The Standard

The Greek word stauros means ‘stake’, ‘pole’ or ‘post’; but it is always  translated ‘cross’ in the New Testament. When a banner or image is attached to a pole, it becomes a standard. This is the imagery from the Old Testament that Yeshua uses to teach on His purpose.

John 3:14, 15. And as Moses lifted up the (brass) serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  

John 12:31-33. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death He should die.

Following the Standard

Mark 8:34.  When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

This statement makes no sense until translating stauros correctly, and becomes ‘pulls up his stakes and follows me’. Now we find a statement familiar in all ages as an expression of someone leaving his permanent dwelling to follow the Lord. This has been The Standard from the origins of Messiah.

Genesis 12:1.   Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.

Hebrews 11:8-10.   By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;  for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.   

The Heavenly Hope

Luke 9:62.  But Yeshua said to him, “No one who has put his hand to the plow and looked back is fit for the kingdom of God.”   

Hebrews 11:13-16.   These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly homeland. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

1 Peter 2:11.   Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.    

Revelation 12:11. They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the face of death.   

 Hebrews 12:4.   You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

To abstain is only accomplished by abiding in the promised Holy Spirit.

Three testimonies from 1 John 3:

Whoever abides in Him does not sin. V.6.

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. V.9.

Now those who keep His commandments abide in Him, and He in them. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit He has given us. V.24.

The Standard of Christ is love

 SS 2:4.   He brought me to the banquet house and his banner (standard) over me is love. 

 1 John 3:14, 16.  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love abides in death.  By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.           

To make the cross an icon of the church is to repeat what Israel did with the bronze serpent from the wilderness. It became an idol in Israel which was destroyed by Hezekiah hundreds of years later.

2 Kings 18:4.     He removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan (that brass thing).

 Exodus 20:4.  You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.   

The Cross represents The Standard for Paul

1 Corinthians 1:18. For the message of ‘The Standard’ is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Galatians 5:11.   As for me, brothers and sisters, if I still proclaim circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the stumbling block of  ‘The Standard’ has been eliminated. 

Galatians 6:12.  Those wanting to look good outwardly are trying to force you to be circumcised—only so they will not be persecuted for ‘The Standard’ of Messiah.

 Galatians 6:14.  But God forbid that I should glory, save in ‘The Standard’ of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  

Philippians 2:8.  He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, death now ‘The Standard’.   

Philippians 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of ‘The Standard’ of Christ.   

The Standard for Life: Crucified with Christ

Romans 6:5-7.   For if we have become joined together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also will be joined together in His resurrection,  knowing our old man was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be done away with, so we no longer serve sin.  For he who has died is set free from sin.  

Galatians 5:24.  Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 2:20.   I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  

Romans 6:22.  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Revelation 20:6.  Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 

The Standard Banner of Salvation

Zechariah 9:16.  The Lord their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people. For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner over His land.

Isaiah 59:19. When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

Psalm 60:4.   You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed for the truth.

Isaiah 11:10.  And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.

Isaiah 62:10.  Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.

Isaiah 49:22   Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

The Only Begotten

John 1:14.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 

Colossians 1:18.  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 

Hebrews 1:5&6.  To which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son,  today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”?   But when He again brings His firstborn into the world, He says “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”   

1 John 4:9.  The love of God was revealed among us by this—that God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.   

1 Corinthians 1:9.  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son,  Jesus Christ our Lord.    

The Voice gives the Most Excellent Glory

2 Peter 1:17&18.   For He received from God the Father honor and glory when The  Voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.         

Galatians 4:4-7.    But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  

Romans 8:29.   For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  

The Most Beloved Verses

 John 3:16-18.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.     

John 20:31.  These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.       

The First Confession of Faith

1 John 4:15.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.   

1 John 5:4&5.      For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  

Romans 1:3&4.   Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.   

1 John 5:11-13.   And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have  written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.  

 

Hearing Twice

Ezekiel 3:10.   Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.

When we only hear with our ears, we receive a carnal interpretation of what was heard. Carnal hearing and carnal thoughts are a distinctly earthly perspective on when and what God has spoken. When believers meditate on the scriptures and receive them into their heart, there is a second hearing, from a heavenly perspective. Paul refers to this as “the Holy Spirit testifying to our spirit.” This is receiving wisdom by being born from above.

Psalm 62:11.  God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.

There are two most popular interpretations of this verse. One is the “idiomatic interpretation”, that is a Hebrew expression that actually means, “God speaks repeatedly”. He must get tired of saying the same thing over and over to people who ‘have ears, but do not hear.’ The more ancient Rabbinic interpretation is that God spoke once on Sinai, and Moses spoke the Torah twice to the children of Israel, Deuteronomy being the second.

How then can you apply this verse from Psalm 62 in a living way to your life? When Ezekiel 3:10 testifies to an understanding of Psalm 62:11, the Holy Spirit is able to interpret every word of scripture from the heavenly perspective, not the earthly perspective. This has been the basis for what I have been teaching for the past several months, most recently ‘Mercy Is Strength”.

Preaching Blasphemy

Acts 9:20.  At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.   

How much significance should be placed on this point that Paul immediately began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God?  First, consider the evidence that came out at the trial of Jesus Christ.

John 19:5-7. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

Pilate said unto them, you take him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.  The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.           

At a public trial, the testimony of His accusers was that Jesus must die for claiming to be the Son of God. Now the man who was previously persecuting the church, one of high esteem among the religious leadership, was preaching this very thing! This is an extraordinary turn of events, that the one who was identified and accepted by the original disciples as the “apostle to the gentiles”, would first boldly preach in the synagogues of every place he visited.

For many have come before and after claiming to be a messiah, a fact of which has often been attested. For messianic Jews to simply proclaim Yeshua haMashiach in Israel or anywhere in the world is nothing new under the sun.  If you want to stir up the status quo, preach the Son of God. 

Acts 5:34-39.   Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.  For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined , who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.                                 

It is noteworthy that this same Gamaliel was the headmaster of the school of the Pharisees where Saul trained. And who was the one man that disregarded this advice and set off on a murderous rampage against the church?  Irony!

Before appearing at the judgment seat of Pilate, Jesus was examined by the High Priest, along with the scribes and elders. Many false witnesses came forward to accuse Jesus, but none of the charges held. Then the High Priest played his trump card:

Matthew 26:63-66.  But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.                                  

And so the religious authorities found Jesus guilty of blasphemy and worthy of death for claiming to be the Son of God. Then Saul, upon his conversion immediately preached this in the synagogues, thereby, bringing the same charge against himself. Then he gave this testimony of himself before his conversion.

1 Tim 1:13.   Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

This is his conversion, to embrace what was called blasphemy, and reject what was before:

Acts 22:3.   I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.                                

The Lord Jesus Christ expects us to preach His Blasphemy, for this is the most excellent glory that He received:

2 Peter 1:17.  For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.   

John 10:36.  Do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 

Kings of the Earth

John 3:31.   He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

There is a multitude of Bible teachers who embody the notion of an earthly man that speaks of the earth while failing to lay hold of The Spirit of Truth.  A perfect example is the many teachings that refer to the early monarchy in Israel as represented by Kings David and Solomon, being the “Golden Age” Of Israel. This view from the earth fails to identify the True Golden Age of historical Israel from the view of the One from above, who is above all. 

Joshua 24:31.  Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

Prior to Messiah Yeshua coming to earth, this time prior to the falling away in the time of the Judges would be the Golden Age of Israel as viewed from a heavenly perspective. This also gives us a unique lesson in faith from an Old Testament narrative. This period stands out by a complete lack of description for the era. One verse! One statement, and moving on.

2 Corinthians 4:18.  For  we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Romans 8:25. If we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

In the absence of a narrative, we have to believe that God’s Word is True, without a testimony for confirmation. For if Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, AND all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, then we must believe that they lived under the blessings promised for those who were faithful.

Deuteronomy 28:1, 2.  Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.

Clearly, the people did not abide under the blessings of Deuteronomy 28 long enough to see themselves set over all nations of the earth. However, as a people who served the Lord for most of a generation, the blessings would have been tangible.

Even more so, after using only 14 verses to describe the blessings of a faithful people, Deuteronomy 28 goes on to use over 50 verses to describe the curses to be brought on by disobedience! Surely this generation avoided all of these calamities. 

By faith, we must believe that life was more bountiful for Israel at this time than any other. Because:

Numbers 23:19. God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

We can now contrast this period with the time of the monarchy of Israel.

What stands out immediately even from this scant information is that even after the leader Joshua passed away, the elders of his generation were able to keep the people walking in the Way of the Lord, without a central figure. 

There was no king in Israel, and there was no intention in the heart of God for there ever to be one. When the elders demanded a king from Samuel, he received this word from God;

1 Samuel 8:7.  And the Lord said to Samuel, Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.

While God did not desire to see a king reigning over His people, He did anticipate their demand and gave instructions for how a king in Israel should conduct himself.

Principles Governing Kings

Deuteronomy 17 :14-17. When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me, you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 

And he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, You shall not return that way again. Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

Now we can grade this so called Golden Age of Solomon by the expectations of God in the Law.

Solomon multiplied wives, who turned his heart away. Strike One.

1 Kings 11:4. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

Solomon multiplied horses for his military.  Strike Two.

1 Kings 4:26.   And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

1 Kings 10:28.   And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt….

Solomon greatly multiplied gold in his kingdom, silver was not accounted.   Strike Three.

1 Kings 10:21.  And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

1 Kings 10:27. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones.

1 Kings 10:14. The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was 666  talents of gold.

The Golden Age indeed!

Before anointing Saul the first king of Israel, Samuel warned the people of what a king would demand of them.

1 Samuel 8:11-20. And he said, This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots.  He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 

 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants.  And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.  He will take a tenth of your sheep. 

And you will be his servants.  And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you on that day. 

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.

King David fed his people as his flock, but this king’s levy came into full effect under the reign of Solomon. After forty years, the people had enough of this hardship. When his son Rehoboam ascended to the throne, they immediately voiced their grievances.

1 Kings 12:4.  Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he placed on us, and we will serve you.

The kingdom was soon divided and the rest is history. Israel fell to Assyria first, later Judah was taken into captivity to Babylon. The Lord spoke on this through the prophet Jeremiah that the captivity would last seventy years, for each year that the land of Israel was denied a Sabbath year of rest.

2 Chronicles 36:20, 21. And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

During the Golden Years of Israel after Joshua, the land enjoyed a Sabbath rest every seventh year, according to the Law of Moses. If the land required 70 years of rest, then no Sabbath year was kept for 70×7=490 years. The people would not keep the Sabbath year for fear that they would not meet the king’s levy.

Further Instructions For The King

Deuteronomy 17:18-20.  Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

Solomon clearly did not follow these instructions, nor would it appear that any of the kings who followed. In comparison, we have seen that after Joshua died the elders of Israel were able to keep the people in service to God with the Law of Moses. When you consider that Solomon was very young when he ascended the throne, were there not enough priests, scribes, elders and advisers in Jerusalem to impress upon the new king the need to follow God’s Law? He was sincere enough to pray for wisdom when God first appeared to him and inquired of his request. God then blessed him with all the things that any man would desire. When he then applied his wisdom to the things of the earth, all was vanity and anguish of heart.

The Beginning of Creation

2 Peter 3:4.  Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.

The carnal mind tends toward understanding the beginning of creation as a point in time. Understanding the Spirit of Truth begins with knowing that the beginning of creation is in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Revelation 3:14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things say the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.

The Logos Theos

The Son of God pre-existed creation. He was in the beginning with God, and for all creation, He is God.

The Holy Spirit hovered over the virgin Mary even as in creation hovering over the face of the waters, and she conceived the child Jesus. 

The Son of God became the son of man, and as a young boy of 12, showed Himself to be the Dayspring, the source of divine wisdom, in the temple of Jerusalem before many witnesses, experts of the Law.

At the age of 30, Jesus, the son of man, was baptized by John to ‘fulfill all righteousness’, and the spirit descended on Him and remained, taking on the seed of Abraham, The Christ.

Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on him the seed of Abraham.

The Perfection of Beauty

Hebrews 2:10.  For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 5:8, 9. Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

Did the Son of God learn obedience, or the seed of Abraham? 

The Christ is the spirit of just men made perfect.

Hebrews 12:22, 23. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,  to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.

The saints access their perfection of spirit by sanctification from the world.

Hebrews 10:14.  For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.

And so Jesus prayed for all who would serve Him.

John 17:17-19.  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Perfected in the Love of the Father.

John 17:23.   I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

1 John 4:17, 18.  Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears is not perfected in love. We love Him because He first loved us.