- This article deals with the historical and biblical Zion of Israel. For other uses of the term, see Zion (disambiguation).
Zion or Tzion (צִיּוֹן "Height", Standard Hebrew Ẓiyyon, Tiberian Hebrew Ṣiyyôn; Arabic صهيون Ṣuhyūn) originally was the specific name given to a Jebusite fortress near modern-day Jerusalem that was conquered by David. The original fortress was located on the hill in southeastern Jerusalem, called Mount Zion.
Zion, or Sion, is an archaic term that originally referred to a section of Jerusalem, which, by Biblical definition, is the City of David. After the death of King David, the term Zion came to refer to the hill in Jerusalem which was the site of Solomon's temple. Later, Zion came to refer to temple and the temple grounds themselves. Beyond that, Zion is used to symbolize Jerusalem and the Promised Land of God to come, in which God dwells among his chosen people.
The modern hill south of the Armenian Quarter of the Old City now called Zion is the result of a misnomer dating from the Middle Ages when pilgrims mistook the relatively large, flat summit for the original site of the City of David.
The longing for Zion of the Babylonian Hebrews was adopted as a metaphor by Christianized Black slaves. Thus, Zion symbolizes a longing, by wandering peoples, for a safe homeland. This could be a literal place such as in Ethiopia for Rastafarians for example. For others, it has taken on a more spiritual meaning—a safe spiritual homeland, like in heaven, or a kind or peace of mind in one's present life.
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
In a spiritual sense, Zion is regarded by LDS and Mormons as a perfect social state of being of "pure in heart" believers, where all people have all things in common, and there is no suffering nor impoverished among them. It stands in opposing contrast to proverbial Babylon, where there is much suffering, poverty and wickedness.
Geographical uses of the name "Zion" are associated with references in the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, where Enoch the son of Jared founds a city for the righteous descendants of Adam. This city became so righteous and pure that it was translated (taken) from the presence of the earth and brought into the presence of God, leaving behind on earth only Methuselah and his family (including Noah) to repopulate the earth with righteous people. LDS believe that, at the Second Coming, Zion the city of Enoch will return to the presence of the earth.
In a literal sense, Zion (the New Jerusalem) is a city that Latter-day Saints believe will be built in Jackson County, Missouri, and a common reference to both North and South America as the "Promised Land".
LDS people have been counseled (by their scriptures and their leaders) to build up the cause of Zion. So spiritually, Zion can be wherever there are those seeking to build up the cause of Zion. This has been generalized to mean that Zion is wherever there is a concentration of LDS people actively participating in their religion. So, in a physical sense, the term "Zion" has come to mean the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding regions. The term has been so frequently used that it, too, is often considered a "literal" usage. It is even used mockingly in the term "Zion Curtain" (similar to Iron Curtain), indicating a vastly different culture between "Zion" (in this sense) and the culture of surrounding regions.
See also City of Zion (Mormonism).
For the Rastafarians Zion is to be found in Africa, and more specifically in Ethiopia. The Rastas believe themselves to be the Children of Israel reborn into modern times and their dream is to return to Africa, or to Zion. Rasta reggae music is peppered with references to Zion. Bob Marley wrote a song called Zion train, which for Rastas is the train (or plane or boat) that they dream of carrying them away to their heaven, Zion.
In the motion picture trilogy The Matrix, Zion is the last free human city, located deep beneath the surface of Earth.
In the anime Mobile Suit Gundam, the original romanization of the antagonist state was Zion (as in The Principality of Zion). It was pronounced "Zee-Ohn" and the Japanese were apparently unaware of the association with actual political organizations; ironic, given that this Zion was a fascist state much like Nazi Germany. Early English speaking anime fans usually changed this spelling to Jion and this became the popular spelling until around 2001 when this series was finally shown on Cartoon Network. Borrowing a spelling used in an early English translation of the Gundam novels, the enemy was now called the Principality of Zeon. and the enemies were now alternately called "Zeons" or "Zeeks". While "Zion" continues to see use overseas (as well as with purist fans), "Zeon" has become the official spelling and pronunciation for the North American Gundam Release.
In the trailer of The Exam Matrix, produced by indie movie organization, oracle wearing curtain had a famous line: " And Zion will fall." Zion represents the hell of examination under the condemned examination system in Hong Kong.This system is especially cursed by Sunny Chan Tart Sun, a famous revolutionist who is engaged in the destruction of HKCEE and HKAL.
Last updated: 08-17-2005 11:59:26