No, not that one. The one to which I am referring has on a white field, a blue canton with a red Latin cross. Although not universally accepted, this is commonly referred to as the Christian flag. According to the source of all sources, Wikipedia, it was created in 1897 on Coney Island, NY, by a Charles C. Overton when he gave a lecture on what a flag representing Christianity might look like. As implied by the white field, it is a flag of surrender, the surrender of self to the LORD. That surrender leads to an everlasting victory.
There is a precedent for flags in the Bible. The LORD commanded Israel in Numbers 2 that “Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard, beside the emblems of his father’s house”. Later in Numbers 10 the LORD commanded each of the armies of the tribes of Israel to be led out by its standard. Vexillology, or the study of flags, tells us a “standard” is a type of flag. There are many references to standards in the Old Testament, likewise there are many references to banners and ensigns, other forms of flags. In Exodus 17, we are told of the LORD commanding Moses to name an altar erected in memory of a victory over Amalek “Jehovahnissi”, or “The-LORD-Is-My-Banner”. Interestingly, there are no references to any of these three terms in the New Testament. One might assume this is related to the transition from the physical kingdom of Israel with its tribal ties to a specific ethnic group to the spiritual kingdom of Christ and God whose subjects are drawn from all peoples of the earth.
Does this preclude our use of such a physical symbol today? In my humble estimation, I would say no, so long as such a symbol does not become a focal point in worship the way the golden calves of both Aaron and Jeroboam were created as substitutes for the LORD. Just as Americans don’t look at Old Glory and say “this is my Nation”, I can’t imagine anyone looking at the Christian flag and saying “this is my God”.
As a Veteran, I recognize the power of a flag. I sometimes choke up during the singing of the National Anthem when I see the American flag flying and think of all the men and women who died serving under that flag. The banner we call the Christian flag, to my knowledge has never flown over any temporal battles. It’s mainly relegated to the safe confines of church buildings.
My friends, we are at war today and our enemies demand the destruction of the Christian faith. We live in a time when a militant element from another faith is engaged in deadly combat with those who do not accept their radical positions. They have destroyed sites of religious and historical significance in their endeavor. At home we fight a different enemy that seeks not to take our lives, but to suppress our faith. They have decimated institutions of learning and cast God from their midst. We cower to them and have moments of silence instead of prayers at public functions. We forsake our traditions and accept their progress.
So I issue you a challenge, a call to muster under the aforementioned unofficial banner referred to as the Christian flag. We who claim Christ are commanded to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6) and be good soldiers of Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 2:3). Are we willing to fly this physical banner to signify which side of this spiritual battle we are on? It can be a bumper sticker on your car or a flag on your porch or on the back of your pickup. It can be as simple as changing the picture on your social media pages. Let’s take the Christian flag from beside the pulpit and fly it as the battle flag that it should be.