Reflecting on Scripture with the Armor of the Lord

» Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in reflecting on scripture | 0 comments

Reflecting on Scripture with the Armor of the Lord

What is the armor of the Lord?
Is it for warfare or for priesthood?

Reflecting on scripture by comparing Ephesians chapter six with Leviticus chapter eight, as well as the description of the armor of the Lord with the garments worn by the priests, reveals that they are one and the same. Growing up as a child, I was taught the passage in Ephesians chapter six was referring to Roman armor, as that would be a common point of reference in Paul’s day. However, when comparing this passage with descriptions of the attire of a priest, the similarities are obvious.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, 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 God, 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

Originally uploaded to morguefile.com by ariadna.

Originally uploaded to morguefile.com by ariadna.

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 God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. –Ephesians 6:10-18

Referring back to the garments worn by the priests, we read:

Originally uploaded at morguefile.com by hurley_girlie182.

Originally uploaded at morguefile.com by hurley_girlie182.

And Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. And he put the coat on him and tied the sash around his waist and clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him and tied the skillfully woven band of the ephod around him, binding it to him with the band. And he placed the breastplate on him, and in the breastplate he put the Urim and the Thummim. And he set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden plate, the holy crown, as the LORD commanded Moses. –Leviticus 8:6-9

Comparing the two passages, we can see that:

  • girded loins with truth=sash around his waist
  • breastplate of righteousness=breastplate, which held the Urim and the Thummim and the twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel
  • feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace=feet were washed as part of the preparation for the priest’s duties
  • shield of faith=skillfully woven ephod
  • helmet of salvation=turban with the golden plate, the holy crown
  • sword of the spirit=word of God
  • prayer=incense
Originally uploaded at morguefile.com by Irish_eyes.

Originally uploaded at morguefile.com by Irish_eyes.

All priests carried a very sharp knife which they used to slaughter, in a kosher manner, each animal brought for sacrifice.

Additionally, priestly duties included offering up incense, which was part of the ceremonial ritual before offering the animal on the altar. Incense is a metaphor for prayer throughout the scripture, as we can see from this verse:

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! –Psalm 141:2

Where in the passage does Paul say anything about fighting?

Originally uploaded to morguefile.com by click.

Originally uploaded to morguefile.com by click.

Although there has always been much talk about warfare and fighting when speaking of the “armor of the Lord” referred to in Ephesians six, I think that the truth is, Yeshua (Jesus) already won the battle, and the only thing left for us to do is pray.

Hence, it would be more accurate to say that the passage in Ephesians refers to what a priest, or more accurately, what a king-priest would wear. Since Yeshua (Jesus) is our High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek, and we are to follow His example, it is fitting that we would be clothed in similar attire.

Notice how many times he says, “Stand firm.”

It reminds me of the story of the Israelites at the crossing of the sea, with the Egyptians behind them and the sea in front of them.

Originally uploaded to Wikipedia.org by Aavindraa, 2011.

Originally uploaded to Wikipedia.org by Aavindraa, 2011.

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” –Exodus 14:13-14

Nothing remains for us to do but stand; and, of course, PRAY because that is all we need to do, clothed with the “armor of the Lord,” which is really more appropriately linked to the attire of the priests.

Paul began learning the scriptures at a very young age, and so he well understood the garments of the priesthood. In addition, he was a Roman citizen. Intertwining these two ideas into one, Paul created the perfect word picture for us to understand our role as a believer,

“With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit.”

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