The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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Awake, O Sword, Against My Shepherd
 
By Al Stoner
Part 1

 

“Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the Man that is My fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones” (Zech. 13:7).
  


The sword of reference is the sword of the righteous judgment of God against sin and all unrighteousness.  It would be as the "flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen. 3:24).  It would be as the "glittering sword" of vengeance (Deut. 32:41) whose unleashing is reserved for God’s adversaries.  This sword had been drawn from its scabbard, in limited measure, on countless occasions and was unleashed against Israel, against Judah, against unfaithful shepherds, and against kings and nations.  When it was drawn, it was done so to vindicate God’s holy and righteous character.  He is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and He cannot look upon iniquity (cf. Hab. 1:13). And when this sword of judgment and vengeance was unleashed against God's Shepherd, it was judgment without mercy.  All the fury of God's anger against sin and transgression was vented upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Truly, “the LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9), as the Scripture declares.  He is “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exod. 34:6).  But at the same time He is “the God of glory” (Ps. 29:3; Acts 7:2).  He is not mocked, and will not suffer His Name to be taken in vain (Gal. 6:7; Exod. 20:7). Again He declares: “I am the LORD : that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images” (Isa. 42:8).  We say things things to justify God in all of His ways and doings. 
 
But here in our text from the Prophet Zechariah, the sword of Divine judgment and vengeance is being summoned to awake against God’s Shepherd: not just any shepherd, but against a particular One, even “the Chief Shepherd” (I Pet. 5:4).  This Shepherd is “the Man that is” God’s “Fellow”.  Herein is a wondrous consideration in itself, that a man could even be God’s fellow, His equal (Jn. 5:18; Phil. 2:6), One of the same kind.  But this is Emmanuel, God with us.
  


It is a blessed thing, indeed, to be called “the friend of God” (Jas. 2:23, cf. Isa. 41:8), as Abraham was, but it is quite another matter to be reckoned as God’s “Fellow”.  In the sense spoken of here the God of Heaven only has one “Fellow” His only begotten Son.  With such fellowship, as is between the Father and the Son, there is uninhibited exclusive mutual concourse (cf. Mt. 11:25-27). “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.”  There is an incomparable excellence in perfection in the unity of Their work and purpose.  This is an eternal purpose (Eph. 3:10-11), purposed from the foundation of the world.  And there is love that defines, or is a reference point for all other loves.  “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I Jn. 4:10).   


 This is none other than the Man Christ Jesus, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.  This is He who has been “in the bosom of the Father” (Jn. 1:18), even the Most High God, throughout all eternity. His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Mic. 5:2).
 
The call for the sword of judgment to “awake” against this One indicates to us that it had been silent and sheathed, especially with regard to the Man who is God’s equal.  In Him there was no cause or occasion for this sword to “awake”.  Of this Shepherd it is written, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows” (Heb. 1:9).  He knew no sin, and He did no sin, and of Him it is declared: “The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He (the Lord Jesus Christ) will magnify the law, and make it honourable” (Isa. 42:21).  And we praise God that He who was tempted in all points, like as we are, yet without sin,” has indeed magnified the holy law of God, and made it honourable.  One of our own number has not only kept “the whole law” without offending the Most High even “in one point” (Jas. 2:10), but He has also fulfilled all of the righteous demands of the Holy and Just One for the putting away of iniquity, transgression, and sin from before the face of God forever.  The Lord God looked upon the travail of His soul, as He was bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, and He was satisfied.
 
The summons for this sword of judgment to awake is unique in that, unlike every other occasion of its unleashing, it was here being unleashed against Him who did no sin, even against Him who is God’s fellow.  And it was being unleashed in the behalf of a vast multitude of personalities who stood in dire need of being washed, sanctified, and justified, if they were to abide forever in the Presence of the Holy One.
 
Here is another marvelous consideration.  This One who is God’s Fellow Himself now has a vast number of redeemed personalities who are regarded by Him to be His “fellows” (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9).  John tenderly expressed this thought in his prologue to the Revelation: “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5-6).
 
Let us consider again that it was absolutely necessary that this sword of judgment be summoned to awake against God’s Shepherd.  It was necessary “for our sakes” (I Cor. 9:10).  It was essential in order that God “might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).  It was indispensable for the “bringing” of “many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:10). And it would be by means of this sword that God would destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14).  --Al Stoner

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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).