“The Israelites are to set up their tents by divisions,
each man in his own camp under his own standard.”
Dear Friends & Partners,
This is just a quick email to wish you a “Happy July 4th” weekend! If there were ever a time we as Americans need to be reminded of the founding principles of our great Republic, it is now.
Our Founding Fathers laid a strong Judeo-Christian foundation for our liberty based on the principles of the Bible. As a result, America has achieved the greatest level of freedom and prosperity for more people than the world has ever known. America still stands today as the world’s only remaining “super-power.” Sadly, those Biblical principles are being assaulted and insulted from every side. And, because of this assault, we are tottering as a nation, and precariously close to the moral “tipping point” to decay, decline and destruction.
In the process of our decline from national greatness, our “grand old flag” does not have the respect she once did at home or abroad. As many patriots are saying: “Our enemies no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust us!” The “stars and stripes” are being challenged and desecrated by many extremist groups who want to either destroy it – or co-opt it for their own biased and unworthy purposes. But that flag symbolizes our independence and freedom as a people and nation.
Both Biblical and secular history testify to the fact that flags … banners … standards … have always played an important part in a people’s history, ethnicity, culture and national identity. From the verse above you can see how important a “tribal flag” or “family crest” was to the ancient Israelites. They had struggled to maintain their identity as God’s people during their several hundred years of sojourn and slavery in Egypt. Very early into their Exodus, each tribal family group camped “… under his own standard.” It distinguished them as God’s people in general and their tribal family in particular. They were not Egyptians – they were Jews. And the flags of the “Twelve Tribes of Israel” are still much in use in Israel to this day.
Sadly, there were many times in Israel’s history when the Twelve Tribes turned against each other and were guilty of tribal genocide. Much blood was shed as they sought to dominate each other. This tribal and ethnic division increased their idolatry and apostasy – which led to their defeat and loss of their homeland. Ultimately, it led to their dispersion as a people among the nations of the world. This “Jewish Diaspora” continued until the prophesied re-gathering started in1948 when Israel became a sovereign nation again.
Here in America we have been seeing the same racial, ethnic, sexual and social rivalry turn into divisions and demonstrations between Blacks …Whites … Latinos … Asians … Native Americans ... straights … gays … rich … poor. We will soon find out what ancient Israel found out: “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mk. 3:25).
As the maxim says: “If there is one thing we have learned from history – it’s that we haven’t learned from history.” Because of our sin and ignorance, we keep repeating and reliving the evils of history over and over again – leaving more human carnage in our wake.
Our world in general, and the Middle East in particular, is being divided and destroyed by opposing countries and ideologies like ISIS, the PLO, Iran, Syria and Turkey, who each want to destroy Israel.
Add to these regional Middle Eastern flags the Russian and Chinese flags that are aggressively extending their influence locally and globally, and the “Battle of the Flags” intensifies! Both of these countries are seeking to supplant America as the world’s greatest “Super Power.”
But when the curtain of history falls, there will only be one flag left flying – and that will be none of the flags pictured in this email. There will only be one flag hoisted above the universe – God’s flag. This is clearly prophesied in the revelation of the Bible. As you will recall, the ISIS group who was seeking to destroy the children of Israel during the Exodus were the Amalikites. As a result of their hate and hostility toward the Israelites, God said He would “… be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” However, He assured His people that He would ultimately “… blot out the memory of the Amalekites from under heaven.”
You remember the story …
As long as Moses held up his hands with the “rod of God,” the children of Israel prevailed on the battlefield. When his hands got tired and dropped, the Amalikites prevailed and routed the Israelites. So, Aaron and Hur held up Moses' hands and “… Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”
After their defeat under Joshua’s leadership, we read this crucial verse: “Moses built an altar and called it ‘The Lord is my Banner.’” (Ex.17: 8-16). Moses clearly understood where the victory came from. It was “ … not by might, nor power, but by God’s Spirit” (Zech. 4:6). The same is always true in all spiritual warfare – whether on an individual or a national level. And the only hope now for America is that we follow the example of Moses, and rebuild that altar that acknowledges, “The Lord is our Banner!”
The prophet Isaiah saw a vision of God’s Messiah hundreds of years in advance. He would be that unimpressive small “shoot” that would bud from the seemingly dead “ … stump of Jesse.” But, the “Spirit of the Lord would rest on Him – the Spirit of wisdom … understanding … counseling … power … knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Ultimately this, “Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious” (Isa. 11:1-2,10).
The “signs of the times” indicate more and more clearly that we are getting closer to that day of His triumphant return. Then and only then will all of the hostile Antichrist Amalikites of this world be destroyed and Christ will reign supremely and “… His place of rest will be glorious.”
Until then, we can enjoy His true freedom, not through INDEPENDENCE, but through total DEPENDENCE upon His Spirit and Word. And because of His love, mercy and “Amazing Grace,” we can have unbroken fellowship with Him because “… He has taken me to the banquet hall and His banner over me is love!” (Song of Songs 2:4). What a banner of unconditional love under which to live your life!
So, wherever you celebrate this Fourth of July, I hope you will do it proudly under the American flag. As you do so, thank God for the political freedom we still have as Americans. But, more importantly, I hope you will celebrate your spiritual freedom because “The Lord is your Banner” and ”His banner over you is love!” Now that’s something worth celebrating for time and eternity!
FINAL WORD OF CAUTION
Many of our military and law enforcement personnel are warning Americans to be especially careful and “on guard” this weekend. That’s because while we are celebrating our July 4th, Muslims are celebrating their month-long Ramadan – their holy month of fasting that commemorates the reputed revelations of Allah to Mohamed through the angel, Gabriel. This year Ramadan lasts from June 17 – July 17, overlapping our July 4th. As a result, we have the Muslim and American Independence days in direct opposition to each other.
But, this is also the one-year anniversary of the Islamic Caliphate declared by Abu Barkr al Baghdadi, the spiritual and military leader of ISIS. He is promising a ten-fold increase of rewards in paradise for all who die as martyrs in jihad during Ramadan! He has sent out a call for all ISIS members and sympathizers around the world to carry out acts of terror in the name of Allah – especially in Europe and America. There is no more opportune time for them to do this than over the July 4th weekend.
These several factors coming together could well create the conditions for the “perfect storm” as far as Islamic terrorism is concerned. These fanatics will especially look for “soft targets” involving a lot of people that will bring spectaculars results – which they will maximize for their propaganda through the social media.
So, be alert. Be on guard. Be vigilant. Be attentive to the circumstances around you so your celebration will not turn into tragedy.
Finally, I started this op-ed on the American Flag and I want to end there. Just a few days ago, a Christian friend sent me this brief video on the history of our “National Anthem,” The Star Spangled Banner, that you may view by clicking on this link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/YaxGNQE5ZLA.
Don’t let your July 4th weekend go by without taking a few minutes to watch this stirring video. And if you have children or grandchildren, watch it with them. It will give you and your family renewed pride and patriotism as Americans – and new respect for our “Grand Old Flag.”
GOD BLESS AMERICA … OUR GOD IS OUR ONLY HOPE!