Mount Zion in the Bible - Scriptures and Meaning

Compiled by The BibleStudyTools Staff on 05/19/2020
Mount Zion in the Bible

Biblical references of Zion are found throughout the Bible, including both the Old and New Testaments. Learn more about the meaning of this popular biblical term and find Bible verses about Mount Zion in the collection of scriptures below. 

The classical Hebrew term Tsiyon (Zion) is “a Canaanite hill fortress in Jerusalem captured by David and called in the Bible ‘City of David.’" Mount Zion represents “the Kingdom of God” in Revelation 21 and “looks ahead to the New Jerusalem that will descend out of heaven.” Zion can indicate one of three places: the hill where the earliest location of Jerusalem stood; the city of Jerusalem itself; or the dwelling place of God.

Mount Zion as the City of David

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Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem, located just outside the walls of the Old City. The term Mount Zion is found in the Old Testament first for the City of David (2 Samuel 5:7, 1 Chronicle 11:5; 1 Kings 8:1) and later for the Temple Mount, but its meaning has shifted and it is now used as the name of ancient Jerusalem's Western Hill. In a broader sense, the term is also utilized for the entire Land of Israel.

2 Samuel 5:7 ~ Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.

1 Chronicles 11:5 ~ The inhabitants of Jebus said to David, "You will not come in here." Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.

1 Kings 8:1 ~ Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

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Mount Zion in the Old Testament

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The Bible’s first reference talks about “the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.” (2 Samuel 5:7).

Isaiah includes multiple references: “Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy” (Isaiah 4:3); “gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 18:7) Read the numerous Old Testaments mentions of Zion below:

A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. ~ Psalm 125:1

Return, O faithless children, declares the Lord; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. ~ Jeremiah 3:14

By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. ~ Psalm 137:1

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls. ~ Joel 2:32

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. ~ Obadiah 1:17

A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. ~ Psalm 48:1-2

Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ ~ Isaiah 28:16

Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. ~ 2 Samuel 5:7

“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” ~ Psalm 2:6

The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. ~ Isaiah 60:14 

Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt. ~ Psalm 74:2

Mount Zion in the New Testament

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The authors of the New Testament, Matthew, John, and Paul, reference what had already been mentioned in the Old Testament when they speak of Zion. Discover New Testament Bible verses about Zion in the collection of scriptures below:

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned." Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I tremble with fear." But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. ~ Hebrews 12:18-24

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." ~ Romans 9:30-33

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation-- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. "They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. ~ 1 Peter 2:1-12

Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless. ~ Revelations 14:1-5

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