“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.” (Psalms 48:1)
The Psalmist is very plain in explaining where we, the saved Children of God, are to praise Him, “in the city of our God.” The Psalmist also gives the answer as to what the City of God is, “mount Zion… the city of the great King” (verse 2).
It is sad, but many Christians today have never been taught about the “City of our God”; “the joy of the whole earth.” In Hebrews 11:10, Abraham looked for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Verse 14 explains that this city is “a country.” And verse 16 says:
“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he (God) hath prepared for them a city.”
In Hebrews 11:10, 14, and 16, the writer explains that the place where God dwells, the City of God, is of His own design and creation. But it is spiritual in nature, because it is “heavenly.” Abraham “looked for,” he never received this City of God. But verse 13 says:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
The Bible, in its progressive revelation of who God is, relates that God had chosen a place on earth – to place His Name there; to meet His People there; and to bless those who came there to worship Him. (See 2 Chronicles 6:6, 18; 7:1-3, 4-16.) That place was Old Jerusalem, called Mount Zion in the Old Testament. It is where King David built his house to dwell in; and it is where King Solomon built the Temple for God to dwell in.
This Temple; its furnishings; its priesthood; its law (ceremonial, judicial, and moral) all pointed to Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh, the Temple of God Himself (Colossians 2:9).
But now, the Temple of God is not a physical building, but a Spiritual Habitation of God (Ephesians 2:19-22). It is His Body, the Church, the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-21).
The Church was manifested, or birthed, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-). And here the Spirit of God dwells. (Note John 14:16-31, especially verse 18.)
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
Paul explains that those baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ are counted as the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 12:13; 3:16; 6:19-20).
Then in Revelation 21:1-27, the Apostle John called the Tabernacle of God, “the holy city, new Jerusalem… the Lamb’s wife”; God’s Tabernacle (or dwelling place) among men; where “the Lamb is the light thereof.” Peter said in 2 Peter 3:13, “wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
The Apostle Paul gives yet even more light on this subject:
“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,” (Hebrews 12:22)
“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” (Hebrews 12:23)
“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:24)
Paul also wrote:
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
This verse leaves no doubt that the City of God is the Church of God, New Jerusalem, the Holy City, and the Lamb’s Wife; or Mount Sion (which is the New Testament spelling; the Old Testament uses “Zion”).
The Psalmist in Psalm 48:1-3 said Mount Zion is the place to praise our Great God, Greatly. This city is further described as:
1) God’s House on earth; the Spiritual House of God, called the Church (or “ekklēsia”) of God; the City of the Great King (Jesus). (See Ephesians 3:21; Revelation 21:1-27.)
2) It is called the Mount of Holiness; because God is Holy; and those in Christ are “saints” or holy ones, set apart in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
3) It is “beautiful… the joy of the whole earth.” Why? For here God dwells; and “in Christ” we can come into the Presence of God. Not through Aaron, the High Priest of the Old Testament; but through Christ, who is God Himself. That is, through His Atonement:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” (Romans 5:1)
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)
4) It is a place of refuge; therefore a high tower and a place of safety.
5) The New Testament describes the Holy City as a place of instruction, growth, praise, and worship of our King Jesus Christ.
The question remains: Where do you praise God? Are you in the City of God? It is only here that you Praise God Greatly.
To be in the City of God, you must have received Regeneration by the Spirit of God. (See Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:5-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-10; John 3:3-8; 4:21-24; Revelation 22:17.) You must have been made to hear and to thirst for the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and been given a drink from the Fountain of the Water of Life by Christ Himself, Who is the Water of Life
If you are in the City of God, then Praise Him; Praise Him Greatly. Sing the New Song:
“Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” (Revelation 5:12)