of paradise. Therefore, it is a place where God dwells, and His people will enjoy His blessings. Moreover, David’s selection by Yahweh and choosing to reign in the city of Jerusalem closely related to the concept of Mount Zion believed for Him. Hence, Zion symbolized that Yahweh was a king over Israel and the world. In addition, He would deliver His people from both human and cosmic enemies. The Psalms suggest that God prepared Zion before David’s time to rule and dispense justice.
The prophets insist that Zion would not be restored if the people did not live in obedience to God. They showed that God was committed to protecting His holy mountain and would defend it even against His people if they continued to sin. The prophets portray three kinds of sin against Yahweh that would lead to punishment. The first was idolatry, which was the worship of other gods. Second, foreign political alliances where His people trusted human beings for prosperity instead of Yahweh. Finally, social injustices where people were selfish and after their own wealth.
Moreover, the prophet Jeremiah’s message was for the people and Jerusalem. In his book, the whole land is God’s inheritance, and future restoration will involve the entire land, including the people. The people of Jerusalem believed that Yahweh would protect Jerusalem because His temple was there regardless of their behavior. They would fly into Jerusalem from the Babylonians as they saw it as a safe place. False prophets promulgated the belief that they would be protected regardless of their sins. However, Jeremiah was surprised when God revealed His hope for the people as Jerusalem’s inviolability was in vain and hoped that it would act as evidence that God was not in Zion when disaster struck. This book depicts Zion as God’s holy mountain and that Yahweh was making a new covenant with His people to restore them and the land to Himself.
Prophet Ezekiel does not use the word Zion but only Jerusalem. In the first chapter, Ezekiel is concerned about the city’s terrible sins which result in its demise. The fall comes after a siege of the town and terrible suffering. Ezekiel shows the relationship between God and Israel, particularly Jerusalem, as that of husband and wife. Adultery in the marriage symbolizes the sins in the cities, and the oracles stand for God’s punishment for their ill-treatment of Judah, Jerusalem, and the temple. Therefore, God does not defend sinful Jerusalem but will avenge it. Moreover, He promises to restore Jerusalem by promising a new heart, and the city will be in the presence of the Lord with a new identity.
In conclusion, according to Psalms, Zion was a place where God dwelled, and His people would enjoy His blessings. However, prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel criticize the fact that God’s presence could leave Zion due to their sinful nature showing that He could depart from the place of His dwelling. In the book of Jeremiah Zion describes the holy mountain, and in Ezekiel, it represents the city. These prophets show Israel’s misconceptions about Zion fueled by false prophets that God will protect them despite their sins as deceitful. They show that God was willing to punish his people and dispense justice to His people due to their sins if they did not obey Him so that He could deliver them.
Laato, A. (2018). The origin of Israelite Zion Theology. Bloomsbury Publishing.