Say What? ZION? Yes—the True BETHEL!
So where is Zion? And why so important? When God has chosen something or someone it means that he has a specific purpose for which he will use that person or place.
Zion was a portion within the Mount Moriah complex. God had said to Abraham, “in the land of Moriah on one of the mountains I will show you.”
Now, when Abraham arrived in the vicinity, “he lifted his eyes and saw...” What was it that Abraham saw? The Bible says he “saw HaMakom”—The Place. It was somehow recognisable.
He knew in his heart that what he saw was where God had in mind. God’s “one of the mountains (hills)” was the prominence above and just west of the fabled Gihon Spring, a kaarst-type spring whose name meant ‘gushing forth.’ On the prominence above it a walled enclosure had been built and, in time, perhaps even when Abraham visited with Isaac, an additional wall enclosing the spring, protected it (looking something like the accompanying picture).
Why was this place (which was already becoming known as HaMakom—‘The Place’)—God’s choice?
Because The Place chosen by God as His ‘home’ had the most significant ‘type’ and sign of His presence—a spring of ‘living water’ that gushed with great force and provided life for the residents.
It’s the same HaMakom later visited by Jacob (Genesis 28:11 says he came to HaMakom not a ‘certain place’) and which he named Bey-tel (Bethel) meaning ‘house of God.’ Yes, in my view this is the true and original Bethel where Jerusalem was to be founded. It’s the Salem where Melchizedek had lived (Genesis 14:8) and later known as Zion (Psalm 76:2)!
Here’s the point: above that spring is Zion, His 'home', and the true Bethel—was where the temple was to be later built.
David of course, knew that and it’s exactly why, when he brought the ark of the covenant into the City of David (which is Zion, see 2 Samuel 5:7) he put it in a tent, along with the other sacred items and the oil, there at the ‘special ’ spot, Gihon (see 1 Kings 1:32-45).
Zion is not on the top of the Moriah complex. Yes, it is on Mount Moriah, but on the bump that was known as Zion (now pretty much levelled by successive ancient building programs) and above the Gihon Spring whose bursting forth water was channeled up into the temple to service it and the needs of the City of David.