The Armor of Yahweh
Throughout history various types of wars have been fought—some for the establishment of freedom and some for the rule of tyranny. The one consistent element in these wars (and even during times of peace) is the conflict everyone has to face on a daily basis, the war of and for the mind. Paul understood this clearly and even included his thoughts on the matter in Ephesians 6:10-17. He knew the fight which we face is not against the physical that we can touch and feel, but is against the unseen forces of evil and all its many devices that try to ravish our minds and cause us to turn from Yahweh.
Paul also understood that for any member in this great fight to succeed, he or she needs to be equipped to fight the evil and protect against it. But what equipment does one need to defend and attack evil? Paul, who was under Roman guard when he wrote the Book of Ephesians, saw their armor and Roman weapons and drew a correlation between the physical armor to the armor we are to put on spiritually. This armor is not from ourselves, but is the armor of Yahweh.
Looking through Ephesians 6:13-17 we find what kind of armor we need and what importance each piece is to our spiritual battle. “Therefore put on the full armor of Elohim, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the good news of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Elohim.”
The Belt of Truth
The Roman soldier’s belt served a two-fold purpose. One was for defense through the use of leather strips that hung in the front of the belt to protect the lower part of the body. The second was to hold the soldier's sword in its scabbard. But what does a belt have to do with truth?
Yahshua defined truth in John 17:17 when he prayed his prayer to Yahweh, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” What Yahweh says is truth. His precepts, His commandments, His promises are all final and complete truth since Yahweh cannot and will not lie. If we are to be effective in our struggle against evil we must bind truth around us, just as we would a belt. We can't just sort of know the truth, but we must constantly be striving to understand Yahweh and His words through the Scriptures.
The danger of not knowing the difference between truth and error is that you become a person with no stability or character, and become open to Satan's attacks. James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask Yahweh who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from Yahweh. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
Now James is referring to faith in prayer, but the same can be said about our knowledge of Yahweh's Word and His truth. If we don't know what is true then when we hear some new idea from someone we will wonder if that idea is true. Then we will hear another idea from someone else and wonder if that idea is true, too. It turns into a seesaw effect where you are constantly going back and forth and never stable.
Learn what is true and don't let it go. Bind it around you and let it protect you against Satan's constant attacks. Without this critical element in our armor, the belt of truth, there will be weaknesses. Gird up your loins and wear your belt.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate for the soldier was the main part of his armor. Without a breastplate the soldier would be open to attacks to the vital organs of his body. With a breastplate, though, the soldier could withstand the blows from his enemy that got through his defenses and be able to live longer in the battle. But what does a breastplate have to do with righteousness?
Righteousness is defined in Deuteronomy 6:24-25, “Yahweh commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear Yahweh our Elohim, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before Yahweh our Elohim, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Yahweh didn't enact His laws so that we might be miserable, but to protect us and so that we would have more fulfilling lives. If we go against His commands we put ourselves in harm’s way because of sin's consequences.
Righteousness, being obedient to Yahweh's commandments, keeps us from constantly suffering from our mistakes, since Yahweh tells us what we should and shouldn't do. Righteousness will deliver from great suffering, as it says in Proverbs 11:4, “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” Keep your breastplate on and protect yourself with Yahweh's words.
Feet Fitted with Good News
When Paul is physically describing feet fitted with righteousness he is referring to shoes. Ephesians 6:15: “And your feet shod with the preparation of the good news of peace.” Naturally shoes played a vital role in a soldier's armor because shoes are used to protect one's feet. It would be silly to have a warrior charging into battle, sword swinging, only to have him step on something sharp so that he can barely walk. The question though is what do shoes have to do with readiness and the Good News of peace?
First, what is the Good News? The Good News is salvation—salvation from death through Yahshua and then onward to inherit the kingdom of Yahweh which will come down to earth. Yahweh's grace is given to us now so that we might have a chance to repent from our sins and come to Him. This Good News, the knowledge of salvation and Yahweh's grace, must not be kept to ourselves but proclaimed to the world.
In Mark 16:15 Yahshua said, “Go into all all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” He commanded us that we must not just keep what we know to ourselves, but that we must share it with others. By having our spiritual shoes on, we can move more easily when we share the Good News. Paul in his day physically walked, traveled, and sailed thousands of miles in the pursuit of spreading the Word of salvation to the nations. We don't necessarily have to do that, with the wonders of the Internet and faster transportation, but are we at least doing our part in spreading the Word of salvation? We must put on our “shoes” and walk steadily toward the goal of the Kingdom, and also share with others the great and awesome plan of Yahweh.
Shield of Faith
Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The evidence is Yahshua's resurrection and how Yahweh helps us on a daily basis. We weren't there when Yahshua was raised from the dead, nor can we see exactly how Yahweh affects our lives, but these things did and do happen. The greater our belief in Yahweh's awesome power, the more we will be able to protect ourselves from Satan's attacks.
Belief and faith connect us to Yahweh. In Matthew 14, when Yahshua walked on water, Peter was able to walk on the water also when Yahshua called for him to come, but when Peter got fearful, he started to sink. How many times do we forget that Yahweh can truly do all things, and that there is nothing out of His grasp to do? Satan will see our doubts and fears and will attack us at once, like a ferocious lion, and without our absolute faith in Yahweh's power to help us in any situation we will get hurt.
Paul said in Ephesians 6:16 that we must take up the shield of faith. This requires action, just as does pursuing faith. James 2:17 says, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” Let’s take a stand and live a life of faith through our works. Take up your shield of faith and use it.
The Helmet of Salvation
The helmet, of course, was used by the Roman soldier to protect his head. A soft blow to any part of the body may not cause instant death, but most strong blows to the head in a deadly battle will mean demise for the warrior. The head must be protected during battle, but what does it have to do with salvation?
Salvation is Yahshua and what he did for us. We were all born into sin, destined for death, but with Yahshua there is a difference. We read in Romans 6:23,“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of Yahweh is eternal life in Messiah Yahshua our Master.” Yahshua died for us; he took that penalty of sin upon himself so that we could be saved from ultimate death. This death is not the first death of the flesh, but the final death that will happen during the judgment of all creation. Through Yahshua we are saved from death, and we must constantly be focusing on this.
The head is where all the thinking is done. If our head is thinking wrong then we will do wrong, and wrong thinking is so prevalent in society. How many times during the day are we bombarded with wickedness and bad thinking? We need to fill our minds with good things, as Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
The sacrifice that Yahshua gave for us, his very life, should be at the forefront of our minds at all times. Because we know what the cost was for our salvation we would never want to trample upon Yahshua’s sacrifice with our sins. We constantly need to remind ourselves of this so we don't sin. Yahshua's precious blood was shed for mankind. Protect your minds, and put on your helmet of salvation, the salvation of Yahshua.
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of Yahweh
The final piece of the armor is the sword, which was the main defensive weapon for the Roman soldier. This type of sword was called a gladius. It was double-edged, and when sharpened was able to pierce most armor. Without a sword the soldier was just a walking piece of armor not able to attack the enemy. But how can a sword be related to Yahweh's word?
The Word of Yahweh, which was spoken of earlier, is truth. This can be verified by looking at John 17:17, which says, “Sanctify them in the truth, Your word is truth.” Yahweh's Word, His truth, is our attacking weapon because it attacks falsehood and lies. Yahweh's Word is able to cut through lies and deceit, just like a sword. Hebrews 4:12 reads, “For the word of Elohim is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
When Yahshua was confronted by Satan after his 40-day fast (Matthew 4:1-11), Satan misquoted some Scriptures. Matthew 6:5-6 reads: “Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of Elohim, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will command his angels concerning You; and on their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Satan was misquoting Psalm 91:11-12, but Yahshua in turn quotes real Scripture, real truth. Yahweh's word, the sword, gets to the heart of the matter, and can discern between what is right and what is not, and attacks evil and lies.
All of these pieces of armor, when put on, provide an unstoppable defense against Satan. Each piece plays a different role in our spiritual life, but each one is important—just just like the Body, where each member is fitly framed and put together to form the Body. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12, every member, although some may not seem as important as others, is important.
Focus on all of these pieces of armor that Yahweh provides for us and take up your fight against evil for the glory of Yahweh in Messiah Yahshua.
by Joel Wirl
by Joel Wirl