I named this blog “Adonai Nissi,” the Lord my Banner. A banner is a standard that gets lifted up. This name for Yeshua (Adonai Nissi) is first found in Exodus 17. Moses found victory over Amalek and his army when he held up his staff as a banner. Of course, he couldn’t do it on his own, but Moses recognized that the victory was the Lord’s.
The Hebrew word for banner (H5251) is נֵס pronounced “nays”. This word is translated standard, signal, pole, ensign, banner, sign, and sail.
Yeshua means deliverer or salvation in Hebrew. There is no other means that man might be saved. Yeshua said about himself in John 12:32 that if He was lifted up, He would draw all men unto himself.
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
This scripture is a fulfillment of that prophesied about Yeshua in Isaiah 11:10:
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.
It is interesting to me that John 3:16 is quoted so often, but John 3:14 is glossed over. I see John 3:14 as an amazing expression of the expression of God’s love for us.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”
This passage is making reference to Numbers 21. In the context of the scripture, the Israelites have a complaint against the character of God and of Moses. Interestingly, this was directly after the Israelites made a vow to God and the Lord gave them victory over their Canaanite enemies. They named the place of victory, Chormah, meaning “devotion”. If you read Numbers 21 in isolation, the curse that came seems severe. When you flip back through the chapters in Numbers and Exodus and count the number of times the people of Israel complained, you’ll see that God was longsuffering. The Israelites continued to eat from the wrong tree, believing they knew what was good, apart from relationship with God. They were poisoned in their thinking and their speaking.
The curse that came their way was the following in Numbers 21:6:
The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.
What is interesting in this text is that the Hebrew that has been translated as “fiery serpent” is the Hebrew word שָׂרָף(saraph), which means burning one and translated as seraphim other places. In the context of scripture, seraphim were to be feared as they normally were seen in the context of judgment (see Isaiah 6).
As the people repented, and Moses stood in the gap as prophet and priest, Yeshua provided the people a means of deliverance, foreshadowing his death on a cross/pole/tree. Bronze is a color/material usually used in the context of judgment.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”
And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.
This death was to fulfill the death penalty that each of us deserved.
If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A *TREE”—
Yeshua became a curse for us in every sense of the word, that we might receive every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). He was cut off so that we might be restored and come into fullness of life.
Notice that they those who had bitten into the wrong tree, received life when they saw someone else become a curse in their place. Obviously the fiery serpent was a type of the one who was to come, but it points to the fact that only God can make a way to save us.
Yeshua and the standard (the cross), become a place where a divine exchange happens as a measure of both the mercy and grace of God. Where we exchange death for life.
How do we lift Him up?
I lift him up when I recognize him as the one who saved me from all the fiery serpents from my rebellion, vows, and complaints. I lift him up when I recognize that he is responsible for every single victory in my life. I lift him up when I recognize that He is my banner. I lift him up when I recognize and remember that I am saved by grace through faith (it has nothing to do with my works). I lift him up when I testify about the power of his bloodline to redeem mine and yours. I lift him up when I recognize his goodness, and love. I lift him up when I think about all he’s done for me.
Is the Lord your Banner? Lift him up in the meditations and thankfulness of your heart.
As we ascend in our meditations, we can’t help but get wrapped around the vine…