Well, because there is Scriptural basis, complimented by abundant symbolism in color and movement, and because worship is part of our spiritual warfare arsenal.
Synonyms for flags include banner, sign, signal, standard, standard-bearer, and symbol. While flags as we know them today are not mentioned specifically in Scripture, the present day versions are adapted from the standards that were raised over each camp.
(Numbers 1:52) The people of Israel shall pitch their tents by their companies, each man in his own camp and each man by his own standard.
The use of flags invites others to engage in worship in a different way than lifting hands, singing, or dancing because it is a visual representation of what is occurring in the spiritual realm. Flags can be used as an offering to God, to change the atmosphere, to decree a thing, to replace the spirit of heaviness, to lead into battle, for protection, and they can be used in the ministries of edification, healing, and restoration.
(Romans 12:1-2) I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c]but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]
As we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, there are various ways this can be done. Some see this as walking in obedience through differing physical and spiritual disciplines, while others view this concept more through a lens of a physical expression of praise and worship (i.e. singing, playing a musical instrument, dance, art, flagging, etc).
Flags are Instruments of Worship
Flags are similar to instruments in that they are used as worship tools. As such, one can infer that flags are to lead in worship and spiritual warfare just as musicians do (2 Chronicles 5:12-14, Psalm 68:25). As flags are waved in God’s presence, it is desired that the act be not only a testimony to those around, but even more so, that it be received as a fragrant offering to our Lord (2 Corinthians 2:15-16a).
(2 Chronicles 5:12-14) and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; 13 and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised,with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,
“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever,”
the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
(Psalm 68:25) the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them virgins playing tambourines:
(2 Corinthians 2:15-16a) For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
Within the framework of personal worship, there is a natural outflow that will impact our surroundings. Therefore, the use of flags can change the atmosphere; a shift in the spiritual realm that can be sensed but is beyond the experience or limitations of the physical realm. The flowing of the panels in a flag can also be considered a pictorial reminder of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the sound of a mighty wind at the time of Pentecost (Acts 2:2).
(Acts 2:2) And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
What Happens When Flags are Used During Worship?
On two separate occasions, I’ve heard reports back of intercessors experiencing visions related to specific locations and flags that I previously waved in each place. I had gone early to wave a Lion of Judah flag throughout the Sanctuary/Worship Center prior to others arriving. A report of someone seeing a vision of Jesus walking through and touching people during the service followed. Weeks later, I waved a flag that has a gold panel and a rainbow panel which is named His Presence/Shekhinah on the platform near the drums. Again, this was done as an act of preparation without any fanfare or public awareness. Later, the report came back that someone had seen a vision of Jesus standing there with rainbow colors all around saying, “Yes, I am here.” I received these reports as God validating what I was doing in private through the use of flags to prepare an atmosphere for others of encountering the Living God.
Like all other instruments of worship, it is not the flag creating the change, rather it is partnering with what God is already doing through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in such a context, flags can also be used to decree a thing within God’s will and tear down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Matthew 18:18-20).
(2 Corinthians 10:3-4) For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but havedivine power to destroy strongholds.
(Matthew 18:18-20) Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[a] in heaven.19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Waving a flag can result in a personal shift from being burdened by a spirit of heaviness to entering into His courts with praise. The fabric of the flag in this instance becomes a physical reminder of the garment of praise in Isaiah 61:3.
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
I’ve had so many say to me that they were glad they came to flag practice because it renewed their spirit after a difficult day or week.
Flags in the Bible
When comparing current day flags to tribe standards or banners, we must consider their use in battle. The Lord Himself is our Banner (Exodus 17:15) and He trains our hands for war and our fingers for battle (Psalm 18:34, Psalm 144:1). While we do not war against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), and while the battle is the Lord’s (2 Chronicles 20:15, 1 Samuel 17:47), we partner with Him in obedience and put our faith into action.
When He directed armies of the Old Testament into battle, there were protocols to be followed (see Numbers 4, Numbers 10, and Deuteronomy 20). The banners led the procession to announce the tribe or camp. It is interesting to note that not only were the Israelites instructed to encircle those that they were overtaking (Deuteronomy 20:12, Joshua 5:13-6:2), but God also instructed that the Levites would camp around the tabernacle to protect the people from God’s wrath (Numbers 1:51-53).
Flags can also be used to encourage the Body of Christ and non-believers alike when they are used to minister in acts of physical healing. While healing can occur spiritually and emotionally as well, the physical is an observable manifestation of the power of God who is our Healer (Psalms 103:2-3).
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
If you have been asking God for renewal, revival, or a deepened worship experience whether privately or corporately as a church body, flags may be a way He is trying to usher in more of His Presence. If you serve in a leadership capacity, I would encourage you to consider how to incorporate and establish this powerful tool and instrument as part of your overall worship ministry.
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