The Lord Shall Count
“And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the Highest Himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.” (Ps. 87:5-6). The individuals, spoken of here, whom the Lord “counts” (records) and whom He “writes up” (registers) are the ones who shall abide with Him forever through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There was a time and a place where the people of God had their beginning, but there also came a time when they grew up into spiritual maturity. They are being made aware of their participation in the great redemptive enterprise that God is engaged in through His beloved Son. “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God” (Ps. 87:3). “But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy” (Ps. 65:18). “They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God” (Ps. 84:7).
And with regard to our new birth, it is good for us to consider the place of our spiritual nativity. Where did we actually have our beginning with regard to God’s salvation in Christ Jesus. “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26). She it is who begat us. It is true that with each of us, our beginnings with Christ can presently be traced to some geographical location here in this world: a church building, a baptistry, a gospel ministry, a series of gospel meetings, etc. But let us seek grace to rise up higher than this in our sanctified thoughts and longings, for we that are in Christ were all born in Zion, the church of the living God. We all have a common place of beginning as well as a common destiny. The wellspring of our nativity, “Jerusalem,” “is above” and “is free.” And she is presently begetting “free” sons and daughters (cf. Mt. 17:26) into the kingdom of God. The Son of God has made them free, and they are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36). They have been made free from sin (Rom. 6:18-22), from the law (Rom. 7:1-3), from the fear of death (Heb. 2:14), and from besetting religious entanglements (Jn. 8:32). But presently, their freedom is “in part”, for they each are now living in prospect of being “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).
Incidentally, the earthly locations, mentioned above, are soon to pass away, and shall be remembered no more. But of Zion it is said, “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever” (Ps. 125:1). Zion, the city of the living God, shall never be forgotten, neither by God, nor by the holy angels, nor by redeemed personalities. Her pleasantries and joys are eternal, and they excel far above all that this present evil world has to offer (cf. Ps. 84:10). “In Thy Presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 116:11; cf. Acts 2:28).
“Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments. Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death” (Ps. 48:11-14). Even as faith is substantive and evidence (Heb. 11:1) to those possessing it, believers, in the present time, are often enabled to perceive and rejoice in the great protection and shelter afforded them by Mt. Zion. As they rehearse the things pertaining to salvation in Christ with one another in their times of gathering, they are frequently made aware, by faith, of the palaces, the bulwarks, and towers of Mt. Zion, even developing a deep spiritual familiarity and affinity with them.
Finally, speaking to the church, the Apostle exhorts: “But you are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in Heaven” (Heb. 12:22-23, ASV). It is assumed by the Apostle, that the ones to whom he is writing, have a great familiarity with, and affection for, Zion. Al Stoner