Erenlai - Mount Zion – Eden in Taiwan

Mount Zion – Eden in Taiwan

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Mount Zion (錫安山, xi’an shan) is home to the New Testament Church (新約教會, xinyue jiaohui, NTC) who believe it to be God’s chosen Mountain and as the “spiritual Israelites”, their rightful home. According to the NTC, God has forsaken the long-recognized Mount Zion in Israel and now its spiritual qualities are imbued on this isolated mountain in south-central Taiwan. Mount Zion is both the Eden of the present and venue for the Tribulation in the future, when the members of the NTC will be raptured into Heaven.

I have written extensively about Mount Zion before and you can find a history of the mountain here and a piece on how the NTC responded to the devastation of Typhoon Morakot in 2008 here.

Mount Zion is covered in sites of protest, prayer and adoration. This photographic essay points out some of the most intriguing images and draws from my visits there in 2007, 2008 and 2010. For those of us with weak Chinese language skills, the NTC has diligently translated much of its material into English.

 

{slimbox images/stories/Mountzion/14.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_14.jpg, The rock at the base of the mountain was washed away by the raging Qishan river (旗山溪) during Typhoon Morakot; images/stories/Mountzion/26.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_26.jpg, Fortunately a new boulder was washed in to take the old one’s place; images/stories/Mountzion/15.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_15.jpg, The Cherubim gate greets visitors who are about to ascend the mountain from Highway; images/stories/Mountzion/17.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_17.jpg, The dining room in the main centre can cope with dozens of visitors. Note the large omega (Ω) to the left – this symbol is prominent in the NTC theology promulgated by the NTC’s current leader, Elijah Hong; images/stories/Mountzion/18.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_18.jpg, You can buy products from Mount Zion and other NTC farms around the world (known as the “Offshoots of Zion”) at the visitor centre; images/stories/Mountzion/19.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_19.jpg, NTC members are often seen doing chores around the mountain; images/stories/Mountzion/10.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_10.jpg, NTC members are often seen doing chores around the mountain; images/stories/Mountzion/11.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_11.jpg, Poster flanking the altar in the Holy Temple; images/stories/Mountzion/12.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_12.jpg,Poster flanking the altar in the Holy Temple; images/stories/Mountzion/13.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_13.jpg, The Zion Tree House is adjacent to the Holy Temple; images/stories/Mountzion/21.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_21.jpg,Guides are on hand to explain aspects of Mount Zion and the NTC to tourists. Here visitors are inside the Holy Temple listening to an NTC tour guide; images/stories/Mountzion/22.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_22.jpg, This multi-story car park was built for tourist cars and buses; images/stories/Mountzion/23.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_23.jpg, You can see the reinforcements on the side of the mountain. These stretch down to the river and may have helped save Mount Zion from erosion during Typhoon Morakot; images/stories/Mountzion/24.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_24.jpg, You can see the reinforcements on the side of the mountain. These stretch down to the river and may have helped save Mount Zion from erosion during Typhoon Morakot; images/stories/Mountzion/01.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_01.jpg, Contrasting sharply with the serenity of the mountain, graphic posters such as this warn of impending natural disasters as part of the Tribulation;images/stories/Mountzion/02.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_02.jpg, There are many posters extolling the virtues of the NTC and its leader, and some offer incendiary denunciations of the KMT, with whom the NTC suffered a protracted dispute (leading to a temporary eviction from Mount Zion) in the early 1980s;images/stories/Mountzion/04.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_04.jpg, This monument is called “Truth triumphs over despotism” and is the mangled remains of a symbolic boat chimney that the NTC erected—and KMT destroyed—during the church’s exile at the base of the mountain; images/stories/Mountzion/05.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_05.jpg,The mountain is covered in signs quoting Bible verses and this one is in front of the David Citadel. If you are interested, more signs can be found here; images/stories/Mountzion/07.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_07.jpg, The New Testament Church strongly advocates organic agriculture and Mount Zion is home to an active farm; images/stories/Mountzion/08.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_08.jpg, The original Holy Temple—claimed by the NTC to have been razed by the KMT—now houses a museum memorialising the pioneers of Mount Zion; images/stories/Mountzion/09.jpg, images/stories/Mountzion/tn_09.jpg, The original Holy Temple—claimed by the NTC to have been razed by the KMT—now houses a museum memorialising the pioneers of Mount Zion}

 

Photos and text by Paul Farrelly

Edited by Daniel Pagan Murphy

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:34
Paul Farrelly (范寶文)

Paul is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University in Canberra. His primary research interests are new religious movements and religious innovation in China and Taiwan.

Website: twitter.com/paul_farrelly

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