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Posted: 05/19/2005 at 2:18pm
The Vision of Zion
By Dr. Brian J. Bailey
First of all, we need to realize that the Lord desires to plant an onward vision within us. In Habakkuk 2:2 we read "write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it." We need a God-imparted vision.
This vision will enable us to look beyond our present spiritual experience. It will sustain us and give us purpose in life. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that "where there is no vision [or progressive vision], the people perish." Without an ongoing vision, people wander aimlessly through life. Therefore, our vision is very important.
We are living in the last days, and you will notice in Scripture that whenever the last days are mentioned, Zion is also mentioned. All the promises of God are to Zion in the last days. Zion is the ultimate goal of the Church of Jesus Christ, as the Apostle Paul clearly states in Hebrews 12:22: "But you have come unto Mount Zion…" Geographically, Mount Zion is located in the Southeast part of the city of Jerusalem. In ancient times it was called the city of David, and before then it was inhabited by the Jebusites. Let us now look at the spiritual significance of this mountain.
The Journey From Egypt to ZionTo gain an understanding about the spiritual journey that we as believers are on, we need to study the journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land, and eventually to Mount Zion. Zion was the ultimate goal for the Israelites. This historical journey undertaken thousands of years ago is a type of our spiritual journey as believers from earth to heaven, and from newborn babes in Christ to mature fathers and mothers in Christ. It serves as a roadmap to show us where we have come from, where we are at, and where we are going.
Exodus 15:17 says, "Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established." Psalm 79:54,68 confirms that this mountain was Mount Zion. Zion was their ultimate goal from the very beginning of their journey!
The Apostle Paul speaks of the journey of Israel in 1 Corinthians 10:11: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." Paul clearly states that the journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to Zion was recorded in Holy Scripture to serve as an example or pattern for us as believers. Therefore, this journey is very important indeed.
First of all, they were delivered from Egyptian bondage through a series of ten plagues, the tenth one being the slaying of all the firstborn in Egypt. They celebrated the Passover, which speaks of Christ the Lamb of God who died for the sins of the world (1 Cor. 5:7), and left Egypt (a symbol of this world). After they left Egypt, they crossed the Red Sea, which cut them off from the Egyptians. The Red Sea speaks of water baptism (1 Cor. 10:1-2). Water baptism is an act of obedience (Mt. 3:15), and it breaks many ties with the world.
We read in Exodus 19:1 that the Israelites came to Mount Sinai in the third month of their journey. The feast of the third month in the religious calendar of Israel is the Feast of Pentecost. From this we understand that Mount Sinai represents the Feast of Pentecost, and as such, the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
While the Pentecostal experience, represented by Mount Sinai, is wonderful, Paul tells us in Hebrews 12:18-22 that we are not called to Mount Sinai, but to Mount Zion. So we must realize that the final destination of our spiritual life as believers is not the Pentecostal experience. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is given to us to help us along our journey to spiritual Mount Zion.
The Lord said in Deuteronomy 2:3, "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough." God told Israel that they had camped around Mount Sinai too long and that it was time to move on. I believe the Lord is speaking the same thing to His Church today: "It is time to move on!" Many churches today have camped around the Pentecostal experience, and are content to remain in it and not progress in their spiritual journey. We must not stop anywhere along our journey and camp around a particular blessing or experience; we must progress and move on with God until we reach Mount Zion. We must go on to the fullness of what God has in store for us.
The WildernessAfter the children of Israel left Mount Sinai, they journeyed through the wilderness. We see this same pattern in the life of Christ. After He was water baptized (as the Israelites were, in type, in the Red Sea), He was filled with the Holy Spirit and then the Spirit of the Lord led Him into the wilderness (Mk. 1:12).
The wilderness speaks of the trials and testings that God leads us into in order to teach us obedience. Deuteronomy 8:2 tells us that the Lord led Israel for forty years in the wilderness to work within them humility, obedience, and purity. In Hebrews 5:8 we read about the same experience in the life of Christ, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." There is only one way that we can learn obedience, and that is through suffering and chastisement.
Crossing the JordanAfter the wilderness, the Lord raised up Joshua to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. The crossing of the Jordan spiritually speaks of being crucified with Christ. When the Israelites crossed over the Jordan, they placed twelve stones in the water and took twelve out. This speaks of dying to self and walking in newness of life. When we give our hearts to the Lord, He forgives us of all our sin and makes us white as snow. However, we still need to die to the carnal desires of our old nature. This is not a quick process. It takes self-denial and much prayer.
When the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, they were out of Egypt, but Egypt was not out of them. Throughout their wilderness journey, they continually wanted to return to Egypt and their former bondages. Thus they were "out of the world, but the world was not out of them." But when they crossed the Jordan River, the Lord took the love for Egypt (the world) out of their hearts and they never wanted to return after that. After they crossed the Jordan, they camped at Gilgal where they were circumcised, and the Lord said in Joshua 5:9, "This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you."
We all need to know experientially that we have been crucified with Christ and that our old, Adamic nature has been put to death that we no longer have to serve sin, but we are free to serve the Lord in righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:6).
Conquering the InheritanceAfter the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, they began to conquer and possess Canaan, the Promised Land. This was not an easy task by any means! There were many giants in the land that they had to overcome. In order to possess the land, they had to dispossess its inhabitants, seven nations which were mightier than they. It is the same in our Christian walk. In order to enter into our inheritance, we will have to fight against principalities and powers in heavenly places.
Mount Zion was the last and most difficult stronghold to capture. It was the stronghold of the Jebusites. They retained control of it for many centuries until the time of King David. They arrogantly boasted that King David and his army could not conquer them even if their soldiers were blind and lame. Nevertheless, David took Mount Zion, and the city of Jerusalem, after his third anointing. Possessing Zion requires a new anointing! David made Mount Zion his capital and pitched a tent there for the Ark of the Covenant.
This little mountain in Jerusalem became the dwelling place of the Lord. It is an earthly replica of the heavenly Mount Zion (Rev. 14:4). Several hundred years after they began their journey, David finally led the children of Israel to their ultimate destination—Mount Zion. As we have already said, this is the ultimate goal of every believer.
Being Born in ZionPaul said, "First the natural, then the spiritual." Well, just as we have to be born in the natural, we have to be born-again in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. In much the same way, in order to abide in spiritual Mount Zion, we must be born in Zion. The vision of Zion must be birthed within our hearts by the Lord.
Being born in Zion is spoken of in Psalm 87:4-6: "I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah." The Lord takes note not only where we are born naturally, but where we are born spiritually. It is very important what vision we are born into. We want to be born in Zion and have our names written on the gates of that glorious city!
The experience of being born in Zion is difficult to explain. All I can say is that the Lord puts a desire in your heart to dwell in Zion. That desire consumes you so that all you think about is dwelling with Christ in Zion. You know that you were born and destined for Zion! Everything you do, you do in pursuit of ascending Mount Zion.
As you are reading this article, the Lord wants to birth this vision in your heart. He wants you to catch the vision. You have been called to Mount Zion. Paul made that very clear in Hebrews 12:22. Our goal is not the baptism of the Spirit; our goal as believers is Zion! Zion speaks of the holiness of God, the dwelling place of God, praise and worship, and many other wonderful truths.
The question I want to leave you with is, "Where are you on your journey, and what is your vision?" Prayerfully consider your Christian walk for a moment now. Have you given your life to the Lord Jesus Christ and do you know that He is your Savior? Have you been water baptized? Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? Where are you on your Christian journey? Your ultimate destination is Mount Zion, where the Lord dwells, but are you progressing toward Zion or have you stopped along the way? Do you need a fresh vision? Are you content where you are at or are you moving on? Has the vision of Zion been birthed in your heart?
Beloved, ask the Lord to birth the vision of Zion within your heart so that you are not satisfied with anything but Zion. Don’t you want to finish your journey and get all that God has for you? My prayer is that no matter where you are on your Christian journey, the Lord will place a new vision in your heart and that you will go all the way with Jesus! Then we will see His glory and power come to the nations! God bless you.
Dr. Brian J. Bailey
Dr. Brian J. Bailey is the President of Zion Fellowship International, Zion Ministerial Institute, and Zion University. He is also Senior pastor of Zion Chapel in Waverly, New York. He has traveled to over a hundred countries during his ministry of over forty years, teaching in Bible colleges and preaching in leadership seminars. He is a prolific author of over forty religious books that have been published around the world and translated into many languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, and French.
Dr. Brian J. Bailey hails from London, England and left there on his first missionary trip to France. From there he went to Switzerland and became co-founder of a missions fellowship called "Croisade Missionaire." It was there he met his wife who was herself on a missionary trip to Europe and North Africa.
© 2001 Zion Ministerial Institute. All rights reserved.
Edited by Moderator on 05/19/2005 at 3:25pm