It’s kind of a cryptic song. For me it’s a little hard to completely piece together. But I do know it’s a song about Zion. The city on the holy mount founded by God Himself to be the place where His glory is known and where the throne of His rule is established. And what is obvious is that the LORD loves the place . . . “more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.” What’s more, through His prophets glorious things have been spoken about the city of God and about its future role upon the earth.
But what grabs me this morning in this song about this city, though I know I’m not fully picking up everything that is being laid down, is the emphasis placed on keeping birth certificates.
And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High Himself will establish her. The LORD records as He registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah
(Psalm 87:5-6 ESV)
The LORD Himself will keep a special record of those who are born in Zion. The Most High Himself who establishes the city will take note of those who found life in the city. And while I’ve got a lot more studying to do on Psalm 87 before I can really speak with conviction, it seems the birth being referred to here isn’t just an initial physical birth. It appears that peoples from other nations will also be born there. Those who know the LORD from Rahab (Egypt) and Babylon, from Philistia, Tyre, and Cush,–of them it will be said, “This one was born there” (v.4). There is a sense, it seems, in which it will be a spiritual birthplace for many among the nations. And of those, there will be kept in heaven records of this second birth.
When Messiah returns, when His throne is established on the earth, Zion will be the home of His glory, the seat of His power, and the place where people come and find a new birth (Isa. 2:2-3). And it will be recorded in heaven, “This one was born there!”
And as I think about that future day when Messiah is lifted up in glory and power, though my thoughts are clouded due to how little I understand of all that it will entail, I also reflect on a day past when on another hill the glory of the Messiah was manifest as He was lifted up in shame and apparent defeat. On that hill, far from inhabiting a throne, He was nailed to a cross. The power of the King of Heaven masked as He was mocked and derided as the wannabe king of the Jews. But to that hill, just as to Zion one day, many have come from the nations. And there “one was born.”
They have come believing that before Messiah comes as the conquering King of Heaven he first had to come as the sacrificial Lamb of God. That before He could own a people as His subjects, He first must make eternal atonement for their sins. Before He could stand upon Zion’s hill, He needed to die for His creation’s rebellion, be buried, and then rise on the third day according to the Scriptures. And for those who come to that holy hill in faith, it is recorded in heaven, “This one was born there. This one was born again there!” For all those who own Jesus as Savior and Lord, there will be, in a sense, a heavenly birth certificate.
But Gods firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His.”
(2Timothy 2:19a ESV)
God loves the hills He establishes. He loves the hill of Calvary, though upon it He endured the pain of inflicting His Son for our iniquity. And He loves Mount Zion, for there He will see His Son reign in all His majesty and power. And God knows those who find new life at those hills. Their rebirth is marked, a record is kept. Praise God for a heavenly birth certificate.
All because of His grace. All for His glory.