II. A BANNER TO THE PEOPLES
AND A STANDARD TO THE NATIONS
Through the restoration of Israel, Christ will become a banner to the peoples and a standard to the nations. We need to consider the distinction between a banner and a standard. In order to understand the biblical truths, we need to understand the proper meaning of the words used in the Bible. Isaiah 11 describes the scene of a recovery, a revival, a restoration. When the peoples see such a restoration, they will ask, "What is this? Who is carrying this out?" This is why there is the need to put up a banner full of explanation, description, and instruction. This convinces people, convicts people, and captures people. This banner becomes a magnet. It is very magnetic. In the restoration, there will also be the need of a standard to call the people and to gather the people. Thus, in Isaiah 11 the banner is mentioned first and then the standard. The banner is mainly for designation, explanation, and instruction, and the standard is mainly for calling and gathering. The standard is placed as the central object of the called and gathered people.
In our church life, when the Christ among us grows bigger and bigger, eventually we have Him as the banner. This grown up Christ becomes a banner to describe, to designate, and to explain. Christ as the banner instructs people concerning the revival and restoration in the church. This banner will be a great magnet, a great attraction. It will become very magnetic. Actually, this great magnet is also a standard which draws people, attracts people, calls people, collects people, and gathers people.
Wherever Christ is exalted and taken as the central object for His seeking ones to be gathered to, there is the return of God’s people and the submission of the subdued ones. The church life then becomes an attraction, not by the church itself but by Christ as the twig to become the banner and as the branch to become the standard. We need to see why Isaiah couples Christ as the twig and the branch with Christ as the banner and the standard. When we have Christ as a twig growing among us, this growing up twig becomes a banner, which describes, explains, designates, and even gives some instructions concerning what Christ is to the church. The same Christ is also a branch growing up to be a standard.
A. A Banner to the Peoples
Christ is a banner to all the peoples. Isaiah 11:10 says, "And in that day the root of Jesse, / Who stands as a banner to the peoples— / Him will the nations seek, / And His resting place will be the glory." The root of Jesse indicates the same human royal source as that of the twig in verse 1. David is this human royal source. The word stands indicates being full of strength and ability. Christ stands full of strength and ability as a banner to the peoples.
A banner, probably being the enlargement of the twig in verse 1, indicates an ensign as a gathering and collecting mark. The Hebrew word for banner in verse 10 may also be translated as ensign (ASV) or signal (NASB). Christ as a banner is the gathering and collecting mark to the peoples of the earth. The phrase to the peoples in verse 10 indicates to all the people of the earth.
Him will the nations seek indicates that all the nations of the earth will turn to Him and be willing to be His people. The day will come when all the peoples on this earth will turn to seek after Christ and will be happy to be His people. We are expecting that day.
His resting place will be the glory indicates that the divine glory of God will be Christ’s resting place. The divine glory will be His bed, His sofa, His resting place. This indicates that the divine glory is one with Christ. The divine glory being His resting place implies His divinity, which means that He and God are one. Actually, the banner to the peoples is God Himself.
(Life-Study of Isaiah, Chapter 39, by Witness Lee)