In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the land of Israel, and most especially Mount Zion, is always “up”. So, take for instance when Jonah decides to skip town after God’s commission to go preach repentance to Nineveh, Jonah goes “down to Joppa” (Jon. 1:3) and then goes “down” into the ship (Jon. 1:3), and then once the storm buffets the ship, we find Jonah “down” below (Jon 1:5), and finally once he is thrown in the sea his prayer reveals he “went down to the bottoms of the mountains” (Jon 2:6). This is part of the motif of Jonah, to be sure, but it shows an interesting cultural mindset of the Israelites.
In their minds, Mount Zion in Israel, was the pinnacle of the world, and you couldn’t get any higher. To go elsewhere was a downgrade, and their prepositions indicate this. God had raised them up, and brought them to this promised land and set them above their enemies. Although in later history this led to a sort of arrogant presumption, they had this notion of being the city on a hill, a light to the world. For they served the One True God, while the surrounding nations were “down” in the valleys of pagan darkness.
As Christians, we march up to Zion every Lord’s Day. We stand in the communion of saints, in fellowship with Almighty God through Jesus Christ and represent to the world the union of God with Man. For it is not found elsewhere than the true Church of Jesus. As Hebrews 12:22 puts it, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.” By faith, God brings us up into union with him and communion with all the elect saints.
Our mindset should be, not only on the Lord’s Day, but all week long that we are “going up” to Zion. We stand as a city on a hill, and presumption should be the furthest thing from our mind as we proclaim the invitation to all the earth to join us on the heights of God’s holy hill (Ps. 24:3-6). Our weekly gatherings are a visible sign to the world of the reconciliation of God with man, and our spiritual relationship with God every day is, in reality, one which has raised us up and seated us together with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:6). So, individually, day-by-day, march upward to Zion by faith in the Lord Jesus; and then join with all the saints every Sunday to go up to the city of our God, on the high and holy hill of Zion.