The Privileges and Stability of the Church
Isaiah 33:20-24
Look on Zion, the city of our solemnities: your eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down…

Jerusalem, after this period, was never long preserved from hostile invasions, therefore our attention is turned from it to that glorious city against which the gates of hell shall never prevail. Let us —


1. As a solemn city. "The city of our solemnities." The Church of the Lord on earth is called "the holy people"; "the redeemed of the Lord"; "sought out, a city not forsaken." It is "that great city, the holy Jerusalem." It is "Mount Zion, the city of the living God." It is "the holy city, which is the mother of us all." The orders and laws necessary for the city of Zion are contained in these lively oracles, which may also be considered as the charter of the privileges of its happy and active citizens. Peace is within its walls, and prosperity within its palaces; and everything is conducted well, being managed by Him who is the God of order, and not of confusion. Its great King ever dwells in the midst of it, and its walls are continually before Him. The immunities, for which its inhabitants are distinguished, are numerous and inestimable; including deliverance from the bondage of corruption and sin, together with a full enjoyment of a right to the tree of life, and to all the blessings they can need. Its "walls are called salvation, and its gates praise"; its streets are all pleasant, and its towers may well strike the eye with admiration. It is well called "the city of our solemnities." This name may be applied to Jerusalem on account of the most solemn feasts that were there made; the solemn assemblies that were there held; and the solemn sacrifices which were there offered. Nor is the term at all inapplicable to the Church of God, which consists of serious believers, who enter into the most solemn engagements with Jehovah; who are employed in the most solemn exercises of mind that can possibly be imagined; and whose minds are peculiarly affected with the solemnities of death and judgment. Real religion is altogether a solemn thing.

2. As a quiet habitation. It is "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." God Himself is the householder, for He hath chosen Zion, and desired it for His habitation; and here, too, dwell all the faithful, There is something very consolatory in the idea, that all the worthies now in glory, that ever trusted in Christ, were all members of that Church which is one; and that all real believers are considered by Jehovah as forming a part of it. This dwelling-place of the just is remarkable for the security which is there enjoyed, and the peace which pervades the whole. It is "a quiet habitation"; here the Prince of Peace takes up His residence, and reigns: here "the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever"; and God's people dwell here in a peaceable habitation.

3. An immovable tabernacle. "A tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken." The Church militant is but a tabernacle when contrasted with the inconceivable excellencies of the paradise of God. Divine glory is manifested to us, and known by us here, but in part; but there "we shall know even as we are known." The Church of God may often change its place. This is shown us by the state of those cities in which once the cause of our Redeemer prospered, but where now His name is never heard. The Jerusalem Church, though it might verify the promise in the text, by experiencing a long space of peace, and season of rest from war, together with the restoration and continuance of their sacred privileges, has now lost all its excellence, and Ichabod (the glory is departed) may evidently be seen inscribed upon it. The true Church typified by it, shall never be taken down whilst the world itself remains.


1. Look upon it, angels, with complacency and delight!

2. Look upon it, sinners, with astonishment and desire!

3. Look upon it, Christians, with wonder, love, and praise!

(T. Spencer.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.

WEB: Look at Zion, the city of our appointed festivals. Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, a tent that won't be removed. Its stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken.

The Church of God
Top of Page
Top of Page