Originally the Jebusite stronghold that came to be called “the City of David.” (1Ki 8:1; 1Ch 11:5) After capturing Mount Zion, David established his royal residence there. (2Sa 5:6, 7, 9; see DAVID, CITY OF.) Alluding to David’s ruling from Zion as God’s anointed one are Jehovah’s words: “I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.” (Ps 2:6) Zion became a mountain especially holy to Jehovah when David had the sacred Ark transferred there. (2Sa 6:17) Later, the designation “Zion” embraced the temple area on Mount Moriah (where the Ark was moved during Solomon’s reign) and the term was, in fact, applied to the entire city of Jerusalem. (Compare Isa 1:8; 8:18; see MOUNTAIN OF MEETING.) Since the Ark was associated with Jehovah’s presence (Ex 25:22; Le 16:2) and because Zion was a symbol of heavenly realities, Zion was referred to as the place of God’s dwelling (Ps 9:11; 74:2; 76:2; 78:68; 132:13, 14; 135:21) and the place from which help, blessing, and salvation would come.—Ps 14:7; 20:2; 50:2; 53:6; 134:3.
For unfaithfulness to him, Jehovah allowed the Babylonians to desolate Zion, or Jerusalem. (La 2:1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13) Later, in fulfillment of prophecy, Jehovah restored a remnant of his repentant people to Zion, or Jerusalem. (Isa 35:10; 51:3; 52:1-8; Jer 50:4, 5, 28; 51:10, 24, 35) This made it possible for Jesus Christ to ride into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass and present himself to Zion as king, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah. (Zec 9:9; Mt 21:5; Joh 12:15) Only a remnant responded favorably, whereas the religious leaders rejected Jesus as king and sought his death. This pointed to calamity for earthly Jerusalem, or Zion, and its casting off by God.—Mt 21:33-46.
As Jesus had been rejected in earthly Jerusalem, it could not have been there that Jehovah laid his Son as “a tried stone, the precious corner of a sure foundation.” (Isa 28:16; Ro 9:32, 33; 1Pe 2:6) Rather, it must have been in the Zion concerning which Hebrew Christians were told: “But you have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.” (Heb 12:22-24) It is evidently on this heavenly Mount Zion that the Lamb, Christ Jesus, stands with the 144,000 who have been purchased from the earth.—Re 14:1-3; see JERUSALEM; NEW JERUSALEM.