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.
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 3:14, 15.
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. John 12:31-33.
The standard of Christ is a simple statement:
“Death before sin!”
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. Revelation 12:11.
You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Hebrews 12:4.
Following the Standard
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. Mark 8:34.
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.
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. Genesis 12:1.
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. Hebrews 11:8-10.
The Heavenly Hope
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.” Luke 9:62.
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. Hebrews 11:13-16.
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. 1 Peter 2:11
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
He has brought me to the banquet house and his banner ( ‘standard’) over me is love. SS 2:4.
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. 1 John 3:14, 16.
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.
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). 2 Kings 18:4.
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. Exodus 20:4.
The Cross represents The Standard for Paul
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. 1 Corinthians 1:18.
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 5:11.
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 6:12.
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. Galatians 6:14.
He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, death now ‘The Standard’. Philippians 2:8.
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. Philippians 3:18.
The Standard for Life: Crucified with Christ
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. Romans 6:5-7.
Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24.
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. Galatians 2:20.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Romans 6:22.
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. Revelation 20:6.
The Standard Banner of Salvation
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. Zechariah 9:16
When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. Isaiah 59:19.
You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed for the truth. Psalm 60:4.
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 11:10.
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 62:10.
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. Isaiah 49:22