“Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah” (Psalms 60:4).
Since early times people have displayed flags and various other objects to show their nationality or their allegiances [loyalty and devotion]. A flag is a piece of cloth or bunting, often attached to a staff, with definite colors, patterns, and symbolic devices, used as a national or state symbol, or to indicate membership in an organization; to signal; a banner; standard; ensign (Webster’s New World Dictionary). The term “standard” carries a dual definition. Biblically, it is foremost a flag representing a specific people or nation. However, secondly, it signifies a set of principles. Isaiah spoke of lifting “…up a standard for the people” (Isaiah 62:10), which in the context of the Banner of Truth, signifies the Church Flag, and the Church’s doctrine, the standard of truth. Ensign is used with several meanings and in the proper context means a banner. Banner is always used in the context of a flag. Truth is forever associated with God. One of God’s given names is Jehovah-nissi, the Lord is my banner, making The Church of God flag truly the Banner of Truth.
A Brief History of the Church Flag
In his Annual Address to the Twenty-Eighth Annual Assembly, A.J. Tomlinson dwelt at length on the subject of a Church flag. The following quote is an excerpt from the Minutes of that Assembly of the Questions and Subjects Committee report:
After taking into consideration the section of the General Overseer’s Address referring to a Church flag, we are in one accord with the views expressed by the General Overseer of the adoption of a flag for the Church of God that would be suitable for all nations.
In her book A.J. Tomlinson, Lillie Duggar wrote that the adoption of the flag was accepted unanimously by the General Assembly. She continues by stating that after the acceptance and while the General Overseer was giving some information concerning the flag, there were messages in tongues and interpretations, also manifestations and demonstrations of the mighty Holy Ghost that was in the midst.
In 1993 the Church experienced a disruption which resulted in the reorganization of the Church. The former organization continued as the Church of God of Prophecy and the reorganized Church as The Church of God. Both groups felt that the flag belonged to them. Both groups using the same flag resulted in court litigation. It was determined by a panel of judges that the flag was chattel or property of the former organization, and The Church of God had no rights to its use.
Shortly after the finalization of legal proceedings, a flag committee was appointed. All members of the Church were given the opportunity of submitting a design for consideration. A.J. Tomlinson once said concerning the flag, “If a better or more appropriate design can be found it will be satisfactory to me.” A design was submitted to the ninety-fifth Annual Assembly but did not receive unanimous agreement. However, the Assembly did agree to retire the former flag. At the following Assembly, the Questions and Subjects Committee submitted another flag design which received unanimous agreement after a mighty move of the Holy Ghost, who put His approval upon the design.
An Explanation of the Design
Each of the colors and symbols displayed on the Church flag are significant. The red of the flag represents the blood of our Saviour; the blue represents truth; and the white purity. The purple of the scepter, star, and crown represent royalty or kingship. The white stripes and oval declare the purity of Christ; and they also hold forth the goal of a pure and perfect Church as His Bride. The blue stripes which form a square with openings at the top and bottom represent the fold, or the Church, which is “…the pillar and ground of the truth…” (1st Timothy 3:15). Some Scriptures for study are Genesis 49:10, Numbers 24:17, Psalms 45:6, Matthew 2:2, 10, Revelation 22:16, Isaiah 5:26, Isaiah 49:22, and Isaiah 28:5.
The Flag Pledge
“I pledge allegiance to our Church flag, and to the doctrine for which it stands — one God, one faith, one mind, and one Church for all. Amen.”
We proudly wave and display the banner which God has given to the Church; not with vain pride, but with a worshipful attitude, to be privileged to represent the One who died for us for our salvation. It is advised that every member of the Church display the flag in their homes and on their cars. This gives us an opportunity to testify to inquirers who want to know for what this exclusive banner stands — Christ and His Church.
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