(This article is adapted from The Three Pillars of Zion. Download the free PDFs at www.PillarsOfZion.com.)
The philosophies of Zion and Babylon are exact opposites. We can trace their origins back to the premortal world. Celestial law and Godlike characteristics defined Zion and telestial counterparts defined Babylon. Our understanding the basics and beginnings of these two orders will help us recognize them today. Then we must flee Babylon and come to Zion.
The philosophy of Babylon, we understand, began with a conspiracy that led to war in heaven. Lucifer hatched a plot to wrest the kingdom from God.[i] Eventually, that conspiracy involved one third of the hosts of heaven—an astonishing number. Those who took part in that conspiracy evidently entered a covenant that required a sacrifice[ii]—their agency.[iii]
Lucifer’s plan was sinister, made to appear like God’s New and Everlasting Covenant, which also required willingness to sacrifice everything that one has and is, even to the sacrifice of his own life.[iv] In heaven, Christ and his Zion prevailed and Lucifer and his Babylon failed, but that did not stop the war. The battlefront simply shifted to a new location—earth.
Nothing much has changed: We, who supported Jehovah, were on the front lines there, and we are on the front lines here. The philosophies and the issues are the same; so are the blessings and the risks. The call to action was the same then as it is now: Flee Babylon and come to Zion!
Zion and Babylon in the Beginning
After God had created Adam and Eve, he immediately introduced them into a Zionlike atmosphere. Immediately thereafter, Lucifer introduced the philosophy of Babylon to Cain and his co-conspirators. Let us take a look back in time.
When God completed the creation of the earth, he looked upon his work and pronounced it “good.”[v] Then when he placed Adam and Eve in the garden of the earth, he pronounced the Creation “very good.”[vi]
The term seems more than a convenient modifier. In fact, in Hebrew, the words god and good come from the same root. Once, when a rich young man questioned Jesus, the man saluted the Lord as “Good Master.” Jesus quickly replied, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.”[vii] That Jesus would equate good with God is telling. That God would pronounce his Creation with Adam and Eve on it “very good” seems to suggest that he considered everything Godlike.
We are told that Heavenly Father patterned this Creation after our Zionlike heavenly home.[viii] And truly it was perfect--Godlike. Could we expect anything less from a perfect being? “The word Zion may derive from the Hebrew root tsayan, meaning ‘perfection,’ which is also a meaning of the former city name Salem or Shalem, ‘city of perfection.’”[ix] Therefore, Adam and Eve began their journey in a place that was preeminently good—that “very good” and Godlike place, which we would equate with Zion.
The Catastrophic Fall from Zion
Adam and Eve’s subsequent fall from their Zionlike home shot cataclysmic changes through their bodies and all creation. This earth has possibly never experienced such a violent change. Where there had been unity, equality, peace, abundant health, eternal life, spontaneously growing fruits and flowers, incorruption and the presence of God, there now existed discord, competition, enmity, illness, death, tormenting thorns, briars and noxious weeds, and worst of all, separation from God.
Adam and Eve had just fallen into a telestial environment!
The profound differences between a Zionlike existence and that of Babylon were now frighteningly apparent. (Remember: Adam and Eve had firsthand experience with both orders.) Our first parents’ immediate reaction was to find a way out of Babylon, and they knew that there was only one Person who knew the way: the King of Zion.[x]
Therefore, they built an altar and prayed. The answer that they received became the universal answer for all of us, their children: The New and Everlasting Covenant.
And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.
And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.[xi]
The Atonement and the Covenant—The Only Way Out
No greater message of hope has ever been delivered to man. Adam and Eve were going home—back to Zion! By entering accepting the Atonement of Jesus Christ and entering into the Covenant that God had offered them, they could once again enjoy the happiness of heaven and experience the presence of God—in this life! That was good news—God’s news.
The Atonement is the foundation of Zion!
According to Elder McConkie, The new and everlasting covenant is “the fulness of the gospel. (D&C 39:11; 45:9; 66:2; 133:57). When men accept the gospel, they thereby agree or covenant to keep the commandments of God, and he promises or covenants to give them salvation in his kingdom.
The gospel is the everlasting covenant because it is ordained by Him who is Everlasting and also because it is everlastingly the same…Each time this everlasting covenant is revealed it is new to those of that dispensation. Hence the gospel is the new and everlasting covenant.”[xii]
The new and everlasting covenant is the first pillar of Zion!
Immediately, Adam entered into the new and everlasting covenant by accepting the ordinance of baptism and thereafter receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Upon Adam’s doing so, God declared that those saving ordinances had been recorded in heaven, and thus they were valid “henceforth and forever.