What is promised in this life for Christians?
In brief, and diametrically opposite from the message of preachers who broadcast a prosperity gospel, the Word of God states that Christians who run the race of faith in the appropriate manner will be subjected to trials and testing in this life (Matthew 5:10-12; 10:34-39; Luke 12:51-53; Acts 5:41; Romans 5:3; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Philippians 1:29; 3:10; James 1:2, 3; 1 Peter 1:6; 2:19; 3:14, 16; 4:14, 16; 5:10; Revelation 1:9), not material gain; but, with an imperishable reward that will be acquired at the Judgment Seat of Christ and which will extend into and throughout the Messianic Era, the age to come. Such trials and testing may be as moderate as being shunned by both non-Christians and Christians alike or the self-imposed divestment of various worldly benefits, even to the severity of being tortured or put to death for one’s beliefs. And such will be the case for committed Christians because this world is still under the rule of the “god (Satan) of this age” and world, the “wicked one” (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19). Only Christians who are properly prepared, who are “strong in the Lord and the power of His might,” who have put on the “whole armor of God” and who “fight the good fight of faith” (Ephesians 5:10-18; 1 Timothy 6:12) will be able to stand against such trials and testing. And for those, Christians who persevere in the faith and suffer with Christ and are thereby successful in the “spiritual warfare,” their reward at Christ’s Judgment Seat will be to be taken from the Body of Christ, to become part of the Bride of Christ and to rule and reign with Him in His soon to be established kingdom during the Messianic Era (Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 1:7; 4:10, 11; 2 Timothy 2:12; 1 Peter 4:13; 5:1; James 1:12; Revelation 1:26; 21; 19:7, 8; 20:4-6; 22:12).
For further insight into this spiritual warfare review the following:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places [against the spirit forces of wickedness in heavenly places].
Christians are presently engaged in a battle against powerful angelic rulers in the spirit world. These angels, ruling in the kingdom of Satan, are striving for the souls of men; and the outcome of this conflict, like any conflict, is determined by proper or improper preparation as one engages the enemy.
A properly prepared Christian can enter the conflict and consistently win battle after battle, but an improperly prepared Christian entering the conflict can only experience defeat time after time.
Victory is achieved through engaging the enemy within the framework of the Lord’s instructions in Ephesians 6:10ff. A Christian though who engages the enemy after any other fashion is entering the conflict apart from the Lord’s instructions, leaving himself in a very vulnerable position, one in which the enemy can consistently achieve victory.
Thus, in this respect, victory on the one hand or defeat on the other is determined by the Christian’s preparation for the conflict at hand. A Christian can either heed the Lord’s instructions or he can ignore the Lord’s instructions. There is no middle ground (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23). The former will produce readiness for battle and result in victory, but the latter will leave the Christian very vulnerable to attack and can only result in defeat.
Victory for the Christian will actually be determined by how badly he wants to win. The overriding thought in Ephesians has to do with individuals being saved for a revealed purpose. Christians have been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) in order to realize an inheritance in heavenly places (1:3, 11, 18; 2:6, 7; 3:1-6). The task of a pastor-teacher is to lead Christians into a mature knowledge of this inheritance, a mature knowledge of the things surrounding the purpose for their salvation (4:11ff), resulting in their being filled with the Spirit (5:18ff) and being able to engage the enemy after the fashion given at the end of this epistle (6:10ff).
How badly do Christians really want to achieve victory over the enemy and one day realize the proffered inheritance with God’s Son? That is the question that will determine what a Christian does about the Lord’s instructions concerning proper preparation for the battle at hand.
Confronting the Enemy
Knowing one’s enemy and his objective is all-important when one enters into a battle. The enemy, in this case, is identified in very graphic terms at the outset of the Lord’s instructions, and the enemy’s objective is a major subject of Scripture. Christians are to be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might”; and they are to properly clothe themselves with provided armor as they move about in this fashion (being strong in the Lord, relying upon His power and might) in order that they might be able “to stand against the wiles of the devil” (vv. 10, 11). And the crafty ways that Satan uses as he lies in wait to deceive are brought to pass through the actions of powerful fallen angels, world-rulers in his kingdom (v. 12; cf. Ephesians 4:14).
Satan is the great imitator. He ever seeks to counterfeit the work of God as he and his angels move against Christians. God has innumerable angels at His command who perform activities in His kingdom; and Satan, “the god of this world [‘age’]” (2 Corinthians 4:4 [‘the god of this age’ in relation to the earth and his rule]), has innumerable angels at his command who perform activities in his kingdom.
(The kingdom of Satan is actually a part of the overall kingdom of God. Angels rule domains throughout God’s kingdom, and their rulership over domains is looked upon and referred to as the rule over a kingdom. Delegated power and authority of this nature has to do with numerous kingdoms within one overall kingdom.
Satan, in time past, was among the angels given a kingdom and dominion. However, dissatisfied with the extent of his delegated power and authority, Satan sought to “exalt his throne and “be like the most High [be like God Himself, the supreme Ruler over all].”
And today Satan is a rebel ruler within his kingdom, along with one-third of his original contingent of ruling angels, who followed him in his attempt to increase his hold on power and authority [cf. Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 12:4].
Satan’s present kingdom is referred to as “the kingdom of the world” or “his kingdom.” Christ, at His first coming, called attention to both, His coming kingdom and the present kingdom under Satan when he said, “My kingdom is not of this world [lit., ‘not out of this world,’ referring to the present world kingdom under Satan]” [John 18:36a]. But it is this present kingdom under Satan that will one day become “the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ” [Revelation 11:15, ASV; 16:10; cf. Matthew 6:10].)
In God’s kingdom, angels performing various activities, apparently act within the scope of fixed laws in order to fulfill the perfect will of God concerning matters, apart from any immediate command from God; and by so doing, their actions are looked upon as those of the Lord Himself.
(For an example of the preceding, note that the destruction of the cities of the plain during Abraham’s day was carried out by angels, apparently acting under fixed laws. And, though angels destroyed these cities, the Lord Himself is also said to have been the One who performed the act [Genesis 19:13, 14, 29].)
It appears evident that the same thing occurs in Satan’s kingdom. Satan, “the god of this world [‘age’],” is the one who moves against Christians in a deceptive manner, the one who ever stands ready to devour them (cf. Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8). But our warfare is revealed to be, more specifically, against the innumerable host of angels in Satan’s kingdom rather than against Satan himself, as an individual (Ephesians 6:12).
These angels, as the angels who carry out God’s commands in His kingdom, apparently act within the scope of fixed laws in order to fulfill the will of Satan, apart from any immediate command from Satan; and by so doing, their actions are looked upon as those of Satan himself.
Thus, through warring against angels in Satan’s kingdom, Christians are actually engaged in a battle against Satan himself. Because of the apparent manner in which command has been established in Satan’s kingdom, there would be no difference between warring against his angels or, warring against him personally.
1) Description of the Enemy
Different terms are used in Ephesians 6:12 to describe the angels in Satan’s kingdom against whom Christians are engaged in battle. They are called “principalities,” “powers,” “rulers of the darkness of this age,” and “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
These four different descriptions do not form references to various gradations of angels ruling in different territorial domains under Satan, though Satan’s kingdom is structured after this fashion. These descriptions merely constitute four different ways that the Lord uses to describe the enemy, providing various facets of information.
a) “Principalities”: This is a translation of the Greek word arche, which refers primarily to “a beginning” (e.g., Genesis 1:1 [Septuagint]; John 1:1, 2). When the word is used in the sense that it appears in the text though, the reference is to “a ruler.” This is the same word used earlier in Ephesians (1:21; 3:10), referring to world-rulers. This is also the word used in 1 Corinthians 15:24, revealing the purpose for Christ’s coming reign over the earth — to “put down all rule [arche] and all authority and power.” That is, Christ is going to reign until all world-rulers, those holding positions of power and authority, have been completely subdued.
The Greek word arche, referring primarily to “a beginning” — used as the opening word to describe the incumbent world-rulers in heavenly places — would undoubtedly be an allusion to the fact that those described have held their positions since the beginning. They form part of the original contingent of rulers.
(Those referred to by the word arche form one-third of the original contingent of angels that God deemed necessary to rule the earth with the one later known as “Satan.” Two-thirds of this original group of angelic rulers refused to follow Satan in his attempt to exalt his throne. This is dealt with in “Objective of the Enemy” on pp. 24-30 in this chapter and also Appendix 2 in this book.)
b) “Powers”: This is a translation of the Greek word exousia, meaning “power” or “authority,” and is simply another way of describing those in positions of government. They are not only “rulers,” but they are “powers,” “authorities.” This is also the same word used with arche in the previous references (1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10). Exousia not only calls attention to the “power and authority” held by an arche, “a ruler,” but it is also used as a synonym for the arche.
c) “Rulers of the darkness of this age”: The word “rulers” here is the translation of a different word in the Greek text than the word “principalities” appearing earlier in the verse. The word used here is kosmokrator, a combination of two words — kosmos, meaning “world”, and kratos, meaning “to rule.” Thus, kosmokrator means “world-ruler,” shown as such in the KJV text, though the word “rulers” is separated from the word “world.” The expression, “rulers of the darkness of this age,” could perhaps be better translated, “world-rulers of the present darkness,” or “rulers of this present dark age.”
d) “Spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places”: The words “spiritual hosts of wickedness” could be better translated “spirit forces of wickedness,” referring to Satan and his angels. And these individuals are said to reside in “heavenly places,” literally “in the heavenlies” (identical expression in the Greek text as used in Ephesians 1:3).
Thus, Christians are at war against, not flesh and blood (individuals on the earth), but against the powerful world-rulers of this present dark age who occupy various positions of power and authority under Satan in heavenly places. It is these individuals with whom we are engaged in battle; and because they apparently act within the scope of fixed laws as they seek to carry out Satan’s plans and purposes, our warfare is equally against Satan himself.
2) Objective of the Enemy
Battles between opposing armies are normally fought for territorial rights, which would include governmental control over that territory. The objective in battle is to either retain one’s presently possessed territory or acquire new territory through victory over the opposing side.
And the warfare in Ephesians chapter six is no different. On one side there are powerful world-rulers seeking to hold onto presently possessed territory, along with their positions as rulers over this realm. Then, on the other side there are those called into existence to one day move into and occupy this territory, ruling over this same realm in the stead of the incumbent world-rulers.
Satan and his angels have ruled over the earth from the very beginning of God’s established government in this one province in the universe. Satan was created and positioned over this earth as the “anointed cherub [‘messianic (ruling) angel’]” by God in the beginning (Ezekiel. 28:14), and a great host of other angels were also created and placed in positions of power under him (cf. Daniel 10:13, 14, 20; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7-9). And the scepter has been held by Satan and his angels, without interruption, since that time.
However, because of Satan’s aspirations to be “like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14), major changes have occurred in his kingdom. Disruption, producing chaos in God’s government, entered at one place in the universe through the unlawful actions of one provincial ruler.
The first major change in Satan’s kingdom was in the sphere of active rulership — his governing power structure. Two-thirds of the angels originally ruling under Satan refused to follow him in his God-dishonoring, rebellious act, leaving only one-third of the original number (Revelation 12:4). Thus, at the very beginning, Satan’s ranks were depleted by two-thirds from that number that God had originally deemed necessary to properly rule this province in His kingdom.
The second major change was in the domain itself. Because Satan had attempted such an act — which was actually an attempted coup, an attempted takeover of the government of the universe — his kingdom was reduced to a ruin. God had no choice but to act in accordance with His perfect justice and righteousness, executing judgment of a nature that reduced Satan’s kingdom to the ruin described in Genesis 1:2a. And though Satan continued to hold the scepter, he and the angels who had allied themselves with him, could only rule over a ruined domain.
These things occurred during an age or during ages preceding man, and Scripture provides no revelation concerning “time” during this period. Scripture is silent concerning how long Satan and his angels ruled over the earth in its original state, and Scripture is equally silent concerning how long the earth lay in its ruined state following Satan’s move to exalt his throne.
God has deemed “time” within events prior to the restoration of the earth to be of no moment [consequence] insofar as His plans and purposes for man are concerned. Thus, “time” begins to be reckoned in God’s revelation to man only when God begins His act of restoring the ruined creation in Genesis 1:2b, anticipating man being created to take the scepter.
Almost 6,000 years ago God restored the earth over a six-day period; and on the sixth day, after God had completed His restoration work, man was created for the express purpose of ruling the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels. An entirely new creation, created in the image and likeness of God — a creature unlike any other in the universe — was brought into existence to take the scepter and rule over the restored province, the restored domain.
Satan knew exactly why the earth had been restored and why God had created man. Following the restoration of the earth, both before and after the creation of man, God made matters very clear through His announced plans and purposes.
God, prior to the creation of man, said,
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . . .” (Genesis 1:26a)
Then following the creation of man, and the removal of the woman from the man,
. . . God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion . . . .” (Genesis 1:28a)
The word translated “dominion” from the Hebrew text, in both instances (vv. 26, 28), is the word radah, meaning “to rule.” This is the same word used in Psalm 110:2, translated “rule,” referring to Christ’s coming rule over the earth as the second Man, the last Adam. The earth had been restored for man, and man had been created to take the dominion that Satan possessed; and since the one to take the scepter of the earth within God’s planned economy was now present, Satan possessed only one recourse to retain his position: Man must be disqualified.
Disruption within God’s plans concerning His new order of rulers, rendering man unfit to hold the scepter, is the reason Satan approached and deceived Eve in the beginning. Such resulted in Adam’s fall, disqualifying man and placing him in the same fallen position as Satan — a position in which man could not assume control of the government.
In man’s case though, following his fall, God acted after an entirely different fashion than He had acted when Satan fell. God, in His condemnatory remarks to Satan, because of that which had occurred through his deception of Eve, promised a Redeemer for man (Genesis 3:15); and He then acted in a redemptive capacity by slaying animals and providing coats of skins for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). These things were done immediately after man sinned, before he was barred from Eden; and they were done with a view to redeemed man one day holding the scepter in the stead of Satan and his angels.
Satan knew exactly why God had promised a Redeemer and why a redemptive act had been performed for fallen man, and this is the reason he continued his move against man and has continued it to this day. Satan’s move to retain his position, which began against Adam through Eve, has continued against Adam’s descendants on an uninterrupted fashion for the past 6,000 years. Man is the one whom God brought into existence to replace the incumbent rulers, and the battle has to do with regal rights over a territory — rulership over the earth.
The gifts and calling of God are “without repentance [‘without a change of mind’]” (Romans 11:29). God is not going to change His mind concerning the reason He called man into existence. God has provided redemption for man, with a view to man one day taking the scepter.
This was the purpose for man’s creation, and this is equally the purpose for his redemption.
Man’s Redeemer has shown Himself fully qualified to replace the incumbent ruler, Satan; and God has provided redemption for man, with a view to allowing redeemed individuals the opportunity to qualify for positions on the throne with the Redeemer when He takes the kingdom. Individuals qualifying for these positions will, in this respect, also replace incumbent rulers, for angels presently ruling under Satan must also be put down.
(Actually, Christians qualifying to rule in the kingdom with the One who has redeemed them for this purpose will replace all angels associated with a rule over the earth within God’s economy, not just the angels presently ruling with Satan. Two-thirds of the original contingent of rulers over the earth refused to follow Satan, and they, even though not actively ruling today, still retain their crowns. The principle of biblical government necessitating that an incumbent ruler hold the scepter until he is actually replaced would require this to be the case; and the crowns worn by these angels, along with the crowns worn by angels presently ruling in an active capacity under Satan, will be worn by Christians during the coming age.
Matters surrounding Christians about to assume these positions of power can only be why the twenty-four elders are presented arising from their thrones and casting their crowns before God’s throne after the manner and at the time seen in Revelation 4:10. There has to be definite reasons why this event not only occurs but also why it occupies a place in the book of Revelation at this particular point.
The entire matter can only have to do with regality and the earth. It can only have to do with a transfer of power over a domain, for that is not only what is seen in the overall outworking of the central subject matter of the book [chapters 19ff] but that is also what is seen through the elders’ actions as well [relinquishing their crowns to the One who had originally placed them in a crowned position on thrones, showing a relinquishment of regality over a territory].
The time when the twenty-four elders arise from their thrones and cast their crowns before God’s throne, chronologically, is immediately following the judgment of Christians [at the end of this dispensation, preceding the Tribulation] and immediately before God begins to deal with the earth-dwellers [during the Tribulation].
Contrary to popular interpretation, the twenty-four elders do not represent Christians. Such would be impossible. Christians will not be seated on thrones and possess crowns at this time; nor would they arise from their thrones and cast their crowns before God’s throne if they did. Christians will wear crowns during the coming age, not cast them before a throne preceding the age.
These elders can only be identified as representing those angels, still crowned up to that point in time, who did not go along with Satan in his attempted coup. The earth and its government are in view, and the fact that these elders are crowned shows that they occupy ruling positions associated with the earth’s government [biblical revelation concerns itself with regality and the earth, not with regality and other provinces in the universe].
Also, the Greek word used for “crowns” in Revelation 4:10 is stephanos, not diadema, showing that although these elders are associated with the earth’s government [which itself identifies them as angels], they are not actively involved in this government at the time they cast their crowns before God’s throne [a crown worn by one actively occupying a governmental office is called a diadema, not a stephanos]. They are presented at this particular point in the book as willingly relinquishing their crowns, in view of others [having been shown forth at the judgment] about to take the kingdom; but crowns worn by Satan and his angels will have to subsequently be taken forcefully.
Refer to Appendix 2 of this book for a more comprehensive discussion of Revelation 4:10 and crowned rulers.)
God has set aside an entire dispensation to call out the rulers who are to ascend and occupy the throne with His Son during the coming age. Christians, those individuals comprising the “one new man” in Christ, are the ones presently being extended the offer to realize the very purpose for man’s existence. The Church, on which God’s present dispensational dealings center, was called into existence for this purpose (Israel, at Christ’s first coming, rejected heavenly promises and blessings; and the Church was called into existence to be the recipient of that which had been rejected — i.e. the offer to move into and occupy positions in heavenly places in the kingdom).
Accordingly, God’s primary work in the world today surrounds the acquisition of a group of qualified individuals from the human race who, during the coming age, will be able to ascend the throne with His Son and rule from heavenly places in the stead of angels. The “world [‘inhabited world’] to come” will not be placed under the rule of angels, as the present inhabited world. Rather, it will be ruled by Man (Hebrews 2:5-10).
And the Holy Spirit has been sent into the world by the Father to acquire a bride for His Son (the antitype of Eve, the one who will reign as consort queen with the second Man, the last Adam). That is the primary mission of the Holy Spirit in the world during the present dispensation (cf. Genesis 24:1ff), and all of God’s activity surrounding Christians throughout the dispensation has this one objective in view (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27).
(For a more detailed discussion of the present ministry of the Holy Spirit in the preceding respect, refer to the author’s book, Search for the Bride.)
Is it therefore any wonder that Christians today find themselves in a battle against the present world-rulers? Christians are the destined heirs of a kingdom presently occupied and controlled by these rulers. Christians are the ones destined to exercise regal power from the same heavenly sphere occupied by these angels, ruling in their stead from the heavens over the earth (a restored earth in the latter case, one removed from the present curse).
And the enemy, the present world-rulers, know these things. And these world-rulers, as never before, in all their fury, presently move against those Christians who aspire to occupy heavenly positions as co-heirs with the coming World-Ruler.
The dispensation is almost over. Man is about to move into that period beyond the 6,000 years, into the seventh 1,000-year period, into the Messianic Era; and God is performing an end-time work in the closing moments, as it were, of not only the dispensation but the entire 6,000 years comprising “Man’s Day.”
Satan and his angels know these things; and they also know that unless they can thwart God’s plans and purposes concerning man, decreed in the eternal council chambers of God before man was even created (Hebrews 1:2), they are about to relinquish positions and territorial rights that they have held since time immemorial. It thus can only naturally follow that their attack would be centered on and against those about to move in and usurp these positions.
Christ cannot be attacked on a personal level today, for He is at the right hand of the Father in heaven, waiting for that coming day. However, Christians are here on the earth, within Satan’s domain. They are in a position where the attack can come at any time, on any front. And for this reason, Christians have been commanded to properly clothe themselves with the provided armor.
The enemy is at hand, the warfare is very real, and victory or defeat is dependent upon Christians following the Lord’s instructions concerning the battle.
On the Battlefield
The battle lines have been drawn, but something seemingly rather strange appears to exist in the world today. There doesn’t really seem to be an ongoing battle between Christians and the forces of Satan such as Ephesians 6:10ff describes. Christendom is seemingly in a state of non-combat, more at peace than at war in and with a world ruled by Satan and his angels.
Is this really the case though? And if so, Why?
1) The Laodicean State of Christendom (Revelation 3:14-21)
The absence of any real spiritual warfare, seemingly out of line with Ephesians 6:10ff, is generally very much the case throughout Christendom; and the reason is quite evident. Where there is no move on redeemed man’s part to realize the purpose for his salvation — aspiring to one day occupy proffered positions in the heavenlies — there would be no reason for an ongoing warfare of the nature described in Ephesians 6:10ff. Satan has a situation of this nature under control, apart from a continuing battle.
Satan has worked for almost two millennia to bring Christendom into its present decadent condition — the Laodicean state of the Church prophesied to exist at the end of the dispensation. Such has resulted from the continuous working of the leaven that the woman placed in the three measures of meal very early in the dispensation (Matthew 13:33), working through centuries into millennia of time.
Leaven works best in a place where the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold, and the “lukewarm” condition of the Laodicean church (Revelation 3:15, 16), fostering the working of the leaven, is today allowing the leaven to do its damaging work almost unchecked. Not only has Christendom already been permeated through and through with leaven, but the leaven continues to work and is today producing the most rapidly deteriorating and damaging work in the entire 2,000-year history of the Church.
One sad, revealed fact is that those comprising this Laodicean state of Christendom today, for the most part, are not even aware of their own “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” condition. And they are equally unaware of that which has occurred and is continuing to occur (Revelation 3:17).
The whole of the matter has to do with two kingdoms — the present kingdom of Satan and the coming kingdom of Christ — and those described in Revelation 3:17 know very little about either kingdom. In short, they lack the spiritual insight to analyze the situation as it exists.
Satan seemingly has Christendom exactly where he wants it; and with the rapidly deteriorating work continuing to be produced by the leaven, the matter is becoming even more so with each passing day. Thus, there is really no battle per se going on between Christendom at large and the world-rulers of this present darkness. All that these world-rulers have to do is maintain the status quo — keep matters in check, and let the leaven continue its work.
2) But, “If any man hear My voice . . . .” (Revelation 3:20)
There is, however, another side to the matter, one which is very much in keeping with that revealed in Ephesians 6:10ff. There are those Christians who refuse to go along with the status quo, those who have enough spiritual insight to know what’s happening and who understand and aspire to realize the goal of their calling. Those comprising this segment of Christendom, not those as a whole within Christendom, are the ones engaged in open warfare. These are the ones against whom the present world-rulers move in all their fury.
The matter can be seen very graphically in typology in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel; and types, established by God in order to teach His people great spiritual truths, will always be fulfilled in exact detail through that which they foreshadow, through the antitype.
David, the anointed king of Israel, destined to one day ascend the throne and take over the government, replacing Saul (who had been disqualified to continue on the throne), found himself temporarily in a place of exile, in a place of rejection, out in the wilderness. He, though already anointed king, found himself separated from Israel and its government under Saul.
Certain men during this time gathered themselves unto David. These were individuals described as being “in distress . . . in debt . . . and discontented [dissatisfied with the existing state of affairs in Saul’s kingdom]” (1 Samuel 22:1, 2). These men remained in the wilderness with David, separate from the kingdom under Saul, and were faithful to David.
In the antitype, Christ has been anointed King over the earth. He is the One destined to one day take over the government, replacing the incumbent ruler, Satan. But today, Christ, as David in the type, finds Himself in a place removed from the kingdom, separated from the earth and its government under Satan (who, as Saul in the type, has been disqualified to continue on the throne).
And just as in David’s case, there are those who find themselves dissatisfied with the existing state of affairs and have gathered themselves unto Christ. These are the ones who remain in the place of exile, the place of rejection with Christ, separate from the present world system under Satan, and are faithful to Christ.
Saul and his men set themselves specifically against David and his men because Saul knew the identity of those destined to one day take over the government (cf. 1 Samuel 23:13, 14, 17, 26; 24:2, 20). David and his men during this time continually relied on the Lord; and the Lord, accordingly, delivered them out of the hands of Saul and his men (1 Samuel 23:7-14).
In the antitype, Satan and those allied with him have set themselves specifically against Christ and those allied with Him, for Satan knows the identity of those destined to one day take over the government. Christ though is in the heavens, and Satan cannot touch Him; but those allied with Him are here on the earth and very open to attack. However, as David and his men, relying upon the Lord, were delivered from the enemy, so will the followers of Christ, relying upon the Lord, be delivered from the enemy. Deliverance in both instances occurs in the same way, after the same fashion.
When the day arrived that Saul and his men were finally put down, David and his faithful followers moved in and took over the government.
And it will be the same in the antitype.
When the day arrives when Satan and his angels are finally put down, Christ and His faithful followers will move in and take over the government. That which Saul knew concerning David and his faithful band of men in the type precipitated a battle, and that which Satan knows about Christ and His faithful band of men in the antitype also precipitates a battle.
This is where the real battle lies — type or antitype.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God;
praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13-18)
The central focus seen in the epistle of Ephesians is heavenly, not earthly; and that revealed throughout the epistle has to do with both present and future time. In this epistle, both men and angels are seen occupying “heavenly places” — Christ and Christians on the one hand, and Satan and his angels on the other (1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12).
In relation to present time, Christ is seated at His Father’s right hand in the heavens (the dwelling place of God, from whence universal rule is administered), awaiting the coming day of His reign; and Christians are positionally seated with Christ, awaiting that coming day as well (Ephesians 1:3ff).
Then, in relation to future time, Christ will be seated on His Own throne in the heavens (the heavens associated with and in proximity to the earth, from whence a rule over the earth is presently administered and will continue to be administered in that coming day); and Christians will be seated on the throne as co-heirs with Christ (Ephesians 3:1-11; Revelation 2:26, 27; 3:21).
Insofar as the present government of this earth is concerned (the present rule from the heavens over the earth [from that part of the heavens in proximity to the earth]), this heavenly realm is occupied by Satan and his angels, as Satan rules under God in a rebel capacity.
But the future government of the earth (the future rule from the heavens over the earth [from the same heavenly realm presently occupied by Satan and his angels) will not be administered by angels. This government will be administered by Man; this government will be administered by Christ and His co-heirs (Hebrews 2:5-10).
Present Government, Future Government
Satan is “the prince of the power of the air [or, ‘the ruler of the authority of the air’]” (Ephesians 2:2). The word “ruler” in the latter rendering is a translation of archon in the Greek text, a cognate form of the word arche used in Ephesians 6:12, translated “principalities”; and the word “power” is a rendering of the Greek word exousia, used and translated the same way in Ephesians 6:12. Satan is the “chief ruler” among a great host of other powerful spirit beings; and this entire contingent of rulers, with Satan in command, presently exercises governmental power over the earth from “heavenly places.”
Christ though has been raised from the dead and placed at His Father’s right hand, also in “heavenly places,” but far above the present “heavenly places” occupied by Satan and his angels (Ephesians 1:20; 4:10). God’s “right hand” points to the hand of power, and the matter in view from the Son occupying this place at the Father’s right hand is the future government of the earth (Ephesians 1:21).
The Father has told His Son,
Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool. (Psalm 110:1)
And, following the Son’s enemies being made His footstool (following complete subjection of all to the Son), the Son is to rule the earth (hold the scepter) as the second Man, the last Adam, and a King-Priest “after the order of Melchizedek.”
Christians are presented in Ephesians as having been raised up together and made to sit together “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (cf. Ephesians 1:3; 2:6). Christians occupy these “heavenly places,” positionally seated with Christ (“in Christ”) at His Father’s right hand, awaiting a future day. They await that day when Christ will leave His Father’s right hand and come forth as the great King-Priest “after the order of Melchizedek,” for only when this occurs can they realize the purpose for their present positional standing by ascending the throne and ruling as co-heirs, as “kings and priests,” with Christ (Revelation 5:10). Christ and His co-heirs, forming His bride, will then reside in and rule from the same “heavenly places” presently occupied by Satan and his angels.
Awaiting That Day
The position at the Father’s right hand presently occupied by Christ and Christians portends future governmental power. The Father has invited His Son to occupy this position as Christ awaits the future day of His “power” (Mark 13:26; 2 Peter 1:16; Revelation 11:17), and Christians occupy their position “in Christ” with a view to the outworking of God’s plans and purposes in “the ages to come,” when God will “show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6, 7).
The ages have been planned around the preordained activity of God’s Son within these ages (Hebrews 1:2), and the Messianic Era is the first of many ages during which the eternal plans and purposes of God will be fulfilled insofar as God’s Son occupying kingly power is concerned. During the Messianic Era, God’s Son will rule over the present earth from His Own throne in the heavens. And during the ages beyond, His rule can only be of a universal nature, for it will emanate from the throne of God and of the Lamb on the “new earth” (Revelation 3:21; 21:1; 22:1-3).
(Universal rule emanates from God’s throne today [located at a place in the universe north of the earth], and during the ages beyond the Messianic Era, this throne will rest upon the new earth and exist as the Son’s throne as well. In that day, universal rule will emanate from the throne of God and of the Lamb on the new earth.
The Messianic Era should not be thought of as the first of the eternal ages, for it plainly is not. Rather, the Messianic Era will complete the 7,000 years foreshadowed by the six and seven days in Genesis 1:1-2:3. It is foreshadowed by the seventh of these days and is connected with the septenary arrangement of time and events shown by all seven days, not with time and events during the eternal ages that follow.
The Messianic Era though will be the first of the ages in which the eternal plans and purposes of God are worked out. These plans and purposes have to do with this earth alone during the Messianic Era; then, they have to do with the new heavens, the new earth, and the universe at large during the ages beyond.
Even though the eternal plans and purposes of God will be worked out during both the Messianic Era and the ages beyond, as previously noted, the two periods of time must be distinguished from one another.)
How though is God going to exhibit His “kindness” to Christians during the coming ages, referred to in Ephesians chapter two? It will simply be through man realizing the purpose for his existence. Christians — those referred to in the passage — will realize the highest of all possible callings, not only in the coming age but in the ages beyond as well. They will occupy positions with Christ on His throne during the coming age and continue to occupy positions with Christ on the throne of God and of the Lamb during the ages beyond (cf. Revelation 2:26, 27; 22:5).
The eschatology of Scripture though concerns itself almost exclusively with the coming age, when God’s Son will ascend His Own throne and, along with His co-heirs, rule this present earth with a rod of iron for one thousand years. And the Church in existence today reveals the eternal outworking of God’s plans and purposes in the preceding respect, not only to men but to angels as well.
In Ephesians 3:8-10, both facets of this central truth permeating the epistle of Ephesians are revealed. Verses eight and nine refer to these “unsearchable riches” being proclaimed to the Gentiles (though this would have to be Gentiles following their salvation and removal from the unbelieving world, for the natural man cannot understand these things [1 Corinthians 2:14ff]); and verse ten refers to the existence of the Church being a testimony to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” concerning the outworking of God’s eternal plans and purposes.
The very existence of the Church could only cause Satan to act in a contrary direction to that which God has decreed, as did the existence of Adam and Eve in Eden, or the existence of Israel at a later time. The Church is in existence to fulfill an eternal purpose that God “purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11; cf. Ephesians 1:11).
The immediate or near purpose for the existence of the Church is a rule with Christ from His Own throne in the heavenlies over this present earth in the stead of the incumbent “principalities and powers”; and the far purpose is a continued rule with Christ as He sits with His Father on the throne of God and of the Lamb on the new earth, which, as previously noted, can only be universal in scope.
Satan and his angels know these things; and, resultantly, warfare ensues. And the warfare could only be further intensified by their knowledge of the position Christians will apparently occupy beyond the millennium. Not only will Christ and His co-heirs move into positions presently occupied by Satan and his angels and rule the earth for one thousand years, but they will, following the millennium, rule out in that realm beyond the earth where Satan and his angels sought to rule. But their (Satan and his angels) God-dishonoring aspirations in time past resulted in their disqualification to even continue occupying regal power and authority in the one realm where they had originally been placed.
Thus, Satan and his angels will not only relinquish their God-appointed positions over the earth but they will relinquish these positions to individuals who will eventually move out into the far reaches of the universe itself and occupy comparable positions to those which they at a time, in the distant past, sought to occupy.
Satan’s knowledge of these things is why the apostle Paul closed his epistle “to the saints . . . at Ephesus” with information and instructions concerning the warfare in which Christians find themselves. He had been writing about the Christians’ position in the heavenlies (present and future) throughout the epistle. This is what Ephesians is about. Christians have been saved and positioned in the heavenlies, “in Christ,” for a purpose. And whether Christians understand this purpose or not, one can rest assured that Satan and his angels understand and know what’s happening, resulting in the existing onslaught against Christians by the world-rulers of this present darkness.
(In relation to man’s calling to one day occupy regal positions in “heavenly places,” there is an interesting paradox when this is viewed in the light of the aspirations of both saved and unsaved man today.
Unsaved man on the earth has no calling to go out into the heavens; but, nonetheless, he expresses a desire to go anyway. Saved man on the earth, on the other hand, has a calling to one day go out into the heavens — the heavens associated with this earth during the Messianic Era, and the heavens associated with the universe at large in the ages beyond. But, in the main, saved man is not interested.
In short, unsaved man is interested in that which God has no interest in; and saved man, for the most part, shows little to no interest in that which occupies, in reality, the central place in God’s interest surrounding the saved.)
God has placed pastor-teachers in the Church to lead Christians from immaturity to maturity in the faith, and the revealed reason is given in Ephesians 4:14.
That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. (Ephesians 4:14)
In the epistle of Ephesians, instruction provided by pastor-teachers would, of necessity, have to center on:
1) One’s positional standing “in Christ” in the heavenlies (1:3, 20).
2) The “inheritance” awaiting Christians (1:11, 17, 18).
3) The very purpose for one’s salvation (2:6, 7).
4) The “fellowship [‘dispensation’] of the mystery” (3:1-10).
5) The necessity for maturity in the faith (4:11-16).
6) The necessity for being filled with the Spirit (5:18-20).
7) The spiritual warfare at hand (3:10; 6:10ff).
Concluding his epistle with the exhortation, “Put on the whole armor of God” (6:11), the writer uses similar wording in the Greek text to that which he had used in Ephesians 4:14. This earlier verse (4:14) concerns proper preparation through spiritual maturity in order to avoid being led astray by the “cunning craftiness” of those who “lie in wait to deceive” (KJV). And the later verse (6:11) concerns one being clothed in “the whole armor of God” in order that he might be able to “stand against the wiles of the devil.”
The thought in both instances has to do with a settled plan, a systematic strategy used by those who have set about to deceive and lead Christians astray relative to matters surrounding their calling, as revealed in Ephesians; and Christians, in both instances, are to be properly prepared for such deception.
Instruction is progressive throughout Ephesians (and elsewhere in Scripture), and the concluding exhortation in Ephesians 6:10ff is really for Christians who have attained an element of spiritual maturity in their lives. This is very evident from what is stated in the passage.
There can be no such thing as a spiritually immature Christian being “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (v. 10); nor can there be any such thing as a spiritually immature Christian being able to properly clothe himself in “the whole armor of God” and “stand against the wiles of the devil” (v. 11). Spiritually immature Christians have little to no understanding of the warfare, much less how to properly clothe themselves.
This can be easily demonstrated from the type — the Israelites under Moses at Kadesh-Barnea, in a position to go in and take the land, realizing an inheritance therein. The march from Egypt to Kadesh-Barnea was by way of the wilderness of Sinai, where detailed instructions from the Lord were given to the people of Israel through Moses; and when the Israelites subsequently reached Kadesh-Barnea, spies were sent into the land ahead of the nation to gather information concerning the land and the inhabitants therein. These spies spent forty days and nights in the land, traversing it from one end to the other, and returned not only with information concerning the land and its inhabitants but with actual samples of the fruits of the land itself.
The people of Israel had received the Word of God at Sinai. They had then heard the report concerning the land and the inhabitants therein, and they had tasted the actual fruits of the land at Kadesh-Barnea before thought was given to entering the land and combating the inhabitants. That is, the people of Israel had been led from a rudimentary knowledge of their salvation in Egypt (through death and shed blood, where the death of the firstborn occurred by means of a substitute) to a mature knowledge concerning God’s plans and purposes relating to the nation at Kadesh-Barnea (where a revealed inheritance lay before the people). And the entire matter had to do with the Israelites going into the land, warring against the inhabitants, being victorious over the inhabitants, and realizing God’s purpose for the nation, within a theocracy.
And that which this overall type foreshadows, seen in the antitype today (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11; Hebrews 3, 4), is exactly the same. Growth from immaturity to maturity in the Christian life is likewise for a purpose (Hebrews 5), and that purpose has to do with being able to achieve victory over the enemy and to one day realize an inheritance in a heavenly land within a theocracy (Hebrews 6, 10, 12). Christians are to be fully capable of clothing themselves in the whole armor of God that they might be able to “withstand in the evil day.”
The word “withstand” is a translation of the Greek word anthistemi, which is a compound word comprised of anti (“against”) and histemi (“to stand”). Thus, the thought, beginning in verse ten, is to be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might [note where one’s strength lies — not in himself, but in the Lord]”; and in conjunction with an exhibition of this type of strength, one is told, “Put on the whole armor of God,” for only by so doing will he be able to firmly stand against the settled plan, the systematic strategy of Satan, holding his ground and giving no place to the enemy.
1) Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth (v. 14a)
Following the events of the Passover in Egypt during the days of Moses, 3,500 years ago (Exodus 12:1ff), the people of Israel were to be led out of Egypt in order to realize an inheritance in another land. They were to be removed from Egypt and established in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And the people of Israel were to be established in this land in the position of God’s firstborn son (the nation that God recognized as possessing the rights of primogeniture). As God’s firstborn son, Israel would be the ruling nation within a theocracy, and the Gentile nations would then not only be ruled by Israel but these same nations would also be blessed through Israel (Genesis 12:2, 3; 22:17, 18; Exodus 4:22, 23; 19:5, 6).
Exactly the same things apply in relation to Christians, except a heavenly land is in view. Christ has died, His blood has been shed; and the firstborn has died vicariously, through the provided Substitute. And, exactly as in the type, an inheritance in another land is in view.
That is to say, an individual has been saved for a revealed purpose, and that purpose in the antitype is the same as seen in the type.
Then He brought us out from there [out of Egypt], that He might bring us in [into the land to which they had been called], to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. (Deuteronomy 6:23).
Christians, from a typical standpoint, have been saved in Egypt (a type of the world) to realize an inheritance in Canaan (a type of the heavenly land to which they have been called). That is, Christians have been saved in the world in order to one day be established in a heavenly land as God’s firstborn son (that “holy nation” that God recognizes as possessing the rights of primogeniture [Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 2:9]); and as God’s firstborn, Christians will rule as co-heirs with Christ, within a theocracy. The Gentile nations will not only be ruled by Christ and His co-heirs but these same nations will also be blessed through Christ and His co-heirs (Genesis 22:17, 18; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1:5; Hebrews 3:1; 1 Peter 1:4).
(Spiritual blessings in that day can and will flow not only from Christ and Israel on earth [Christ seated on David’s throne, in the midst of the Jewish people] but through Christ and His co-heirs in the heavens as well [Christ seated on His own throne, with His bride], in complete accordance with Genesis 12:3; 22:17, 18. And this can be true because all those associated with Christ in this manner [both on earth and in the heavens] will be of the seed of Abraham [Galatians 3:29], the seed through whom God has decreed that all spiritual blessings are to flow.)
The Israelites in the type had been led from Egypt through the wilderness to the borders of the land of Canaan at Kadesh-Barnea. They were in possession of the Word of God received at Sinai, they had heard the report of the spies who had traversed the land of Canaan, and they had tasted the actual fruits of the land that the spies had brought back with them. The Israelites had moved from a simple knowledge of the rudimentary things surrounding the death of the firstborn in Egypt to an extensive knowledge concerning the plans and purposes of God for the nation (which centered on the land of Canaan and the purpose for Israel’s calling).
In the terminology of Scripture, the Israelites had moved from a state of gnosis (“knowledge”) to a state of epignosis (“mature knowledge [especially as it related to the things surrounding the purpose for their calling]”). They were now ready to enter the land, combat the “giants” inhabiting this land (Numbers 13:32, 33), and possess the land in accordance with their calling and God’s promise.
Their seeming inability to conquer the “giants,” who were far stronger, was to be of no consequence. They were to recognize that the battle belonged to the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47) and that circumstances were not to be viewed from a naturalistic standpoint but from a divine viewpoint. They were to know that the enemy could not be overcome within their own strength (Numbers 14:42-45) but, rather, through the strength of the One dwelling in their midst.
Such was the attitude exhibited by Caleb and Joshua (two of the twelve spies) as they sought to present the truth of the matter to a people who had been troubled by the preliminary report given by the spies concerning the land and its inhabitants (Numbers 13:26-30). And this is what is in view in Ephesians 6:14 when Christians are told to have their waists “girded . . . with truth.”
“Truth” in this passage is not a reference to the Word of God. A person clothing himself to enter the conflict with the inhabitants of the land wherein his inheritance lies occurs, as in the type, at Kadesh-Barnea when he enters the conflict, not back in Egypt. At this point, the person properly clothing himself could only have previously moved from an immature understanding of the Word to one that would allow him to grasp various things about the spiritual warfare at hand. That is, such a person would not only be in possession of the Word but he would be in possession of an understanding of this Word, particularly as it relates to things surrounding the battle for the land and Christians ultimately holding regal positions therein.
Taking and using the Word already in one’s possession is seen later, in verse seventeen, not at this point in the instructions, in verse fourteen.
“Truth” in this passage is a reference to entering the conflict after the same fashion Caleb and Joshua were exhorting the people to enter the conflict during their day:
Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)
“Truth” with which one enters the conflict, in this respect, is sincerity, earnestness as the person goes forth, relying upon the Lord (“. . . be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” [Ephesians 6:10]).
One has to, first of all, be sincere and earnest about the conflict in which he finds himself engaged. This battle isn’t something that one can enter after any type of frivolous fashion. There is a systematic, well-planned effort on the part of Satan to bring about a Christian’s defeat; and a Christian, to be victorious in battle, must exhibit the same type attitude as manifested by Caleb and Joshua.
(The “giants [Hebrew: nephilim, ‘fallen ones’]” inhabiting the land during Moses’ day were the offspring of a cohabitation of the sons of God with the daughters of men — the offspring of a cohabitation between fallen angels in Satan’s kingdom and female members of the human race. Thus, the battle set before the Israelites for possession of the land, as the battle set before Christians for possession of a land today, involved things beyond the natural, requiring God’s supernatural intervention on behalf of His people.)
2) . . . having put on the breastplate of righteousness (v. 14b)
The girdle is the first piece of armor mentioned in Ephesians chapter six; and a warrior arraying himself for battle was to put the girdle on first, for other pieces of the armor were attached to the girdle. The breastplate, the next piece of armor mentioned, was normally attached to the girdle in both the front and the rear, making the girdle necessary for the breastplate to be held firmly in place.
The thought is that there must first be a Caleb- and Joshua-type attitude on the part of the Christian before going beyond this point in properly clothing himself. One must first have on the girdle of sincerity, earnestness and truthfulness before the breastplate can be properly affixed.
It is a simple thing to see that the breastplate can have nothing to do with the righteousness of God that has been imputed to every believer. The righteousness of God is a righteousness with which God clothes us at the point of salvation, as He clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins following their fall (both requiring death and shed blood). The righteousness in view in Ephesians 6:14 is a righteousness that the Christian himself is to put on. It is a righteousness to be put on by the one already in possession of the imputed righteousness of God.
This is the personal righteousness mentioned in Revelation 19:8, associated with the wedding garment. This garment is made up of “the righteousness of saints.” The word “righteousness” is plural in the Greek text and should be translated “righteousnesses,” or “righteous acts.” These are the justifying acts referred to in James 2:21-25.
A man is first justified by faith (Romans 5:15-18), being clothed in the righteousness of God (spoken of in a singular sense — one justifying act [performed by Christ]); and the man is then to be justified by works (James 2:24), clothing himself through righteous acts (spoken of in a plural sense — justifying acts [performed by the one already justified by faith, justified through the act of Another]).
Righteous acts performed by Christians simply have to do with exercising faithfulness within the scope of one’s particular calling, fulfilling his particular responsibility as a servant in the Lord’s house. And, as one exercises faithfulness, waiting upon the Lord, righteous acts will be the natural outworking of faithfulness as the person follows the leadership of the indwelling Spirit.
That is to say, in relation to that seen in Ephesians 6:14, after one exhibits the proper attitude toward the battle at hand, he is then to exercise faithfulness as a servant in the house. Such will result in works, righteous acts, allowing that person to have on (he will have put it on himself) the breastplate of righteousness and allowing that person to one day be clothed (actually, he will one day clothe himself) in the wedding garment.
3) And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (v. 15)
Note the emphasis in verses eleven, thirteen, and fourteen relative to standing as one goes forth to battle: “to stand” (v. 11), “withstand [lit. ‘stand against’],” “to stand” (v. 13), and “Stand” (v. 14). One must have solid footing to stand upon. Both feet must be firmly planted, “having shod your feet with the preparation [‘readiness’] of the gospel of peace.”
There are two aspects to the gospel in Scripture. One appears in connection with “peace with God,” and the other appears in connection with “the peace of God.”
“Peace with God” comes about through justification by grace through faith: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). This peace results from one being placed upon the foundation, with the most sure, steadfast footing possible, apart from which there can be no conflict.
However, distinctions between “peace with God” and “the peace of God” are not what is in view in Ephesians 6:15, for availing oneself of the proper footwear (for both feet) is something that, contextually, occurs following salvation.
In a parallel passage to that which is in view, the latter part of Romans 10:15 states,
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.
The feet are seen as the vehicle of transportation for the messenger, as he goes about proclaiming good news concerning peace. Within the overall scope of the good news, as previously stated, there is a facet of the message having to do with “peace with God” (for the unsaved [Romans 5:1]) and there is a facet of the message having to do with the “peace of God” (for the saved [Philippians 4:5-7]). The contextual emphasis in Romans 10:15 though has to do with the saved, not with the unsaved.
Exactly the same thought is in view regarding the armor in Ephesians 6:15. Having one’s feet properly shod has to do with proper preparation relative to the good news concerning peace, as it pertains to the saved, exactly as seen in Romans 10:15; and this would be based on the person already having “peace with God,” as seen in Romans 5:1.
The messenger’s feet being properly shod shows a proper preparation of the messenger as he goes about proclaiming this message concerning peace. And this message of peace would have two facets — the peace of God now (having to do with the present aspect of salvation, the saving of the soul), culminating in a future peace when the Prince of Peace is Himself present (having to do with the future aspect of salvation, when the salvation of the soul will be realized).
4) Above all, taking the shield of faith . . . (v. 16)
The weakness of the average Christian is lack of faith, wrought through the neglect of prayerful study and meditation in the Word of God.
“Faith” is simply believing God, and God speaks to us today through His Word. This is the reason that “faith comes by [‘out of’] hearing, and hearing by [‘through’] the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). We find what God has to say about a matter in His Word; and we can then either exercise faith through believing that which He has said, or we can fail to exercise faith through unbelief.
Caleb and Joshua at Kadesh-Barnea exercised faith. They believed what God had to say about entering into and possessing the land of Canaan (Exodus 2:24, 25; 3:7, 8; 6:4-8; 13:5, 11, 19; Numbers 13:30). However, the remainder of the nation, led astray by the “evil report” presented by the other ten spies, failed to exercise faith. They didn’t believe God concerning entrance into the land, and they even went so far as to consider appointing a new leader (someone other than Moses) and returning to Egypt (Numbers 13:31-14:4).
Exactly the same thing confronts Christians today: Will you exercise faith concerning that which God has to say about entrance into the land (in line with that manifested by Caleb and Joshua)? Or, will you fail to exercise faith concerning that which God has to say about entrance into the land (in line with that manifested by the remainder of the nation)?
Caleb and Joshua possessed “the shield of faith”; the remainder of the nation though didn’t possess this shield. “The shield of faith” is put on through simply believing that which God has to say concerning entrance into the land. It is put on by trusting the Lord to see you safely through the conflict with the world-rulers of this present darkness, resulting in your realizing an inheritance in the land during that coming day.
Possessing the shield of faith would be synonymous with earnestly striving with respect to the faith in Jude 3 or striving in the good contest of the faith in 1 Timothy 6:12.
5) And take the helmet of salvation . . . (v. 17a)
This is something that a person already in possession of salvation is to, himself, put on; and it is to be put on in view of a warfare. Thus, it can be easily seen that putting on the helmet of salvation has to do with things beyond that foreshadowed by the death of the firstborn and application of the blood in Egypt. Continuing with the type, it has to do with being properly arrayed (through having arrayed oneself) at Kadesh-Barnea, with a view to entering the land and combating the giants.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 reveals that “the helmet of salvation” is the hope of salvation:
“But let us, who are of the day [Christians waiting and watching for their Lord’s return (vv. 6, 7)], be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”
“The hope of salvation” references salvation that will be revealed at the time of Christ’s return — the salvation of the soul. “Hope” is something that may or may not be realized (cf. Luke 23:8; Acts 16:19; 27:20). And the salvation of one’s soul, inseparably connected with hope, has to do with realizing an inheritance as God’s firstborn son in the land to which Christians have been called — something that Christians, individually, may or may not realize.
A Christian can forfeit his inheritance and lose his soul, which itself has nothing to do with his presently possessed eternal salvation. Again, bear in mind, this is something (as seen in the type) that occurs at Kadesh-Barnea and beyond, not something that occurs back in Egypt.
One clothes himself with the helmet of salvation — the hope of salvation — in view of achieving victory over the inhabitants of the land to which he has been called. His hope is that of being victorious — being an overcomer — and one day being privileged to ascend the throne and rule as co-heir with Christ in this land.
This is a hope that results in purification in a believer’s life and is a hope that should be on the lips of every believer, as a ready testimony surrounding the purpose for his salvation (1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 3:3).
(See the author’s book, Salvation of the Soul, chapter 6, “Hope, Inheritance, Salvation,” for a more comprehensive discussion of this subject.)
6) . . . and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (v. 17b)
A Christian having his waist “girded with truth,” having on “the breastplate of righteousness,” having his “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” taking “the shield of faith,” and having on “the helmet of salvation” is then to take “the sword of the Spirit” — the Word of God — as he goes forth to combat Satan. After being properly arrayed in all the other revealed fashions, he is then to take the one thing that God has provided as a weapon to be used against the enemy.
2 Timothy 3:16 in the KJV reads,
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . .
The words, “given by inspiration of God,” are a translation of one Greek word, Theopneustos, meaning “God-breathed.” This is a compound word comprised of Theos (“God”) and pneuma (“breath” in this particular usage [this is also the word used for “Spirit” in the New Testament — the Holy Spirit, man’s spirit, and the use of spirit in general; also “wind” in John 3:8]).
That which is meant by and the implications of Scripture being God-breathed are given in a somewhat simple manner in Scripture, but one has to look at and compare related parts of both Testaments before he can really begin to see and understand that which is involved.
A person has to reference passages in one Testament, then passages in the other. He has to compare scripture with scripture, i.e., he has to compare “spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13).
First note Hebrews 4:12:
The Word of God is quick [lit., ‘alive’], and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . .”
Why is the Word of God “alive,” “powerful,” and “sharper than any two-edged sword”? The answer: Because of its origin. The Word is “Theopneustos”; the Word is “God-breathed.”
But, what does that mean? And why is the Word “alive” because of its origin? This is where one has to go back to beginning points in the Old Testament and find the first mention in Scripture of God bringing a matter to pass through the use of His breath.
This is necessary not only because of the need to compare scripture with scripture but also because of a principle of biblical interpretation called, The First-Mention Principle. This principle has to do with unchangeableness, and it centers on an unchangeable structure of the Word given by the unchangeable God. Because of the inherent nature of the Word, the first time a subject is mentioned in Scripture, a pattern, a mold is established at that point that remains unchanged throughout all subsequent Scripture.
Remaining within this principle, the first time one finds the breath of God mentioned in Scripture is in Genesis 2:7, where life was imparted to man through God’s breath. And, consequently, at this beginning point, this verse connects life with the breath of God after an unchangeable fashion.
God formed and fashioned man from the dust of the ground, but man was not created alive. Life was subsequently imparted through God breathing into man’s “nostrils the breath of life,” resulting in man becoming “a living soul.”
Thus, in Genesis 2:7, the unchangeable connection between God’s breath and life in relation to man is established and set. Only God can produce life, and any time life is produced beyond this point it must always be through the one means set forth at the beginning, revealed in Genesis 2:7.
There is nothing more powerful at a Christian’s disposal. It was the Word that Satan chose to use against Christ in the wilderness, and Christ used this same Word as He countered Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).
And going forth, properly arrayed for battle, using the Word as a weapon against the world-rulers of this present darkness, a Christian, at the same time, is to constantly be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (v. 18).
If the provided instructions are followed, victory after victory in the present spiritual warfare will ensue. But, if the provided instructions are not followed . . . .
 The Spiritual Warfare by Arlen L. Chitwood, The Lamp Broadcast, Inc., 2005, pages 19-53