Zion is one of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem is built. Since the ark of God with the Shekinah glory was transferred to Zion (by David) it was referred to as the place where God dwelt. Jeremiah 8:19, Psalm 76:2. Jerusalem in the Old Covenant was the type of the heavenly Jerusalem and Zion in the New Covenant. The people of God, His chosen, would therefore be referred to as the people of Zion as is done repeatedly in scripture—”Say to Zion you are my people.” Isaiah 51:16.
The church, when triumphant will stand on the heavenly mount Zion. Hebrews 12:22, 23. Zion contains the chief cornerstone of the spiritual building that we call the church. Ephesians 2:19-22, I Peter 2:5,6.
The 144,000, after their deliverance from the death decree described in Revelation 13:15-17, will stand on this same heavenly mount Zion. Revelation 14:1.
In the Bible, whether talking about the earthly Jerusalem (the Old Covenant Zion), or the heavenly Jerusalem (the New Covenant Zion), Zion represents not as much a place as a people, specifically the people who profess to be the people of God and are acknowledged by Him as His people. For example, “the Lord has comforted his people and will have mercy on His afflicted. But Zion said, the Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee. Behold I have graven you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 49:13-16. “The Lord shall comfort Zion.” Isaiah 51:3. Zion is asleep and is commanded to awake and be loosed from captivity. Isaiah 52:1. As soon as she travails, a nation is brought forth. Isaiah 66:8. To ask the way to Zion, Jeremiah 50:5, is to ask how to become part of God’s chosen people. It is only in Zion that there will be deliverance in the last days. Joel 2:32, Obadiah 17.
In the last days God has declared that He is jealous for Zion with a great jealousy, that He will return and dwell in Jerusalem, and it will be called a city of truth. Zechariah 8:2,3. When God talks about coming to dwell in Zion He is talking about coming and dwelling among His people, His church. The church is the holy city spoken of in Revelation 11:2,3. To sinners our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29. When God comes to Zion what will happen to sinners in Zion when the greatest spiritual battle of all time arrives—the most momentous crises of the ages? What will happen to those who are trying to build Zion with bloodshed? Micah 3:10
The prophets give us awesome answers to these questions. Here is one answer from the pen of Ellen White:
“In our largest churches the greatest evils exist, because these have had the greatest light. They have not a true knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom he has sent. The leaven of unbelief is working, and unless these evils which bring the displeasure of God are corrected in its members, the whole church stands accountable for them. The deep movings of the Spirit of God are not with them; the glorious presence of the King of saints, and his power to cleanse from all moral defilement, are not manifest among them. Many come to the assembly as worshipers, like the door upon its hinges. They understand not the true application of the Scriptures, nor the power of God. They have eyes, but they see not; ears have they, but they hear not; they continue in their evil ways yet regard themselves as the privileged, obedient people who are doers of the word. A carnal security and ease in Zion prevail. Peace, peace, is sounded in her border, when God has not spoken peace. They have forfeited the terms of peace; there is reason for an alarm to be sounded in all ‘my holy mountain.’ The sinners in Zion should be afraid, in a time when they do not expect it, sudden destruction will surely come upon all who are at ease.” Review and Herald, December 23, 1890.
Friend, do not let the most momentous crises of the ages pass by. If you are at ease should you not be alarmed? If you are not engaged in the controversy over Zion, will the prophecy be fulfilled in you, that many will not wake up until it is too late? Early Writings, 71. Zion must awake, put on the beautiful garments, and entering into the final conflict, contend with the sons of Greece. Zechariah 9:13.