Salvation In Zion

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord bath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” 

Joel 2:32

Striking it is, in the first place, that this portion of Scripture is found in the context of the prophecy which speaks of the coming day of Pentecost, which the prophet sees on the background of the terrible day of the Lord. 

The Lord will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh; sons and daughters will prophesy; old men shall dream dreams, and young men shall see visions; and upon servants and handmaids will He pour out His Spirit. And this wonder will be accomplished in the midst of wonders and signs in heaven and on earth, signs of judgment,—blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke,—while the sun shall be turned into darkness, the moon into blood.

Striking it is also, that the apostle Peter, on the day of Pentecost, explains the wonder of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as being the fulfillment of this prophecy. Almost literally he quotes the prophecy, and explains that what happened on that day with its sound as of a mighty rushing wind, with its manifestation of cloven tongues as of fire resting upon their heads, and the marvelous miracle of tongues,—was that day a time of judgment, wherein God, the discerner of hearts, would search the hearts, and cause the remnant according to the election of grace to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. (Acts 2:14-21). Incidentally the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, also reflects on our text, especially the first part of it, when he writes: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13). And Paul considers the “whosoever” to apply to all nations, both Jew and Gentile alike. “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” 

Indeed, there is salvation in Zion! 

For the remnant whom the Lord shall call! 

As the Lord hath said! 

Salvation is spoken of in terms of deliverance. Literally the word that is translated “delivered” or “deliverance” comes from a word which means “to be made smooth.” And that which is made smooth will be able to slip away and escape. So that deliverance or salvation is looked upon as that experience whereby one eludes or escapes from something by slipping through. 

What that is from which those delivered escape is, according to the context, judgment. Typically the judgment refers to a judgment brought upon the land of Israel by the enemy. To slip through the hands of the enemy was for Israel deliverance. But there is more, much more! When we consider the judgment in the context in the light of the Book of Acts, then the judgment must refer to the day of Pentecost, the day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ. Then, to be sure, the day of Pentecost was more than a day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church in heaven and on earth. It was the day when that Spirit would convict men of their ungodly deeds which they had ungodly committed; when He would prick them in their hearts, and they would cry out: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Indeed, He would search the hearts even as He searches out the deep things of God. And to pass through and escape the terror of that judgment is salvation. It is this which the prophet evidently has in mind when he speaks of salvation for the remnant. 

Salvation for the remnant! 

And the remnant is the survivors, those who escape, those who are left over after the judgment is passed. Indeed, not all escape, but many succumb in the judgment. 

The term “remnant” also suggests that the survivors are few. 

Does this mean then that those who are actually and ultimately saved will be few in number? Does not all Scripture, which everywhere speaks of the precious remnant, always refer to them in terms of an innumerable host? Are they not always described as being as many as the sands on the seashore, and as the stars of the heavens for multitude?

Indeed, there shall not be one empty space in the house of many mansions; every last one for whom that house is prepared shall be there. Make no mistake about it! The host of the redeemed is so great that no man can count them. 

Yet the Scriptures stress the very sober thought that, while the remnant that is saved are many, they are nevertheless few when compared with the multitude that go lost and perish. It is always true throughout history, and it shall become evident in the final judgment that the nucleus saved is small. It is always a remnant which God counts His precious possession. 

Take note of their description in the text! 

They are those who call on the name of the Lord (Jehovah), who are delivered! And in the last part of the text, the remnant are they whom Jehovah shall call! 

There is no discrepancy here, for both are true! But each must be seen and understood in its proper order. The remnant call upon the name of Jehovah only after Jehovah calls the remnant, and always in this order. It is true that both Peter and Paul, as noted above, stress the former, namely, whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. But both of these apostles were deeply conscious of the fact that no man can of himself call upon the name of the Lord unless and until Jehovah first calls him efficaciously and consciously out of darkness into His marvelous light. Paul makes this very plain when he adds: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom (not: of whom) they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” And Peter, after he addresses the remnant as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and holy nation, a peculiar people (people for God’s own possession),” continues by showing them why they are such,—”that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9). And in the context of Acts 2, it is very plain that they call upon the name of the Lord and are saved upon whom first the Spirit of Pentecost fell. 

The Spirit of Pentecost is the Spirit of regeneration, who quickens and renews those who by nature are dead in trespasses and sins. He makes them alive from the dead. A spiritually dead sinner can hear no call, nor can he call upon the name of the Lord, no more than a corpse can hear anything or say anything. And whom the Lord by His Spirit renews, them He also calls efficaciously and consciously, the effect of which calling is such that they who are called begin to call upon Jehovah’s name. And so the remnant come into a conscious, living experience of their own salvation. 

This salvation for the remnant is in Zion! 

For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said! 

Typically mount Zion was in Jerusalem. Mount Zion was the temple hill, the place when God tabernacled with His people. A place beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth. Elevated above and distinguished from the rest of the hills about Jerusalem. Here God is known in her palaces for a refuge. The Psalmist in Psalm 48 goes on to say: “Walk about Zion, and go round about her; tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces, that ye may tell it to the generations following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” All of this has reference, first of all, typically to the temple hill, where God typically revealed Himself to His ancient people as the God of their salvation. Apart from this mount Zion there was no salvation. 

Symbolically mount Zion refers to the church of Christ, of Christ Who is the revelation of the everlasting God, the God of the Covenant. On and in this church, which is both holy and catholic, the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of Christ, is poured out. That Spirit which is to abide with the church forever, and to lead her into all the truth. That Spirit Who is the Author of the infallible Scriptures, and Who also separates men to preach His Word, and Who calls in the name of Christ the remnant according to the election of grace,—that Spirit takes the salvation prepared by Christ and graciously applies it to the hearts of those whom Christ through His Word and Spirit calls. 

Ultimately, of course, mount Zion and Jerusalem is in heaven. “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” (Galatians 4:26). “But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.” (Hebrews 12:22). There God eternally tabernacles with His people in Christ. It is the final realization unto which God has purposed to bring the remnant with all His creation into everlasting glory. 

In this mount Zion and Jerusalem, even as it is found in the midst of this present evil world, only is salvation! Never apart from it! 

For Israel in the old dispensation there was no salvation anywhere else. For the remnant today there is no salvation outside of the church. 

O, do not misunderstand! We do not mean to imply that one is saved merely because he belongs to some church. Our view is both Protestant and Reformed,—not Romish. The church does not save us. Christ only saves, and that, too, by His death and shedding of His atoning blood, by His glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, from whence He sends forth His Spirit. By that Spirit He quickens and gathers, through His Word preached, a church chosen to everlasting life. It is therefore not true that you can ignore the church and Christ’s ministry through the church and be saved. So and not otherwise shall there be deliverance in mount Zion and in Jerusalem for the remnant. In the church, which is the living manifestation of the body of Christ, and which Christ has instituted and ordained that she shall preach His Word, the gospel of our salvation, and shall go out into all the world preaching that gospel, through which Christ will call out of darkness the remnant in such a way that they respond by calling on the name of the Lord, so, and not otherwise, shall the remnant be saved. In the world you are lost,—you are not safe. In the church Christ works by His Spirit and Word to call the remnant out of darkness into His marvelous light, Never apart from His church does He proclaim His gospel, by which He calls them. And because the Holy Spirit never operates apart from the Word, He also operates only in the church where that Word is purely preached, never apart from it. 

Let those who are being carried away with what they call Pentecostal fervor, speaking in tongues, etc., take heed. Satan has a way of imitating Christ and the things of the church only to deceive. That’s why He is antichrist and antichurch. 

Salvation is only to be found in Zion! 

And that salvation is sure! 

For Jehovah hath spoken! Note how beautifully the text emphasizes this assurance! They who call upon the name of the Lord SHALL be delivered. For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem SHALL BE deliverance; as the Lord HATH said, and in the remnant whom the Lord SHALL call. 

Jehovah, the covenant making and covenant keeping God, the I AM THAT I AM, hath spoken, and His Word shall not fail. He shall save His people from their sins. Not one of those precious sheep given to Christ shall perish. Though sometimes He appears to be slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, He is not slack but longsuffering, not willing that any who are strangers and pilgrims in the earth should perish, but that all should come to repentance. In His own time, and according to the wisdom of His own counsel, and by the efficacious calling of His own Word and Spirit, He shall call them. Not by some universal offer of salvation which all men, righteous and wicked, elect and reprobate, can accept or reject at will; but lovingly and powerfully, graciously and savingly He calls the remnant. And He calls them “one of city, and two of a family,” and brings them to Zion. (Jeremiah 3:14). 

This assurance of salvation is promised them in the proper preaching of the gospel. It is this preaching which makes the weary heavy laden, which drives them to the Rest-Giver and His cross, which impels them to call upon His name, and which saves them unto the uttermost. 

The remnant is surely saved! 

Thanks be unto God! Amen!