The Spiritual Significance of Biblical Locations – Part 1


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The Spiritual Significance of Biblical Locations – Part 1

Zion, Earth, Ephraim, Israel, Admah and Zeboim

Psa 132:13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
Psa 132:14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.

Jer 22:29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.

Hos 11:8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel?
how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.

Introduction

Where is this ‘Zion’ the Lord has chosen for His habitation, and who is the ‘earth’ the Lord wants to hear His word? The fact is that the Lord has not chosen physical Zion for His habitation, and it goes without saying that the physical earth is incapable of hearing the Word of the Lord. Yet the scriptures are full of such instances where the holy spirit uses the names of various Biblical locations to make very deep and important spiritual statements which are completely missed and hidden from those who know nothing about the meaning of those names and what took place there. The meaning of the names and the events which took place at these various locations tells us what the Lord means by the spiritual statements He makes concerning the various Biblical locations.

During our latest conference, while discussing the meaning of the name of a certain city mentioned in scripture, a sister exclaimed “I wish someone would do a study on the meaning of the names of Biblical cities and places!” I told her that I had been intending to do that for some time and that when I finished the current series of studies on the overview of the plan of God, I intended to do just that.

A couple of weeks after the conference a brother wrote in and asked:

“If you could please expound on the types and shadows of Ephraim, Israel, Admah and Zeboim and the spiritual anti-type for today?”

He went on to quote:

Hos 11:7 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.
Hos 11:8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.
Hos 11:9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.
Hos 11:10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.
Hos 11:11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.
Hos 11:12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.

While the numbers of places in the scriptures are very numerous and the explanation of the spiritual meanings of all of them could fill volumes, we will cover some of the most prominent and most misunderstood Biblical locations, and demonstrate what is the spiritual meaning of these Biblical locations. In doing this we will discover once again that the entirety of scripture concerns itself with just two men, the old man and the new man. If we do not know the Biblical meaning of places like “Zion, earth, Ephraim, Israel, Admah, and Zeboim”, then these names will be nothing more than rather boring historical information to us.

So let’s get started with the spiritual meaning of the names of the places we have just mentioned in the order in which we have brought them up:

Zion

This is where we first see the name ‘Zion’ in the scriptures:

2Sa 5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
2Sa 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.
2Sa 5:6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.
2Sa 5:7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.
2Sa 5:8 And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.

Not understanding the principle of “the dream is one”, many attempt to separate “the city of David”, Zion, from Jerusalem. That is like attempting to separate Christ from His Father, or Christ from His body. “The strong hold of Zion… the city of David” and Jerusalem are one and the same in the scriptures, as these verses in 2 Kings 19 demonstrate:

2Ki 19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou [Hezekiah] hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.
2Ki 19:21 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.

As with every word, ‘Jerusalem’ also has a negative application as the exact opposite of a “virgin daughter”. Physical Jerusalem, as a type of the physical churches of this world, symbolizes the great whore of Revelation 17-18, and those chapters in Revelation are based upon the fact that spiritually Jerusalem is called ‘Sodom’ and a ‘harlot’ in the Old Testament prophets:

Isa 1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Isa 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

Isa 1:21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

Isa 3:16 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
Isa 3:17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.

The symbols of the book of Revelation are based upon the symbols given us in the Old Testament, where we see Zion and Jerusalem given to us to see them first as our old man whose religion is in rebellion against God, and then after Zion is taken captive into Babylon and she is destroyed for her sins, then she will become “conformed to the image of [Christ]” via a spiritual resurrection from that dead and dying state to become ‘Jerusalem above, the mother of us all’:

Psa 87:5 And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.

Psa 132:13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.

Gal 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

“The dream is one: God [showed] Pharaoh what He [was] about to do”, and the daughters of Jerusalem and the daughters of Zion are one, and God is showing us what He is doing within us:

Gen 41:25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

Earth

The earth too, is first seen in its temporal dying state. It is in this state that we all have our beginning, and it is in this temporal dying state that we are all as mere beasts taken out of the ground that is this earth:

Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Gen 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

As ‘beasts of the field’ we are “the beast” of Revelation 13, which comes up out of the sea, just as “the earth” was made to come up out of the sea:

Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Gen 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Christ, called both “The Truth, [and] the tree of life” Himself, also comes “out of the earth”:

Gen 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Psa 85:11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

When we read “not that is first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual” it is manifested that Christ, who created all things, is excepted from that statement:

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

Christ, and Christ alone, had to ’empty Himself’ of His divinity in order to “spring out of the earth” through being “made of a woman, made under the law”:

Php 2:6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Php 2:7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;
Php 2:8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. (ASV)

In the very next verses of 1Co 15, Paul tells us who God considers the ‘earth’ to be:

1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Our old “first man Adam” must be “conformed to the image of [Christ]”, and for this to happen our “old man” must first die because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption”.

Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

This ‘conformation to the image of His Son’ is the very same thing as “the image of the heavenly” of 1Co 15:49. It is also called “a new earth”:

Isa 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Isa 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Paul has just explained to us who is the ‘earth’ in Biblical terms:

1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Yes, Jeremiah 22 is addressed to Judah and Jerusalem as the harlot who is about to be carried away into Babylon to become that very city, and it is in that self-righteous, and unrepentant condition that we are all being addressed when our own Creator cries out to us:

Jer 22:29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel?

As we pointed out concerning the names ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Zion’, the principle of “the dream is one” is again to be applied to the names ‘Ephraim’ and ‘Israel’. As with the Pharaoh, the Lord is showing us what He is doing to us.

Gen 41:25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

These words are not primarily for an ancient people, who were indeed “deliver[ed] into Assyrian captivity”, and carried away into Nineveh. The spiritual message is for us, and it is the very same message we are given at a later stage when Jerusalem and Zion are carried away captive into Babylon.

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Babylon and Nineveh were sister cities which were both in the plains of Shinar, and “the dream is one” principle applies to those two cities also. They are both the enemies of the people of God who are used by God to chasten His people.

Ephraim and Israel

Ephraim and Israel are one and the same. Ephraim was the younger of Joseph’s two sons, and in that story Ephraim is used as the type of God’s elect to replace the older son who represents “that which is first” which “cannot inherit the kingdom of God”.

Here is where we first see the name Ephraim:

Gen 41:50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
Gen 41:51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.
Gen 41:52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

Here is the meaning Strong gives the name ‘Ephraim’:
H669
אפרים
‘ephrayim
ef-rah’-yim

Dual of a masculine form of H672; double fruit; Ephrajim, a son of Joseph; also the tribe descended from him, and its territory: – Ephraim, Ephraimites

So Ephraim was a very fruitful tribe and was the largest of all the tribes of Israel.

Several years later, when Jacob had come down to Egypt, he summoned Joseph to his house so he could bless Joseph’s two sons. This is what happened at that time:

Gen 48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these?
Gen 48:9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.
Gen 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
Gen 48:11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.
Gen 48:12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
Gen 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him.
Gen 48:14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.
Gen 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
Gen 48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
Gen 48:17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.
Gen 48:18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
Gen 48:19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
Gen 48:20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

“Truly his younger brother shall be greater” is a Biblical principle which is demonstrated from Abel to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph to King David to the new man, who is greater than our old man. Joseph’s own story concerning his relationship with his ten older brothers, and Israel’s blessing of Joseph’s sons were both used by God to make us aware of this principle:

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

So Ephraim was placed above his older brother Manasseh, and when the kingdom of Israel was split after the death of King Solomon, Israel’s name was placed upon them as he had prophesied, “Let my name be named on them”. But even with the name of Israel on them, the northern kingdom of Israel completely apostatized long before the southern kingdom of Judah.

Hos 11:12 Ephraim [Israel] compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.

I used to wonder for many years what was the significance of the splitting of God’s nation on this earth. With very little spiritual perception it appeared to me that Judah typified the Catholic Church, while Israel typified the Protestants who had broken away from God’s true people. But I realized that Catholicism could never have been said to be God’s “faithful… saints”, so I struggled to understand that the spiritual type is that Christianity is typified by Israel, and that though Christianity has Christ’s name, it does not have His doctrine, which is typified by His food and His clothing:

Isa 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

Israel, also known as Ephraim, thus becomes typical of the apostatized Christian religion, while Judah, in this verse of Hosea 11, typifies God’s “faithful… saints. Christendom has the name of Christ, but it is not, in any way, faithful to His doctrine.

It is for that very reason we read:

Hos 11:7 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.
Hos 11:8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.
Hos 11:9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.
Hos 11:10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.
Hos 11:11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.
Hos 11:12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.

Israel placed his name upon Ephraim. That is why we see them so closely connected throughout the prophecies of the Old Testament: “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel?” In this context Israel is the bondwoman wife of Abraham, who we are told is a type of those who are in Christ. What we do not want to acknowledge is that Christ has children by a bondwoman wife before  they become His children of the freewoman:

Gal 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Gal 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
Gal 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
Gal 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

In Hosea 11 Israel typifies those who want and have Christ’s name, but cannot and will not do what He says to do:

Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Christians who have Christ’s name, but “do not the things [He] say[s]”, like Admah and Zeboim, will be delivered up to be destroyed as those two cities were destroyed.

Hos 11:7 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.
Hos 11:8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.
Hos 11:9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

Admah and Zeboim

The question we were asked was, “could you expound on the types and shadows of Ephraim, Israel, Admah and Zeboim and the spiritual anti-type for today?”

To answer that question, as with all the other Biblical names we will be considering in this series of studies, we must first know what happened to Adman and Zeboim. The fact is that these two cities were among “all the cities of the plain” which were destroyed in the destruction of the far more recognized names of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Deu 29:23 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:

God has made it known that having His name without having His mind and obeying His commandments is of no value at all, but will rather bring upon us the same destruction by “His anger and … His wrath” like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim.

It is out of this destruction of the kingdom of our “old man” that God brings forth our “new man” who, through that dying process, will be “conformed to the image of His Son”.

Hos 11:9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

Here we have God rhetorically asking how He can deliver up His backslidden people to be destroyed as He destroyed the cities of Admah and Zeboim “in His anger and in His wrath”. At the same time He informs us “I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not destroy Ephraim”. It all serves as a perfect example of how God pours out His wrath upon His very elect first, and destroys the rebellious, carnal mind within them first, before He drags all the rest of mankind to himself. It all serves to demonstrate that “all things come alike to all [and that] there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked”:

Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

These verses in Hosea 11 demonstrate that all men of all time are, in the end are “not appointed… to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”.

1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us [all men of all time] to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

What these verses also demonstrate is that God’s elect are not immune from His wrath upon their rebellious, carnal-minded “first man, Adam”, who will be destroyed by God’s wrath, and will through that destruction, be raised up as a new man who will be conformed to the image of Christ:

Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

In this study we have seen that Zion, the earth, Israel, Admah and Zeboim, one and all, are first used to typify our first “old man” who was created “marred… in the Potter’s hand” for the express purpose of demonstrating how incapable he is of inheriting the spiritual kingdom of God. We have also seen that a “new man” is in the process of being birthed through that destruction, fulfilling our Lord’s words:

Joh 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Joh 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Joh 12:33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Next week, Lord willing, we will discuss the spiritual significance of a Biblical place called heaven, where we are told God dwells within His kingdom, which is called “the kingdom of heaven”.

We have already discussed the Biblical opposite of ‘heaven’ which is ‘the earth’. But next week we will discuss what is commonly misunderstood to be the opposite of heaven, a Biblical place called variously, the valley of Tophet in the Old Testament and Gehenna in the New Testament. It is very poorly translated as ‘hell’ in the King James Version, and we will discover once again that there are several Biblical names for this same place, and we will see again that it was the history of this location which gives us its spiritual meaning.

[The next study in this series is here.]

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