Lifting Up the Standard
“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. Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.” (Isaiah 62:10-12) In the above verses we see that the people of God have a responsibility in lifting up a standard for the people. It did not say for them to set up a standard but to lift up a standard. Verse 11 speaks of Christ who is our salvation, and He is declared to be the ensign or standard given to the people in Isaiah 11:12. Thus we see that the standard is already given and set up for the people in Christ and His teachings, and our job is to lift up that standard in our lives and in our teachings for the people to go by. Let us not trail that banner in the dust, nor even hold it at half mast, but let us hold it high and clear and distinct so it can be seen and rallied to by the people, especially the people of God.
I once heard a story of a military standard bearer who, in the time of battle when his company was charging up a hill against a fortified enemy position, was going ahead of his company carrying the flag. Enemy fire was very effective as the enemy was strongly entrenched and the company was being shot up badly. The officer in charge deemed the battle lost and that he should pull back his men, so he called to the standard bearer ordering him to bring back the flag. The standard bearer called back over his shoulder as he continued to charge on into the enemy position, “I won’t bring back the flag; you bring up your men!” According to the story, the beaten and battered army rallied to the standard and the result was victory.
Brethren, let this be the spirit of every one of us. There is a cry from some in our day that the standard is being held too high and we are too strict about this and that, etc., and some are seeking for a modification of some of the old teachings which our fathers stood by, lived and taught, and to which God attested His sanction by miracles, signs and wonders and abundances of divine grace, producing great joy and victorious living among His people. But when the cry goes out to bring down or lower the standard, let the spontaneous response of every one of us be that “We won’t do it; you bring up your lives.” And if all will bring up their lives to the definitely established standard and principles of truth—rally to the standard—the result will be victory.
In Numbers 2:34 we read, “And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward.” Ah, folks, there you have it! “They pitched by their standards, and so they set forward.” If we want to set forward and make real solid progress in our individual lives and in the work of God, we must pitch by the standards which God will honor and work through. Otherwise, we are doomed to certain defeat.
In Isaiah 11:12 we read, “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Here we see that Christ was to set up an ensign for the nations and gather the people together to it. We are to lift up His standard also to which all who love holiness can be gathered. But take note that this standard was one to which the people would be gathered. It was something clear and distinct that the people could discern and gather to. We cannot expect to gather the people to anything if we set up arbitrary standards and diverse teachings and disagree on the standards of truth and what truth is. We must survey our entire course from the landmarks established by our fathers and from the corner stones of truth from which they ran their land lines, and the course we take now must be just a projection of the same lines they surveyed out for us. God has strongly attested to these principles by mighty signs and wonders being done in the Name of the Holy Child Jesus, so I consider these definitely established landmarks and safe lines to follow.
A perfectly straight line could be projected around the world, and when it returned to the point of beginning, it would land on the exact dot where it started. Then it could be projected around again and form only one single line with the line on the second round falling exactly on the line which was made on the first round. So with the lines of truth: they could be projected from the teachings of Christ and the apostles right on down through this entire Christian era, and if these lines have been maintained straight, they can be doubled back along the same lines clear to the point of beginning and still form one single line no wider than the original line. If the line would be any wider it would be so because of a little variation and getting just a little off center. The second line might cover up the first line until it would still show just one line, but if the line is wider than it originally was, it would be because we had varied a little off center.
Variance is classified in Galatians 5:20 as a work of the flesh. For us to vary in any degree from the established lines of truth laid down by Christ and the apostles and perpetuated unto us by our fathers is to give place to the flesh. Two straight lines running parallel can be projected around the world and still be the same exact distance apart as at the beginning. But if there is a little variation in one of them, be it ever so slight, by the time it is projected around the world it will be off a long, long way. So with the lines of truth. If there is just a slight variation some way, by the time it is projected through this age, or through a few generations even, there is no way of calculating how far it might be off.