Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth," (John 4:24)
The Angelic Conflict Spiritual Combat
From the moment of Salvation, every believer, regardless of age or sex, regardless of status in life, is in the midst of a great Spiritual conflict. The creation of man is the result of this conflict, (But as we ALL now know; this was God's plan from the VERY BEGINING. To bring angels and man into His family --- using FREE WILL; and to show that God's Thought's and Virtue's are BEYOND AMAZING; Isa 43:10-13) which has existed since some time in eternity past. It is a conflict in which the fallen angels are pitted against God, against the elect angels and against believers. Exactly how long this conflict has been raging is a matter of speculation, since God has not seen fit to reveal this information to us. The first phase of the angelic struggle was completed before man was created. Man entered this Spiritual combat from the time that Eve, at the subtle suggestion of Satan, partook of the forbidden tree in the Garden; (2Co 11:3) and man will continue to be in combat until the Second Advent of Christ.
The Church Age in which we now live is unique. It is the age in which Jesus Christ as the God-Man is glorified: He is seated at the right hand of the Father in His resurrection body. (Matt 26:64) And therefore, the angelic conflict has shifted gears. Until the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ, it was the intent of the fallen angels to frustrate the incarnation of Christ and to prevent the dissemination of the Promises regarding Him. Since Christ did go to the cross and is now glorified, the former purpose has changed. Every believer is the target in the angelic conflict, which has greatly intensified. In fact, the New Testament uses actual warfare as a basis for illustrating the great Spiritual battle in which we find ourselves.
In eternity past, God ALWAYS knew about every need believers would have at every stage of this intensified conflict. (Isa 46:8-10) He knew we would live in a very difficult period of our own national history, as well as in the Spiritual history of mankind. He knew about the dramatic rise of Communism with its anti-Doctrinal and demonic aspects. He knew about the internal disintegration of our nation through drugs, the rise of Theological liberalism, and the failure to recognize Divine laws relative to police and military activities; He knew that confusion with regard to the gospel and the teaching of the Word of God would result from the satanic utilization of those who choose ecstatic and emotional criteria rather than the Thinking of Christ; as their "Spiritual routine." (1Co 2:14-16) Furthermore, He knew that, as individuals', we would have to face national crises, personal crises and local church crises, and that we would encounter an accumulation of pressures at any point where His Word might be revealed. Accordingly, in the Church Age everything is vitally different from any previous age, and God's provision for every believer in this Dispensation --- the New Covenant Church Age; is phenomenal! (John 17:21-23)
Characteristics of the Church Age
No believer in the past was permanently indwelt by God the Holy Spirit or had the New Covenant Spiritual life. (John 7:39) In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit had a temporary ministry to all believers for learning Truth, (Prov 1:23) and in order to empower certain people, such as kings, priests, prophets and the writers of the Old Testament. And a specialized ministry for the Spiritual ability to perform a God-given task. The permanent universal indwelling of believers by God the Holy Spirit belongs only to the New Covenant Church Age; Tribulation and the Millennium. (Eze 36:26-28; (2Co 6:16; Heb 8:10; Rev 14:4-5) cf. (John 12:26)
Since Jesus Christ is now glorified and is seated at the right hand of the Father; (Heb 1:13) every believer is an ambassador for Christ and is His personal representative here on earth during this intensified period of the angelic conflict! (2Co 5:20)
For the first time in history, every believer is a priest. If you have believed in Jesus Christ, you are a priest!
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him, (HIS THOUGHTS AND NATURE) who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (The Spiritual life of God the Holy Spirit and Truth) (1Pe 2:9)
This supernatural way of life is in no way connected with any trend toward asceticism and which excludes every aspect of legalism; further, as well as any energy of the old sin nature; we also have a supernatural means of execution; the filling of God the Holy Spirit. (Eph 5:18)
The grace apparatus for perception
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Through the filling of the Spirit, the believer has access to God's gracious provision whereby he can assimilate and Think with God's Thoughts on EVERY subject, and this "grace apparatus for perception,'' (Operation Z) does not depend upon human IQ or human ability. (1Co 2:12-14) Operation Z depends upon the true function of the church in which the gift of pastor-teacher was designed by God primarily for the authoritative communication of Truth under the Divine Concepts of, (1) Isagogics, which is the interpretation of the Bible in the framework of its historical setting; (2) Categorical teaching, based on comparing Scripture with Scripture to determine the Doctrinal classification; (3) Exegesis, which is verse by verse syntactical analysis of the Bible to determine its exact interpretation.
To understand the mechanics of the Operation Z, we must understand that in essence the human soul of man is made up of self-consciousness, mentality, volition, faith, emotion, and conscience, plus the old sin nature; and for believers a renewed human spirit. The mentality of the soul includes a left lobe, (The perceptive lobe) and a right lobe, (Containing the Spiritual conscience and where the frame of reference and Divine Viewpoint are stored). As Doctrinal information is received into the left or perceptive lobe of the believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit, it is understood. The Greek word "gnosis" specifically refers to Truth that is in the perceptive lobe and understood by means of the filling of the Spirit.
Once you comprehend the Truth, then you have an attitude toward it; negative or positive volition. It is not usable until it is believed. Positive volition expresses itself by faith. By faith this "gnosis" is transferred to the human spirit, where it becomes "epignosis" or Spiritual Knowledge. The human spirit serves as a storage place for epignosis,'' (God's Thinking) and from there it is cycled to the right lobe of the mentality, where it serves as a frame of reference and memory center, vocabulary, categories and where it becomes the new norms and standards in the new conscience; momentum and Spiritual Wisdom. This "epignosis'' in the right lobe is your primary means of Thinking with God's Thoughts, (Verses, Promises and Doctrines): Truth! (1Co 2:13; (3Jn 1:4)
The Edification Complex; Divine Dynasphere; Temple; Spiritual Life; Love Complex of the soul (These names are all synonymous)
Spiritual Thinking or "epignosis" stored in the human spirit is the basis of the construction of the "Edification complex of the soul.'' ''The first "floor" of the structure is rebound; the second, is the filling of God the Holy Spirit; the third, is the faith-rest drill; the fourth, is grace orientation; the fifth, is Doctrinal orientation; the sixth, is a personal sense of destiny; the seventh, is personal love for God; the eighth, is impersonal love for all mankind; the ninth, is sharing the happiness of God; and the tenth, is occupation with Christ.
This edification complex enables the believer to become Spiritually mature, to produce Divine Virtue, and to become Spiritually self-sustaining. Through it God is able to provide you with everything that He designed for you in eternity past. Grace found a way! Further, this Temple in the soul is developed only through constant, DAILY absorption of the Word of God! (Psa 1:2-3)
Now, inevitably, man's days are going to be short and full of trouble because he was created as an extension of the angelic conflict. (Job 5:7-9) Before we proceed with the details of the angelic conflict, it should be made clear that all of the "flack" you get in your Christian life is not necessarily because of the angelic conflict. Some things cannot be directly attributed to the angelic conflict, but to the old sin nature. Of course, the old sin nature is definitely in the angelic conflict; but if you manufacture your own misery through mental attitude sins or through emotional revolt of the soul, don't blame it on the angelic conflict. If you're one of those people who say, ''The devil's after me," you probably know nothing about either the devil or the angelic conflict. The devil is not omnipresent and therefore can be in only one place at a time. And he's after bigger game than you or I. The reason this is so important is that if you start attributing everything to the angelic conflict, you may forget to rebound, and you may become a casualty.
Since we must first of all examine creatures which we cannot see, creatures who hover about us, who indwell some members of the human race; creatures who have a great deal to do with the course of history; creatures who influence rulers and kings; creatures who simulate certain things, such as tongues and healing; creatures that definitely influence people in this world today, we are going to begin our study of the angelic conflict with the angels themselves.
Description of angels
The Bible reveals the existence of a higher creation, and the Word of God is very lucid on this subject. The word "angels" is used repeatedly throughout the Scripture. Before the canon of Scripture was completed, angels often became visible to members of the human race. The Age of Israel was characterized by the appearance of angels. This world, as well as the universe around us, is filled with angels, and there are untold numbers of these beings.
Many details concerning the angels have been a source of controversy over the centuries, but few have ever been resolved.
Not all angels look the same; some are described as being very beautiful and some are not. Apparently they are all male. Only one sex among angels means that all angels were directly created. This explains in part some of the events of, (Gen 6:1-5). Also we learn from this passage that at one time in history fallen angels had sexual relations with the daughters of men.
The best we can do on the composition of angels is that they seem to have a body, but one which is quite different from ours. Our body is corporeal; theirs is immaterial. From the name "Lucifer," which is the Hebrew noun "helel," (Derived from the verb "halal") meaning "bright and shining one'' we learn something of the substance of their bodies. The angelic body appears to be composed of light; and since light has content, it could make a definite body and one which could easily become invisible or visible. Their bodies are further differentiated from ours in that wings are often attributed to them. Not all angels have the same number of wings. (Eze 1:6; Rev 4:8) Some angels are super angels in beauty and strength as compared to others. These super angels are called "cherubs." (Cherubim --- plural from the Hebrew) A cherub is not a little baby with wings. He happens to be the most beautiful and most magnificent creature that ever came from the hand of God. Some of the cherubs are actually named: the leader of the elect angels is called Michael; the leader of the fallen angels, Lucifer, or Satan or the devil. These two angels are apparently the most beautiful of all creatures. Lucifer is described in terms that exceed any other Biblical description of a creature. (Eze 28:12-13) No one is more beautiful or more personable than Satan. Of course, that eliminates the usual representation of Satan with a red epidermis, slanted green eyes, a forked tail and a trident. Gabriel seems to be another of the cherubs. He has a responsibility that far exceeds the power of any person in the human race. Gabriel is the one who keeps human dictators or rulers from going berserk, unless it is a part of God's plan. Gabriel went to the court of Cyrus in Persia to keep him from being attacked by demons. (Dan 10:13 --- Gabriel is speaking in this verse)
Nothing in history escapes angelic observation. There is no major event in history that does not have and is not a part of the angelic conflict, from the fall of man to the Second Advent of Christ. Angels were involved in the fall of man, and angels will be involved in the Second Advent. At the Second Advent, angels will follow Christ; (Matt 25:31) angels will be involved in a war; (Rev 12:7) and fallen angels will be removed from the earth during the Millennium. (Dan 7:11-14; Rev 20:1-3)
The Book of the Revelation is a book of angels. There are: more references to angels in this book than in any other book in the Bible because the conflict is entering its last stage before the fallen angels are removed from the earth; (Dan 7:12) therefore, the intensity of the angelic conflict is portrayed very clearly.
(Rev 12:4-13) for example, teaches how Satan seeks to destroy the Jews. He has always tried to destroy them, in fact, and when he is not trying to destroy them directly, Satan is responsible for anti-Semitism. The rumor that the Jews are the reason for all the troubles of the world; is from Satan. The Samaritans under Sanballat, the Chaldeans, the Persians at one time in their history, the Assyrians many times in their history, the Syrians and even modern races and peoples have subscribed to this idea; that the Jews are the source of all trouble.
Under the angelic conflict, Satan has a battalion of teachers, who teach false Bible Truth to believers, and push false demonic thinking into the souls of unbelievers through the old sin nature --- "mataiotes." (Vacuum --- Eph 4:17-19)
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, (The Spiritual life) paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (1Ti 4:1)
So whether you realize it or not, all the history which you have read and the events of the present are related to angels.
Categories of angels
As far as the angelic conflict is concerned, angels exist in two categories: the elect and the fallen angels. The elect angels, which were always sinless, even before man was created, and are generally designated in Scripture by one of two names: "holy," (Mar 8:38) and "chosen." (1Ti 5:21) The fallen angels are divided into two groups: the imprisoned angels, those "who did not keep their own domain," (Jud 1:6) and the operative fallen angels, generally called "demons."
(Mark 5:12; (1Co 10:20-21; 1Ti 4:1; etc.) The imprisoned angels were involved in the great revolution and infiltration of the human race of, (Gen 6:1-5). They are locked up in Tartarus, (2Pe 2:4) under the Euphrates, (Rev 9:14-16) and the half-man half-demon descendents in the Abyss. (Rev 9:1-11)
These categories did not always exist. Prior to history, there was a conflict in heaven among the angels and a division ensued. Angels were originally in a state of perfection, just as man was; then, when Satan fell by exercising negative volition toward God and toward grace, a great portion of the angelic structure chose to go along with him. "And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, (Angels) and threw them to the earth... (Rev 12:4) The angels which followed Satan had the opportunity to live with God, and refused to do so. (They are going to trial against God)
A trial was inevitable because of the essence of God. God is sovereign and dominates creatures; He is perfect righteousness and cannot tolerate anything less than that; He is justice; and righteousness plus justice demands that a trial be conducted. So the trial was first of all based upon God's righteousness and justice.
God is also eternal life, and He provides eternal life for any creature who, from his own free will, goes the grace way. (Heb 2:2) indicates that angels had a choice of whatever means of Salvation existed for them. All these creatures had this choice in common with us. (And if we do not take the deal, "faith in Christ; and then grow to Spiritual maturity" we will have to take it to trial; and represent OURSELVES before God! (Rev 20:12; (2Co 5:10) I beg you; TAKE THE DEAL!) Angels have souls, which include their volition; they have perceptive ability which is greater than ours; they have some form of conscience, which is brought out by the third chapter of Genesis. They also have self-consciousness, (Awareness of their own existence) and they have faith and emotion. The fallen angels, (And the entire human race) have Satan's old sin nature, (John 8:38; John 8:41; John 8:44) which distinguishes them from the elect angels.
However long it took, the trial was fair in every sense of the word. God is omniscient He knows all the facts; He is omnipresent He was an observer; He is omnipotent He has the power to execute justice; He is immutable God is incorruptible as a Judge; and He is Truth. (Veracity) Satan was a liar from the beginning of human history; (John 8:44) and those angels who went against God; and followed Satan, followed a lie.
At the end of the trial, Satan and all the fallen angels were sentenced to the lake of fire. (Matt 25:41) In this pre-period of history, the period of angelic creation only, a sentence was passed, but not executed. All during human history, the sentence is suspended. After the end of man's history, (The end of the Millennium with the destruction of the world and the universe; Rev 21:1) the sentence will be carried out. (Rev 20:10)
Now, we can immediately deduce something from this: if the sentence is pronounced before man was created but not carried out until after man's history is concluded, then man was created by God to resolve something that happened at the end of that trial. The words "diabolos'' and "shatan'' both tell us what happened because "Satan'' and "devil" are not names for the super angel but titles. His name is Lucifer, Star of the Morning. (Isa 14:12) "Satan" and "devil" means "adversary," and "accuser" or "attorney'' --- someone who goes to court and appeals. Satan appealed the case. So, by putting together certain evidences which occur throughout Scripture, we can begin to see why man was created.
It is true that man was also created for the glory of God; but that doesn't explain many other questions, such as, why sin? Why suffering? Why free will? Why establishment? The fact that we are here to glorify God is a generality. When we discover that by means of our old sin nature; we don't and CANNOT glorify God, (Rom 8:8) we must dig a little deeper for a more detailed explanation. Under the filling of God the Holy Spirit and growth to Spiritual maturity; we can be on the winning side of God's victory and glorification; (Rev 21:7) but there is only one thing that really answers all the why's, and that's the angelic conflict. It's important for us to understand the angelic conflict, because our existence on the earth after Salvation is directly related to it. So are the Truths, the Promises, the Commands and the Doctrines of Scripture.
The greatest attacks Satan has made against God were made before man came into the picture. Satan is a super genius; he is smarter than any created being who has ever lived! (Eze 28:12) Before anyone existed on this earth, Satan had his back to the wall with a Divine judgment upon himself, and millions of angelic creatures who followed him. Obviously, Satan would not like the judgment, and in seeking to do something about it, made a very strong objection an objection that was, in effect, an appeal which demanded a new trial, a new case. Based upon a knowledge and understanding of, (Matt 25:41) and (Rev 20:1-10) his objections can be deduced very simply: How can freewill be TRULY free if we, (Fallen angels in this case) must obey the Divine Thinking and Virtue love of God; and How can the Virtue love of God cast His creatures into the Lake of Fire? The answers are interesting to us, because as human beings, we have become involved in the same objections from every namby-pamby, maudlin, addle-brained type of individual! This, of course, originates from Satan himself, and the answer has to do with angelic and human free will versus God's Sovereignty.
Angelic free will had an opportunity under grace and rejected it. Therefore, while the fallen angels were saying, "Not fair!" God created man in order to demonstrate to them that His position in grace was valid, that Virtue love can only express itself through grace, and that God cannot change His essence to accommodate any creature, whether angel or human being. God's perfect character included Virtue love for the angels; but God cannot love in a way that is inconsistent with His other characteristics. When Satan went negative and said, "...I will be like the Most High," (Isa 14:13-14) God had to make a decision, one that was compatible with His righteousness and justice, as well as with His Virtue love.
The great underlying issue in history is always the essence of God, of which Virtue love Divine Integrity and Holiness are a part. When you understand reconciliation and propitiation, you can see that God has done some of the most astounding things, and yet never lost or compromised one bit of His essence. In other words, the devil was "ACED" BY GRACE! There is no way the devil can win! He couldn't change God, and you can't change God, nor can any other human being. In fact, our security is in the fact that He cannot change. That's why we have the assurance, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Heb 13:8) The big issue in the angelic conflict is God's essence! In all of history, we have certain creatures going for Satan; in prehistory, the angels --- in history --- man. Only God remains intact!
The pattern of angelic rejection
The pattern of angelic rejection has to do with the angels' free will. We know that angels had free will because Satan, who is the ruler of fallen angels, went negative toward God. The first sin of any creature was one of negative volition, when Satan said to himself five times "I WILL." (Isa 14:12-14) And this tells us a great deal, because of the negative volition of man; (Adam and the woman) and the negative volition of Satan; add up to a parallel situation. It also adds up to another Principle, that God created man to resolve the angelic conflict and to overrule the objection of Satan.
In, (Heb 2:2) we have the angelic rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ; "…the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty.'' This Scripture relates man's Salvation to angelic Salvation. Mankind and angels are both involved in the same Principle of negative volition. We do not know the mechanics of the grace Salvation for angels; but, since Satan had sinned, every angel had had his opportunity to make a decision for or against Christ before man was even created.
Resolving the angelic conflict
To resolve the angelic conflict, a creature inferior to angels was created and placed on one planet. (Psa 8:5; Heb 2:7) Now you have to understand something about the angels and demons, (Fallen angels): they were created with the ability to travel throughout the universe with all of its galaxies; and some of the angels have "CHAROITS." (Isa 66:15; Eze 1:19; Eze 10:13) cf. (1Ki 7:32-33; (1Ch 28:18) Generally their abode was in the second heaven, and they had access to the third heaven for angelic convocations. (Job 1:6) Certain angels, such as Lucifer, lived in the third heaven. (Eze 28:13-15) But when the angelic fall occurred in the third heaven, and after the revolt that took a third of the angels with him, he established a headquarters on a very tiny planet which we call "earth." (Job 1:7) At the rebellion God turned the earth into a block of black ice. (Gen 1:2; Jer 4:23-26) Under Satan, the earth had become what the original language describes as ''tohu wa-bohu," which means that it was desolate and ruined. So God covered the whole earth with deep darkness, resulting in an ice pack, ("Ice Age" --- and this is what also ruined the dinosaurs). It stayed that way for an unknown period of time, during which time the fallen angels had their trial and were sentenced. The earth had been in existence for perhaps billions of years; its antiquity is unknown and even carbon dating cannot help us. But when Satan made his objection, God the Holy Spirit removed the ice pack and set about reestablishing the earth and putting it in order. In six days, (Literal days) God reestablished the earth and made it habitable for a new creature --- man. To put it briefly: in order to resolve the angelic conflict, an inferior creature, (Man) was placed on one planet, (The earth) possessing one thing which the angels had --- free will or volition. (Psa 8:3-5; Heb 2:7)
(Heb 1:1) thru (Heb 2:18) actually give us the whole story.
Now, since God does not desire to force love and obedience from His creatures, man's volition must also be tested. Human volition on the earth was tested in the same manner as angelic volition. As a matter of fact, there were four similarities involved: (1) both angels and mankind began in status quo perfection. (2) Both angels and mankind went negative and sinned. (Isa 14:13-14; Gen 3:5-6) (3) God had to provide for this contingency, which He had anticipated. Therefore, for the angels He provided a Salvation which is unknown to us at this time. For mankind He provided a Salvation which is known to us the cross. (4) For this reason both angels and men are divided into two categories chosen or elect and fallen angels, and saved and unsaved mankind. (Heb 2:2; John 3:18) The two categories of mankind can be very simply stated: positive volition is believing in Jesus Christ; negative volition is rejection of Christ or for believers --- rejection of Truth.
Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and Divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Rom 1:19-21)
The Test Under Perfect Environment
There were two tests instituted for man's volition: Adam had two, and since then, all mankind has one. First, in perfection and under perfect environment, Adam's negative volition was tested with a tree. There was just one tree that was forbidden. The only way he could sin was to go negative and partake of the fruit of that one tree, and this he did. (Gen 2:17) --- Also describes the penalty for sin in connection with that tree: "...For in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." The word "die" refers to Spiritual death; (Separation from God in time)
Adam did not die physically the moment he sinned. He died SPIRITUALLY! He was cut off or separated from God. He did not die physically until he was 930 years old. (Gen 5:5) Therefore, "the wages of sin" obviously is not physical death. (As is taught in just about every Bible school in the United States) The wages of sin is Spiritual death; and as a result of the fall physical death. (Rom 6:23; Heb 9:27)
The Test Under Sinfulness
Secondly, Adam's positive volition was tested under sinfulness, and this too involves a tree the cross. After he had sinned and had become separated from God, Salvation was promised to him and to the human race. (Gen 3:15)
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed, (Satan's) and her seed; (Christ) --- He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on, (And or with the; Psa 41:9; John 13:18) the heel."
Salvation would be provided through the virgin birth of Christ. (Gal 4:4-5) All Adam had to do to become Spiritually alive again was to exercise positive volition, (Faith) toward the Lord Jesus Christ, who would provide Salvation in FULL. The moment Adam sinned, he died Spiritually. We are BORN Spiritually dead, (Separated from God) though physically alive. However, we too can become Spiritually alive by the exercise of positive volition, (Faith) toward the work, (Spiritual death and judgment) of Christ on the cross. The two tests of mankind's volition under sinfulness occurs, (After the fall of Adam, man can only be tested under sinfulness). (1) At the moment he becomes aware of or conscious of God and; (2) at the moment he hears the gospel. Man's faith in Christ, which is a non-meritorious expression of positive volition toward Christ, resolves the initial phase of the angelic conflict. (Col 2:14-15; Heb 1:4-14; Heb 2:1-18)
When you accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, the elect angels rejoiced while Satan's crowd groaned. Why? Because you responded to grace from your own free will!
The issue in angelic observation is, will man, who is inferior to angels but equipped with the same free will, choose for or against the plan of God? Will man respond to grace or reject it? (John 3:17-18) The angels can understand why they are condemned when they observe human beings on the earth placing their trust in Jesus Christ. Thus demonstrating that the negative free will of man does necessarily choose against God, as Satan and the fallen angels did in eternity past. This explains the rejoicing of elect angels over the sinner, who repents, (Changes his mind about Christ and believers about believing and Thinking with Truth; Luk 15:7-10).
There are many passages in the Bible that teach that angels are observing man. First of all, angels observed the Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity just prior to the Church Age. (Matt 4:11; Matt 28:2; Luk 2:13-14; Acts 1:10-11; (1Ti 3:16) Angels observe believers in Phase Two. (1Co 4:9; (1Co 6:3; (1Co 11:10; Eph 3:10; (1Ti 5:21; (1Pe 1:12) Fallen angels are organized under Satan's Command to resist and oppose believers. They must observe believers in order to do this. (Job 1:8-12; Job 2:1-10; Eph 6:12)
Angelic observation and participation in this Spiritual conflict constitute a major reason for putting the emphasis of the Christian life on learning and Thinking with Truth not simply DOING something. We tend to get off into minor Concepts and to falsely think in terms of DOING something such as praying, witnessing, giving or certain other activities of the Christian life. These are legitimate and bona fide functions; (In fellowship; Psa 66:18) but because of the angelic conflict and the necessity of orienting to the grace of God and Spiritually Knowing His will, the great emphasis is on Thinking with Truth. (Php 4:8-9) For the believer-priest, Truth is the equipment that makes witnessing, praying, giving, etc., effective. It is only through the filling of God the Holy Spirit and Thinking with Truth that you are able to enjoy these WORSHIP activities. (John 4:23-24)
Results of the angelic conflict
Phase One. There are three phases to the plan of God for believers: Phase One, Salvation; Phase Two, the believer in time; Phase Three, the believer in eternity. The result in Phase One is Salvation. At the moment he is saved, the believer enters Phase Two and is positionally higher than angels. (Heb 2:7) This is the first victory of the angelic conflict. When we accept Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit enters us into union with Christ. (Baptism of the Spirit) So, since the humanity of Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father and has been made higher than angels, and since we are in union with Him, we too are made positionally higher than angels. (Eph 1:17-23; Col 2:9-10) This was retroactively the case for the Old Testament believers.
Phase Two. There is also victory in Phase Two for the believer who operates under Operation Z and builds THE SPIRITUAL TEMPLE of the soul. (1Co 3:11-16) Such victory comes from suffering; for it is through suffering, (Sin nature, thought, people, system, and disaster testing) that the believer utilizes God's grace and develops the faith-rest technique to the point of occupation with Christ. (Rom 5:2-5; (1Pe 1:7-8)
Phase Three. In Phase Three, which begins with death or the harvest, (Rev 14:14-20) every believer will receive a resurrection body exactly like that of Jesus Christ. (Php 3:21) Through the possession of this resurrection body, believers will be experientially: physically superior to angelic creatures; in time believers are now, positionally: mentally superior to the fallen angels, (Only by Thinking with the Mind of Christ). cf. (John 8:31-32)
Freedom From Satanic Control
Through the fall of man, Satan gained control of the earth. Satan is spoken of in Scripture as the ruler and the god of this world. (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; (2Co 4:4; Eph 2:2) He did gain control of man on the earth, but man's volition makes him a free agent in the devil's world, and he can choose between the plan of God and the plan of Satan. (Acts 26:17-18) Salvation, through faith in Christ; positionally frees man from Satanic control and domination; (Rom 6:3-6) and experientially through daily intake and obedience to the Thinking with the that Truth. (Rom 6:17-18)
After Salvation, the great NEED is Spiritual Knowledge of Truth; acquired by means of Operation Z. The more Divine Thinking the believer has in his human spirit --- the more Truth he has in the right lobe of his mentality, the more freedom he possesses in being able to Think independently from Satan. (John 8:38; John 12:47-50; John 13:17; John 17:13) One of the great issues in the Christian life is Divine guidance, and the whole basis for knowing the will of God on any particular point, or in general, is the Bible: God's Thinking in the right lobe. (1Co 2:16)
Remember, Truth in the left lobe, the perceptive lobe, does not go straight across to the right lobe as with human knowledge; it must go through the process of cycling to the human spirit by faith and then to the right lobe.
It can be hindered because of negative volition toward Truth, and it can be short-circuited by mental attitude sins. (Matt 13:22; Luk 8:13-14) As a category, mental attitude sins represent the greatest enemy of the Christian life!
Now, to sum up the reasons for the angelic conflict, let us see the answers to several basic questions of life.
Questions answered by the angelic conflict
Why Does Man Exist? As we have seen, mankind exists to resolve the angelic conflict. Man approaches the cross with free will; and under God's plan --- has the right to express positive volition by faith in Christ and to enter into God's game plan --- by being born again. Or, he has the right to exercise negative volition. When a person rejects the righteousness of God, which is imputed through faith in Christ --- the work of the cross, (Rom 9:30; (2Co 5:21) and rejects the administration of the justice of God in pouring our sins out upon Christ, then God's righteousness and justice would be compromised if He did not penalize the unbeliever with the Lake of Fire forever. Therefore, God is just as fair in casting the unbeliever in the Lake of Fire as He is in providing eternal life for the believer.
(Col 2:14-15) These passages demonstrate how the cross relates to the angelic conflict by showing that the angelic conflict would be resolved and the doom of Satan and the fallen angels would be certain if only one Person would be born perfect and submit to God's authority to the point of death! (Php 2:5-11)
Why Does Sin Exist? Many people, especially idealistic people who tend toward asceticism, have great difficulty with the origin of sin. First of all, sin did not originate with God; it is absolutely incompatible with His essence; it is utterly impossible for Him to sin, to cause temptation, or to be the origin of sin in any way. We have direct statements of Scripture to the effect that God is not the author of sin. (Jas 1:13) But even from the standpoint of essence alone, He could not be. Why, then, did God permit sin?
The fact that man had to be given free will in order to resolve the angelic conflict also made it possible for man to sin. Actually, Satan set the pattern. His was the first sin, and it was a voluntary act involving his free will. The fallen angels followed suit by also making decisions of negative volition. Similarly, original sin in the human race, involving first the woman and then the man, stemmed from the exercise of negative volition by each of them.
Had man been created without the freedom to make his own choice, (Either negative or positive) there would have been no parallel to the case of Satan and the fallen angels, and the angelic conflict would not have been resolved. Angelic sin was judged; the sins of the world were judged. Christ chose of His own free will to go to the cross; He chose to be judged for the sins of the human race. He was qualified to be judged for sin, having no sin of His own. (2Co 5:21) So Christ is the issue of Salvation, and since He is the issue, we have free will. Our free will can express itself in faith in Christ; and we can be saved; or we can reject Christ and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.
Why Does Suffering Exist? There are numerous reasons for suffering as far as the angelic conflict is concerned, and we can easily understand that man's fall and departure from perfection would inevitably lead to all kinds of suffering. Equally obvious is the fact that Satan with all his genius is incapable of handling his own kingdom --- this world. (John 12:31) Suffering exists in this world to the extent that Satan cannot cope with the problems of the human race. He would like to create an ideal environment for humanity in his world, and he has attempted to do so by introducing the false Concepts of socialism, by declaring all men to be equal, by trying to provide enough money and a job for everyone; and by supplying so-called "social security" and Obama-care for all, etc. In every case his solution has failed. The United Nations; (And the League of Nations before it) represents a satanic effort to create a perfect environment and to eliminate warfare; however, its interference has only led to greater problems, and it will continue to do so. Satan is not "like the Most High," and whatever he has tried by way of cure-alls has merely complicated matters and intensified suffering.
While the Church is on the earth, God permits suffering, (Sin nature, thought, people, system, and disaster testing; for believers to grow to Spiritual maturity) for the purpose of blessing. Through suffering, He demonstrates to you and to me that His grace provision is greater than the suffering itself; and that He has provided for every difficult circumstance through believing and Thinking with Truth; filled with God the Holy Spirit. Now it doesn't mean that you are going to be blessed just because you are suffering. It all depends on your use of the Spiritual life! One of the greatest blessings of suffering comes through faith-rest which leads to occupation with Christ. When suffering is caused by discipline, the use of, (1Jn 1:9) turns the cursing to blessing.
Why Does the New Covenant Church Exist? Why has the angelic conflict shifted gears? Why not the New Covenant with Israel? Why do we have a change of Dispensation? First of all, the previous Dispensation, the Jewish Age Old Covenant Age was fulfilled, (Heb 13:20) and Israel as a nation rejected Christ. (Matt 23:37-39)
Christ started the New Covenant Church Age as a clone of Israel to be the steward of the Gospel and the canon: the full realm of Scripture. A Spiritual Kingdom; (Luk 17:21) with God the Father as the author of the plan; (Eph 4:4-6) with God the Holy Spirit providing a Temple, (Spiritual life) inside the believer; (1Co 3:16) for the Ruler-ship of Christ --- in progressive growth levels; (Gal 4:19; Col 1:27; (1Pe 3:15; (2Pe 1:19) but not as a political or racial kingdom as Israel was. (Gal 3:28; Col 3:10-11) But a Theocracy: God Ruling each believer personally; through the Shekinah Glory --- the LORD Jesus, the Christ! (Isa 37:16; Col 2:9-17) CHRIST is the key to the Eternal New Covenant of the Church, Tribulation and Millennium; made between God the Father and God the Son; Jesus Christ. (Eph 2:14-16; Heb 13:20)
Since Christ is absent from the earth during this Dispensation, His Body continues to represent Him as His ambassadors. This Body, of which Christ is the Head, is composed of all regenerate persons. (Believers)
But in the Church Age, the believer is the battleground for the angelic conflict, which is now inner, hidden and subtle. Only in the Tribulation will it come out in the open! (Rev 9:1-11) Which will begin when the G 20 agreement, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009 G-20 London Summit) is broken in 2012. (Dan 9:27) To survive in this conflict, we must have training, which comes through Spiritual Knowledge of Truth. Therefore, we will study a passage of Scripture which deals with our training and the equipment which God has provided for us to overcome and to move and to be victorious in the angelic conflict.
God's provision for the angelic conflict: the full armor of God
In, (Eph 6:10-17) we have a military analogy to teach us the Principles of combat in the Spiritual realm.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
This verse begins with an aorist middle imperative of the Greek word "enduo." It means to put on equipment, to equip ourselves for battle. The aorist tense refers to any point of time when the believer functions under Operation Z. The middle voice indicates two things: (1) our positive volition toward the Word of Truth; (2) and the benefits which are derived by the exercise of positive volition toward Truth. The imperative mood indicates an order. We are Commanded to put on "the full armor," which is the Greek word "panoplia" --- the complete equipment.
There were three kinds of soldiers in the Roman army who had this complete equipment. First of all, the "hastati." They were the young recruits, analogous
to new believers or Spiritual babies. "Hasta" is the Latin word for javelin, which was their chief weapon. The "hastati" were out in the first line of battle. When they
had thrown their javelins, they passed back through the ranks and were not used again in the tactical situation. In the second line of battle were the "principes," the
young, vigorous and strong soldiers, analogous to the Spiritual adolescents. Finally, the "triarii," who made up the third line of battle, were the most experienced
veterans; analogous to mature believers.
Comparatively, the adolescent believer has enough Truth, ("Epignosis" God's Thinking) in his human spirit to be developing a frame of reference in his right lobe and have a fairly consistent exhale toward God and production of Divine Virtue love. The mature believer has a complete edification complex, (Temple; Spiritual life) of the soul and is a producer of Divine Virtue love. (Gal 5:22-23) The new believer is simply starting under Operation Z. The Spiritual moron will never make it. He is a casualty in the angelic conflict. He is the person who operates on emotion, and who gets involved in every emotional activity from the Satanic tongues movement all of the way to some system of social action. Maybe he simply spends his time in little Christian endeavor-type devotionals, followed by meaningless decisions throwing a fagot, (Piece of wood) on the fire, dedication, rededication, and all of the other things which are substitutes for learning Truth.
Now the Principle is that ALL believers must wear the armor, regardless of their Spiritual growth. Certain things are provided just as much for the new believer as for the mature believer; and of course this would refer to such things as the filling of the Spirit, the faith-rest technique, and the occupation with Christ Principle. The source of these things, (The complete equipment) is of God.
"That you will be able to stand firm... The word for ability is "dunamai"--- ability which is the result of Operation Z and the edification complex, the latter of which is the chief launching pad or weapon in the angelic conflict. The present tense indicates that this ability always belongs to the believer on the basis of the function of Thinking with Truth. The active voice --- every believer must stand on his own Truth; he must stand in his own armor. Furthermore, your attitude toward Truth determines your fulfillment of the plan of God, your orientation to grace, the development and the construction of your edification complex. What is the primary purpose of the Christian life? To construct an edification complex; and to acquire maximum Truth in the right lobe.
Once you put on that equipment, you are TO STAND. ("Histemi") It is used here in a technical military sense, and it means to stand fast under combat conditions. You see, in the third and fourth chapters and halfway through the fifth chapter of Ephesians the training period was set forth: every believer has been given a Spiritual gift; he has been provided with Bible teaching, a grace apparatus for perception, an edification complex and everything that pertains to that. When you are trained, when you put on the armor, you are ready for Spiritual combat. The active voice means that you have to fulfill your own part on the combat team!
''...Against the schemes of the devil" (Eph 6:11) is literally "face to face with the schemes of the Devil" --- therefore, the combat situation, (Sin nature, thought, people, organization, and disaster testing). You are to put on the armor of God and you are to have the equipment necessary to face the Devil's unseen forces in a Spiritual combat. Satan has an objective, and it involves strategy which is directed toward every facet of our life; as unbelievers and BELIEVERS!
The enemy forces
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. (Eph 6:12)
We must put on the whole armor because of, (Not "for") Satanic strategy, because Satan is the ruler of this world, and because we reside in "cosmos diabolicus." "Struggle" actually refers to combat. It could be any kind of personal combat, such as boxing or wrestling; but in our context it has a military connotation and refers to our personal combat with the enemy. "Because our combat is not with human beings; (Flesh and blood) but, in contrast with mankind, our combat is with an unseen enemy, the demon army." The angelic conflict finds the believer pitted against the army of fallen angels as a part of Phase Two.
Satan's demon organization
Now, let us notice something of Satan's demon table of organization, spoken of in this verse as ''...against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." First of all, we have "rulers," which is the Greek word "archon," one of the words for highest rulers. "Archon" was first used in Attic Greek in the day of the Athenian democracy. The "archon" was the president or the preeminent decision-maker in Athens the highest ruler.
From the Age of Pericles in the Fifth Century B.C., the word "archon" has gone through many transitions, but it has always retained its exact meaning. It is one of those words that went from the Attic Greek to the Alexandrian Greek to the Koine Greek, all the way down to New Testament times with exactly the same meaning highest ruler. So the Satanic organization has a certain number of five-star generals the exact number unknown. There are millions and millions of demons. (Rev 9:16)
We have a secondary group of rulers called "powers." The Greek word, "exousias" (Authorities) is comparable to commissioned officers. So at the top, Satan has an unknown number of "archon," who are army Commanders. Under them he has an unknown number of corps Commanders, divisional Commanders, brigade Commanders, combat team Commanders, battalion Commanders, company Commanders and platoon Commanders!
These also have supporting-type organizations. For example, an infantry division will have so many batteries of artillery, and in certain terrains it will often have attached to it various types of armor; it will have supporting organizations from the quartermaster, (Supply) and transportation corps. There will be assigned to it a number of engineers with certain responsibilities, along with special weapons-type organizations. So, then, any military organization has many supporting organizations attached to it, and that is exactly what we have in Satan's table of organization.
The third category is "the world forces of this darkness." This is "kosmokrator" --- one word in the Greek. "Krator" is ruler and "kosmos" is world; therefore, a world rulers not "rulers of darkness." The word "darkness" comes later in the sentence and is the Greek word "skotos." The phrase should actually read, "World rulers of darkness." Why is this organization called "world rulers of darkness"? It is Satan's elite corps of "rangers" that are used in attacking rulers, national entities and VIP's. Each "kosmokrator" is in charge of his own territory.
This elite corps attacks rulers, as in, (Dan 10:13). Daniel's prayer did not receive an answer for three weeks because Gabriel was busy fighting the "ranger" organization of demons, led by the "prince of Persia,'' Satan's "kosmokrator" over Persia. In, (Dan 10:20) another world ruler of darkness is mentioned; this time it is the "prince of Greece." This same organization attacks ALL national entities. Any national entity that functions under the Divine Institution of Nationalism and which evangelizes on the inside and sponsors missionary activity on the outside is going to be under attack. Also VIP believers are under attack, as illustrated by the Apostle Paul. In addition, all believers who are in the vicinity of a VIP believer are under attack. That is the history of the attack on Corinth. When Timothy, a VIP believer, went to Corinth, the same thing happened. Before Timothy, it was Apollos. Any time there is great exposure to the Word of Truth, this specialized satanic organization attacks.
There is a fourth category in Satan's table of organization mentioned in, (Eph 6:12). "Spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. "This actually refers to the rank and file of demons, which perform numerous functions. Some of these demons indwell unbelievers and influence believers; only to induce sickness. When Satan calls out the demons, the unbeliever is miraculously healed in order to promote some person as a healer. Then there are those who control the vocal cords, such as the "eggastromuthos,'' (Ventriloquist) demons; and their control of the vocal cords of unbelievers and believers; involves a simulation of "tongues" in order to attract people in that direction.
There are demons who perform certain extra-natural activities for Satan, such as those recorded in, (2Th 2:9).
Then, too, there are certain members of the human race, who, under demon possession and or influence, are very brilliant and are able to make predictions in order to gather followers and to point people in a given direction usually toward religion, social action, or some form of human old sin nature works. There are demons designated to encourage sin, though sin is not the great objective in the satanic system. The old sin nature actually takes care of the basic sin Concept. The world, (False realities and values) the flesh, (Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life) and the devil, (Demonically inspired false Biblical and non-Biblical thinking) are involved in temptation, but most of the sins, (Gen 3:4-6) in the human race originate from the old sin nature, (Jas 1:14-15) (Adam and the woman sinned without a sin nature).
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. (Eph 6:13)
"Therefore" --- because of the angelic conflict, because of Satan's strategies, because of the Divine reconnaissance, (Location and organization of the enemy) and the information found in the first part of our passage we are given a Command: "Take." This word ("Analambano") means "to take, to receive or to seize," and to do it over and over again. You don't put the uniform or battle equipment on ONCE; you put it on again and again and again! This is a reference to Divine Thinking, with emphasis on the function of Operation Z, the daily repeated intake of Truth. Nothing short of this will build up stability in our Spiritual Thinking; in and for the time of crisis and or prosperity! (2Ti 2:4)
Analogy to the Roman Soldier
(Eph 6:14-17) examines the items of our equipment. You will never look at any combat soldier without noticing that he has belts and buckles and pockets and various pieces of equipment, each of which has a very definite purpose. At the time of the writing of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul was under house arrest and had a member of the Praetorian Guard with him at all times. Now, a Praetorian was not an ordinary infantryman; he was in training to become an officer, and the Praetorian camp was as close as we can come to West Point, Sandhurst or Saint-Cyr. It was a military academy, and the men who guarded the Apostle Paul would one day be officers in the Roman Army. And so, as Paul was writing this particular chapter, he could look up and observe the various articles of equipment of the Roman soldier who was in attendance.
The Belt of Truth. (The Thinking of Christ) "Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.' (The filling of God the Holy Spirit; Eph 6:14) cf. (John 4:24) Although the word "stand" in itself is the ordinary word for standing under almost any condition, in this instance, with the military uniform involved, it means to stand in ranks, to be in the proper place in a combat situation. The aorist tense means that it is to be done in a point of time; the active voice indicates that volition is involved in obedience to a Command; and the imperative mood strengthens the fact that there must be obedience to the Command.
Since there are a series of aorist participles occurring in the verses that follow, it is necessary to stop here and recognize the Principle governing them: the action of the aorist participle precedes the action of the main verb. From this structure, we will see that the items of equipment represent training and preparation so that we may be able to stand fast in the battle situation. The main verb "to stand," ("Histemi") is given right at the beginning of, (Eph 6:14) and it has reference to the actual combat situation. Everything else is preparation for it! Each one of us, as a believer, is in combat; we are in the unseen angelic conflict. In addition to that, we are in full-time Christian service, and we are faced with adverse circumstances in the devil's world and with various needs in our lives. Each item we are going to examine represents preparation and training for our combat, which will continue as long as we live on this earth.
The Greek word for "having girded" is "perizonnumi," and it is an aorist middle participle, "Peri" means "around" and "zonnumi" means "to put"; that is, to put around the waist. The Roman soldiers wore a very wide belt, which was actually the foundation piece for all their military equipment. At one place on it there was a loop for the "machaira," (Sword) at another point there was a loop from which a couple of ropes dangled, together with a sack for rations. Items of equipment were attached all the way around this belt, which was designed in a manner to insure that it would remain firmly in place at all times and so that the equipment would be easily accessible when needed. No Roman soldier ever fought without his belt, for it carried all of his equipment.
This military belt is said to be "Truth," but the Greek word, "aletheia," does not mean to tell the Truth, in and of itself. It is a technical word, which has the connotation of God's Thinking; not in its simple presentation but in its categories. The belt of Truth, then, is a reference to the whole Principle of Operation Z. This is the basis for learning Truth or putting on the "belt of Truth."
The Breastplate of Righteousness
(Eph 6:14) goes on to say, "and having on the breastplate of righteousness." The Greek word for "having on" is "enduo," meaning to "put it on." It is an aorist middle participle to indicate that over a period of time, if we are "consistent" in Bible study, we gradually build up an accumulation of Truth in the human spirit, which in turn will lead to the construction of the edification complex of the soul. (Spiritual life) Without this edification complex or Doctrinal structure in the soul, there is no Spiritual maturity and, basically, no happiness in the Christian life.
"Thorax'" is the Greek word for "breastplate." This piece of armor is a very interesting article. Most of the ancient peoples wore breastplates, which were made up of many layers of cloth or linen. Some were made by attaching bits of horn or hoof to a heavy cloth foundation. Later, they were made of bronze and even of iron. The Roman breastplate was made of metal and protected the upper part of the body the vital spots. In order to keep it in place, little rings were affixed to the lower edge, and it was secured to the belt by means of thongs which were drawn through the rings. Putting on the breastplate took some time. In our passage, this breastplate is analogous to learning to stay in fellowship and build the edification complex. Put on the belt, (God's Thinking --- Truth) and the breastplate, (The Filling of God the Holy Spirit --- Temple). We do not become mature believers overnight. It takes time to develop Temple complex in the soul. Pressure and suffering accelerate the building of an edification complex.
The Roman soldiers did not wear any protection on their arms. Being very offensive-minded, they liked to have their arms free. The hauberk, which was a chain mail covering for the body and arms, came into use during the Middle Ages and indicated the defensive-mindedness of that period. But the Romans had the idea of aggressiveness and wanted freedom to move. And this is exactly what we have in our passage. The breastplate of righteousness gives you freedom for production and action. It is not the actual production, but, rather, the FREEDOM to produce.
The Feet Shod
''And having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.'' (Eph 6:15) It is inevitable that the Apostle Paul, in describing the great Spiritual warfare --- the intensity of the angelic conflict --- should eventually come to the feet. The infantryman moves into battle on foot. Weapons may change, but warfare demands the presence of the infantry. The success of the army Depends upon the feet of the army.
The Roman soldier wore a very heavy-soled leather sandal, the soles of which were studded with cleats to give the soldier firm footing. This sandal was called a "caligula"; and since they were issued in pairs, the pair was referred to as "caligulae." These were the Romans' "GI" shoes, and they were worn only by the infantry. The aorist tense of "shod" indicates a constant series of learning certain types of Doctrinal information so that when we arrive at any particular battlefield; we are ready to use that information. This is our preparation, this is our readiness: having our feet shod by means of the readiness of the gospel of peace, (Reconciliation; Eph 2:7-22)
I want you to notice that every believer, not just some believers, is Commanded to put on these GI shoes. So the first thing we learn from having on GI shoes is the fact that every believer is in full-time Christian service, of which witnessing is apart. Therefore, it is imperative that every believer be shod and ready for action at any time. As we move through life, it is our responsibility to be, as it were, on our feet and ready to meet situations which demand that we witness for the Lord Jesus Christ; and provide Truth to believers. (Heb 5:12)
The word for "preparation" ("Etoimasia") means full preparedness. Now, there is one thing the infantryman does he marches somewhere, often many miles. Preparation is being able or fully prepared to move on your feet over a long period of time so that you can arrive at some point, where you can use your weapons effectively, and work in conjunction with others. One of the worst things in the world would be to march miles and miles to the battlefield and then step into battle without shoes! You must arrive with the ability to fight; ready to go into action, ready to use your weapons. You must be well organized! Readiness means that you can march for many miles to the battlefield and be ready to go into action, to be a part of your organization, and to be ready to function with them as a team.
Our full preparedness is said to be with "the gospel of peace." "The gospel" refers to a specific type of Truth: about Salvation or the Truth concerning God: the full realm of Scripture; depending on the context. The Greek word is "euaggelion." "Eu" means "good"; "aggelion" --- "announcement." This is generally translated "good news.'' We have some good news, but it cannot be communicated unless it is understood. Evangelism does not belong solely to the pastor behind the pulpit. EVERY BELIEVER must be ready at ALL TIMES to communicate this good news.
Through the Principle of Operation Z, you must know certain Doctrines, you must have correct information about Salvation and the Spiritual life. You must know your subject, and the objective is to communicate the information accurately and clearly so that the hearer can make a decision.
There was one thing about the Roman soldier with the caligulae on his feet: he was flexible to move! How you communicate the information is going to depend upon your vocabulary, your personality, your ability to estimate a situation, your relaxed mental attitude. The real key, after you have assimilated a certain amount of Truth, is your flexibility; to THINK with God the Holy Spirit. (Luk 12:12; Luk 21:14-15) You must never get the idea, even when someone responds to your communication of Truth, that there is only one way to do it. The Holy Spirit will handle situations in many different ways. There are MANY approaches --- stay flexible!
The Shield of Faith
''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. (Eph 6:16) In addition to." Does not mean that the next item is greater, but in the Greek this is, "en pasin" which means in addition to the items previously listed: the belt, which represents the Principle of Divine Thinking; the breastplate of righteousness, which refers to the Filling of God the Holy Spirit; and the feet shod with the preparation --- for declaring the gospel and or the full realm of Scripture.
"Taking up the shield of faith..." "Taking" means to "pick up" --- in this case, to pick up something lying on the ground, just as a Roman soldier would pick up his shield when he fell in for his formation and for action. Since the action of the aorist participle precedes the action of the main verb, "stand" --- (And "stand" means to be in battle array, ready to go into action) and indicates that before you can go into action you must have the shield. The shield ("Thureos") was a large shield carried by the Romans to protect the entire body. "Faith" refers to the Principle of the "Faith-Rest Technique." It consists of, (1) acquiring a knowledge of the Promises of God, (2) believing and Thinking with these Promises and Doctrines by faith. (Rom 4:20)
There are five ways to fulfill the Command to pick up the shield of faith: (1) By the daily function of Operation Z. You need your shield every day. (Rom 10:17) (2) By the exhale of Truth --- Thinking WITH the Promises. (Heb 4:1-3) (3) By the filling of the Holy Spirit. (Gal 5:22-23) (4) By picking up the shield in combat. (1Pe 1:7-8) (5) By occupation with Christ, which is actually a Spiritually mature extension of the Faith-Rest Technique, (1Pe 1:8 compared with; Heb 12:2).
"With which" (Literally, "with which shield") you will be able..." "Able," ("Dunami") is a word for ability or power; but the future tense anticipates the battle; and indicates that there is a training period before the use of the shield. And that is exactly the way it is in the Christian life. You begin through the function of Operation Z, by learning some Promises and then you learn some Doctrines; and that is the training period.
"...With which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (Eph 6:16) This latter phrase is literally, "missiles which have been set on fire." The missile itself was called "bele" or "belos," which is taken from "ballo," meaning a projectile. The word "fire" is a perfect passive participle of "puroo," which means "having been set on fire" And so we have missiles which have been set on fire. This type of fire arrow was a very ancient weapon. The Persians used it in their invasion of Greece in the days of Xerxes, and it is said to have existed long before then. Herodotus, Thucydides and Livy all make mention of this weapon. "Of the evil" ("Ho poneros") is literally "Of the evil one," and refers to a specific person, i.e., Satan.
In line with Paul's analogy taken from ancient warfare, the Principle involved here calls for the use of a shield to meet all of the pressures, all of the problems of life and the organized opposition of Satan in whatever form it comes. Further, a shield was used in a flexible manner. The Romans had a whole manual of arms, (Training routine) for the shield, and they were flexible and reacted differently to meet each situation.
Throughout the whole realm of the Christian life, there is the Principle of Thinking Truth and Promises, the Principle of flexibility in handling difficulties and problems of all kinds, all of which makes faith-rest the basic system --- THAT IS THE SHIELD; that quenches the missiles which have been set on fire by "the evil one!"
Thus, God has made provision for your protection from these "flaming arrows" which Satan projects toward you from all sides and all directions, (Old sin nature, thought, people, organization and disaster testing).
The Helmet of Salvation
"And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." (Eph 6:17) The word "take" is an aorist active imperative from the verb "dechomai." In this verse, it means "to receive," and to receive gladly or to receive with happiness. The aorist tense is the point of time when the individual goes into combat. The active voice: each individual makes the decision for himself. And the imperative mood gives the individual believer the opportunity of utilizing the helmet of Salvation. Literally, then, "receive the helmet which is ETERNAL Salvation from the Lake of Fire."
The helmet is something which is placed on the head for protection. Now the human soul resides inside the head. It is the soul which is said to be saved at the point of Salvation, (Psa 19:7; Mark 8:36; Heb 10:39) and therefore it is apropos that the Roman helmet should be used to illustrate the Principle of eternal Salvation. You are never in the protocol plan of God until you have personally accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. Since this passage is addressed to the believer, the helmet of Salvation specifically refers to knowing the Doctrines pertaining to Salvation, and thus having the assurance of Salvation and eternal security.
The Roman helmet or casque was by far the best in the ancient world and was the only one that was absolutely foolproof. It was composed of four parts.
(1) It had a very excellent liner, which was made of skin. This skin lining emphasizes the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The first reference to skin in connection with Salvation is found in, (Gen 3:21) where the Lord made Adam and Eve coats of skin. Since skin is obtained by the shedding of blood, this lining reminds us that when we are cleansed by the blood of Christ; (That is, the Spiritual death and judgment of Christ) and that at faith in Christ; we receive the imputed righteousness of God. (2Co 5:21)
(2) Generally, the helmet was made of bronze, which is tough and durable and able to withstand anything that hits it. This emphasizes the permanence of the plan of God in Phase One.
(3) The helmet of the Praetorian who was guarding Paul would have had a gold crest; and this emphasizes the unique Person of the God-head who is our Savior Jesus Christ, the God-man. Thus it refers to the Doctrine of the hypostatic union.
(4) The chin strap gave the helmet stability in battle, and kept it on. This of course would refer to the Principle of eternal security. Once you have believed in Jesus Christ, you cannot lose your Salvation from the Lake of Fire. (John 10:28)
The Sword of the Spirit
Up to this point Paul has referred to items of equipment which are defensive in nature. In the latter part of, (Eph 6:17) he directs attention to the only offensive equipment mentioned --- "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." The Greek word for "sword" here is "machaira." This was a Roman invention and was probably one of the most unusual and ingenious inventions of ancient warfare. Unlike the lengthy, two-handed broadsword, which was used by the Gauls and the barbarians, the machaira was only about eighteen inches long; but it was sharp on both edges and had a sharp point. It was a very maneuverable weapon, and all parts of it could be used. Its outstanding advantage was that the soldier was never off balance while using it.
The Greek word for "Spirit" here is "pneuma." It refers to God the Holy Spirit, and it is in the genitive case, that is genitive of source, so that literally we have "the sword from the Spirit." God the Holy Spirit is the source of this sword, which is the "Word of God." The word used here is "rhema," which means "the Saying or the category or the Concept." It is a word for Truth, and it implies a specific Truth, presented exegetically or categorically; it can also mean "Spoken through a believer by means of God the Holy Spirit." And "of God" is again the genitive of source. Thus, we have "the sword from the Holy Spirit, which is the Truth from the source of God." This is our offensive weapon!
So from a brief study of this passage, we can see clearly that, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, our lives have meaning and purpose and definition; further, we are personally involved in this great conflict. It is also clear that God has graciously made every provision for the believer in the present New Covenant Age the Age of the intensification of the angelic conflict. He has provided the grace apparatus for perception in order that you might comprehend His Word and know what His will is for your life. There is no limitation to the things that can be understood; nothing is hidden; everything is to be comprehended! He has made it possible for you to erect a Spiritual Temple in your soul in order that you might be equipped to do His will. (1Co 3:11-16) And, by these provisions, He has made it possible for you to meet the challenge of the intensified angelic conflict with stability, confidence and complete inner happiness. (Php 2:2; (1Jn 1:4)
Thus, it is by reason of man's faith that the angelic conflict is resolved! Angels observe man's positive volition as he first receives Salvation through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then as he demonstrates the adequacy of God's provision through daily study and appropriation of the contents of God's Word!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:20-21)