Introducing Raising the Standard 

In the book of Numbers we read how the Israelites travelled through the wilderness. When not on the move, each of the twelve tribes set up camp around the tabernacle (Numbers 1 v 52): three on the north side, three on the south side, three on the east side and three on the west side. In the centre was the tabernacle, or tent of meeting, where God could be approached by those wanting to meet with Him. It was here that His glory rested. Each tribe camped by its banner which marked out a boundary and provided a place of recognition (Numbers 2). In the book of the Song of Songs it says that His banner over us (as Christians) is love, an indication of God's ownership of us and deep love for us. That is where the true Christian wants to remain, in the place of companionship with the Lord and in the company of those who are the Lord's.

When preparing to move, a priest from the family of Aaron would blow one or both of two special silver trumpets depending on who was being summoned to the tent of meeting – the tribal leader or the whole assembly (Numbers 10 vv 3-8). The trumpets would also be blown when the nation was called to battle, on certain festivals and on other special occasions (Numbers 10 vv 9,10). Then whenever the people of Israel journeyed they went in tribal order, headed by the various standards.Later, the prophets speak of another but equally significant standard (literally ensign or sign):“Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry aloud and say, 'Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities'. Lift up a standard toward Zion! Seek refuge, do not stand still, for I am bringing evil from the north and great destruction”. Jeremiah 4 vv 5,6.With these words the prophetic call went out for all those in the vulnerable places of the countryside to go to a place of safety behind city walls.  There was great danger looming and the standard was to rally as many as would listen and to point to where everyone should assemble.  To do nothing was not an advisable option. God had warned the prophet of what was coming: the prophet heard the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war! (Jeremiah 4 vv 19-21). (See also Isaiah 49 v 22; 62 v 10)Jesus in the New Testament spoke of difficult days before His return: nation rising against nation, wars and rumours of wars, famines and earthquakes (Matthew 24 vv 4-7). Paul wrote to Timothy that in the last days perilous times will come (2 Timothy 3 vv 11-13).  We are living in days when the signs of the return of the Lord Jesus are increasingly evident. Yet despite these warnings, the Bible also says that His coming will be at a time when people are not expecting it.  Peace and safety will be the watchwords and the main agendas for people across the globe(1 Thessalonians 5 v 3).  Deception, confusion and lack of direction abound (I Timothy 4 v 1; Matthew 24 vv 3-5; 2 Thessalonians 2 v 3). However the true Christian should not be caught out! (I Thessalonians 5 vv 4-11). There is no need for us to be asleep.What God tells us is similar to what He said to Jeremiah:” lift up a signal in the land” and “proclaim and lift up a standard” (Jeremiah 50 v 2; 51 v 27).  While these two chapters are God's word to Israel regarding the future overthrow of her Babylonian captors, the principles in this command remain relevant today, namely to warn, to alert, to give hope and direction. The call is for all believers to gather together to Him (Genesis 49 v 10), God's word itself being our standard.

There is a need for the people of God to understand the times, to learn to pray together, to move forward, to fight His battles in intercession and spiritual warfare as He directs and to find that place of true safety in Christ.  The aims of Raising the Standard meetings are to do just these things.  

Simon Wyatt

All scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Version.