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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Fifty-Third (Your Banner)

I hope you had a great week! Ours was...interesting. As we go further along as aliens in this world (Philippians 3:20), have you noticed periods of compression and decompression? What I mean by that is, have you noticed there are seasons of stress followed by seasons of relaxation? Thinking back, and looking at certain times compared to certain other times in my life, I've noticed a worldly cycling of stressful times and not stressful times. And it seems to me like these cycles are having shorter and shorter times between them. Just an observation I had recently.

I believe one of the key character traits embodied by Jesus as God on earth is constancy, or consistency. As He is constant, we should also be constant. As He is the Rock (Matthew 16:18), we, His body, should also be a strong, firm, unwavering rock despite the cycling stress of this world. "A rock for what?" you might ask. Well, I'm glad you asked!

What is our role as Christ's body? To spread the gospel? Of course. To save those that are lost? Maybe. I think we definitely play a role in that, but Jesus is the One who saves. I believe our main role is to be His example on earth while He is preparing to return and reign. I also believe that part of that role involves standing against things that are abominations to Yehovah, and thus are abominations to us.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Noah, and how he represents those in the body of Christ. He was given a task from Yehovah, before the building the ark task. He was told, along with Methuselah, to tell the wicked to repent and turn from their evil ways for 120 years (Jasher 5). Jesus told us the time when He returns will be just like the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-42). In those days, man's heart was focused on evil all the time (Genesis 6:5), which these days are looking more and more like every day. Do you see any worldly people thinking about God's law, or using it to decide how to act? Do you think many of those people even know of His law? Don't you think if Noah's times and our times are the same, people during his time would have been the same way?

So Noah and Methuselah's job was two-fold: tell the wicked what they were doing wrong, and tell them to stop and follow God's law. You can't tell someone to stop doing what they're doing and expect them to listen if you don't tell them why what they're doing is wrong. So for us to follow Noah's example, we also need to stand against what the wicked are doing wrong, and tell them to repent.

Not gonna lie, that takes courage. Lots of it. For example, one of the things we are charged with doing is delivering the weak from the hand of the wicked (Psalm 82:4). What is more weak than an unborn child? Speaking out against abortion is a hot topic, and many Christians would rather avoid it than confront someone, or some organization, about it. Christian passivity has led to this, and many other topics like it, being dominated and controlled by evil rather than good. You might not change the mind of the person being confronted, but sometimes it's not about that person. Sometimes it's about others listening, or reading, or watching the confrontation. But remember, actions speak louder than loud words, and a soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).

I read an extremely good article today that pointed to Revelation 21:8 and it really hit home. It's the verse with the list of those that will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, the second death. The first on the list? The cowardly (or fearful, depending on your translation). When you look at the word study, it describes this word as meaning those who lose the "moral gumption" to follow the Lord. Part of that moral gumption, and the primary point of the article I read, is standing up for what is right and true. The standard set forth by God.

The word standard is also interchangeable with banner in terms of the translation of the Hebrew degel. Another Hebrew word translated to banner and standard, along with ensign or sign, is nes. Have you ever wondered about why flags, banners, ensigns, have been so important, even to the point of contention, among mankind? People have fought wars holding signs and symbols that rallied troops. My belief is that among all the spiritual things we have no full understanding of, signs and symbols is near the top of the list. I believe they have a very spiritual significance and can determine whether or not your efforts are backed by good or evil spiritually. This is why it's key to fully understand the origins of any symbols we want to use and associate with ourselves or what we're representing.

Moses built an altar and called it, "The LORD is my banner," (Exodus 17:15). God used the sign of a serpent to heal the Israelites (Numbers 21:8). God raises His banner to His people (Isaiah 49:22). The Israelites were directed by God to post the banners of each tribe where that tribe was to pitch their tent (Numbers 1:52).

What banner are you fighting for? What standard? The church of Laodicea is called out by Jesus as those that are lukewarm, not getting fired up about anything (Revelation 3:15-16), and He also said there are only two camps: for Him or against Him (Matthew 12:30). There is no in between. You either truly believe in Him and His Word, and fight for it here on earth, or you don't! Keeping our focus on His banner (standard) is what keeps us constant and keeps us as His unwavering rock.

Shabbat Shalom! You will have a blessed week! God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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