The Location of Zion or the New Jerusalem

1841-04-15

The Gospel Winchester, Benjamin, 1817-1901

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Winchester, Benjamin. “The Location of Zion or The New Jerusalem.” The Gospel Reflector (Philadelphia) 1, no. 8 (15 April 1841): 213–17.

THE LOCATION OF ZION OR THE NEW JERUSALEM.

THE location of Zion or the New Jerusalem, is certainly a subject of importance, and well worth a candid investigation: for it is one that interested the prophets, and much the more it ought to interest every true believer of this remote age of the world; for according to the prophets it will be a place of refuge, and deliverance for the people of God when destruction comes upon the nations. Again, the Lord not only intends to gather all his people together in the last days, but he intends to prepare places for them to gather to. The city of Zion is said to be one of these places of gathering; therefore, it is of all importance that we should know where it will be located or established.

That there will be a city called Zion or the New Jerusalem, built, beautified, and prepared for the millennium is evident from all the prophets that have mentioned the work of God of the last days. We have in a brief manner touched upon this subject before; but the magnitude and importance of it is such, that we think that justice to it, requires us to give it a more extensive investigation.

That there was a Zion established at Jerusalem we do not wish to deny; but that has nothing to do with the one for the millennium. However, because some are unable to separate, or distinguish it from the one for the Millennium, we will first show the difference between the two, and then proceed to examine the prophets with respect to the place of the location of the latter.

This Zion at Jerusalem was sometimes called the upper city, and it was detached from Jerusalem proper by a wall. Historians say that Jerusalem was founded by Melchizedeck, then called Salem. Paul says Melchizedek was king of Salem. (See Heb. vii. 2.) Subsequently it was called Jerusalem; but whether or not Zion was founded by Melchizedek is not easy for us to determine; but one thing is certain, it was in existence in the days of David; for when he took Jerusalem from the Jebusites, it is said that he “took a strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.”—2 Sam. v. 7. Many places in the inspired writings where Zion is mentioned, refer to this Zion at Jerusalem. Isaiah speaking of this Zion says: “For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem.”—Isa. xxx.

19. Now if Isaiah had no idea of any other Zion; than the one at Jerusalem, why did he use the preposition at, as though there was another city called by the same name? Indeed, he knew that the Lord would cause to be built another city of Zion, which should be a place of deliverance in the last days, which he saw in the vision established upon this land [America]; therefore, he used the preposition, “Zion at Jerusalem,” to designate the difference between it and the one of the last days upon another land. But says one, if the ancients knew that God would establish another Zion for the Millennium, [213] why did they call the one at Jerusalem by that name? This is a thing that the scriptures in a measure leave in the dark; however, there is a foundation for an opinion, which we will give whether it is correct or not. Zion is a very ancient name, and signifies the pure in heart, or the place where the pure in heart dwell; and according to recent revelations which the Lord has given to his people, there was a Zion established in the days of Enoch wherein the church of the first-born dwelt: and perhaps, Paul alludes to this Zion of Enoch when he says: “But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and into the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and the church of the first-born.”—Heb. xii. 22, 23. The saints of the Antediluvian world, are the only ones that we can with propriety call the church of the first-born; but they and their Zion are in heaven; and Paul calls their Zion the city of God, and them the church of the first-born.

Now it is possible that when Melchizedek, or whoever founded Zion; when arranging the various districts, and suburbs of Jerusalem, called that district, or the upper city, which was so beautiful and elevated, “Mount Zion,” out of respect to a former Zion, and because of the pureness of the name; the same as many name their children after eminent men, and those whom they in a particular manner respect. After David it was called “the city of David.”

When Jerusalem is rebuilt, it is probable that this city of David, will also be built again; but not in fulfillment of the predictions of the prophets concerning the establishment of the latter-day Zion or the New Jerusalem; but in fulfillment of prophecy relating to the rebuilding of Jerusalem: for when it is built of course all its districts and suburbs will also be built. But we have said enough upon this part of the subject, and we hope that the reader will be able to designate the difference between the Zion which was at Jerusalem, and the one that the Lord shall cause to be built for the saints to gather to, and be a place of refuge and deliverance at the time that God will trouble the nations with his wrath.

This Zion of the last days, we believe will be located on the land of America; and indeed, the prophets have said enough to establish this idea. David says: “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the North, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge.” “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever.”—Ps. xlviii. 2–8. David evidently saw the situation of Zion, which he says is beautiful, at some other place besides Jerusalem, or he would not have said that it was on the sides of the North. Match this saying with what Isaiah says in the xviii,∗ of his prophecy, concerning a land [America] beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, and we learn: first, as Isaiah says, that this is the land where [214] the Lord’s ensign of the last days was to be reared, and from whence the ambassadors of the Lord are to be sent to all nations, and where “the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion” shall be established, to which the servants of God, or swift messengers to the nations shall bring a present unto the Lord of a people terrible from their beginning. This proves that Zion is to be located in America. Second, that, according to David, it is to be on the sides of the North; consequently, on North America. David says in another place: “I will not give sleep to my eyes nor slumber to mine eyelids until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. Lo, we heard of it at Ephrata; we found it in the fields of the wood.” “For the Lord hath chosen Zion: he hath desired it for his habitation.”—Ps. cxxxii. 4–13. It cannot be said in truth that Jerusalem was in the fields of the wood in David’s time; therefore, we conclude that he had reference to some other place besides Jerusalem. Indeed, the interior of North America is interspersed with the fields of the woods, or in other words fields in the midst of the wilderness. Isaiah says: “Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.”

∗ We have before entered into a full investigation of this chapter; therefore, we do not deem it necessary to make any more comment upon it. (See page 182.)

We have before proved the Book of Mormon to be true; therefore, whatever it says upon this subject we consider as valid testimony. Moroni writing the words of Ether says, page 550. “Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land; and he spake also concerning the House of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come; after it be destroyed, it should be built up again a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore it could not be a New Jerusalem, for it had been in a time of old, but it should be built up again and become a holy city of the Lord: and should be built up unto the House of Israel; and that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type: for as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem that he mtght be merciful unto the seed of Joseph, that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph, that he should perish not; wherefore the remnant of the House of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come, when the earth shall pass away.”

As we have before mentioned the prophets have declared that there shall be deliverance for the saints in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; therefore, when we take all things into consideration, we discover that it is perfectly consistent with reason and the scriptures, for Zion to be built upon this continent: for this is a promised land to the tribe of Joseph, as much so as Canaan to the House of Israel. For instance, the Lord will establish a place of gathering upon this land, near the [215] centre of the North division of the continent, which will be convenient for the House of Joseph that is upon this land to gather to, and also, for many of the saints that are now scattered among the Gentile nations. And also he will cause the old city of Jerusalem to be rebuilt, and the Jews to gather there. Thus there will be two central places of gathering, and deliverance. Zion, and Jerusalem, when spoken of as being the two great places of deliverance, are not synonymous: for Jerusalem and its suburbs when spoken of at a distance are all ranked under the one head; but the prophets speak of Zion as being established, and having stakes, or auxiliary cities. The city of David or Zion at Jerusalem was merely an auxiliary and not the principal. Isaiah places this matter beyond doubt, that Zion and Jerusalem are not synonymous; but on two separate lands. “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof, as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken: neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Bulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” It is said, Gen. x. 25, that in the days of Peleg the earth (not nations) was divided; it is also said, Gen. i. 9, that the waters were gathered together unto one place at the time of the creation; and of course the land was in one place; but it is manifest that there has been a great division, so much so that the earth has been divided into continents, which the bible says was done in the days of Peleg; but according to the prophet Isaiah, when the time of restoration comes, then this continent upon which Zion shall be built, shall re-unite with the eastern, and thus fulfill the saying, “thy land shall be married,” or Joined. But says the objector, how can there be two places of gathering if Ezekiel’s words are true? “And I will make them one nation upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all.” We have before proved that the land of America is a promised land to the House of Joseph;∗ therefore, the “mountains of Israel” are here as much so as in the land of Canaan. The idea is that the whole earth will be subjected to one form of government, and to one code of laws, and one king shall rule over them whether in America or in Asia. But the two continents are to be united, and then it will be an easy thing for them to become one nation upon the mountains (not mountain) of Israel, and at the same time the tribe of Joseph and others dwell in Zion, and its vicinity upon this land, and the Jews in the land of Canaan, and one king rule over them all. [216]

Having dropped the foregoing hints upon the location of the Zion for the Millennium, to aid the reader to designate the difference between the Zion at Jerusalem, and the one of the Latter-days:—we will now quote a few of the sayings of the prophets concerning the utility of this Zion, the materials of which it shall be built, its glory, and magnificence, &c., &c., and let that suffice for the present.

∗ See Page 112.

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