"Some Christians are very fond of the term 'Zion' as a name for the Church," wrote the Messianic "father" and scholar, David Baron of England, in the late 1800s. "They may be surprised to learn that 'Zion' in the Hebrew means a 'desert', 'barrenness', or, as it is translated in Isaiah 25.5 'a dry place'. " (1)
Today, in the Church, the term "Zion" continues to have a particular kind of currency...most usually it suggests some form or other of "triumphalism" or "gloriousness"? But David Baron's understanding leads us along an entirely different, salutary pathway...especially so far as prophecy and eschatology are concerned. In fact, it is a key to understanding life for Israel and the Church in the Last Days.
For example, in considering that text (Ro 11.26) which must be both seminal and central to any serious and bona fide study of final events, the picture painted for us indeed ends gloriously, but it is essentially grim.
"And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, 'The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob'."
(Note: Paul here quotes Isaiah 59.20-21, which reads, "And he will come to Zion as Redeemer..."? The most complete picture of the Lord's Second Coming is portrayed in both passages read together. He first of all comes "to" Zion, to Israel...and thence "from" Zion, to the nations!)
But what of this place He comes to? It is Jerusalem...rendered a "scorched earth" having been fought over and "strangled" right up to the hour of uttermost extremity, when Israel's Messiah intervenes to save (spiritually and physically) His beloved Jewish People.
"And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy...when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion...by a spirit of judgement and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and a shining flaming fire by night." (Isa 4.3-5)
"And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes...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 2.30-32)