The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Born in Zion

I’d like to share two Old Testament passages that demonstrate that God’s city of Jerusalem/Zion is a spiritual city that has Gentile (as well as Jewish) inhabitants who are born in her by faith. New Testament passages that confirm these truths will also be shared.

We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. (Isa. 26:1-2)

Notice:

1. The strong city of God has walls not made of bricks and mortar, but of salvation. All who are abiding in Jesus are also in the city whose walls are salvation. For we are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20) and have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22). It does not say wewill come some time in the future, but we have come (if we are born again).

2. The gates of this city of salvation are opened to only the righteous nation. (That rules out the Middle Eastern city called Jerusalem–people who live there can join God’s city, but that earthly city is not God’s city!) What nation is righteous? It is the nation that keeps faith! Remember this passage was written before the New Covenant was ratified by Jesus’ shed blood, and yet faith wasalready the basis for entering God’s city of salvation. What nation keeps faith?–the nation addressed in 2 Pet. 2:9. If you are in Christ through faith, you are a member of this nation and considered the true seed of Abraham and a part of God’s chosen people (Psa. 105:6; Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:29).

Now we will look at Psalm 87.

He has founded his city on the holy mountain.

The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob.

Glorious things are said of you, city of God: “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me—Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush—and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’”

Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”

As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”

Notice:

1. The Lord’s city of Zion is founded and established by Himself. Abraham dwelt in the land of promise as a foreigner, waiting for the city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God. He died in faith not having yet received the promise, confessing he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. There was nowhere on the earth that he was not a stranger and pilgrim. There was nowhere on the earth that fulfilled the promise to him. What country was he then longing for?–a heavenly country; therefore God was not ashamed to be called his God for He has prepared a city for Abraham and all people of like faith. (Heb. 11:9-16)

2. Gentiles are said to be “born in Zion,” and God Himself keeps the register of all who are born there. Study Heb. 12:22-24 carefully, and you will find the same truth reiterated–

But you [believers] have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Where are the inhabitants of Zion registered? They are registered in heaven in the heavenly city of Jerusalem. And what else is this city of the living God called?–”the church of the firstborn.” Thus the absolute fulfillment of the “city of God” is the Church.

“That’s replacement theology,” someone will complain. Again I say: the Church is the fulfillment of the city of God. The earthly Jerusalem was a type, and the usefulness of that type is passing away in light of the present reality. If this is a replacement at all, it is a replacement of the shadow with the reality it foreshadowed. It is not a true replacement, but rather a fulfillment. Does the plant that grows from the seed replace the seed in such a way that the seed had no value? Or does the plant fulfill what the seed was designed for? The promises have finally and fully been fulfilled in Christ. All the promises are in HIM yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20), but outside of Him they remain unfulfilled regardless of where one lives. All are invited to enter the city which matters–God’s heavenly city, which is the reality. To those who accuse me of spiritualizing, I say again that the spiritual Jerusalem is the reality. To deny the spiritual Jerusalem is to deny reality. All who enter this city must enter by the door–Jesus. All who enter by the door are the Church. The Church=Zion.

What about Old Testament saints? They are part of the Church too–not by virtue of where they lived or who their parents were, but by virtue of their faith. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets are members of the “kingdom of God” according to Jesus (Lk. 13:28-29). This is the same Kingdom Jesus came preaching–the Kingdom of which He is Lord–and the kingdom which is not of this world (Jn. 18:36)!

We must be born again to even see this kingdom (Jn. 3:3). You may have been born once in Africa, the USA, China, Pakistan, or Israel. Being born there will not give you entrance into the kingdom of God. You must be born again in Zion–God’s heavenly city. Has God said of you, “This one was born in her”? Paul taught Gentile believers that the heavenly Jerusalem is the mother of those who have been born by the power of the Spirit (Gal. 4:22-31). Just as the new birth is spiritual, the Christian’s homeland is spiritual. Is the “Jerusalem Above” your mother? Have you been born in Zion?

And if so, how has being born and registered in Zion changed the way you perceive the world and your place in it? Where do your loyalties lie? To whom and to what will you swear your allegiance? Are you a patriot in an earthly kingdom, fighting for its goals, or are you an ambassador from the heavenly kingdom with a message of reconciliation for “everyone who thirsts”?

If indeed we have been raised with Christ, may God help us to seek those things which are above, and set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth(Col. 3:1-2).

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