Entering the 7th Day Rest
Janet Smith © 3-2-16, edited 10-10-19 gardenministries.org
SIÓNÉ means “God is gracious.” The English variant of this name is John, Sean, Jane, etc. In Psalm 27:7-8, David cries out to the Lord, asking Him to be gracious to him by showing His face. To enter spiritual Zion or Sion is to seek and find God’s face. To seek face time with God means we seek God for who He is more than what He will do for us. Above all else, our prayerful cry is to intimately know God and dwell in the restful sanctuary of His great and mighty Presence. This is David’s secret and why God’s pleasure rested on him. David was a man after God’s own heart.
Psalm 27:7-8 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. 8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Our God, Who exists as unapproachable Light (1 Timothy 6:16, 1 John 1:5) has graciously provided a way for us to abide close to Him—so close we can see His face and not die. This gracious provision has come through Christ’s living sacrifice that carries us into the Presence as we are hidden in Christ. But we must want that closeness. We are instructed to diligently seek His face, so there is our response to consider.
Psalm 24:3-8 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. 5 They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. 7 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
The old saying, “you’re so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good,” is a lie. In fact, the more heavenly-minded a believer in Christ Jesus is, the more earthly good they will do. We are living in a time when the end of this age has finally come and the millennial reign of Jesus Christ is upon us. We are in the very transition zone between two ages—the church age is over and the kingdom age has begun.
Those who are willing are being prepared to receive the King of kings in His progressive, 3-fold arrival. Going from glory to glory, each wave of Christ’s transformative, invisible, one-on-one encounters with us, prepares us for His final and visible coming. When He comes to take us up with Him, we are ready to serve Him as His royal, priestly agents—or witnesses—who rule and reign with Him for all eternity.
We see these waves of His invisible and private encounters expressed in the Greek word, “Parousia,” which comes as the manifested Word of God that separates and purifies us (Matthew 24:36-51). Another wave of the Lord coming TO us, before He comes FOR us, is expressed in the Greek word, “Epiphaneia.” This word describes the Lord’s dawning and shining, sanctifying Presence that glorifies us (2 Timothy 1:9-10, 1 Timothy 6:14-16).
This Parousia and Epiphania process prepares us for the final Apokalupsis, which means “unveiling.” The Apokalupsis of Jesus Christ is the fully visible unveiling of Jesus when He comes for His people. It is the result of a culmination of first two waves preparing His overcoming bride to enter into matured sonship and experience the Resurrection Power of His life that swallows up death forever (Romans 8:18-21, Revelation 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:7-8).
King David prophetically saw our day and the millennial age to come and wholeheartedly sought the Lord to fully enter into His Presence. Even under the Old Covenant, David set his sights on Zion and built the Tabernacle of David. These keys of David are used to open heaven and to keep it open. No one can close these doors. God rewarded David’s diligence to seek His face and dwell in union with Him by giving Him His Presence. Throughout history, many have sought the Lord as David did and now, at the end of the age, we enter the 7th Day rest together and enjoy the full reward of God’s gracious gift—His Presence.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
My husband George was shown in a night encounter with God that the key that opens the Door that Jesus is knocking on is called, “the A.S.K. key.” We are to Ask-Seek-Knock until the door opens. This pursuit of God represents a heart of longing and desire. We are pursuing God!
Hebrews 6:17-20 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
Spiritual Zion represents the state in which the overcoming believer in Jesus has fully followed their anchored hope (i.e., Christ) through the veil of separation and has become fully conformed unto the image of Jesus Christ going from glory to glory. Spiritual Zion is the state in which an overcoming believer has entered the Holy of Holies and is on heavenly ground, though they are still on earth. Heaven and earth have merged in these overcoming temples within whom our heavenly God graciously dwells in the earth in His people. Living stones manifest the living God in His glory and act as His transformed representatives—or witnesses—in the earth, leading many to righteousness (Daniel 12:3, 2 Corinthians 4:6).
Hebrews 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Spiritual Zion (Hebrews 12:22) all refer to the same concepts found in this list of metaphors: The Temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, Eph. 2:22) = The House (Bethel) of God (Haggai 2) = The Mountain of God (Micah 4) = The House of Prayer for all Nations (Isaiah 56:7) = The Parousia Presence of God (Matthew 24:36-51) = Open Door to Heaven (John 1:50-51, Revelation 4:1, Genesis 28:12-17) = City of Refuge (Joel 3:17, Obadiah 1:17-21) = Dwelling Place of God (Revelation 21:3, Ephesians 2:21-22) = New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) = Married Bride & Bridegroom (Revelation 21:9-10) = Tabernacle of David (Acts 15:16-17) = Glory of God (Haggai 2:9) = Light of God (Revelation 22:1-5) = Holy of Holies (Hebrews 10:19-22) = Church of the first born (Hebrews 12:23).
The fulfilled bride carries out the will of her Bridegroom King Jesus on earth as His agents and witnesses of Divine Love. What heaven has known now fully manifests in the bride of Jesus Christ in the earth. The heavens will witness this change and rejoice! These Christ-like witnesses will testify to God’s eternal goodness and love throughout His universal creation forever. The Faithful Witness of Jesus Christ bears witness to the eternal nature of God through a pure and spotless bridal company of witnesses who rule and reign in His name forever.
The exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt was to ultimately lead them to Zion. Our present day exodus is taking us out of worldly incompleteness and into God’s dwelling place of completion—fully transformed and clothed in Christ’s glory. Forerunners are expected to reveal the first fruits of this truth. God prepares and sends forerunners ahead of what He is about to do on a larger scale. These forerunners are the tip of the spear whom God uses to pierce through the veil of darkness and corruption and open up zones throughout middle heaven.
These openings, or zones, are spiritual gates to Zion (God’s Presence) that lay a path upon which the Lord of Glory enters, releases Himself, and blesses us with His Presence. Heavenly eternal Life Himself comes to earth and earth gloriously responds and reveals His nature. (Isaiah 40:5, Revelation 21:1-7)
2 Chronicles 7:14-15 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
Houses of Prayer for All Nations that seek God’s Face and host His Presence provide a place for these gates to function: Isaiah 56:6-7 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
The bulk of those Israelites who left Egypt in pursuit of the Promised Land and Zion never let go of their self-centered focus. They groaned and complained their way through the wilderness until they died—never entering God’s promises and rest. Those today who would seek and find God’s face and enter into His Presence will only do so if we quit our propensity to focus on ourselves; groaning, complaining, and whining about our unique cleansing and purifying processes.
When the pressure of opposition hits and depressing circumstances loom, instead of turning inward in self-pity, we can deliberately turn to God and thank Him for sending us customized circumstances to better trust Him. Trust is essential to entering His Presence. In seeking His face, trust is the fruit of our faith which we purchase as the gold refined by fire (Revelation 3:18). Every time we purpose to turn and worship God with a thankful heart in the midst of opposition, injustice, and trials, we are exercising Trust and growing in our faith, hope, and love.
Meditating on God’s word is an important way to seek God’s face. His living and active word is often how He comes to us in His Parousia Presence. The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus illuminates His word in us and soon we see how His Epiphaneia dawning and shining Presence increases in and through us. One day, His Apokalupsis Presence will demonstrate His mature Sonship and Resurrection Power in us in undeniable ways.
Our hope in God’s fulfilled word is how we enter and access our High Priest Jesus who stands in the Holy of Holies beyond the veil. When we choose to turn and trust Him instead of sulking in self-pity, we are remembering SIÓNÉ! We are believing that God is gracious and is our only true Answer. We are refusing to stay stuck in our own ways (…which aren’t working anyway) by turning to God and trusting that His ways are higher and better than ours. Whining, complaining, disobedient children are choosing unbelief and as such, are unable to enter into His rest because they do not want to (Hebrews 4).
Each time we refuse to turn inward in self-focus and instead turn upward and exercise faith and hope in God’s Word, the veil of darkness in middle heaven thins and separates before our ascending faith. One day, the veil will be torn asunder. The places where the middle-heaven veil is torn will experience an open heaven—an opened gate of spiritual Zion. These heavenly gates, when opened, release divine exchanges of the glory of God between heaven and earth. As vessels of hope in the last days, we will literally carry the glory of God to the nations and live in Cities of Refuge where the full Presence, i.e., the Face of God dwells and we will minister to Him in Houses of Prayer for All Nations throughout the earth (Colossians 1:27).
Exodus 33:14-18 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” 18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” God rewards Moses for pursuing His face and for becoming His friend.
The apostle John, whose name is the same as SIÓNÉ, meaning: “God is gracious,” has the last word about his own personal witness of God’s face (Revelation 22:4, 8) In his closing benediction, John calls upon the Face of grace to be with God’s people. Revelation 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
Note: In speaking of a spiritual Zion in this article, it does not mean that it replaces literal Zion. We do not believe in Replacement theology (also known as supersessionism). This theology teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan and that the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, that God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. We believe that there are two harvests of the believing remnant. One harvest comes in the time of the Gentiles and one harvest comes in the time of God’s revelation of Jesus to literal Israel (Romans 11). The end of the age will see two great revivals: one in “spiritual Zion,” which consists of all overcoming ethnicities who believe in Jesus Christ and who constitute His church and one in “physical-literal Zion,” which occurs after “the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled,” and consists of Hebrews who see the truth of who Jesus is and become believers in Him as their Messiah.