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14 July 2013

Ephesians - Part 9 (Armor of God)

Ephesians, chapter 6:
Verses 10-11: 10. Finally, my brethren, be strong [or, empowered] in the Lord, and in the power [or, strength] of his might [ability]. 11. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For me, it is almost unimaginable for a human being to be empowered in the God’s strength. Yet, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26). Devil is more of a transliteration of diabolos, the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word satan (Rv 12:9), meaning adversary. Another word for wiles is trickery. The human nature is adverse to God’s ways, and to avoid the trickery of the human mind we must be empowered with His thoughts and ways.

Whole armor is translated from a single word, used only once outside Ephesians 6: Luke 11:20-23: 20. But if I with the finger (spirit, Mt 12:28) of God cast out devils (Greek - daimon), no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. 21. When a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace: 22. But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divides his spoils. 23. He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathers not with me scatters. In context, Jesus is talking to corrupt leadership about the casting out of unclean spirits (KJ - devils) with the faith (finger) of God. A strong man fully equipped with the armor of God keeps himself (KJ - palace) in peace. There is no way another person can be stronger than you if you are trusting in Christ and not the armor. Jesus said that His grace was sufficient, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2Cor 12:9). Below, we will get into the details of how God’s armor protects us from the diabolos (adversary).

Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world [age], against spiritual wickedness in high places (the heavenlies). [actual Greek] (actual meaning) There are terms in this verse that need to be understood:
Flesh and Blood: Used separately, flesh and blood are symbols of mankind’s way of thinking and understanding. Used together the phrase appears to only apply to a whole person (cf Mt 16:17; Gal 1:16). Our wrestling in the heavenlies, then, is not with other people, but with the inward spiritual wickedness we personally carry.
Principalities (G746) and powers (G1849): Arche (G746) means a commencement, beginning, first and used to represent the rule or authority of a person. The root of exousia (G1849) is exesti (G1832) meaning it is permissible, allowed - permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do anything and includes ability, power, & strength (G1411). The two words combine the idea of “right and might.” Exousia (G1849) is the executive power, while ache (G746) represents the authority granting the power. That which gives to us “right and might” is our knowledge. Man’s way of thinking about God (called the heavenlies) is corrupted; it is labeled as darkness, spiritual wickedness.

These two Greek words are used together in several places to describe outward as well as inward things, but not always translated using the same English words. Colossians 1:16: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: Thrones and dominions, and principalities and powers can be visible and invisible. In the beginning all things were created good and pure, but have been corrupted by man. Colossians 2:14-16: 14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15. And having spoiled [divested self of] principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: The handwriting of ordinances are identified in verses 20-22 as doctrines and commandments of men - their dogma or interpretation of the Bible. The principalities and authorities are the corrupted things we believe and which governs what we do and say. This is especially true in spiritual things. Having been raised under the law, Christ defeated these things in himself as a man, and will eventually defeat them in His followers: 1 Corinthians 15:21-24: 21. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule (G746) and all authority (G1849) and power (G1411).

Colossians 2:9-11: 9. For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Spiritual circumcision removes the sins of the flesh from the heart by the spirit of Christ. This takes place when we make Him the head, and gain ability, power, & strength (G1411) through correct knowledge and principles.

Ephesians 6:13-17:
Verse 13-14: 13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: When a person reaches the state of having on the whole armor of God, they are clothed with the Sun (cf Mal 4:2; Rv 12:1); they are in the stature and fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9). Proverbs 16:3: Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Loins: (symbol of the mind) 1 Peter 1:13: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (Isa 11:1, 5).
Breastplate: Above, it is referred to as the breastplate of righteousness. The details are hidden in the description of the breastplate of the high priest (Ex 28:15-21), called breastplate of judgment, which was made of expensive, very fine linen, dyed blue, purple, scarlet with threads of gold woven through it. It covered his heart. Attached to it were 12 precious stones, on which were inscribed the names of tribes of Israel. Additionally, there are two other stones called Urim and Thummin (Hebrew transliterations).

A stone is a symbol of a spiritual concept (Jesus is the cornerstone - Isa 28:16; Eph 2:20). The 12 precious stones are a metaphor of the truth from the Old Testament writings given to us through the tribes of Israel. It is the spirit of Christ giving us the understanding and wisdom of God contained in the writings. Romans 8:3-4: 3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. On our own, we cannot understand the righteousness contained in the Bible. It requires listening to the still small voice to teach us the spiritual things of the law.

Think of the word “judgment” in the sense of “a determination.” The Urim and Thummin represent the conscience through which God gives us answers to our questions as we study the writings, so that we can make determinations as to how to conduct our lives. Numbers 27:18, 21: 18. And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him... 21. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. In this context, Eleazar is a type for Christ to whom we go for answers to our questions. Joshua is a type for a person listening to the voice of the spirit of Jesus to lead him into the promised land - a spiritual way of thinking.

Here is an example of a person who refuses to obey the voice of the Spirit: 1 Sam 28:6-7: 6. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. 7. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her... Because Saul was disobedient, he lost the crown. Think of the crown as the spiritual riches that Jesus Christ has for every person willing to hear and do as He instructs. Saul is a type of a person who seeks the understanding of someone they know (familiar spirit) among mankind. My desire is to have on the breast plate of the righteousness of Christ.

Feet shod: There is no peace like that which comes from knowing and living the gospel of the cross - love. The feet are a symbol of the direction of your heart. Is your heart feeling after the Lord, or the world? Isaiah 30:1-2: 1. Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: 2. That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Both Moses (Ex 3:4-5) and Joshua (Josh 5:13-15) were told to remove their shoes, as they were on holy ground. Remove the covering you have put on the direction of your thinking, get away from the world’s way of thinking - i.e. so the Lord can cover you with His spirit, His thoughts. Psalms 119:58-59: 58. I entreated thy favor with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word. 59. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
Shield of faith: The shield of a soldier was attached to his arm, and used to protect him from the sword or arrows of the enemy. The faith by which we are shielded is Christ’s (Gal 2:16), which ultimately is truth from the Most High (Ps 91:4-5). The fiery darts are those thoughts generated from our wicked way of thinking, or words of others who come against what the Lord teaches. Psalms 57:4: My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire (Isa 42:24-25), even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. The tongue and teeth form the words we speak. The Lord’s tongue can be a devouring fire (Isa 30:27) that consumes the sin out of the heart; or, man’s can be a tongue of fire, a world of iniquity that defiles their thinking (Jam 3:5-6), or causes blemishes in yourself if you do not shield yourself with the truth.
Helmet of salvation: As a helmet covers & protects the head, so does Christ when He is our head (1Cor 11:3).
Sword of the spirit: A sword is carried on the loins (mind) or in the hand (works). We want to always carry the words Christ speaks to the heart. Revelation 2:16: Repent (change the direction of your thoughts); or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword (word) of my mouth. When we listen and obey the voice of the Lord, He will make our mouths like sharp swords to help others carve away sin.

Close: (Eph 6:18-23) Pray always in the spirit of Christ, and persevere in watching with those of like belief, so that the words to speak may be given to each of us and we may open our mouths boldly to share the mystery of the gospel of the cross of our Lord and Savior, for whom we are all ambassadors. Ephesians 6:24: Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

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