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Jehovah Nissi, which means “The LORD is My Banner,” is the name Moses gave the altar to honor the victory of Israel.
We know many different names of God. One of His names that stand out is Jehovah Nissi. Jehovah Nissi comes from the book of Exodus, right after God helped Israel’s spies win their first fight after leaving Egypt. After the battle, Moses worshipfully erected an altar to honor the victory. Jehovah Nissi, which means “The LORD is My Banner,” is the name he gave the altar. Read the article to learn more about Jehovah Nissi.
What does Jehovah Nissi Mean?
Translation of Jehovah Nissi
Jehovah means “The Living One” or “Lord.” Jehovah is derived from the word “Havah,” which is the Hebrew word for “to be” or “to exist.” It also implies “to become,” or more precisely, “to become known.” Jehovah points to a God who is constantly making Himself known.
The Hebrew origin of Nissi is nes (nês), meaning “flag.” Nes can mean a flagpole or a pole with an emblem on it. Put together, Jehovah Nissi means “the Lord is my banner.”
In the wake of the plagues in Egypt, Moses and the Israelites were on their way to Mount Sinai to worship God. During their roughly two-month trek, God miraculously provided for and protected them. They were ambushed by the Amalekites while camped in Rephidim. In the Negev and on the Sinai peninsula lived a tribal group who traced their ancestry back to Esau.
The two priests, Aaron and Hur, joined Moses towards the peak. The Israelite soldiers might have spotted Moses, Aaron, and Hur as they prepared for combat under the leadership of a new general named Joshua. None of the soldiers had a chance to look around before the first battle cry sounded, and the enemies began fighting. But when Moses lifted his hands over the battlefield, Israel gained the upper hand.
Moses, who was old and not physically fit, slumped and lowered his hands to his sides as the conflict continued. As soon as word of the Israelite victory spread, the Amalekites mobilized and advanced on them. When Aaron and Hur saw what was occurring, they rushed to Moses’ side, where they helped him sit on a nearby boulder before raising his arms over the fray once more. While doing so, the Israelite fighters united around Joshua, gaining strength and inspiring fear among the Amalekites.
Aaron and Hur held Moses’ arms up all day and nighttime. Like Moses did for the people, they raised him before God. However, Israel’s people won the war when it came to that particular battle. Moses erected an altar in gratitude to God, who had saved them from their enemies. He called it Jehovah Nissi. He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16). He recognized that it was only with God’s help that they were able to win. They wanted the altar to be a permanent reminder of that.
What is the Significance of God’s Banner
Throughout history and until the present day, flags and banners have served as a means of proclamation and a focal point for unification. They represent a group’s shared values and goals as a whole. The right to fly one’s flag proudly and have it respected by others is an issue close to the hearts of many. The flag or banner would represent the group’s ideals and values through a design created specifically for them.
During their journey, God commanded the Israelites to set up camp around the Tent of Meeting, with three tribes on each side. They always set up camp in the same sequence, in the same general area, and under the same standard. Their standard and banners announced who they were.
Often located on a prominent hilltop, they served as a vital gathering point for troops during battle. The standard, flag, or banner was set in the ground to signify victory when the new territory was conquered or when the old territory was recaptured.
God is called Jehovah Nissi in the Bible, which means “Lord, our banner,” to emphasize His role as the mighty protector of Israel. God is their strength in war, their source of inspiration, and the foundation of who they are.
Bible Verses about Jehovah Nissi
And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is My Banner (Exodus 17:15)
You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners. (Song of Solomon 6:4)
What is the Importance of Jehovah Nissi Today
During spiritual battles
Jehovah Nissi is important as we face our spiritual battles. When we consider God in prayer and meditate on Him as Jehovah Nissi, we are raising our hands to the God who, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, has given us the power to live as conquerors rather than losers. All of our sins are forgiven when we put our faith in Jesus and accept His death as payment in full. Thanks to Jesus, death and the devil are no longer victorious. He triumphed over evil and it is through Him that we have victory over it as well.
In the Bible, Amalek sought to hijack Israel’s destiny and wipe them off the map. In the same way, we are all engaged in a spiritual fight in which the enemy seeks to take the future that God has planned for us. Like Joshua, we have been given a weapon to defend ourselves spiritually. With it, we can do as well against our enemies today as he did against Israel’s enemy. We must remember that the Word of God is our weapon. Jesus endured temptation in the wilderness before the start of His ministry. Even though the devil may try to speak lies over our lives, we have the power of God’s word to counteract them.
Witnesses of the Gospel
Moses was also able to appeal to God’s will for his people by raising the staff of God. It symbolizes his position as leader of God’s anointed people. Under the new covenant, we are also chosen people who can set an example. We plead the Cross to those who do not believe, but “to us who are being rescued.” All our sins have been forgiven, and we have been delivered from the dominion of death and its sting by Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.
Community and prayer
When Moses became weary or exhausted, he could always count on Aaron and Hur to be by his side to lend a helping hand. There will be moments when we need to call on the help of others so that they can share our burden and help us bear it. Relationships, including friends who may be called upon as prayer partners, are something that everyone needs. There is strength in numbers; therefore, we need friends and a community to whom we can confess our struggles and admit our frailties to pray together.
Prayer to Jehovah Nissi
Jehovah Nissi, thank you that you are a God who protects and delivers. During the days I am completely helpless, I remember Your gift of salvation and rejoice in Your triumph. Through Your love and ultimate sacrifice, I am saved and have the assurance of eternal life. Only in You, Jesus, can I find everlasting love and acceptance.
You are my source of strength whenever I feel discouraged and defeated. Your love is a flag over me in my adversity. As I tread this broken world, may you supply me with the courage to persevere. May I always operate from the victory of your work in the Cross. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
God is called Jehovah Nissi in the Bible, which means “Lord, our banner,” to emphasize His role as the mighty protector of Israel. God is their strength in war, their source of inspiration, and the foundation of who they are. After encountering Him in battle, Moses and the Israelites learned that Yahweh Nissi was their Lord. To them, He represented triumph and a source of inspiration.
Because we only know such things when forced and desperate, discovering God as Jehovah Nissi is always a struggle. It takes suffering to teach us to call out to God, who is ultimately victorious. It is in this conflict that we encounter Christ. We realize our desperate need for salvation and humble ourselves before the cross as we gaze upon Jesus, who was lifted to take the punishment for our sins.
The acceptance of Jesus is our first major win and point of unity. But the only way to mature as a Christian is to grow in Him. The key is to deeply know and love the One who is our triumph. Re-committing ourselves anew each day to Christ as our rallying point is essential.
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