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dreamstime s 21348108 300When we are asked to do something or to believe something in regards to Scripture, we should always be like the Bereans and test everything against Scripture itself (Acts 17:11)... the whole of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If a person feels "led by the spirit" to speak, behave, or believe a certain way, they should test that spirit (1 John 4:1) to determine whether or not that spirit is in agreement with Scripture.

Let us take a journey together through Scripture and see what it says about the matter of the armor of G-d.  As we go, may we say, believe, and do what is right, be merciful in our speech and actions, and walk humbly with the Lord (Micah 6:8).

Included in this article are references to all verses in Scripture that include references to the armor of G-d. If you find a verse we did not include and think it should be, please contact the author.

Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted. Bolded text or other emphases in the Scriptural references are the author's.

 

Ephesians 6

Ephesians 6 is the reference to the "armor of G-d" that will likely be the most familiar to believers:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of G-d, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of G-d, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of G-d. (Ephesians 6:10-17)

 

This passage outlines the pieces of armor.  Christian tradition lists them in this manner:
  1. The belt of truth
  2. The breastplate of righteousness
  3. Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace
  4. The shield of faith
  5. The helmet of salvation
  6. The sword of the Spirit

 

We'll first consider the armor as a group, and then we can examine the individual components.

There are six pieces of armor. In Hebrew symbology six is the number of incompletion, imperfection, and, therefore, of man.  This implied imperfection does apply to the armor rather it applies to the wearer: mankind. There is only a single offensive weapon, the sword (the Word of G-d), which we see Messiah use when He is tempted by HaSatan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13).

 

Physical or Spiritual?

When we consider Messiah's temptation, we should be aware that it was a spiritual contest, not a physical one. This fits well with Paul's comments in verse 12:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

 

Since our struggle is not against flesh and blood, then we should think of armor for spiritual battle rather than armor for physical battle.  Paul's point that our struggle is against spiritual forces should guide us to the image of spiritual armor.

Let's examine both.

 

RomanromanArmor

It is interesting that the "armor of G-d" is often pictured by a Roman soldier's armor (watch this video on YouTube or click on the image to the right to enlarge it).  Paul was writing to the Gentile congregation in Ephesus, a city in the Roman province of Asia Minor.  They would have known the Roman soldier's attire and possibly looked at them as the embodiment of physical military power.

Before he lists the items of armor, Paul exhorts the Ephesians, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." (Ephesians 6:10)  Paul may have intended to draw upon this physical imagery to encourage the believers in Ephesus to become spiritually powerful by putting on the armor of G-d.  This Roman equipment, however, is not spiritual armor.  What other, more spiritual armaments could we examine?

Israelite

Instead of a Roman soldier, we might ponder the alternate image of a Levitical priest: in this specific example, the kohen hagadol [the high priest].  He wears all the armor described in the Ephesians passage but, while it is still physical, this is "armor" for spiritual matters:priestArmor

  1. The belt of truth
  2. The breastplate of righteousness
  3. Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (i.e. uncovered, walking in holiness, unguarded)
  4. The shield of faith (G-d is our strength and our shield: Psalm 28:7)
  5. The helmet of salvation- the miter (white, symbolizing purity) and the gold plate (also symbolizing purity) on which is written "Holy to YHVH."
  6. The sword of the Spirit- the Word of G-d

 

Let's examine each of the pieces in a bit more detail:

Torah Portion

נח (Noach)

 

 

or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Shabbat, 1 Cheshvan, 5778

Saturday, October 21, 2017

 

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