Where is Zion – God’s Holy Mountain?


My real question is, does the New Jerusalem in heaven sit on a mountain? This is a difficult question to answer as there is little Biblical evidence to help us differentiate the Holy Mountains on earth and perhaps the one in heaven. However, we must remember that much of God’s earthly creation (though only a shadow of heaven) and laws are based on those in heaven. Moses was instructed to build the wilderness tabernacle after the one in heaven (Heb. 8:1–7) – Scripture tells us that God’s throne is in His temple in heaven (Isa. 6:1-5).

If you asked most church members and perhaps some pastors where Zion is located, they would probably say in Jerusalem – the one on earth. I Googled the internet, and this is their quote: “Zion (Hebrew: צִיּוֹן Ṣīyyōn, LXX Σιών, also variously transliterated Sion, Tzion, Tsion, Tsiyyon) is a placename in the Hebrew Bible, often used as a synonym for Jerusalem as well as for the Land of Israel as a whole” (Google). But does the Bible hint that Zion is also the name of a place in heaven?

The prophet Isaiah says this about Zion. “Many people shall come and say, ‘come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3, NKJV). This is a prophecy about the millennial kingdom, and this Zion is on earth.

King David penned these works in the Psalms. “That I may tell of all Your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation” (Ps. 9:14, NKJV). Is He referring to an earthly Zion or a heavenly Zion?

Contrast these verses with a verse from the book of Hebrews. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Heb 12:22-24, NKJV). This verse appears to locate Zion in heaven. For most of chapter twelve of the book of Hebrews, the scene seems to occur in heaven. This chapter speaks of a great crowd of witnesses (Heb. 12:1-2).

In 1707, Isaac Watts, the great hymn writer, wrote the hymn lyrics of the song We Are Marching to Zion. Many of us have sung this hymn in church. The refrain is stated below.

We’re marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.

When we sing this hymn, are we talking about Zion on earth or in heaven? I believe Watts was speaking about the city of God in heaven – The New Jerusalem. 

God’s Holy Mountains

As we study Scripture, God seems to appear to His people on mountains. We will recall that God (Jesus) appeared to Moses in a burning bush near Mt. Sinai. Later, God the Father spoke to the children of Israel from the same mountain.  Jesus loved to go into the mountains or hills to pray and preach.

So where are God’s Holy Mountains? We would have to start with Mount Sinai. But how about Mount Zion, Mount of Olives, Mount Moriah (or Temple Mount)? What about the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus was transfigured, and others? Not all mountains are the same size – some of the smaller ones we call hills.

As we look at Scripture, most references to God’s Holy Mountains are found on Earth.

However, one verse sheds light on The Mountain of God in heaven. It speaks about Lucifer before he sinned and was thrown out of heaven.

“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading, you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones” (Ezek. 28: 14-16, NKJV).

Lucifer was a cherub guarding the absolute Holiness of God. He would have been in the Temple in heaven. The Temple would have been set on the highest mountain in heaven – it was on God’s Holy Mountain.

We read about God’s Holy Mountain in Isaiah, “And in this mountain, the Lord of hosts will make for all people a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees. And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken” (Isa. 25:6-9, NKJV). Will this feast occur on a mountain on earth or in heaven? It appears to be in heaven because God will swallow up death forever and wipe away all tears – it will take place on a mountain.

The Temple in Heaven

The prophet Isaiah was given a view of the temple in heaven. 

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts’” (Isa. 6:1-5, NKJV)

Isaiah said, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up.” This would imply that the Throne was in the Temple in heaven – on the highest mountain.

David, writing in the Psalms, wrote these words, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple” (Ps. 27:4, NKJV). David was writing before the earthly temple was built. The context in the above verse places the temple in heaven.

In The Revelation, the apostle John was taken up to heaven and shown the New Jerusalem.

We read: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:1-5, NKJV).

The water of the river flows from the throne. This would mean the throne will be on a hill or mountain as water flows downhill. It makes sense that God’s throne would be at the highest point in The New Jerusalem.

However, John did not see a temple in the New Jerusalem. John wrote, “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light” (Rev. 21:22, NKJV).

Apparently, the temple will exist in heaven until the New Jerusalem is created. There will be several changes in heaven when the New Heaven is completed.


We know very little about what heaven will be like. We learn that heaven is where God lives and reigns. The apostle Paul, quoting from Isaiah, writes these words in the book of First Corinthians. “But as it is written: ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9, NKJV).

Over the years, we have been able to glimpse the present heaven from deathbed visions – they go back many years.  Today, it appears that some people are having “out of body experiences” (NDEs) where they have had visions of heaven. Some of these visions are well documented, and others may be questioned. I don’t believe that anyone has seen all of heaven. Why God is choosing, at this time, to show these visions, we don’t know. In most cases, they do not appear to contradict core Biblical teachings. Perhaps because there is so much unbelief today, God allows us to see snapshots of heaven.

Many NDEs (near-death experiences) have had visions of landscapes, vegetation, animals, and birds. They have seen meadows, valleys, and mountains. In most cases, these landscapes far exceed anything we see on Earth in beauty. It has been said that earth is patterned after heaven but is only a shadow of heaven. The point I am making, it appears that there are mountains in heaven. We may assume that the temple and throne sit on the tallest of these mountains.

We must realize that our thoughts, ideas, and visions about heaven may only be speculation. We are told in The book of Revelation that there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth (Rev. 21:1-3). How much will it change from the present heaven, we don’t know.

We read the following about the New Jerusalem. “The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal” (Rev. 31:16, NKJV). Note: a furlong is approximately 1400 miles.

The dimensions would make New Jerusalem appear shaped like a cube. However, I can’t believe that the city is a giant-covered city. I think the top is open and the city is one big mountain. The book of Revelations does not give us the height of the external walls of the New Jerusalem. Is it the walls, the land mass, or both that give it the height?

The book of Revelations does not say that the New Jerusalem is on a mountain or a hill, but with the other Scripture reference I have quoted, we can believe that it probably is.

When we look at mountains, we see that they have different shapes. Some are conical, like Mount Rainer in Washington State and Mount Fuji in Japan. Others are spread out, like the Sierra Nevada in California and Nevada. I am speculating, but I think the mountain of heaven has many different types of landscapes – high peaks, valleys, meadows, rivers, and waterfalls. Based on reports from NDEs, there seems to be vegetation, such as trees, flowers, grass, etc. The mountain is dotted with villages, towns, and cities. Jesus said, “In my father’s house are many dwelling places” (John 14:2). The temple and throne would probably be at the city’s top.

Years ago, I was privileged to drive from Lake Tahoe in California to Yosemite National Park. On this drive, high up on the mountain, we saw mountain peaks, valleys, and meadows. The landscape was so flat in some places that you did not know you were high on a mountain. This is my mental picture of The New Jerusalem – Mount Zion – the beautiful city of God.

Scripture quotations marked NKJV are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible, copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

To return to the previous menu click the windows backspace arrow in the upper left corner.

To return to the site menu click return to site.